How many rounds necessary to break in 1911?


el Godfather
March 21, 2013, 04:00 PM
Dear THR:
How many rounds must be fired through a NIB 1911 before its broken in for reliable duty pistol?

I have been hearing 500. A buddy took out NIB DW Vbob to range and it jammed after 3rd mag.... What gives?

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March 21, 2013, 04:04 PM
I thought 100 to 200 was somewhat standard to wear in all the metal to metal mating surfaces.

March 21, 2013, 04:14 PM
Define broken in? My Kimber was stone reliable out of the box.

March 21, 2013, 04:21 PM
My RIA 1911A1 did not need a break in. It has worked wtihout issue from round 1, its on roughly round 350 through it. YMMV

March 21, 2013, 04:40 PM
Did it jam once or continuously afterwards? Was he using the same mag the whole time or did he try different mags? Factory ammo or reloads? I think in this day and age any new gun out of the box should be reliable and the 'break-in' is more to verify that it will digest whatever load you are planning on carrying in it.

March 21, 2013, 04:42 PM
I've often seen the 500 number in relation to Les Baer pistols. That is not 500 rounds to get the pistol to function, they expect it to function from shot one, but to properly smooth out the surfaces.

The Baer recommendation is to shoot 500 rounds through the pistol before you field strip and clean the pistol. Make sure it is always properly lubed, but shoot the 500 rounds before the first cleaning.

It's like the break in period for your car.

March 21, 2013, 05:39 PM
It depends. I'd say it's broken in when it can fire 500 rounds of the ammo of your choice without a hiccup. It can be from round one or it may take some time and tweaking. Every gun is different.

March 21, 2013, 06:05 PM
Many say 500 rounds to breakin but most will run perfect from day one. You have to make the decision based upon how it functions after whatever number of rounds you decide to use.

March 21, 2013, 06:24 PM
Usually less rounds than it takes to break-in the shooter.

Jams at any round count could be the ammo, magazine or any number of issues. I own and shoot a bunch of 1911s, all good to go out of the box. But, as the round count goes up,the parts do wear-in and get smoother.

March 21, 2013, 06:49 PM
It's impossible to come up with an "average" number of rounds because every gun is different with regard to how roughly finished the bearing sufaces were left. Some guns are nicely machined and well fitted and some look like they were made on a worn out 100 year old mill in India.:scrutiny: As far as feed and ejection problems, those were created at the factory and shooting 500 rounds isn't going to fix it. I "break in" all of my new guns with a little stoning where it's needed.

March 21, 2013, 07:04 PM
I don't think of it as "break in" so much as "reliability tested".

I've heard a number of different people recommend varying amounts of defense ammunition be test fired through a self-defense handgun to verify its reliability...everything from 50 to 500 rounds.

I'd say you need to run at least 100 rounds of whatever it is you're going to use flawlessly in order to say the handgun will function reliably with that ammunition for self defense purposes.

As for everything shoot the weapon with whatever ammunition you choose for target practice and such and be done with it. Don't worry about "break in" for this.

March 21, 2013, 07:15 PM
It'll take thousands of rounds to complete the process. If you'd like, you can send it to me and I'll help.
Both of my1911 have been reliable out of the box. (springer and ria).

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

March 21, 2013, 07:49 PM
None. It should run fine right out of the box.

March 21, 2013, 08:37 PM
My personal experience based on my 1911s (three Ed Browns, two Dan Wessons and two Kimbers) is that the higher end 1911s with typically tighter slide to frame fit do benefit from a few hundred rounds. The slides feel noticeably smoother as the round count increases. I consider this to be a "break in" since it's metal against metal wear. Other parts wear such as the slide and disconnector, sear and hammer, sear/disconnector/grip safety and sear spring. Yep ... some 1911s break in with use and some get better with use.

March 21, 2013, 08:54 PM
Mine both took around 800. Not that they were super unreliable or anything but it would misfeed once every 50 or 100 rounds then one day it just stopped happening. I had more work done and it got finicky again for a few hundred rounds and the settled down again.


March 21, 2013, 09:11 PM
Lol.... Break in.... "How much $$$ do I have to spend shooting my $1500 gun before it shoots as well as my $300 Sigma did out of the box?"

March 21, 2013, 09:30 PM
There is no magic number for this. Sometimes the parts take a few hundred tower in, sometimes not. I am kind of like the Chief. Shoot it for reliability testing, not breaking in.

March 21, 2013, 10:28 PM
0 rounds in the case of my Colt Governmet XSE.

It operated flawlessly right out of the box.

