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The Best 1911?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by PinnedAndRecessed, Sep 24, 2004.

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  1. PinnedAndRecessed

    PinnedAndRecessed member

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    I'm in the market for another 1911 or clone. I have had a Mk4/Series 70 since the mid 70's and have only put about 2000 rounds through it. It was rebuilt/tricked up/tuned by the late Jim Clark and then by Trapper Guns (Michigan) and is a finicky target piece. It's almost a trophy and I hesitate to shoot it much.

    So now I'm looking for another gun I can shoot with a clear conscience; a 1911 or clone that is absolutely durable. Accuracy is secondary and price is no object. An absolutely reliable weapon even after several hundred rounds with a really dirty powder (I use Unique).

    It also must be Kalifornicate legal, but that doesn't seem to be much of a problem since even high dollar guns have made the list.

    If you've had a bad experience with a particular brand, I'd like to hear about it. Conversely, if you're impressed with a brand, I'd like to hear about that, as well.

    Thanks, in advance.
     
  2. ruger357

    ruger357 Member

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    Don't know if it's the best, but I have had great luck with my SW1911.
     
  3. Kruzr

    Kruzr Member

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    If money is no object, the Ed Brown Kobra Carry is a very nice piece of work....and very accurate to boot.
     
  4. Berg01

    Berg01 Member

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    I'm not in the habit of recommending anything I don't have firsthand experience with. I own an SW1911 with adjustable sights, and I can vouch that it is accurate and very reliable using good reloads, and every factory load I have tried in it. Since it has a firing pin block, I think it is legal in CA, although I think that a local retailer would know for sure.
     
  5. PinnedAndRecessed

    PinnedAndRecessed member

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    ruger357:

    How many rounds have you fired in it? Will it feed SWC? May I ask what you paid for it?
     
  6. BigG

    BigG Member

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    Series 80 Gold Cup Enhanced is my favorite. YMMV
     
  7. ruger357

    ruger357 Member

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    PinnedAndRecssed,
    So far around 500 rounds. Feeds SWC, JHP with no problems whatsoever. Paid $690.
     
  8. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    You are going to get a lot of opinions ... :what: :what: :uhoh:

    If I was in your shoes, and within reason money wasn't an object, I would look for another early Series 70, or a pistol made before the Series 70 but after World War Two. I'd want a pistol in perfect mechanical condition, but not necessarly perfect finish. I would expect to have it refinished anyway after installing better sights, and some minor reliability work.

    Why? Because these pistols were made with no-compromise steel by workers who knew what they were doing and did it well. Unfortunately you seldom see that today.

    An alternative would be to have a pistol hand-built, after carefully choosing the aftermarket suppliers who would supply the parts. Personally, I'd rather start with the best stuff in the first place. If you do a bit of research on this forum you will quickly find that it's filled with threads about problems with this or that 1911 style pistol being currently produced.

    But next to nothing in the way of complaints about the older guns.
     
  9. BigG

    BigG Member

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    Fuff: with all due respect, I bet there is less than 1% of the posters here who have and shoot an old Colt or US Pistol.

    The majority have recently come upon shooting and buy the latest models at their local dealer.

    Personally, I've shot quite a bit of standard 1911A1 and while they are hell for reliable, they are uncomfortable. Not only that, a nice condition one is cost prohibitive today. Unless I were J. Paul Getty I would never spend $4,000 for a unfired WWII 1911A1 like I see some people advertising.

    So most of the old shooters changed their NRA 1911A1s and destroyed the collector value. The newer Colts are just as good as the older WWII and prior US Pistols except in the eyes of collectors.

    So it's not surprising there are no complaints about the older guns; nobody shoots em. ;) YMMV
     
  10. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Ya think ..... ?? Nobody shoots the post-war through 1970 guns?? Comes as news to me. It will also come as news to 1911 Tuner.

    $4,000.00 !!!!!!!!! Not unless it is an exceptional collector's item. Local shops will sometimes have post-war guns in finish-worn condition for anywhere from $600.00 to just over $1,000.00 - which I agree is outrageous, but the basic quality is there.

