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  #1  
Old 09-03-2011, 03:13 PM
Trekker Trekker is offline
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Inherent weakness in Rock Island M1911A1?




18 months ago I bought a new RIA 1911 to use as a practice gun for learning 1911 mechanics and detail stripping. After the purchase, I got busy doing other stuff and the RIA has been parked in my safe.

In rediscovering this gun recently, I've decided that it's a handsome piece that now appeals to me as a carry gun...or at least a gun to keep in the truck for "contingencies". I've replaced the original grips, but everything else is stock.

My RIA has performed flawlessly thru several hundred rounds. My theory usually is 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'. However, I'm wondering if there is a weakness, a fragile or poorly designed part, that should be replaced as a cautionary step. I'm just looking for reliable gun that won't get lots of range time or other use. Any suggestions from you RIA experts?

Last edited by Trekker; 09-03-2011 at 03:17 PM.
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  #2  
Old 09-03-2011, 04:00 PM
Bearlaker Bearlaker is offline
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I'm getting the GI model next week, here's a similar question answered.
http://forums.1911forum.com/showthread.php?t=326113
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  #3  
Old 09-03-2011, 04:06 PM
rmdailey rmdailey is offline
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I hope not

I've put a lot of rounds through mine in the short time i've had it. From what I read here most people get a good one that never misses a beat (like yours and mine) others have flaws. The shortcomings of the ria, in my experience are:
1 the parked finish comes off way to easy (i keep it oiled) one day in a serpa holster and it took a lot off.
2 the grip screws are soft, I stripped one out (ria sent me new ones at no charge)

I do know their cs is first rate. Also with 1911's I believe if it works from the start then it will keep working.
That's all I've got
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  #4  
Old 09-03-2011, 04:27 PM
Jaykellogg Jaykellogg is offline
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All I have replaced so far is the triggers, grips and grip screws. This is because I like long triggers, nice looking grips and I have acid hands so stainless grip screws seems like a good idea. I have 2, both FS, one is a GI and one is the new Tactical rail gun. I use both for range guns.
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  #5  
Old 09-03-2011, 04:39 PM
Old Draftsman Old Draftsman is offline
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The nut behind the hammer on mine is the constant cause of inaccurate deposits of lead near the 10 ring.

Other than that, my FS GI has been faithful.
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  #6  
Old 09-03-2011, 04:51 PM
Josrah Josrah is offline
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The only problem I had with mine was the slide stop bounced up from recoil enough to lock the slide back before clip was empty. Fixed it myself with a little drill hole for the plunger tube to fit in.
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  #7  
Old 09-03-2011, 04:52 PM
Cappi Cappi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekker View Post
1

My RIA has performed flawlessly thru several hundred rounds. My theory usually is 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'. However, I'm wondering if there is a weakness, a fragile or poorly designed part, that should be replaced as a cautionary step.

that's a loaded questions with a myriad of subjective answers depending on the owner

Some would suggest NO production 1911 is "ready for carry" til every MIM part has been replaced with top-o-da-line bar stock/tool steel parts ...that were professionally installed by a hi-end custom 'smith ...that also detailed every part of the pistol

others find them just fine the way they are
(assuming thy had enough good sense to shoot a 4-500 rnds hundred rounds to prove reliability )

and some are somewhere in between
( "might" be one of those)

I've never broke a MIM part on any pistol , and I "hear" that if a MIM part is going to fail before it's time, it's due to a manufacturing defect and generally happens rather early in the round count.

having said that, I'll admit to feeling just a tad more comfortable with a top quality extractor



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  #8  
Old 09-03-2011, 06:52 PM
Mike_45 Mike_45 is offline
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Inherent weakness in Rock Island's is that I can not stop buying them.
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  #9  
Old 09-03-2011, 07:19 PM
way3006 way3006 is offline
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i have a cs model and have fired 850 rounds so far. great gun. have had no problems except ftf problems with different hp's. never misses a beat with ball. anyone had any luck with jhp?
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  #10  
Old 09-03-2011, 08:13 PM
Trekker Trekker is offline
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Is the extractor a suspect part?

