I managed to break away from doctor's appointments and physical therapy sessions long enough this past week to get in a couple of hours at the Dug Hill Rod and Gun's club range with a nice pair of 1911 design .45 ACP pistols. I had a ball and shot my way through three boxes of ammo.

Since the effects from a stroke limits my use of shoulder weapons, I have renewed my interest in handgun target shooting and plinking. And one of my favorite handguns is the nearly 100-year-old John Browning designed 1911 autoloader chambered in .45 acp. I have three and expect to add at least one more in the future.

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The most accurate of the bunch is a gold cup model Kimber target pistol that routinely keeps grouping tight 25-yard clusters in the black center of a standard 25-yard pistol target. This is a rather high cost item, but one gets what one pays for and frankly, I don't think you will find more quality for the money than that found on any Kimber patterned 1911.

My gun dotes on Winchester's 230 grain match hardball load - the one in the white box with the red "W." My hand-gunning skills depend mostly on the phase of the moon and alignment of the stars. So, when I am shooting for accuracy (and not in a formal match setting), I make use of a sandbag rest for my 25-yard shooting.

This Kimber is perfectly finished and held to very tight tolerances. I only recently added the next 1911 - a brand-new Remington made Enhanced Model 1911 R-S (stainless) that I had no intention of buying before actually holding this one in the gun shop. I went looking for the most value for the least money and actually had my heart set on the new Ruger 1911.

Obviously, the Remington got the nod. Like the Kimber, it is made with an eye to top-notch finish and tight tolerances. I especially like the gun's thee white dot fixed sighting system. As it should be, the Kimber target model has excellent adjustable sights.

The Remington is more of a "field gun," so the fixed sights are appropriate. Luckily, at 20 feet, using 230 grain solids from PMC, it places all bullets to my point of aim and in a nice, tight cluster.

My third 1911 is an original Colt government model that has seen a good deal of accuracy work over the years that I have owned it. When I bought the Kimber, I switched the .45 ACP slide and barrel for a Matt Ciener match grade .22 long rifle conversion kit and it soon replaced a very accurate Ruger auto loading target pistol.

I have never seen the need to replace the ACP barrel and slide. At this latest range session I put more rounds through this .22lr setup than the other two .45s combined, which is pretty natural considering the pleasant and economical character of shooting .22s through a full sized handgun.

I intend on using the Remington as an everyday gun for plinking and varmints. The next time I go to the range with it, I'll target a variety of hollow-point loads. Incidentally, after running into a batch of slightly oversized 9mm bullets a couple of years ago, that caused my Beretta 92F to jam repeatedly, I quit reloading for my autoloading pistols, opting only for quality factory ammo, instead. Still, both pistols went throgh the entire range session without a single failure to perfectly feed and eject.

I find the .45 ACP to be a pleasant, accurate pistol to shoot over extended periods. In my hands, the model 1911 points nearly as naturally as my beloved Colt single actions and their clones.

I recently read a great quote, "The 9mm bullet may expand, but a .45 never shrinks." And that's why it has been the number one choice of our military and law enforcement for nearly 100 years.

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