Chuck it all?


April 22, 2003, 07:04 PM
I'm thinking about selling my customized Colt Combat Commander and S&W Model 19 snubnose (about $2,100 between the two of them) and settling down with a full-sized 1911 from Les Baer. I want tool steel parts and ABSOLUTE RELIABILITY. I like the S&W but 6 shots, slow reloads, and Magnum blast don't thrill me. And I'm begining to lose faith in the Series 70, unfortunately.

Thoughts, opinions? BTW, I'm sticking with a S&W 642 for pocket carry.

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Gerald McDonald
April 22, 2003, 07:12 PM
Why would you lose faith in a series 70, for the bucks you will lose in a sell you should be able to take care of any probs.

April 22, 2003, 07:24 PM
That's a sensible thought, Gerald. :)

April 22, 2003, 07:33 PM
I want tool steel parts and ABSOLUTE RELIABILITY

So buy a SIG220ST and a truckload of ammo and your wife something nice....but I digress.:D

Sorry I couldn't resist. Those Baers are mighty nice.


Gerald McDonald
April 22, 2003, 07:38 PM
The only reason I posted that is that I have a Wickmann Hi Power that I love but were I to sell it, no way could I recoupe the amount of money I have in it. If its causing problems find an up and coming smith like berryhill custom guns and let them have it for a few months. Should be an easy fix.

April 22, 2003, 08:04 PM
Get a Valtro instead of the Baer... or at least give it a serious look:

Official website:

My Valtro Photos gallery:


April 22, 2003, 08:07 PM
I'm at loggerheads here, as so many often are. I like the .45 ACP cartridge and the single action 1911 platform. My Model 19 has been utterly reliable and accurate, as was a 9mm BHP I used to have. But those cartridges don't give me the warm fuzzies. My Colt has been customized by a very good local gunsmith. It has run well until lately -- FTFs mostly. This with four or five different types of magazines, including Wilsons. So my thought is to go high dollar. But I could just as easlily go for a Springfield Armory Mil Spec, assuming 100 % reliability.

George Hill
April 22, 2003, 08:42 PM
Ruger GP-100 .357 Magnum is probably the ultimate in utter reliability no matter what.

El Tejon
April 22, 2003, 08:46 PM
ACP, I have been extremely please with my Les Baers. They have held up well dirty and semi-arid in a few high round volume gun skuls.

I'm so happy that during my reorganization last year (refocus), the Baers are now my only 1911s. Have been very happy with Baer mags as well.

April 22, 2003, 09:23 PM
I sympathize with your situation.

I had a Colt defender that I really wanted to like - I got it to where it was doing pretty good, but it was too late - I could never trust it.

Since I picked up my Valtro, I have had exactly 1 malfunction which was this Saturday - it was my fault because the round was under charged and produced a very light pop and a FTE.

Other than that - I think I am 2000 rounds and this gun feeds absolutely everything I throw at it - and it does not need expensive Wilson mags to do it - it feeds truncated cone and SWC from cheapo Mec-Gar magazines.

It has made me a way way better shooter, it is super accurate and the trigger is damn near perfect.

The Baers are top notch no doubt, but the Valtro is low volume and made with incredible care and pride by Mr. Jardine.

I have not tried this, but someone told me their Valtro will feed empty brass from a magazine - supposedly the mark of a truly fine 1911.

Save money, get something different, be happy.

Oh, other than the Valtro and maybe another Valtro, I am pretty much all about the revolvers now.

April 22, 2003, 09:36 PM
It has run well until lately -- FTFs mostly. This with four or five different types of magazines, including Wilsons.

For what it's worth, I'd suggest a brand new Wolff 20# recoil spring and a brand new MetalForm 7 round magazine with a rounded follower.

You don't live anywhere around Indianapolis by any chance, do you?

Zak Smith
April 22, 2003, 09:44 PM
You like your Colt, but it's been unreliable lately?

I can relate- I absolutely hate it when a gun I otherwise like starts being unreliable. It just sort of ruins it for me.

On the other hand, when I know how a gun works well enough that I know it can be reliable, and I know what's going wrong, then I am confident it's "fixed" when it's fixed.

You have a gun that you know can be reliable, based on a design that's been around for like 90 years. It probably just has a minor problem that can be fixed by yourself, or a gunsmith who knows a 1911 inside and out.

What's to ensure that the Baer you get won't start acting tempermental?

