"Out fo the box" Reliability - 1911Forum
1911Forum
Advertise Here
Forum   Reviews   Rules   Legal   Site Supporters & Donations   Advertise


Go Back   1911Forum > >

Notices


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 06-28-2003, 10:25 AM
Dave T Dave T is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Mesa, AZ
Age: 71
Posts: 972
"Out fo the box" Reliability

I've seen many posts here and on other boards asking about the reliability of various makes and models of 1911s "out of the box" and related questions about what you have to do to make your 1911 "reliable". Thought I would relate my sister's recient experience with a Colt 1991A1 Commander.

She learned to shoot with one of these but decided it was too heavy for daily carry in her purse. She's a professional and "business attire" doesn't allow many carry options for women. She switched to a Glock 23 and carried it for the past three years. She never liked or got comfortable with the Glock trigger (yes, we played with different connectors and springs) and always regretted selling her Commander as it had gone through about 2500 rounds without a malfunction.

I reciently found a used 1991A1 Commander for a very good price ($439). It had a full length guide rod and ambi safety but was otherwise stock. She bought it and I put the original parts back in, cleaned and lubed it and we went to the range yesterday.

Since she had been away from 1911s for three years, she spent the first 15 minutes just dry firing to get used to the thumb safety and the much cleaner trigger pull. She then went through 70 rounds of my reloads in deliberate singles and doubles at 5 to 10 yards on an IPSC silhouette. The gun functioned 100% and my sister got 70-80% of her shots in the "A" Zone.

This gun has not been "throated" and the feed ramp hasn't even been polished. She used one 7 round Colt magazine and two 8 round Colt magazines. The ammo was 200g SWC handloads that give 900 fps out of a 5" barrel (no doubt a little less from the Commander).

This was a used gun with no after market gadgets or add on stuff. My sister is 60 years old (sorry Sis) and works behind a desk all day. Not exactly "macho". The gun worked because the ammo was good quality, the gun was clean and properly lubricated, and my sister has a good, two hand shooting technique.

Didn't the 1911 gain its reputation as a fighting handgun, in part because of its reliability? Wonder how we got so far from those origins?
__________________
RSVN '69-'71
PCSD Ret
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 06-28-2003, 05:44 PM
lictalon lictalon is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 147
Lucky sister.

280+ rounds into a new Kimber Compact CDP, and I can't get through three magazines in a row.

In all fairness, there's supposed to be a 500 round break-in period, and I'm fairly certain the problem I'm having now has to do with the cheap Kimber Mag. The slide keeps locking back; my wife's Kimber had the same problem until we purshased a Wilson mag.

So I guess I agree with Charles; the problem isn't that the manufacturers can't create a reliable gun, it's that they package it with a cheap magazine. It's a far cry from the world of Beretta, where everyone wants factory mags.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 06-28-2003, 08:33 PM
dnancarr dnancarr is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Wyoming, USA
Posts: 900
The original 1911/1911A1 DID have a reputation for reliability under bad conditions-the great one, Mr. Browning, might have done things a bit different had he known what we would expect it to do now.

Feed hollow points with a hole big enough to swallow a 9MM bullet, lead semi wadcutters and so on. I wouldn't be surprised if somebody tried to feed it a full wadcutter!

To their credit, Colt and others have tried to make the 1911 a do anything bullet launcher. Some of the changes I think have been good-especially the sights. My 50 year old eyes don't see those standard GI sights so well anymore
But thats me, not the weapon.
The stock thumb safety is not quite so handy as the teardrop which colt and a few others use, and colt's grooved feed ramp on the barrel is a wonderful thing.

I can do without the front slide serrations, thumb safeties with a pad that looks like the brake pedal on a 1966 Dodge Powerwagon, and all the rest of that noise.

I want pistol that I can cram down my pants on the run if I have to and and not rip 2 pounds of my posterior off while drawing.
I want to know when I draw it that it will go boom when I press the trigger.

I think Colt is finally realizing that we didn't really want the 1991A1 with the bad finish and billboard roll marks. We wanted something with a decent finish-not too flashy, with reliable function and a minimum of gizmos. I think they have heard us.
Finally.
Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
  #4  
Old 06-30-2003, 09:56 PM
mr50bmg mr50bmg is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 62
I think it's outrageous that people have come to accept a 500 round (or more) "break in" period before the firearm shoots reliably.

