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Cheap 1911 Clones

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by obxned, Feb 9, 2007.

  1. obxned

    obxned New Member

    Are there any of the cheaper (less than $500), usually foreign made, 1911 clones that are any good?
  2. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

    I bought a Springfield Armory GI model for $400 used. You can usually find them new under $500. They're good guns to start into the world of 1911s.
  3. MCgunner

    MCgunner Active Member


    BTDT I'll pass. Some say the Norinco was hot stuff. Some say RIA is hot stuff. That's okay, I'll pass for a modern gun, thanks. I ain't got an Ed Brown budget and I'm not a gunsmith. Even if I HAD a EB budget, I'd rather have a Sig, CZ, or my Ruger, frankly.
  4. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

    What about a 1911 isn't modern? SIG, CZ, and Ruger all use Browning's tilt breech locking delayed blowback operation, and have traditional hammer & firing pin ignition systems. You'd best upgrade to a CZ 52 with its roller delayed blowback system, or a striker fired design like a Glock, XD, etc. :neener:
  5. atblis

    atblis New Member


    Functionally, just as modern as anything. I think what he was getting at... the 1911 is not a modern design in that it doesn't lend itself to efficient modern manufacturing techniques, and thus a budget model will most likely be a POC. Look around for a Norinco. You should be able to get one for under $400.
  6. ojibweindian

    ojibweindian New Member

    Springfield G.I. is pretty darn good. I've got one and love it. Do a search on "Springer" and you'll find the results of a torture test conducted by one of our more distinguished members.

    It's good reading.
  7. KenRocks

    KenRocks New Member

    Have to agree with everyone that said Springfield Armory...I got one of their GI's a year or so ago and it has functioned flawlessly, though I have read posts in this forum attesting to less than stellar performance...
  8. MCgunner

    MCgunner Active Member

    I prefer a modern gun's angle from mag to chamber, the integral feed ramp (not two piece like the 1911), DA for carry (SA is fine for games), ease of stripping, full length recoil spring guide rod, no barrel bushing....that sort of thing. Main thing, the 1911 is designed for FMJ and that's what most of 'em like best unless a smith can slick 'em up. Never were able to on my cheap POSs. I really don't like ball ammo. A gun should run right on anything right out of the box. Lots of 1911s don't unless you have deep pockets. Some of 'em might, but it's a crap shoot IMHO.

    If you want a project, take the time to make it right, they're okay. Me, I want it to BE right with the initial purchase. Tinkerin's okay if you get off to it. I'd rather shoot. I think you need to deepen your pockets if you want a 1911 that runs right out of the box without just getting lucky and will feed anything and everything, not just ball ammo.

    Again, JMHO. Lots of "experts" out there disagree. So be it, I don't have to own a 1911 just because they (and Jeff Cooper) say so. I've BTDT, made my mistake, learned from it, and moved on. I'm quite well armed without a 1911, thanks.
  9. ojibweindian

    ojibweindian New Member


    That's the beautiful thing about my Springer GI; it did run out of the box without problems, with JHP, LSWC, and ball. I've put close to 1K of everything without a hitch.

    The only thing about the GI I don't like are the "U.S." grip panels, and that's purely asthetic. Otherwise, it's all good :D
  10. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    One vote for quite well armed with a 1911. :) I know they have a bad rap. It is a shame.
  11. KenRocks

    KenRocks New Member

    Oh God, finally someone agrees with me about those grips...

    The things are hideous...as soon as I can get the money together, that's gonna be the first thing to change :)
  12. MJZZZ

    MJZZZ New Member

    I own a Rock Island Armory .45 and paid under $350 to my door. It is a gun I drag through the woods and if I scratch it, I'm not pissed at myself. Yes they are not the quality of other 1911's, but mine has shot 100% reliable since the day I unboxed it. Also their service is exceptional, when the safety started acting up they simply sent me a new gun. The RIA is the only low end gun I own, so I cannot comment on any others. Mike Z
  13. Steve C

    Steve C Active Member

    Norinco's are probably the best clone you can get. They generally shoot well as is but the barrel and springs are not the best quality so after some time they'll need to be replaced. The platform is sound and very upgradeable. One of the few base guns that custom gunsmiths feel is worth working with.
  14. browningguy

    browningguy Active Member

    The Taurus appears to be a decent gun, Astra's if you can find one were decent for the money, haven't shot a RIA but hear some good reports. Again, they aren't high end guns but decent shooters for the money. You can upgrade triggers and sights as you get the time and money.
  15. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

    McGunner, first the comment was meant to be a bit tongue in cheek. I'm not bashing your choices - I've seen the pics of targets you've posted and you shoot very well. You've found what works for you, and that's what's important. The point I was trying to make is that the 1911 is far from antiquated.

