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Posted: 8/9/2011 9:40:28 PM EDT
I've been looking into getting a SA 1911 lately, either a full custom shop gun or buying a mil-spec and have the custom shop build it the way I want.  According to SA, all their custom shop guns come with "national match" frames, whereas the lower-end models like the mil-spec are forged in Brazil (??).  I haven't really been able to find any specifics on the "national match" frame from SA.  

So I have three questions...

A)  What would be the advantage to having a "national match" frame vs. getting a mil-spec that was forged in Brazil and upgrading?  

B)  Which option would be more reliable and would hold up to dirt and grit better?

C)  If it is true that the frames used from the SA custom shop are 'better' in some way, why would pistolsmiths like Larry Vickers and others use the Mil-Spec as a base gun?
Link Posted: 8/9/2011 10:08:00 PM EDT
i could be wrong but i believe all sa's frames are from brazil.  as to the other questions not sure
Link Posted: 8/10/2011 2:56:57 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/10/2011 3:01:55 AM EDT by silversport]
they are...and the NM are just the two letters that designate the pistol was finished in Illinois...NOT National Match (although many would have you believe that...Springfield says no)...my stainless Mil-Spec is an NM serial'd pistol...bought at the same time with a buddy...his an N serial'd stainless Mil-Spec...ours shoot the same...my matte finish on the top of the slide and front of the slide is lighter and smoother than his...my front sight has a slightly different profile...mine appeared to be polished a bit nicer inside...his has made in Brasil...mine doesn't (even though it was forged there) other than that...I don't see the differences...

Both of our pistols were used in Teddy Jacobson's and Stephen Camp's Project Street Gun Class #1...so BOTH pistols work fine for upgrades...

Since BOTH pistols are forged at the same place...both will hold up well for wear if treated equally...

I believe some of the great pistol guys build on Springfield frames because they are well built, mostly Colt Spec pistols that hold up well...good luck with your choice...love mine...:D



Bill
Link Posted: 8/10/2011 5:44:09 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/10/2011 6:02:52 AM EDT by Wildhorse]
Get a NM frame if you can!!!!

Metalurgically the NM frames are the same as all the others, the only difference being that NM frames are finished in Ilinois and the others are finished in Bazil.

BUT... The Brazilians have been doing an increasingly POOR job finish machining their frames.

You can see this by just looking at the machining line that runs from the front of the trigger guard to the end of the dust cover.   On just about evert non-NM frame I've seen on the shelf in the last three years the dustcovers are pitifully uneven indicating a lack of care and time taken in their manufacture.  You see this less in their stainless guns finished in Brazil. I hypothesize that is because their stainless steel alloy is softer and, therefore, easier to machine in a hurry.

Yes many of these issues are cosmetic, but you shouldn't pay a premium for a substandard product just because it's a 1911 when companies like Tangfolio can produce a much more complicated design with absolutely perfect machining for a much lower price. this can be seen in their Witness Match .45 series which sells in the mid-$500 range.  That is less expensive even than most Mil-spec type 1911s from just about any manufacturer not from the Philipines.

Why doea Sprungfield keep putting their name on substandard guns and selling them for full price? Because they know some dope will eventually buy it. Let's face it, we are all getting hosed on the price for all of our 1911s already just because there is a demand. But with Springfields current production 1911s, all guns built on NM frames cost the same as the same model build on a non-NM frame, so you will do yourself a favor by being picky and waiting to find a model you like with a NM frame.

That advice comes with one caveat. The SA Range Officers are all built on NM frames, but about half of the examples I've seen show the same problems I have noted in guns finished in Brazil. I figure that SA tried to bring the RO product to market so fast, and was
met with such great demand, that they had to Hurry the production of the RO series which resulted in many finishing flaws.

SA's saving grace is their customer service. They seem willing to fix anything even if they are purely cosmetic issues. If you bring a problem to their attention, in my experience, they are always happy to ensure that you remain a happy customer.   On the other end of their business they seem to be hedging their bets of the hopes that most people won't notice or care that they are spending a premium on poorly finished products.

