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Old December 26, 2012, 07:20 PM   #51
XtremeRevolution
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I was talking to a friend of mine earlier about the reliability of 1911s. He mentioned that they are generally extremely reliable unless you want to make them extremely accurate, and said that you cannot have both.

He mentioned that the barrel-bushing-frame fit is where the problem is. "The accuracy of a 1911 is controlled by the barrel-bushing-frame fit. The tighter it is, the more accurate it is, but the less it likes to be dirty. If you get one that's the level of all condition reliability of a Glock or XD, it will group like 10" at 25 yards"

"A lot of the newer plastic guns fix the barrel in place with a locking lug at the bottom of the barrel, right in front of the feed ramp, and at the top of the chamber. This way, it can be both dirty and accurate."

I can't help but wonder, how much of an issue is this, and does he have a point there? Does the design inherently force a compromise between either reliability or accuracy?
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Old December 26, 2012, 07:30 PM   #52
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Absolutely untrue. Les Baer and Bill Wilson and Ed Brown have been building tight guns for years now and winning big money and trophies with them. If they weren't 100% reliable you wouldn't be using them at National and World competition matches. Tightness and reliability are two completely different things. I built IPSC/USPSA guns back in the 80s and 90s that were tight and I would shoot 1000 rounds every saturday in practice and they never missed a beat. And yes the were filthy at the end of the day. I still have a couple of them and they still run 100%. As far as plunger tubes and ejectors being a "flaw", the "flaw" is that they were not installed by someone who knew or cared about what they were doing. I have installed lots of plunger tubes and sights and ejectors and none of my customers ever brought one back. Two of my guns have had 20 plus years of heavy use and they're still solid and tight. All of the loose parts I saw on 1911s were brand new out of the box. You can't blame the design for lousy workmanship. Sadly a lot of people's experience with 1911s are ruined because of the mass produced guns on the market that are built to a price point for quantity sales like most things we buy today.

Last edited by drail; December 26, 2012 at 07:44 PM.
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Old December 26, 2012, 08:06 PM   #53
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Well, to a point, you're right about that last bit. You can't blame people for not wanting to shell out $800+ on a 100-year old public domain design when there are other full-size, full-metal guns out there that achieve the same basic purpose for $200-$300 less. I just can't help but constantly wonder...if companies can put hundreds or thousands of hours into R&D for new weapons and sell them for $500-$700, why is it that a "good" 1911 that requires no R&D costs upwards of $1000?
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Old December 26, 2012, 09:00 PM   #54
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I just can't help but constantly wonder...if companies can put hundreds or thousands of hours into R&D for new weapons and sell them for $500-$700, why is it that a "good" 1911 that requires no R&D costs upwards of $1000?
That's because modern guns are designed for modern production methods. Injection molded plastic frames are quick to produce and the materials are much cheaper compared to the blocks of the forged steel that require a number of complex machining processes done to them to turn them into frames and slides.
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Old December 26, 2012, 09:20 PM   #55
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It was posted by a gunsmith who found that a fairly common occurrence.
Aside from that, there are two popular gun forums dedicated to the 1911. Those issues (and others),I have mentioned are just some of the more frequent maladies inherent to the 1911 that they talk about in their respective gun-smithing areas. If you have not heard of those problems, you likely are not lurking in the right forums.
Quote:
I've been shooting 1911's since the late 60's and I never heard of a single case of that happening. I also belong to two popular forums dedicated to the 1911 and cant remember anything like that. Care to post links?
After doing some searches, it seems that I may have been in error about the exact nature of the recoil spring plug failure. However, it seems that it is the bushing that fails, allowing the plug and spring to go down range.
So yes, I would care to post a link:http://www.m1911.org/textfiles/1911acp.htm
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Old December 26, 2012, 09:33 PM   #56
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Here's my personal story as to why the 1911 is my favorite handgun, period.

When I was younger, 12 or so, I got to shoot my grandfathers Glock 17 and 20 (10mm) and couldn't hit squat. Same story with his various revolvers.

