Rock Island-tell me the truth.


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Blue Brick
July 9, 2008, 08:20 PM
Ok I am on a limited budget and in order to buy another firearm I have to sell on of my current ones. Is it worth buying? What kinds of problems should I expect? Is it necessary to replace or upgrade parts? Thank you.

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Eric F
July 9, 2008, 08:32 PM
Depends on what you wish to do I bought My RIA in 38 super so I could "build a 1911" basicaly if you go with 45 the stock mag is goos you might want to but some sights and have them installed. After that its up to you but my priority would be sights first. Other than that they are very reliably go to m1911.org and look at the ria section they have a rep on line all the time.

AndyC
July 9, 2008, 08:37 PM
I bought the RIA Tactical model for about $50 more than the GI - the Novak sights alone are well worth the extra dough, IMO.

Only thing I don't like on it currently is the ambi-safety, which will be replaced soon. What I have added are a Wilson mag-well, trigger and some rubber grips - it's a great 1911.

Eric F
July 9, 2008, 08:48 PM
If you count ad on's good greif I think I have changed everything but the slide frame barrel and grips.

I have installed a mainspring house/mag well its a heave stainless unit
all the fire control group including a beaver tail grip safety and comander type hammer bomar low profile rear sight fiberoptic front sight wide thumb safety.........did I miss anything?

CWL
July 9, 2008, 09:01 PM
I believe that a RIA pistol will indeed go "bang" every time you press the trigger.

Having said that, I think you should spend a little bit more (less than $100) and get a Springfied Armory GI-45 or Mil-Spec. These are a great deal better in terms of fit & function.

I own both, and yes I have added parts and 'smithed both. When you have a side-by-side comparison of the 2, SA stands out over RIA.

rondog
July 9, 2008, 09:39 PM
I have three RIA's, and I highly recommend the Tactical model. Dang good pistols for the money, and the Tac has all the goodies on it.

This is my first Rock, a GI model, that I modified into a clone of the Tactical model. But I'd recommend starting with a Tac to begin with, I didn't know about them when I bought this one. I've got a buncha bucks in this gun, but it's a sweetheart.

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b150/rinselman/guns/DSCN1370-1.jpg

hankdatank1362
July 9, 2008, 09:47 PM
That's purdy. Did you refinish it?

nelson133
July 10, 2008, 07:14 AM
I own 2 RIA ,45s and have found them to be an excellent value, I haven't changed anything on them yet, but I would recommend the Tactical over the Govt model as the improvements are well worth the minimal cost increase. I don't see the Springfield Armory GI being any better than the standard model RIA, and no where near the value of the Tactical.

Reddbecca
July 10, 2008, 09:43 AM
What's the quality of steel like?

And would it be right to say that Rock Island Arms it the DPMS of handguns; functional entry level models that'll get the job done right but for a fraction of the cost of a brand name model?

wally
July 10, 2008, 09:50 AM
What's the quality of steel like?

13,000+ rounds of mostly Wolf ball thru my oldest RIA say its just fine.

It doesn't take long to have spent more on the ammo you've shot than you did on the gun.

+1 to get the "Tactical" model. Unless you want the look of the standard, as soon as you start changing things on the standard you'll quickly have spent more than to get the Tactical.

--wally

nero45acp
July 10, 2008, 01:29 PM
My history with 1911s:

Colt pre 70 Series GM: occasional FTF
Colt 70 Series GM 9mm: occasional FTF/FTE
Colt WW2 Repro: rare FTF/FTE
Kimber Stainless Target II 9mm: jamamatic
Dan Wesson Pointman Major 9mm: occasional FTF/FTE
SA Mil-Spec parkerized: jamamatic, bad grip screw bushing
SA Mil-Spec stainless: occasional FTE/FTE
Argentine Sistema 1927: 100% reliable, but didn't shoot POA
RIA basic model:100% stone cold reliable, shoots POA

If I'd bought a RIA first, I'd have saved a bunch of money (and frustration).

*If you do buy a RIA, you may want to replace the recoil spring with a Wolff 16lbs spring, the factory spring on mine seemed a bit weak/light.*



nero

AndyC
July 10, 2008, 02:32 PM
What's the quality of steel like?
Don't know the composition of the steel itself, but the slide is forged and the frame is cast; it seems to be well put-together (and I'm somewhat anal about my 1911s).

Hanzerik
July 10, 2008, 03:11 PM
The RIA's are 4140 cast frame and extruded slide. We warranty them for life.


