Brand New Taurus PT1911 Issues - First THR Post


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elChupacabra!
May 29, 2008, 03:38 PM
Hey everybody, this is my first time to post on THR, although I've lurked around this site for years. I came to the conclusion that this site has better conversation / more informed discussion / more competent posters as a whole than just about any other board on the net, and have always felt that if I could find information on what I was interested in here, it would probably be better informed / more objectively discussed than anywhere else. So thank all of you for allowing me to learn from you for a while now.

Getting on to the body of my post, I just bought a brand new Taurus PT1911AR (blue with rail) from Bass Pro / Outdoor World here in Nashville about 3 weeks ago. I've read so many posts, articles, discussions, etc. about this pistol, that I decided it would be my first 1911. I was truly, genuinely excited about the prospect of having a "custom" 1911 that would run and be tricked out, right from the box - it's difficult to find much evidence online that you will get anything else. Even people who hate Taurus as a matter of principle don't usually have very strong, or very reliable, stories of problems with PT1911s, so I was really thrilled when it came in and it was mine for the (comparatively) low price of $599. Here's when that started to change, and what finally drove me to register and post so I could share my experience with the world.

I brought it home and decided to give it a good cleaning to get the liberal amount of packing grease off / out of it. I started by detail stripping the slide, carefully and slowly, to get all the gunk out. Even though I've seen the guides for detail stripping the frame, I decided against that for my first time, not wanting to get into something beyond my powers at 9pm before I even fired it. I did give it a good wipe-down, re-oiled with Rem Oil, and re-assembled it. I racked the slide, eased it forward, and found that the hammer wouldn't stay locked - an immediate case of hammer follow for a gun that I hadn't even fired, let alone done trigger work on.

What's more, I was suprised to find that, even with an appropriate amount of lube (even though this was my first 1911, I've been shooting various handguns for several years and am no stranger to firearms. I have a good solid understanding of what is normal / what to expect / what's a real problem, and I read all I can from places like this when I'm not sure), the manual safety would very regularly engage oddly such that I couldn't disengage it with my left thumb (I'm left-handed so an Ambi safety isn't an option for me - it's a requirement). I would have to reach over the gun with my right thumb and push it down to get it to decisively drop into the "fire" position. That's unacceptable for a gun that you hope to use as a home-defense weapon, to say the least.

Beyond that, I also found that the detent for the slide stop was so stiff that neither of the magazines supplied with the gun were capable of locking the slide back on an empty chamber when manually racked. When reassembling the gun, I would have to place the slide stop pin through the link and as far down, close to the frame as possible, and literally "karate chop" it with the meat of my hand to get it to depress the detent and properly lock into position. Again, while that might ease up with time, to me, it was unacceptable in a brand new gun.

I called Taurus and after a long wait for a customer service rep, spoke with someone about the problems I was having with the gun. They offered to send FedEx to come pick up my gun and also put a rush on the repair since it was brand new, which I really appreciated. FedEx came on Monday, and the gun was back in my hands by the following Thursday - just 11 days end to end. I was thrilled the service was so fast and took the gun home immediately.

I performed a safety check and function check and was happy to see that the hammer would now properly lock back, but noticed that the trigger pull wasn't as good as it had been before - not terrible, but nothing to write home about, either. Also, the trigger was very loose in the raceway, rattling distractingly upon take-up, but I would deal with that, I thought. I also found that they had fixed the safety - it now always functioned positively and without any hesitation, a big improvement. However, I did notice one thing - the bar connecting the left and right paddles seemed to be too long, so that with the safety functioning properly, the ambi side wasn't flush with the frame but actually protruded about 1/8" - not far enough to bind against the grip, but far enough that, trying to use a high-thumbs grip, that protruding safety really dug into the web of my left (strong) hand. If I tried to push the ambi-side flush with the frame, the standard side nearly slipped over the detent and became inoperable. So it had to be loose on the ambi side, which wasn't pleasant even for dry firing.

