AMT Hardballer tomorrow


Sniper X
February 5, 2011, 11:37 PM
A buddy wants to trade me this AMT hardballer for one of my guns. I have shot it and it is a great 1911~ runs everything I have shot in it flawlessly, and is ACCURATE! It is all stock.

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Double Naught Spy
February 6, 2011, 01:08 AM
AMT hardballers generally are not quality 1911s. As I recall, earlier versions had galling issues. Some of the parts were not comparable to proper standards. In mine, the recoil spring guide was made of soft metal that began to mushroom after a few thousand rounds.

Earlier hardballers (including mine) did not feed hollowpoint ammo consistently. Mine would not feed any.

What I am saying is that if the gun you are trading isn't one in which you have much money, or is a gun you just hate, you should probably consider passing on the deal.

Hardballers seem to go for anywhere from about $350 to $550

David E
February 6, 2011, 02:07 AM
Mine had a barrel that wasn't properly fitted. A barrel from a Colt Gold Cup did, so I told them about the problem.

Their response? They sent a parts list with "barrel" circled, along with the full retail price.

I couldn't sell it fast enough.

Hope yours is a better example than that one was.

February 6, 2011, 09:46 AM
If he's shot it first and it works with the ammo he likes, should be a safe bet no matter how bad yours might have been.

February 6, 2011, 11:29 AM
I sold several of them when I had a shop about 30 years ago. The only problems I saw were a broken sear and a broken recoil spring plug. I replaced them with Colt parts.

I always threw in a throat and feed ramp polish job with the gun and they fed SWCs just fine.

I liked the Hardballer. They seemed to be pretty strong guns.
One customer loaded a double charge of Bullseye by mistake. The round was the last one in the mag. It blew out the case at the feed ramp, blew the mag floorplate, spring and follower out and cracked one of the grips. No damage to the gun.

That same customer managed to shoot himself in the leg while practicing fast draw, but that's another story.

February 6, 2011, 11:42 AM
Sniper X

I used to work on friend's original AMT Hardballer and there's somethings about this one that look different to me. I'm not totally sure about AMT production, but if that's an original stock AMT Hardballer it shouldn't have a beavertail grip safety. The rear sight somehow looks different too. I think the original resembled a Colt Gold Cup rear sight while this one looks more like one from Millett Industries.

Also the original slide stop release lever was an extended "combat" version, much like the thumb safety. The one on this gun looks like a regular M1911 type. Same with the hammer; this one appears to be some sort of Commander style while the originals had the regular M1911 spur hammer.

I think back in 2000, a company called Galena Industries took over AMT and started building Hardballers again but more like the configuration that you have posted. I can't tell from the photo but is the medallion on the wrap-around rubber grips a Colt medallion or is it one with the AMT logo?

February 6, 2011, 11:49 AM
If it's AMT run for the nearest exit.

Double Naught Spy
February 6, 2011, 11:52 AM
If he's shot it first and it works with the ammo he likes, should be a safe bet no matter how bad yours might have been.

The logic doesn't work well for Raven pistols. Just because it fires a few times does not mean it is a quality gun.

February 6, 2011, 12:16 PM
I had one before I knew better. I wouldn't touch another.

Sniper X
February 6, 2011, 01:24 PM
I have shot it. He has shot it quite a bit. I totally disassembled it and none of the internals were worn at all. It has about 1000 total rounds thru it. I was skeptical at first, but after a trip to the range, it shoots as well as ANY stock 1911 I have ever had or shot and better than most. It feeds the following so far with no hickups, 230ball, 230gr HP, 230gr +p HP, and even silvertips. Soooo, I think I got a good one. Fomr what I know about these and I have some experience on them, there were good ones and bad ones. There were two distinct models, this one that had a regular Government style hammer, but had a beavertail, and extended slide stop and safety and adjustable sights. The other one was a clone of (basically) the Government GI 1911 but stainless as all AMT 1911s were Stainless.