    P&R is looking for a totally reliable shooter. He already has his "fancy gun." Also it just might be that one of those guns that was modified (usually by adding adjustable sights) that collectors' turn their noses up at might fill his needs, and for a sharply discounted price. The only "confort" issue I can think of has to do with the grip safety, and for those who have a problem the cure is easy - on either old or new guns.

    As I read his first post, P&R is looking for opinions - mine, yours and everybody elses. I said he'd get a lot, and he is. He can pick and choose whatever he wants, and so can everyone else.

    But I think you'll find a lot of opinions that agree that functional reliability wasn't and isn't a likely problem with the older guns as much as it is with the current ones.

    And I back my opinion with over 50 years of experience ... :D :D :D
     
  11. bountyhunter

    bountyhunter member

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    The STI Trojan is kali legal again. It's about $1600 worth of hand fitted 1911 that can be had for about $950. I believe I have well over 20,000 rounds through mine (don't really keep track) and it is still perfect. All orignal parts except recoil spring, I had to re-tension the extractor at about 15,000 rounds.
     
  12. Johnny Guest

    Johnny Guest Moderator Emeritus

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    Old guns, still a-shootin'

    Old Fuff wrote:
    Wow, how strange that you wrote that today, and that I read it while wearing exactly that pistol, rigged out in precisely that manner. Mine is s/n C2346XX, indicating 1948 production - - Just five years younger than myownself. I picked it up at a Fort Worth Gun Show maybe fifteen years back, in excellent working condition, but the finish of the left side was badly marred, and the barrel had been deeply pitted with corrosive ammunition.

    I took it to Dave Walters in Dallas, who had done some work on my IPSC pistols in the early 1980s. Dave KNOWS about real, working sidearms. We discussed some details, and I asked him to fix the pistol as if his own son was going to carry it to war. He fitted a new barrel and polished the throat. He installed high, fixed sights, tuned the ejection and gave it a crisp 4-1/2 pound trigger. He then gave it a rather plain, service finish, just short of dull. The pistol wears a set of old National Match Colt stocks with medallion, and a checked, arched, mainspring housing with lanyard loop. Accurate? Maybe four inches at 25 yards, or a bit less, but it’ll do that all day, every day, and not be fussy about diet or weather.

    This pistol isn’t very pretty, but then, it hasn’t been pampered. The field finish has become scratched and holster worn, and what of it? This is a working weapon, serious as a heart attack, and it’ll do to carry up the river and over the mountain.

    I carry a Commander most of the time, because of the lighter weight. I took the Government Model out this morning for the monthly law enforcement match. My lowish rank in the standings was my own doing, and NOT from any lack on the part of the old Colt. It may have been the ugliest pistol in the contest. I know I was the oldest, ugliest cop there.

    BigG, what you say about few THR members shooting old Colts may be close to correct. Just count me amongst the “One Per Centers.†Oh, and, I occasionally shoot my 1950s vintage National Match, as well. ;)

    Best,
    Johnny
     
  13. Kruzr

    Kruzr Member

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    While I think they make a very good gun for the money, STI still won't ship new guns to Kali. FWIW and IMO, I wouldn't support a company who gave in to the anti's in the state. STI is the ONLY manufacturer who stopped shipping to the state just as the anti's had hoped when the manufacturer liability law passed. There are plenty of other choices without supporting a company who contributes to the demise of their own industry.

    JMHO.
     
  14. RugerOldArmy

    RugerOldArmy Member

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    My vote: Kimber Stainless Gold Combat II (If you want nightsights, otherwise a stainless Kimber Gold Match II)
     
  15. PinnedAndRecessed

    PinnedAndRecessed member

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    Re SW1911:

    I can't find the SW1911 in either my Gun Digest (2004) or Shooter's Bible (also 2004). Is that what it's called? Or does it have a different model designation?

    How many variations are there? Is there a base model and then another model?

    Ruger 357: That price you quoted, does yours have adjustable sights, etc?
     
  16. jamz

    jamz Member

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    One more vote for the SW1911. I've a thousand rounds or so through it, not a single malfunction. Not even one. FMJ, JHP, you name it. Mine shoots a little high though, once the barrel warms up.

    -James

    http://firearms.smith-wesson.com/store/index.php3?cat=293581&sw_activeTab=1

    there are the models.