On Saturday I shot it. I fired 86 rounds (WWB and Federal 230gr JHP) through 4 different magazines, 2 factory and 2 Chip McCormick Shooting Star. I had no failures to feed or eject, but I was suprised to have 3 failures to fire - the hammer dropped but nothing happened; thumb-cocking the hammer and firing again sent all 3 rounds downrange with no problems. (I should have removed the rounds to see if they had primer strikes, but didn't think to until after I was done - but it did happen with both brands of ammo, so I don't think it was hard primers). What's more, with that safety protruding, I had almost started bleeding from the blister the gun was giving me in my strong hand, so I called it quits.

When I disassembled the gun at home for cleaning, I noticed that it was very difficult to remove the series-80 firing pin block - I had to turn the slide right-side up and bang it against the table to get it to fall out. When it did, I noticed the firing pin block spring as well - it was completely crushed, like I've never seen before. I don't know how it happened, but I suspected that it had been improperly installed by the Taurus smith, since I hadn't touched it since I sent the gun back to them. Also, upon closely examining the firing pin block itself, I noticed that one inside edge of the "barbell" had been peened away all around its circumference - I can only guess that my 3 failures to fire were the result of the block failing to disengage from the firing pin properly and preventing it from striking the primer, and that the rest of the peening was from the block being broken in the "off" position just shy of where it should have been, being struck repeatedly by the firing pin that could just squeeze past it.

At this point, I was pretty upset. I decided to completely forget trying to get Taurus to fix it - as I've read elsewhere, Taurus may have a lifetime warranty, but I had come to the conclusion that you would really wait a lifetime to get the gun fixed, not to mention paying for the shipping (which you usually have to do - I had gotten lucky with that first repair). I didn't trust that Taurus had the competence to fix my problems without causing new ones, anyway.

I called Taurus and ordered a new firing pin block and spring, which they charged me $1 each for. I paid it - I was too sick of dealing with them to argue, even though it was their fault they were broken to begin with.

One last thing - I noticed, upon careful inspection, that the cocking serrations on the slide are much deeper - maybe 50-75% deeper - on the left side of the frame than the right. You can see it, but you can REALLY feel it. Looking at the slide in profile, the curve on top is much sharper on the left side than the right - it's not symmetrical at all. Further, the machining of the flat on the left side isn't even straight - there's a clear curve just forward of the rear cocking serration that I'm not too happy about. This is to say nothing of the finish, which as everyone knows, started to wear off immediately.

I went on Midway and bought a C&S hammer / sear / disconnecter / mainspring / hammer spring kit, hammer bar, pin set, manual ambi safety, and Ed Brown firing pin, ejector, extractor, trigger, and slide stop.

I took the whole mess to a local gunsmith with a good reputation for 1911 work and asked him to gut the old gun and give me a good one that I can rely on, with a good trigger pull, that won't fail or give up on me. That might have been over-reacting, but I don't think so.

Here is what it all comes down to to me. I paid $600 for a gun that's advertised as being a true custom gun. It's not. Here's what it does have:

It's accurate - for a combat handgun, it's more accurate than I am at 25yds, which is all I want it to be. I don't know if it can shoot 2" at 25yds, but honestly, I don't care about that. As Jeff Cooper put it once, printing tiny groups is only important if the purpose of the weapon / exercise is to print tiny groups, and with this one, that's not its purpose.

It has decent checkering on the main spring housing and front strap that you'd have to pay someone alot of money to do to a RIA or Mil Spec.

It has front cocking serrations, again which you would have to pay someone to do to a base gun.

It has good sights - you may not like the Heine Straight 8s, but they are quality sights that are easily (but not too easily) drift-adjustable with the included allen wrench. However, they are installed in a proprietary cut, so if you want Novaks, get ready to pay to have your slide re-cut.

The barrel and feed ramp are throated and polished and you should be able to feed HP ammunition thru it with no problems.

