Any Experience with AMT Hardballer?


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charliemopic
September 20, 2007, 10:44 AM
A friend is selling off a few guns. The only one I'm interested in is his lone 1911 A1 clone which is a stainless AMT Hardballer in excellent to like new condition with 2 mags for $500.
As I understand, AMT manufactured these pistols at different plants in different parts of the country but I don't know why.
Any info. or history on the AMT Hardballer and/or AMT Longslide would be appreciated.

Thanks much

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boomer1911a1
September 20, 2007, 10:51 AM
I had an older AMT .45 Longslide years ago, and researched them quite a bit. Overall build quality was pretty good, but whatever grade of stainless they used (and this problem ran through their entire line) had a weakness for galling. I'm not sure it would have ever gotten to the point of affecting function or accuracy, but it gave one pause to see those streaks during disassembly.

I think five Cs for one is a touch on the steep side, but not outrageous. Just don't expect Sprinfield/Kimber/S&W-level workmanship.

Jim Watson
September 20, 2007, 10:56 AM
I know a couple of guys who bought Hardballers when they were in production in the 1970s. They were roughly made of strong material. I would not buy one now without testfiring it. If it was not 100% I would pass on it unless I wanted to do a lot of tinkering.

The short answer to why Hardballers and Automags were made here, there, and yonder is that the founders were better designers than they were businessmen.

MCgunner
September 20, 2007, 10:58 AM
I had one. It'd feed hardball and that's about it, probably where they got the name, eh? It was a pretty gun, shot okay, about 2.5" groups off bags at 25 yards with most ammo which ain't too bad for a 1911. I never experienced the galling problems with the stainless that some have reported, but then, I'm anal about lubing autoloaders. I kept it well lubed.

It got stolen and I took the money from the homeowners and NRA insurance I filed on it and bought a new Ruger P90 and never looked back. I'm quite happy with the P90, flawless with anything I feed it, 1-1.5" accuracy at 25 yards, and I prefer the DA/decocker manual of arms. I've had two 1911s, won't buy another after that Hardballer and the Auto Ordinance I had. I ain't got the big bucks to buy a nice one. The Ruger works MUCH better for me.

When I bought that AMT, I had to have an extractor fitted in it. It wasn't done right at the factory and would NOT cycle out of the box. Once that was fixed, though, it ran okay on ball. I also had a 200 grain cast SWC Lee bullet I cast that ran in it, but I had to seat it out to the point that it was head spacing on the rifling in the barrel to get it to work. The thing was OAL sensitive, wouldn't feed short OALs which most hollowpoints have. My Ruger ate the flying ashtrays all day long. That H'Baller would choke on the first one out of the magazine.

Stick to ball ammo, it's okay. I won a few pin shoots with it out at our local range. I was sorta into shooting pins at the time, the main reason I bought the thing. It certainly wasn't for carry. I'd never have carried it, but we couldn't legally carry back then anyway and I carried mouse guns, when I did carry, to avoid any chance of detection. I never carried IWB until I got a license in 96. I still prefer light, pocket sized subcompacts to that 40 plus ounce monstrosity, though. The P90 is nearly 10 ounces lighter on the belt than that thing was thanks to an alloy frame.

Mainsail
September 20, 2007, 11:58 AM
Here’s my AMT story. I was a fresh kid living in the barracks at Travis AFB in the mid 80s. I bought my first center fire handgun, a Longslide Hardballer, because I really liked the way it looked. It was totally an impulse buy based in small part to seeing it in the original Terminator movie.

I shot it a little; it jammed every so often. Fast forward a couple years and I’m visiting Altus AFB in Oklahoma for Flight Engineer training. I take one of my classmates out to an informal range because he was concerned that he’d never fired a handgun before. I go over all the features and safety procedures in preparation for a nice day of shooting, when I remember I hadn’t mentioned the thumb safety. Since the gun was loaded, I show him the safety, and flip it up. I pointed the gun downrange and told him it wouldn’t fire with the safety engaged. I pulled the trigger, the gun fired, and the thumb safety sheared off and is probably laying in the dirt somewhere in Mexico.

I took it to Lawton where a smith, who happened to be an authorized AMT repair station, replaced a lot of the internals. He said that all the parts were in spec, but they were all at their lower limits and collectively they were just enough out to cause it to fire with the safety engaged. A few years later I had it throated and had a few other reliability gunsmithing tricks done, and it was 100% with almost any ammunition. Then I sold it. :banghead:

Offer him $400, if he accepts, take it to a good smith and have it worked on.

Deanimator
September 20, 2007, 12:54 PM
A friend of mine had one briefly in the late '80s. It was a piece of crap. He broke it down to clean it and discovered that the bore wasn't completely rifled.

NCHornet
September 20, 2007, 01:31 PM
I had a AMT 380 Back Up gun, it would jam at least once per mag. I tried everything to get it to feed reliably but nothing worked. It's a shame as I really liked the little pistol. I have always wanted one of the Longslides but $500 is way more than I would ever pay for one. I would start at $300 and maybe go $350, but it will probably cost another $100+ to make it reliable unless you have a friend who is a smith.

hksw
September 20, 2007, 01:55 PM
Have a Longslide. Did not feed very well. (Tried numerous fixes.) Replaced the barrel. Feeds OK but not very accurate. Use it for parts.

Vonderek
September 20, 2007, 05:43 PM
I had a AMT 380 Back Up gun, it would jam at least once per mag.
I had the same experience. When it jammed, it jammed up so tight you couldn't strip the mag out.

