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Best base 1911

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by manwithoutahome, Aug 13, 2004.

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  1. manwithoutahome

    manwithoutahome member

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    And please, no high end pistols. I'm looking for something that is a base GI type model $450 or below. In RL, I'm actually looking at anything $400 or below.

    Right now, I'm thinking the Springfield GI45 (and if I can come up with the extra $200 the mil-spec but right now, just the GI model).

    But what others are good base models?

    The purpose for the gun is to change out the MIM parts by myself, do twiking on it myself, etc.. So now you know why I want it inexpensive as possible (so when... errr, if... I break it, it won't be so heart breaking and I won't have to spend another fortune at the gun smith shop).

    The ones that I've been looking at that has "somewhat" GI features:

    Springfield
    Para
    Rock Island

    I need pro's and con's of all these listed and other options if you folks would be so kind.

    Thank you in advance.

    Wayne

    *PS, I've already got a Kimber but I consider those "top end".
     
  2. Gary Brommeland

    Gary Brommeland Member

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    If you can find a Norinco, jump on it. They have all forged parts (most all other current 1911's use MIM parts) and their overall metalurgy is far superior to anything else too.
    A lot of top notch pistolsmiths build both competition and street pistols on them.
    If you can't find one, my next choice would be a Springfield GI or Mil-Spec. I would then "gut" it and replace everything except the barrel, slide and frame with forged or bar stock parts. MIM parts are VERY unreliable. Some hold up well, others will break the first time you shoot it. Get a catalog from Brownell's, and you'll be able to get all the parts you'll need.
    Good luck!
     
  3. Missouri Mule

    Missouri Mule Member

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    I am looking real hard at the Springfield GI champion.....

    I am just having a heck of a time justifying another pistol right now or another project.
     
  4. antediluvianist

    antediluvianist Member

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    yup, norincos

    Over here in the Philippines, Norincos are plentiful and fairly inexpensive. You are abslutely right : they are forged. Like you, we find them good bases upon which to build. But they are quite all right as they are, although they don't look too good cosmetically - scratches, machine markings and such. Still, a good tough gun. Look at Canadiangunutz.com. Canadians like them too.
     
  5. manwithoutahome

    manwithoutahome member

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    Sadly, you can't get Norinco's anylonger (at least here anyway). The chinise(sp) embargo on weapons exports/imports put a halt to that. I may get lucky and find one in a pawn shop, maybe.

    Thanks for the replies.

    Wayne
     
  6. Tamara

    Tamara Senior Member

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    If price is a serious object, go with the Springer. If you can scrape up another few bucks, go with a Colt 1991A1.
     
  7. shep854

    shep854 Member

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    The Kahr/Auto-Ordnance GI M1911A1s are good values. Mine is a very nice shooter. It was in the $420 region.
     
  8. Black Majik

    Black Majik Member

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    NRM Colt Government
     
  9. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Base Gun

    If you can find a decent, unaltered Norinco, jump on it.

    If you can't, Tamara nailed it spot on. Even though there have been a
    few issues with some of the GI Mil-Spec Springers, if you're planning on
    upgrading the small parts anyway, that's the way that I'd go. The standard Mil-Spec nets better sights and a lowered ejection port for about
    the same extra cost as having those areas upgraded on a GI clone.

    I can't speak for the Kahr Auto-Ordnance guns, because I can't find one around here to check out...but the older ones that were built by Thompson were generally bad. Once in a while, you'd run into a good one. I have one that's actually very good...but they were investment castings from stem to stern except for the barrels and springs. Don't know if Kahr has
    changed anything, except for substituting the cast small parts for MIM.

    Anybody know about the frames and slides? SIng out!
     
  10. shep854

    shep854 Member

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    They may be worth what I paid for them (online, gunshop discussions and all that), but I've heard that Kahr has pretty much turned AO around as regards quality.

    If I can make it up to now of your get-togethers, Tuner, I'll make sure to bring mine for study.
     
  11. Gunsnrovers

    Gunsnrovers Member

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    Since you're planning for this to be a platform of a build/project, I would get the Springfield MilSpec. Good frame and slide base to work from.
     
  12. Pythonman

    Pythonman Member

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    If you can swing the price of the GI Springfield, save a few more bucks and get a Colt NRM 1991A1, yule never be sorry for getting the Colt.
     
  13. Rob96

    Rob96 Member

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    $550 will get you into a nice, blued Colt 1991A1. Also be on the look out for an unaltered, used 1991A1. I picked one up that was basically new, for $349. Runs like a champ.
     
  14. cratz2

    cratz2 Member

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    I own a blued 1991A1 (NRM) which would be one of the last guns I would sell and I've owned two ugly rollmark 1991A1s. One was hideous and the other just short of perfect in terms of reliability. I gave $500 for my NRM brand new but one of the nice grips was scratched so the dealer knocked $50 off the $550 asking price. If it were my money, I'd scrimp and save until I could get the NRM Colt myself.

    On the Springfields MilSpecs, I've had four or five of them including one in 38 Super and none of them had any significant issues. For $400, I would take a MilSpec (not the GI) but again, would really try to find some loose change to get the Colt.

    And on the price difference between the GI and the MilSpec, around here, the difference is closer to $40 than $200. Is the price difference really $200 where you live?
     