    Personal preference, that has nothing to do with the 1911s reliability.
    Again personal preference that doesn't affect reliability.
    My Springer GI is the second easiest gun for me to field strip. Only my Browning Hi-Power is easier for me.
    Again personal preference that has nothing to do with reliability.
    I feel like a broken record, but again that's a personal prefernce thing that has nothing to do with the pistol's reliability. Given my new SiGARMS GSR 1911 has a very tight match type bushing, and I prefer the looser bushing on my SA GI for ease of takedown.
    I'd encourage you and anyone else who thinks this to read 1911Tuner's thread "Magazine Observations" over in the gunsmithing sub-forum here on THR. The Magazine has a ton to do with it. Mags are a part of the pistol, not an accesory. My GSR has eaten both ball and JHPs right out of the box with the facory mags. After a few mags to get loosen it up - it was very tight out of the box - it ran fine with the GI mag I have. It doesn't like Wilson 47D mags. The factory mags have feed lips identical to the GI, but with a flat follower where the GI follower is dimpled. The Wilson mags have very different feed lips and a concave follower.
    That really stinks because the 1911 is a great design when properly executed.
    Like I said above look at the mags. My experience yesterday with the new SiG follows what Tuner has written. It ate whatever I fed it right out of the box with the supplied mags and ran even smoother when I put a little more grease on the rails since it has a good tight slide to frame fit. I don't like ball ammo either when there are so many great JHPs available for a defensive arm. I fully agree that a pistol should run right out of the box.

    We aren't so far off. We both know what we like, but we just like rather different things for our own reasons.
  16. rellascout

    rellascout member

    I would agree with that. One of the few Wilson will work on. The frame, slide and extractor are some of the hardest metal available. Ask anyone who has tried to mill one. They are good shooters.

    You can still get them under $400. Much better than a Springer or RIA IMHO.

    Taurus looks promising in the value loaded market but I have already heard of longevity and quality issues popping up here and there. I think the jury is still out on the Taurus for heavy high round count shooting.
  17. g17

    g17 New Member

    I've owned several Norinco 1911's in the past and other than aesthetics were reliable pistols. I've built several nice pistols out of them.
  18. jad0110

    jad0110 New Member

    Note that I'm no 1911 expert.

    I'm in the same boat as you though. One day I may add an affordable 1911 to my collection, primarily because it is the only semi auto so far that I can shoot almost as accurately as my revolvers.

    I've been researching 1911s for a while and for less than $500, a Spring GI 45 or milspec is pretty darn good. Not sure about the GI, but the milspec does have the following features that seem to work pretty well for most people for use of HP ammo:

    - lowered and flared ejection port
    - polished feed ramp and throated barrel

    Most posts I have read suggest that either will feed HPs fine, especially if the bullets themselves are a similar shape to 230 grain GI hardball that the gun was originally designed to feed.

    As another poster suggested, many feed problems with the 1911 are attributable to bad magazines. I've read a number of posts suggesting that the 1911 works best with 7 rounders, maybe others can confirm that one.
  19. wooderson

    wooderson member

    I would save longer and move my amount to $700. At that point you're into the low-end-but-better models - Springfield Mil-Spec, Para-Ordnance PX745, Colt models sometimes fall here. Or you're into good territory for a used gun.

    It's worth the money to get a better package up front (and a better platform going forward, should you want to modify it).
  20. biggsie

    biggsie New Member

    I have to chime in and tell you to check out www.m1911.org, in the rock island/armscor/charles daly forum there is nothing but rave reviews on the quality of the pistols and the exceptional service. I myself have a S.A.M. Scout and I coudn't be happier with it. I bought it for $375 and put about $150 in aftermarket parts in it and it performs as good as any $1,000 1911 I've shot. Don't be sceptical about the 1911's made in the Phillipines give them a look.


    P.S. I have also heard very good things about the Taurus 1911.

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