Cheap 1911 Clones


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obxned
February 9, 2007, 10:44 AM
Are there any of the cheaper (less than $500), usually foreign made, 1911 clones that are any good?

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ugaarguy
February 9, 2007, 10:47 AM
I bought a Springfield Armory GI model for $400 used. You can usually find them new under $500. They're good guns to start into the world of 1911s.

MCgunner
February 9, 2007, 10:48 AM
No





BTDT I'll pass. Some say the Norinco was hot stuff. Some say RIA is hot stuff. That's okay, I'll pass for a modern gun, thanks. I ain't got an Ed Brown budget and I'm not a gunsmith. Even if I HAD a EB budget, I'd rather have a Sig, CZ, or my Ruger, frankly.

ugaarguy
February 9, 2007, 11:12 AM
That's okay, I'll pass for a modern gun, thanks.
What about a 1911 isn't modern? SIG, CZ, and Ruger all use Browning's tilt breech locking delayed blowback operation, and have traditional hammer & firing pin ignition systems. You'd best upgrade to a CZ 52 with its roller delayed blowback system, or a striker fired design like a Glock, XD, etc. :neener:

atblis
February 9, 2007, 11:19 AM
Functionally, just as modern as anything. I think what he was getting at... the 1911 is not a modern design in that it doesn't lend itself to efficient modern manufacturing techniques, and thus a budget model will most likely be a POC. Look around for a Norinco. You should be able to get one for under $400.

ojibweindian
February 9, 2007, 11:22 AM
Springfield G.I. is pretty darn good. I've got one and love it. Do a search on "Springer" and you'll find the results of a torture test conducted by one of our more distinguished members.

It's good reading.

KenRocks
February 9, 2007, 11:24 AM
Have to agree with everyone that said Springfield Armory...I got one of their GI's a year or so ago and it has functioned flawlessly, though I have read posts in this forum attesting to less than stellar performance...

MCgunner
February 9, 2007, 11:41 AM
What about a 1911 isn't modern? SIG, CZ, and Ruger all use Browning's tilt breech locking delayed blowback operation, and have traditional hammer & firing pin ignition systems. You'd best upgrade to a CZ 52 with its roller delayed blowback system, or a striker fired design like a Glock, XD, etc.




I prefer a modern gun's angle from mag to chamber, the integral feed ramp (not two piece like the 1911), DA for carry (SA is fine for games), ease of stripping, full length recoil spring guide rod, no barrel bushing....that sort of thing. Main thing, the 1911 is designed for FMJ and that's what most of 'em like best unless a smith can slick 'em up. Never were able to on my cheap POSs. I really don't like ball ammo. A gun should run right on anything right out of the box. Lots of 1911s don't unless you have deep pockets. Some of 'em might, but it's a crap shoot IMHO.

If you want a project, take the time to make it right, they're okay. Me, I want it to BE right with the initial purchase. Tinkerin's okay if you get off to it. I'd rather shoot. I think you need to deepen your pockets if you want a 1911 that runs right out of the box without just getting lucky and will feed anything and everything, not just ball ammo.

Again, JMHO. Lots of "experts" out there disagree. So be it, I don't have to own a 1911 just because they (and Jeff Cooper) say so. I've BTDT, made my mistake, learned from it, and moved on. I'm quite well armed without a 1911, thanks.

ojibweindian
February 9, 2007, 12:03 PM
MC

That's the beautiful thing about my Springer GI; it did run out of the box without problems, with JHP, LSWC, and ball. I've put close to 1K of everything without a hitch.

The only thing about the GI I don't like are the "U.S." grip panels, and that's purely asthetic. Otherwise, it's all good :D

Walkalong
February 9, 2007, 12:04 PM
One vote for quite well armed with a 1911. :) I know they have a bad rap. It is a shame.

KenRocks
February 9, 2007, 12:08 PM
Oh God, finally someone agrees with me about those grips...

