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Quirk

Newb seeking advice on buying open gun

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I live in Phoenix. Experienced shooter but new to open guns.  I'm a bit intimidated at the general inability to actually heft an specific open gun before buying one. I've held and shot some friends guns but they aren't stocked in a store obviously. Looked at some of these mostly online.  Not all are even taking orders now.  Seems some actually use an STI frame to build the gun.


Who actually makes their own frame?

 

STI

SVI

Atlas

Venom

Limcat

Acai

CK

CZ Czechmate

 

I've been shooting M&P and CZs in prod  and limited;  and IDPA for years, and actually find the Czechmate a nice fit, but looking for a major platform (38 SC prolly, I'm a bit skittish about 9 major loading).

Wondered who might make a slightly smaller frame than the standard STI?   The STI with standard grips is hard for me to reach the mag release without shifting my grip, just barely.  If necessary I can adapt though, it's not a deal-killer.

 

See fair number of guys at local matches whose shiny big guns just don't run consistently.  So wondering what the main root causes for that typically are? Just don't have the gun tuned right to the ammo, or are some brands prone to rough break in periods?

 

I've been saving for awhile and I'm okay with spending more to get more, ultimately I guess I don't mind the wait time provided I get the right gun.

Thanks

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You will get all kinds of answers on here.  I bought a CK solution gun for open and added the options I wanted to it.  I was quoted 90 days to finish the gun with the options I ordered. It arrived at my dealer in 45 days.  CK makes there own frames. I have not had any issue with the gun. But I did have issues with mag's. Bought MBX mag's, problem solved.  Mine is 9 major, it's cheaper to shoot and there is lots of Data out there if you look for it. Hope this helps

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Very few builder make their own frames or slides. Rebranding is the norm.

 

As for malfunctions. I was in the same boat as you. I had “heard” that open guns were finicky and hard to keep running 100%.

 

Well I bought a 20 year old Briley built rig. I have had ZERO issues in over 5000 rounds with it. It just runs.

 

It is a 38SC....going with 9mm next. I did not seem like a big deal to police up my brass at first. I am kinda over it now.

 

Buy from a company or builder who stands behind their product. Use good reloading techniques. Clean and oil regularly. You should have no problems.

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If you want to try a Limcat steel grip (small version) you are more than welcome to come by Rio sat or sun during the morning match. It is only fitted to the frame(with beavertail, trigger, etc) as I am in the middle of building it for my wife.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Quirk said:

 

See fair number of guys at local matches whose shiny big guns just don't run consistently.  So wondering what the main root causes for that typically are? Just don't have the gun tuned right to the ammo, or are some brands prone to rough break in periods?

 

 

99.999% ammo and mags. Tune the mags, dial in your ammo and done. 

Edited by echotango

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9 hours ago, Quirk said:

 

1.  I've been shooting CZs and find the Czechmate a nice fit, but looking for a major platform

 

2.  (38 SC prolly, I'm a bit skittish about 9 major loading).

 

 

1.  Looking for smaller than STI and love CZ's - easy - go with the CZ for your Open gun

 

2.  I was also "skittish" about 9mm Major - 12 years ago - but it's really easy - no problem with it at all,

     and you'll notice  a.  lots of .38 Super people switching to 9mm Major, and b.  resale value on the

     9mm Major is much higher, and easier to sell, than the .38 Super.

 

OR, buy a used gun here on The Forums  …   I've seen a couple lately.

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Thanks for all these thoughts,  I appreciate it.  I see the logic of going with a gun that I know fits well in my hand and takes ammo I make already....Since I'm new to open, maybe jumping in with one foot first is wise.   maybe I'll try a Czechmate in Minor first and if the hook sets, I can always branch out and upgrade to a 2011 style in Major or try loading 9 major.  I've made probably 300k 9mm rounds over the years so maybe that's the best first entry....

