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  #1  
Old 06-21-2012, 10:35 AM
azmark azmark is offline
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Accurizing a 1911




I have a GI model Rock Island .45. I want to improve the overall accuracy of the gun. Other than the obvious (practice), I'm wondering what I can do to help it out? I thought about adjustable sights and some basic trigger work. What else would you recommend that won't be so expensive that I would be better off trading for another pistol?
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Old 06-21-2012, 10:44 AM
Hellsing76 Hellsing76 is offline
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Hey ya Mark, I am picking up a Springfield GI 5" (not Mil-Spec) tomorrow after work and have already been fighting visions in my head about modifying/accurizing it and haven't even got it to shoot it yet, lol. I would stick with the "practice" option and measure your holes and see if you are getting any better with more rounds, if the targets are consistent, leave it alone, you can always compensate your shots and hang on to the Rock GI for others that may come with you to learn to shoot or just to tag a long. Then just save up and get a more "accurate" or fitted gun instead of dumping cash into the Rock. This is all very easy for me to say or type, rather, but I have been already sternly persuaded to "LEAVE THE GI ALONE, IT'S A GI!" Lol! So I will more than likely just leave it alone and shoot it, I have other models that will out shoot this GI and most definitely out shoot me!

Good luck with either road you take!
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Old 06-21-2012, 10:49 AM
1-DAB 1-DAB is online now
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if you want to go target shooting (bullseye), get a Gold Cup. if not, learn to shoot what you have and accept that some compromises were made to reach your gun's price point.
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Old 06-21-2012, 10:56 AM
Horoscope Fish Horoscope Fish is offline
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It if were me, I'd spring for a trigger job - because nothing beats an outstanding trigger pull - and having an oversize barrel-bushing fit to the existing slide and barrel by a professional and call it done. The trigger job won't make the pistol more inherently accurate, but a good trigger pull goes a long way in making a gun easier to shoot well, while a properly fit barrel bushing will go a looong way towards improving mechanical accuracy; all this can be yours without breaking the proverbial bank. No point in dumping hundreds and hundreds of dollars into that pistol trying to make it into something it was never intended to be.
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Old 06-21-2012, 11:15 AM
Jim Watson Jim Watson is online now
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As Jeff Cooper said "sights you can see and a trigger you can control."
The sights don't have to be adjustable, drift and file to zero for your usual ammunition and they will do as well as expensive adjustable.
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Old 06-21-2012, 11:20 AM
Dave Waits Dave Waits is offline
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Just to add to fish's pretty accurate(No pun intended) post, I would suggest a set of decent sights, nothing fancy but, anything beats those micrometer-sized GI-sights. Your GI-Model has the Standard-cut or Colt-Cut rear dovetail so, any sight that fits a factory Colt will work. The front is a Narrow-Tenon stake-in sight, you might want a Smith to install that. On his suggestion for the Bushing, I would suggest a slightly cheaper way to go. I would suggest you do what I did, get a 0-1" Micrometer and measure your Barrel diameter at the muzzle, get a Dial-Vernier and measure the inside diameter of the slide where the bushing fits and call EGW(Evolution gunworks) and order one of their custom-fit,angle-bore Bushings. Runs about $35.00 and does a great job.

Those and a trigger-job will, as fish said, go a long way towards more accuracy.
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Last edited by Dave Waits; 06-21-2012 at 11:23 AM.
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  #7  
Old 06-21-2012, 11:23 AM
azmark azmark is offline
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Hey Hellsing, my youngest son tells me to leave it alone. Then again, he's 18 and says the sights are just fine for him. Youth is wasted on the young...

I really do need better sights because the GI sights really limit me. The trigger never bothered me until I felt a nice one, so that should help to get a trigger job. I didn't think about the bushing. Is that a labor-intensive job for a gunsmith? Around here, I think the labor rate is 30-40 bucks an hour.
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Old 06-21-2012, 11:31 AM
mikeg1005 mikeg1005 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azmark View Post
Other than the obvious (practice), I'm wondering what I can do to help it out?
More practice.

Yes, sights and a better trigger can help, but no amount of hardware will fix a software problem.

I personally do not believe triggers make for better shooting...yes, a light/crisp one shoots very nice but I know two guys (master and GM in production division) who shoot Glocks with stock triggers. They shoot VERY fast... and VERY accurately.

The bushing is if the gun itself is "not accurate" ... is it the gun or are you just needing practice/better sights?

MIke.

Last edited by mikeg1005; 06-21-2012 at 11:41 AM.
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  #9  
Old 06-21-2012, 11:31 AM
s197shockwave s197shockwave is online now
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Practice is very important but If I were to say what single modification would be the most responsible for an accurate 1911 it would be the barrel bushing.