The things are hideous...as soon as I can get the money together, that's gonna be the first thing to change :)

MJZZZ
February 9, 2007, 12:08 PM
I own a Rock Island Armory .45 and paid under $350 to my door. It is a gun I drag through the woods and if I scratch it, I'm not pissed at myself. Yes they are not the quality of other 1911's, but mine has shot 100% reliable since the day I unboxed it. Also their service is exceptional, when the safety started acting up they simply sent me a new gun. The RIA is the only low end gun I own, so I cannot comment on any others. Mike Z

Steve C
February 9, 2007, 12:11 PM
Norinco's are probably the best clone you can get. They generally shoot well as is but the barrel and springs are not the best quality so after some time they'll need to be replaced. The platform is sound and very upgradeable. One of the few base guns that custom gunsmiths feel is worth working with.

browningguy
February 9, 2007, 12:25 PM
The Taurus appears to be a decent gun, Astra's if you can find one were decent for the money, haven't shot a RIA but hear some good reports. Again, they aren't high end guns but decent shooters for the money. You can upgrade triggers and sights as you get the time and money.

ugaarguy
February 9, 2007, 02:25 PM
McGunner, first the comment was meant to be a bit tongue in cheek. I'm not bashing your choices - I've seen the pics of targets you've posted and you shoot very well. You've found what works for you, and that's what's important. The point I was trying to make is that the 1911 is far from antiquated.

I prefer a modern gun's angle from mag to chamber, the integral feed ramp (not two piece like the 1911), Personal preference, that has nothing to do with the 1911s reliability.
DA for carry (SA is fine for games), Again personal preference that doesn't affect reliability.
ease of stripping, My Springer GI is the second easiest gun for me to field strip. Only my Browning Hi-Power is easier for me.
full length recoil spring guide rod,
Again personal preference that has nothing to do with reliability.
no barrel bushing....that sort of thing.
I feel like a broken record, but again that's a personal prefernce thing that has nothing to do with the pistol's reliability. Given my new SiGARMS GSR 1911 has a very tight match type bushing, and I prefer the looser bushing on my SA GI for ease of takedown.
Main thing, the 1911 is designed for FMJ and that's what most of 'em like best unless a smith can slick 'em up. I'd encourage you and anyone else who thinks this to read 1911Tuner's thread "Magazine Observations" over in the gunsmithing sub-forum here on THR. The Magazine has a ton to do with it. Mags are a part of the pistol, not an accesory. My GSR has eaten both ball and JHPs right out of the box with the facory mags. After a few mags to get loosen it up - it was very tight out of the box - it ran fine with the GI mag I have. It doesn't like Wilson 47D mags. The factory mags have feed lips identical to the GI, but with a flat follower where the GI follower is dimpled. The Wilson mags have very different feed lips and a concave follower.
Never were able to on my cheap POSs.
That really stinks because the 1911 is a great design when properly executed.
I really don't like ball ammo. A gun should run right on anything right out of the box. Lots of 1911s don't unless you have deep pockets.
Like I said above look at the mags. My experience yesterday with the new SiG follows what Tuner has written. It ate whatever I fed it right out of the box with the supplied mags and ran even smoother when I put a little more grease on the rails since it has a good tight slide to frame fit. I don't like ball ammo either when there are so many great JHPs available for a defensive arm. I fully agree that a pistol should run right out of the box.

We aren't so far off. We both know what we like, but we just like rather different things for our own reasons.

rellascout
February 9, 2007, 02:50 PM
Norinco's are probably the best clone you can get. They generally shoot well as is but the barrel and springs are not the best quality so after some time they'll need to be replaced. The platform is sound and very upgradeable. One of the few base guns that custom gunsmiths feel is worth working with.

I would agree with that. One of the few Wilson will work on. The frame, slide and extractor are some of the hardest metal available. Ask anyone who has tried to mill one. They are good shooters.

You can still get them under $400. Much better than a Springer or RIA IMHO.

Taurus looks promising in the value loaded market but I have already heard of longevity and quality issues popping up here and there. I think the jury is still out on the Taurus for heavy high round count shooting.

g17
February 9, 2007, 03:02 PM
I've owned several Norinco 1911's in the past and other than aesthetics were reliable pistols. I've built several nice pistols out of them.

jad0110
February 9, 2007, 06:42 PM
Note that I'm no 1911 expert.

