About to purchase a handgun

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HDinMB
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Re: About to purchase a handgun

Postby HDinMB » Mon Sep 22, 2008 2:08 am

My first centerfire handgun was a two tone H&K USP in .45ACP. I chose it because I borrowed one at a range event and loved the way it shot and felt in my hand. The HKs tend to feel more square than others and the .45 model has a pretty heft grip to it but it fits my hand well. From what I hear the 9mms are a little smaller and easier on those with smaller hands (not that mine are at all large). I recommend whatever feels best in your hands and it would be even better if you can shoot it first.

The rifling in my HK is polygonal but I've shot about upwards of 1000 rounds of lead through it with absolutely no ill effect whatsoever. If anything, it's easier to clean than jacketed ammo. My usual cleaning procedure is to take a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and hydrogen peroxide, cut off a finger from a disposable latex glove (alternatively a balloon or condom would work) and use that along with an elastic to wrap around the muzzle end of the barrel to seal it off and then fill the barrel with the liquid from the chamber end. Rumor has it this solution will remove bluing but it hasn't done anything to my HK barrel. The guy that told me about this formula was a chem major and apparently it has something to do with the lead oxidizing... I quit taking science after one year of university so what the hell do I know but I digress. Wait about 10 minutes and then just poor the liquid/lead sludge out. Wipe a patch or two down the barrel and it's clean, no effort required. For what it's worth I tend to fire anywhere from 50-500 rounds (reloads, 200grn lead SWC over 4.0grns of Clays) prior to cleaning. The fellow I learned this trick from has shot thousands of lead reloads out of his HK45, also with no ill effect. Keep in mind that .45ACP loads are naturally subsonic and significantly lower pressure than 9mm or .40SW which may affect the buildup of lead.

In my opinion the only disadvantage of the polygonal rifling is when you get an insufficient charge of powder and have a bullet stuck in the bore. It took two of us 30 minutes of pounding to get a 230grn AE bullet (no, it wasn't a reload!) out of my barrel, that polygonal rifling really takes hold. Rumor also has it that it increases the velocity of the rounds because of a tighter fit but I can't comment on that. As for caliber, unless you have reloading gear I'd stick with 9mm because it's cheapest. I prefer .45ACP because I find the recoil is less snappy albeit heavier and more forceful than 9mm or .40S&W. Spending most of my time on my .45, ever time I pick up a 9mm it feels like I'm shooting a .22. The low pressure also eases the stress on the gun. The downside is higher cost, I think 50 rounds of .45ACP factory ammo is up to $20 now, though I buy 1000 lead bullets for $70.

Almost forgot, if you're new to handguns then I'd recommend picking up a copy of Combat Handgunnery by Massad Ayoob. Offers some good advice and info for new shooters.

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Re: About to purchase a handgun

Postby Bald Man » Mon Sep 22, 2008 2:21 am

HDinMB wrote:My first centerfire handgun was a two tone H&K USP in .45ACP. I chose it because I borrowed one at a range event and loved the way it shot and felt in my hand. The HKs tend to feel more square than others and the .45 model has a pretty heft grip to it but it fits my hand well. From what I hear the 9mms are a little smaller and easier on those with smaller hands (not that mine are at all large). I recommend whatever feels best in your hands and it would be even better if you can shoot it first.

The rifling in my HK is polygonal but I've shot about upwards of 1000 rounds of lead through it with absolutely no ill effect whatsoever. If anything, it's easier to clean than jacketed ammo. My usual cleaning procedure is to take a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and hydrogen peroxide, cut off a finger from a disposable latex glove (alternatively a balloon or condom would work) and use that along with an elastic to wrap around the muzzle end of the barrel to seal it off and then fill the barrel with the liquid from the chamber end. Rumor has it this solution will remove bluing but it hasn't done anything to my HK barrel. The guy that told me about this formula was a chem major and apparently it has something to do with the lead oxidizing... I quit taking science after one year of university so what the hell do I know but I digress. Wait about 10 minutes and then just poor the liquid/lead sludge out. Wipe a patch or two down the barrel and it's clean, no effort required. For what it's worth I tend to fire anywhere from 50-500 rounds (reloads, 200grn lead SWC over 4.0grns of Clays) prior to cleaning. The fellow I learned this trick from has shot thousands of lead reloads out of his HK45, also with no ill effect. Keep in mind that .45ACP loads are naturally subsonic and significantly lower pressure than 9mm or .40SW which may affect the buildup of lead.

