View Full Version : Accurizing a Beretta 96G Elite 1A
09-08-2010, 7:15 PM
I just made my first modification and replaced the factory issue plastic recoil guide rod with a s/steel rod.
Ignoring user error (I discovered last night that pretty much everything I knew about pistol shooting was wrong) what other steps can I take to accurize my Beretta 96G?
If possible, when listing multiple options please list them in order of:
1 - price, from cheapest to *gulp* most expensive, (short of buying a 1911 ;), and
2 - effectiveness, most to least.
09-08-2010, 8:08 PM
1) Best mod for the price, buy more ammo.
2) For effectiveness, fire your weapon in rapid succession.
09-08-2010, 8:40 PM
Ah, this is something I know something about. In short, you can go full custom by a famous smith or you can buy some parts to 'improve' accuracy. basically you'll need to eliminate or reduce front & rear of the barrel movements and you'll gain at least 50% accuracy. The aluminum frame with steel slide combo makes tightening the fit difficult and expensive.
I'm not sure what kind of accuracy you're looking for but I've found from 20 years of shooting Beretta pistols that a trigger job does wonders. Lighten up the trigger pull and eliminate the over-travel and you'll feel like it's a new gun.
I asked my smith to install a permanent cone to enlarge the OD on the front of the barrel. it reduced the groups from 2.5" down to about 1.5" at 25 yards. but the rear end fit is still loose. If tightened up i think it'd do around 1" groups.
David Sams is well known for his Beretta custom work but the cost is high and wait is long. http://www.samscustomgunworksusa.com/beretta92customwork.html
this company also does it, not sure what they charge and how the end product shoots.
DIY components -
1. Barsto barrel - buy the gunsmith oversized one and fit it carefully or have them do it for you. I have a drop-in one, it fits much tighter than factory but accuracy gain isn't impressive. 2" @ 25yards at best
2. KKM barrel - used by Marine pistol team. the barrel has a enlarged hood area to eliminate rear end movement of the barrel.
3. Weigand nose piece. not sure if they're still available check out the review here. (http://www.gun-tests.com/pdfs/1-4-nosepiece.pdf)
4. Jarvis-custom.com also has smith-fit Beretta barrels.
09-08-2010, 8:43 PM
Changing from the polymer to steel guide rod doesn't do anything for accuracy. The best single thing to improve accuracy in a oversize fitted Barsto match barrel. Beyond that it gets into machining and fitting collets, rail inserts, etc..
To make damn near ANY gun more accurate you've got to fix a few items:
Zero: all guns need properly aligned sights if you expect to be using them to aim.
First... fix its operator. Get your technique down pat. Learn how to stabilize and aim, and to get follow up shots in the same location. Too many people blame accuracy issues on the tool or ammo, when the user is all too fallable.
Second: A "tight" gun is going to hit the same place more often than a "loose" one. That's why people are recommending oversized barrels that are fitted directly to YOUR slide specifically. When the functioning parts have less wiggle room, they only have the option of going where they're supposed to. This comes with some complications though. Any bits of dirt/grime/metal shavings/excessive heat can cause a well fitted gun to fail or wear in unusual ways. Loose guns will usually go bang every time, no matter how abused/dirty, which is nice in its own right.
3rd: barrel length has an effect but is less pronounced than mastering technique. Longer barrel = faster bullets (If you've got the powder and pressure to keep up the pushing for the full length, if NOT then you LOSE speed for increasing length). Faster = flatter, just don't overstep the twist rate of the rifling (hard to do with pistols, not so hard with rifles).
4th exhausting those options, you would use quality ammo to get the last bit of oomph.
In between all of this, at any point, is getting the gun comfortable for YOU as an individual. This would be things like: new grips, new style of sights/optics, getting a trigger job (does a lot for technique issues and confidence, nice trigger=happy shooter), and dealing with recoil (can be training to get used to recoil or using a recoil reducing guide rod with sacrificial bushings) since many people will falter in their technique in anticipation of recoil.
Reccomendation: Get your sights checked by a pro, then train yourself to be stable/accurate, get a new tightfitting barrel (tight still mobile, get a pro to Fit the barrel to the gun), then get the sights checked AGAIN (new barrel, new point of aim slightly).
09-09-2010, 6:23 AM
Thanks for all the advice.
Re: the steel recoil rod. I was informed that this would help tighten up my groups (not necessarily improve accuracy, that's more on me), and at $20 it seemed like an inexpensive first step to take.
I also found out a couple of nights ago that pretty much everything I knew about pistol shooting was wrong. Yep, pretty much everything. 30 years of hunting with a shotgun does not make one an experienced pistol shooter, so one of the biggest changes I'm making is not to the pistol but to Me. Of course as I become more proficient there will come a point where accuracy can be more greatly improved by modifying the pistol. Self-improvement aside, it seems like a trigger adjustment and a new, better-fitting barrel are my next steps, as well as making sure my sights are true, both now and after each modification.