A quote from another forum (AR15.COM) from RIA representative Ray "LV3GUNNER" .

As for my opinion on them; I like mine very much, so much that I recently started reloading 45ACP just so I could shoot them more often. I have had my GI for a couple months, and my Compact for a couple weeks. The only issue I have had with them was due to a cheap mag I picked up at a gun-show.

21 Rounds at 10yards
http://hanzerik.sh.nu/gallery/Gun-Stuff/RIA1911/thumbs/100_2596.JPG.thumb.jpg

About 49 rounds from the GI, and 14 rapid fire from the compact (One of these days I will tap the sight over to get it to center)
http://hanzerik.sh.nu/gallery/Gun-Stuff/RIA1911/thumbs/100_2597.JPG.thumb.jpg

http://hanzerik.sh.nu/gallery/Gun-Stuff/RIA1911/thumbs/100_2588.JPG.thumb.jpg

cmidkiff
July 10, 2008, 05:55 PM
I bought a RIA when I first got interested in buying a 1911. Didn't want to spend a bunch of money until I decided if I was going to like the platform or not.

Put a few boxes of ammo through it, functioned perfectly, but I hated the sights. I bought a set of 3 dot sights (about $80, if I remember right). My RIA had a post mount front sight. When I removed the original, I found that the hole was bored at an angle. It wasn't apparent with the original tiny front sight, but with the bigger 3 dot, it sure was. Ok... so I had a front dovetail milled ($40) and bought another front sight ($40).

Shot another 50 rounds or so. Perfect.

Then, I found that I disliked the cheap grips. Bought a nice set of double diamonds ($70). Bushing screws weren't long enough, bought some allen head screws ($12), bushings were the wrong thread. Bought some new bushings, and a bushing tool ($25).

Put another 100 rounds through it... flawless.

Now, I've got more money in it than I would have if I'd have bought a springer mil spec, and I still want a beaver tail, better trigger, skel hammer, bigger slide release, different safety... and my gun smith tells me that all of the above will require a good deal of hand fitting, because the fit of the RIA isn't quite up to spec.

I traded it in on a loaded Springfield. Never looked back.

mpmarty
July 10, 2008, 06:07 PM
I've had my RIA Tactical for about a year. It was bought when I had to send my Taurus 1911a1 in for warranty work on the safety. The Taurus is back and works fine. Had I bought the RIA first, I'd never have bothered with the more expensive Taurus. Both pistols are flawless, 45acp, eat anything and are more accurate than I am. Just for fun, we shoot golf balls suspended on strings from target frames to break ties in our IPSC practices. My RIA is now called Tiger Woods the second.

Furncliff
July 10, 2008, 06:16 PM
Reddbecca said: functional entry level models that'll get the job done right but for a fraction of the cost of a brand name model?"


That about covers it. But you might have to massage it a little bit in the beginning.

The tactical is a smart buy. Mine is extremely accurate and has the best out of the box trigger I've ever experienced. It had feed issues in the beginning, did not shoot to POA, and I broke the slide stop in the first 100 rounds. It's working well now. I put a pachmeyer grip on it, and I shoot it better than any of my other pistols. For the $ it's a good buy (tactical model).

chubbmann
July 10, 2008, 06:18 PM
My RIA 1911 .45 is a pleasure to shoot and an exceptional value. The only complaint I had about this gun is it took about 300 rds to break it in. It was really tight when I first got it with lots of sharp edges. I guess my only complaint is the extremely small margine of error allowed by Armsco's machinery making it almost too well made...

Rex B
July 10, 2008, 06:49 PM
cmidkiff wrote " I still want a beaver tail, better trigger, skel hammer, bigger slide release, different safety... and my gun smith tells me that all of the above will require a good deal of hand fitting, because the fit of the RIA isn't quite up to spec."

I ain't buying that, not entirely. That RIA is as "up to spec" as anything out there. You can get a Wilson drop-in beavertail that will fit it fine, might take a stroke or two with a common file to make it work. Same with the other items, on any 1911.
I changed out all the above mentioned parts on a Llama Minimax 45 a few weeks ago. The trigger was generic, the thumb safety was Colt, sear was Wilson, the hammer & slide release was RIA. It all worked fine, no fitting at all. Improved the trigger trigger noticeably.
And I used a new RIA hammer and slide release on a Colt Sistema, works fine.

SaxonPig
July 10, 2008, 08:38 PM
I have a standard model in 38 Super that seems to work just fine. Not pretty, but not priced to be pretty.

Good value for a working gun, IMO.