Fisherman_48768
September 20, 2007, 10:30 PM
I bought a used AMT Hardballer about 2 months ago for $400.00, one mag which was aftermarket. I don't know how much it had been fired but it wasn't LNIB. I've fired it maybe 500 rds without a hitch, no galling that I can see. I've fired SWC,HP and ball with absolutely no ftf or fte. If I have a complaint it's the trigger pull is heavy but then I'm used to a customized Gov't mdl and LW Commander. Is the trigger pull really bad, no! It's just heavier than I'm used to, accuracy is just fine as is.

Okiecruffler
September 20, 2007, 10:46 PM
Okay, here's my bizzarre AMT story. Many moons ago my dad bought my brother and I a pair of longslides, consecuative serial #'s. My brother's was flawless and started him on his 1911 collection/obsession. It's still one of his favorites, with tens of thousands of rounds run thru it.
Mine was the most inaccurate single shot pistol I've ever owned, sometimes jamming when I was cycling it empty. More tool marks than a freshman shop class bird house. Traded it to a friend for a can of soup and half a sandwich. He never talked to me again.
Also had one of those little 380's. reliable, fairly acccurate, but you had to take a buddy with you to the range to help pull the trigger.

StrikeEagle
September 21, 2007, 01:36 AM
I got an AMT Hardballer in the 70's... perhaps the first one I ever saw. I have not put a LOT of ammo through it, but it's 'ok'...

It's fine with hardball, and mostly fine with my own LRN reloads.

I put a better mag in which might be helping to keep it in business. Sometimes I hear folks rank on the Hardballers, and to be honest, I'd be apprehensive about carrying it until I really REALLY looked it over. But as a range gun from time to time... it's fine.

If the price is right, why not... though $500 seems a bit high.

hemiram
September 21, 2007, 02:07 AM
I had a Hardballer Longslide and a back up .380. I had a lot of problems with the Hardballer, was very badly machined and finished inside. AMT tried fixing it, but mostly succceeded in scratching it up.

The .380 had about a 40 pound trigger pull (The gunsmith's pull scale went to 30 pounds, so it's a guesstimate), and after the gunsmith tried to clean things up, it was still very bad. Crude was the best way to put how they looked inside.

I sold both of them as fast as I could.

hksw
September 21, 2007, 01:32 PM
Concerning the history, IIRC, Arcadia Machine and Tooling (AMT, crescent shaped logo to simulate the inside of a bore with AMT in block letters inserted into the crescent) started making the Hardballer (short and long slide). They went under. Irwindale Arms, Inc. (IAI, itcisized block letters on the center of a bullseye logo) bought the equipment and moved them to their plant. Eventually, IAI bought the rights to the AMT name and logo. Shortly, they went under. Someone else (not sure if former owners or workers) bought the name and equipment. Not sure if they are still around.

My Long Slide was made int he IAI era.

Double Naught Spy
September 21, 2007, 01:49 PM
My hardballer would not feed hollowpoints. I have to replace the recoil spring guide because it was made from such soft metal that it deformed (peened). The gun rattled when shaken. It produced nasty hammerbite. I now use it as a training gun and have the firing pin removed from it.

nelson133
September 21, 2007, 05:19 PM
Back in the olden days, when that gun was manufactured, almost all 1911 pistols from most manufacturers were unreliable out of the box. If it works without repair, you'd be lucky. Today almost all 1911 pistols work well out of the box, including the low priced ones. So much for the good old days.

bannockburn
September 21, 2007, 05:59 PM
A friend of mine had one and I frequently worked on it for him. Pretty much the same as everyone else: would only reliably feed hardball, 2.5 to 3 inch groups at 25 yards, and the complete absence of any polishing or hand fitting of parts. I replaced most of the internals with name brand replacements and it worked okay with them; trigger pull was probably in the 5 to 6 pound range. Not bad when you get it up and running, but $500 is way too much for a gun that you will end up spending more money on getting it to work right.

Rexster
September 22, 2007, 12:15 PM
AMT quality varied greatly. The wisdom used to be, that if you had a reliable AMT, hang onto it. Otherwise, do not depend on them. If this is a mere toy, or fun gun, go for it, and you may be pleasantly surprised. If you want a dependable carry gun, I would say spend a little more for something better. I do remember hearing of guys taking an AMT Hardballer and a another 1911, and swapping the upper and lower units to mitigate the galling. The only co-worker I know who carried an AMT as a duty pistol, because he liked the long slide, had replaced some of the small parts, if I recall correctly. I seem to remember another co-worker who carried a two-tone half-Hardballer, which was reliable.

vit
September 22, 2007, 07:08 PM
See if you can get it for around $300. I had the Longslide, soft shooting and accurate, but did tend to disassemble itself.

pdowg881
September 22, 2007, 08:30 PM
I've used one in a video game. It never malfunctioned and sent people flying back 10 feet!:neener:

Tigerseye
September 23, 2007, 07:32 PM
I bought mine new out of the first run in 1976, and I still have it.

It feeds ball and 200 gr. LWC handloads fine, and is quite accurate. I used it as my introduction gun to bullseye competition.

The AMT Hardballer was the first stainless steel 1911 pattern pistol made. It's true that there were reports of "galling" but I never experienced that, and I have always lubed with either LSA or Break Free.

ulflyer
September 24, 2007, 08:14 AM
I had a Hardballer way back and no problems with reloads and no galling. However, for $500 there are better buys, Springfield being one. Or get a Nork for $400. Heck, I'd go for a Rock Island. All these are standard 1911's and parts and service are easy to come by should you need it.

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