The Vault

Action Match Video: Leader T2 and Ballester Molina

I’m always up for the chance to put unusual guns through practical trials, so I jumped at the chance to try out the 2-Gun Action Challenge Match north of Tucson AZ this past weekend. For my armament, I chose a Leader Dynamics T2 rifle and the Ballester Molina I recently bought as a carry gun.

Both guns performed great – I had no malfunctions at all caused by either of them. The only gun-related problem I had was when I failed to fully seat a rifle magazine in the Leader at the start of stage 3. Well, that and losing one of the FCG e-clips somewhere…although that did not cause any functional problems. The Leader was designed to be simple and inexpensive to manufacture – a practical no-frills rifle. There are a few changes I would make to it – like replacing the carry handle with a bit of Picatinny rail and using a more secure system for retaining the FCG pins – but it gave me no problems and handled quite naturally.

The Ballester-Molina, I am happy to report, ran like a top and justified the confidence I had put in it. It’s everything the 1911 was really intended to be, and not what people have tried to make them into. It’s not a bullseye gun, it rattles a bit when you shake it, and as a result it runs reliably. It doesn’t suffer from either of the problems endemic to today’s 1911s:

  • Mix-and-match parts, all made to slightly different tolerances. Start building a 1911 salad, and you run the risk of stacking tolerances to the point that the gun no longer works all the time, every time.
  • Too much focus on tiny groups. The Browning design uses a moving barrel, and it thus inherently not fantastically accurate. When you try to address this by tightening up the fit of the parts, you make it much more vulnerable to a bit of dirt or powder residue.

The answer? For me, it’s to stick to a stock military gun. Sistema Colts, GI 1911s, Ballester Molinas, Ballester Rigauds, Star Model Bs, etc.

Having shot IPSC/3-gun/practical matches with a bunch of different groups now, I can definitely recommend the 2-Gun ACM for anyone interested in a fun, mentally stimulating, and physically challenging shooting experience. In addition to creative stage design and a focus on practical objectives rather than bullet hosing, the group of shooters who participate are a bunch of fun and friendly folks. Shooters included police and ex-military guys in full armor, a teenager with his father, and at least one couple in their 60s. If you’re in the Phoenix of Tucson are, it’s definitely worth checking out. It’s held at the Pima Pistol Range on the third Saturday of each month. I know I’ll be going back again!

11 comments to Action Match Video: Leader T2 and Ballester Molina

  • Looks like fun! Well done.

  • Gerard

    When I lived in Peoria, AZ I used to drive over to Ben Avery for the USPSA matches. The evening matches were always fun and the facilities are so dang nice. Here in Southern WI the only 3-gun matches (this is the first I ever heard of a 2-gun match) are 2.5 hours away in La Crosse.

  • Earl Liew

    Ian hit the nail right on the head — unless one is very selective and careful with what sort of “improvements” and modifications one chooses to make to a weapon of military origin, one definitely runs the risk of turning an otherwise well-adjusted and reliable firearm into something less than satisfactory, and all for the sake of achieving a singular goal (usually at unnecessary expense as well).

    Modifications should be made with a wholistic approach in mind so as not to lose the overall balance of positive features while still addressing the negative and/or actually improving upon the positive. “Cause and effect” might be a good way to approach the topic.

    Personally, I much prefer retaining the utilitarian but highly-practical features of a weapon versus turning it into a high-end but finicky thoroughbred. Just my preference, of course, since this suits my requirements best.

  • Ian Hutchison

    Ian, what are the rules regarding the firearms you can use? Semi-auto only?

    • Each match organization is different, but at the 2-Gun ACM they are pretty flexible. Virtually everyone uses a semiauto, as this is the only way to be competitive, but there’s no reason you couldn’t use a bolt or lever gun if you felt so inclined. SBRs, suppressors, and machine guns are also fine, as long as they are legally owned. In my squad, there was an FS2000, three VZ-58s, two AKs, my Leader T2, and a half dozen ARs of various configurations. I believe there is a minimum caliber requirement (although there is a pistol-caliber carbine division for people who prefer those) of .223/7.62×39, but larger rounds do not give you any scoring benefit. You can see the official division descriptions here:

      http://twogunaction.squarespace.com/divisions-and-equipment/

      • Ian Hutchison

        Obviously it wouldnt be competitive, but I think tfunng with an SMLE and an Webley MK VI would be fun.

      • Earl Liew

        Thanks for posting the basic rule book , Ian — It makes things a lot clearer. I really do wish people would address their grammar and spelling, though, as in “muzzle brake” versus the oft-misused “muzzle break”, which has to rank right up there with “you’re” vis-a-vis the incorrect “your” one often sees on Internet postings.

  • Turk

    Dear Jah, I got winded WATCHING that!!! But it DOES look like fun!!!

  • Earl Liew

    I’ll bet that Leader T2 got more than it’s fair share of attention at the meet — as did Ian, I’m sure!

  • strongarm

    Great video. Congratulations. By the way, as seeming rather useless, Colt 1911
    Grip Safety was put for cavaliry use at the time which was really useful.

  • AK

    Looks like a blast! Our 3-gun matches around here aren’t nearly as physical! It’s really interesting running an unusual rifle through a course like that- gives you an idea of what works on paper or from a bench rest, and then things like the E-clips that might come off when the rifle is banging around crawling prone! Good stuff as always Ian.

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