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Old 07-02-2012, 11:47 AM
pete177 pete177 is offline
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Iver Johnson Hawk Range Report




From the web site: "Our 1911's are assembled in the Philippines by Shooters Arms Manufacturing, but they are made to our spec and our design, using our parts. All models have a forged slide that is CNC machined, and a cast frame that is CNC machined. All models have MIM parts, and the slide and frame are hand fitted for a nice, tight fit..."no wiggle", great accuracy".

The "Hawk" is their Commander sized 1911 and comes in 9mm and 45 ACP. It is an all steel gun, including the MSH. It has a matte blued finish; NovakŪ style low profile fixed rear sight & dovetail front sight; Beveled magwell; Lowered & flared ejection port; Thin, angled serrations in front and rear of slide; Barrel is black and then polished in port section; 3 hole skeleton smooth trigger & finger relief cut in frame near trigger; Skeleton hammer & beavertail grip safety with memory cut; Flat, serrated steel backstrap; Iver Johnson exotic walnut large diamond grips w/ fine line checkering & owl head logo. They also make a polished version but I prefer a consistent finish on my guns. Either all polish or all matte.

Attachment 83728

Attachment 83729

Attachment 83730

Ok, that said, I bought the gun to be used as a carry gun and all around shooter.This is my first 1911 though I spent some time shooting my dad's G.I. 1911's some 25 years ago. The gun as presented from the LGS was in the display case and fairly dry though my understanding is they are shipped covered in gun preservative. The roll stamps are not necessarily as straight as one would like. The "Hawk" logo is a bit uneven though it makes for an interesting effect, sort of modern and edgy. Anyway, the gun was tiight as a drum when I picked it up, no rattle, slide worked smoothly, trigger was fairly smooth and broke cleanly after a bit of take up. Trigger pull was heavy. I read a gun rag article that cited 8lb's. I believe the trigger pull was every bit of that. There is no trigger block My understanding is that it is a direct copy of a Colt series 70 commander internally. I took the gun home, field stripped it and lubed the snot out of it with gun lube and Phillips Aviation 10W30 that I had sitting around The gun started to leach some rust so I tried to get lube into every hole and crevice before I shot it.

On day one I shot 50 rounds of Tula through the gun and then 50 rounds of PMG 230gr brass ammo. All FMJ. I had two failures to feed and one double feed that I believe were due to rounds that were not completely seated in the mag. Once I started tapping the mag on my boot I had no failures. The gun comes with one factory mag that seems to work fine with FMJ ammo. The gun fed a clip of Remington Golden Saber 230gr JHP's just fine through a Chip Mcormick mag. I didn't test JHP's with the factory mag. The gun exhibited reasonable accurracy for a service gun at first but seemed to deteriorate over time. By the end of the session accurracy was not acceptable. I think the barrell had become overly fouled as I later found quite a bit of metal built up around the rifling of the barrell.

On day two, after cleaning the barrell but without any other cleaning, I shot another 100 rounds. Accurracy seemed to be improved though it's tough to tell because I didnt bench test the gun on this day either. Given the 8lb trigger this gun is not easy to shoot accurately. After the second range trip I discovered that the grip safety had become mushy and would not reset rendering it ineffective. I returned to my LGS to have the local 'smith bend the
third arm back as I was fairly certain that a lack of spring tension was causing the grip safety's lack of reset. They wanted to send it back to Iver where upon it would take weeks to return to me. I protested and they finally sent me to their 'smith at another location. It took him 15 minutes to adjust the grip safety arm of the sear spring. I also talked him into adjusting the center arm to lighten up the trigger pull. After the adjustment he measured the trigger pull at 6lb's 2oz's which isn't bad for a service gun so I was happy.

On day 3 I shot another 50 rounds of Tulammo 230gr FMJ that I had laying around off of a bench to get some idea of how accurrate the gun really was. The gun fires 1 1/2" high at 10 yrds and about 2 1/2 inches high at 15 yrds using standard ball ammo. It also seemed to shoot a bit high with the Golden Saber as well. Windage appears to be accurate.

