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AMT Hardballer

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by StrikeEagle, Apr 9, 2005.

  1. StrikeEagle

    StrikeEagle Active Member

    Jul 8, 2004
    Hello, Friends!

    Once in a while I see the old AMT Hardballer mentioned... generally with contempt. :p

    I have one... it was very tight when I got it and needed a couple hundred rounds to get it in shape. But it's been very reliable ever since. Can I ask exactly why it seems to have such a poor reputation here? Don't pull any punches, I'm not sensitive about it. :D

    But I'd really like to know! :)

    many thanks,
  2. MillCreek

    MillCreek Active Member

    Dec 31, 2004
    Snohomish County, Washington USA
    It is not necessarily the AMT Hardballer that can inspire such derision as it is AMT itself. Depending on the year of manufacture, they had a spotty record for quality control, and it seemed to be hit or miss if you would get a reliable piece or not.

    I myself currently have a couple of AMT DAO Backups in 9 mm and .380 and a couple of AMT Lightning pistols, which were an improved clone of the Ruger Mark I/II pistols. All of these pistols have worked very, very well for me, so I should perhaps count myself lucky.

    AMT's chief claim to fame back in the day was that they were one of the first manufacturers to go into stainless steel, and their DAO Backups were (and still are) some of the smaller pistols available in major calibers. Their chief designer, Harry Sanford, was also very well respected in the firearms field. AMT is in the process of being resurrected again by High Standard in Texas.

    I would not hesitate to routinely carry any of my DAO Backups and still do from time to time. My 9 mm in particular has never given me a FTF or FTE, feeds everything I run through it, and is well-suited as a flat, compact semi-auto pistol for engagements of up to 25 feet or so.
  3. Bobby Lee

    Bobby Lee member

    Mar 24, 2005
    AMT has produced some of the best 1911 pistols ever made.

    AMT has also produced some of the worst pieces of junk that could be called a 1911.

    If you get lucky and find a good one you are well armed.

    I have owned many 1911 pistols over the years and I have had two AMT Hardballers that were exceptional pistols.

    They came from the factory with good triggers and they were very reliable.

    Their slide to frame fit was perfect and the barrel had a good tight lock up.

    They were almost bullseye pistol accurate.

    I have seen more than a few AMT 1911's that were suitable only for a paperweight or possibly a smal bost anchor.
  4. SouthpawShootr

    SouthpawShootr Senior Member

    Dec 29, 2002
    Chesapeake, VA
    AMT had a little problem with quality control. Many, many people had trouble with AMTs. Reliability mostly from what I hear. I had 2 of their guns: an Automag II and .45 Backup. My Automag never malfunctioned during the 5 years I had it. My Backup is still in my possession. Generally functions alright as long as you use full power ammo (target loads will choke it). The trigger is horrendously heavy, but I knew that when I bought the gun, so I don't complain about it. It serves its role well and I'm satisfied with it.
  5. wally

    wally Elder

    Jan 2, 2004
    Houston, Tx
    I've got a very nice AMT Lightning .22LR Ruger "clone". Very accurate, grooved for scope rings (although you'd have to remove the rear sight for most scopes and mounts).

    Got because it was stainless, its held up well, but is a bit more ammo sensitive than I'd like, I seem to recall it didn't like Winchester Wildcat. Has to be cleaned more than I like for a .22LR.


    HSMITH Senior Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    I've seen a few Hardballer's over the years, NEVER seen one that would run more than 3 mags of ball ammo without a malfunction and most choked at least once per mag. Some were pretty accurate, but the reliability of the ones I have been around has been absurdly bad.
  7. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

    Dec 24, 2002
    Forestburg, Texas
    I have an AMT Hardballer. As I understand it, the Hardballer was the first stainless 1911. Mine was made early on and will not feed hollowpoints. I inherited mine from a family member who bought it used. The best thing it had was a Wilson magazine.

    All in all, it was not a bad gun, but was loaded with sharp edges and produced nasty hammer bite. The bomar-ish sights were hell on overhand racking.

    As for the quality, it was extremely loose in regard to the slide and frame. Also, the frame's metal was slightly soft, being battered like a cheap hammer.
  8. Zach S

    Zach S Mentor

    Jun 30, 2003
    Western NC/East TN
    yeah, it seems like the frame on mine is made of lead. Okay, so its not that soft, but still softer than it should be.

    Mine is (well, was) on the other side of the spectrum. Reliable, just not accurate. Theres not much left of it, a while back I needed the grips (theyre on my 5" Kimber), the grip bushings (for my Para Companion), the MSH (now in my colt), guide rod (in my 4" Kimber) and spring plug (in my Polymer Kimber).
  9. Ray P

    Ray P Member

    Jun 2, 2004
    I've had an excellent AMT Lightning pistol since 1985. It did have ejector problems after the first year, but one trip back to the factory fixed that.