09-09-2010, 8:39 AM
30 years hunting with a shotgun will certainly have an adverse effect on handgunning. I've always told my student, when first learning to manage the trigger of a handgun, they need to pretty much lay off shooting the shotgun for a while. it really is very different.
the metal gujde rod really won't help, but you're right, at $20 what could it hurt.
an easy addition is changing the mainspring, the one that powers the hammer, to a factory "D" spring. it lightens the trigger pull weight. having the action smoothed and tuned will also yield nice benefits
the most cost effective improvement would be professional training...I'm talking about shooting instruction, not defensive or tactical instruction. learning how to do it all correctly makes you practice more efficient
09-15-2010, 12:50 PM
Apparently the owner of the La Puente Range can come across rather brusquely and I wouldn't disagree with anyone who said that, but I also knew I needed help (yes, me first, then the pistol). Mike, my friend who'd taken me to the Range, warned me that he does like to talk a lot but he also spoke highly of him, so I was prepared to listen and I think my open ears and closed mouth spoke volumes. All last week I practiced what the Range owner had told me, which essentially had me completely change how I shot a pistol, my stance, my grip, pretty much everything.
Friday afternoon I picked up a holster from Turners in Pasadena and added Drawing and Reloading to my practice routine.
Saturday I strapped on my Beretta and wore it around the house all day, and every now and then I'd stop, draw & aim at some arbitrary point...usually the cat ;)
This Sunday another friend rented out one of the private ranges at Burro Canyon above Azusa and organized a friendly, very simple, head-to-head IDPA-style event. After my abysmal shooting at La Puente on Monday night I got a chance to see if what I'd been practicing all week had actually helped.
All our targets were 21-feet out, the same distance we'd been shooting at La Puente. First up was a torso-shaped target with one 4" Clay Pigeon at chest height, and one at head height. You needed to shoot both Clays before moving to Station 2 with its single Bowling Pin, which needed to be knocked over to advance to Stages 3, 4 & 5, being three more 4" Clay Pigeons, each atop a 4' piece of dowel rod. Station 6 finished up the round with three Bowling Pins that could be knocked over with one shot if you hit the lead Pin just right, but if you missed you needed to pick up your Spare. And you had to do all that before your opponent took out all of his targets.
During my first Round I needed to reload around Station 4 or 5. Thinking I had to do a Reload with Retention I drew my spare magazine, ejected the empty, reloaded, then stowed the empty magazine before resuming firing. Although I'd practiced doing that on Saturday I still wasn't exactly fast, meanwhile my opponent just dropped his empty to the ground. Despite that I still finished first and won my first Round.
My second Round was against Mike, who had been shooting the center out of his targets at La Puente and I mean that quite literally. I was a little nervous because I knew how well Mike could shoot, but I was also buoyed up by my earlier win. When I knocked over the 3 Pins at the end of our Round my slide locked back. No reload, 10 Rounds, all targets down; I looked up and was stunned to see I'd finished before Mike.
My third & final Round was against Paul, the friend who had arranged the event and who, for business reasons, holds the very rare California CCP. Because his life & business depend on it Paul also shoots a lot, even more so than Mike, and yet Round 3 would turn out to be a repeat of Round 2. Once again, as I knocked over the final 3 Pins, my Beretta's slide locked back and I looked up to see Paul still engaging his 3 Pins.
After shooting rather miserably last week and being barely able to keep my shots within the 8" target at 21', this week under 'race conditions' I'd been popping 4" targets at the same distance with practically every shot. I will give a little bit of credit to the Inanimate Carbon Rod (http://simpsons.wikia.com/wiki/Inanimate_Carbon_Rod)...er...Steel Recoil Guide Rod, but I know a lot of the credit also goes to me, in being prepared to listen when someone else said "You don't know Jack, Jack!", accepting that they did know Jack, then putting all that Jack into practice.
Would I have shot just as well if I had listened but not practiced all week? I may have been as accurate, or I might not. I might even have reverted to my former, inaccurate ways. But I'm damned sure I wouldn't have been as fast.
Being able to accept that sometimes we don't always know what we're talking about or what we're doing, even if it's something we've been doing for years, is the first step toward self-improvement. Practicing what we've just learned, and practicing often enough that the 'new' technique overrides and replaces our bad habits, is the second step. Beretta already make damn fine firearms. That's not to say they can't be improved upon, but before we try to fix something what ain't broke, we need to fix that which is. Us.
Again, thank you everyone for all the advice. I'm becoming a shooter more worthy of my Beretta, and now I have some excellent advice/suggestions for the future to make sure my Beretta can still outperform me, because there's always room for self-improvement :)
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