My MIL SPEC was accurate but it became even more so when I had a custom fitted barrel bushing. The new bushing is very snug to the slide and to the barrel. Lets out a nice “ssssnip" when it falls into battery.


Also you need to be able to see the sights, so if you feel like seeing the sights might be an issue consider upgrading.

As for triggers I think us 1911 guys are spoiled. A standard 1911 trigger is far better than many other pistols out there and people shoot fine with them all the time.
I am not saying a nice smooth crisp 4 lb. trigger pull is a bad thing, but if you can shoot you can shoot with a gritty 6 lb. trigger as well.

Last edited by s197shockwave; 06-21-2012 at 11:34 AM.
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  #10  
Old 06-21-2012, 12:07 PM
azmark azmark is offline
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Who makes nice sights (maybe even adjustable) that won't break the bank. I actually have thought about ordering a slide with the sights already installed at the factory. It might be cheaper than buying sights and paying a gunsmith.
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  #11  
Old 06-21-2012, 12:11 PM
saread saread is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeg1005 View Post
More practice.

Yes, sights and a better trigger can help, but no amount of hardware will fix a software problem.

I personally do not believe triggers make for better shooting...yes, a light/crisp one shoots very nice but I know two guys (master and GM in production division) who shoot Glocks with stock triggers. They shoot VERY fast... and VERY accurately.

The bushing is if the gun itself is "not accurate" ... is it the gun or are you just needing practice/better sights?

MIke.
Huh? With all things being equal, there are two critical elements to marksmanship: 1) sight alignment and 2) trigger pull. You can shoot well with an 8 lb, creepy, gritty trigger but you will shoot better with a 3 lb, crisp (or slightly creepy), smooth trigger. Guaranteed. When the sights are aligned, bad shots are bad shots because of bad trigger pull. The point of a good trigger is to remove as much of the inherent mechanical limitations as possible, while remaining safe, so that their effect can be minimized. If it were me, before I spent a lot of money on the gun, I'd get the ammunition right and a good trigger job. Practice, see where that gets me and then determine what it is I'd like to do.
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Old 06-21-2012, 12:21 PM
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Check out Novak's web site. You can get a nice set of white dot or fiber optic sites there for a reasonable price. You can also ship just your slide to them for installation of the sites of your choice, again at a reasonable price. Their quality and workmanship is excellent.
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Old 06-21-2012, 12:26 PM
Onegoodshot Onegoodshot is online now
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..a match grade quality barrel, that is centered on the breach, is paramount.
Lug lock and bushing fitment is also required. To get consistant accuracy, ammo must be consistant, (reload).
With inexpensive 1911, the place to start is having experienced pistolsmith, with credentials in building high end 1911's. 'Smith can do the measuring and
discover if weapon has the potential to do what you want.
It might be less expensive to just spend the $$$ on a pistol built to be accurate,
(Les Baer). Sell a few, buy one.
Resale on a inexpensive pistol, is something to consider.
Building for a Custom aesthetic is easier than building for accuracy. Most modern 1911's will out shoot most hobby shooters.
Building for accuracy requires a "ground up" plan, and a highly skilled experienced craftsman, with discipline and knowledge to build to that plan.
A lot of the "builds" you see here, have not improved accuracy, they did not need to. They are built to be, "Bar B Q" show off weapons.
Decide what you need and want.

Last edited by Onegoodshot; 06-21-2012 at 12:29 PM.
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  #14  
Old 06-21-2012, 12:37 PM
Hellsing76 Hellsing76 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azmark View Post
Hey Hellsing, my youngest son tells me to leave it alone. Then again, he's 18 and says the sights are just fine for him. Youth is wasted on the young...

I really do need better sights because the GI sights really limit me. The trigger never bothered me until I felt a nice one, so that should help to get a trigger job. I didn't think about the bushing. Is that a labor-intensive job for a gunsmith? Around here, I think the labor rate is 30-40 bucks an hour.
Yeah, his eyes are prolly better than mine, too.

