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Old November 27, 2002, 04:04 PM   #1
Master Blaster
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New Pistol Springfield Armory Mil-spec Review.

Well the bug bit me again and I added a fourth full size 1911 to my collection. This time it was a Springfield Mil-Spec. Its one of the new ones that have a serial number begining with N, and do not say made in Brazil on the frame. It says Springfield, Geneseo Ill USA on it, instead of Imbel Brazil.

I am very impressed, the gun is very well put together, the slide to frame, and barrel to slide, and barrel to bushing fit are perfect. as tight as my Kimber Custom Classic Target, no play at all.

The frame and slide have been beveled on every edge (unlike the V-10 Ultra compact 1998 production that I owned for a year and sold.) even on the inside, In fact it looks like the carry bevel that custom smiths put on their guns Its even been beveled on the inside!!!!!. The Machining is excellent, very neatly done. The chamber feedramp and the bolt face of the slide have been polished. The extractor is properly tensioned.

The barrel looks very nice rifling is crisp and precise, and it has a mirror finish on the inside!!

All parts appear to be good old machined and forged steel, even the slide stop and the bushing, no MIM that I can see.

It has a standard grip safety, short steel trigger, and a rounded serated mainspring housing, my favorite configuration, (mainspring housing is steel not plastic, unlike my Kimber and my 1999 production Colt Gold cup). It has good steel sites that are of the thre edot variety, and bigger than the old GI sights. I think in the 1950s these would have been called national match sights.
It has the ILS, and also the loaded chamber indicator cut in the chamber Hood.

The ejection port is lowered and flared, the frame at the mag well is beveled.

Last night I dissassembled and cleaned it lubed it, and today at lunch I took it to the range. It fed and fired everything without a hiccup. Ammo used was

100 rounds of my 4.0 grain tightgroup with Penn 200 LSWC bullet hand loads.

20 speer gold dot 230 grain JHPs.

20 federal Hydrashok 230 jhps

20 speer lawman hardball factory rounds.

It fed extracted ejected and chambered every round without a hitch.

I was able to shoot it as well as any of my other .45s free hand at 50 ft and 25 yards. It is probably capable of under 2" groups at 25 yards and maybe even better!!!!. The sights were right on for a 6 O'clock hold at 50 feet and 25 yards.

The fit of the parts is better than on my 1999 production Colt Gold Cup!!!!!!!

I would highly recommend this gun to anyone looking for an excellent basic .45. I am very impressed with this gun all for the sum of $450 out the door!!!!!

Last edited by Master Blaster; November 28, 2002 at 10:17 AM.
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Old November 28, 2002, 12:54 AM   #2
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I have had the same good experience with my Mil-Spec. It is a fine gun for a decent price. Only addition I made was a 20lb. mainspring and new mainspring cap to replace the "intigrated locking system" cap in the SA mainspring housing. Reduced trigger pull significantly. Also added some classy wood grips to replace the black plastic. Looks and shoots great.

IMHO, this is the way a 1911 should look. Military and manly.

Good luck, and good shooting.
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Old November 28, 2002, 01:45 AM   #3
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Thanks, MB!
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Old November 28, 2002, 10:46 PM   #4
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I've had a SA Mil-Spec for a little over a month, with about 500 rounds through it without a hitch. I'm shooting mostly 230 gr lead reloads. This might be the very best value in a handgun right now.

It has started a whole new addiction, as though Glocks, US military surplus rifles, and .22 addictions weren't enough already.

I put some Pachmayr American Legend grips on it for looks and for sticky-ness.

It shoots a little low, a characteristic of SA handguns. I've gotten used to it. First of the year I might invest in night sights, or some Heinies.
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Old November 28, 2002, 11:01 PM   #5
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How can you tell that those parts aren't MIM?
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Old November 29, 2002, 11:04 AM   #6
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The mim parts on my 3 year old Kimber have a round mold release mark, and do not show the faint machining marks (swirls) that would be made by a rotary cutter during machining of the parts.