It has a rail, which for $600, I don't know you can find ANYWHERE else. I know many don't like the rail, but if this thing is to replace my Benelli Nova as a HD weapon, it needs a light, and the rail is the best way to get one on there. (Unfortunately, the Nova doesn't fit in a nightstand drawer, so a pistol will have to do from now on do to various reasons. I don't feel undergunned with a 1911, though).

Aside from these things, if you are like me and want a really GOOD 1911, you're going to have to pay $400-600 in parts and labor to turn it from what it is into a real fighting handgun. That makes this allegedly $600 "custom" gun more like a $1,000-1,200 TRUE custom gun, with alot of the expensive machining already done, although somewhat crudely. On the level, if you don't care as much about the asthetic issues, $1,200 isn't bad for a gun with all the features you get after a real smith has gone after it.

I know this is a long post, but I am really so upset that I fell for the marketing hype that I had to let someone else know what they are getting into so they don't make the same mistake.

I hope you happy Taurus owners have better luck than I have - if your guns don't have these problems, then more power to you. But buyer beware.

Take care folks.

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electronrider
May 29, 2008, 04:10 PM
Bummer.

I love mine, not a hiccup since day one, and 5000 rounds through it so far.

Buyer beware? LOL that is true for any gun out there, just go ask all the people that are screaming mad because they bought a Kimber, and it had to be worked on out of the box.

You say that you didn't trust Taurus to fix the problems anyways, so you took it to a smith. Why on earth would you buy a weapon from a maker that you already did not like?

Did you honestly believe that this gun was going to be even in the same ball park as some high end custom gun? You would have been much better off just spending the 1200 dollars your gonna have into this one as a down payment on something much nicer.

Good luck on your next purchase, research as to what you really get would have really helped you out a lot on this one.

jocko
May 29, 2008, 04:28 PM
I think the fella expected more than what he got. $600 is no loose change either, and I read also where the $1000+ 1911 give issues. This just should not be. Taurus is big enough for sure to turn out better quality stuff. buyer beware IMO just does not fly when buying a gun. THEY SHOULD WORK AND FUNCTION PROPERLY out of the box. If one pays $200 for a gun , he certainly doesn't expect to read in the owners manual something that says.

NOW BUYER BEWARE THIS IS A CHEAPO, IT MIGHT NOT WORK...

rellascout
May 29, 2008, 04:42 PM
electronrider

Typical response from Taurus owners. Buying a gun should not be buyer beware. It does not matter if you pay $100 or $10,000 the gun should function as designed and intented.

This guy researched the pistol and thought he was getting a good deal. I mean if you look at this thread it seems like they are manna from heaven.

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=366511

The best part is that Taurus markets this gun as if it is a custom pistol at a production gun price. They could not be more full of **** IMHO. I mean how many times have we all seen this table. Its straight out of there market department. This is what they are selling. What a joke.

VALUE OF TAURUS PT 1911 FEATURES AT RETAIL VALUE
Full length guide rod & reverse plug $35
Heinie Straight Eight Sights 150
Serrated slide rear and front 100
Checkered 30-lpi trigger guard 50
Checkered 30-lpi mainspring housing 60
Checkered 30-lpi frontstrap 150
Ambidextrous safety 125
Beavertail grip safety with memory pad 120
Skeletonized hammer 60
Skeleton serrated trigger 100
Trigger job 100
Custom fit barrel (air-gauged bushing) 100
Custom slide to frame fit 100
Polished feedramp and barrel throat 50
Lowered and flared ejection port 60
Custom internal extractor 75
Extended mag release button 35
Beveled mag well 100
Extra 8-round magazine 30
SUBTOTAL 1600
Basic Mil-Spec Model 1911 pistol 500
TOTAL 2100
NOTES: Prices are average of parts, installation, and fitting charges from five leading U.S. pistolsmiths based on a Mil-Spec basic Model 1911 pistol as the starting point.

RandomMan
May 29, 2008, 04:44 PM
Unfortunately, your experience with Taurus is the same I have seen experienced by multiple people, particularly where their "custom" 1911 is concerned.