In my opinion the only disadvantage of the polygonal rifling is when you get an insufficient charge of powder and have a bullet stuck in the bore. It took two of us 30 minutes of pounding to get a 230grn AE bullet (no, it wasn't a reload!) out of my barrel, that polygonal rifling really takes hold. Rumor also has it that it increases the velocity of the rounds because of a tighter fit but I can't comment on that. As for caliber, unless you have reloading gear I'd stick with 9mm because it's cheapest. I prefer .45ACP because I find the recoil is less snappy albeit heavier and more forceful than 9mm or .40S&W. Spending most of my time on my .45, ever time I pick up a 9mm it feels like I'm shooting a .22. The low pressure also eases the stress on the gun. The downside is higher cost, I think 50 rounds of .45ACP factory ammo is up to $20 now, though I buy 1000 lead bullets for $70.

Almost forgot, if you're new to handguns then I'd recommend picking up a copy of Combat Handgunnery by Massad Ayoob. Offers some good advice and info for new shooters.


I haven't heard it increases velocity but does improve accuracy. I think this is why Glocks and other polygonal barrels tend to be more accurate than others.

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Re: About to purchase a handgun

Postby HDinMB » Mon Sep 22, 2008 2:31 am

Wikipedia tells me that polygonal rifling offers:
* Higher velocities due to reduced friction of the bullet in the barrel, as the polygonal rifling has less surface area than the lands and grooves of a traditionally rifled barrel
* Less bullet deformation, resulting in reduced drag on the bullet which helps to increase range and accuracy
* Increased barrel life and reduced buildup of copper or lead within the barrel

and

The manufacturer Glock advises against using lead bullets (meaning bullets not covered by a copper jacket) in their polygonally rifled barrels, which has led to a widespread belief that polygonal rifling is not compatible with lead bullets. Noted firearms expert and barrel maker, the late Gale McMillan, has also commented that lead bullets and polygonal rifling are not a good mix. However, since neither H&K nor Kahr recommend against lead bullets in their polygonal rifled barrels, it is probable that there is an additional factor involved in Glock's warning. One explanation is that Glock barrels have a fairly sharp transition between the chamber and the rifling, and this area is prone to lead buildup if lead bullets are used. This buildup may result in failures to fully return to battery, allowing the gun to fire with the case not fully supported by the chamber, leading to a potentially dangerous case failure. The other explanation is that Glock's barrels may be more prone than normal to leading, which is the buildup of lead in the bore that happens in nearly all firearms firing high velocity lead bullets. This lead buildup must be cleaned out regularly, or the barrel can become constricted and result in higher than normal pressure

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Re: About to purchase a handgun

Postby Bald Man » Mon Sep 22, 2008 2:40 am

HDinMB wrote:Wikipedia tells me that polygonal rifling offers:
* Higher velocities due to reduced friction of the bullet in the barrel, as the polygonal rifling has less surface area than the lands and grooves of a traditionally rifled barrel
* Less bullet deformation, resulting in reduced drag on the bullet which helps to increase range and accuracy
* Increased barrel life and reduced buildup of copper or lead within the barrel

and

The manufacturer Glock advises against using lead bullets (meaning bullets not covered by a copper jacket) in their polygonally rifled barrels, which has led to a widespread belief that polygonal rifling is not compatible with lead bullets. Noted firearms expert and barrel maker, the late Gale McMillan, has also commented that lead bullets and polygonal rifling are not a good mix. However, since neither H&K nor Kahr recommend against lead bullets in their polygonal rifled barrels, it is probable that there is an additional factor involved in Glock's warning. One explanation is that Glock barrels have a fairly sharp transition between the chamber and the rifling, and this area is prone to lead buildup if lead bullets are used. This buildup may result in failures to fully return to battery, allowing the gun to fire with the case not fully supported by the chamber, leading to a potentially dangerous case failure. The other explanation is that Glock's barrels may be more prone than normal to leading, which is the buildup of lead in the bore that happens in nearly all firearms firing high velocity lead bullets. This lead buildup must be cleaned out regularly, or the barrel can become constricted and result in higher than normal pressure


There you go!

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ryan.p
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Re: About to purchase a handgun

Postby ryan.p » Mon Sep 22, 2008 9:41 am

Wow great info everyone. Yes I am very new to the handgun scene, hence me here asking a few questions.

Bald man, that M&P did throw me off a little bit when they said that the guy only shot 200 rounds through it, but after I got talking to the dealer he said that buddy has more handguns then I have fingers, and apparently the M&P wasn't taken out very much.

HDin, that sounds like an interesting way to clean a handgun. Much different then I clean my current shotguns, that's for sure. I'll keep that in mind when I pick something up.