  15. Dave Sample

    Dave Sample member

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    "What's cheap, is expensive." Get a Colt. They are the only Platform that is worth improving on.
     
  16. Bill Z

    Bill Z Member

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    Gary said: MIM parts are VERY unreliable. Some hold up well, others will break the first time you shoot it.

    That is an exception, not the rule. If this were even remotely true, NO manufacturer would use them at all. ALL parts fail, some sooner than others, MIM doesn't have a bad track record at all in this regard, it's just internet hype.

    The Norinco frame and slide are great peices, but the internals need to be trashed as there is no quality control on the hardening. I don't know of any smith that reuses the small part on these. The barrels aren't too bad either for an everyday shooter, they just need a good bushing.
     
  17. pmbiker

    pmbiker Member

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    Read this, it is very helpful.
     
  18. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

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    another vote for the SA mil-spec

    Those GI sights are just to itty-bitty ... My mil-spec feeds everything and anything ... surprisingly accurate out-of-the box, and has never, ever had a FTF, FTE or FTRB. Only 1911 I ever owned that the first 2000 rounds fed through w/out a hiccup, regardless of magazines used. Also, the parkerizing was surprisingly good.
     
  19. Monkeyleg

    Monkeyleg Member

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    1911Tuner, if you hadn't said what you did about the Norinco's, I would have thought a custom 1911 builder I talked to was feeding me a line of bull.

    He swears by the Norinco frame and slide as a base for building a custom pistol. Says the materials as a base are superior to what we get from US makers.

    Then I got to thinking, though, about a story I read concerning the Chinese copying current model Chevrolets. They've copied the blueprints so closely that you can take a door off a Chinese "Chevrolet" and put it on a US-made car, and the fit is 100% perfect.

    Sneaky little SOB's, aren't they?
     
  20. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    'Rincos

    Howdy Monkeyleg,

    The Norincos' are not only to spec in critical areas, they're as tough as a
    chunk of pig iron. I dropped my candy when they were everywhere for 250 clams out the door...and didn't buy a dozen or two.

    I don't understand why BillZ and Dave have had problems with the internals having been soft, unless they got hold of a bad lot. I've
    made it a point to do a hardness test on every one that I can get my hands on, and can get permission from the owner. Everything has met or exceeded U.S Ordnance spec for the parts. I know that they do some pretty precise tuning on the hammer and sear, so they likely require
    harder parts for their work. Since I don't do that type of trigger work,
    I'm a little less discerning....but on the slide and frame...If a smith figures
    on cutting dovetails for custom sights, he'd better have a good, rigid
    mill vise and table, and a sharp, good quality end mill and dovetail cutter.

    Luck!

    Tuner
     
  21. Tamara

    Tamara Senior Member

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    Seen quite a few cheese-soft ones myself, too, 1911Tuner. Mentioned it to you before, but maybe you disremembered. Maybe the ones we've seen have been the norm and the ones you've seen have been the good lot. ;)
     
  22. jercamp45

    jercamp45 Member

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    I'd definately say....

    A new or LNIB Colt M1991A1 is a great base gun that is functional out of the box.
    Springfield if you cannot afford the Colt....but I'd personally wait till I found one with the Dancing Pony upon it.
    Jercamp45
     
  23. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Cheesy

    Tam said:

    Seen quite a few cheese-soft ones myself, too, 1911Tuner. Mentioned it to you before, but maybe you disremembered.
    ______________________


    Nah. I didn't disremember. I ignored it. I don't consider parts that test within spec as soft, even though you can cut'em easy-like with a file. The only real reason to worry about hammers and sears that don't hit 65- 70 on the Rc scale is when ya plan on makin' the hooks dead square, cuttin'em down to .020 long and try to stand'em on a sear with a .018-inch wide primary angle....and cuttin' the trigger pull down to about half of what the gun was designed to have. So, I guess when a body dinks around with it that much, those things really gotta be hard as hell's hinges. For those of us who don't need or want a 3-pound trigger, and who understand just how really dangerous they are, those "cheesy soft" parts will do nicely....ma'am.

    Engineer's Cardinal Rule:

    When you change somethin', you usually need to change three other things to compensate for the "improvement".
     
  24. Bill Z

    Bill Z Member

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    Let me correct my post then. I do know one smith that will re-use the campfire parts, I just cannot figure out why.
    Now, professionally speaking, I wouldn't invest one-half hour of my time in something I couldn't warranty for a lifetime, and I got a lotta lifetime left, I hope. I wouldn't want my reputation to stand on sub-standard parts just because they might work with out of square hooks that are cut extremely deep and so on. The difference between an assebled firearm and a custom one is measured in the thousanths, would anyone disagree with that?
     
  25. Tamara

    Tamara Senior Member

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    1911Tuner,

    I'm not talking about parts that were not suitable for a 3-pound trigger pull, I'm talking about parts that got peened up under normal usage.

    Like Dave mentioned, easier to just replace with stuff that is a known quantity.

    I'm no engineer or gunsmith, just an end user. "Ug. Gun not work right. Make work." I'll leave the whys and wherefores to you folks that know what the heck's going on. I have, however, been fortunate enough to observe a few things filling out job tickets for the last ten years, and have tried to take notes. :)
     
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