 

Q

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38 minutes ago, Quirk said:

Thanks for all these thoughts,  I appreciate it.  I see the logic of going with a gun that I know fits well in my hand and takes ammo I make already....Since I'm new to open, maybe jumping in with one foot first is wise.   maybe I'll try a Czechmate in Minor first and if the hook sets, I can always branch out and upgrade to a 2011 style in Major or try loading 9 major.  I've made probably 300k 9mm rounds over the years so maybe that's the best first entry....

 

Q

No reason not to shoot major out of the Czechmate, there is plenty of data out there that will work fine in that platform. 

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I'm a huge CZ fan, have a Shadow 2, had a Shadow 1, have a 97 and I'm currently shooting major with a CM, but will be switching to a 2011 sooner rather than later.  The lack of after market parts is one huge reason.  Also, I find with the new(ish) steel grips, the 2011 actually fits my hands better. 

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I would add the the PT Honcho to your short list as that is what I intend to grab for my next open gun.  Only downside for you is the EVO grip is on the large size.  

 

As stated above guns take the bad wrap for failures when majority of the time its mag related.  If you go the 2011 route watch the 7 part series Adam at Atlas has up on YouTube, order the tools online, grab a set of calipers and you'll be in good shape.

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1 hour ago, MikeBurgess said:

No reason not to shoot major out of the Czechmate, there is plenty of data out there that will work fine in that platform. 

 

One of our Club's Master shooters shot a CZ Major for a few years.

 

He did, eventually, switch to 2011, but he was doing Very Well with the CZ,

loaded to 9mm Major.

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19 hours ago, Hi-Power Jack said:

 

1.  Looking for smaller than STI and love CZ's - easy - go with the CZ for your Open gun

 

2.  I was also "skittish" about 9mm Major - 12 years ago - but it's really easy - no problem with it at all,

     and you'll notice  a.  lots of .38 Super people switching to 9mm Major, and b.  resale value on the

     9mm Major is much higher, and easier to sell, than the .38 Super.

 

OR, buy a used gun here on The Forums  …   I've seen a couple lately.

Jack, you gotta update your timeframe at some point. You’ve been saying you bought two TruBors 12 years ago since I joined here in 2014. Those two TruBors have to be at least 17 years old by now! 😬

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4 hours ago, Shmella said:

Jack, you gotta update your timeframe. You say you bought two TruBors 12 years ago since I joined here in 2014. Those two TruBors have to be at least 17 years old by now! 😬

 

May be wrong, but I believe I bought them both in 2007, or 12 years ago - don't have any idea

where the paperwork for that is, though, so it may well have been a year or two earlier.

 

But, here's your update :   I sold one of them couple years ago, but still shooting the other one :)

Have not been doing much shooting the past couple years, but about to get back into it in

a big way - starting with a Carbine course tomorrow, and then on to TruBor. 

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One of my friends now a sponsored shooter) started shooting Open with a poly gun.  He almost immediately bought a Czechmate and loved it.  I gave him a better load for it and he loved it even more.  Then he shot a couple of his teammates worked over DVCs.  He ordered one.  He said it shot flatter and softer than the CZ.

 

I also started Open as a CZ shooter.  I bought two used 2011 Open guns and liked them better.  I decided to build a 2011 9mm Open gun with a metal grip.  I've finished it and love shooting it.  There is something to be said about starting with good used Open guns.  You don't know what you don't know, and won't until you've shot Open a lot.  My two used guns were very different from each other.  Shooting them both for two seasons, plus handling and shooting other Open guns, allowed me to decide what I liked and didn't.  I put that experience to good use building my new Open gun.  To me it is perfect.  After 4000 rounds I wouldn't change a thing.

 

I intended to shoot 9mm minor out of that gun.  At the same time I was building a matching 1911 Open 9mm specifically for SCSA.  I had been told by a couple of M shooters I'd spend 6 months sorting out reliability and load issues.  I read the remarks about 9mm major kaabooms.  It all turned out to be a bunch of BS.  9mm major is perfectly safe to reload for as long as you use slow powders.  My major load is fully processed mixed HS brass, CCI 500, 10.2gr Major Pistol under a 115gr HAP.  That makes 168PF with SDs in the 4 to 5 range.  Accurate, clean and soft.