This is a later one manufacturring wise and therefore a better one as in the mid years they had QC problems. Earlier they also had galling problems because of the stainless alloy they used which they switched in the mid years for an alloy that was less prone to galling. I usually shy away from all stainless guns because they all gall to a point.

Funny thing about every one of these I have ever shot, and with a lot of 1911s, they feel loosey goosey until they are loaded and in battery. This one is OK when totally empty, but tight when loaded and shoots great! I HATE the wraparound Pacmeyer stile rubber grips so immediately swapped on a nice set of Houges in rosewood and put on a skate tape front strap grip and the gun feels worlds better in my hand.
The one I pictured is,t mine but here's a pic from a cel phone.

February 6, 2011, 01:31 PM
My brother bought a new AMT Hardballer back when they were in production. We tried and tried, but the thing was just not reliable with any ammo we tried. We were not knowledgeable enough at the time to figure out what the cause of problem/s might have been. He finally gave up and bought a Colt. Colt worked 100% with everything from day one. Just me, but I would not trade any quality gun for a Hardballer. ymmv

Sniper X
February 6, 2011, 01:39 PM
This makes me laugh in a way. The ONLY 1911 I have every had that was finicky WAS a Colt! And it was a brand new Gold Cup, that damn thing would ONLY feed 230gr ball raliably and even at that, it still had a few feed problems no matter which mags were used. I ended up selling it and getting over the Colt hype till I bought the suppposed worst one ever built, a M1991A1 and that thing was STELLAR! I tend to not pay much attention to what I now read on the net about guns being crap because every time I read it doesn't pan out for my experience. Same thing happened when I bought a HiPpoint C9 to leave in my camping trailer....that thing is indestructable, and shoots great, and is VERY is plug ugly and feels horridd in the hand thogh

February 6, 2011, 01:46 PM
The AMT pistols certainly seem to be getting a bad rap, some of it deservedly, some, not so much. They did suffer some quality control issues, but they can be tuned up in the same manner as any 1911. I had one come in with barrel ramp overlapping the frame ramp. That should never have left the shop like that but it did. My personal hard baller looks identical to the one in the picture above. I have tuned it up and it feeds anything reliably. One of the main concerns with making a 1911 reliable is extractor tuning. It must be just snug enough on the rim to hold a dummy round in the hook. If it is much tighter than that, it will start to hang up rounds from moving up the breech face and the bullet may nose dive or hang in the ramp gap. The ramps must be cut properly, the breech face should be smooth and it doesn't hurt if the chamber is polished a bit either. Extreme polishing won't do any good if the geometry is not correct, some barrels have very little ramp as do some frames seem to have a short, steep ramp, that has to be corrected very carefully so that there is only the minimal unsupported brass area at the barrel ramp. Over ramp it, and you will have case blowouts down the mag well and end up missing a hand. Best to leave the ramping to a qualified gunsmith. Put the dremel tool down!

My HB shoots <1 inch groups at 50 feet from a rest. It is one of the most accurate 1911 types I have ever shot and I have national match colts, springfields, and custom built guns and it runs with the very best of them. You need to use good lube in the frame/slide rails and it should prevent galling, very light polishing may help with that too. I did exchange the extractor for a Gov't style one, it didn't break or anything, I just preferred that traditional extractor and it tuned up very well. I never got around to trying other barrels in it, mainly because it shot so well with the factory barrel I guess. When a barrel shoots very well, you leave it alone.

Sniper X
February 6, 2011, 01:51 PM
Mine works so well, I am going to leave it alone for now. BTW what is in it that ISN'T 1911 clone? Everything in it looks identical to a real 1911, except the splay on the grips screws is a MM wider....which I find a tad weird...1911 grips fit, but you have to ever so slightly elongate the bottom of the top hole a MM.

