Rock Island Armory Tactical 1911 .45ACP - Range Report


October 31, 2011, 01:22 AM
Hello everyone, Thought I would share about the new 1911 that I had gotten in a few days ago. In case you was thinking about buying one, I hope this helps you out.

Went to the range yesterday to test function and accuracy and I have to say that I am very pleased accuracy wise with factory loads from Winchester 230 GR RN ammo. Also shot some reloads and got O.K accuracy but could use some fine tuning.

Anyways, About the gun.
BTW, This is my first 1911, So I don't know what to really expect but we will see what happens?

For under $500, It is a pretty decent 1911. I how ever did run into a problem with it. More on that later.

When I first opened the box at the FFL that does my transfers, This thing look like they threw into a bucket of cosmoline without the grips on it and let it sit for a while in there. It was covered everywhere.

After inspecting it, The fit was decent and the finish was O.K. Got home, Took it apart and cleaned it as much as possible...Twice. It really was dirty. Bad girl.

Let start breaking it down some.

Sights - Novak Style. I LIKE these sights quite a bit. This guy pretty much shoots where you point it at and you can get your sights back on target pretty quickly with these. The only thing is, Im thinking about changing to a front fiber optic sight. Very hard to see all black sights when the sun is setting :neener:

Grips - The factory grips that are on them feel smooth and easy in the hand. Not the best maybe but definetely not the worst out there. They feel natural in my hand. I like em, Might change them out eventually but for now they will do the trick.

Trigger - Very little take up, Nice clean break. Feels smooth, I'm not sure if I want to change the trigger out. It feels just fine.

A downside to this purchase was one magazine. But that's ok, Bought a Kim Pro mag and fits very good.

Here is a few pics of the gun and the target I had used the Winchester 230GR RN 100 pack from Wal-Mart.

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October 31, 2011, 01:30 AM
Sorry for the crappy photos.

I had used HP rounds for the reloads and took picture of the targets after shooting them to show the accuracy with it. For the first outing with it, I have to say it is a fantastic gun.

These two pictures is of my reloads with,

Bullet- Berry Plated 200 GR HP
Powder -BullsEye
Charge- 3.7
Primer- CCI 300
Brass- PMC
COAL 1,178
Crimp .471

You can see that the 3.7 charge is not very good at all compared to the 4.0 charge of B.E

Second one is

Bullet - Berrys 200GR HP
Powder - Bulls Eye
Charge - 4.0
Primer - CCI 300
Brass PMC
COAL - 1.178
Crimp - .471

October 31, 2011, 01:31 AM
What was the problem? They like to be kept wet and broken in.

October 31, 2011, 01:35 AM
I also had took a pic of 3 shots with Unique. I have to say this load seemed to be pretty decent. I liked it but it wasn't truly enough to determine if it was just the right load for this gun.

One thing I need to mention is that this barrel is rather choosy about COAL. I had several malfunctions with it due to that. It started with the reloads but got that fixed with the COAL from Lyamans 49th edition.

When the slide is in battery, Sometimes it may or not chamber the round correctly and pushed the bullet back into the case as in the picture below. It did this to factory ammo.

The recoil from factory rounds with this gun were I guess what you would call normal. The 3.7 charge of B.E was very light and ejected the brass maybe a foot away from me and had a case or two hit me. The 4.0 charge was a little better and both functioned fine as well as the unique charge.

October 31, 2011, 01:38 AM
Oops, I forgot to post pics of the sites. Sorry for the review being in so many post. Thought it would be easier to understand one story at a time with it. Anyways, The sights worked out well for me but still thinking about a fiber optic for the front site.

October 31, 2011, 01:38 AM
Did it do it with one mag, or both? Could be feed lips too tight.

October 31, 2011, 01:40 AM
Sorry to argue the point, but that wasn't cosmoline, it's just oil. They oil them heavily before bagging them in the plastic to protect them from rusting. Cosmoline is a completely different thing, a thick, brown, stinky, greasy goo meant for putting weapons into long-term storage with. Nasty stuff. You'll never find a brand-new weapon with cosmoline on it, but the word gets way over-used.

All three of my RIA's were literally dripping with oil and took some serious cleaning, but they're great pistols and I'm not turning loose of any of them! The folks that make 'em drown them like that because they want them to be in perfect shape for the person that buys them, no little spots of rust or such are acceptable.

October 31, 2011, 01:42 AM
These were the Hollow Point rounds that were used and cycled perfectly in this gun. Not one hiccup with the reloads.


It did it with both magazines. I was told it could be the issue when I was trying out some reloads and someone suggested that my bullet was to loose. So i expanded very little and crimped lightly for the reloads and that problem went away.

