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Reliability of a mil-spec 1911 Gov't

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Mr. Mosin, Mar 19, 2020.

  1. Mr. Mosin

    Mr. Mosin Member

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    A question on the "reliability" of a mil-spec 1911 Gov't. I've heard certain brand owners knock any 1911, "You'll be lucky if you get one round off", and others saying "It'll run forever if you clean it.", and everything in between. I know *the* original 1911 Gov't was made to run with 230 ball ammunition, .45 caliber. It made 6000 rounds with no hiccups. I've personally shot several 1911 Gov't's that had fouling coming out of every orifice on the pistol. So filthy the slide wouldn't lock back, so filthy you had to force a magazine in (I stopped after that). Is the the norm, or an exception ? Is a modern production "milspec" Gov't (say, Colt's Classic line) this reliable ?
     
  2. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator Staff Member

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    The problem is in the question. Dozens of companies make 1911s, and there are (quite likely) slight variations in tolerances from one to another. If it's just the Colt Classic line you're interested in, that's an easier question to answer. I don't know the answer, but the question should be easier.
     
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  3. TomJ
    • Contributing Member

    TomJ Contributing Member

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    I can only offer anecdotal evidence. My oldest son has a SA Milspec 1911. We've had it for years, and I don't remember it having any type of malfunction. It's been as reliable as any other gun I own, and I own quite a few. Buy one from a reputable manufacturer, use quality magazines and it should be fine.
     
  4. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Member

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    First let's clarify something about MIL-SPEC. Military specifications (MIL-SPEC) is a minimum standard that must be met to be accepted by the government. Unfortunately the term MIL-SPEC gets thrown out way to much now days as a sales pitch.

    That being said, as long as the pistol actually meets military specifications, then it should be good to go.

    Now for the actual government issued 1911A1's that I carried while in the service were good to go even 45-50 years after manufacture. The old "rattle battle' never let me down the I needed it.
     
  5. TonyAngel

    TonyAngel Member

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    Really, I’ve seen and shot MANY 1911’s. It seems that releasing a GI model has become vogue in terms of attracting people to the platform. All of the ones I’ve seen shot well with ball and swc reloads.

    I’d go out on a limb and say that these days you’re more likely to get one that runs well than one that doesn’t. How does your luck run?
     
  6. TheProf

    TheProf Member

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    My experience with a current Springfield milspec (which they say is close enough to the original milspec)...close to 800 rounds...of ball ammo..all worked 100 percent. (I was using Wilson Combat 7round mags)

    I had failure to feed with Speer Gold Dot hollow points. But in all fairness, milspecs were made to fire ball ammo..and not hollow points (at least that's what I read in the internet).

    Overall, I'm pleased with it and would purchase another (maybe in stainless steel). The quality is there.

    With ball ammo, I would consider it reliable enough for home defense role. I only wish that it was an 80s series (wishing it had a firing pin block). That is not to say it's unsafe as is... But I tend to be overly cautious.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2020
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  7. Electricmo

    Electricmo Member

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    This question has many answers.
    How dirty is the gun? When was the last time it was cleaned?
    What ammo is being used?
    What kind of magazine is being used and how well has it been maintained?
    I have never had a issue with my 1911’s other than a couple of stove pipes in a non lowered and flared ejection port in one of them after thousands of rounds.
    I keep my Guns cleaned and lubed after each use though. Somebody who doesn’t maintain their weapons are asking for issues.
     
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  8. TonyAngel

    TonyAngel Member

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    To be fair, lots of 1911’s have a problem with the flying ashtrays.
     
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  9. TonyAngel

    TonyAngel Member

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    If you’re having stove pipes and you aren’t shooting puff loads, it’s likely that the extractor needs to be tweaked.
     
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  10. Mn Fats

    Mn Fats Member

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    Exception from my experience. What 1911's are you shooting? Knock off .22's? I can honestly say I've never seen a 1911 so terrible that the slide wouldn't lock back and the magazine had to be "forced" in. Also never heard anyone say "you'll be lucky to get one round off".

    Even the cheapo Rock Islands are good to go in my opinion. I bought one for my dad and it's had zero ftf/fte after 1000's of rounds. My cheapest 1911 is a Ruger and that's been excellent. Mil-spec is just the bare minimum that's allowed in our military. More of a marketing term in my opinion.
     
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  11. Electricmo

    Electricmo Member

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    Read my post. Couple of stove pipes in thousands of rounds isn’t a extraction problem.
    I do appreciate the input though.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2020
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  12. BSA1

    BSA1 member

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    I wish someone made a true WWII 1911A1 clone. No lowered and beveled ejection port, correct hammer, thumb safety and grips, parked finish and itty bitty sights. Most importantly sold as a shooter piece and price.
     