February 6, 2011, 02:30 PM
SniperX, it's been a long time since I had mine apart. I seem to recall that a Colt sear spring will work in the HB. I think AMT made most if not all of their own parts. Since they were making them for their own guns, they might have had slight discrepancies from "Colt specs", and I suspect that is the source of the "colt parts don't fit". Actually, parts from different suppliers often vary slightly from source to source by a few thousandths or more. I used to see it all the time when I built 1911s. You came to figure out which ones you liked and tried to stick to those. Also, if the pin placements for hammer, sear, hole placement for disconnector etc. varied by a few thousandths here and there, I can see where tolerances might start stacking against you and standard Colt parts might not work as they should.

I think a good pistolsmith should be able to keep the HB in service for a long time even though AMT is long gone. I have shot a lot of 1911, about the only parts that ever wear out are recoil springs, firing pins and FP springs, maybe sear spring might get out of whack especially is someone is trying to get a trigger job bending the sear spring around. The secret to good triggers lies more in the sear engagement and breakaway and hammer hook dressing. You can get as light a trigger as you want without messing with the springs at all IF you know what you're doing. That is something that took me a long time to really figure out. Even barrels seem to last for many thousands of rounds if properly cared for. I'd enjoy the HB and not worry about it too much. Once they are properly tuned, they run about as good as any 1911.

February 6, 2011, 05:38 PM
The amt 45's were junk, almost any gun model they made had problems, I think the slides and frames as well as other parts are cheaply sand cast, most of the problems with most of the amt models were failure to feed and extract. Fit of their 1911 frames were not very good either.If your friend wants to trade another gun for it , I wouldn't place more than $200-$250 value on the AMT.

Even though his gun maybe accurate and fire fine. It dosn't have much value to it. You can equate it to sell a used RIA $350 pistol, RIA is a better gun and a used one should only sell for $250-$300

February 6, 2011, 05:42 PM
what kind of resting groups can you get at 25yrds with the gun, if they are greater than 3" don't buy it. A quality colt gold cup will shoot 2 inches at 25 yrds.

February 6, 2011, 08:52 PM
I'd rather have a High Point. (that oughta get 'em riled up!)

February 6, 2011, 09:12 PM
My first 45 was a AMT Hardballer. It was a flawless performer and very accurate. Since then I've owned a Colt Combat Commander, a Norinco 1911, and a Essex framed 1911. The AMT is the only one I would want back.

And Rondog, I would rather you had a HiPoint too.

Joe in fla
February 6, 2011, 10:53 PM
SniperX, as you can tell by the replies, some HBs were very good and some were very poor. I'm not sure what the difference was but they went from one extreme to the other with little middle ground.

For the ones of you that use one, whats the best kind of lube for use on these stainless steel pistols? I've noticed that the SS seems to be rather soft. I have one that's still NIB. I hope it's one of the good ones!

FWIW I tried an AMT .380 Backup. It was junk and stovepiped about every fourth round.

Jim Watson
February 6, 2011, 11:46 PM
A couple of guys here had them when new.
One was an advanced tinkerer and pretty good handtool gunsmith. He had to do a lot of tweaking to his Hardballer with some number of Colt internals to get it to run reliably but once it did, he pounded it with thousands of rounds of what would now be listed +P if not +P+. That cheap cast frame and slide were not battered or worn, barely burnished in. Whatever they cast them out of (17-4 PH, maybe) was tough stuff. Kind of like the Communist Chinese darlings of the Internet.

The other guy was a senior toolroom machinist. By the time he got his going, it had the strangest looking feed ramp you ever saw. The frame was welded up and cut back to suit him and his ammo. I don't think the incoming round even touched the barrel ramp; the frame ramp directed the round straight into the chamber. Odd and against all the rules, but it FED.

February 7, 2011, 01:21 AM
We sold several Hardballers during my gun store days with no complaints.

My personal one seemed to be the lemon of the bunch. No big problems but it was very ammo sensitive as far as feed reliability. It seems to have a very tight chamber and likes to have a heavy taper crimp on its handloads in order to feed well. I have tried several brands of magazines and have even applied a heavier crimp to factory ammo which works well to improve feeding.