RobMoore
July 10, 2008, 09:05 PM
I bought one a month ago. A fullsized tactical that I spent $450 on shipped.

I installed
1. 18.5# recoil spring, because I like them better for WWB.

2. VZ Grips, because I wanted a more tacky feel than the slick wood without getting aggressive diamonds.

3. Dawson FO front sight .100 x .200, because I like fiber optic

4. STI TAS adjustable rear sight, because the gun needed correction of windage and elevation.

5. Ed Brown magwell/mainspring housing, because I like the feel of the weight, and easier reloads.

I'm using CMC Shooting Star 8 rounders, with a mix of WWB and hydrashok, and the gun hasn't done anything but feed, chamber, lock, fire, unlock, extract, eject, cock, and repeat in 800+ rounds.

Its not fair (to other brands) that a gun this cheap works this good.

EDIT: I went with the tactical because the upgrades alone are worth three times the price difference, and I couldn't have easily swapped the sights otherwise.

http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f46/LITEW8/RIA1911target.jpg

http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f46/LITEW8/1911010-2.jpg

http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f46/LITEW8/1911007-2.jpg

http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f46/LITEW8/FOfrontsight.jpg

Daryl Licht
July 10, 2008, 09:34 PM
I bought the RIA when the budget was pretty tight. What I really wanted was a stainless SA Milspec, and bought one later on when finances permitted. I still have both guns and put and equal amount of ammo thru them.

Fit and finish on the SA gun is superior to the RIA. The SA sights are also much better. When we get to the subject of shooting, both are equally reliable, and neither is significantly more accurate than the other (though the Springer is easier to shoot because of the sights).

If the Rock is OK with you as it comes from the box it's a good buy. Buying the RIA as a platform to modify just for the sake of doing it yourself is worthwhile, IMHO. Buying it because it's inexpensive, then upgrading it because it doesn't meet your needs doesn't make any sense at all, and if you think that might happen, save up and buy something else.

rondog
July 10, 2008, 09:52 PM
hankdatank1362 -

Thanks! Yeah, I had it polished and blued, they did a fabulous job.

AndyC
July 10, 2008, 10:08 PM
RobMoore - which front sight is that, exactly? That's the style I'm looking for but can't find it on Dawson's site.

Gibbles
July 10, 2008, 10:46 PM
I own only SA's, I have a slightly modified Stainless loaded and a modified GI milspec, both ran out of the box without a hitch.

I have heard that RIA had some quality issues in the past but the current ones are good to go.

RobMoore
July 10, 2008, 11:10 PM
AndyC

http://www.dawsonprecision.com/ProductDetail.jsp?LISTID=22E0000-1094593468

AndyC
July 10, 2008, 11:13 PM
Ah, thanks, Rob - I was puzzled because it doesn't look like the same sight in the pics you posted.

JeepGeek
July 10, 2008, 11:18 PM
I bought a RIA 1911 the other day.

Took it to the range, ran 100 rounds each of FMJ and JHP, both 230 grain.

Not even one failure.

Logan5
July 10, 2008, 11:46 PM
I'll spare you the long story about how biased against anything without a pony on it I am...
That said, the quality of the finish on a (nickel version... obviously, parked is parked, but plating you can do wrong) RIA isn't anything like a (nickel) Colt, but the overall build and fit quality is very good indeed. It'll reallly throw you for a loop when you handle one, I found. Rock Islands are your 70 series guns, solidly built, not taking shortcuts but also without taking any extra pains... A solid basic pistol, and if you're looking for a nickel .38 Super Auto, RIA has the best deal going.

RobMoore
July 11, 2008, 09:01 AM
Andy, what may have confused you is that the front sight in the first two pics of the gun is the factory sight. I added the FO after those pics were taken. The only pic of the FO is the sight picture one on the bottom.

AndyC
July 11, 2008, 09:41 AM
Ah, righto - that eases my mind. Thanks again, Rob :)

Eric F
July 11, 2008, 10:33 AM
cmidkiff wrote " I still want a beaver tail, better trigger, skel hammer, bigger slide release, different safety... and my gun smith tells me that all of the above will require a good deal of hand fitting, because the fit of the RIA isn't quite up to spec."
What a load of crap! I'm not calling any one here a liar but I did the whole firecontrol group beaver tail hammer sear plunger disconector trigger and a mainspring house/mag well in a few hours with 3 files a punch a knife sharpening stone some sand paper and a screw driver. Changed the springs and got a great 2 pound trigger. Took it to a gunsmith/1911 builder and got a first class job aproval. gun has never faild and works great!