Coincidentally, last night I was perusing through my Brownell's 1911 parts catalog and was focused on the multiple pages of sight pkgs, too. I saw a ghost ring Trijicon set that looked Boss, might try it if the puny GI sights don't work out for my Novak style trained eyes. I am not too sure about Smithin' costs around Surprise/West Phx area, where I am at. I always take anything I have or need work done on over to Mark Graham at ARS, he swapped a rear sight in my "NM" SS Loaded from black Novak to Trijicon Novak out of a 2010TRP, took him seconds and nailed it .003" off center first try so we left it at that, lol. He needed some scrap steel cut down, so I loaded it up in my truck and back to my shop in our huge bandsaw and cut it for him. We like the barter system when applicable....and BBQ's n beers at our buddy Colt's house on the weekends.
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Old 06-21-2012, 12:37 PM
mikeg1005 mikeg1005 is offline
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Originally Posted by saread View Post
You can shoot well with an 8 lb, creepy, gritty trigger but you will shoot better with a 3 lb, crisp (or slightly creepy), smooth trigger. Guaranteed.
You are painting with a VERY broad brush there.

For prupose of conversation, I think a stock Glock trigger is about "as bad as it gets".

I gave you two examples of shooters that I personally know that excel with stock Glock triggers. Both shoot USPSA, which require accuracy and speed(fast trigger pull) and one of them uses it in PPC as well.

I won't even bring up guys who shoot double action revolvers in action shooting sports.

Shoot enough rounds through the 8lb trigger and you will shoot it just as well as the 3lb.

The 3lb will take LESS time to learn than the 8lb, but they will both accomplish the same thing in the end if the shooter has the fundmentals down.

MIke.
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  #16  
Old 06-21-2012, 12:57 PM
saread saread is offline
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I don't think it's too broad. There is no one on the line at a conventional pistol match using a stock trigger. I'm not saying you can't hit the X ring at 50 yards with a bad trigger, I'm saying you are going to hit it more times with a good trigger in the same gun. Trigger pull is everything and when you're trying to put a round in a small circle a long ways away, it is really hard to get a good trigger pull for that kind of a shot with a bad trigger. Your definition of what accuracy/marksmanship is and mine don't exactly line up.
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Old 06-21-2012, 01:23 PM
Horoscope Fish Horoscope Fish is offline
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Originally Posted by mikeg1005 View Post
Shoot enough rounds through the 8lb trigger and you will shoot it just as well as the 3lb.
Agreed, as far as that statement goes... However, that being said, there's a lot more to a good trigger pull than pull-weight alone. And no, I don't think a 3 lbs. trigger will transform a lousy shooter into a GM, but I think it's safe to say a trigger pull that has a minimum of over-travel and a clean break will, generally speaking, be easier to shoot well than an 8 Lbs. trigger that is hitch-y, gritty and has a lot of over-travel. Personally I find a good trigger job gives a pretty big return on the investment dollar; if not in accuracy then certainly in overall Shooting Satisfaction. YMMV, of course.

I also agree that good, visible, sights are a must.
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Last edited by Horoscope Fish; 06-21-2012 at 01:38 PM. Reason: Minor typo correction.
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  #18  
Old 06-21-2012, 01:36 PM
paw080 paw080 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azmark View Post
I have a GI model Rock Island .45. I want to improve the overall accuracy of the gun. Other than the obvious (practice), I'm wondering what I can do to help it out? I thought about adjustable sights and some basic trigger work. What else would you recommend that won't be so expensive that I would be better off trading for another pistol?
Hi Azmark, If you want accuracy, you first must make yourself into an accurate

shooter. I'm a Bullseye and ISSF 10 meter airpistol and 50 meter (Free pistol)

competitor. NRA 45 Bullseye rules call for a 3.5 lb minimum trigger, and that is

quite low enough for precision shooting.

I believe, to help you shoot your pistol accurately, a trigger job is all you need to

develop your skill. there is no need to enhance your pistol after the trigger upgrade.

I will be as honest as I can with my suggestions; that is to keep your Rock Island 45

as a fun shooter; then buy a used, 2nd hand, already built 45acp Match Bullseye pistol.

that is the quickest and cheapest route to a really accurate pistol. Rapid fire

steel and combat(USPSA etc) built pistols are not required to be as accurate

as a bullseye match 45(although some are), and I believe the triggers are lighter

than the NRA minimum. One last thing you won't need is a compensator, because

studies have shown that these have been found to lessen accuracy where it's

needed; at 50 yards. The road to accuracy can cost as little as $900 for a

used Bullseye Match 45. Best of luck, and remember to enjoy whatever shooting

that you do.

Tony

Last edited by paw080; 06-21-2012 at 01:39 PM.
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Old 06-21-2012, 03:32 PM
saread saread is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paw080 View Post
Hi Azmark, If you want accuracy, you first must make yourself into an accurate

shooter. I'm a Bullseye and ISSF 10 meter airpistol and 50 meter (Free pistol)

competitor. NRA 45 Bullseye rules call for a 3.5 lb minimum trigger, and that is

quite low enough for precision shooting.

