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Old March 10, 2013, 05:08 PM   #1
DarthNul
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Rock Island 1911 barrel - lap it, replace it, or send it back again?

I bought a new RIA 1911 tactical late last year. It's my first 1911. I wanted something reasonably priced and fairly solid along with extended ambi thumb safety and the RIA fit the bill. I was expecting good fit but not necessarily good finish and that's what I got.

I was not however, expecting a barrel with a bore that right out of the box, looked like it had been through a war and then some. It looked like the bore had been rusted and treated with rust remover so just the pitting remained. The pitting seemed t be in swirls that were not disrupted by the lands and grooves. As if somebody quickly swabbed the bore with a corrosive liquid, let it work, and then cleaned it up some.

I took it to the range twice and it seemed to shoot fine, but cleaning it meant spending way too much time to get out all the fouling: Multiple overnight soaks of Kroil oil, Hoppe's copper remover, Shooter's Choice lead remover etc, after each outing with less than 100 rounds per outing. This happened with jacketed and plated bullets. I have not shot any cast lead in the gun yet. Four to six hours spent cleaning for every hour of shooting doesn't work for me.

I sent the gun back and RIA replaced the barrel, but the new one doesn't look any better than the first. I've had the gun out once with the new barrel, still shooting only jacketed and plated bullets, and the cleaning time was only slightly shorter. The bore is by far the worst looking bore in my collection even though this is a brand new gun. I have cheap commie surplus guns over 40 years old that have better looking bores.

Is this as good as it gets with RIA barrels or did I just have bad luck (twice) with this gun? I'm not sure where to go from here. I could send it back again but I'm not sure that would do any good. I could put in a better barrel at my expense. I was intending to use this gun for some gunsmithing practice but I wasn't expecting to have to replace the barrel right away.

I could try fire lapping the barrel. It's only $35 for the kit and it's not likely to make it any worse... Or I suppose I could try negotiating with RIA to get an upgraded barrel if all their standard ones are going to have the same problem.

What would you do?
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Old March 10, 2013, 05:37 PM   #2
Yung.gunr
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I would call RIA and give them the chance to make it right before spending all that money on it. It should have a much better barrel than the one you are describing as a brand new gun.
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Old March 10, 2013, 06:35 PM   #3
Ole 5 hole group
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Ya, give RIA a call. If you're looking to firelap with the Tubbs final finish kit, I would think that would polish it up pretty good and should bring your cleaning time down to 20 minutes or less.

Shooters Choice Lead Remover does a good job if you shoot undersized cast bullets and find your barrel leads - really isn't a good carbon cleaner.

For both copper & carbon maybe consider bore tech products - I've used their carbon cleaner, copper cleaner (CU+2) and their combo cleaner called eliminator that does a pretty good job on both carbon and copper.

With CU+2 you can get the copper out quick (maybe 5 to 7 minutes) but if you're a perfectionist and want a perfectly clean barrel from carbon every time - you might have to spend 30 to 40 minutes with the above mentioned products and a good brush, as each time you work the brush you'll get just a tad more carbon out but make sure you clean your brush, so you don't get false readings. With the CU+2 and Eliminator, you'll need an aluminum, stainless steel or other non-brass jag as that bore tech copper cleaner will give you a false-positive as soon as it touches the wet patch - that's how fast it is. bore tech will sell you the jag as well for the CU+2.

Good luck to ya.
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Old March 10, 2013, 07:20 PM   #4
Aguila Blanca
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If you plan to call, be advised that callers over the past couple/few days have received a recorded "This line is not in service" message. Apparently someone near the Rock Island shop on Pahrump, NV, failed to call before they dug, and severed the phone cables feeding the building.
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Old March 11, 2013, 11:27 AM   #5
tipoc
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So you bought the gun new and it had a bad looking barrel. Did you look at the barrel when you first got it home and field stripped it and cleaned it? Did it look bad to you?

You mention that it shot fine.

Did you take it back to the store you got it from and have them look at the barrel?

