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Umarex/Colt 1911 Rail Gun: Range Report & Review

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by thedriver101, Apr 1, 2012.

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  1. thedriver101

    thedriver101 Member

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    Range Report & Review: Walther/Umarex/Colt 1911 Rail Gun, .22LR

    Just came back from my second trip to the range with this .22LR 1911, so I figured it’s about time to post up my review of this gun. Hopefully this helps someone out there, considering that (at the time of posting) it’s a relatively new gun.


    First Impressions

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    Walther was thoughtful in providing a reasonably nice case. It’s lined with pretty standard egg-crate foam. That way, you can cram whatever you like into the case instead of being forced to use the manufacturer’s cutouts. I keep the papers tucked behind one of the layers of foam (the bottom is glued to the case). The plastic is a little thin, and probably won’t handle abuse very well, but I think it’s good enough for “lite” use. Range rats will probably want something better.

    Of course, you guys probably aren’t here to read about a stinkin’ case, so let’s move on to the gun itself.

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    Specs floating around the internet put an empty weight around 30 oz (give or take – I don’t recall the exact number), and there seems to be some conflicting answers on the frame/slide material. The balance is very good, similar to a regular Government model, but significantly lighter. My guess is that it’s an aluminum slide/aluminum frame. The whole gun is finished some sort of matte black paint-like coating – similar to Gun Kote I suppose. It’s very nice, and seems reasonably wear/scratch resistant. I haven’t really abused mine, but it’s definitely more durable than blue. The prominent Colt markings are simply painted on, while the important bits are properly roll-marked. Better pictures exist elsewhere on the internet.

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    In my opinion, the fit/finish is pretty good – not competition grade, but not sloppy. Pretty all the parts I could see are metal (not sure if it’s monkey metal or something good, but it’s help up well so far). All pictures were taken after the 2nd range trip, so I think it’s good overall.

    I won’t go into detail about the mechanics of the gun, since other reviews are available detailing that. Do note that this gun is a full size 1911, and supposedly some parts are interchangeable. Don’t ask me which.

    As an aside, there appears to be some confusion on who makes the darn thing. The gun is made in Germany by Walther, as a licensed copy of Colt (hence the markings). It is then imported into the US via Umarex, another German company famous for various .22 guns. So most accurately, I’m going to call it either a Walther or a Colt.

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    The gun only comes with one magazine, which is a bummer because magazines are somewhat hard to find and/or expensive. The cheapest ones are available online for around $26 at this time, but I didn’t want to wait and overpaid at my LGS for one extra magazine for $32. The magazines seem finished pretty well, with plastic floor plates.


    How it Shoots

    If you’re considering this gun, then you’re probably one of the following:
    a) a 1911 addict
    b) looking for a good .22 pistol to practice/plink
    c) all of the above

    I’ll address the gun from each perspective. For all my trips to the range, I used Federal HV 36 gr bulk packs available at any Wally World or big box sports stores. Shooting the gun is, well, pretty standard as far as .22 pistols go. Barely any recoil, no fuss, no big deal. I do feel that the slide is rather heavy, and the recoil spring is on the weak side. If your thumbs accidentally rub against the slide while it’s doing its thing, the gun may either fail to extract or fail to feed. Nothing you can do about this, due to the combination of heavy slide and light recoil spring. Hyper velocity ammo might work better than plain old high velocity ammo; your mileage may vary. In general, the gun is reliable, IF you use strong enough ammo, IF you use a firm grip (no limp wristing – I caused a few jams due to this a few times), and IF you don’t accidentally rub the slide with your thumbs. I didn’t use enough variety of ammo to say if it was caused by my particular ammo, but jammed infrequently enough that it doesn’t matter. I think I only encountered at most 10 FTE/FTF during my 700 rounds of testing. Most of the jams were early in use, when I was getting used to the quirks of the gun. Good enough for a range toy I’d say – most .22 pistols can be picky now and then anyways.

    The sights, as pictured previously, are a nice set of 3-dot Novak style fixed sights. I judged them as pretty good, and helpful enough. At best, I shot about 3” groups off-hand at 15 yd. Then again, my eyes aren’t the greatest, and I’m not the greatest shot. Suffice it to say that the gun is pretty accurate. I think more reviews have done more thorough accuracy testing elsewhere.

    The trigger is a little creepy and gritty – not the greatest in the world, but probably still better than any DA trigger you’ll find. The reset, however, stinks. You have to consciously let the trigger all the way out in order to feel the reset (and even then it’s not very clear). This alone is probably one of the more annoying things about the gun. That, along with…

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    The magazines. While reliable and all, the little knob they give you to hold the follower down is incredibly thin. I found it a downright annoyance trying to load the magazines. Granted, I think loading magazines is just a chore, and despise loading double stack pistol mags, so maybe I’m being a pansy on that. Nonetheless, I had to get a towel or napkin to get enough grip to hold the follower down while loading the darn things. Otherwise, everything was great. As stated elsewhere, the magazines hold 12 rounds (more than the competition).


    Final Thoughts

    So what to make of it? If you’re just looking for a .22 pistol to have fun with, this is definitely a great choice. It feels much better in the hand than a Ruger 22/45 or even the Mk I/II/III series. And to me, the SA trigger is a winner compared to some other available DA/SA options on the market (not there are very many for .22). I paid $360 for mine, which kind of puts it somewhere in the middle. Not cheap, not expensive. It’s all metal (good quality metal), so it seems that it will last a very long time, unlike some reports regarding the Walther P22. Any of the Walther/Umarex 1911’s will be a good choice. Make sure to cross-shop with the GSG versions (I haven’t handled those myself, so no comment there).

    If you’re a 1911 nut as well and do want one of these 1911’s, however, I would say do not bother with the Rail Gun version. None of the enhancements enhance. Extended safeties are nice…if you actually use them. This is purely a range gun, so I never bothered using mine. Rails are good for lights and laser…for carry/defense use. But again, for a range plinker? Pointless. It also makes it hard to simulate draw excercises, since railed 1911’s can’t share holsters with regular 1911’s. I do like the beavertail and combat hammer, along with the upgraded sights. However, if I were to do it again, I’d go for the Gold Cup model for only $40 or $50 more. That one looks better, has adjustable sights, and is more functional to me as a practice piece.

    Anyways, this is my first in-depth review of a gun. Hope it wasn’t too wordy, or that I didn’t miss anything.
     
  2. searcher451

    searcher451 Member

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    That's an impressive review, with a great deal of thought put into the selection of both words and photos. Thanks for taking the time to share your opinions; it's appreciated.
     
  3. DCT

    DCT Member

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    I just purchased the Gold Cup version ( no rail ) and like it a lot. I have only put a couple hundred rounds through it so far. Have had no problems at all with it.
     
  4. TennJed

    TennJed Member

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    Nice review. I am a big, big fan of mine :)
     
  5. thedriver101

    thedriver101 Member

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    It's been a year now, with the round count exceeding 1500+ as of the last trip. I thought I'd report that my rear sight has worked itself loose. Luckily, it hasn't fallen out but it needs to be tightened & threadlocked (or something, I'm not familiar with properly staking sights). Other than that, no issues.
     
  6. Hometeached1

    Hometeached1 Member

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    I really like mine. I've put 855rds through mine so far with out a malfunction yet, I do shoot thumbs down though. Thought you did a good job on the review. I think this is a good understudy for a railed 1911 that someone carries.
     

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  7. Apple a Day

    Apple a Day Member

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    Mine shot way low, got a new, shorter front sight and it's right on. It shoots very tight groups.
     
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