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Rock Island-tell me the truth.

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Blue Brick, Jul 9, 2008.

  1. Blue Brick

    Blue Brick Well-Known Member

    Ok I am on a limited budget and in order to buy another firearm I have to sell on of my current ones. Is it worth buying? What kinds of problems should I expect? Is it necessary to replace or upgrade parts? Thank you.
  2. Eric F

    Eric F Well-Known Member

    Depends on what you wish to do I bought My RIA in 38 super so I could "build a 1911" basicaly if you go with 45 the stock mag is goos you might want to but some sights and have them installed. After that its up to you but my priority would be sights first. Other than that they are very reliably go to m1911.org and look at the ria section they have a rep on line all the time.
  3. AndyC

    AndyC Well-Known Member

    I bought the RIA Tactical model for about $50 more than the GI - the Novak sights alone are well worth the extra dough, IMO.

    Only thing I don't like on it currently is the ambi-safety, which will be replaced soon. What I have added are a Wilson mag-well, trigger and some rubber grips - it's a great 1911.
  4. Eric F

    Eric F Well-Known Member

    If you count ad on's good greif I think I have changed everything but the slide frame barrel and grips.

    I have installed a mainspring house/mag well its a heave stainless unit
    all the fire control group including a beaver tail grip safety and comander type hammer bomar low profile rear sight fiberoptic front sight wide thumb safety.........did I miss anything?
  5. CWL

    CWL Well-Known Member

    I believe that a RIA pistol will indeed go "bang" every time you press the trigger.

    Having said that, I think you should spend a little bit more (less than $100) and get a Springfied Armory GI-45 or Mil-Spec. These are a great deal better in terms of fit & function.

    I own both, and yes I have added parts and 'smithed both. When you have a side-by-side comparison of the 2, SA stands out over RIA.
  6. rondog

    rondog Well-Known Member

    I have three RIA's, and I highly recommend the Tactical model. Dang good pistols for the money, and the Tac has all the goodies on it.

    This is my first Rock, a GI model, that I modified into a clone of the Tactical model. But I'd recommend starting with a Tac to begin with, I didn't know about them when I bought this one. I've got a buncha bucks in this gun, but it's a sweetheart.

  7. hankdatank1362

    hankdatank1362 Well-Known Member

    That's purdy. Did you refinish it?
  8. nelson133

    nelson133 Well-Known Member

    I own 2 RIA ,45s and have found them to be an excellent value, I haven't changed anything on them yet, but I would recommend the Tactical over the Govt model as the improvements are well worth the minimal cost increase. I don't see the Springfield Armory GI being any better than the standard model RIA, and no where near the value of the Tactical.
  9. Reddbecca

    Reddbecca Well-Known Member

    What's the quality of steel like?

    And would it be right to say that Rock Island Arms it the DPMS of handguns; functional entry level models that'll get the job done right but for a fraction of the cost of a brand name model?
  10. wally

    wally Well-Known Member

    13,000+ rounds of mostly Wolf ball thru my oldest RIA say its just fine.

    It doesn't take long to have spent more on the ammo you've shot than you did on the gun.

    +1 to get the "Tactical" model. Unless you want the look of the standard, as soon as you start changing things on the standard you'll quickly have spent more than to get the Tactical.

  11. nero45acp

    nero45acp Well-Known Member

    My history with 1911s:

    Colt pre 70 Series GM: occasional FTF
    Colt 70 Series GM 9mm: occasional FTF/FTE
    Colt WW2 Repro: rare FTF/FTE
    Kimber Stainless Target II 9mm: jamamatic
    Dan Wesson Pointman Major 9mm: occasional FTF/FTE
    SA Mil-Spec parkerized: jamamatic, bad grip screw bushing
    SA Mil-Spec stainless: occasional FTE/FTE
    Argentine Sistema 1927: 100% reliable, but didn't shoot POA
    RIA basic model:100% stone cold reliable, shoots POA

    If I'd bought a RIA first, I'd have saved a bunch of money (and frustration).

    *If you do buy a RIA, you may want to replace the recoil spring with a Wolff 16lbs spring, the factory spring on mine seemed a bit weak/light.*

  12. AndyC

    AndyC Well-Known Member

    Don't know the composition of the steel itself, but the slide is forged and the frame is cast; it seems to be well put-together (and I'm somewhat anal about my 1911s).
  13. Hanzerik

    Hanzerik Well-Known Member

    A quote from another forum (AR15.COM) from RIA representative Ray "LV3GUNNER" .

    As for my opinion on them; I like mine very much, so much that I recently started reloading 45ACP just so I could shoot them more often. I have had my GI for a couple months, and my Compact for a couple weeks. The only issue I have had with them was due to a cheap mag I picked up at a gun-show.