A couple of quick notes:

I'm not sure where you did most of your research before buying your Taurus, but I've posted these stories before and will post them again:

I witnessed while at Thunder Ranch in January one gentleman shooting a Taurus 1911, after about 500 rounds (the gun already had approximately 1000 rounds through it), the left hand ambi safety lever fell off the gun during a training exercise and locked the gun up solid. This gentleman borrowed a Les Baer TRS to finish his course and told me that he liked the gun enough that he was going to go looking for one himself.

In another case a former coworker of mine purchase a 1911 direct from Taurus and upon receiving the "hand inspected" gun, found multiple points of finish wear and an internal lock that would not disengage. He sent the gun back to Taurus for repair, the gun came back 3 weeks later unlocked, in the wrong box, he came down to pick it up and worked the safety once and the left side promptly fell off. He sent the gun back again and they fixed the safety and I haven't seen him to ask him how it shoots since then.

A customer purchased a Taurus 1911 took it home, shot 500 rounds through it and about two weeks later brought the gun back to send to Taurus, the pin that holds the swinging link in place had sheared off during recoil and locked the gun up.

The funny thing is, I never get returns or service requests for Springfields or Para-Ordnances.

I'm truly sorry you had these issues with your PT1911 and I hope your 'smith gets it working to your satisfaction. Unfortunately, it seems yours is not a singular case. I thank you for taking the time to post your review.

-Rob

elChupacabra!
May 29, 2008, 04:56 PM
To most of you,

Thanks for your understanding. I had no pre-disposition against Taurus, and based on what I had heard from the vast majority of posters, I thought it would be a good gun. My pre-disposition against Taurus has resulted from my experience with THIS one, so now I'm going to try to make it work, by making it into a different gun (for all practical purposes, replacing all parts but the barrel, slide, frame and a few others. Too bad it'll still have that awful TAURUS rollmark...).

As far as my statement about "Buyer beware," what I was driving at there is that, if you have heard the same stories I have and think that maybe it really is a good investment and a great gun for the money, consider that there is another set of stories, as well. I had heard a few of them, including some that you mentioned RandomMan, but assumed they were the exceptions that proved the rule. This is me saying as loudly as I know how, there REALLY ARE problems with this gun - maybe I got a lemon, but I sure got one whopper of a lemon, if I did, and you might too, so be careful.

And as far as expecting to have problems with any new gun, I think that's totally unacceptable - in fact, as far as I'm concerned, if someone takes $1 of your money for something, it should work for what it was advertised / intended to do. The price of the gun is irrelevant - Taurus took my $600 and gave me something less than they promised, and that's a travesty.

I've paid $579 for my Sig Pro SP2022, and have never had a problem with it.

I've paid $750 for my HK P2000, and have never had a problem with it.

I've paid $199 for my S&W 22A, and have never had a problem with it.

I can already hear the cries of "1911's aren't the same as those guns" and "1911's always need work," but this goes beyond that - these are basic attributes of the gun that were simply done poorly by the factory, and attributes that were advertised SPECIFICALLY as being done RIGHT.

Taurus has a good product, if for no other reason than the machining has already been done, the sights are good, the barrel has been fit properly to the slide and throated, and it has a rail. I'm having to look at it as a $600 gun that only has those things. I have lost all confidence in this piece, so for me to be happy with it, everything else needs to be replaced or reworked, but that's still a pretty good deal.

But it's not what Taurus says it is - it's not a CUSTOM gun.

putteral
May 29, 2008, 05:50 PM
Welcome to the forum. Sorry about all your problems. I just purchased my first 1911 and I chose a Charles Daly EFS from Bud's. I already have a Taurus 24/7 Pro 45 and that was the reason i did not but the Pt1911. My Taurus went back after my first range trip. So far I am tickeled with My Efs. No Problems and nicer looking.

elChupacabra!
May 29, 2008, 06:06 PM
I wish I had heard more people talk about Charles Dalys and even RIA Tacticals - I think those have pretty much what I was looking for, in possibly a better quality package, for even less than I paid on the Taurus. If I had known I would have to do all this work to get a good gun, I'd have just gone with a different brand to start with, but hindsight is 20/20.