Springfield is a great company because of their customer service. The moral of my story is just to be picky with the specific example of their product that you decide to plop your money down on. Personally I never buy any 1911 until I have actually physically inspected to make sure the level of finish is worth the price being asked for it.
Link Posted: 8/10/2011 7:15:56 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/10/2011 7:18:09 AM EDT by 418cwc]
Originally Posted By silversport:
they are...and the NM are just the two letters that designate the pistol was finished in Illinois...NOT National Match (although many would have you believe that...Springfield says no)...my stainless Mil-Spec is an NM serial'd pistol...bought at the same time with a buddy...his an N serial'd stainless Mil-Spec...ours shoot the same...my matte finish on the top of the slide and front of the slide is lighter and smoother than his...my front sight has a slightly different profile...mine appeared to be polished a bit nicer inside...his has made in Brasil...mine doesn't (even though it was forged there) other than that...I don't see the differences...

Both of our pistols were used in Teddy Jacobson's and Stephen Camp's Project Street Gun Class #1...so BOTH pistols work fine for upgrades...

Since BOTH pistols are forged at the same place...both will hold up well for wear if treated equally...

I believe some of the great pistol guys build on Springfield frames because they are well built, mostly Colt Spec pistols that hold up well...good luck with your choice...love mine...:D

http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b72/silversport1/P1000003.jpg

Bill



 That sure is a sweet looking Mil-Spec...
Link Posted: 8/10/2011 7:16:47 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/10/2011 7:18:31 AM EDT by 418cwc]
So what would be the difference between a "NM" prefix Mil-spec frame and a frame from a Professional or Custom Carry?  Why would one be better than the other?
Link Posted: 8/10/2011 7:23:53 AM EDT
FYI

NM doesn't mean National match, it means New Model when it comes to S.A.


Custom shop guns are hand fitted starting with oversized frames and slides.  
That is the difference
Link Posted: 8/10/2011 9:00:06 AM EDT
A while ago, way back when, National Match meant something as accurizing and the competitions in a nationwide match.  The origin of the term National Match was used to refer to a pistol that was built by government armorers with the US Army Marksman Unit.  They were built by hand and tuned for the Army Shooting Team for use at the matches at Camp Perry.  As the popularity of the term grew, Colt started using the term to market pistols for the retail market.

A very close friend of mine who happened to be an armorer for the Army shooting team gave me a quick lesson on the use and term of National Match and what the N and the M stood for.  One day when I asked him the difference between a NM frame (from any manufacturer) and a regular frame.  He pulled out a set of letter punches and said "Here is the difference, you can make a National Match frame by stamping the N and the M on the side.  Other than the stamp, dimension are only different by the governing geometry to a production gun and the tolerances to which they are held. "  If a pistol was rebuilt and tuned by the hands of an armorer for a nationwide match, the pistol is termed as a National Match Pistol.

As time grew, the name stuck and has become a blanket term for those looking to use the term as a marketing tool.

In the case of Springfield Armory, just about every frame is forged and manufactured at Imbel.  I was told there is another company that makes components for Springfield that is within the US, but that has not been confirmed on my part.  What I do know is the frames that are marked US or sport the Geneseo, IL address in the manufacturing part of the stamp came into the country as an 80% frame and the rails are left to be cut in house.  This is for better control over cutting the rails over sized to allow hand fitting by the custom shop or a little closer of a cut for the Operators and other pistols they would like to assemble.  Mil-specs and the guns marked Imbel, Brazil were manufactured at Imbel, finished, assembled and even shot outside of the country.

The prefix NM does not stand for "new model" because the model is the 1911-A1 and the 2 letters designate the facility to which the frame or serialized part was made in.  At Rock River Arms, their first run of pistols came from the machines at Lewis Machine and Tool.  Those first guns have the prefix RR and a 4 digit number.  When they discontinued LMT as their manufacturer, they moved to Continental Machine and applied for an alternative variance.  The frames were produced with the prefix RA and a 4 digit number.

The model is manipulated into different calibers and different profiles like the Mil-Spec and Operators.  A manufacturer can establish a second variance to make more serial numbers or designate different lots of guns...like Springfield did with the TGO series.  They used the TGO prefix for all their Letham tribute guns.  Those pistols, imported from Brazil as 80% frames, were "manufactured" at the Springfield Armory shop when they cut the rails in the frame and added the serial number.


I hope this helped.