I'm in the same boat as you though. One day I may add an affordable 1911 to my collection, primarily because it is the only semi auto so far that I can shoot almost as accurately as my revolvers.

I've been researching 1911s for a while and for less than $500, a Spring GI 45 or milspec is pretty darn good. Not sure about the GI, but the milspec does have the following features that seem to work pretty well for most people for use of HP ammo:

- lowered and flared ejection port
- polished feed ramp and throated barrel

Most posts I have read suggest that either will feed HPs fine, especially if the bullets themselves are a similar shape to 230 grain GI hardball that the gun was originally designed to feed.

As another poster suggested, many feed problems with the 1911 are attributable to bad magazines. I've read a number of posts suggesting that the 1911 works best with 7 rounders, maybe others can confirm that one.

wooderson
February 9, 2007, 06:46 PM
I would save longer and move my amount to $700. At that point you're into the low-end-but-better models - Springfield Mil-Spec, Para-Ordnance PX745, Colt models sometimes fall here. Or you're into good territory for a used gun.

It's worth the money to get a better package up front (and a better platform going forward, should you want to modify it).

biggsie
February 9, 2007, 09:27 PM
I have to chime in and tell you to check out www.m1911.org, in the rock island/armscor/charles daly forum there is nothing but rave reviews on the quality of the pistols and the exceptional service. I myself have a S.A.M. Scout and I coudn't be happier with it. I bought it for $375 and put about $150 in aftermarket parts in it and it performs as good as any $1,000 1911 I've shot. Don't be sceptical about the 1911's made in the Phillipines give them a look.

http://i133.photobucket.com/albums/q69/biggsie24/SAM1911/35.jpg

P.S. I have also heard very good things about the Taurus 1911.

MCgunner
February 9, 2007, 09:37 PM
I had over a dozen mags when I had my 1911s and neither gun would feed hollowpoints with any reliability. My AMT would feed a SWC I seated out to a long enough OAL that it head spaced on the rifling, but still fired okay. I had both guns throated and polished by a good gunsmith, too.

The newer designs have a more straight in mag to chamber path, less, if any, time spent on the feed ramp. That P90 will feed an empty case without a burp! That, and the feed ramp is one piece integral with the barrel which helps a lot, too.

I see 1911s as tinkerer's guns or great high end guns, but I'm not ever playing the cheap 1911 thing again and I can't advise anyone to unless they're just looking for a good, cheap platform to build on. I know there were some well known smiths building high end guns on the Norinco platform, tells me the basic gun just needed the fine touches.

I found out I ain't got the patience to be a 1911 tinkerer and am no gunsmith. I could learn, I reckon, but I don't have the desire and don't wanna buy all the tools and I'm not a machinist, either.

Just me, but I ain't wastin' another dime on a cheap 1911. I've seen a lot of good ones in the hands of good shooters, but something tells me they might not have been cheap or out of the box and I owned junk. LOL! Ah, they worked and the AMT was accurate, so long as you didn't drift too far from hardball. It seemed to like my SWC after I seated it out to the riflings. That bullet has a nice rounded shaped nose to it, probably because it's for .45ACP and the bullet mold designer knew something. :D It's a 200 grain Lee Tumble Lube mold, good bullet for picky 1911s and it shoots well in my P90.

Killian
February 9, 2007, 09:44 PM
I have a Sistema Colt .45 for sale on the forum right now for less than $500. I consider it to be a good gun. It's been around for more than 50 years but it still shoots reliably. It's been around the block and looks it, but it still runs like a champ.

mrcpu
February 10, 2007, 03:42 AM
My Rock worked out so well after a minor tweak I went and bought anudder. Best deal going.

Joe D
February 10, 2007, 08:01 AM
The RIA Tactical at $400 is hard to beat. I have put about a 1000 rounds of 200 gr SWC through mine without a problem. I was suprised at how accurate the gun is. Here is a 5 shot group, from a rest, at 20 yds. That is a 2" Shoot-N-C.
http://www.brianenos.com/forums/index.php?act=Attach&type=post&id=6971

1911 guy
February 10, 2007, 09:36 AM
Yes or No depends on what you expect.