SureThing
July 11, 2008, 03:22 PM
Where is the best place to buy the Tactical?

7mmRemMag
July 11, 2008, 03:57 PM
Ditto, SureThing

SureThing
July 11, 2008, 04:08 PM
Found one here.

http://www.centerfiresystems.com/AC-RI1911TAC.aspx

jece
July 11, 2008, 04:39 PM
Could someone explain how the DAK trigger system works? Does this system adds more parts and make working on the pistol more difficult? Does it remove some of the parts like the hammer reset spring, decocking lever, and decocking lever bearing, and decocking lever spring? Should I just stick with the DA/SA sytem?

putteral
July 11, 2008, 04:43 PM
I think Gunbroker has the tactical.

RobMoore
July 11, 2008, 05:03 PM
Bellshire guns on gunbroker. He ships fast, and has low prices.

JeepGeek
July 11, 2008, 07:20 PM
there is no decocking lever on a 1911...

Eric F
July 12, 2008, 12:21 AM
there is no decocking lever on a 1911... the para lda has one doesnt it? I dont know much anout it but it is a da 1911.

JeepGeek
July 12, 2008, 01:13 AM
1911s are also not DA, they're SA.

I'm sure someone makes something that looks like a 1911, that's got a decocker and is DA/SA, but it's NOT a 1911.

Eric F
July 12, 2008, 01:22 AM
Ok I found it on the para web site its just DA only While many people in the industry have tried to create a double-action autoloading pistol, they have always had to struggle against the heavy trigger pull that was required to cock and release the hammer. But it was the genius of Para that finally broke through the old way of thinking. Para refused to accept that a double-action trigger had to be long and heavy, making it hard to hit your target.

Para’s light double-action (LDA) trigger system gives you the smoothest trigger you have ever felt on a double- action handgun of any kind, whether it is a revolver or an autoloader.

The LDA was not invented to replace the single-action trigger on the 1911 pistol. We could have put the LDA trigger into any style of pistol. We consider the ergonomics of the 1911-type pistol to be the best in the world for an autoloading pistol.

For those who must have a hammer-down carry, or just prefer a double-action trigger, we give you the LDA with its natural stroke that is consistent every pull. It is the sweetest trigger you have ever tried!
http://www.paraord.com/new/product_lda.php

kcshooter
July 12, 2008, 01:34 AM
I'm not calling any one here a liar but I did the whole firecontrol group beaver tail hammer sear plunger disconector trigger and a mainspring house/mag well in a few hours with 3 files a punch a knife sharpening stone some sand paper and a screw driver. Changed the springs and got a great 2 pound trigger. Took it to a gunsmith/1911 builder and got a first class job aproval. Folks, don't try this at home. This can turn out ok, or can lead to disaster. Are ya feelin lucky? Then seek the help of a professional 'smith.

Eric F
July 12, 2008, 02:48 AM
Folks, don't try this at home If you do not have any mechanical ability, know how, or ingeneral experience then I will certianly agree. It is however quite do-able with a few books and even better if you have a 1911 mechanic show you a thing or two.

Gibbles
July 13, 2008, 10:59 PM
Folks, don't try this at home

If you do not have any mechanical ability, know how, or ingeneral experience then I will certianly agree. It is however quite do-able with a few books and even better if you have a 1911 mechanic show you a thing or two.

I installed a high ride beaver tail, I bought the jig and everything expecting it to be easy, after I got the lugs flush with the jig I tried to fit the tail, then I realized that it needed a lot more work. I had fun with it and it turned out great, and dremel sand paper wheels are awesome. It was not an easy thing, especially if you have no experience with a dremel or are impatient.

I have no idea why they even sell the beaver tails with a finish, I had to remove so much metal and after making the back of the gun nice and flush, most of the finish was gone. ;)

Eric F
July 13, 2008, 11:30 PM
I have no idea why they even sell the beaver tails with a finish, I had to remove so much metal and after making the back of the gun nice and flush, most of the finish was gone. I got lucky with the BT i have, its stainless and it just droped in. I had to stretch some metal slightly then file it down to get a proper fit for the trigger bow block. But I had dedicated time to do all of it in one sitting with no interuptions.

brokencowboy
July 13, 2008, 11:31 PM
See my post about my RIA at

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=377608

1911jock
July 14, 2008, 12:00 AM
Ah yes RIA nothing wrong with any of them. I have a double stack a tactical and a officers size and a built up 38super. All excellent quality for the price. Infact you likely wont find better dollar for dollar.