At 16 I got to shoot my buddy's father's Colt and Kimber 1911s and somehow, with zero instruction or practice, my pistol shooting did a 180. I could easily hit half liter water bottles at 15-25yds with ease whereas before with the Glocks or revolvers I wouldn't have had a prayer. I don't know why but I simply shoot better with 1911s, I have since become proficient with other types of handguns but I still shoot 1911s the best.
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Old December 26, 2012, 09:40 PM   #57
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Auto426: I wasn't even referring to poly guns. I was referring to other alternatives, like the CZ-75. When in stock, I can get that for under $500 and the SP-01 for under $600 from czcustom.com, and these are full metal guns, not poly. It's just a tad bit confusing as to why 1911s demand such a high price.

My next handgun will be either a RIA 1911 Tactical in 9mm, or a CZ-75. I can get both for about the same price.
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Old December 26, 2012, 09:56 PM   #58
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After doing some searches, it seems that I may have been in error about the exact nature of the recoil spring plug failure. However, it seems that it is the bushing that fails, allowing the plug and spring to go down range.
So yes, I would care to post a link:http://www.m1911.org/textfiles/1911acp.htm
You have to understand the 1911 design. It is certainly more maintenance intensive - so, when you clean the pistol you look everything over and check things as they are put back together. In usage, (and I'm suprised the author of the article you linked missed it) - one of the parts that can fail is the firing pin stop.

If you read Bill Wilson's book on the 1911, he lists the parts that break most often in the order that his experience shows them as failing. If you take the pistol seriously, you put together a small parts kit that includes a fitted extractor - and you don't worry about it - you replace the parts as needed.

As far as the plunger tube, if they're not staked correctly, they can come loose. Plunger tubes that are staked correctly should be good for the life of the pistol. A failed plunger tube is not a fault in the design, but a fault in assembly.

If you understand the 1911, look after it, lube it properly it is as reliable as any other pistol and has the benefit of having the best trigger on any pistol, points naturally, and is easy to control for follow up shots. Every 1911 I have has its own "personality" and each is an old friend that I understand and treat as needed to keep it reliably running every time I use it.

Obviously, 1911's are not for everyone. The 1911 is what it is - and if you can't accept that it needs ongoing personal attention - don't buy one. Get a polymer pistol - it's that simple.
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Old December 26, 2012, 10:11 PM   #59
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It's just a tad bit confusing as to why 1911s demand such a high price.
I don't think the price of a 1911 is high. My HK P30 was exactly the same price as the SIG RCS that I own. There are 1911's that are as low as $500 in cost.

When the 1911 was designed, there were not machine tools as we know them today like the knee mill - never mind CNC machines. The machine tools that were available were relatively simple in function and expensive compared to hand labor, so it was more cost effective to have the gun hand fit as opposed to attempting to setup an assembly system and tools that would automate production.

That's still the problem today with the 1911 - it needs more than assembly of parts. It still requires hand fitting of certain parts, and that costs money. What is interesting is that there is one 1911, the Cabot, that has been setup to be manufactured so that every part is interchangeable between any pistol. The cost for this level of precision manufacturing and quality control? About $5K per pistol. So there is, apparently, no cost saving through precise manufacturing and QC as opposed to hand fitting.
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Old December 26, 2012, 10:27 PM   #60
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I was talking to a friend of mine earlier about the reliability of 1911s. He mentioned that they are generally extremely reliable unless you want to make them extremely accurate, and said that you cannot have both.
To put it kindly - your friend is mistaken. Why don't you take time to read this article in Defensive Review - and then make up your own mind?

The article is about a Bob Marvel 1911 pistol being used under combat conditions. My Bob Marvel pistol came with two 10-shot targets tested at 50 yards from a Ransom Rest. The largest group is just under 1.4 inches.
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Old December 26, 2012, 10:49 PM   #61
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Auto426: I wasn't even referring to poly guns. I was referring to other alternatives, like the CZ-75. When in stock, I can get that for under $500 and the SP-01 for under $600 from czcustom.com, and these are full metal guns, not poly. It's just a tad bit confusing as to why 1911s demand such a high price.

My next handgun will be either a RIA 1911 Tactical in 9mm, or a CZ-75. I can get both for about the same price.
The price of the CZ and the RIA pistols have a lot to do with where they are made. Both are made in countries where labor is extremely cheap, unlike some other guns like Sigs or HK's which are made in countries with labor rates comparable to the U.S.
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Old December 26, 2012, 11:09 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by buckhorn_cortez View Post
To put it kindly - your friend is mistaken. Why don't you take time to read this article in Defensive Review - and then make up your own mind?