Attachment 83732

Attachment 83731

The aim point target was shot off of a rest. The smaller targets were shot at 15 yards and the larger center target was shot at 10 yards.
The tactical target was shot at 10 yards using a combat grip/stance and was shot utilizing quick reactionary drills; squeeze the trigger as soon as the front sight is on the target. Two quick shot COM then one aimed shot at the head. Not great, but again, servicable.

Last edited by pete177; 05-03-2013 at 02:50 PM.
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  #2  
Old 07-02-2012, 11:50 AM
pete177 pete177 is offline
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Iver Johnson Hawk Range Report Continued...

After this shooting session I got on youtube and followed along through a detailed strip of the weapon. The frame exhibited some minor internal surface rust. All of the other parts were clean and rust free. There was some wear on the recoil spring guide and guide housing on the frame. It seemed excessive. See pics below. It's possible it might be caused by a weak recoil spring allowing the slide to slam back against the guide with too much force. One gun rag author said he thought the recoil spring was a bit weak and causing him some failure to feed events; or it may be the spring itself rubbing on the slide housing. I will replace the spring shortly but I wonder if I shouldn't go with a full length guide rod.
Attachment 83715

Attachment 83716

Attachment 83717

Attachment 83718

Attachment 83719
There was a rough spot on the frame at the rear of the magazine well just below the firing pin. Seemed like a forging mark. The trigger bow appeared smooth, almost polished. The frame rails for the trigger were as unfinished as the rest of the frame. The trigger fit seemed a tad loose, but that was probably a good thing given the surface of the frame rails that hold the trigger.
All in all, for $575.00 it's not a bad service gun and all around beater. I plan to replace the recoil guide spring and order a custom barrell bushing from EGW and see were that takes me. If the EGW bushing improves the accuracy of the gun by a good margin then I will probably have a trigger job done and use it for some hobby match shooting.

Last edited by pete177; 05-03-2013 at 02:50 PM.
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Old 07-02-2012, 01:26 PM
klix58 klix58 is offline
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Excellent report, you may want to upload the first set of pictures again as when attempting to open a mesage claims "invalid attachment" Again well written and enjoy.
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Old 07-02-2012, 04:42 PM
pete177 pete177 is offline
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attachments fixed
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  #5  
Old 07-13-2012, 10:54 AM
lt7d101 lt7d101 is offline
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Thanks for the report Pete. I'm looking at a lightly used one in 9mm for a fun gun and occasional carry. I wonder if the trigger pull will smooth and lighten with time, use? 8#s is heavy for a 1911, but I was used to a Glock trigger for many years on the job.
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Old 07-13-2012, 07:20 PM
surgicaltech surgicaltech is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lt7d101 View Post
Thanks for the report Pete. I'm looking at a lightly used one in 9mm for a fun gun and occasional carry. I wonder if the trigger pull will smooth and lighten with time, use? 8#s is heavy for a 1911, but I was used to a Glock trigger for many years on the job.
FWIW, I used jewlers rouge and a dremel tool and polished the ignition parts and it made a difference. I don't have any way to measure the pull, but to me if felt alot lighter.
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Old 07-13-2012, 10:09 PM
joshua casher joshua casher is offline
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Good report Pete. I am rather fond of my IJ Eagle, I think these pistols are a good value for thier modest price.
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  #8  
Old 07-14-2012, 10:05 AM
pete177 pete177 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lt7d101 View Post
Thanks for the report Pete. I'm looking at a lightly used one in 9mm for a fun gun and occasional carry. I wonder if the trigger pull will smooth and lighten with time, use? 8#s is heavy for a 1911, but I was used to a Glock trigger for many years on the job.
So far I had the stores's gunsmith bend/adjust the middle arm of the sear while he was adjusting the right arm for the grip safety and that lightened the trigger to 6lb's, 2oz. I recently replaced the recoil spring with a 20lb 'er and replaced the hammer/main spring with a 19lb'er. Trigger pull is probably around 4 1/2 or 5lb's now. Even with the heavier recoil spring it seems a bit more felt recoil is making it to the frame due to the lighter hammer spring so my guess is that IJ is using a very heavy hammer spring to protect the frame and possibly for liability reasons. The gun seems to shoot tighter groups with the lighter spring set up, about 1 1/2" groups at 15 yards. I just recieved my custom bushing from EGW and I may get to the range today to test it. I tried to fit it by hand but it was too tight so I have to get a hold of a bushing wrench before I shoot. I may post the results today or tomorrow.
I do have a forging mark/anomoly on the inside of the frame below the firiing pin hole and above the sear hole that appears deep enough to possibly affect frame integrity so my plan is to shoot the the hell out of the gun for a little less than a year and then send it back under warranty. I'd bet dollars to donuts they send me back a new gun rather than take the time to fit a new frame
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  #9  
Old 07-14-2012, 11:30 AM
lt7d101 lt7d101 is offline
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I bought that IJ Hawk in 9mm. I've been looking for a 9mm 1911 as a range/fun/carry piece for a while now. Other than this thread, there just isn't much negative about the guns out there on the net. I almost bought a Kimber 4" from their custom shop, but my FFL said NO! No way I was gonna drop $1500 on a DW for primarily a fun gun. I guess if it needs work I'll be buying a book and learning as I did on my SC BHP. That is now one of my favorite guns and I've turned down many purchase offers for it.
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Old 07-15-2012, 12:57 PM
pete177 pete177 is offline
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Update

