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I have a new Kimber Custom Target II that I have had to the range twice. I have put 600 rounds through it now. All loads both factory and handloads consisted of 230 grain bullets. My 11 year old son is having a ball shooting it and he doesn't complain about the recoil but he is developing a flinch. I want to try loading some 185 grain bullets at lower power levels so he can enjoy the pistol more and learn to shoot it more accurately. The pistol has the factory 16# recoil spring and I want to know what weight spring to use for reduced loads.
 

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Its somewhat a trial and error type of deal. Load your reduced load based on reliable reload data and see how your pistol cycles wiht it using the factory recoil spring. If you develop FTF or FTE problems, try using lighter poundage recoil springs. I would recommend installing a buffer when dropping the spring weight just in case you go too low and the slide wants to batter the gripframe. Another thing that can hamper the slides rearward travel is the hammer spring, but going too much lighter with it can end up developing light primer strikes. You can play around with it though, and find your ideal setup for the load you decide to use.
 

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You might buy a decent 22 or 9mm for your son to shoot that develops recoil more appropriate to his size and age.
 

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Brushedchrome has some good advice.
You could get a 13.5 pound recoil spring, and load to lower levels. Make sure you don't leave the lighter spring in the gun when shooting full power loads, though. The recoil buffer is good advice, and they are certainly cheap enough.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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You need to get a .22 upper. Period.

They are around $300 or so and you'll get the cost of the unit back quickly enough. Take it from someone who also tried to start shooting a 1911 at about that age, it is not an appropriate way to introduce someone to the sport.
 

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I like Mike's idea a lot.

Some kids that age are big enough and strong enough to handle the 45 ACP. If your son is, you could try loading some snap caps in random spots in the magazine. It's an old trick, but it's the best for showing the trigger man what he is doing to the gun. I even have to do that to myself sometimes and I've been shooting for sixty years.

The big issue is to have full concentration on the sight picture so that it is picture perfect when the gun goes off. Your son isn't thinking about getting the bullet to the X, he is concentrating on responding to the gun.

But a .22 is always a good investment.

Grizz
 

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ATI Imports a very nice .22LR copy of the 1911. Feels just like a Gov't model in the hand. They run about $300. You need a .22 for practice and this is a great way to go.
 

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Well, flinch can be corrected, but not by reducing the load. At some point he would want to graduate back to full loads and fighting the flinch will begin all over again. I suggest working with him to eliminate flinch and, sometimes, that can be accomplished simply by slowing down his shooting. Youngsters always seem to want to fire the pistol too quickly. Have him count an arbitrary number of seconds between shots... one thousand one - one thousand two, etc. Remember, flinch results because the shooter is focused and concentrating on the gun shot... not the sighting, stance or results aspects. Change his focus... ;)
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Yes but it's an easier battle if good habits and good trigger control have been learned already. Again, I speak from experience, a .45 ACP with anything at all is a poor choice for a child of that age.

Been there, done that. Once you learn the flinch it's a heck of a lot harder to cure. Start over at the beginning. Build the good habits, the muscle memory, the concentration. It'll be a lot easier, faster, and cheaper to go back to the .45 when the foundation has been laid. The shooting sports are not any different than any other athletic endeavor. Basics, basics, basics, and work your way up.

If you can find a good .22 auto for less money than an upper, well, get one instead.

To put it another way, if your goal is to create a problem that is more difficult and expensive to solve, then go back to the 45 immediately. Hey some people do seem to enjoy the challenge of doing it the hard way.... ?
 
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