I've got it narrowed down to the SIG and the Glock as of right now. Since both of these are not brand new guns, I am going to see if I purchase one, take it to the range a few times, and really don't care for it much, if I can trade it back for another handgun without loosing too much money.
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TSE JR
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Re: About to purchase a handgun

Postby TSE JR » Mon Sep 22, 2008 4:17 pm

Drop me a PM... I am pretty sure I can hook you up at Target Sports for a "Test Drive" of the two styles you are looking at.

BTW, the price on teh Glock is WAY out of line...

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Re: About to purchase a handgun

Postby HDinMB » Mon Sep 22, 2008 5:41 pm

TSE JR wrote:Drop me a PM... I am pretty sure I can hook you up at Target Sports for a "Test Drive" of the two styles you are looking at.

BTW, the price on teh Glock is WAY out of line...

JR


I would take JR up on his offer, The Shooting Edge/Target Sports are good guys to deal with and being able to try a handgun before you buy it will make your choice that much better and that much easier.

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Re: About to purchase a handgun

Postby ryan.p » Mon Sep 22, 2008 6:16 pm

That would help quite a bit! I PM'd him a little while ago.
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Re: About to purchase a handgun

Postby Mandigs » Mon Sep 22, 2008 7:00 pm

TSE JR wrote:BTW, the price on teh Glock is WAY out of line...

JR

Really??? If purchasing a G-17 what are some fair prices that I should be seeing. Cause right now they're going for about 700+ here in Kitchener/Waterloo.

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Re: About to purchase a handgun

Postby Bitterman » Mon Sep 22, 2008 7:53 pm

DeTorres wrote:
TSE JR wrote:BTW, the price on teh Glock is WAY out of line...

JR

Really??? If purchasing a G-17 what are some fair prices that I should be seeing. Cause right now they're going for about 700+ here in Kitchener/Waterloo.


Everthing is priced higher in K/W ;)

Especially on Colby Drive.
Admit nothing.
Deny everything.
Make counter accusations...

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Re: About to purchase a handgun

Postby echo1 » Tue Sep 23, 2008 8:59 am

Bitterman wrote:
DeTorres wrote:
TSE JR wrote:BTW, the price on teh Glock is WAY out of line...

JR

Really??? If purchasing a G-17 what are some fair prices that I should be seeing. Cause right now they're going for about 700+ here in Kitchener/Waterloo.


Everthing is priced higher in K/W ;)

Especially on Colby Drive.

Ain't that the truth.

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Re: About to purchase a handgun

Postby Bald Man » Tue Sep 23, 2008 9:52 pm

ryan.p wrote:Wow great info everyone. Yes I am very new to the handgun scene, hence me here asking a few questions.

Bald man, that M&P did throw me off a little bit when they said that the guy only shot 200 rounds through it, but after I got talking to the dealer he said that buddy has more handguns then I have fingers, and apparently the M&P wasn't taken out very much.

HDin, that sounds like an interesting way to clean a handgun. Much different then I clean my current shotguns, that's for sure. I'll keep that in mind when I pick something up.

I've got it narrowed down to the SIG and the Glock as of right now. Since both of these are not brand new guns, I am going to see if I purchase one, take it to the range a few times, and really don't care for it much, if I can trade it back for another handgun without loosing too much money.


It's like anything else, when some people have hobbies, they are always buy and selling stuff.

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Dave Brown
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Re: About to purchase a handgun

Postby Dave Brown » Tue Sep 23, 2008 11:22 pm

NO NO NO NO NO!

The cast bullet issue is NOT the issue with Glocks. You can fire cast bullets out of ANY well-designed rifling system. It makes NO sense if you think about it; why a cast bullet would be any better or any worse than any other bullet type in any rifling. It has no basis in physics.

There are two REAL (and scientific) issues here. Firstly, believe it or not, there is a LOT of variation in bore diameters in 9mm chamberings, certainly far more than in .45. I have slugged 9mm barrels at everything from .354 all the way up to .358 inches. (.45s are pretty consistent at .451 or .452.) Using cast bullets in a 9mm is a bit of a crapshoot if you don't know your actual bore diameter because you can buy 9mm bullets sized in everything from .354 to .358. (See? Didn't I say there was a LOT of variation in 9mm bore diameters? Why else would they sell 9mm bullets in such a wide range?)

So this is the 9mm issue. The solution is simple, though. Drive an unsized 9mm cast bullet into your barrel from chamber to muzzle (it will take some pounding) and measure the bore diameter with a micrometer. This is the size bullet you should buy. (Bullets are sized after casting by forcing them through size dies, and the dimension they give is the diameter of the sizing die.) You can even go .001 over on bullet diameter if you have to. You should never go UNDER. (If you buy bullets undersized, they lead up the barrel - any barrel - very quickly and they fly off in random directions because they literally 'rock' their way back and forth down a barrel. In extreme cases, they can hit the target totally sideways.)