In the gun's defense, it is very accurate even with ammo that does not feed well and as Mr. Watson said, it seems to be stoutly built. It seems to like SWC bullets as well as round nose.

All in all I didn't have real high expectations from this gun and bought it more to learn some gunsmithing skills than for any other reason. If I screwed up, I wasn't out a lot of money.

February 7, 2011, 02:05 AM
Sniper X, Sounds like you're getting a Hardballer that works and I wish you well with it. I can relate to your Gold Cup experience. I purchased a new '70 Series Gold Cup Lemon too. That thing was not reliable with any ammo. At 25 yards my new Gold Cup did not group, it patterned ! I sent it back to Colt and they replaced the slide under warranty. It was then reliable but was still very unrewarding as to accuracy. I have owned a number of '70 series Cold Cup and Govt. models and several had issues, but I guess that particular Gold Cup was among the worst. I have had much better results with the series '80 1991 and later NRM Colts than I did with the original '70 Series, that are so esteemed today...

Steve C
February 7, 2011, 03:50 AM
I bought an AMT hardballer in the mid 80's and it was a nice pistol to shoot but one day it just stopped working, the trigger wouldn't drop the hammer. Took it to a gunsmith and he said the sear spring was bad and suggested that all the ones AMT had used where suspect. He replaced all the springs with Colt springs and the gun ran great after that but I never had a lot of confidence in it from then on.

I traded it straight across for a Colt Python Nickle plated 4" from a guy who owned a pawn shop and wanted a Stainless .45. In those days the Python was worth about $350 or so and I only had a little over $200 into the AMT so it took about 2 seconds to make the deal. Still have the Python and its worth a lot more than the AMT will ever be.

Anyway, it would probably be a good idea to replace all the springs in the AMT with well known quality springs. While you do that you can get a trigger job which will add a lot to the guns accuracy and enjoyment.

February 7, 2011, 04:57 AM
I have no experience with AMT or AMT Hardballers so I won't tell that they are junk or not to buy it. I've read a lot of bad things about them and would probably pass on one myself but if you are getting one that you've tried and like and that you know is reliable and accurate then I say congrats on your new gun and enjoy it!

The one big problem I have with them is that big caution statement on the side of the slide, that's a little loud and obnoxious. The important thing is that the gun works and shoots accurately enough to your liking.

Jed Carter
February 7, 2011, 05:11 AM
What did you trade for it? That really determines value, there is not much I have that I would be willing to trade for the AMT, but it looks like a good pistol. I am about to buy an entry level 1911, (I have 5 already) a Para Ordnance GI Expert for $469 + tax, new. I still think that is too much, I'm cheap, can't stand paying asking price. It would make a good project pistol.

February 7, 2011, 09:56 AM
I bought my Hardballer used, in 1988, from a gun show. It's the Long Slide version. So I've had it and shot it, cleaned it and maintained it for more than 20 years.

So all the folks on the 'net who are plumb positive that my pistol is pure junk are at best, laughable.

No argument with the fact that a lot of AMT products had real problems. No argument with the fact that many, maybe even MOST people think there are complete turds. The reputation is warranted and has been justly earned.

But if you think you know all of them and you think you know that all of them are trash, you don't know your butt from a hole in the ground no matter how loudly you scream it in a discussion forum.

Many folks back in the day had issues and sent them back to the factory and got very good pistols back. It was absolutely erratic. But some of the attitudes of former owners (and folks who merely read posts and regurgitate someone else's opinion) must have had teenage daughters knocked up by Harry Sanford. :rolleyes:

On mine, the barrel bushing was loose and had too much play. I replaced it with a Kart National Match bushing. Later, I replaced the OEM recoil spring with an 18# Wilson spring. (that was 15 years after I bought it!) I had to adjust the extractor a year ago. That all of it... in 22 years of shooting.

I don't feed it Gold Dot or Cor-Bon. It eats 200 grain H&G68 LSWC and it eats 200 grain plated SWC and plated flat nose. I haven't fed it hardball since 1992.

