Opiniions on auto ord. .45's


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3screw357
March 24, 2004, 09:49 PM
I have the opportunity to pick up a couple of auto ordinance .45's in a trade and I was wondering what the general opinion of these guns are.
Any help is appreciated.

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Josey
March 25, 2004, 02:52 AM
I would pass.

Detritus
March 25, 2004, 03:12 AM
if made at least a few months after Kahr took ownership of AO the guns have a decent likelihood of being an "ok" risk (reports are than Kahr has started getting the bugs out of the QC system but it took a little bit to get things smoothly going)...

If made duringthe time Gunparts Inc. (Numrich) owned the name, well you've about an 70-80% chance of the guns being usefull only as a decoy weight.

and i'd say if they're coming in on a trade then odds are that the guns are "pre-kahr" and in the "don't risk it" pile.

arinvolvo
March 25, 2004, 05:16 AM
agree with detritus...prekahr are passers...post kahr have potential.

as much as it pains me to say it...youd be better off with a para.:uhoh: :D

1911Tuner
March 25, 2004, 05:27 AM
Good advice from our members. Some of the early 80s production
Auto Ordnance pistols wre actually quite good, all things considered.
Most weren't. The late 80s to mid 90s pistols ran from bad to horrible.

I used to search for Auto Ordnance 1911s with issues and pick'em
up for a song...which the owner was happy to get in most cases...and
go rework, massage, tweak and shoot to destruction. Most of the time,
it wound up being a matter of tossing everything but the slide, frame,
barrel, trigger and grip safety and rebuilding the gun. Sometimes even the
barrel went away. Rebuilding from the used/junk parts box was the cheap
way to go, and nothing much dropped in and worked.

If you can get the pair for under 200 bucks, have a talent for turning
sow's ears into denim purses, and have a fairly extensive used parts
collection, they might be worth messin' with. Otherwise, it's best to pass.

I've heard that the newer production Kahrs are much better, but since
nobody around here will buy one due to the bad rep that they gained
in the past, I haven't had the opportunity to break one down to have a
close look. Can't ofer a judgement call on'em.

If you want a really good 1911 pistol with no cheap castings where there should be good steel...and all you want is a no-frills go anywhere/do anything utility pistol, find a stock Norinco...one that hasn't been "smithed'
with a trigger job, and buy it. They're reliable, in-spec, tough as pig iron,
and most can be bought used for as little as 300 bucks up to 400-450
unused/NIB.

Luck!

Tuner

stans
March 25, 2004, 06:34 AM
I think Tuner nailed it. I had one that I bought used in 1988, so it had to be mid 1980's production. It was not entirely reliable, even ball ammo would sometimes hang. The parts were crudely machined. The breech face was so rough that no amount of polishing could smooth it out. The barrel actually appeared to be a casting as well. I eventually used this gun to learn 1911 gunsmithing. If I had known how bad they really were, I would have never bought one, but at the time all the gun magazines were busy writing articles on how great they were, how reliable, and how incredibly accurate. May have been true of the samples sent to the gun writers, but not true of the pig I bought.

I have handled some of the new production Auto Ords. Some seemed to be pretty well finished and put together, others were just as bad as the old ones.

DavidC
March 25, 2004, 01:58 PM
I bought one in '92. The parts themselves weren't bad, (if fact there is still no wear visible on the gun) but the build quality was horrible. No one had bothered to pull the trigger after it was assembled. If they had tried they would have found it wouldn't pull; the notch for the trigger in the grip safty hadn't been cut out.

After this was fixed it wouldn't cycle FMJ factory ammo, the barrel link was twisted end to end. A big vise and a little fine sandpaper fixed this and a file had fixed the grip safty.

After the initial couple days of aggravation (we won't even talk about the day, day and a half to find the safety spring and plunger when it sproinged out into the carpet the first time I took the gun apart <g>), but no money spent, on these things, it has pretty much been flawless with no parts needed for the last 12 years.

1911Tuner
March 25, 2004, 02:20 PM
Howdy DavidC. Welcome to THR.

I've got an early 1982 production AO that's actually quite good. Absolutely
flawless vertical lockup on the bottom lug and slidestop pin. Slide/frame
fit is virtually slop-free and centered to within .001 inch The pistol is
dead reliable and as accurate as the average Gold Cup...even with the two-piece barrel. Thompson DID put a good one together once in a while...
just not very often.

The biggest issue is in the cheaply cast small parts. Hammer, sear, disconnect...etc. All of'em. Even the pins. I replaced all the internals with either commercial Colt or good, used USGI parts.

The frame and slide are still investment cast, though, and won't stand up to
heavy use for long. Every AO dog that I've salvaged has busted the slide in
less than 15,000 rounds...and the frames generally go south at about 25,000. That's about my average round count for a summer.

Essex (The company that supplied Thompson with the frames and slides)
has come a long way since those days, and their castings are very good,
though still not on a par with Caspian's. I've built two Commander clones
on Essex frame and slide sets in the last year, for less than 600 dollars per
gun, and both have been completely satisfactory and reliable. Due to
my standing "Professional Discount" left over from the good old days, my cost ran about a hundred to a hundred and a quarter lower than without it,
but the guns are better than anything on the commercial market in that price range, and with good steel internals to boot. This is mostly due to
everything being in-spec and tight QC on the part of Essex Arms, though
some metal prep work is called for if you want a nice finish.

Luck!

Tuner

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