Definately the first gun I've regretted buying this much, though I did try a S&W 637 for about 6 months before deciding that I just couldn't get used to that tiny grip. Still, that one had some resale value, whereas no matter how many aftermarket parts I drop in this one, it'll always say "TAURUS" on it.

I wonder how much removing that rollmark would cost? (of course it'll still say FORJAS TAURUS, BRAZIL etc. in various places... not worth it I'm sure, better just learn to live with it.)

And believe it or not, I just read that Taurus is ISO 9001 CERTIFIED! I can't believe that... so much for that certification meaning anything.

Technosavant
May 29, 2008, 07:34 PM
My PT1911AR did have light primer strike problems- the shop I purchased it from had it fixed by a local smith at no cost to me.

I'm also trying to understand what the other issues were- it looks like there were some fit and finish issues (the cocking serrations) and the slide stop was rather tight, as well as an issue with the safety.

I'm not sure if the safety is really a problem, or just a function of the size of the tab on the thing- maybe I missed it in your post, but you didn't seem to have issues with it backing out (the usual issue there).

And rellascout, this comment: Typical response from Taurus owners. is very non high road. It's comes across as arrogant, condescending, and perjorative. You don't like Taurus, we get it. Now please lay off those who have had good experiences, since it seems you keep getting more and more combative with every Taurus post.

It's not a true custom gun. Neither is the Springfield Loaded, the S&W 1911s, the Kimbers, or anything else under $2000. Custom 1911s are just that, and you don't get discounts for mass production, since it's a completely custom gun. The Taurus is a budget full featured 1911. Not every one of them is perfect, but other higher priced 1911s can have their issues as well. I'm sorry you didn't get what you paid for. The 1911s, no matter the maker, have more gun to gun variance in production than other models- it's a function of the extensive hand fitting required.

kentucky_smith
May 29, 2008, 07:37 PM
I could run a decent frame and slide through a Brownells or Midway catalog and get a good gun cheaper than what that Taurus cost.

In fact, I did.

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=366661

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=79027&stc=1&d=1211926918

fletcher
May 29, 2008, 07:48 PM
And believe it or not, I just read that Taurus is ISO 9001 CERTIFIED! I can't believe that... so much for that certification meaning anything.

Every manufacturing process will have some bad things get through it, that's part of manufacturing. The certification's value has nothing to do with your individual experience with the company.

Sorry you got one of their bad products, and yes, they should have fixed it, but overall, people are very happy with their PT1911s (and for the record, I have never owned one of their guns). The problem to me is not that they had a bad gun go out the door, but that their customer service failed to ensure that the replacement be completely functioning. I'd just see if I could return it for a full refund and never do business with them again.

elChupacabra!
May 29, 2008, 08:07 PM
Fletcher,

Well, you do make a good point there. You're right that, even with the extremely strict manufacturing standards of 6 Sigma, there are still SOME defects per million. I know that bad guns will always be a reality... I guess I was just venting.

But I couldn't agree with you more about the problem with customer service... honestly I was pleasantly suprised by the responsiveness of the rep I spoke with, the fact that they paid shipping both ways, and rushed my gun back to me in order to avoid that 6-8 week repair time they advertise as standard. I was thrilled to have the gun in just 11 days, and was starting to think my first impression was wrong.

The REAL problem was that the gun came back in as bad or worse shape than before. I thought that, once in their hands, they would make sure that what they returned to me would be carefully looked over by qualified eyes and carefully corrected. What I got back was far from that, and what truly killed their quality in my eyes.

Just my experience, and again, to all the happy Taurus owners out there, I really am glad your experience was better than mine - I just want the prospective buyers to know that there can be problems with a gun that does get plenty of praise.

rellascout
May 30, 2008, 11:27 AM
And rellascout, this comment:
Quote:
Typical response from Taurus owners. is very non high road. It's comes across as arrogant, condescending, and perjorative. You don't like Taurus, we get it. Now please lay off those who have had good experiences, since it seems you keep getting more and more combative with every Taurus post.


