Stopped by the indoor range Friday for a quick 30 minute shooting session, this time for three reasons:
- More familiarity with the Spartan.
- Let the Hi Power stretch its legs for the first time in awhile.
- Evaluate the first batch of 9mm loads from the Lee Classic Turret setup.
The load was consistent with both pistols: 124gr Berry’s plated roundnose bullets (doublestruck) powered by 4.0 grains of Bullseye and CCI 500 small pistol primers. Brass was all once fired, a mix of PMP and Sellier & Bellot.
My first shooting was a set of four 5-shot groups with the Hi Power from 10 yards, unsupported Weaver stance. Results are shown below.
I found the Hi Power shot to the left. The first group in the upper left even had one of the paper, but the measurement is accurate. Average group size was 2″.
Next came the STI Spartan 9mm. Same distance, load, and stance as with the Hi Power.
Average group size was 1.56″. Not surprisingly, the Spartan outshot the Hi Power easily in my hands. Why do I say not surprisingly? Not because the Hi Power is an inferior weapon by any means, but the balance and straight trigger movement of the 1911 seems to be a little more conducive to accurate shooting for me. Plus the Spartan has much larger target sights vs. the Hi Power’s service-style sights.
Next came 25 yard shooting. I only shot one group of five shots from each pistol, unsupported Weaver stance. Unfortunately the Hi Power’s tendency to shoot left of POA at 10 yards multiplied at 25 yards, and many hits were off the paper and I was unable to measure a group size. However, I did capture the Spartan’s group as shown below.
As you can see, the Spartan produced a 6.4375″ group at 25 yards, with 4 out of 5 shots in a 3″ area.
I formed a few conclusions from this session.
First, and most importantly, the load recipe for this batch of 9mm seems to perform similar to many basic factory loads. I was a little concerned about the Berry’s bullets just because I had never used them before, but they performed well. Thank goodness, because I have 1,000 of them! The Bullseye powder seemed to work fine as well, but once my current batch of Bullseye is gone I’ll likely move to HP38/W231 or Universal.
Second, the Hi Power for some odd reason is not the best shooting pistol in my hands. I’m not basing it solely on this session; I’ve owned the Hi Power for over 10 years and the trend has always been the same. It’s not a bad pistol by any means, I just don’t shoot it as accurately as some others. Some trigger work might change that, but I have no immediate plans for that in the near future. But I do enjoy the Hi Power; it’s a great, classic handgun.
Third, I REALLY like the Spartan. The balance is classic 1911, which is to say that it’s near the top of my list of automatics. I have more plans for this pistol, though. I plan on replacing the stock STI trigger with a Cylinder & Slide short smooth trigger. I have one on my Kimber as well and like the way it feels. I want the pull down to around 3 lbs as well since this is a pure range gun (current pull is around 4.5 lbs). This may require the services of a gunsmith and, if so, that’s fine. Will have this done locally since any good smith can do this basic work on a 1911. I also plan on replacing the grips, possibly with the Ergo XTR grips, and adding some skateboard tape to the front strap. Finally, I may replace the stock magazine button catch with an Ed Brown oversized model. If I’m feeling really saucy an oversized magwell funnel may find its way on this pistol too, but that’s more of a nice to have vs. a real performance enhancing feature based on the type of shooting I do.
So, there it is. Two quality, classic single action designs in 9mm.