  13. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    I'm OK with everything except the "itty bitty sights".

    No reason to use them when you have other options that will fit in the GI dovetail, look good, and actually be usable, like 10-8 Performance NM ( https://www.10-8performance.com/1911-nm-rear-sight/ ), Harrison Retro ( https://shop.harrisoncustom.com/usgi-style-rear-sight-cut ), and others like them.
     
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  14. Mn Fats

    Mn Fats Member

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    I think Auto Ordnance is about as close as you can get.
     
  15. barnetmill

    barnetmill Member

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    I purchased via the old DCM for $17.50 as did many other NRA members in 1963 a GI .45 that came straight from an arsenal in Alabama. You could shake it and it would rattle. An 8lb or so trigger and it used FMJ ammo that worked 100%. It had perfect finish that suggested it have been rebuilt. It was a a 1916 frame mated with a WWII slide.
     
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  16. stillquietvoice

    stillquietvoice Member

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    I thought that MIL spec meant that you could drop it in a mud puddle and still have it go bang with every trigger pull.
     
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  17. TonyAngel

    TonyAngel Member

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    I did read your post. I did make reference to the ammunition. If you had a couple of stove pipes something caused them. I don’t care how many rounds it was in. The problem was either the ammunition or the gun. If it was the ammunition due to being an out of spec reload or whatever, fine, it happens. It could have been a case that’s been reloaded a bunch and the extractor just caught a weak spot of the rim. Fine.

    But, GI spec 1911s have an extractor that is literally a straight, or almost straight, rod. You “tune” them by putting just the right amount of bend in them. Too little bend, too much bend, you have a little problem. Stove pipes.

    Of course, if less than 100% is good for you, it’s good for me too. I’ll say this though, any handgun that I have that malfunctions at all that I can’t trace back to ammo or the mag or something other than the gun itself is either getting fixed or is gone. If I didn’t have autos that were 100% but for non gun related incidentals, I’d be a revolver shooter.
     
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  18. Electricmo

    Electricmo Member

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    Maybe human error. Thumb riding slide possible. Maybe a weak spring, which I have changed often. Maybe a light charge. Your not going to figure every stove pipe out all the time. If you shoot enough with 1911s or any other gun there will occasionally be a issue. Ever shot a revolver with a shell that has a high primer? Just might lock up your gun. I am impressed how you have figured out all your ejection problems though. I guess you have guessed all 100% correctly since you are still shooting semi autos.
     
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  19. George Dickel

    George Dickel Member

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    On anything the government purchases there are specifications that the product has to meet to be acceptable. It doesn't mean that the specifications are one step above junk. The specs are what the government says the product/service has to meet to function at the level they desire. Military equipment is used in the most extreme conditions expected on a battlefield so the standard has to be reasonably high to get the level of operation and durability needed to work in those conditions. MIL spec mandates that all parts in the item are consistent and able to be used on another like item such as a firing pin on one M4 will work in another M4 or a starter for a truck can be used on another like truck. MIL spec doesn't mean bottom of the barrel.
     
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  20. stillquietvoice

    stillquietvoice Member

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    I probably should have ended that post with ha ha of lol to punctuate a joke.
     
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  21. Mr. Mosin

    Mr. Mosin Member

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    @all, I've shot a RIA GI 1911 .45 Auto, a Springfield Operator Loaded in .45 Auto, and a semi recent production Colt Gov't (blued finish, walnut grips, fixed white dot sights). All three of em have been reliable in my hands. The Springfield had fouling and powder soot seeping from every imaginable port on the gun. The slide wouldn't lock back, it was so filthy (see OP). He was running WC 8+1 mags. Buddies RIA has been flawless, after the first mag. Other buddies Colt has lived up to it's name- several hundred rounds through it, cleaned regularly; and still chugging along fine.
     
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  22. Mr. Mosin

    Mr. Mosin Member

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    The RIA and Colt are both running flush fit steel bottomed mags, (RIA MecGar, the Colt is running on Colt mags).
     
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  23. TonyAngel

    TonyAngel Member

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    Actually, I have figured out all of my extraction problems. I moved to spring loaded extractors ages ago. Haven’t had a stovepipe in over a decade.

    Been shooting 1911s for about 35 years. I’ve never just shrugged my shoulders to a malfunction. I always ride the slide too. I use a high grip. Never had a thumb rubbing the slide cause a malfunction. You must have strong thumbs.
     
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  24. Electricmo

    Electricmo Member

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    I am truly amazed at the wealth of knowledge available in this thread.
     
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  25. TheProf

    TheProf Member

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    Tony... Could you elaborate on spring loaded extractors. First time that I have heard of them... Still learning 1911s.

    What's the difference with regular extractors? Will those fit in Springfield milspecs?
     
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