What is very non-high road is telling people oh well too bad your stupid like the person I was replying to. He stated:

You say that you didn't trust Taurus to fix the problems anyways, so you took it to a smith. Why on earth would you buy a weapon from a maker that you already did not like?

Did you honestly believe that this gun was going to be even in the same ball park as some high end custom gun? You would have been much better off just spending the 1200 dollars your gonna have into this one as a down payment on something much nicer.

Good luck on your next purchase, research as to what you really get would have really helped you out a lot on this one

I think my tone simply matched the tone of this poster. I found his words as arrogant, condescending, and pejorative. So lets call it even. I have no hate towards the Taurus I just don't like the way people pump it up into more than it really is.

Technosavant
May 30, 2008, 02:17 PM
The REAL problem was that the gun came back in as bad or worse shape than before. I thought that, once in their hands, they would make sure that what they returned to me would be carefully looked over by qualified eyes and carefully corrected. What I got back was far from that, and what truly killed their quality in my eyes.

That would indeed be maddening. I bought my Taurus never intending to send it in. I have a quite good gunsmith nearby who does good work at very reasonable prices. I figured that if the frame, slide, and barrel were decent enough (by all reports, they were), then the only real question mark was the small internal parts, and I could replace all those with tool steel for no more than $200-300. Yes, the price would then be pushing the price of a Springfield Loaded (but then, I wanted a railed one, and railed 1911s are much closer to a kilobuck), but then I'd have better internals than most 1911s at any price and still be less than $800ish.

You decide where you want to put the money, and what you wish to contend with. If you want a railed 1911, it's hard enough to find one at twice the price of the PT1911AR.

elChupacabra!
May 30, 2008, 04:04 PM
Technosavant, that's exactly how I'm coming to look at it now. If I paid $600 for a relatively solid, machined frame / slide / barrel, and replace the innards with about $350 of really good small parts (Ed Brown and Cylinder & Slide) plus about $150-200 worth of gunsmithing, then I do have quite a good gun for about $1100, which is extremely competitive for it to have the rail. Now, if I didn't have a railed frame, then I don't think I would feel as good about what I've got, but given the rail, I think $1,100 is pretty good for what I'll end up with - a semi-custom gun with hand-fit, high-quality internals and a great, clean trigger. That's not bad, so I AM looking forward to getting the gun back, and I'm sure I'll love it once it's been re-worked.

It is, still, just a shame that it had to be re-worked. That's the whole point I'm driving at.

jlh26oo
May 30, 2008, 05:30 PM
Sorry to hear of your problems, especially AFTER it came back from manufacturer?! Unacceptable. Thanks for sharing, and sorry you got scolded in the first response here. Par for the course at any gunform, even T.H.R.!

SKM&P9
May 30, 2008, 06:09 PM
It's funny how a new purchase can lead to a whole page of responses, and quickly turn into another "anti" brand discussion. I sympathize with your bad experience with Taurus' CS. All the complaints dealing with them has not been very positive. But again, not every manufactured good will be perfect and without defect. I've had my PT1911 for over a year, and well over 2,000 rounds, with not a single problem to mention. There are some out there like that, but unfortunately, there are some like yours also. And even with Six Sigma, and ISO 9001 standards in place, you will still get defective pieces in the end. Just look at the recalls in the automotive industry. Hope your next purchase fairs better for you.

peacenik
May 30, 2008, 06:56 PM
... there was a couple next to me with a brand new taurus semi-auto. They kept having failures to fire - it was firing two rounds, then failing. Then it stopped firing altogether. This place is also a gun shop, and one of their workers said there was nothing better to do than send it back. From what I've read, the tauri can either be perfect out of the box or a dud. I'm sure that's true of other brands as well, but this rap on Taurus seems to stick a little more.

Good luck with the pistol

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