Anyway you contacted Rock Island and sent them the gun. They replaced the barrel with no questions. But, you say, they sent you a barrel that looked to be in as bad shape.

I'm wondering how it is that twice Rock Island did not look at the barrel that it was installing in the gun? Particularly on a gun that was returned for a bad looking barrel.

I'm also wondering if maybe they did and saw something they considered normal but that you did not think was right. Has anyone other than you looked at the barrel? I mean someone local to you who has verified that what you are looking at is abnormal? Have you looked at the barrels of other Rock Islands at the store?

Quote:
Four to six hours spent cleaning for every hour of shooting doesn't work for me.
I've seen a number of bad barrels and shot a few guns with the same. But I've never had one that required an hour or more of cleaning. After 100 rounds to require an hour or more of cleaning is so far out of the norm that it makes me very curious as to what's wrong with the barrels or what mistake the fella doing the cleaning is making.

I mean no dis-respect by this. Has someone else looked at the bore and said, "Gee willikers! That's the worst bore I've ever seen!" ?

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Old March 11, 2013, 03:28 PM   #6
DarthNul
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Tipoc: No disrespect taken.

I cleaned and inspected the pistol right out of the box, and yes, it looked bad then. While this is my first 1911, I have owned dozens of guns, and even my oldest most beat-up surplus guns have bores in much better shape.

I bought the gun new through GunBroker.com. Returning it to the seller was not an option. If any local shops had been able to get one for me, I would've bought locally. These days it's hard (or impossible) to find specific gun models locally. You have to get them from whoever has them.

The gun did shoot fine, at least until the barrel fouled and accuracy went to pot. The gun never misfed a single round. The action is tight and solid. The finish wasn't great but given the price point, it was acceptable.

The cleaning time may have been longer than it needed to be since this was the first time I ever had to deal with heavy copper fouling (and I'm one of "those guys" who clean their guns after every outing). None of my other guns ever had more than traces of copper in their barrels. I shudder to think what the barrel would've looked like if I had been shooting cast lead bullets.

I can't explain why RIA put in a barrel that was as bad as the first one. Maybe that's all they had on hand at the time?
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Old March 11, 2013, 03:32 PM   #7
DarthNul
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I contacted Armscor about the problem and they want me to send the gun back.

I have to compliment Armscor/RIA on their customer service. I sent an email from their web site form and got a response in about 20 minutes. They were very helpful the first time around on this too.
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Old March 11, 2013, 06:07 PM   #8
erob3
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Send it back again; if Armscor is willing to look at it again I would definitley take something for free over spending money for a problem that was not caused by me. What's the worst you are out, just a little more time. I have a RIA 9mm 1911 Tactical and it is has been flawless. I have heard nothing but good about Armscor Customer service, I can't imagine they will not take care of this problem.
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Old March 11, 2013, 07:58 PM   #9
tipoc
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I encourage you to drop by here...

http://forums.1911forum.com/forumdisplay.php?f=64

See if anyone else has had this problem with the Armscorp barrels.

I have not heard of two new barrels from them being so bad that both fouled so poorly after only 100 or so rounds that accuracy dropped off. Distinctly unusual.

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Old March 11, 2013, 09:21 PM   #10
DarthNul
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Tipoc: Thanks for the link.

It seems I am not the only one to to experience this issue, but my case may be more extreme than most. Apparently this was an issue with a bunch of these guns around the time I bought mine. I've seen it explained as the Parkerizing "leaking" into the bore, and/or the Parkerizing not getting completely removed from the bore. Maybe it's a side effect of their attempts to remove the Parkerizing.

The fact that I sent the gun back so quickly may have guaranteed that the new barrel wasn't any better. I was wondering what the crud (that wouldn't come out) along the edges of the lands was.

Don't know why anybody would want to Parkerize the inside of a barrel. I guess I'll have to look up "Parkerizing" on wikipedia now.

If they're still having this problem, maybe I should just have them upgrade it a stainless steel barrel...
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Old March 12, 2013, 01:05 PM   #11
Slopemeno
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I'd only replace the barrel if it affected accuracy or functioning. Otherwise- shoot it.
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