If you want the highest quality internals, best forged frames and slides, crispest sights and expert fitting of all parts, then No, there aren't any.

If, however, you want a reliable pistol that will be somewhat accurate out to 25 yards and be a kindred spirit to those butt-ugly Chevy Chevettes that wouldn't quit running, then Yes, there are. Charles Daly (my backup carry) makes a decent one that has some of the bells and whistles for about 500, RIA makes a good one that is a "as issued" knock-off, they've also added a "tactical" model which seems to include some of the CD options.

For a step up in the less expensive realms, try the STI Spartan and the Springfield G.I. The big advantage with the Springer is a forged frame and slide.

My CD will feed empty cases, much to an instructors amazement and frustration as he tried to make me do double feed drills, and has been exactly 100 percent reliable for many thousands of rounds, not counting magazines that gave me some problems and got replaced. It will always be a beater, but that's what I expected. It's a working beater, though.

PrimaryB
February 10, 2007, 10:36 AM
+1 on the Springfield GI. Excellent base gun combined with Springfield's Custom shop and excellent customer service you can have anything done to the gun to your hearts desire once your budget increases. Visit 1911forum.com for info on all manufacturers of Colts 1911 design.

45auto
February 10, 2007, 11:23 AM
New, you are looking at the Springfield GI, Auto Ordinance, Taurus and the Rock Island for under $500.
That includes the High Standard, Charles Daly which is Rock Island.

If you need a beavertail, better sights, etc, etc than Rock island and Charles Daly would be under $500.

Springfield is a common base gun for custom 1911s and Rock is not. So, I'd want to spend a fair amount less on the Rock than Springfield...IMHO. Particulary if you are going to shoot a lot of rounds.

I'd also look for used in the Springfield, Colt line. You might get lucky...just "cover yourself" with some kind of warranty or have a gunsmith look at it before you buy. Something that is "too good to be true", usually is!;)

longhorngunman
February 10, 2007, 11:15 PM
Best 1911 for around $500 or less, hell, the best value for the money 1911 is the new Taurus PT1911. Search around, very few real problems, they are reliable, mine feeds every type of bullet I give it, HP, SWC, flat point, FMJ ball, doesn't matter, Taurus polishes the feed ramps on these 1911's from the factory. Forged frame and slide, fully loaded with the goodies. If you want just a basic 1911 then the Springer gets good reviews and the Rock Islands are some very good guns for the money also.

sandy4570
February 11, 2007, 01:48 AM
Taurus PT1911 will be the best value .45 on the market (if it ever get to California I will buy one ) . I have Norinco M1911A1 that I picked up for $275 and I really like it but it is sure not a Kimber . Springfield Milspec is a good choice too but it has tendency to shoot low except the WWII version with half circle front sight (it shoot almost dead on at 15 yards ) . I am thinking about getting Rock Island Arsenol M1911 that my local gunstore has for $411 but I am still looking and comparing with Ruger P345 blued version at $436 .I still deciding and looking for excuse to get either one . Good luck with your find .:)

High Planes Drifter
February 11, 2007, 02:27 AM
Another for the Springer GI. I've heard nothing but good for the Taurus 1911, but I've neither shot or seen one so I cant comment on it. I did have to follow 1911 Tuners help page for my GI, but scince, it has ben rock solid, even as reliable as my Sig 220. I love it.

Hacker15E
February 11, 2007, 11:00 AM
My votes for the best inexpensive 1911s go to the Rock Island Armory Fullsize 1911 and the Springfield GI .45.

I own both of them, and they are both well worth what they cost. Of course, there are pros and cons to each, and they are both bare-bone 1911s.

Up until a couple months ago I would have clearly favored the Springfield among the two, but the Rock Island recently went to a milled slide from extruded barstock (they were originally cast like the frames). Unfortunately, the price went up a little to account for this.

Although there are rave reviews for the Taurus PT1911, I think it looks ugly as sin. I much prefer a GI configuration, and that probably affects why I place the Rock Island and the Springfield GI above it.