For example, I have a BHP which is my primary carry gun (CCW). It has run 100% - yes 100% - since I got it, but started to FTE the other week. I was dismayed because my trust was shaken. But it turns out there was some crud under the extractor preventing proper operation. A quick cleaning later, and it was back to operating flawlessly.


Gerald McDonald
April 22, 2003, 09:50 PM
I dont get the warm fuzzys from any round thats not 38/40 or 45 Colt. Only auto that gives me the fuzzys is a 1911, BHP comes close. Revolvers lean towards Smith 27 or Colt Python or any revolver before about 1950. I would still go with a rebuild by a top quality smith, doesnt have to be well known, just good.

I think the Colt Commander is nothing to sneer at when talking about a custom platform. I have had different smiths tell me to stick with nothing shorter than a commander while some will say a full size is the most reliable way to go, me I have a near bone stock Kimber Classic that (Brown slide release) has about 2500 rounds thru it with only problems relating to my thumb pushing up the slide release and locking the slide back, hence the Brown slide release with indent. But I have been thinking of a light weight commander as of recent.

April 22, 2003, 10:46 PM
I was saving for a Valtro, then the SW 1911 came along.

Hmm, I wanted a stainless anyway. Check.

I also didn't want ambi-safety, which would have added $90 to the Valtro. Check.

Absolutely 100% long-term warranty assurance with fast turn-around. I know, I have 3 SW revolvers that essentially get free service every 2 years or so. If I see the gap opening up or too much end-shake, I call SW, they send my a FEDEX pick-up tag, and they make my gun better than new for FREE. So, customer service. Check.

SW Price ($680-740 market price) is about HALF that of the Valtro. Check, Check.

- - -

Guess which one I bought?:D

April 22, 2003, 11:05 PM
The Springfield Mil-Spec aint no Les Baer, but for the time I had one I didn't have a single problem. Every round fired, every round ejected. Then I had to send it to my ex-girlfriend for her police-reserve duty :(

But now I have a Rock River Arms National Match. Haven't shot it yet, but I hear from people that own them that they absolutely love their Rock Rivers.

April 23, 2003, 07:03 AM
When a reliable 1911 "starts" to be unreliable and you haven't changed anything, the solution is probably very simple: extractor tension, recoil spring, magazine springs, magazine follower. More people than you can imagine have dumped and lost money on otherwise great guns just because they didn't know any better. :rolleyes: Your loss will be someone else's gain. Let's see, what's your phone number anyway? ;)

April 23, 2003, 08:38 AM
Just go get your Commander fixed. Do the rounds nose dive? Time for a new recoil spring. Is it possible that there is some baked on crude on the breechface?
If the gun has been reliable for a long time and suddenly develops malfunctions, the fix is almost always a basic maintanence fix. Get the the local smith and have it fixed.
A high dollar 1911 will develop the same problems after years of use too.

Plus I dont care for Les Baer Guns. I have handled and shot them. Their arent any better than a Kimber, Colt or Springfield in my mind. If you want a new 1911 buy a Colt and replace the non tool sear parts.

Master Blaster
April 23, 2003, 10:12 AM
Aren't sig 220 sst's cast?

April 23, 2003, 02:04 PM
Thanks for the input.

I'm using new Wilson mags, the type with the parkerized, flat baseplate. I believe the followers are rounded.

I had cleaned the Colt a week before this range session: firing pin channel, extractor and channel, chamber brush from Wilson's, barrel, breech face, feed ramp, lubed the rails, etc.

I was shooting some 230-gr. FMJ reloads, thought the trouble was with them, then ran about 10 rounds of Fed. 230-Gr. Hydrashok and 230-gr. Golden Saber (mixed) through it and got two FTFs.

The Colt is, I believe, from 1974. Maybe it's time for a new extractor. The Wolff springs in it can't be more than 2 years old.

Based on your input my plan is to:
a) run 50 rounds of Winchester white box through it. No failures, I'll run another 50, and another 50, and another 50, until I'm satisfied it was the relaods.
b) any problems will result in a trip to the 'smith who built it, with the suggestion of a new extractor, ejector check, and Wolff springs.

Meanwhile I've got the Model 19 on my hip. Just can't get this aching feeling out of my head: RELIABILITY, RELIABILTY, RELIABILITY.

BTW I agree on the Ruger GP 100 and the BHP -- I had a Ruger set up for pin shooting. What a great gun. And my BHP never failed to chamber or fire a round.

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