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Old February 24, 2014, 12:49 PM   #1
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Purchased First 1911 - RIA Match

Well, I finally took the plunge for a range pistol, and ended up with a 6" Rock Island Armory match 1911 (no rail, in spite of the photo) for $825 out the door. Initial thoughts:

It's a sharp looking gun. It has a Parkerized finish, and carries the small RIA logo on the back of the slide - the bulk of the slide is plain, which I like. There are vertical lines engraved on the front of the grip, and mildly aggressive stippling on the back. Overall I found it comfortable to hold; my friend thought the back stippling was a bit too aggressive, but not enough to stop him from enjoying the pistol The grips are a black synthetic of some flavor, not wood as the picture shows, and have a mild checkering.

The pistol is Very Comfortable to shoot; the weight of the steel frame along with the extra forward weight means felt recoil is minor. It definitely has less than my friend's M&P .40; I'd say it's recoil is on a par or nicer than my wife's 9mm Kimber.

The front sight is fiber optic, and the back sights are fully adjustable LPA sights with white dots on the blade. I've changed the front fiber from red to green, but I don't have my normal pressing desire to replace the rears with Dawson sights - yet anyway. I am at least as accurate with the pistol as my P99 at 7 yards and more accurate at 15. At 25 yards I could keep 11 shots in the 5" target, with three in the bulls eye; the pistol is certainly capable of better performance with a better shooter behind the gun

I tried 5 magazines with the pistol:
  • Original 8 shot mag - no FTF
  • MecGar 11 shot mag - no FTF
  • Wilson Elite Tactical 8 shot mag - no FTF
  • Wilson 47D 8 shot and 10 shot mag - each had one incident where the slide didn't close to feed the round to the chamber (around the 4th shot or so).
I ran Speer Lawman, American Eagle, and MiMC ammo (all 230gr hardball) through the pistol. The only malfunctions were with the 47D's, and I only tried each of those mags one time in this initial trial. I believe the 8 shot mag malf'd with American Eagle, and the 10 shot mag malf'd with MiMC. I'll see how they do in my next shooting session tonight or tomorrow.

The pistol isn't bad to disassemble once I figured out the method; however, the manual does not have instructions for the 6" model, only the 5". The match model has no bushing - instead, the guide rod unscrews in half to allow removal (you can't just lift it out like the manual says - that's the 5"); reassembly means placing the rear half of the guide rod in place against the barrel under spring pressure, then screwing in the front half from the front. I did find myself wishing to have an extra hand and a prehensile tail doing this, but the experience will hopefully improve over time.

The pistol has a break in recommendation of either 250 or 500 rounds (the warranty card with the figure is already sealed in the envelope), and now has about 120 rounds through it. After cleaning and a couple practice field strips the slide moves noticeably smoother and easier. Once finished cleaning the pistol I propped it up on a mag in a vice, thoroughly sprayed the Parkerized finish with Eezox, left it a half hour, then wiped it down. Next cleaning I'll do the same thing, but after warming the pistol up with a heat gun.

Overall, I'm pleased with my purchase. Tonight or tomorrow I'll run another 100 rounds through it, and try to get a couple pictures for posting.
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Old March 1, 2014, 03:58 AM   #2
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Well, I've run some 200+ rounds through it, and am overall rather pleased. A couple notes:
  • Yes, I have an idiot scratch. Yes, I'm new to 1911 pistols. I live and learn - at least I learned on my own gun and not someone else's.
  • The MecGar 11 round and RIA 8 round mag run perfectly with various ammo.
  • The Wilson ETM, the 8 round 47D, and the 10 round 47D have each at least once locked the slide back prematurely after the 3rd or 4th round.
    • In these cases the slide stop is just BARELY engaged - pressing down on it continues normal operation.
    • I've seen various threads on this and it appears to be an easy issue to fix; however, any necessary adjustments to the gun will be performed by a professional, not me, and after asking Armscor's advice.
  • I have a Tripp 8 round Cobra magazine to try out; it should arrive this coming week. I'll see how it behaves.
  • I've got some black and grey VZ Grips coming in next week to put on, along with some screws. The colors should look good with the current Parkerized finish, as well as a possible IonBond or NP3 job.
  • I've sent two emails to Armscor (one from their web site, one from the email listed on their web site) asking about replacement sights, IonBond or NP3 coating, and what I need to do to not void my warranty. It's been a week now with no response. Next week I call their direct number.
  • I've given the pistol's Parkerized finish a second Eezox treatment, this time using a heat gun to warm up the pistol.
  • I have some difficulties reassembling the pistol, in particular replacing the slide stop (hence the idiot mark). I'm finding if I insert a punch from the rear of the slide stop pin then push the punch out with the slide stop, reassembly goes much easier. I'll pick up some inexpensive nylon punches soon.
The pistol definitely puts a big BIG grin on my face when I shoot it; I have a feeling it's going to be shot just as much as my main go to gun, my Walther P99. If that continues to be the case, Dawson Precision fiber optic sights and an IonBond or NP3 treatment are in the pistol's future.

A photo - not the best photo, but a photo for those who like such:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg RIA6inch001.jpg (131.2 KB, 101 views)
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Old March 2, 2014, 05:40 PM   #3
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Interesting inputs, Fargazer. I would find it a little disconcerting that Armscor has not responded to your request for information. It does sound like you got a good buy on a very nice pistol; one especially suited for serious Bullseye competition for the average shooter.
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Old March 2, 2014, 07:16 PM   #4
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Good report and very interesting. It is unusual to read that a Wilson Combat mag doesn't work in a 1911. MecGar mags are excellent, I have a bunch of them in for 1911s 45ACP and 9MM and for my Bersa 380.

As for replacement sights you could call Dawson Precision, they will be helpful in selecting replacement sights.

Quite often a phone call gets quicker responses than an email, and that is not limited to gun makers.
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Old March 4, 2014, 10:23 AM   #5
Don P
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Yes, I have an idiot scratch. Yes, I'm new to 1911 pistols. I live and learn - at least I learned on my own gun and not
Go here for a fix on how to cure the idiot scratch from happening. A little late unfortunately
NRA Life Member, NRA Range Safety Officer, NRA Certified Pistol Instructor,, USPSA NROI Range Officer,
ICORE Range Officer, ICORE Match Director
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Old March 4, 2014, 11:05 AM   #6
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Well, I finally reached Philip Barnes at RIA, who answered almost all of my questions (he has to get back to me on the recoil spring strength).

It appears the magazines that work in the pistol have one common characteristic - the feed lips are wider in the front than the back. I do see a bit of copper on the inside of the slide stop, so my assumption is the mags that occasionally lock the slide allow the hardball rounds to nudge the slide stop. It didn't feel right to me to ask them to do anything about it, since the warranty clearly states it pertains only to the original magazines, so my plan is to order another slide stop (10-8 model) and, only if necessary, tweak that one. This is my first 1911, so I'm being extra cautious.

The pistol is a hoot to shoot, and I love the sight radius and forward weight the longslide gives me. Assuming no further issues, I'll put a surface treatment on it at the end of the year; that should be enough time for me to replace anything else I might want replaced. Which treatment I"m not sure of yet; I have positive experiences with Robar's NP3, and both IonBond and Melonite have good reputations.
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