Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

1911 Diminishing returns?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by KYamateur, Jul 22, 2013.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. KYamateur

    KYamateur Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2013
    Messages:
    252
    Location:
    KY
    I want some honest opinions about 1911s. This post is not necessarily about one brand being better than the other. I jumped into the 1911 world about five years ago. I started with a Smith & Wesson. It was okay, but I wanted something more. I traded in on a colt xse stainless. I liked the colt but hated the matte rounds on the stainless. I sent it to Jim Garthwaite and he did a thourough look over, replaced MIM parts (I dont know if that is really that important), did a trigger job, reliability tuning, and bead blasted the entire gun. He did a fabulous job and the colt will fire anything everytime. I knew from the onset it wouldn't be a target gun because he basically tuned it for a reliable defensive piece and I didn't ask him to make it more accurate.
    A while later I picked up a Springfield Loaded. It was a fine gun but it didn't do anything the colt didn't do and I ended up selling it. I then purchased a Dan Wesson Valor in SS. It was one of the post 2010 models. The gun was as reliable as the colt, shot very tight groups, and was nice, tight, and the slide racked like a thing of beauty. It was definitely a step up from the colt and Springfield. This is where my question begins.

    I sold the Dan Wesson and bought a Les Baer Concept IV. It shoots very accurate but had a few feeding issues during the break in period. It runs well now. However, I can't say that it does anything better than the Dan Wesson did, and the Dan Wesson was a more refined gun with more options. I have considered selling the Baer and saving for a Wilson Protector. However, I'm starting to wonder if there is a point of diminishing returns on your money once you go above the Wesson. When I bought my Baer my friend bought a stainless Ed Brown SF. His gun is beautiful but he is having rust issues. That is the only personal experience I know about Ed Brown Guns. Outside of looks his doesn't perform any better than the Wesson or Baer. I've never had the opportunity to shoot a Wilson, so I can't speak for them. I have seen one of the new Valors with the Duty Coat and it is simply stunning. I'm wondering if I am really getting my moneys worth to throw out 3200 for a Wilson or if I will have just as nice of a gun spending almost half of that and going with the Black Valor.

    Right now I just have two 1911s. The colt I will never part with and the Baer
     

    Attached Files:

  2. MCMXI

    MCMXI Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    Messages:
    7,126
    Location:
    NW Montana
    I have three Ed Brown Special Forces, a Dan Wesson Valor, a Dan Wesson V-Bob and two Kimbers and I've shot a bunch of other mid to high end 1911s such as WC, Springfield, Colt etc., and it's my opinion that once a certain level of performance and quality has been reached you're paying for attention to detail, quality of parts and longevity. You're also paying for a guarantee of sorts since you're statistically less likely to have issues with an Ed Brown, Les Baer, Wilson Combat etc compared to many of the mass produced pistols from S&W, Kimber, Springfield, SIG etc. I also feel that the vast majority of 1911 owners don't push their pistols to anything close to the limit of performance and don't shoot enough rounds to really see the differences between a $1,000 pistol and a $3,500 pistol.
     
  3. TestPilot

    TestPilot Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Messages:
    976
    It will not "shoot" much better.

    It has more to do with the expectation that better fitting parts made with better materials will give you more longivity.

    I've shot a Night Hawk GRP which did not particularly impress me. I can shoot my Springfield Mil-Spec just as well. Sure, my Mil-Spec may not do things like hold a 1 inch group at 50 yards, but the gun itself is more accurate than I am.

    This is not to say that GRP is not any better than a Mil-Spec. May be it will hold up better after tens of thousands of rounds. Who knows?

    If I can make a head shot at 35 yards, I really don't care much about whether if all the lines on the slides are blended in for someone to look at and go "Ooo ahhh."

    So, yes. If you go abuve a certain price range, you pay much for difference in very minute details.
     
  4. wow6599

    wow6599 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2008
    Messages:
    2,408
    Location:
    Wildwood, MO
    I don't have a lot of 1911 experience, but I've owned a few.

    My $2300 Colt Custom Shop (100 year anniversary) Series 70 Repro is my least favorite. My favorite shooter? A $725 Springfield Range Officer. As always, YMMV.
     
  5. sheephearder

    sheephearder Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    Messages:
    124
    Location:
    las Vegas NV
    I agree with 1858, most of 1911 shooters will never need better than the colt you have. There is pride in ownership and some times extra confidence in a special built gun. So you will have to answer your question based on what you want rather than what some one else thinks.

    As an example trap and sheet shooters can and do some times spend over $ 50,000 for a shot gun. Did not go that far but went through a lot of shot guns, but as I have found out the hard way you can not make up for ability with expensive equipment.
     
  6. MCMXI

    MCMXI Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    Messages:
    7,126
    Location:
    NW Montana
    I've never bought anything in the hope that someone else likes it ... unless I'm buying it for someone else.
     
  7. KYamateur

    KYamateur Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2013
    Messages:
    252
    Location:
    KY
    I appreciate the responses. As to the shotguns I have went through about five up to about $1800 but ended up settling on a $400 Beretta 390 that I purchased at WalMart. It is like a tank and nothing I bought ever out performed it.