The article is about a Bob Marvel 1911 pistol being used under combat conditions. My Bob Marvel pistol came with two 10-shot targets tested at 50 yards from a Ransom Rest. The largest group is just under 1.4 inches.
I'm glad I asked then. I always like to get a second opinion and verify what I hear.





Quote:
Originally Posted by Auto426 View Post
The price of the CZ and the RIA pistols have a lot to do with where they are made. Both are made in countries where labor is extremely cheap, unlike some other guns like Sigs or HK's which are made in countries with labor rates comparable to the U.S.
That makes sense regarding the labor rate. It also explains why some Philippino and Turkish made 1911s are so inexpensive. I wish I could afford a 1911 that would support our economy, but my only options in an American made 1911 are used.

Sent from my SGH-T999 using Tapatalk 2
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Old December 27, 2012, 11:42 AM   #63
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Obviously, 1911's are not for everyone. The 1911 is what it is - and if you can't accept that it needs ongoing personal attention - don't buy one. Get a polymer pistol - it's that simple.
Exactly! The greatest frustrations I had with 1911's were before I had learned enough about them. After trial and error, a lot of study, I have no qualms about buying one and maintaining it. But, pity the poor guy who just wants to shoot it without knowing anything about it or does not have the knowledge and mechanical skills to remedy the various problems that can occur with that design. Such guys would be much better off with a revolver. But, then there will be the those who's experience has been lucky in that they have one of those 1911's that they will claim that they have shot for "thousands" of rounds and it has always functioned flawlessly. If those guys had the experiences with the Factory new, Colt 1911's I have had, they would have sworn off 1911's.
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Old December 27, 2012, 12:00 PM   #64
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If I was just starting out today in 2012, the S&W M&P and Glock would be my top choices. Most likely in 9mm.

Back when I switched from a 4" S&W Model 66, to a 1911, it was though to be the best thing around. As well, the then available 9mm hollow point ammo wasn't very good either. So a 1911 with hardball, or SWC was about as mean as you could get. Or at least that was the belief, given the knowledge at the time. In reality a High Power, the then very new and untried Glock, etc in 9mm were probably just as good.

Maintenance and malfunction clearance of the 1911 were just seen as facts of life and all the serious users were well versed in both. Times change, technology changes. For all its mystique, actual usefulness and whatever one wishes to add, its had its hey day.
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Old December 27, 2012, 12:05 PM   #65
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... why do I like the 1911??

-trigger
-Navy experience
-my pistol ribbon
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Old December 27, 2012, 02:36 PM   #66
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Nothing feels better in my hand than a well fitted 1911. Rack the slide of one and listen to it glide open and closed. 1911's are made of steel. Plastic has its place, but i dont think it could ever replace metal.
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Old December 27, 2012, 05:00 PM   #67
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Nothing feels better in my hand than a well fitted 1911. Rack the slide of one and listen to it glide open and closed. 1911's are made of steel. Plastic has its place, but i dont think it could ever replace metal.
I agree. For a gun that you want to last though several generations, I want all steel, as in the 1911. The existence of WWI 1911's are proof positive that they will last for generations because they already have. Plastics however, have not been around long enough to offer any proof that in seventy or so years, the plastic receiver has not crumbled due to contaminates, sunlight, or age. There is no way of accurately predicting what seventy or so years will do to plastics except seventy or so years.
On the negative side, I have seen an advertisement for a plastic receiver 1911.
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Old December 28, 2012, 02:22 AM   #68
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I had this conversation the other day. What we eventually boiled it down to was how a gun makes you feel. Plastic gun work well and have there place to be sure, but a 1911 seems more. Like a its a living thing. Sappy right. Still that's how we felt.
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Old December 28, 2012, 01:06 PM   #69
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the trigger

While my preference for the 1911 is based on many aspects of its design and function, I will focus on the trigger.

I can think of no other handgun which has such a great trigger action (I am excluding thumb-cocked double actions like a S&W revolver as this is about defensive shooting and fast follow-up shots). It can be set to have a "take up" of less than 1/16th of an inch, travel to "let-off" of about 1/8", and "reset" to about 1/8". It can also be made to break like the proverbial glass rod with no creep. This ideal trigger action makes for consistent function and accuracy. This makes quick accurate follow-up shots easier for me than any other pistol which is a requirement for a defensive pistol.

