I bought a parkerized Springfield Armory Mil-Spec 1911 from one of the gun stores in Phoenix AZ. This is a very popular model and dealers only have them for a short interval if at all. My usual haunt for guns, Sportsman’s Warehouse, was out of stock so when I found this model in another store for only a little more than I would’ve paid at Sportsman’s Warehouse, I took it. I paid $495.00 plus tax.
This will be the gun I shoot in Bullseye competition for the centerfire and 45 portions of the competitions. The Mil-Spec is not fully up to this task, however, and several things need to be done before it will be an adequate choice.
- First, it needs a trigger job. As it comes from the factory, the trigger has a small amount of creep and takes about 5-6 pounds of strength to release it. A good wad gun, on the other hand, will have a nice crisp release at 3.5 pounds, and those two changes make a world of difference.
- Secondly, the fixed sight needs to be replaced with an adjustable, probably a Bo-Mar. This is because Bullseye competitions are fired at 25 and 50 yards and the aim point is about 2″ different (due to bullet drop at the greater distance). Although the shooter can simply aim at a different place on the target, doing exactly the same thing on each shot is essential for the best accuracy (and, obviously, repeatability), so being able to adjust the sight and then aim at the same point on the target regardless of distance is the better solution.
- And third, and probably last and also most expensive, will be the purchase and fitting of a precision competition barrel and bushing. As the gun comes from Springfield Armory, it will probably shoot no tighter than a 6″ grouping at 50 yards. If the gun is held and each shot released perfectly, all shots from an unmodified gun will land in the 9 and 10 rings. Statistically, the score will be about 95 or so. But since the top shooters score 98 to 100 points — and that is common among the best — the gun has to shoot better, and a competition barrel, bushing and the hand-fitting thereof, will be required if I start to approach that level.
There are some additional changes that could be done to make this a “wad” gun as opposed to the “hardballer” that it currently is. I’m undecided on whether this will become a wad gun or not. On the one hand I’d like to do well in Bullseye competitions and, for that, the wad modifications are almost essential (at the uppermost levels). But Bullseye shooters also compete in so-called Leg matches for an award designating them as a “Distinguished Shooter” and, frankly, I’d someday like to earn one of those awards, perhaps even more so than doing well in Bullseye. For that, I need a good hardball gun (with some of the above modifications).
But for now, this plain old Mil-Spec shoots a lot better than I do. Hopefully my abilities will grow and, as they do, I’ll be able to afford these changes in a reasonably timely manner.