The “Fly in the Ointment”
Still, this was a nice, tight 1911- and I thought it should have shot a little better. When I got it home I tore it down again, and started looking for anything which might have inhibited accuracy. The first thing I found was a small imperfection in the barrel’s exterior, located right on top about an inch ahead of the front locking lug.
This alone wouldn’t amount to a hill of beans, but after scrubbing the bore I also found a corresponding defect in the barrel’s interior. It appears that whatever force caused the exterior defect, crushed the barrel enough to form a ridge into one land and groove of the rifling.
Folks, this cannot be good for accuracy. I doubt it would ever be a safety issue given the .45 ACP’s low operating pressures- but hey, this was a NEW gun. This should have been caught by Springfield’s QC inspectors.
I notified SFA of the barrel problem on 02/01/05, and shipped it to them on 02/02. I simply asked that they ship me another one-piece stainless barrel, sans the problems, that miked a full 0.580 at the muzzle. Megan Klavon at SFA handled the service matter, and I must say she was a pleasure to work with. When I received the new barrel on 02/16, my first impression was that it was a superb piece of manufacturing. Finish was first-rate and execution was perfect, inside and out. It was also a dead-perfect, drop-in fit; the only thing (aside from the finish) notably different, was that the replacement was a tad longer, and protruded from the bushing slightly. When I asked Megan which model this particular barrel was typically furnished with, her reply was “We use that barrel in our Trophy Matches and TRP’s.”
Nice! But did it shoot?
Yes it did. Even with the 0.005 oversize stock bushing, it was grouping three 230 HydraShoks in an inch and a half. The 200 LSWC load, mentioned above, ran just over two inches for five; not bad for a bulk load put-up in mongrel, range pick-up brass… particularly from a service-grade pistol.
I ran out of Universal Clays, and have been fiddling HS-6 in several calibers, including the .45 ACP. This particular load was 8.1 grains under the Sierra 230 JHC. Range was about 43 yards, rested on the side of a handy tree-
Four of the five are inside 3.5 inches, and the stray was definitely mine. My assessment is that this barrel alone, improved the MilSpec’s mechanical accuracy close to 100%.
This new barrel was really showing promise, so I went ahead and fitted a Maryland Gun Works match bushing per Kuhnhausen's shop manual.
I got a chance to bench the gun at 50 yards, and I believe it is going to be a real shooter. The 3-shot cluster is probably what the gun can do; the flyers were the best that I could do, on this particular day. Still, it went under 3.5 inches, which makes me pretty proud of the reload if nothing else. I don't shoot much better than that on my best day, with match ammo and full-blown centerfire target pistols. The load was 8.1 grains of HS-6 under Sierra's excellent 230 grain JHC.
The Navidrex grips aren't bad for "cheapies" either.