Surely the military in WWI and WWII did not tolerate that when issuing M1911A1's.

-Dave
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 06-30-2003, 11:01 PM
dnancarr dnancarr is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Wyoming, USA
Posts: 900
I don't know why people put up with a 500 round break in.
I haven't had to put up with that on my last 5 Colt's. Early series 80 Government, 1991A1 urm (ugly roll mark)Government, 1991A1 Commander urm, or my Gold Cup Trophy.

All started out stock-the early series 80 has some drop in aftermarket parts only because I wanted to play with it a bit, but it didn't need them.
My 1991 Compact was a bit balky with handloads at first, but would feed factory stuff including hollowpoints fine. Not really the pistols fault-it was my technique.
Got nervous about the recoil spring retention tab, so I got the Kings bushing and captured spring kit and installed it myself with a LOT of filing on the dust cover, but with the hand fit bushing, the already accurate pistol did even better, and is the easiest 45 I have ever shot weak hand only. Pachmyer grips on all but the GCT, but the factory wraparound is good just like it is.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 07-01-2003, 09:20 PM
mgw24 mgw24 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Age: 40
Posts: 62
Absolutley no problems here with my kimber TLE and 250rds....
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 07-02-2003, 03:36 AM
Rob96 Rob96 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Allentown
Posts: 1,165
Lictalon, my brother had the same problem with his Pro CDP. He sent the gun back to Kimber. They had had to remove some material from the slide stop. The round that is in the magazine during firing is engaging the stop.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 07-02-2003, 03:37 AM
Rob96 Rob96 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Allentown
Posts: 1,165
My Colt 1991A1, with NRM, has been superb out of the box.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 07-02-2003, 02:42 PM
lictalon lictalon is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 147
Rob,

I think you're probably right...I've gone over the gun quite a bit over the last few days (I've had no money to get to the range, so I've been doing a great deal of dry-firing ) and have been smoothing and polishing several areas. I'm not gonna send the gun back to Kimber for something that the dremel can take care of in two minutes, but I'm waiting for the Wilson mags to mess with it anymore.

Come on Friday...come one Friday...Grrr...
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 07-03-2003, 12:31 PM
Dave T Dave T is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Mesa, AZ
Age: 71
Posts: 972
Although I started this thread talking about a Colt, I fell compelled to add the wife and I have acquired 4 Kimbers in the past 7-8 months (all of the first series). We have had no problems with any of the Kimbers with either my reloads or with various HP factory ammo. These guns have had nothing done to them except for changes in sights, which has nothing to do with functional reliability, just makes them earsier for our middle aged eyes to find/see.

How many threads have you folks seen here and elsewhere that revolved around which make/model was the more "accurate". And how do we get that bench rest/shooting machine accuracy??? By making the slide and barrel fit so tight that functional reliability suffers. In 30 years of handgunning I have owned one (1) 1911 that wasn't accurate. It's locking lugs in the slide were improperly cut. Every other 1911 pattern handgun I've owned shot as well as I could and most were better.

Will any of my guns (or my wife's or sister's) shoot 1.5" groups at 50 yards? No, but then none of us can see 1.5" at 50 yards so what possable use would that level of accuracy be to us. I guess I come at this from the martial arts point of view but first you have to have a gun and second, IT HAS TO WORK!
__________________
RSVN '69-'71
PCSD Ret
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 07-03-2003, 10:36 PM
Andy Andy is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 2,789
" I think you're probably right...I've gone over the gun quite a bit over the last few days (I've had no money to get to the range, so I've been doing a great deal of dry-firing ) and have been smoothing and polishing several areas. I'm not gonna send the gun back to Kimber for something that the dremel can take care of in two minutes, but I'm waiting for the Wilson mags to mess with it anymore."

Unless one is a bona fide 1911 pistolsmith, two minutes with a Dremel (tool) working on one's 1911 "smoothing things up" is likely to move those trips to the range a bit further over the horizon... Replacing a gun is a lot more expensive than a trip to the warranty dept.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 07-05-2003, 08:58 AM
lictalon lictalon is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 147
Quote:
Unless one is a bona fide 1911 pistolsmith, two minutes with a Dremel (tool) working on one's 1911 "smoothing things up" is likely to move those trips to the range a bit further over the horizon... Replacing a gun is a lot more expensive than a trip to the warranty dept.
I'm not a bona-fide 1911 pistolsmith, but I do have a fairly good grasp on how the gun comes together and how it should work. As long as one is patient, and careful, I'm not sure how you can cause much of a problem...I've worked the triggers of my Mauser 98K, a no-name .22, and a B92 with no problems. It's just a question of knowing what to touch and not to touch...and generally speaking, there are plenty of people online who can tell you that.

