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S&W 1911E series

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Coldfinger, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. Coldfinger

    Coldfinger Well-Known Member

    Picked up a Smith and Wesson 1911E series about two weeks ago. Only been able to put about 200 rounds through it so far. To wit I have come to this conclusion... I love it. I am partial to S&W everything. A week later I bought a S&W M&P .40. I have never been a fan of the polymer frames only because of the felt recoil. Only have a hundred through the M&P and I have come to this conclusion, I think I like it as well but most certainly less than my 1911's. The heavier lower of a 1911 helps reduce felt recoil IMO. So I ask.....

    Anyone have experience with the S&W E series? What are some opinions?
    The M&P's are heavily reviewed all over the place but I do enjoy reading others opinions.
    So thought?
  2. Keaner

    Keaner Well-Known Member

    I have the 1911E Series Commander Bobtail (with the lightweight scandium frame). Despite being significantly lighter, it has a similar recoil profile to my full-size 1911, and is a pleasure to shoot. I've shot a number of pistols in my time and gotta say the E Series is my favorite.
  3. Coldfinger

    Coldfinger Well-Known Member

    I agree. The E series is a pleasure to shoot. I have an over priced Kimber and a not so much Rock Island. All 3 of the full size variety. I don't consider a thousand dollar gun a middle of the road or beginner hand gun but the s&w E series has to be my favorite.
  4. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Well-Known Member

    I've written a good bit about my experiences with both. I like my M&P 40 FS, my 9c, my wife's 9L and, now that it's been fixed/gutted/fitted right, my E-Series. With final parts on the way from EGW & 10-8 my E's final tab will run close to the price of 4 M&Ps. Will it be 4X the pistol? Well...it will definitely be a favorite.
  5. Coldfinger

    Coldfinger Well-Known Member

    Skylerbone, may I ask. What did you put/order for your E series? Are there parts you would recommend replacing/upgrading? I'm no gunsmith but sear replacement is within my capabilities.....
  6. Jed Carter

    Jed Carter Well-Known Member

    I had opportunity to shoot a S&W 1911SC E-series and thought for this much money it should have a lot better trigger. Really beautiful pistol with a not so beautiful 8# trigger. With a little work, replacement of the mainspring and sear spring it is much better now.
  7. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Well-Known Member

    Barrel: over-cut, upper and lower lug damage. Storm Lake Match replacement with Kart bushing.
    Plunger tube: poorly staked, Harrison Custom replacement.
    Thumb safety: mushy, bent and contacting plunger tube, Ed Brown replacement.
    Slide stop: pin diameter deviation, damage from riding link, Harrison Custom replacement.
    Fire control group: a bit heavy with noticeable creep, opted for Cylinder & Slide hammer, sear, disco and Greider trigger replacement.
    Magazine catch: personal preference EGW HD Higher and lock replacement.
    All new springs, EGW firing pin and FPS, 10-8 Performance sights in transit.

    S&W offers a solid warranty but by no means comprehensive or inclusive of the number of issues I noted and at their price point I had no such expectations. My belief was and still is to correct issues before problems arise. Mine was also a fairly early production sample after the move to Houlton, though I can only guess there may have been teething problems.

    In the same price range are the Kimber Custom II which would perform nicely IMO with little more than a finish ream. Springfield's Range Officer, STI's Spartan- all very decent.
  8. Keaner

    Keaner Well-Known Member

    Are you sure you had the 1911Sc E-Series? The bobtail at least comes with a 4.5 lb trigger. Mine seems a little lighter than that, and is smooth as can be.

    Did you somehow end up with one of those foolish NYC/MA/CA compliant ones?
  9. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Well-Known Member

    A few more bits I neglected to mention were the step on the breech face (a machining error) near the j-cut. You can check for this at slide lock by looking through the ejection port with the barrel pointed over your right shoulder. I sanded and scraped best I could but still a visible vertical line. My smith cleaned it up before fitting the new barrel but no pic since then. Also notice the unusually squared front strap highlighted by the larger than normal gap between checkering and stocks. Contemplating having the corners milled to blend.

    Slightly visible line toward left side of highlighted square:


    A photo with some of the work performed:

  10. Jed Carter

    Jed Carter Well-Known Member

    I'm sure it was an E Series, fish scales, bobtail and a scandium alloy frame. Tested the trigger pull weight with a Timney gauge, it belongs to a good friend that let me do the trigger work. Now it has a 3.5# trigger worth being in a $1300+ pistol. Looked at another one of the same model at Sportsman's Warehouse, compared it to a Taurus PT1911, apples and oranges right. S&W fit and finish much better, but the PT1911's trigger made me wonder, just how good the E-Series really are. I've a Dan Wesson, similar to the S&W, a Guardian about the same cost as the Smith. Out of the box, it is everything the S&W should be and can be with a little work.
  11. Keaner

    Keaner Well-Known Member

    Thats really weird then... All of the reviewers have said that the trigger is a 4.5# trigger. I bought mine and fresh out of the box it is less than that... I'm a little surprised you've seen _2_ with that heavy of a trigger! I almost wonder if your area just got a shipment meant for CA/MA/NYC or some crazy stuff like that.
  12. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Well-Known Member