I have done the Dozier Drill (five Pepper Poppers at three yards, start holstered facing away) in under three seconds.

When I shoot a Glock with trigger travel of about 1/2" stuff happens. My joints creak and tendons jump which cause me to have lower consistency and accuracy.
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Old December 28, 2012, 08:51 PM   #70
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After doing some searches, it seems that I may have been in error about the exact nature of the recoil spring plug failure. However, it seems that it is the bushing that fails, allowing the plug and spring to go down range.
So yes, I would care to post a link:http://www.m1911.org/textfiles/1911acp.htm
A one time deal is hardly a common occurence.
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Old December 29, 2012, 10:38 AM   #71
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A one time deal is hardly a common occurence.
You are correct. Perhaps we should focus then, on the larger picture. He states in the article:
"I've seen more jams -- and experienced them myself -- with the 1911 than with all other types of handguns combined."
That is the point we should focus on.
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Old December 29, 2012, 10:57 AM   #72
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...As far as the plunger tube, if they're not staked correctly, they can come loose. Plunger tubes that are staked correctly should be good for the life of the pistol. A failed plunger tube is not a fault in the design, but a fault in assembly...
I disagree. "Staking" is the process of plastic deformation of the soft steel. If the area that is staked is very small as in the plunger tube, I would expect the small amount of metal that is involved to become battered and loose its shape after a high round-count even though the tube would not seem to be put under that much stress during the firing cycle.

It was a common occurrence in the pre-milled cut for the front sight days, for any replacement sight with more mass than the original "quarter moon" to shoot loose if staked in the original hole in the slide. Enter the slides with over-sized tenon hole and double holes. And finally a smart fix, the dove-tail slot for the front sight that does away with staking completely.

Having worked with metal, I am well aware of how soft steel really is. When Ruger incorporated the plunger tube with the frame, they eliminated one of the weak points of the 1911 design. I hated that non-traditional feature at first, until I gave it more thought. One less thing that can go wrong as per Murphy's law.
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Old December 29, 2012, 11:00 AM   #73
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You are correct. Perhaps we should focus then, on the larger picture. He states in the article:

"I've seen more jams -- and experienced them myself -- with the 1911 than with all other types of handguns combined."

That is the point we should focus on.
If you run hardball, lubricate the pistol correctly, ensure the magazines are in good condition, the extractor is tensioned correctly, and verify the ramp / barrel have been setup correctly - the 1911 will run as reliably as any other semi-automatic pistol.

If not - you can have problems.

I have seven 1911's and they all run as reliably as my HK P30, XDm, and FN-X. But, I know what has to be done to the 1911's on a regular basis to ensure they run 100%.

The biggest maintenance problems being - weak magazine springs and dirty extractor.

Now, what else would you like to "focus on"?
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Old December 29, 2012, 11:07 AM   #74
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Having worked with metal, I am well aware of how soft steel really is. When Ruger incorporated the plunger tube with the frame, they eliminated one of the weak points of the 1911 design. I hated that non-traditional feature at first, until I gave it more thought. One less thing that can go wrong as per Murphy's law.
Whatever you need to be "right."

I've talked with a number of custom pistol smiths about this issue. Their opinion has been that if the plunger tube is installed correctly - it will not come loose, and one of them has a 1911 with 100,000 rounds through it with the original plunger tube. Could be luck, could be his opinion on plunger tubes is correct - your choice.

However, I do agree that the integral plunger tube as part of the frame is an evolution of the design that makes a lot of sense and can eliminate a potential failure point completely.
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Old December 29, 2012, 11:45 AM   #75
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The 1911 is definitely an enthusiast's model; it is not a good choice for the shooter who isn't interested in studying the platform and becoming proficient in maintaining and occasionally tweaking the gun. Those folks are better off with pistols like Glocks and M&Ps.

But for the enthusiast, the 1911 is simply magnificent and a dream to shoot. I've got quite a few 1911's... This custom Colt Series 70 by Virgil Trip happens to be one of my favorites... Started life as a carbon steel blued Series 70. SHoots like a dream... and stone reliable with premium defense ammo. Definitely good to go as a defense pistol... as it has been for, oh... quite some time!


Last edited by DHart; December 29, 2012 at 07:51 PM.
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