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  #1  
Old 02-06-2010, 03:17 PM
birdhunter birdhunter is offline
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What is the "best" caliber for competition?




Newbie question...... looking for advice.

I am new to pistols and am interested in shooting in competitions.

I shoot sporting clays competitively.

I've ordered a Ed Brown .45. Fell in love with the looks of the gun and always wanted this classic gun.

I've watched steel challenge and other competitions on TV. Looks like a lot of fun. However, I can't tell what caliber pistols are shot.

The .45 has a lot of flash & recoil and I'm not sure that smaller caliber gun wouldn't be easier to shoot in competitions.

I see that Wilson Combat makes their 1911 pistols in 9mm.

Advice?
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  #2  
Old 02-06-2010, 03:34 PM
DustyDawg48 DustyDawg48 is offline
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9mm is probably more popular because of it's lower cost. If you are going to shoot pistol competitively like IDPA or USPSA then you'll eventually need to look into reloading your own ammo.

Once you start reloading you can really soften up .45 and .40 cal loads and even with full metal jacketed ammo you can still reload at a nearly 2:1 ratio over factory.

Check into IDPA matches around where you're from; they have a specific division for .45 acp pistols.
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  #3  
Old 02-06-2010, 04:06 PM
BillD BillD is offline
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My standard answer is a Glock 17.

You can get set up to compete with holster, mags, pouches and a used gun for $5-600.

Course, if you bought an Ed Brown and you're looking at Wilsons, that ship has sailed.
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  #4  
Old 02-06-2010, 04:19 PM
richpetrone richpetrone is offline
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Competition shooting and calibers

There are many types of pistol competition. Different calibers may be preferred for different types of competition.

NRA Outdoor Pistol: .22 and .45 required
IDPA: 5 different gun divisions; one division called Custom Defense Pistol is strictly limited to the .45acp shooting major power factor loads. The most popular weapon is the Glock, and the most popular caliber for two of the three semi auto divisions is the 9mm. The
other two gun divisions are for revolvers.
IPSC: Numerous calibers used due to numerous gun divisions.
Open class: .38 super and 9mm (STI/SVI type gun) very popular
Limited Class: .40 cal (STI/SVI type gun) very popular
Single Stack: .45 & 9mm
Limited 10: .45 & 9MM
Production: Various
Bowling Pin: .45acp and 10mm
Steel Challenge: 9mm and downloaded .38 supers
Bianchi: 9mm,.38 supers; specialized revolvers in .38special
PPC (law enforcement) Accurized 9mm semi auto; revolvers still used
Metallic Silohouette various long range calibers and weapons

Last edited by richpetrone; 02-06-2010 at 04:21 PM.
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  #5  
Old 02-06-2010, 04:33 PM
birdhunter birdhunter is offline
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Caliber question

So, from what I am reading, a the .45 Ed Brown and a 9mm Wilson Combat would suffice for most of the competition types.

I understand the Open competition are for extremely modified guns.

Am I getting it right?
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  #6  
Old 02-06-2010, 04:48 PM
MSgt Dotson MSgt Dotson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by birdhunter View Post
So, from what I am reading, a the .45 Ed Brown and a 9mm Wilson Combat would suffice for most of the competition types.
You'd be set for IDPA or for USPSA Singlestack and perhaps Limited-10divisions...

Limited is currently dominated by 18-20 shot .40 S&W doublestacks.....(SVI/STI currently rules here...)
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  #7  
Old 02-06-2010, 06:54 PM
2MoreChains 2MoreChains is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by birdhunter View Post
So, from what I am reading, a the .45 Ed Brown and a 9mm Wilson Combat would suffice for most of the competition types.

I understand the Open competition are for extremely modified guns.

Am I getting it right?
Everyone has been giving you good info. However, the one thing that hasn't been mentioned yet is power factor and the specific division requirements in IDPA and USPSA.

IDPA:
CDP Division: Has to be a .45 acp gun. Loads must be over 165 Power Factor (which is easy to achieve w/ a .45). The maximum number of rounds you can load in CDP is 8+1.

ESP Division: You can shoot your .45 acp in this division, but most of the 1911 shooters are shooting a .40 or 9 mm. ESP is where the hi-cap 1911 or 2011 reside because ESP has a division capacity of 10+1 rounds at the start.

SSP: 1911 single action guns are not allowed in SSP.