    Can't sell them in CA, no drop safety. Didn't scale mine before tinkering but I'd guess ~6 lbs. The biggest improvement for the least amount of money would be a new Colt sear spring. Beyond that, the (well my) disco slot had a few ridges that I scraped and polished but that can be hazardous work if you increase the slot's length.
  13. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Well-Known Member

    I love mine. It doesn't love Federal Champion ammo though. Lots of FTF's. Wilson mags and a 17 lb. Wolf spring have helped. Stock was 16.5 lbs. I noticed the slide catch flipped up twice wile I was shooting last time.
  14. Jed Carter

    Jed Carter Well-Known Member

    Reviewers? I tested/worked on one pistol and did a side by side comparison with a $525 Taurus, the entry level pistols trigger made the S&W E-Series look bad. I also compared the S&W to my Dan Wesson Guardian, I know which I would choose. If you want a hand fit 1911 with a 3.5# trigger from S&W get a Performance Center pistol. It's not just Smith, manufacturers seem to just be pumping these pistols out as fast as they can, ok for a Glock not 1911s.
  15. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Well-Known Member

    Some take-off parts, bare surfaces in some cases are where I removed ridges and rough edges. In others they represent wear as on the slide stop pin.

  16. Backpacker33

    Backpacker33 Well-Known Member

    I'm surprised at the problems. I have an earlier S&W 1911Sc. Not bobtailed. Thumb safety only on the left side. The slide serrations (front and rear) are angled grooves, not scallops. Wish I could change THAT, just for the appearance.
    Mine has not experienced a failure to feed or extract. I've used lead, jacketed, hollow point, truncated cone and ball, as well as frangible loads. One day we shot until it was dripping grime. Still no problems.
    Four of us got together with my Sc, a Springfield Operator, a Sig Scorpion Carry and Sig1911CA-45-BSS. We all liked the Scorpion, probably due to the weight helping control recoil, but it also had the best trigger of the four, we felt. We all felt that if we had to hang one on a belt all day, the lighter Sc won. The Sc sights were right on at 30 feet, as were all except the Scorpion, which hit almost an inch high. All of us prefer ambi thumb safeties, but can't give a real reason why. Except for my oldest son, who is professional military and demonstrated operation of ethier safety with either hand with equal dexterity. I'm gonna hafta take him out back and bust his fingers for showing me up. If he doesn't break my arm first.
    I'v practiced with and cleaned the Sc so many times I felt as though I was reading about a different gun when I read criticisms of the fit, finish and internal workings. Safety touches the plunger tube? Not on mine. Breach face scoring or steps? Not on mine. Loose extractor pin? Not mine. I thought the stocks were rather plain, so I put on a hand-made set with an oak leaf pattern. Bit grippier and waaay prettier. Not that THAT matters, but this early gun is rather plain looking, methinks. I do like the ones on the bob-tail, but suspect they would look funny fitted to mine.
    Not doubting Skylerbone, I can only say the two guns sound as though they came from completely different makers.

    One thing, the grip safety has a notchy feel to it but never failed to operate correctly, and all agreed that when drawing to fire, that feeling was not noticable.
    OK, one more. The backstrap checkering is quite sharp. After some 35 rounds I was seeing a red area on my palm. I had forgotten about that from previous shoots. I am MOST tempted to try softening it somehow. Front strap has vertical lines, no checkering, and feels fine.
    This is the very gun that Gun Tests Magazine tested in '05. I bought it from them. You can see pix of it there.
  17. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Well-Known Member

    Backpacker, not two different manufacturers but rather two different models made in two different locations. S&W re-tooled for the E-Series rollout and moved production to Houlton, Maine. My E-Series was purchased early on and has been modified from the older SW1911 and from its original configuration. S&W used the Performance Center extractor in the E and has, since I purchased mine, replaced the solid pivot pin with a roll pin (on feedback from Hilton Yam whose sample's pin slipped during testing) and changed magazine vendors.

    Again, I did not experience stoppages or true parts failures but rather premature wear indicating imminent premature failure. Another pic showing a flat spot and MIM dot on the thumb safety.

  18. vujade

    vujade Well-Known Member

    I have an older sw1911. It my gun that I hated and then fell in love. I got it used and this was my first 1911. I couldn't get it to shoot straight. I was getting 6-8 inch groups at 25 yards. I sent it to S&W Customer service and they installed a new barrel. Now it does 2-3 inches at 25 yards. I'm happy with that. and I'm still learning.

    Throughout my 500 rounds with her so far, it's been flawless with feeding/extracting though. It does like Winchester ammo vs. Federal ammo (accuracy).

    Trigger is a crisp 4 pounds exactly. I just love how the gun feels in my hands. I've come to realize S&W's great customer service. And I've come to really love 1911s.
  19. Backpacker33

    Backpacker33 Well-Known Member

    Thank you for that clarification, Skylerbone. It seems like endless research is needed sometimes to understand what a person has. I had thought that "Sc" meant ANY "Sc," and I can see that ain't so. It sure speaks against impulse buying!
  20. orionengnr

    orionengnr Well-Known Member

    Skyler, your Sc sounds like my EMP. Everyone else seems to love theirs, and I'm sure the later ones are great. I had S/N 1073 and it was a nightmare. That was the first brand-new gun I had bought in probably 25 years and it was dang near the last. :)

    My Sc is trying hard to become my favorite 1911 ever...and it's had some competition. I've had nearly 30 of them through the years.

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