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1 hour ago, zzt said:

 Then he shot a couple of his teammates  

 

:surprise:     Sore loser ?     😂

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This is really good information, I've been thinking about trying it out myself.  Everything I've read about caliber selection comes down to brass being easier to find for 9mm, and it being cheaper and easier to reload.  Is there any reason to choose one over the other based on the way they actually perform, ignoring the added cost and difficulty associated with 38SC?

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Posted (edited)

tons of threads on 38 vs 9.  Search is your friend. 

Edited by echotango

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24 minutes ago, XDoctor said:

  any reason to choose one over the other based on the way they actually perform 

Their is a very slight edge in performance to the .38, based on longer case and ability

to use few powders that are cramped in 9mm case.

 

If you are currently shooting at the 99% level, and you're looking for a 0.1% gain to get 

you to 99.1%, and you have the $$$$,  I'd go with the .38 Super.

 

Otherwise, I'd try to get my 0.1% gain somewhere else.     :) 

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24 minutes ago, echotango said:

tons of threads on 38 vs 9.  Search is your friend. 

 

Yep, I've read a bunch of them.  The deciding factor is almost always that 9mm brass is easy to find, and cheap. 

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Thanks all. Probably the most common sense would be to buy a used Czechmate since I know that platform thru shooting Shadows and 75s for years. Starting shooting that in minor since I load 9mm already. Then slowly edge into loading 9 major. Then see where it all takes me.


 

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I'll elaborate on one of my earlier statements. My 9mm major load has low pressure.  It is loaded to 1.161", so it has the case volume of a 9x21.   The powder charge is not compressed and I make 168PF with SDs of 4 to 5.    How is 38SC going to be better than that?  I shot with an Open 38SC shooter at the last match.  He was doing the brass chicken dance all day.  To top it off, he was using 7.6gr WAC.  What a waste.  That charge will easily fit in a 9mm and won't be compressed no matter how deeply you seat.

 

I'll tell you I agonized over that choice when deciding to build my newest open gun.  I decided on 9mm, just because of brass pricing.  Almost all of the matches I go to are lost brass.  I now know that all the hype about 38SC being better is pure BS.  The only advantage to 38SC is if you insist on using 3N38.

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How then do you 9 Major guys load and train? Do you load 165 PF for training ammo? Use range brass of unknown history, and load to 165, and re-use, or toss after one use? 

 

I was wondering if guys might not cheat and use slightly lower PF for training ammo...I dunno, something sightly or moderately south of 165 PF.....to spare the brass and such?

 

What about sanctioned matches, do you buy new Starline or such to ensure you don't have an issue during a match?

 

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Posted (edited)

Practice and matches with the same ammo, 1 load.  I'm at 169-170pf regardless if it is a steel match or uspsa.  I use range brass for everything but majors.  Load it til lost or split. I use 1x fired I got from the local PD range. 

Edited by echotango

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Posted (edited)
34 minutes ago, Quirk said:

How then do you 9 Major guys load and train? Do you load 165 PF for training ammo? Use range brass of unknown history, and load to 165, and re-use, or toss after one use? 

 

I was wondering if guys might not cheat and use slightly lower PF for training ammo...I dunno, something sightly or moderately south of 165 PF.....to spare the brass and such?

 

What about sanctioned matches, do you buy new Starline or such to ensure you don't have an issue during a match?

 

Practice and matches with the same load, the brass holds up just fine. Match ammo gets case gauged, practice ammo is the rejects and or non gauged. I know a couple guys that use new brass for L3 and up matches to just take one more variable out, 

 

9mm Brass seems to be readily available for less then .02 ea deliver so I tend to buy it and leave it, fully processed (roll sized, swaged, polished, etc) is closer to .04 so that may be the go to for major matches going forward

Edited by MikeBurgess
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