    Since then, I've had a couple of AMT Hardballers, an Automag II, a DAO .45, and a 25/22 Hunter rifle. Both Hardballers shot well with FMJ; never tried feeding them anything else. Neither was so exceptional that I needed to keep them. The last one did need a few soft parts like the barrel bushing replaced, but it shot very well (edited to add: after I swapped it out for a Wilson s.s. bushing.)

    The DAO shoots well at short range (it's intended purpose), and is my favorite small concealed carry pistol.

    I did like the Automag II, and I regret trading it for something I just had to have. Too bad I can't remember what it was. Still, gotta have the short-framed pistol; the longer grip flares at just the wrong place for my comfort.

    Wish I could tell you about the AMT Hunter; but my daughter started shooting it before I did, and I can't get it back.
  10. scotty

    scotty New Member

    Dec 18, 2003
    I have a Hardballer that was my first 1911. When I could make it run it was very accurate. I finally traced the unreliability to a very tight chamber. This is compared with other .45's and a chamber guage. Once I started handloading, I found that loading ammo a bit short and with a very tight taper crimp, it would run reliably.

    On the other hand, it was inexpensive and I bought it with an eye to learn gunsmithing 1911's. I figured if I bubba'ed it too badly I wasn't out much money. With that in mind, it has performed admirably. It is now disassembled and I work on it when the mood strikes.
  11. win308

    win308 New Member

    Feb 7, 2007
    If I could update this thread a little............A gentleman in the neighborhood was downsizing his gun collection and I purchesed an AMT longslide in 45acp from him. He claims the gun to be unfired....I don't know about that, but it appears close to new to me.

    Today was my second trip to the range with that gun. I keep expecting the other shoe to drop....i.e., something to be wrong with the gun. It works perfect and is rather accurate. Feeds and functions flawlessly !! There may be others with problems, but mine works great!
  12. Kman

    Kman Member

    Aug 25, 2005
    You have been blessed, that gentleman may have done you a very nice favor, depending on price, you now have IMHO, the gem of AMT's line. That longslide, if it's anything like mine is something to treasure.
  13. tony357

    tony357 New Member

    Feb 21, 2009
    funny i read through all these posts and just about all the 1911 amt's work perfect but still the dought.

    I also own a hardballer that runs perfectly and my brother also has one that works flawlesly, they happen to be consecutive ser #s.

    I ordered parts for mine today to upgrade the beaver tail, hammer and magwell.
    here is a pic of mine with comp and belt clip.


    another pic with 22cal AA conversion kit installed.

  14. jon_in_wv

    jon_in_wv Senior Member

    Jul 8, 2006
    I bought one new about 1992. It was a great pistol. I upgraded it with a few match parts and it was a phenomanal shooter. I wish I would have never sold it.
  15. Boba Fett

    Boba Fett Participating Member

    Dec 9, 2008
    Texas ~ Join the NRA & TSRA
    And AMTs are being made once again, this time by High Standard in Texas.

    Can't wait until production of the AutoMag III starts again.

    Hopefully, High Standard will improve the quality of the AMTs and there won't be as many people with lemons this time around.
  16. bannockburn

    bannockburn Elder

    Apr 24, 2007
    I wish I could share your enthusiasum for AMT products of old, but I've seen too many of them that didn't work unless a lot of parts were replaced, refitted, and refined. So much so that I tend to think of their Hardballer as the Ultimate DIY Project Gun for anyone so inclined.
  17. verdun59

    verdun59 Member

    Feb 16, 2009
    Virginia or South Carolina
    AMT is the only gun I will knock. Mine was just awful with repeated trips to the factory... just really baaaaad. If you've got a good one, more power to you, but I wouldn't let my life depend on one.
  18. TimboKhan

    TimboKhan Moderator

    Apr 15, 2005
    Greeley, CO
    AMT's quality issues are well known, easy to find reference too, and not an internet fabrication. It is also well known that there are perfectly good AMT guns. Unfortunately for AMT, bad press outweighs good press.

    Also, AMT draws a certain amount of derision from shooters because of their popularity as a video game gun, particularly in Hitman. The debate about whether or not that is elitist, normal, laughable or whatever else aside, the end result is that Hitman hasn't helped the reputation of the hardballer out at all.
  19. Bill B.

    Bill B. Active Member

    Jun 25, 2004
    I can't say why here but best I remember when it came out several gun writers reported a galling problem between the slide & frame. There must have been some issue with the stainless being the correct hardness. I always thought they were a nice looking 1911 and wouldn't have mind owning one if the price was right but didn't want to take a chance on one either!
  20. flinch

    flinch New Member

    Dec 29, 2002
    coast of SC
    I got a AMT hardball in the early 80's. Great gun , ran like a top. I was shocked to find out people had trouble with them because mine was so good.

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