Went to the range yesterday and fired 15 and 25 yards. The EGW bushing seems to have made some marginal improvement in group size but tough to tell without a ranson rest. I think the stock bushing fit well right out of the box. The heavy trigger is still the limiting factor on the gun in my opinion. FTE and FTF occurred just about every mag due to the 20lb recoil spring and tight EGW bushing I installed so I ordered a variable rate 18lb spring (18lb being stock for the commander). I'm not sure what rate the IJ stock spring was but it seemed light and dependent on the heavy hammer spring to protect the frame. Gun still groups 2-3" at 15 yards using inexpensive factory ball ammo; about 5" at 25 yards is the best I could muster.
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Old 07-15-2012, 01:06 PM
lt7d101 lt7d101 is offline
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Originally Posted by pete177 View Post
Went to the range yesterday and fired 15 and 25 yards. The EGW bushing seems to have made some marginal improvement in group size but tough to tell without a ranson rest. I think the stock bushing fit well right out of the box. The heavy trigger is still the limiting factor on the gun in my opinion. FTE and FTF occurred just about every mag due to the 20lb recoil spring and tight EGW bushing I installed so I ordered a variable rate 18lb spring (18lb being stock for the commander). I'm not sure what rate the IJ stock spring was but it seemed light and dependent on the heavy hammer spring to protect the frame. Gun still groups 2-3" at 15 yards using inexpensive factory ball ammo; about 5" at 25 yards is the best I could muster.
Hmm, I guess I'll see in probably a couple weeks if I have the same problem. Although 9mm and 45acp are two different animals. The fella I'm buyng it from said he had no problems and trigger pull was OK from the factory. Extensive photos of the pistol and it looked new, as he had only shot the 20 rounds claimed.

