1911 questions.


April 20, 2006, 12:39 AM
New guy here. I'm considering buying a 1911. At first I was leaning towards a Springfield Loaded or a Kimber Custom II full-sized, but to be honest I think the 1911 with a 4" barrel is better looking. At this point I am looking seriously at the Springfield GI Champion. I have a few questions though. Does this gun have a steel or aluminum frame? Also, I am planning on growing with this gun. I know I'll want to tinker with it and improve it later. How hard is it to modify the Champion compared to a full size 1911?

Thanks for the help all.

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April 20, 2006, 01:00 AM
1st off, welcome to the board! ;)
The 1911 is a great platform to start from, lots of parts, very verstile and a proven track record of performance. I believe the Champion is a steel frame & slide. You made a great choice, good luck & enjoy! :cool:

April 20, 2006, 01:55 AM
Some folks will argue with me on this, but IMHO the 1911 is at its best as a 5" gun. I've owned a few 4" and 4.25" pistols that were fairly reliable, but none that ever gave superlative reliability like some 5" guns have. The shorter you go with a 1911, the shorter the slide travel, barrel unlocking, etc that can affect how sensitive the pistol is to ammo, mags, and handling. In other words, if this is to be your first 1911 I'd suggest staying with a 5" at first and playing with it from there.

April 20, 2006, 02:12 AM
>Some folks will argue with me on this, but IMHO the 1911 is at its best as a 5" gun. <

I'll second that.

April 20, 2006, 10:16 AM
No bias eh Tuner?

Red Tornado
April 20, 2006, 01:08 PM
I'm going to be looking for a 1911 at a gunshow in a few weeks, and to me, 1911Tuner's second also counts as a third, fourth, and fifth. So I'll just be looking at the 5" models. I love THR! Nothing like the little tidbits of knowledge that pop up. :)

April 20, 2006, 02:12 PM
Kirk...not a bit.:D


Colt Commander model pistols(4.25 inch) seem to do very well in regards to reliability, though a small percentage have been a little persnickety. 5-inch doesn't guarantee it, but that's what will give you the best odds.

Old Dog
April 20, 2006, 04:27 PM
Gee, in my experience the Colt Commanders have been extremely reliable ... 'course, I've only been buying 'em for the past thirty years.

I can give a positive report on the Springfield Armory Champion. Mine's been perfect -- even though, yep, it seems to lack that critical .25 inches (or 1.00 inches if you're a believer in only five-inchers).

Believe SA also produces a Lightweight Champion from time to time. I'd have to check, but it might be currently listed on SA's website ...

April 22, 2006, 04:01 AM
OK. After reading your comments I am starting to look at the Springfield Loaded and the Kimber Custom. I am also looking at the Springfield GI and Mil-Spec models. The lower end Springfields appeal to me because I think that they are good starter guns, and guns that I can learn on and grow with.

That said, can anyone tell me what would be a good price to pay for the above models? I don't know how fastidiously gun shop owners stick to MSRP. Also, what is the etiquette for negotiating the price of a gun? Any tips for getting a seller to lower his asking price?

April 22, 2006, 06:53 PM
I went to a gun show today and also stopped by a local shop. I was able to handle a Springfield Mil-Spec, but unfortunately no one had a Springer Loaded. I was also able to handle a Kimber TLE and Eclipse. Those are two very nice guns. I'm not quite ready to drop $1000 on a gun at this time though. I'd rather start with a more basic gun, get some range time, and decide what I really want in a 1911.

I was able to ask the gun shop manager several questions. He explained to me Novak sights, beaver tail grip safety, beveled mag well, MIM parts and several other things that I was unsure about. I also asked him to quote me a price on the Springer Loaded since he didn't have one in stock. He said he'd go check, but it's likely in the neighborhood of $675 for the parkerized. Is that a good price for this gun?

I have another question for you guys? What mags do you recommend? I know magazines are an important component, so I want to know what magazines to ask for next time I go in.

One more thing, what is so bad about MIM parts? Why are forged parts better?

April 22, 2006, 07:13 PM
$675 for a NIB parked Springfield Loaded is fair. It's a good gun too.
Springfield GI45s seem to be selling for $450 or so in park in my area.
Springfield Mil-Specs go for $500-550 in park here.
The extra money will not buy you a more accurate, or more reliable gun, but it will get you a beavertail grip safety, ambi thumb safety, nicer grips, forward slide serrations and a slide dovetailed front and rear for Novaks. If you want a swoopdedoo gun from the outset, it is cheaper to buy the Loaded than to make the Mil-Spec into a Loaded. Many people dislike forward slide serrations and therefore want the Mil-Spec to build up. Likewise, others want the vertical serrations and GI ejection port of the GI45.

I prefer Wilson magazines, 47D in particular. I order from Brownells (http://www.brownells.com/aspx/NS/store/ProductDetail.aspx?p=16398&title=1911+AUTO+WILSON-ROGERS+MAGAZINE&s=36850#36850). You can occasionally pick up a few on a deal when someone sells a pistol. Buy the entire package, keep the mags, resell the pistol for what you have in it.