March 22, 2013, 01:42 AM
Now now ... OP said "reliable DUTY pistol" which I take it to go BANG when your life depends on it.
How many rounds must be fired through a NIB 1911 before its broken in for reliable duty pistol
My confidence point for any HD/SD pistol is around 1000+ rounds of various factory and reloaded rounds, especially JHP rounds. With any new pistol, I intentionally run them dirty with various factory and reloaded rounds to see what would cause them to jam/FTF/FTE and not return to full battery. If I run into any reliability issues, I look for the root causes and fix them or eliminate them. Until pistols are deemed reliable, they are designated for range use only.

Here's Hilton Yam's take on "Duty 1911" -
You really need to shoot the gun for 1000-1500 rounds, to include about 500 or more rounds with duty ammunition to have a good feel for what the gun is doing. Do not just put "200 flawless rounds" through the gun and declare that it is "completely reliable." That is not a statistically significant cycle of service. You may as well tell a race car driver that his car is good for that 500 mile race after you drive it around the parking lot once. You need to be able to fire 1000-1500 rounds through the gun without any malfunctions. Cleaning and lubrication every 200-400 rounds is an acceptable interval of maintenance while evaluating the weapon for suitability.

March 22, 2013, 10:15 AM
Mr. Yam also made these comments concerning the specs of a duty pistol. Something I think many shooters fail to fully understand the consequences of. Emphasis is mine.

"Here are the basic specifications to examine for a duty 1911:

•Full sized Government Model 1911 format with 5" barrel length and steel frame for increased reliability and durability.
•Chambered in .45 ACP, as that is the caliber in which the gun was designed and functions best. The greatest number of magazine options are available in .45 ACP.
•Standard Browning barrel without integral feed ramp. Ramped barrels typically have very steep feed ramps that don't feed well. Wide mouthed hollowpoints can also catch at the bottom of the integral ramp, creating further feeding issues.
•Standard milspec short recoil spring guide rod and plug.
•Recoil spring rating of 17-18.5 lbs to improve durability with full power duty loads.
•Availability of ambidextrous safety for left handed users.
•Type of firing pin safety system, if any. See below for further.
•Light rail or standard dust cover.
•Type of finish."

March 22, 2013, 02:08 PM
From the OP;

How many rounds must be fired through a NIB 1911 before its broken in for reliable duty pistol?

There is no set period or round count. Some high end manufacturers recommend a certain amount but most factory guns do not.

I'm nobody from nowhere but I'll tell ya what I do, it may help.

I treat any 1911 the same way I treat any other pistol of any type or maker, new or used: I field strip and clean them. I inspect them. I lightly oil them. I take them to the range with the mags they came with and a few of any others I have for that type gun. I bring 200 rounds of quality factory ball ammo preferably by different well known makers. Ball, because if a gun won't feed ball ammo it will have problems with any other type, ball because it's easier to diagnose a problem with, ball because it's cheaper and helps you get used to the gun. It it won't run with ball figure out the problem and proceed. If it does run 200 rounds of ball with no major problems caused by the gun then proceed to whatever ammo you want to carry.

When folks say, "The 1911 needs 500 rounds fired before it's broken in". I tend to ignore that, who cares. I need to shoot it from my hands with the ammo I have to see if it works for me. The old standard of 200 rounds without major problems with the ammo I like before I'll carry it is what I look to. Same as any gun. When folks say "These guns should all run excellently out the box and need no break in!" I ignore that as well. Who cares. I need to shoot it from my hands. Debating abstracts is pointless. Treat them all the same.

I agree with a point made by someone else. A duty gun and a CCW are different. Different set up different needs. Both need reliability however.

1911s need no special care, no special "break in period" as a whole. They do have their own particulars, the way to learn those is to shoot them and study some. All guns of any type, factory or custom, do need a period of owner break in.

If someone tells you brand X needs no break in period while brand Z needs 500 rounds break in you'd be a fool to pay that any mind. Instead, field strip, inspect, clean and lube. Grab some ball ammo and head to the range. Go 2 or three times, it's fun. Only then will you know where you stand with that gun. That's what's important ain't it?


March 22, 2013, 02:26 PM
My new Colt (Stock, 5" "Government model")) has been 100% right out of the box. Just a field-strip, wipe-down and lube before first range session. (Couple of issues with the new Colt mags not locking back the slide on the last round but still 100% as far as feed, fire and ejection.) This is with approx 350 rounds; mix of 3 different kinds of 230 gr FMJ and some 230 gr. JHP.

My Springfield "Loaded" (5" Stainless) is about 10 years old but I bought it new. It's never had any failure on any FMJ. It hiccuped on some JHP when it was new but will now feed anything. I never did anything to 'fix' it so I guess that lends some validity to the idea of "wearing-in".

Sauer Grapes
March 22, 2013, 09:53 PM
For me, it's 200 rounds. If it doesn't ''fumble'', I'm good to go. That's reliability test, not break in.

March 22, 2013, 10:01 PM
Of all the 1911s I have owned, they either work from day one or else they are not going to work until you change/fix something.

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