Shifting gears to USPSA (aka IPSC):
Single Stack Div: It's probably more common to see people in SS Division shooting a .40 or .45 in order to be scored using the Major PF scoring (A=5 pts, B/C=4 pts, D=2 pts), but they are restricted to 8 rounds in the magazine. You can shoot a 9mm in SS Division (and some people do), but you'll be scored using Minor PF scoring (A=5 pts, B/C = 3 pts, D=1 pt) and you're basically getting less points for the same hits as someone shooting Major, but you can load up to 10 rounds if shooting Minor. The minimum caliber for Major in SS is .40 S&W, even though you can reload a 9mm to Major PF performance, it's not allowed in SS.

Limited-10: Same as SS with regard to major and minor, but you are restricted to a maximum of 10 rounds in the magazine regardless of caliber.

Limited: For the 1911 or 2011 shooters in Limited, this is where the equipment race starts (slide lightening, hi capacity magazines, huge magwells...etc), but the gun is restricted to iron sights. I wouldn't recommend shooting in Limited with a single stack 1911 regardless of caliber. You're better off in SS or L-10 divisions.

Open: Anything goes, and you're right that these are the heavily modified guns. Compensators, C-more dot sights, slide lightening, big-stick magazines that hold 20-24 rnds... They say "if you can drag it to the line, it's probably legal in Open..." There's some truth to that.

Production: That's out since the 1911 is not allowed in Production.

Hope this helps. Most times you can use the same holster and mag pouches for IDPA that you use for USPSA, but check the rules to make sure. As a general rule, IDPA will be more restrictive than USPSA...
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  #8  
Old 02-06-2010, 08:00 PM
snojet snojet is offline
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birdhunter ---
For IDPA - only minor improvements/mods can be done to the pistol. Your equipment (holster and mag holders) are suppose to be something that you would carry in your everyday life.

For USPSA - the sky is the limit, well maybe not. But you can do a lot of mods to the pistol and make that "race gun". The equipment can be special purpose.

Either one you get involved with, I would recommend you check out their websites and read their rule books.

I compete with my Ed Brown, Kobra Carry, with the Ed Brown 8 round mags - 5ea.

I will have to say a majority of competitors use 9mm or .40's. Come to the darkside with us people that shoot the .45.

Get involved, either one is a BLAST!!!

2MoreChains --
Your quote, "Loads must be over 165 Power Factor (which is easy to achieve w/ a .45),"
How do I figure that out. I am now starting to reload and want to make sure I make the specs. Also, I'm lazy, I figured I would ask you here before I go and look it up. Hope you don't mind.

Regards,
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  #9  
Old 02-06-2010, 08:19 PM
Sean Gaines Sean Gaines is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richpetrone View Post
There are many types of pistol competition. Different calibers may be preferred for different types of competition.

NRA Outdoor Pistol: .22 and .45 required
IDPA: 5 different gun divisions; one division called Custom Defense Pistol is strictly limited to the .45acp shooting major power factor loads. The most popular weapon is the Glock, and the most popular caliber for two of the three semi auto divisions is the 9mm. The
other two gun divisions are for revolvers.
IPSC: Numerous calibers used due to numerous gun divisions.
Open class: .38 super and 9mm (STI/SVI type gun) very popular
Limited Class: .40 cal (STI/SVI type gun) very popular
Single Stack: .45 & 9mm
Limited 10: .45 & 9MM
Production: Various
Bowling Pin: .45acp and 10mm
Steel Challenge: 9mm and downloaded .38 supers
Bianchi: 9mm,.38 supers; specialized revolvers in .38special
PPC (law enforcement) Accurized 9mm semi auto; revolvers still used
Metallic Silohouette various long range calibers and weapons
let me correct a couple of things
single stack 40 and .45acp, 9mm puts you in minor, and major disadvantage
limited 10 .40 and .45, 9mm pust you in mino, and major disadvantage
.40 being the more popular caliber in both, due to cost of bullets, and they can use thier wide body guns in L10 and they usually keep the same load in ss
steel challenge, you can also shoot rimfire pistol
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  #10  
Old 02-06-2010, 10:46 PM
jsykes jsykes is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snojet View Post

2MoreChains --
Your quote, "Loads must be over 165 Power Factor (which is easy to achieve w/ a .45),"
How do I figure that out. I am now starting to reload and want to make sure I make the specs. Also, I'm lazy, I figured I would ask you here before I go and look it up. Hope you don't mind.