Cappi suggested above that a high quality, machined extractor might add a measure of reliability to a RIA 1911. Is a MIM extractor a common failure point or just a less precise method of manufacturing this critical part?

By the way, all I plan to use in my .45 is ball ammo.

Last edited by Trekker; 09-03-2011 at 08:15 PM.
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  #11  
Old 09-03-2011, 08:28 PM
Trekker Trekker is offline
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Do you modify your RIA 1911s?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike_45 View Post
Inherent weakness in Rock Island's is that I can not stop buying them.
Mike and others - Do you modify your pistols or keep them stock? If you replace certain parts why?

Because RIAs are economical to buy, I suspect some folks swap out lots of parts to 'enhance' the performance. I'd like to leave mine alone.
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  #12  
Old 09-03-2011, 08:42 PM
Dave Waits Dave Waits is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekker View Post
Mike and others - Do you modify your pistols or keep them stock? If you replace certain parts why?

Because RIAs are economical to buy, I suspect some folks swap out lots of parts to 'enhance' the performance. I'd like to leave mine alone.

I'm afraid you won't be able to 'leave it alone'. I couldn't.
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  #13  
Old 09-03-2011, 08:44 PM
Old Draftsman Old Draftsman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekker View Post
Mike and others - Do you modify your pistols or keep them stock? If you replace certain parts why?

Because RIAs are economical to buy, I suspect some folks swap out lots of parts to 'enhance' the performance. I'd like to leave mine alone.
I replaced the trigger only because I didn't like it. There's nothing wrong with the stock trigger.

I have a Colt Gold Cup that wasn't shooting well and I chose to replace a few parts on advice of a local expert. Following his advice my Colt shoots pretty good but,,, with no modifications at all (trigger excepted) my Rock shoots as well and I actually like shooting it better.

Yep, it's cheap but it's tight, wearing well and other than home made grips I'm gonna leave it be.

Take her to the range and get acquainted! I think that's about all you really need to do.

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  #14  
Old 09-03-2011, 09:13 PM
1911Jeeper 1911Jeeper is offline
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Shoot it until it breaks. If it ain't broke, don't "fix" it.

My RIA works great just as it came from the fun store.
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  #15  
Old 09-03-2011, 09:25 PM
Texfella Texfella is offline
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The only problems I had were the stock grips(those slick pos things) and when I first got it it rattled a bit after it was in con 1. All I had to do was oil it a bit more and replace the extracter.
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  #16  
Old 09-03-2011, 09:28 PM
Leeann Leeann is offline
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All I've done is replace the grips, clean it and lube it. Having said that, I've only run a magazine through it, but I didn't have a single issue. Hit the target at 20 yds, too.
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  #17  
Old 09-03-2011, 09:37 PM
1911Newby 1911Newby is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike_45 View Post
Inherent weakness in Rock Island's is that I can not stop buying them.
+++10 ...I have the same issue. What's just one more, right?
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  #18  
Old 09-03-2011, 09:46 PM
1911Newby 1911Newby is offline
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Seriously though, the only mod I have made is on my nickle tactical. The plastic grips were sharp in my hands. I swapped them out for some Hogue two piece grips. Feels much better. Will change out the main spring housing when I have a little money, but it is ok for now. The rest are the way I brought them home. Just show them love by shooting them a lot.
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  #19  
Old 09-03-2011, 09:47 PM
NIGHT AL NIGHT AL is online now
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I have never had a MIM fail while shooting, I did have a strange thing happen one morning, I went shooting with a friend to his lake house in the Ozarks, 5 acres in the boonies, his pick up was not covered, I set my range bag in the bed and away we went, 11/2 hrs later we were there, we messed around for awhile working on the tractor, 2 hrs later we went to shoot at his back yard range, it had warmed up to about 20% by then, it was about 08% when we left my house, I fired 3 rounds from my RIA GI. third round just a click, further inspection reviled a broken firing pin spring. grabbed my Ruger KP90DC fired one round, same thing, finished shooting with my carry CS, both pistols had a lot of dry fire time. the only think I could think of spring fatigue, and extreme cold together caused the breakage?