Deadmarsh
February 11, 2007, 01:47 PM
I prefer a modern gun's angle from mag to chamber, the integral feed ramp (not two piece like the 1911), DA for carry (SA is fine for games), ease of stripping, full length recoil spring guide rod, no barrel bushing....that sort of thing. Main thing, the 1911 is designed for FMJ and that's what most of 'em like best unless a smith can slick 'em up. Never were able to on my cheap POSs. I really don't like ball ammo. A gun should run right on anything right out of the box. Lots of 1911s don't unless you have deep pockets. Some of 'em might, but it's a crap shoot IMHO.

If you want a project, take the time to make it right, they're okay. Me, I want it to BE right with the initial purchase. Tinkerin's okay if you get off to it. I'd rather shoot. I think you need to deepen your pockets if you want a 1911 that runs right out of the box without just getting lucky and will feed anything and everything, not just ball ammo.

Again, JMHO. Lots of "experts" out there disagree. So be it, I don't have to own a 1911 just because they (and Jeff Cooper) say so. I've BTDT, made my mistake, learned from it, and moved on. I'm quite well armed without a 1911, thanks


Ahhhhh......:what: :what: :what:

wally
February 11, 2007, 03:57 PM
Can't beat the new RIA Tactical for $400 or a bit less. Just got my second one ($390, paid $375 for the first)

Novak's sights, beavertail, ambi extended safety, flat mainspting housing, and full length guide rod. IMHO the only thing needs changing is the grips, they generally look pretty good (much better than the SA "GI" logo woodburner grips IMHO) but being smooth they don't work for me, YMMV. I could live without the guide rod and extended safeties but I don't dislike any of it enough to spend money changing things, ambi safeties are a big plus for me, YMMV.

Lock up is as tight as my Kimber TLE (which cost a whole lot more) and way tighter than any of my three Colts. Trigger is equally as crisp, light and lacking of over travel. Only place it falls down a bit is in that it has a bit more take up than the Kimber.

The TLE may be more accurate (I'd hope given what it cost!), but I'd have to start spending a lot more on ammo to find out. The Tacticals are new but I've got a bit over 9000 rounds thru my original RIA that I put a red dot J-Point sight on and the only issue was the link broke at about 3600 rounds, a $5 Wilson standard (0.278" if I recall correctly) dropped in and has been perfect in function ever since. Use the search I described the details when it happened. Its not been picky at all about ammo or mags, only other maintaince has been changing the recoil spring a couple of times once my brass starts flying further than it used to and I start losing too much of it.

Forged, cast, plastic, bubble gun -- I don't really care if it works! I've picked up 10 Armscor made guns in the past couple of years: 4 widebody Para clones (two in 9mm, a .40S&W, and a .45), 2 Charles Daly (4" stainless and 3.5" blue), an Armscor "Enhanced 45" (no longer imported, replaced by the RIA tactical I assume), and three RIA one Standard and two Tacticals. All have been great shooters and held up well. The 4" Daly had a few issues out of the box (use the search I've described it in detail) but Daly/KBI gave me good customer service. One of the 9mm P18 clones had to go back to get an extractor update, Armscor in Pahrump, NV turned it around quickly and when my initial RIA had a defective slide stop lever out of the box (worked with the included mag but failed to lock back with about half of my other mags no hassles or weasel words about problem being my other mags they just dropped a replacement slide lock lever in the mail to me.

There are some very skilled gunsmiths in the PI that do great work for cheap!

I was looking at a new blue Colt Commander for $638 before I bought the second RIA Tactical, but passed and got the RIA instead because the Colt had a gap between the bushing and the slide I could almost put a fingernail into and the extracter was clealy cock-eyed in the slide and if it didn't "clock" a bit would clearly drag on the hammer -- I'm supposed to be happy to pay 50-60% more for this kind of Colt "quality"?

I had two Norinco's, one went away with the second wife, and while they were great guns for the money and I sure regret having not gotten a few more back when they were $225-$250, my RIA/Armscor guns all have had much better triggers out of the box, a tighter lockup, and shoot more accurately.

--wally.

10-Ring
February 11, 2007, 04:19 PM
I would look at the SA Mil Spec - maybe in the pre-owned market ;)

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