The Springfield parts all have machining swirls and do not show the mold release marks.
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Old November 29, 2002, 01:18 PM   #7
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They are a great 1911 for the money. I personalized mine a bit by adding:

Chip McCormick flat mainspring housing
Chip McCormick trigger
King's beavertail grip safety
Wilson hammer
Walnut grips pannels

Got about 500 rounds through mine. Reliable and it's plenty accurate.
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Old November 29, 2002, 11:31 PM   #8
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$450 out the door? Man, that's a great price!
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Old November 30, 2002, 12:17 AM   #9
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Only addition I made was a 20lb. mainspring and new mainspring cap to replace the "intigrated locking system" cap in the SA mainspring housing. Reduced trigger pull significantly.
I know a number of people say they are doing this, on the various forums. I wonder if anyone has had any adverse effects from doing this, given the idea that this kind of adjustment might be expected to affect:

1. Slide timing to some degree due to a corresponding reduction in force needed to have the slide cock the modified mainspring during the cycle.

2. Ignition of harder primers due to reduced hammer strike force.

Anyone made this change and then reexamined the pistol after, say, 1000 rounds ?

Also, I have yet to see where anyone can quantify the exact reduction obtained- all the references I have seen are opinion only, no numbers. While I don't doubt it affects the pull, it would be nice to know approximately by how much.

If this doesn't cause any trouble it sounds like a great way to get a lighter trigger.
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Old November 30, 2002, 04:48 AM   #10
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Mine is tight also, but the only complaint I have is the trigger pull. It's too heavy. I'm trying to learn how to lighten it to 4#.
I like guns.
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Old November 30, 2002, 08:34 AM   #11
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The trigger pull could use some work on mine, its about 5lbs and with a little creep,gritty too.

Changing the mainspring cap to eliminate the ILS is actually addressed in the manual, so its fairly common I think. They also include a takedown pin to hold the mainspring while you change the cap, my mainspring housing has a hole for the pin, as well as the hole for the ILS.

The manual gives step by step instructions with tips such as using a rubber band to hold the grip safety in, so no further disassembly is needed!!!

One thing I noticed that makes me question the wisdom of using a lighter mainspring, is that my gun has a titanium firing pin, it makes a noticably lighter impression on the fired primers than a steel firing pin. Could a lighter mainspring cause ignition problems? Should the firing pin return spring also be changed if you do this??

My thought is that if I fire a couple thousand rounds the trigger will clean itself up!!
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Old November 30, 2002, 11:03 AM   #12
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I've been thinking about getting a mil spec, but my only "concern" is that if you end up putting on some night sights and upgrading a few parts, would you have been better off buying a loaded model or something equivalent for maybe $200 more?
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Old November 30, 2002, 08:59 PM   #13
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Why can't the 1911 or 1911A! be left alone,just as Browning made it?He made it loose to function in any and all worst conditions,to kill or wound at close range,it is after all a military pistol,not a precision shooting tool.After 91 years it will still do what JMB made it for.
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Old November 30, 2002, 10:23 PM   #14
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Archer - when I put in the 20lb. mainspring I also added a heavier recoil spring which should roughly keep the timing about even, I think. Lots of competition shooters use 18lb or even 17lb mainsprings, and I have never heard of this modification having adverse effects in the long run....but I may be wrong too!

For you more seasoned 1911 guys, how exactly will a change in the lock time of the pistol effect functioning?

As for the titanium firing pin with a 20lb mainspring, I have not yet had any light strikes, but if I do I may switch to a steel firing pin or bump up the poundage of my mainspring a bit, but so far no problems.
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Old December 1, 2002, 02:35 AM   #15
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I'm with Hiram on this one. Does anyone have any specs as far as the tolerances of Brownings original design or early 1911's.