So technically, Its an ammo problem I think you could say.

October 31, 2011, 01:45 AM

Makes sense. This stuff didn't smell. I thought it was cosmoline because even after wiping it down, It had left something that looked like surface rust on the slide. That came off tho with a good cleaning. That is why I had thought that.

Thanks for correcting that.

As for what I think of the gun? I don't regret buying it one bit and I like it a lot. Guns shoots great. I just have that one function problem with that Im hoping to be able to correct it. I wanted to use it as a carry gun but for now it will stay as a range gun.

The gunsmith told me that the barrel may need to be reamed. if it don't fix itself he said after breaking it to send to them to have it reamed.

October 31, 2011, 01:50 AM
Oh, you get ahold of an old milsurp rifle that has real cosmoline all over it, and you'll never forget it! You'll feel greasy and slimy for a week.

October 31, 2011, 04:57 PM
A lpot of hollowpoint ammo will not work in the RIA's pistols. Just like the Colts when they were first made. Ball ammo should be the ammo used in any pistol made overseas. Just for liability's sake. Unless,you polish the feed ramp. Myself in all my auto pistols,I use ball in mine even for self defense.

October 31, 2011, 05:10 PM
I have the same issues with having the correct crimp. I bought a separate crimp die and that solves the problem. Mine has digested every bullet type I have fed it, including hollow points and SWC. I think mine runs better wet. I found the smooth grips too hard to hold onto and I went to Pachmayr's American Legend Series grips.

My RIA is a range toy and test beds for reloads, I like it. My daughter took her first turn with it Sat and she seemed to enjoy it as well.

October 31, 2011, 07:05 PM

I think the feed ramp is polished. It feels very smooth with no rough edges anywhere. I'm not 100% sure about it being polished but it does feed these particular HP rounds without so much a problem as long as it is reloaded with the correct flare and crimp.

As for using ball ammo, I bought the 100 pack 230 gr Winchester and it did shoot the majority of the box pretty good. How ever, It had quite a few malfunctions as you can see in the pics posted earlier.

October 31, 2011, 08:50 PM
My RIA has the front fiber site. I love it. Don't think you can go wrong replacing yours. My gun has been a little picky with the hollow points, but most feed with no issues. Nice guns, especially for the price.

October 31, 2011, 08:57 PM
Josh I own the two tone tactical. I had 1 or 2 feed problems early on but my Rock has been flawless for quite awhile now. As I recall the problems were with JHP. Mine is strictly a range gun so I feed it 230 gr. roundball. I really enjoy this gun and will probably purchase a 9mm tactical at some point.

November 1, 2011, 12:39 AM
Josh, I can shoot my friend's RIA Tactical with 200 gr SWC ( and 5.0 gr W231/HP-38 and produce about 1-2 inch shot group off hand at 7-15 yards. It will feed SWC loaded to about 1.25"-1.26" OAL without issues (I am using .472" taper crimp and Lee dies).

Very accurate pistol for the price.

November 1, 2011, 01:32 AM

Good to know! I need to replenish what I have used and was thinking about using 185 GR or 200 GR SWC. The only thing is, I picked up Unique powder instead of W321/HP-38


This is going to be a range gun unil the problem is fixed. Then I might think about using it for more than that. A lot of people say it won't feed HP rounds so I was very curious to see if it would feed these and it does without a issue. This gun is my toy for testing reloads.

My brother is thinking about the 9mm Tactical model like this.


They are very good 1911 for the price. I don't regret it one bit.

November 1, 2011, 08:36 AM
Josh - Bullet " set Back " is what you described your pistol was doing. It can be dangerous in its extreme, but more so with the 40 cal S&W because of the high pressures. The .45 acp is a lower pressure round as you know being a reloader.

What you should do is allow the pistol to cycle a FACTORY hardball round that you think has loaded itself properly ......... then carefully remove the cartridge from the chamber and see if there is "bullet Set back". If there is do have a problem that needs attention sooner more so than later. It might be a simple fix ( like the bullet striking a part of the slide stop on its way to the chamber) or a serious problem with the angles cut into the feed ramp of the frame. I hope it works out for you ........ but I would get the pistol looked at by a good gunsmith or send it back to the factory for repairs.

November 1, 2011, 09:59 AM
I remember looking at a RIA in a gun shop. They had obviously just wiped down the outside, leaving the internals dripping in oil / grease.. At 1st I was "uck", but then realized, If "I" was shipping steel parts across the pacific ocean in a slow boat, I'd dip it in a vat of oil before I packed it up as well. I'd rather clean oil off a part than rust.

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