Besides…If I broke it, I send it back to Kimber anyway and say “I don’t know how that happened.”

So anyway, I did take the gun to the range yesterday. 300 Rounds of Winchester white-box went down without a hitch...pretty much what I was expecting. Looking at the gun, and comparing it to my wife's 1911, I saw two main problems, for anyone who's interested:

1. The Series II safety rod.

I think I see the problem with the Series II, and why other weapons that have firing pin safeties don't have an issue. There are two problems:

a. The “button” on the bottom of the slide. In most weapons I’ve looked at, this is a “flat” area (level with the rest of the groove) that is pushed up by a pin or lever. This is smart: there’s no extra resistance that the pin or lever must overcome when it returns to battery. On the Kimber Series II, there’s a “button” that comes down that must be lifted up. Unfortunately, the rod hits the front of this button, and it can get caught, causing the weapon to fail to go into battery. The slide locks up about 1/8 of an inch…A common complaint.

To solve it, I polished the front and back of the “button” until it was very smooth. No major work there.

b. The “rod” that pushes the Series two components up is square. I have no idea what they were thinking with this…everyone one of the four sides of that square post is a sharp edge that can catch the “button” on the slide. The proper shape really about to be round, almost like the firing pin; less chance of catching.

To fix it, I used the dremel and took some of the edge off the rear of the push-rod. Instead of a sharp edge, there’s a bit of a smooth slope. Not much of one, and I took off only a bit at a time (re-assembling the gun and inverting it, slowly releasing the slide to see if it would catch) until it slid into battery each time under the force of the spring. Then I polished the pin to make sure there were no burs or rough spots. I was careful to leave the over-all height of the push-rod the same, and since this isn’t a case-hardened piece, I wasn’t worried about it breaking later. Again, this wasn’t a tough fix, and very little work was required.

2. The slide-stop

Compared to the slide-stop on my wife’s Kimber, this one was bulbous. Taking the slide off and inserting a loaded magazine, there was very little space between the round and the edge of the slide-stop…and several times, if I wiggled the magazine a bit, I could get the round to touch. It wasn’t hard to believe that a bullet could “catch” the stop on its way up, causing the slide to lock back.

Looking at the mechanism, it’s the bottom of the slide stop that needs to be large enough to catch the magazine follower. Most of the catch is never used. Using the dremel, I carefully took off some of the side of the stop, making sure that I never shortened the overall width of base. 300 rounds later, there were no problems with the slide locking back prematurely, but it did lock back every time it was supposed to.

I’m now confident that the gun is completely reliable (at least with ball ammo from Winchester and this mag; I’ll have to test more in the future) but I do think that manufacturers need to work a little harder…or at least Kimber. I shouldn’t have to take a dremel to a gun to make it work, and I shouldn’t have to send it back for a warranty repair, either. It should go BANG! every time I pull the trigger, right out of the box. Kimber, at least, should look at the tolerances of some of their parts, and ought to start putting a rounded or sloped push-rod on their series II.

I still love the 1911, I still love my Kimber, and I still like the idea of a firing-pin safety. (I’m a young guy, so “messing” with a design is no big deal to me…I’ve only had 25 years to admire the 1911 design, not 40+ ) But I’m also very glad my father was a mechanic and encouraged me to tear things apart and put them back together again…But hey, that’s one reason to get a 1911 in the first place; you can disassemble it to basic components and mess with them as you see fit. If I wanted a gun I couldn’t do anything with, I’d have bought another Beretta.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:21 AM.


NOTICE TO USERS OF THIS SITE: By continuing to use this site, you certify that you have read and agree to abide by the Legal Terms of Use. All information, data, text or other materials ("Content") posted to this site by any users are the sole responsibility of those users. 1911Forum does not guarantee the accuracy, integrity, or quality of such Content.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimisation provided by DragonByte SEO (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2020 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2020 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Copyright 2015 1911Forum.com, LLC. All Rights Reserved