Auto-Ordnance 1911BKO - Ball Only?

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Contributing Member
Aug 18, 2007
I just picked up a new 1911BKO from Auto-Ordnance. It's basic, simple, and list price under $600. The BKO is a new-for-2015 low-end 1911 from A-O.
The manual includes this safety warning:
"For proper functioning in all Auto-Ordnance .45 caliber handguns we recommend the use of 230 grain .45 ACP ball ammunition only."

Since I had in mind using the new gun for self-defense carry, this "ball only" statement surprised me. For SD, I much prefer hollow point SD rounds.

Does anyone have information on why A-O has this recommendation? I realize ball is the traditional round for a 1911. And I understand the 230 grain recommendation to avoid overpressure. But why the implied 'no HP' part?
Oh, have not had it to the range, yet. Looking forward to that experience.

Ball is the most reliable feeding round. That's what the gun was designed for. They no doubt say that to cover their behind. I suspect you'll be able to get most hollow points to feed.

Here is an older Auto Ordnance 1911 review that may be helpful.
I would try the hornady critical defense/duty. Shaped like ball with hollow point.
Remington Golden Saber is the HP that has the closest to a ball profile. Get a box and give it a try...

Since your pistol is a GI repro, it doesn't have some of the more modern improvements that facilitate more reliable feeding. Such as:

Lowered ejection port
ejection port flared at the rear
bottom front corner of ejection port relieved


Barrel ramp ground out.


I know Colt and Springfield Armory do all of these, as do many others I'm sure.

But at the end of the day, 230 gr. ball is a very capable round and will likely meet your SD needs.

ejection port.png
barrel ramp.jpg
Please don't take a dremmel to your new AO.

Many guys have ruined their barrels by trying to grind out the ramp geometry themselves.

The relationship between the feed ramp in the slide and the relieve area in the barrel is critical and there is supposed to be a slight step (~1/16).

This is somewhat counter intuitive as the bullet is supposed to tip up, and not slide up the entire length of the feed path, and by smoothing the path out too much you can actually turn their 1911 into a jam-o-matic.
My older Auto-Ordnance (Thompson bullet logo) ".45 Caliber Automatic" pistol is from the Numrich Arms, West Hurley era. But, I suspect it is intended to be a replica of the Government Issue M1911A1 which was designed around the GI 230gr round with full metal jacket bullet. My matching Auto-Ordnance TM1 Thompson carbine also carries the 230gr FMJ only warning in the manual.

ADDED: The pistol came with two after-market magazines. I acquired three GI magazines and a Colt magazine. I attribute most functioning problems to the original magazines.
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I can only go by my old West Hurley AO. Had problems feeding even ball. Replacing the factory mag with Wilson 47s and polishing the feed ramp made it 100% with everything. IIRC, the included manual had a disclaimer about using hardball only. Lawyer blather.
try it with good quality JHPs, most likely bets are as noted Rem Golden Saber (most rounded HP design I've seen) and Hornady Critical Defense/Duty (more conical but with a filled cavity/nose). But even if the gun truly does demand hardball bullet profiles, you've still got choices in the form of so call "EFMJ"(Expanding Full Metal Jacket) designs like Federal's "Guard Dog"

First off the "ball only" notes are found in the manuals of a lot of entry level 1911s Because they are not specifically tuned/built to feed the wider-mouthed hollow point designs, and placing that "ball only" note absolves them (the maker) of any obligation to alleviate any feeding issues with non-FMJ ammo. that said with quality magazines and assuming the gun is otherwise in spec, there are a whole host of modern effective Self-defense loads available to you out there, and from what I've seen if it won't feed Critical Defense it probably won't feed ball all that well either
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My 1980's vintage Thompson AO is also quite picky about ammo. Ball works fine, but SWC's cause 3 point jams (sometimes) unless seated to the "perfect" length which varies based on the geometry of the particular bullet. I bought a Lee TL452-230-TC truncated cone mold and it feeds those bullets great regardless of the seat depth so I've settled down to feeding it a steady diet of those bullets. The best thing to do is to shop around and see which ammo it likes and stick with it.

A 0.45" hole is a pretty good one for SD regardless of whether it expands or not. The important thing is you need to hit what you intend to and that takes practice and confidence. You won't have confidence in a gun that jams.
My 2013 Vintage AO 1911PKZSE shoots the Remington UMC 230gr JHPs from Wallyworld all day long in the original magazine that came with the pistol. My owner's manual had the same warning about JHPs too.
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