MIM parts have gotten a bad rap. A few parts on some fancy pistols that that were made in a place called Yonkers started to break, destoying a company's image in the eyes of many devotees. MIM has the potential to be very good, IF the manufacturer does not use it to scrimp and make a few extra bucks. Forged tool steel will always be superior. A quick search will prevent another MIM part flame fest.

April 22, 2006, 07:25 PM
In my opinion you would minimize the potential for reliability issues by purchasing a 5" gun. But with that being said I have owned two Colt Combat Commanders 4.25" and had zero problems. I would not buy a gun with aluminum/scandium frame due to maintenance/durabilty issues but I do like the smaller frame sizes for CCW. Do your homework and you wont go wrong. Best of luck and have fun

April 22, 2006, 08:02 PM
It would be a good call to begin with a GI or Mil-Spec model, then build it up. However, if you are reasonably sure you want the features of a Loaded, that is by far the cheaper way to go. I would prob. go with a Mil-Spec over the GI, mainly because the larger flared ejection port would be a good thing to have.

1911s are pretty touchy for magazines. The SA 7 round mags are quite good, and if you plan to stick to 7 round capacity, I would just stock up on the coupon included with the gun. Wilsons tend to be good, but also can be hit or miss. I use Chip McCormick 8 round PowerMags in my gun, and they work fine. Before you drop $100 or more on a bunch of magazines, I would just buy one of several different kinds, see what is most reliable, and then buy a bunch of those.

April 23, 2006, 06:09 AM
My latest 1911 was a GI-45. Great little shooter and my intent was to keep it that way. That intent lasted all of 1 range session and the 1911 project was on. The GI makes a great base gun.


April 23, 2006, 03:53 PM
I'm 99% certain that I'm going to get a Springer Parked Loaded. At first it was even between the Kimber Custom and the Springer, but doing some research has revealed that Springfield has a lifetime warranty on their guns, while Kimber only has a year-long warranty. That pretty much clinched it for me.

I'm still curious as to what is a good price for the parked Loaded. The best price I've seen so far around here is $675. Also, do gun shops usually allow you to break down a gun at the store before you buy it? I want to do this for a couple of reasons. First I don't know how to break down a 1911 and I'd rather have someone show me than muddle through it myself. Second, I'd like to see the internal workings of the gun and see if my inexperienced eye can spot any problems before I buy it.

April 23, 2006, 04:34 PM
I've never bought a gun I couldn't field strip first, used or new.

If you don't know the procedure, ask the owner or gunsmith to field strip it for you. You don't want to bugger up their new gun. Then, if you like it, buy it with the condition he will spend 10 minutes or so teaching you how to do it. Most places will be happy to do so.

April 23, 2006, 07:54 PM
I agree that the 5" is a better gun, and that it's less likely to exhibit cyclic problems, yet my GI Champ has been 100% reliable with both 230gr FMJ and 230gr JHP's (to include Speer Gold Dot, Remington Golden Sabers, and Hornady XTP's), using Metalform 7rd mags, with the flat dimpled follower;) . If you do want the 5" gun, I like the notion of getting the Mil Spec, and having it built up later.

April 23, 2006, 11:17 PM
I bought a gently-used five-inch Springfield Armory parkerized Loaded back in December for $599. The folks at the gunstore told me it was "an $800 gun." That would seem a tad steep to me for a brand-new Loaded...then again, it does have those snappy Novak Lo-Mount night-sights that I've really come to appreciate, so maybe that drives the pricetag north.

This has been a GREAT gun, my fourth 1911 thus far. I've logged nearly 550 trouble-free rounds through it to date; no stoppages, glitches, or hiccups. I run Wilson Combat 47Ds exclusively with it; I've never even tried the two factory mags that came with the gun.

I'll nitpick over the two-piece full-length guiderod. This setup has, as stated above, caused me no trouble function-wise. I'd prefer the simplicity of a standard-length guiderod just for sake of not having to use a tool (Allen wrench) for disassembly / reassembly. I'm considering swapping the FLGR unit out for a standard-length...then again, the old adage "don't fix what ain't broke" comes to mind... :-)

My only "accessorizing" has been to apply some skateboard tape to the frontstrap and to swap out the blue grip screws for stainless ones ha-ha!

Overall...great pistol, highly-recommended! Happy shopping and shooting with whatever you choose!

April 24, 2006, 03:37 AM
The beautiful thing about 1911s is that there are so many options and so many modifications that you can do to them. That's also the problem. As I said earlier I was 99% sure that I was going to get the Springer Parked Loaded. Well that what do you know, I was wrong. I went to the gun show again today--the same one that I went to yesterday--since the admission fee was good for the whole weekend. I went because I wanted to check the difference between the Milspec, Loaded, and the TRP. I wanted to know full well what I was going to buy what I was giving up or gaining. However, I didn't see a Parked Loaded. I did see a Springfield Blackened Stainless PX9154L and it was love at first sight. I'm going to call around tomorrow and see what is the best price I can get for this gun.

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