    21 Rounds at 10yards

    About 49 rounds from the GI, and 14 rapid fire from the compact (One of these days I will tap the sight over to get it to center)

  14. cmidkiff

    cmidkiff Well-Known Member

    I bought a RIA when I first got interested in buying a 1911. Didn't want to spend a bunch of money until I decided if I was going to like the platform or not.

    Put a few boxes of ammo through it, functioned perfectly, but I hated the sights. I bought a set of 3 dot sights (about $80, if I remember right). My RIA had a post mount front sight. When I removed the original, I found that the hole was bored at an angle. It wasn't apparent with the original tiny front sight, but with the bigger 3 dot, it sure was. Ok... so I had a front dovetail milled ($40) and bought another front sight ($40).

    Shot another 50 rounds or so. Perfect.

    Then, I found that I disliked the cheap grips. Bought a nice set of double diamonds ($70). Bushing screws weren't long enough, bought some allen head screws ($12), bushings were the wrong thread. Bought some new bushings, and a bushing tool ($25).

    Put another 100 rounds through it... flawless.

    Now, I've got more money in it than I would have if I'd have bought a springer mil spec, and I still want a beaver tail, better trigger, skel hammer, bigger slide release, different safety... and my gun smith tells me that all of the above will require a good deal of hand fitting, because the fit of the RIA isn't quite up to spec.

    I traded it in on a loaded Springfield. Never looked back.
  15. mpmarty

    mpmarty Well-Known Member

    I've had my RIA Tactical for about a year. It was bought when I had to send my Taurus 1911a1 in for warranty work on the safety. The Taurus is back and works fine. Had I bought the RIA first, I'd never have bothered with the more expensive Taurus. Both pistols are flawless, 45acp, eat anything and are more accurate than I am. Just for fun, we shoot golf balls suspended on strings from target frames to break ties in our IPSC practices. My RIA is now called Tiger Woods the second.
  16. Furncliff

    Furncliff Well-Known Member

    Reddbecca said: functional entry level models that'll get the job done right but for a fraction of the cost of a brand name model?"

    That about covers it. But you might have to massage it a little bit in the beginning.

    The tactical is a smart buy. Mine is extremely accurate and has the best out of the box trigger I've ever experienced. It had feed issues in the beginning, did not shoot to POA, and I broke the slide stop in the first 100 rounds. It's working well now. I put a pachmeyer grip on it, and I shoot it better than any of my other pistols. For the $ it's a good buy (tactical model).
  17. chubbmann

    chubbmann Well-Known Member

    My RIA 1911 .45 is a pleasure to shoot and an exceptional value. The only complaint I had about this gun is it took about 300 rds to break it in. It was really tight when I first got it with lots of sharp edges. I guess my only complaint is the extremely small margine of error allowed by Armsco's machinery making it almost too well made...
  18. Rex B

    Rex B Well-Known Member

    Is too!

    cmidkiff wrote " I still want a beaver tail, better trigger, skel hammer, bigger slide release, different safety... and my gun smith tells me that all of the above will require a good deal of hand fitting, because the fit of the RIA isn't quite up to spec."

    I ain't buying that, not entirely. That RIA is as "up to spec" as anything out there. You can get a Wilson drop-in beavertail that will fit it fine, might take a stroke or two with a common file to make it work. Same with the other items, on any 1911.
    I changed out all the above mentioned parts on a Llama Minimax 45 a few weeks ago. The trigger was generic, the thumb safety was Colt, sear was Wilson, the hammer & slide release was RIA. It all worked fine, no fitting at all. Improved the trigger trigger noticeably.
    And I used a new RIA hammer and slide release on a Colt Sistema, works fine.
  19. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Well-Known Member

    I have a standard model in 38 Super that seems to work just fine. Not pretty, but not priced to be pretty.

    Good value for a working gun, IMO.
  20. RobMoore

    RobMoore Well-Known Member

    I bought one a month ago. A fullsized tactical that I spent $450 on shipped.

    I installed
    1. 18.5# recoil spring, because I like them better for WWB.

    2. VZ Grips, because I wanted a more tacky feel than the slick wood without getting aggressive diamonds.

    3. Dawson FO front sight .100 x .200, because I like fiber optic

    4. STI TAS adjustable rear sight, because the gun needed correction of windage and elevation.

    5. Ed Brown magwell/mainspring housing, because I like the feel of the weight, and easier reloads.

    I'm using CMC Shooting Star 8 rounders, with a mix of WWB and hydrashok, and the gun hasn't done anything but feed, chamber, lock, fire, unlock, extract, eject, cock, and repeat in 800+ rounds.

    Its not fair (to other brands) that a gun this cheap works this good.

    EDIT: I went with the tactical because the upgrades alone are worth three times the price difference, and I couldn't have easily swapped the sights otherwise.





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