Regards,
..snojet..
PF is just the weight of the bullet in grains multiplied by the muzzle velocity and divided by 1000.

So, from Federal's site, American Eagle 23 grain .45 ammo is 890 fps.

So PF=230x890 or 204,700. Divide that by 1000 and you get 204.7 or WELL above the required PF.

So if you can load your own, you can drive that 230 grain bullet down to about 720 fps and still be above PF. Makes for a pretty soft shooting .45.
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  #11  
Old 02-06-2010, 11:19 PM
willowofwisp willowofwisp is offline
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for PPC most people are still shooting .38 special revolvers and a few are still shooting s&w model 52's
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  #12  
Old 02-07-2010, 12:32 AM
2MoreChains 2MoreChains is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsykes View Post
PF is just the weight of the bullet in grains multiplied by the muzzle velocity and divided by 1000.

So, from Federal's site, American Eagle 23 grain .45 ammo is 890 fps.

So PF=230x890 or 204,700. Divide that by 1000 and you get 204.7 or WELL above the required PF.

So if you can load your own, you can drive that 230 grain bullet down to about 720 fps and still be above PF. Makes for a pretty soft shooting .45.
What he said!
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  #13  
Old 02-07-2010, 12:35 AM
2MoreChains 2MoreChains is offline
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Originally Posted by snojet View Post
birdhunter ---
I figured I would ask you here before I go and look it up. Hope you don't mind.

Regards,
..snojet..
No problem, but you might also want to read up on how they will chrono your load at a major IDPA or USPSA match so you'll know what to expect...LOL!

Might also be a good idea to chrono your load at approximately the same temp that you anticipate shooting said major match. Some of the powders respond differently in higher or lower temps.
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  #14  
Old 02-07-2010, 08:04 AM
richpetrone richpetrone is offline
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Popular calibers

Regarding IPSC:

Quote:
let me correct a couple of things:
single stack 40 and .45acp, 9mm puts you in minor, and major disadvantage
limited 10 .40 and .45, 9mm puts you in minor, and major disadvantage
I realize there are more popular guns, but I was trying to show calibers that could be used to compete as a new shooter, rather than the ideal gamer gun to win. Shooting a minor load in IPSC is only a disadvantage if you don't get all "A" hits, due to the scoring system. I was trying to show common calibers that you can still use, across a range of competitive shooting sports.

A new shooter that first enters a competitive sport, is there to learn, and may not have the ideal gun to start. After shooting the sport a while, they know whether they want to continue the sport or not, They will usually upgrade their equipment to become more competitive, or quit.

Last edited by richpetrone; 02-07-2010 at 08:08 AM.
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  #15  
Old 02-07-2010, 09:04 AM
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tenntucker tenntucker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2MoreChains View Post
No problem, but you might also want to read up on how they will chrono your load at a major IDPA or USPSA match so you'll know what to expect...LOL!

Might also be a good idea to chrono your load at approximately the same temp that you anticipate shooting said major match. Some of the powders respond differently in higher or lower temps.
I wouldn't worry about the chrono. Your butts gonna pucker at any rate, so don't think about it.
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  #16  
Old 02-07-2010, 10:16 AM
RH45 RH45 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by birdhunter View Post
Newbie question...... looking for advice.

I am new to pistols and am interested in shooting in competitions.

I shoot sporting clays competitively.

I've ordered a Ed Brown .45. Fell in love with the looks of the gun and always wanted this classic gun.

I've watched steel challenge and other competitions on TV. Looks like a lot of fun. However, I can't tell what caliber pistols are shot.

The .45 has a lot of flash & recoil and I'm not sure that smaller caliber gun wouldn't be easier to shoot in competitions.

I see that Wilson Combat makes their 1911 pistols in 9mm.

Advice?
My advice is to stay off this website! It has already MADE me buy an Ed Brown, a Baer, A Wilson, and 9 STI's!

It looks like you've already been on the Ed Brown, and Wilson forums. Now, you are looking in to what to use them for? USPSA, IDPA, steel challange, Bianci Cup, 3-gun... If you can find any IDPA or USPSA matches close to you, check them out. As said, your Brown will fit in several divisions.