    Where does a Dan Wesson fit into the scheme of 1911 guns? I know they are not considered semi-custom, but they make very few valors and they are all made from high quality tooled parts. If I am not mistaken they even use some Ed Brown parts. Is there that much difference in what they are doing than what some of the other semi-custom shops are doing? I have also noticed their current prices are on par with Many Baer guns.

    I will say the less baer feels like a brick in a good way. It just seems heavy duty - more so than the colt, or even the Ed Brown my friend has. I do wish they would improve their finishes. The Blue looks okay, but for a hard use gun its just not practical for me. I've considered sending my slide for something like a Hard Hat Treatment, but worry it may void any future warranty work if I have a problem.
     
  8. VetPsychWars

    VetPsychWars Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2011
    Messages:
    101
    I wanted a Colt really bad but I didn't have $1100 or more to get the one I wanted. I got a $750 Remington R1S instead and it's darn near a GI gun, especially after I changed a couple of parts.

    I still want a Colt but not sad I don't have one.

    Tom

    [​IMG]
     
  9. tarosean

    tarosean Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2010
    Messages:
    5,220
    Location:
    TX
    A stainless gun rusting??


    I own a Brown, Wilson, Nighthawk, Wilson and Colt. They all shoot flawless however they are all differently configured/optioned and they all have a different feel and balance.

    If it was my money I'd dehorn and refinish the Baer... You already have a good gun that can only get better. First thing I did with my Baer was ditch the thumb safety for a Wilson unit, added a S&A magwell and VZ's. it will get smoothed over and refinished sometime when I wear the blue off.

    It really is about what you want. How they feel to you...
    Is my NHC worth the premium over the others? Yes, only because its got all the options serrated rear sight/slide, recessed slide stop, carry cuts, top slide serrations, etc etc etc.
     
  10. HorseSoldier

    HorseSoldier Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2006
    Messages:
    5,297
    Location:
    Anchorage, AK
    And a certain level of customer service and follow through, as well, I think. I carried a Wilson through my police academy and out onto the street. In the training environment, I put a lot of rounds through it and its mags -- at about the 3000 round mark, one of the 47Ds started to have feeding issues. I emailed Wilson about ordering a replacement spring for it, and they sent me new springs and followers for all three mags that came with the pistol, free of charge.
     
  11. KYamateur

    KYamateur Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2013
    Messages:
    252
    Location:
    KY
    I hear Wilson Customer Service is the best, but I've never owned one. That is one of the reasons that I am mulling a Protector.

    As for the rust, I have seen a few stainless guns rust. I don't know if its they alloy in the steel or some individual's sweat being more acidic.

    Those Remington R1s are nice. My local Gunshop got one of the stainless enhanced versions in and its looks rival anything.
     
  12. MCMXI

    MCMXI Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    Messages:
    7,126
    Location:
    NW Montana
    I mentioned attention to detail earlier. TexasRifleman did a good review of his Ed Brown here ...

    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=610505&highlight=forces

    "I was very glad to have this gun at Gunsite. I watched guys on the firing line fight with their guns all week in this 1911 only class, all kinds of malfunctions from all kinds of manufacturers. Was very happy not to have to put into use any of the failure drill training."

    "Zero malfunctions other than 1 FTF when a wad of medical tape on my hand wrapped around the safety during a draw and a couple of poor draws where I failed to get on the grip safety, so no fault of the gun. The Ed Brown fit and dehorning really paid off here. I saw many guys with hands that looked like they had been through a meat grinder from beavertail misalignment, sharp edges on safeties, checkering, etc. I only had one friction blister from where the web of my hand between thumb and finger rubbed up and down flicking the safety on and off. This is where an extended safety might have come in handy."

    He discusses the importance of a well-finished pistol here ...

    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=618727

    "Gun wise I experienced zero failures during the week other than a couple of draws on the last day where I failed to get a good grab on the grip safety simply from trying to go too fast. I was very pleased with the Ed Brown, and especially happy with the fit of all the parts, no rough edges at all. I can't tell you how many blisters and bleeding hands I saw this week from guns that had rough edges either around the safety or in the grip safety fit. I saw lots of pain from guns with extremely aggressive checkering as well."
     
  13. Zach S

    Zach S Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2003
    Messages:
    5,515
    Location:
    Western NC/East TN
    I've owned a dozen 1911s, and the one I miss is a $400 used Mil Spec Springer.

    I don't need, nor am I capable, of shooting a 1" group at 50 yards. 2.5" group at 25 yards is combat accurate IMO. I'm fine with spending $500-$600 a 1911 and doing the final fit and finish myself. Other than an AMT I rebuilt into a rimfire, I probably have the most work in an STI Spartan.

    Maybe I just wont buy a high-end 1911 because I cant leave well enough alone.

    It happens. Most are less likely to rust, but they can. I had a Stainless Colt 1991A1 I had to treat like a blued gun. A stainless Para wasn't much better. My Kimbers can see a lot of neglect before they rust. As a general rule, if a magnet can stick to it, it can rust.
     