    By the way, Tuner1911 has a few thoughts on reliability in a thread around here somewhere...... ;)

    -James
     
  17. silent one

    silent one Member

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    pinned and recessed,

    My vote would be for the pre series 2 kimber. I own two of them, and neither has given me a single problem with over 40,000 rounds through them. All I do is change the recoil springs every 5 or 6,000 rounds, keep them clean, and well lubed. Both are the Classic custom models, which were their base .45's. I also have a high regard for the new Springfield Mil-Spec .45's. I own three, and they run flawlessly. They are inexpensive, and are a high quality weapon, IMHO. Price does not always denote quality. I have owned some high end .45's, that weren't worth the steel they were made from. I also have, and have had, some relatively inexpensive weapons, that I would bet my life on, to perform, should the need arise.
    I know when I was looking for a good .45, I would go to my local range, and just observe shooters, and see what make of weapon they were using. Believe me, if you want to get an education in firearms, just observe, and ask questions at a range, and you will see first hand, what works, and what doesn't. Most shooters are more than willing to give you honest feedback on the weapon they are using. Some will even go so far as to ask you if you would care to try their weapon. It might be worth a shot. :)


    Good luck, and be safe,

    SILENT ONE
     
  18. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

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    Greeting's All-

    I won't argue with the highly respected opinion of my very good
    friend the silent one, as I consider him a 1911 .45 caliber
    expert; cuz he has tons of experience with these fine weapons.

    And my recommendation probably is far from the best, but have
    you taken a look at the Para Ordnance single-stack, SA 1911
    model SSP? Available in the standard barrel length of 5 inches,
    or the Commander size 4.25 inches; this weapon is worthy of
    taking a look at.

    Best Wishes,
    Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member
     
  19. one45auto

    one45auto Member

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    I'd recommend the variant I myself own and use, a Colt Model 1991A1 Stainless.
     
  20. PinnedAndRecessed

    PinnedAndRecessed member

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    Silent one:

    Re Springfield Mil-Spec 45: I think I looked at one today. It has a steel frame, fixed sights and ambidextrous safety. If it's the same one, it's selling for $650. Does that sound about right?

    Also, I'm reading alot about MIM parts. Never knew there was such a thing till I started reading posts on THR.

    Do you know about MIM in Springfield? How would the amount of MIM parts in this 1911 compare with others.
     
  21. PinnedAndRecessed

    PinnedAndRecessed member

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    One45Auto:

    Colt is not shipping anything to central Kal at this time. Dealers are griping that Colt doesn't seem to have their act together because we're not seeing any new handguns. Period.

    It's a shame, too. Cause I've always liked Colt.
     
  22. Rob96

    Rob96 Member

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    That's odd, I've seen them around here. Last July I bought, a new Colt stainless 1991A1, have seen other dealers with re-intro Series 70's, another dealer that has some XSE's. Many seem to end up on the auction board, being sold for higher than gunshop prices.
     
  23. Higgins

    Higgins Member

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    Just curious re: older Colts. Seems I read that back when Colt was supplying 1911's to the military and also selling them commercially, the ones they held out for commercial sales were the ones that weren't up to military spec for some reason. In essence, the rejects were held aside for "fixing" and then commercial sale. I'm not slighting Colt or stating any opinion. Just passing on info I've read and requesting further info. Anyone know more?
     
  24. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Yes, no and a positive maybe …

    Both individual parts and the finished pistols were subject to inspection by both government and Colt inspectors. The Government inspectors sometimes rejected parts for less then consequential reasons. When this happened Colt would sometimes refinish the parts and use them in commercial guns, but in some ways, especially in terms of a higher level of polishing and bright blue finish, the standards for commercial guns was higher then those for military models. The practice of using refurbished “condemned†military parts in commercial guns went back to at least the days when Uncle Sam’s Army was buying model 1873 Single Actions. In any case, components with material or workmanship defects that couldn’t be completely corrected were never used in commercial guns. Colt wouldn’t have risked its reputation to save a few pennies by using truly defective parts.
     
  25. The Real Hawkeye

    The Real Hawkeye member

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    Here's what you should do. Buy a Springfield US GI Model, then send it off to Yost for a very basic overhaul, replacing critical small parts, fitting and tuning. You will end up with an excellent, no nonsense, Government Model that will work every time, and shoot great. Total cost should be less than a grand.
     
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