So if you want to reload 9mm or buy reloads for 9mm, take the extra two minutes to 'slug' your barrel and measure the diameter. Buy bullets sized to that diameter. If you buy a .45, don't worry about it. I have never seen one that varied more than .001 inches.

The other issue is with reloads in Glocks. The fact is that no manufacturer will allow you to shoot reloads out of their handguns and still have a warranty, but Glock MEANS it. The chamber on a Glock is ramped more for reliability than most other makes and this means that with certain calibres, there is a large portion of unsupported case area. This can blow out of brass that has been fired before and resized back down to factory specs. (This expansion-then-resizing work-hardens the metal and make sit slightly more brittle.) Do not shoot reloads out of Glocks, period.

(That being said, I must admit that I have heard of - and seen - cases of Glocks blowing up in the .45 Auto chamberings and the .40 S&W chamberings only. I have never seen a single documented case of a Glock blowing up through the bottom of the chamber in the 9mm Luger models. If it was ME - and I am not suggesting anyone else do this - and my Glock was out of warranty, I probably wouldn't sweat reloads in a 9mm model, but I would definitely buy a good aftermarket barrel in a .40 or .45 model. I am not saying you should do this, and I am not saying I have done this myself; I am only speculating on what I might do myself if I was in that situation ...)

So, bottom line is to buy the handgun that feels best in your hand. The new Glock grip is outstanding, but the Sig is a very well engineered piece. The Glock is a bit like a Chevrolet and the Sig is more like a Ferrari. The new S&W is nice too and I was impressed when I test fired it. I just didn't like the magazine disconnect or the field stripping procedures. The mag disconnect is an issue I am not going to go into here, but it also means dry-fire practice - which you should be doing a LOT - is a bigger pain on the S&W than the other two.

Buying used handguns is fine because it is just about impossible to "shoot out" the barrel of a handgun. As long as it was maintained properly and not over-oiled, it should be just fine. One thing to check on any used handgun is to field strip it, take the barrel out and shine a strong light down the barrel. Look for any signs of a 'bulged' barrel. It will look like an area about halfway down that is slightly expanded. This is a sign that it was fired with a 'primer pop,' where the shooter shooting reloads fired one without gunpowder and then followed it up with a live round and didn't bother checking the barrel for obstructions. If there is any sign of bulging part way down the barrel, walk away from it.

The Sig you showed us has better factory sights on it, but Glock makes good optional sights and there are LOTS of great aftermarket sights available. (I am a big believer in plain, square, clean, black sights. I love the plain black Novak low-profile sights on a Glock .45.)

The Sig also has a completely different trigger. It is DA, which means double-action first shot; single-action all subsequent shots. The Glock is DAO, which is same trigger for every shot. Double-action semi-automatics (also called DA/SA) should never be issued to police officers, but for target shooters, it is just fine. You are not going to be carrying it in a holster anyway unless you get into practical pistol sports (and if you do, the 9mm is a poor choice anyway) so all your rounds can be fired single-action. You never have to decock the hammer until you put the gun away for the evening. The Sig has a NICE single-action trigger pull.

That being said, the standard Glock 5-pound trigger is also nice, just different. (Since you are using it only for target shooting, avoid the optional 'New York' 9-pound trigger on the Glock.)

So there you go; a long answer to a short question. Find the gun that feels best in your hand, slug the barrel if you are buying a 9mm, buy reloads with the correct bullet diameter and just be aware that firing reloads will void your warranty.

Also, please consider trying out a .45. Many people, myself included, like the feel of shooting it much better because it is a larger recoil but extended over a greater period of time and is a bit more pleasant to shoot. (Avoid the .40 S&W for fun; NO ONE I ever met thought it was much 'fun' to shoot for recreation)

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ryan.p
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Re: About to purchase a handgun

Postby ryan.p » Wed Sep 24, 2008 9:44 am

Thank you piles Dave.

It really helped put things into perspective for me.

I have found a Glock 17 at a local dealer that is in used, very good condition and is selling for $499. I am going to go take a look at it this week and will let everyone know.

And thanks for the PM TSE JR...I will be calling him this weekend to see what they have.
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Re: About to purchase a handgun

Postby Dave Brown » Wed Sep 24, 2008 1:08 pm

That used Glock might be okay but check for barrel bulges. Also, look at the frame and see if it is the new version with the molded-in finger grooves on the grip or the older version without. I love the new frame style over the older one and would easily be willing to pay more.


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