The AMT reputation is well earned and I don't begrudge anyone for being skeptical about these pistols. But the bottom line is that if you think you know it all, you don't -- and you don't know mine. This pistol runs and it's the most accurate center fire semi-auto handgun that I own.

Sniper X
February 7, 2011, 10:55 AM
I traqded my 10-8 for it and 4 mags and 250 rounds of ammo, and a nice leather Galco holster. All the mags are Chip McCormock.

February 7, 2011, 11:03 AM
10-8, as in Nighthawk 10-8?

Sniper X
February 7, 2011, 11:05 AM
S&W 10-8, 1982 vintage, 4in blued .38spl. I threw in a speed loader, but kept the range bag! :}

February 7, 2011, 11:07 AM
Hi all is it me or has anyone else noticed tha the AMTs that run are said to be very accurate I have a longslide that I picked up in about 1984 and aside from replaceing the trigger (personl likes) the slide release (my thomb would ride on it and not let the slide lock back not the guns prob.) the gun has been very good, I had a colt NM from the 30s at the time I got it so when I found the amt I thought looks like a NM I could shoot with out worry about value the funny thing is the amt would out shoot the colt and it would eat any round you would feed it the colt not so, are they colt no but I will keep the one I have I like it YMMV .........wayne

February 7, 2011, 11:22 AM
S&W 10-8, 1982 vintage, 4in blued .38spl. I threw in a speed loader, but kept the range bag! :}
Whew!! You scared me!

Don't worry about what people are saying about Hardballers. If you know and like the gun then more power to you. I've had a number of AMT products and haven't been disappointed yet. In fact, I've still got a NIB/unfired Hardballer Longslide and a NIB/unfired Automag V in the closet.

February 7, 2011, 12:14 PM
10-8 is about a $150-$250 gun depending on condition, so its a straight up deal.

Now if is it was a model 15 with target hammer, sights , trigger , I would keep the 15.

Sniper X
February 7, 2011, 12:32 PM
Anyone who can get a 10-8 for that cheap should buy 12....mine was valued (by other sales) at around $350.00. And the Hardballer is valued at up to 550.

February 7, 2011, 07:56 PM
Sniper X

Don't let the naysayers put you off; if the Hardballer you're getting runs good already, then you're way ahead of the game as far as reliability goes with something made by AMT. Like I said earlier, I used to work on a friends Hardballer awhile ago. He wanted a beavertail grip safety added because of the occasional hammer bite he would get. I also did a trigger job on it, as well as replace the mainspring and recoil spring. The downside to the gun was that all the internal parts were rather rough and very poorly finished, and any hand fitting of just about all the parts looked to be pretty much non-existant.

Aside from that though the gun itself was quite accurate; however it was limited to just 230 gr. hardball. Anything else usually produced frequent FTF's; even trying several different magazines didn't yield any better results. Never had any problems with the stainless steel that was used to make the frame and the slide. Everything worked just fine and the gun held up really well, even after years of use at the range. Hope yours works out as well for you.

February 8, 2011, 11:35 PM
Like many have said, the HB can be an accurate gun. In 1911s, that means it has a good barrel and lock up. They are a bit funky and do have a deserved bad rep for quality control. It seems that they were assembled and not fit. They were assembled by folks that didn't know how to build 1911 style autoloaders and that was largely the problem IMO. Mine is as accurate a 1911 as I own and I have several as I've mentioned. But the fitting during assembly was not done on many or most of these pistols unfortunately. I did replace my sear spring but not much else that I recall. I used to blow the center out of many an NRA 50 ft. slow fire pistol target with mine with 200 gn SWC or 230 gn RNL bullets. It would make a 1" ragged hole in the center all day long, so that is something. One other thing, the elevation screw on the Millet adjustable rear sight has a tendency to back out from shooting and will fall right out, so I am trying some blue thread lock to see if that will cure it. The screw is hard to find now that Millett is out of the iron sight business. I may trade it some day, but the fact that it is such a target killer gives me a little reluctancy just yet.

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