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SA Accuracy Woes

1365 Views 15 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  kidcoltoutlaw
Yesterday I took my SA "Loaded" to the range to see how it actually groups, using S&B hardball. I have already used this gun in an IDPA match and did OK. My brother-in-law asked me what kind of groups it produces, so I though I would find out. Almost wish I hadn't. This is the least accurate handgun I have ever owned. My $200 FEG Hipower clone shoots rings around it. I realize ammo might play a part, but I am talking 6"+ groups at 25 yards. I am poor, so I can't justify buying a new barrel. I thought I would try a new bushing. How difficult is that to fit for a kitchen table gunsmith? Also, any thoughts on the Dwyer Group Gripper?
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New bushing COULD be the fix. Accurately measure the inside of your slide bore and the outside of your barrel. Now measure the corresponding surfaces on your bushing. Report back here what you get. You can sometimes find a bushing in Brownells that will come very close to your barrel/slide measurements. Opinions differ, but I like a zero clearance light press fit (finger pressure only) of bushing to slide with about half a thou clearance to the barrel on a carry gun. Also check for movement of the barrel hood at lockup by pressing down on the hood. It shouldn't move very much if any. No movement is best. Group Grippers are iffy at best in my book. Some work, some cause malfunctions.
You might want to try some different loads too..it is surprising at the difference that loads, powder, bullet size will make...

The bushing is a good idea..I have a junk gun that will shoot 2" at 25 yards..It uses a colt factory barrel, has a fitted bushing, but the hood area you can push it up and down..

I don't get it it either...for some reason it shoots very well for what has been done..good luck
Definitely take BBBBills advice and try the bushing. It is a relatively cheap alternative to your other options. Naturally you want to try different loads too.

FWIW my Springfield had a very poorly fit barrel and I tried the bushing route first. Unfortunately, it wasn't sufficient to resolve all the problems I had with the gun.

If you aren't getting chewed up brass try the bushing to improve the accuracy. If your brass is getting gnawed on you may need to tension your extractor too.

I had to do a lot of things to my Springfield to get it to be a totally reliable, accurate gun. I hope you don't go through what I did.

[This message has been edited by slickpuppy (edited 09-24-2001).]
Also, check your crown for dings or irregularities. It is amazing how much improvement a recrown can do even on some brand new barrels.
EGW sells pre-fitted bushings for around $25. Youi can find them listed in Brownells or contact EGW directly. I have them in 2 guns and the improvement in accuracy has been dramatic.
For what it's worth:

I have the full length Group Gripper (with guide rod) in my Enhanced Colt. I can, and have, made 10 and X ring shots to 50 yards with that gun. As far as the bushing is concerned, your troubles are OVER!!!!

Brownells sells the Briley Sperical Bushing and Ring. This consists of the bushing housing, and a TiN ring that fits the inside. It swivels freely inside the housing, preventing barrel spring, and giving you all of the benefits of a hard-fitted bushing without the work.

Make sure you use a nice heavy spring with that Group Gripper. I use an 18 lb in mine.

As far as reliability is concerned--absolutely, positively, 100%. I carry this gun as a duty gun.

"Be not afraid of any man, no matter what his size;

When trouble rises, call on me and I will equalize."
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Aside from the Briley Spherical bushing, which is $52, is anyone aware of any real difference between a Clark bushing vs. Ed Brown vs. King's vs. Wilson's, etc? Is any one better than the other?
If you are going the drop-in route here's a bit of info that I hope helps. The MGW drop-in runs .700". The Wilson #29S is .702". The proper way to fit a bushing is to ream the ID and turn the OD. One of the above should get you pretty close without too much effort.
230 gr. ball ammo is usually the least accurate ammo for some reason. If you reload try some 200 SWC bullets.
Try 4-5,6 different types of ammo of the Ball type and see what happens...You don't mention how many rds. are through this one...Another 300 won't hurt and maybe you'll see some differences after you're done...The easiest things can sometimes be the answer...


!!!Molon Labe'!!!
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Hi MuzzleBlast, maybe try calling Springfield or their custom shop, they may fix-up your pistol for free, worth a try, they have a toll free #.

Metal Smith

The only thing I know for sure is what I can measure!
NRA Life Member
Good advice from all. I use N/M bushings from Gil Hebard but they are not easy to fit. The other choices are better. I think trying other brands of ammo is worth a shot. As an aside, I'm not up to date on S/A barrels but I use to throw them away and replace them with one of Elmer's stock GI 's. They were two piece jobs( the S/A's) and I didn't want to try Mr. Murphy's luck on them. I never liked their guns in the old days but understand they are pretty nice now. I'd try the Briley thing, if the ammo change doesn't help. I shot some Blazer thru a gun that would do 3/4ths at 25 yards and couldn't hit a barn door at 10 feet. It can happen. A lot of 1911's are ammo sensitive.
I have had two of these guns and both were very poorly fit from the factory. You could push the barrel hood down maybe .020 when in battery. The bushing fit wasn't that bad. I got "5 of 7" groups - meaning 5 shots in something resembling a group with two high flyers. The high flyers were caused by the hood dropping in battery occasionally.

The fix was a new barrel (Nowlin) that turned it into a tack driver. I was however, able to improve accuracy by installing a longer link so that the barrel could not drop as much. That's not the way to run a gun though as a long link will lift the barrel lugs off of the slide stop pin, and you'll probably break something with extended shooting. Good luck in your experimentation although I'd bet your barrel fit just isn't right.
springfield told me if it wont shoot 3.5 at 25 yards with good ammo send it to them they will check it out.mine likes federal gold in a jswc 185 i just shot enough of it to see if it would shoot.i fitted a nm bushing it went from 4.5 to under 3 inches.it might be better if i had done a better job and knew what i was doing, i think the sight pusher will help me as much cant stand a gun that dont shoot where you aim it,thanks,keith
I have a Mil-spec. SA that will shoot groups of less than an inch, at 50 ft., with a 200 gr. SWC and 3.8 gr. of Bullseye. Standard 2-piece barrel. Might want to experiment with different loads. Each gun is a law unto itself. One of the premier "old-time" .45 gunsmiths stated that every gun he worked on would find its best load between 3.8 and 4.4 gr. of Bullseye (with the 200 gr. SWC.) Some went 1/2 inch at 50 yards. At least that would tell you HOW accurate the gun can be. You could work on finding a good self-defense load after that.
tried that load ok but not great.the next 25 feet can be a big deal to.big difference in 50 feet and 75 feet as far as accuracy goes with my 45acp any way,thanks,keith
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