Last edited by NIGHT AL; 09-04-2011 at 10:13 AM.
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  #20  
Old 09-03-2011, 11:31 PM
Trekker Trekker is offline
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Thanks

All posts are much appreciated. What I take away at this point is a) respect my pistol and take care of it, 2) shoot it a lot and 3) keep it stock unless I get the bug to 'kick it up a notch' like Dave Waits. In other words, use it the way I would any other firearm.

It amazes me that Rock Island is such a great value...price and quality. Mine was bought with an experimental/educational purpose in mind, but it's turned out to be a nice addition to my regular collection. Go figure.
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  #21  
Old 09-03-2011, 11:37 PM
Cappi Cappi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekker View Post
Cappi suggested above that a high quality, machined extractor might add a measure of reliability to a RIA 1911
Not "reliability" per say, My Rocks were bullet proof reliable with stock parts ('cept the 38 super) .
Just that an ext'r is a heavy use item .
I feel more "confident" that a non MIM ext'r is stronger and "less" likely to fail


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  #22  
Old 09-04-2011, 12:14 AM
RIACS.45 RIACS.45 is offline
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Recoil springs are the only weakness of the 1911 and you can buy them for as cheap as 3 bucks. Well for a GI size gun. You have to keep them swapped out CS guns evry 500-800 rounds is suggested but i went 3500 rounds before i changed mine. This is the first automatic I have ever owned so I am learning, I fell in love with the caliber not really the gun but the 1911 is still a better a far safer gun to carry than a Single action with no safety and hammer down on an empty chamber holding only 5 rounds can be bad if being shot at be sevral people. 8 shots or if using a 8 round mag you get 9 in a .45 thats a formidlabe weapon and most people will say a handgun is meant to let you fend off the enemy until you can get a rifle.I just wish some one other then S&W would make a .45 auto double action revolver.
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  #23  
Old 09-04-2011, 10:09 AM
NIGHT AL NIGHT AL is online now
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Don't you think a S W double Action revolver that holds 9 rounds, would be kind of thick and bulky to carry?.......
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  #24  
Old 09-04-2011, 11:56 AM
Trekker Trekker is offline
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Longevity as a measure of reliability

I know some folks carry a favorite 1911 for years, put lots of practice rounds through it and do little for maintenance except consistent cleaning and lubrication; some field strip but don't go beyond minimum cleaning. Stories abound of Colts and others that perform for decades without part breakage or any breakdown. That is the ultimate, 'normal use' reliability test.

Have any of you guys experienced similar reliability with your RIAs? Has your 1911 performed like the energizer bunny over years with nominal maintenance and little or no repair? I'm thinking in terms of personal carry use with practice rounds of 500 to 1,000 rounds per year. Trouble free longevity is what I'm asking about.
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  #25  
Old 09-04-2011, 01:53 PM
Cappi Cappi is offline
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Trek, parts wear and can break at any given time ...really no way to predict it.

It's likely the average shooter will never put enough rnds thru their pistol to be concerned .

if it helps with your concerns, one of my Rocks had over 4000 rnds on stock parts ...nary a bobble
The other had maybe 6000 ..stock parts ....bullet proof reliable

My Colt Gold Cup broke the ejector in less than 500 rnds ...and it's not a MIM part.
It's since run close to 10,000 rnds without a hic-up


don't over think it, Bro.
If your pistol is reliable thru the first 500 rnds, the odds are you'll not have any trouble for the next 5000-10,000 and beyond .

..L.T.A.
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