Landor
July 14, 2008, 12:11 AM
I owned a RIA .45 officer model. It did go boom every time. It was well worth the money..

MartinS
July 14, 2008, 12:46 AM
That good book and a .45, jewels of the culture.

rondog
July 14, 2008, 02:29 AM
I have two of the RIA GI models, never have bought a Tactical. But the gun that I posted a photo of earlier in this thread, I put the Tactical beavertail on myself. The hammer and trigger just dropped in, but the b/tail required a LOT of grinding and filing, and patience to get it right and decent looking. But, if I can do it, anybody can.

Here's both of my GI's, you can see how much meat I had to remove off the frame horns. The bottom view shows a little extra metal, or "fatness" to the horns. I left a little meat on them for the gunsmith to do the final contouring before polishing and bluing. I also ground the front of the trigger smooth and radiused it, I don't care for the deep grooves in their triggers.

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b150/rinselman/guns/DSCN1209.jpg

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b150/rinselman/guns/DSCN1212.jpg

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b150/rinselman/guns/DSCN1216.jpg

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b150/rinselman/guns/DSCN1235.jpg

JeepGeek
July 14, 2008, 02:34 AM
Great work!

XDKingslayer
July 14, 2008, 12:20 PM
The truth about Rock Island 1911s?









I pick mine up Thursday...

Ceemack
July 14, 2008, 10:33 PM
Now, I've got more money in it than I would have if I'd have bought a springer mil spec, and I still want a beaver tail, better trigger, skel hammer, bigger slide release, different safety... and my gun smith tells me that all of the above will require a good deal of hand fitting, because the fit of the RIA isn't quite up to spec.
I might start looking for a new gunsmith.

The RIA frame isn't out of "spec"...being cast instead of forged, it's beefed up in a couple of places to maintain strength. Some parts may require hand-fitting, but this is partly because of dimensional differences in the RIA frame and the fact that the part was made oversized (for tight fitting) to begin with.

Replacing the trigger on mine required minor filing of the trigger blade so that it would fit in the slot. Not that big a deal, and probably as much the fault of the trigger as the gun.

Skeletonized hammer? The Wilson Combat hammer dropped right in.

Bigger slide release? Drop in.

Different thumb safety? Haven't tried this one yet.

A GI-style gun has to be modified to put in a beavertail? Stop the presses! Of course the frame has to be ground down to put in a beavertail. That's what those jigs are for. If you've just gotta have one of these, and I think they're a mixed blessing, RIA makes a tactical model that comes with a beavertail.

As for getting a good trigger pull...mine's just over 3 lbs. and very crisp. I put in a new trigger, a skeletonized hammer, a Wolf mainspring and a King's 4-fingered sear spring. Other than fitting the trigger blade to the channel, no alterations were made or required.

Logan5
July 15, 2008, 12:22 AM
That is a little bit funny... "Gee Mr. Gunsmith, hand fitting? You mean you're not just gonna call Brownells, drop everything in when it arrives in a week, then call me and tell me to come down and bring money? I had no idea your business was so complicated!"

kcshooter
July 15, 2008, 12:34 AM
While I agree that the RIA is just fine as far as spec's are concerned, you're kidding yourself if you think there is anything drop-in about a 1911.

Dropping in a hammer is dangerous. So is dropping in a sear or thumb safety. Certain sets are made to drop in, such as a C&S set, but even these need function checked afterwards.

Eric F
July 15, 2008, 09:08 AM
There are a bunch of parts that should drop right in.

Mil spec replacements for plugs guide rods full length or milspec springs main spring houses ect ect.

There are a whole slew of after market parts that can drop in but some times even drop in parts need a tune up here and there.

For me my Ria started out as a Idpa gun but now fills my carry gun spot too. I just wanted an inexpensive 1911 to tinker and build upon. It has been a real education. But again dollar for dollar its the best milspec 1911 your going to find.

DIETOMBRADY
July 16, 2008, 02:06 PM
I have had my RIA for over a year and have had no problems. I have added some goodies and find it to be comparable to other 1911's on the market.

Snowdog
July 16, 2008, 02:13 PM
My RIA (stock other than walnut grips) will reliably feed 185gr and 200gr SWC straight from the box, something my Kimber didn't do without a little tinkering.

I bought my RIA back when they still sold new under $300 and consider it the best "value" purchase I've made in years.

My dressed up series 1 Kimber and RIA
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3135/2418325594_50ccc0ce7e_b.jpg

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