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My First 1911! Colt XSE

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Fishbed77, Oct 11, 2012.

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  1. Fishbed77

    Fishbed77 Member

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    I'm no stranger to 1911s, but I've never owned one of my own... until now!

    I've been looking for a stainless XSE Government locally (didn't want to buy a 1911 sight unseen) for a long time, and after 18 months of looking, finally found one! Stainless Rail Guns and blued XSEs are relatively plentiful, but for some reason, this configuration never turns up around here. It's a Colt Model #01070XSE.

    I didn't come to this decision lightly, and looked at Springfield Loadeds, SIGs, Kimber Custom IIs, SW1911s, and Ruger SR1911s (which despite supposedly being made of unobtanium, turn up regularly at gun shows around here). What I really wanted was a U.S.-made 1911 with forged slide and frame (and I like the looks of an internal extractor), and the more I researched and thought about it, the more I wanted the Colt pony.

    My first impression was that this thing was tight! I thought all Colts were supposed to be "rattle traps" (and many that I've handled are), but there is no perceptible movement between the slide and frame. The fitment at the back of the slide to the frame looks very nice as well. The fitment and finish of all other parts looks very nice as well, with one major exception - the ambi thumb safety (I'll get to this more later). The mix of the matte finish with the brushed finish of the flats looks amazing as well, but I do wonder how it's going to hold up.

    Anyway, my first outing shooting yielded decidedly mixed (but mostly positive) results. I only had time to fire 150 rounds (all el-cheapo Blazer Brass, since I was mainly just testing function), and reliability was 100%. This is very important to me, since my brother has recently gone through a long ordeal trying to get his S&W SW1911 to function reliably. After 2 trips back to S&W, and numerous parts replaced, he still gets one or two failures to return-to-battery, every hundred rounds or so. Not so with the Colt. It just runs and runs. The slide movement is slick and satisfying. I thought the tight fit of the slide might be a problem, but it definitely is not.

    And now to the not-so positive stuff. The trigger. It is TERRIBLE. I haven't taken a trigger scale to it yet, but I get a feeling that the weight is somewhere in the 8 lb. range. The take-up feels inconsistent and "clunky" for lack of a better term, and the break is not very crisp. I never bought into the Series 70 versus Series 80 hype, but maybe there something to it after all. My brother's SW1911 (whose firing pin safety is activated by the grip safety) may be unreliable, but it had a crisp trigger out of the box, and was a tack-driver from day one. I get a feeling that this Colt is very accurate mechanically, but it's hard to extract the accuracy from it due to the trigger (and probably the cheap ammo as well). The trigger pad itself is very sharp as well. By the end of my first range session, it had stripped a layer of skin off my forefinger. I know the XSE is known for its sharp edges, but seriously?

    The other big issue with this pistol of the crude-looking and poorly-fitted thumb safety. It is very difficult to fully engage (and super easy to disengage). It seems to be poorly fitted to the frame. I can already see scratches forming on both sides of the frame and the plunger tube from its movement. The safety levers themselves are ugly, with very pronounced casting lines. Now I know this isn't a super-high-end custom pistol, but dang - Colt can do better than this on a $1000+ firearm. Especially when the rest of the gun looks so beautiful.

    All that said, I am going to give the trigger and the thumb safety more time to break in, and I truly hope they get better. I have read the horror stories regarding the turnaround time from Colt's customer service, and I am not willing to wait 3 months to get back a firearm I just spent a year-and-a-half looking for.

    I know I might sound harsh, but I really do like this pistol. Reliability is my top priority, and I have a good feeling this Colt is going to deliver. Nothing is more frustrating that a semi-auto pistol that won't cycle. I also feel that the other problems with the gun are surmountable. I also look forward to working it out with a wider variety of ammo, including JHP.

    In summary:

    PROS
    -Reliability.
    -Excellent slide-to-frame fit.
    -Great sights. I am a big fan of three-dot ramped sights in general, and the sight picture is excellent.
    -Beautiful finish on slide and frame.
    -Mechanical accuracy (?)

    CONS
    -Unacceptable trigger feel. I really hope it breaks in and feels markedly better.
    -Shoddy quality of ambi thumb safety.
    -Razor-sharp trigger pad.


    Anyway, on to the pics!

    DSC_0217.jpg

    DSC_0223.jpg


    Note the rather tight (for a production-line gun) tolerances between the rear of the slide and the frame:

    DSC_0206.jpg


    Here is my best target of the day. This was shot at 10 yards. On almost every magazine, I was putting the first shot way low and to the left. As I began to compensate for and adjust to the stiff trigger, my groupings got better.

    DSC_0227.jpg
     
  2. cor_man257

    cor_man257 Member

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    Well, shes a looker I'll tell you that. I don't think that the saftey detracts in anyway from the gun's appearance.

    Have you given the gun a full strip and clean? Try taking her completely apart giving everything a wipe down, and a small drop of oil in the right spots and see how she runs. Your trigger might need breaking in to feel more consistent. Some weekend when you have time try putting 500 rounds down range. See how she is after that. Dry fire practice may help with the trigger too.

    I don't own a 1911 (yet). But if I were you I thats what I would do. Clean, finish the break in period, and then revaluate.

    Don't have remorse about your new pistol. I'm thoroughly jealous.
     
  3. Fishbed77

    Fishbed77 Member

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    Don't worry. I have no remorse! I feel that overall, it's a fantastic pistol. Reliability is the number one concern for me (nothing is more frustrating than a semi-auto that refuses to cycle properly), and I have a feeling the Colt will deliver. I'm optimistic that the trigger will break in and become better over time.

    I have performed a field strip and cleaning/lubrication, but have not performed a full detail strip yet. I plan to in the near future to do so and to look for any burrs in the trigger track on on the trigger stirrup.
     
  4. Bozwell

    Bozwell Member

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    Great looking gun! I'd consider having a reputable smith do a trigger job on it to really smooth out and lighten up that trigger. I looked at a similar Colt in stainless a few weeks back and almost went home with it. :)
     
  5. Pilot

    Pilot Member

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    What a fantastic choice! Love my Colt 1911's.
     
  6. cyclopsshooter

    cyclopsshooter Member

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    I love my XSE pistols. Regarding the shoddy quality of the ambi safety: It looks like your pistol is NOS from 2010 or early 2011. You have Colts attempt at a MIM safety, they quit that and went back to steel.

    Give Colt a call

    Triggers on 80 series Colts are 50/50 on crispness.. put a few boxes of ammo through it and it might clean up.. otherwise the hammer hooks need to be shortened a hair and a relief cut done on the sear.

    Here is a thread i'm doing on the XSE pistols http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=620192
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2012
  7. JROC

    JROC Member

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    Very nice!

    My Colt Combat Elite is a great 1911 IMO. I have to say that I think it has a very nice trigger.
     
  8. TAKtical

    TAKtical Member

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    Very nice. Are those the standard grips? I dont remember mine looking that good.
     
  9. 420Stainless

    420Stainless Member

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    I got his little brother, the XSE stainless Commander without an ambi safety. It is, without question, my favorite gun.

    Hope the actions smooth up for you. Looks like you're shooting pretty good with it!
     
  10. Fishbed77

    Fishbed77 Member

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    Yes - these are the grips that came on it from the factory. I too was a bit surprised at how nice they look. They look much better than most I've seen in photos of other XSEs (including those on Colt's webpage). They are supposedly rosewood, but are darker than those shown on Colt's webpage, and have a nice subtle vertical grain.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2012
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