Last edited by lt7d101; 07-15-2012 at 01:08 PM.
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Old 07-16-2012, 09:28 AM
pete177 pete177 is offline
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Originally Posted by lt7d101 View Post
Hmm, I guess I'll see in probably a couple weeks if I have the same problem. Although 9mm and 45acp are two different animals. The fella I'm buyng it from said he had no problems and trigger pull was OK from the factory. Extensive photos of the pistol and it looked new, as he had only shot the 20 rounds claimed.
I don't necessarily see any "problems" with the gun, just areas I'd like to improve. The gun works well stock as a defensive side arm, which is what it's designed for. Stock, the gun ran fine with the supplied mag, few malfunctions. In my case some 7 rd wilson mags would probably make all the difference as the bullets out of the 8 rounders dip as they come out of the mag follower and stick on the feed ramp. Fit and finish on the gun are for the most part pretty good and the pistol is tight. My hope was that given the fit and with a few inexpensive mods I could turn it into an accurate range gun without spending a lot of money. I still think that's possible with some sear spring tweeking and some hand loads. But, out of the box, it works well at it's design purpose.
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Old 07-16-2012, 09:41 AM
lt7d101 lt7d101 is offline
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Originally Posted by pete177 View Post
I don't necessarily see any "problems" with the gun, just areas I'd like to improve. The gun works well stock as a defensive side arm, which is what it's designed for. Stock, the gun ran fine with the supplied mag, few malfunctions. In my case some 7 rd wilson mags would probably make all the difference as the bullets out of the 8 rounders dip as they come out of the mag follower and stick on the feed ramp. Fit and finish on the gun are for the most part pretty good and the pistol is tight. My hope was that given the fit and with a few inexpensive mods I could turn it into an accurate range gun without spending a lot of money. I still think that's possible with some sear spring tweeking and some hand loads. But, out of the box, it works well at it's design purpose.
Thanks. I believe I'll buy Mr. Camp's (RIP) book on 1911's. I'm sure it is written the same as his one on the P35 BHP. Using that guide I was able to completely disassemble, diagnose and repair a BHP that I was having ignition problems with. Time to learn trigger jobs on 1911s. I've heard the BHP is more difficult to work on, so we'll see.
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Old 08-07-2012, 05:48 PM
pete177 pete177 is offline
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Wilson Mags

As a follow up, I bought a couple of 7 round Wilson service mags. The gun cylces jhp's perfectly now.
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Old 08-08-2012, 09:16 AM
lt7d101 lt7d101 is offline
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The permit office called this morning so I can go pick my Hawk up tomorrow. I'll have a chance to see how she does Saturday at a shooting party. I forgot to mention that the trigger pull on my Hawk is fine. Not heavy at all. Obviously I'll know more when I actually get to put some BBs down range range with it.

Last edited by lt7d101; 08-08-2012 at 09:33 AM.
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Old 08-08-2012, 09:25 AM
Karl_Hungus Karl_Hungus is offline
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I don't think the ammo is to blame for the accuracy issues.
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Old 08-17-2012, 04:06 PM
lt7d101 lt7d101 is offline
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Finally got my 9mm Hawk yesterday. Put 120rnds through her this morning. Other than the slide will not lock back on the last round, I had zero failures. The trigger is really good for a gun in this price range. It is more accurate than I am capable of. At 25 yards all head shots were in the coconut. Rapid fire vest drills from holstered could not have been better. She seemed to be most accurate with 124grn bullets. Those HST +Ps are smoking. No unexpected wear upon field stripping and cleaning. All in all, I'm a happy camper with this pistol.

The fail to lock back happened with two brands of mags. I guess I'll change out the slide lock at some point. As I rarely carry a spare mag it really doesn't matter to me. I've been Pavlov trained to change out to a full mag if there is a lull in the action anyway.
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Old 05-03-2013, 07:46 PM
pete177 pete177 is offline
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Update

Well, after almost a year of shooting it...about a thousand rounds, I traded it in on a colt 1991. I never could get the hawk sorted out. It would really only shoot ball in the 1.25 coal range. Wouldn't feed semi wads at all. Flat points were a problem too. Trigger never really got any better despite new sear springs, multiple adjustments, ect. Drop in replacement parts generally didn't fit. Accuracy was poor to average and it always shot 4" high at about 20 yards. Finish didn't last long and wore in the typical places. Internally the gun looked like it had more than 1000 rounds through it. The slide release wore prematurely. Sear was angled badly and probably didn't engage the hammer properly. All in all, I'd steer clear of this brand regardless of price.
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Old 08-22-2013, 01:32 PM
208phidelt 208phidelt is offline
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Hey thanks for the range report I'm looking At the Hawk did you decide to keep the 45 or the 9mm?
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