  14. KYamateur

    KYamateur Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2013
    Messages:
    252
    Location:
    KY
    I know this may sound remedial, but how do people post the full pics?All I can do is upload the little thumbnails.
     
  15. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2006
    Messages:
    12,665
    Location:
    In a part of Utah that resembles Tattooine.
    Yes. In my opinion, the cutoff is $1k-1200.
     
  16. asia331

    asia331 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2010
    Messages:
    296
    Location:
    Arizona
    I'll go with diminishing returns. Little point in my view to expend more than a $1K on a practical sidearm.
     
  17. dmazur

    dmazur Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2007
    Messages:
    2,263
    Location:
    Pacific NW
    If you're inserting an image from an off-forum server like Photobucket, open a window in that application to display the photo you want and then copy the link for that photo to the clipboard. Some sites provide a button for "copy link".

    If you're using the forum's storage, R-click on the image's file name in "Manage Attachments", which you already downloaded from your computer and copy that link.

    Finally, position the cursor where you want the photo and click on the "Insert Image" button in the Reply window. At the prompt, copy the link to the photo.
     
  18. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Messages:
    18,489
    Location:
    northern california
    I've owned a lot of 1911s over the wears and was lucky enough to have handled and shot more than a few high end 1911s while helping out a 1911 custom smith.

    I think the point of diminishing returns for the 1911 platform is about $2000-$2500 for a gun that will do everything you ask of it without getting into extreme accuracy or becoming an Art Gun. I think the sweet spot in the 1911 world is about $1500 for a gun that will do most everything you need with maybe just a little work.

    Bear in mind that I'm looking at it from the stand point of a gun I will train with and use as a defensive carry gun

    Why would you not consider them semi-custom?

    I would easily put them on par with entry level Baers, Browns, Wilsons, NHCs and Springfield Professionals.

    I envy you, your Garthwaite Colt. Jim is one of the old masters
     
  19. osteodoc08

    osteodoc08 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2005
    Messages:
    1,261
    For me the point of diminishing return is a high end production or low end semi custom. In my mind that includes the higher model Dan Wesson, Colt, Springer, Kimber. Retail price point 1000-1500. Semi custom I think Les Baer. More accurate than I am. Good looks. Reliable.
     
  20. MCMXI

    MCMXI Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    Messages:
    7,126
    Location:
    NW Montana
    I've never put much thought into accuracy when buying a 1911 and I certainly didn't assume that I was paying for better accuracy by spending $2,500 vs. $1,000. I knew that all of the 1911s I've bought would be more than accurate enough for what I need, and they are. I was far more interested in reliability and longevity in addition to specific features that are important to me based on how, when and where I shoot. For me, that meant spending $1,900 to $2,500 ... basically buying pistols in the price range mentioned by 9mmepiphany.

    I remember a match a couple of years ago in which a young shooter had the extractor break on his < 1,000 rounds Springfield TRP. I've seen many other failures during matches and it's been my experience that when you start pushing a pistol hard, that's when you start to see differences between various makes and models. Just as TexasRifleman pointed out in his Gun Site class ...

    "I watched guys on the firing line fight with their guns all week in this 1911 only class, all kinds of malfunctions from all kinds of manufacturers."

    Too bad we didn't learn more about the malfunctions and the manufacturers.
     
  21. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Messages:
    18,489
    Location:
    northern california
    I attended that class with TR and the most common fault were sharp edges around the thumb safety and grip safety...folks were bleeding from Day 2 from the web/thumb of their shooting hands...the areas just weren't blended correctly when folks were shooting 300 rounds/day, drawing continuously and performing magazine changes at speed.

    The worst malfunction was a Ruger SR1911 that loss his firing pin when the Firing Pin Stop dropped out during a string of fire
     
  22. JERRY

    JERRY Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2003
    Messages:
    2,349
    Im sure some will scoff at this but one of best shooting guns ive ever own is a ria g.i. 1911, which shoots better than the two colts i use to own.
     
  23. tarosean

    tarosean Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2010
    Messages:
    5,220
    Location:
    TX
    I own one but have never needed to contact their Customer Service. I will say that when I went to pick up a gun I bought off GunBroker my FFL had a Stainless Protector with the new round butt magwell. I would have walked out the door with that gun if it hadnt already been sold.
     
  24. rtz

    rtz Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2008
    Messages:
    158
    Location:
    OK
    Factory guns; hand fit guns.. How about race guns? Built to run and perform. Who makes a good(the best) race gun?
     
  25. KYamateur

    KYamateur Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2013
    Messages:
    252
    Location:
    KY
    I never thought that I was capable of shooting well from distance either, but that did change when I stepped up to the Dan Wesson, and especially the Les Baer. Guys at the range will stop and watch me shoot and I'm not a sharp shooter by any means. That is the biggest difference I noticed when going up to the $1800-2000 price range. Its not a necessity but it does give you a bad@ss feeling when you tear the bullseye completely out of the target at 25+ yards. I have fixed sights. I'd imagine you could really reach out there with adjustable sights, I just don't like the way they look.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page