I'm looking to get a mil spec, but if Springfield (or any other company for that matter) has done me a favor and tightened things up in the almighty name of accuracy that pretty well kills the concept of "military specifications" one of which is "combat accuracy". It would be interesting to see a detailed break down of the new Springfield compared with a undoctored 1911.
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Old December 1, 2002, 10:19 AM   #16
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On lighter mainsprings, I put a 19lb. in my kimber custom about 4 years ago and I haven't got any light primer strikes. It definately helps the trigger. The reason I changed it is because I have a 1911 book by Bill Wilson where he states he uses 19lb. springs in his guns. He said the 24lb. stock springs are heavier than they need to be. I also use a stock 16lb. wolf recoil spring, the gun runs like a top. Mark
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Old December 1, 2002, 11:20 AM   #17
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STAGE 2,I looked for specs but not find them.Try this site for more information than you may never need or ever remember.
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Old December 1, 2002, 12:24 PM   #18
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Here's the thread on the 1911 that details removing the ILS and replacing with standard 1911 parts. A Brownell's shopping list is also there ('bout $15).

I did this on my TRP. Using my highly scientific trigger (finger) pull scale, the trigger went from "ugh" to "sweet".

I load using hard (WLP) primers and have never had an ignition problem. CCI primers are a bit harder, but the firing pin indents on the WW primers are nice and deep: I doubt you'd have problems with CCI.

I have about 1500 rounds through the gun since doing this and all seems well.
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Old December 1, 2002, 11:38 PM   #19
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It has been my experience that the hammer spring on a 1911 can be lightened a lot and the gun will still be reliable.

I have shot 1911s where the hammer spring felt like the weight was less than half of a stock spring and they ran fine.
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Old December 2, 2002, 08:58 AM   #20
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Things that have been changed on the Springfield Mil-Spec for a plain original gvt model as far as I know:

Ejection port lowered and flared for more reliable ejection.

Magwell beveled easier mag insertion.

Better sights so you can aim the pistol if your want.

Standard hammer (no wide checkered spur pad)

The ILS system, maybe good or bad for some people makes no difference to me.

Throated and polished to feed hollow points reliably.

Better slide to frame fit maybe ( I never saw a new military 1911)

A Solid pin inside a roll pin for the ejector.

Much better Metalurgy, and hardeneing of parts.

Those are the changes.

I think the milspec is quite a good deal, I'm now up to 300 rounds without a single misfeed, or extraction failure
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Old December 2, 2002, 10:23 AM   #21
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Master Blaster, if you had 58 year old eyes could you see the factory sights? Regards, Richard
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Old December 3, 2002, 03:43 AM   #22
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I have had a SA 1911-A1 mil spec for a few months now. As a glockophile I had to see what all the 1911 fuss was about. At $450.00 I feel I certainly got my money's worth, altho there were some problems. I begin to understand and appreciate the 1911.

The gun is marked Gensco IL and has stainless steel barrel bushing; serial nr NM17.... The display model at the gunshop, which the clerk said was bought in the same batch, was marked Brazil and had black barrel bushing.

The barrel bushing would not come out without several minutes of work. It was out of round compared to the slide, and was hanging up on the front sight post. I polished the bushing outside and the slide post with crocus cloth to get a better fit without adding any play when assembled.

The gun shot 6 inches low at 15 yards. I cautiously filed down the front sight. Group size is as good as I could ask for.

Recently I noticed a large chunk cracked out of one of the cheap plastic grips. I installed Pachmayr wood/rubber wrap. Pachmyrs holes did not exactly match Springfield's studs at the lower mount point, but close enough for my purposes. The pistol had always felt insecure in the hand before, but those rubber finger grooves lock that sucker in fer sure now.

At the same time I installed an Ed Brown recoil buffer pad.

I have run 230gr PMC and S&B ball with no problems. Several of my reloads failed to come into battery, which I attribute to setting the crimp die too low.

The black finish is none too thick, showing alot of wear after just a few months. For $450.00 I can live with that.

If the metal parts hold up structurally, I will continue to be content.
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