Bad Guns Lie!

I tested my two 1911s, the ball gun and the wadder, on a Ransom Rest today. My primary goal was to confirm or deny my suspicions of one, and to have the other as a reference to give credibiliity to the overall results.

Shooting a variety of ammunition in the ball gun at 50 yards (with a cleaning and then fouling shots in each new brand), here is the ammo and group sizes (measured outside edge to outside edge and then subtracting the caliber), from best (or perhaps I should say “least bad”) to worst:

  • 6.0" group Federal Gold Medal Match, 185 gr SWC FMJ
  • 6.5" group, Aguila, 230 gr RN FMJ
  • 7.5" group, Federal Gold Metal Match, 230 gr RN FMJ
  • 16.0" group, Intrac Arms, 230 gr RN FMJ +P

Also on that same gun, I fired some lead-headed handloads:

  • 6.5" group, my wad ammo (3.8 gr. Clays, 200 gr. LSWCs)
  • 11.0" group, my pseudo-hardball lead rounds (5.3 gr Universal, 230 gr LRN)

In summary, across all tested ammunition, the best the ball gun did was a 6" group. That’s good enough for the 9-ring, but far, far worse than what I saw someone else’s ball gun do at 50 yards about 2-3 weeks ago: this other ball gun printed a 2" group, maybe even 1.5" – pretty much a “single hole” in the target at 50 yards!

Frustration comes when the called shot shows up somewhere else in the target. Although it is true I could probably shoot in the low 90s with my ball gun (assuming I do my part, of course), it’s much more important (to me, to my learning) to be able to “know” where the shot went, to be able to accurately call it.

To a developing shooter, *that’s* the reason to get good equipment. The beginner needs good equipment not for the scores he/she will get (because they won’t), but instead because a “truth telling” gun will let them know when they’ve done everything right.

The accurate gun doesn’t lie.

To confirm my test procedure and use of the machine today, I also tested my wad gun at both 50 yards and 25 yards:

  • 3.25" group at 50 yards (3.8 gr. Clays, 200 gr. LSWCs) [That’s all in the 10-ring when I do my part]
  • 2.0" group at 25 yards (same ammo) [And that could be a 100-10X, when I do my part]

It has been said that the Ransom Rest really only confirms good performance. There are so many variables and nuances in procedure that confirmation of a negative is difficult.

But by testing several guns with the same procedure and the same ammunition, enough doubt now exists in my mind to put the ball gun down until it has a good “working over” by an expert gunsmith.

Only I can fix “me” but, at least with good equipment, that is possible. With bad, it won’t happen.

Developing shooters need good equipment.

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