Be prepared to get a second job.
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  #17  
Old 02-07-2010, 10:24 AM
daveshoots daveshoots is offline
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I compete in IDPA with 1911's in both 45 and 9mm. I think starting out in competitive shooting, IDPA is a little easier to get into. I have shot USPSA also, but had I not already been competing in IDPA, USPSA would have been a little intimidating. They're both fun games, but they are also the only two that I've tried (with pistols).
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  #18  
Old 02-07-2010, 02:54 PM
birdhunter birdhunter is offline
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Thanks

I have sought advice from several of the forum's sources and I appreciate the quality input I have received.

I got into shotgun sports about 10 years ago and made a couple of expensive gun buying mistakes.

I'm now pretty confident in buying nice shotguns and avoiding those that just won't work for me and for what I want to do.

Even though nice pistols are considerably less expensive than nice shotguns, I want to avoid buying a pistol that I will want to dump.

The next step is to find a place in the Atlanta area to try competitive shooting.
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Old 02-07-2010, 03:05 PM
MSgt Dotson MSgt Dotson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richpetrone View Post
They will usually upgrade their equipment to become more competitive, or quit.
And some of us are just seemingly stuck in C-class forever, but serve usefully as cannon fodder and target pasters for the good shooters!
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Old 02-07-2010, 03:22 PM
davidalyn davidalyn is offline
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Originally Posted by MSgt Dotson View Post
And some of us are just seemingly stuck in C-class forever, but serve usefully as cannon fodder and target pasters for the good shooters!
Or you can become an high A class and never seem to make Master. Then you get older and slower and can't hardly shoot B class scores anymore.

The funny part is I don't really care about the "class" anymore, I just love to shoot and help others if possible.
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  #21  
Old 02-07-2010, 05:55 PM
emerilnut emerilnut is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by birdhunter View Post
I have sought advice from several of the forum's sources and I appreciate the quality input I have received.

I got into shotgun sports about 10 years ago and made a couple of expensive gun buying mistakes.

I'm now pretty confident in buying nice shotguns and avoiding those that just won't work for me and for what I want to do.

Even though nice pistols are considerably less expensive than nice shotguns, I want to avoid buying a pistol that I will want to dump.

The next step is to find a place in the Atlanta area to try competitive shooting.
Atlanta? I'm in the Atlanta area as well. I've owned my guns for about 15-18 years now, but just now getting back into shooting and want to live my dreams of competitive shooting. I just joined Atlanta Classic Marksman in Norcross, GA to get cheaper range time and good practice. They have IDPA matches there on Wednesday nights so I gave that a gander when I was last there. I would like to ask if I can go in and observe the next matches when I go there next.

I have a Colt M1991A1 Govt in .45acp that remained stock since 1995 until this past month where I've added Wilson trigger, ambi-safety (I'm a lefty), and in the process of their value line hammer and beavertail drop in. So far, I've kept the pistol legal for IDPA.

This is also my first post, so hello all!
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  #22  
Old 02-07-2010, 05:59 PM
MSgt Dotson MSgt Dotson is offline
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Singlestack or CDP- .45 ACP
L-10 .45 ACP or doublestack .40
Limited- .40
Production - .40 loaded Lite, or 9x19

ESP- 9x19 or .38 Super or Lite .40
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  #23  
Old 02-07-2010, 08:47 PM
Steel1212 Steel1212 is offline
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My opinion if your talking about practical shooting with a Single Stack I would pick a .45. It was designed for that caliber and most will run with round nose ammo. You can't be competitive if your gear doesn't work.

If you know a good gun smith I would find one in .40. The ammo is cheaper and I like the recoil better.
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  #24  
Old 02-07-2010, 11:25 PM
daveshoots daveshoots is offline
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Also check out South River Gun Club. It's closer to Conyers, but they have a number of different shooting sports there. I've shot the GA IDPA St championships there, really nice club, good people.
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  #25  
Old 02-19-2010, 10:40 PM
GilaJorge GilaJorge is offline
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Its like learning to swim...ya gotta get into the water. Go and shoot and go to shoots and watch what others are doing and using. There is a reason for their madness. All the time practice and practice but make certain you are practicing good form and pay attention to accuracy. Speed will come in time.
Speed does not trump accuracy. In time you will know the answer to the questions you posed and also the why;s behind it. Blessings. Now go shoot.
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