I believe, to help you shoot your pistol accurately, a trigger job is all you need to

develop your skill. there is no need to enhance your pistol after the trigger upgrade.

I will be as honest as I can with my suggestions; that is to keep your Rock Island 45

as a fun shooter; then buy a used, 2nd hand, already built 45acp Match Bullseye pistol.

that is the quickest and cheapest route to a really accurate pistol. Rapid fire

steel and combat(USPSA etc) built pistols are not required to be as accurate

as a bullseye match 45(although some are), and I believe the triggers are lighter

than the NRA minimum. One last thing you won't need is a compensator, because

studies have shown that these have been found to lessen accuracy where it's

needed; at 50 yards. The road to accuracy can cost as little as $900 for a

used Bullseye Match 45. Best of luck, and remember to enjoy whatever shooting

that you do.

Tony
+1 in spades.
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Old 06-21-2012, 03:54 PM
gunnut606 gunnut606 is offline
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Originally Posted by mikeg1005 View Post

Shoot enough rounds through the 8lb trigger and you will shoot it just as well as the 3lb.



MIke.

I bet your guns do not have 8 lb triggers. Why is that ?
.
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Old 06-21-2012, 04:13 PM
azmark azmark is offline
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Let me narrow down the 'broad brush' to a little finer point. I don't need Bullseye accuracy. A Les Baer would be cool, for sure, but would be overkill. If I could shoot a 6 inch group consistently at maybe 40-50 yds I would be more than happy. Is that even a reasonable goal? If my gun is not capable of what I want to work toward then no amount of practice will be enough.

Better sights are an absolute must. I need all the help I can get.

Saread, maybe I'm looking for too much from a 1911...what kind of groups do Bullseye competitors actually get?
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Old 06-21-2012, 05:26 PM
DArBad DArBad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azmark View Post
I have a GI model Rock Island .45. I want to improve the overall accuracy of the gun. Other than the obvious (practice), I'm wondering what I can do to help it out? I thought about adjustable sights and some basic trigger work. What else would you recommend that won't be so expensive that I would be better off trading for another pistol?
A basic trigger work and EGW tighter fitting barrel bushing should yield much improved accuracy for not a lot of dough.
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Old 06-21-2012, 05:53 PM
saread saread is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azmark View Post
Let me narrow down the 'broad brush' to a little finer point. I don't need Bullseye accuracy. A Les Baer would be cool, for sure, but would be overkill. If I could shoot a 6 inch group consistently at maybe 40-50 yds I would be more than happy. Is that even a reasonable goal? If my gun is not capable of what I want to work toward then no amount of practice will be enough.

Better sights are an absolute must. I need all the help I can get.

Saread, maybe I'm looking for too much from a 1911...what kind of groups do Bullseye competitors actually get?
Let's talk a bit about a 6" group at 50 yards and what goes into it. The 10 ring on a B-6 target is 3.36" in diameter; the 9 ring is 5.5". A decent bullseye shooter puts them all inside the 9 ring at 50 yards. A good competition quality pistol is capable of 2" groups at 50 yards which potentially could score all Xs. What you need to shoot that 9 ring group is a wobble area, plus gun precision that adds up to 6" or less. If your RIA is only capable of 3" at 25 yards, it is only going to be good for 6" at 50. If your wobble area is 3" at 25 yards, it's 6" at 50. 6+6=12 inches. What this means is that to shoot that 9 ring group at 50 yards, you probably need a better gun. To be able to consistently shoot into the 9 ring, it needs to be a bullseye quality gun.

I think the advice you have gotten here is quite good. Get a trigger job, improve the sights if you wish, get good ammo (reloading is the best method IMHO), shoot until this gun is limiting you then go get a good used bullseye pistol. Get close to a good shooter/coach, shoot some competitions and I think with time and practice, you will be pleasantly surprised how fast you will want that other pistol. Most of all, enjoy the journey. We never get to be as good as we'd like to be but there are a lot of good folks who will be more than willing to share their knowledge and comradeship.
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Old 06-22-2012, 08:09 AM
Comp42 Comp42 is offline
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Basic accuracy improvement for the least money (IMHO) is a good trigger job (3.5 to 4.5 lbs), good sights and a well fitted bushing will get the most out of your basic 1911. Beyond that, you're talking big bucks. I.E. Welding and fitting barrel lugs, fitted link, hood, etc.

Do the basics first and see if it helps, otherwise save up for a SA loaded or Gold Cup. Then practice, practice, practice.

Reloading is also a must to have affordable ammo.
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Old 06-22-2012, 01:34 PM
Onegoodshot Onegoodshot is online now
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Les Baer, 1.5" guarantee, Sell the other pistol.
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