Bob
Link Posted: 8/10/2011 9:15:28 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Miller_Custom_1911:
...
The prefix NM does not stand for "new model" because the model is the 1911-A1 and the 2 letters designate the facility to which the frame or serialized part was made in.  At Rock River Arms, their first run of pistols came from the machines at Lewis Machine and Tool.  Those first guns have the prefix RR and a 4 digit number.  When they discontinued LMT as their manufacturer, they moved to Continental Machine and applied for an alternative variance.  The frames were produced with the prefix RA and a 4 digit number.
...


I stand corrected.  I had read that a long while ago.  Made sense at the time
Link Posted: 8/10/2011 4:18:59 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/10/2011 4:58:21 PM EDT by 418cwc]
Originally Posted By Miller_Custom_1911:
A while ago, way back when, National Match meant something as accurizing and the competitions in a nationwide match.  The origin of the term National Match was used to refer to a pistol that was built by government armorers with the US Army Marksman Unit.  They were built by hand and tuned for the Army Shooting Team for use at the matches at Camp Perry.  As the popularity of the term grew, Colt started using the term to market pistols for the retail market.

A very close friend of mine who happened to be an armorer for the Army shooting team gave me a quick lesson on the use and term of National Match and what the N and the M stood for.  One day when I asked him the difference between a NM frame (from any manufacturer) and a regular frame.  He pulled out a set of letter punches and said "Here is the difference, you can make a National Match frame by stamping the N and the M on the side.  Other than the stamp, dimension are only different by the governing geometry to a production gun and the tolerances to which they are held. "  If a pistol was rebuilt and tuned by the hands of an armorer for a nationwide match, the pistol is termed as a National Match Pistol.

As time grew, the name stuck and has become a blanket term for those looking to use the term as a marketing tool.

In the case of Springfield Armory, just about every frame is forged and manufactured at Imbel.  I was told there is another company that makes components for Springfield that is within the US, but that has not been confirmed on my part.  What I do know is the frames that are marked US or sport the Geneseo, IL address in the manufacturing part of the stamp came into the country as an 80% frame and the rails are left to be cut in house.  This is for better control over cutting the rails over sized to allow hand fitting by the custom shop or a little closer of a cut for the Operators and other pistols they would like to assemble.  Mil-specs and the guns marked Imbel, Brazil were manufactured at Imbel, finished, assembled and even shot outside of the country.

The prefix NM does not stand for "new model" because the model is the 1911-A1 and the 2 letters designate the facility to which the frame or serialized part was made in.  At Rock River Arms, their first run of pistols came from the machines at Lewis Machine and Tool.  Those first guns have the prefix RR and a 4 digit number.  When they discontinued LMT as their manufacturer, they moved to Continental Machine and applied for an alternative variance.  The frames were produced with the prefix RA and a 4 digit number.

The model is manipulated into different calibers and different profiles like the Mil-Spec and Operators.  A manufacturer can establish a second variance to make more serial numbers or designate different lots of guns...like Springfield did with the TGO series.  They used the TGO prefix for all their Letham tribute guns.  Those pistols, imported from Brazil as 80% frames, were "manufactured" at the Springfield Armory shop when they cut the rails in the frame and added the serial number.


I hope this helped.

Bob


Wow, thanks for the input.  Would you say maybe that SA stating their custom shop guns are hand-fitted with oversized frames and slide is all about marketing?  If I sent sent my "NM" Mil-spec to the SA CS and had the slide-to-frame fit like their other custom shop guns, wouldn't it be just as good?
Link Posted: 8/11/2011 3:14:22 AM EDT
Originally Posted By 418cwc:
Originally Posted By Miller_Custom_1911:
Bob


Wow, thanks for the input.  Would you say maybe that SA stating their custom shop guns are hand-fitted with oversized frames and slide is all about marketing?  If I sent sent my "NM" Mil-spec to the SA CS and had the slide-to-frame fit like their other custom shop guns, wouldn't it be just as good?


It could be. SA used to a 2 part barrel on 1911s.  A lot of other Parts are hand fit at the custom shop. To get as good total cost (gun plus work and shipping) could exceed what you could have one built from scratch at SA.
Link Posted: 8/11/2011 5:11:33 AM EDT
SA's custom shop uses the oversized frames to handfit frame to slide- if you're happy with the fit of your N/NM milspec stick with it.
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