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Posted: 9/13/2010 7:59:59 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/13/2010 8:01:49 PM EDT by 418cwc]
I need some opinions on what you guys think would be the absolute most reliable 5" 1911 available. Would it be a custom made gun (Baer, NH, Wilson Combat, etc.)
or something like a Springfield G.I. with custom work? From what I understand, a gun that is fine tuned with tight tolerances is going to be very accurate but might be
finicky with ammo or reliability. In other words, you give up reliabilty to achieve accuracy. Is this true with the custom gun makers? What would be the most reliable 1911 under $3K?




Link Posted: 9/13/2010 9:08:11 PM EDT
What your asking is an exercise in purely adulterated 1911, mental masturbation complete with Astro Glide. Your just asking to be bent and greased heavily..... Look and listen up some. You can take a Colt 1911 new out of the box and have a perfectly dependable firearm for life.

That said. Misunderstand what your 1911 is meant to feed and you can easily run into feed ability issues.

Become obsessed with feed ability and machine tool reliability and prepare your self to spend 3k easily.

Spend some time reading, listening to rational owners of 1911s and you will find you can achieve reliability in almost any cookie cutter, name brand 1911 for the price of.... and maybe an additional cash outlay of a few hundred dollars and have a 1911 that is the definition of reliability.

You can have just as much reliability in a Rock Island with a few part mods as you can an all out full custom job by one of the pre-madonna builders.

Then again, I don't know shit. I'm just some internet dude who professes to punching one too many cows in a days work.
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 9:24:56 PM EDT
A 1911 does not have to have "Tight" tolerances to be accurate. It just has to be well fit from the barrel, to the bushing, to the slide.


My RIA, a 400$ 1911 is accurate, reliable, and tough as nails.


1911forum.com is a better place to ask probably
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 9:27:40 PM EDT
My $500 Springfield mil spec was just as reliable as my $1600 Les Baer Custom TRS. Fit, finish, accuracy, and to some extent, confidence in my equipment is what I got for the extra $1100. I knew the Baer was going to be reliable right out of the box. I needed a case of ammo to prove the Springfield.

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Link Posted: 9/13/2010 9:30:59 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Madcap72:
A 1911 does not have to have "Tight" tolerances to be accurate. It just has to be well fit from the barrel, to the bushing, to the slide.


IIRC, the AMU found that tightening the shit out of the frame to slide and everything else had a barely noticeable (5%) increase in accuracy and a serious degradation in reliability (~20% worse).

The single greatest effect on accuracy was the barrel to bushing and barrel to slide fit.
Link Posted: 9/14/2010 1:26:55 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Mall-Ninja:
My $500 Springfield mil spec was just as reliable as my $1600 Les Baer Custom TRS. Fit, finish, accuracy, and to some extent, confidence in my equipment is what I got for the extra $1100. I knew the Baer was going to be reliable right out of the box. I needed a case of ammo to prove the Springfield.

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I'll second those sentiments. In my case it was a Mil spec and a Desert Warrior.
Link Posted: 9/14/2010 4:15:34 AM EDT
I think component selection will be far more important than loose or tight.

Having forged parts machined from barstock will be better than cast or MIM. You will almost exclusively get this in the high end of the price spectrum.

But, you can buy something with a forged slide and frame (Springfield GI) and throw a bunch of barstock parts into it and have a gun that's boringly reliable too.

I personally do subscribe to the slightly loose is good club. When crud builds up, it gives it somewhere to stick without binding on moving parts when dry.

You can get into something like a lower end Les Baer in the $1600 range, so if you're looking for a gun that's put together well with good parts, it's a good place to start.


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Link Posted: 9/14/2010 4:26:31 AM EDT

Originally Posted By 1911smith:
What your asking is an exercise in purely adulterated 1911, mental masturbation complete with Astro Glide. Your just asking to be bent and greased heavily..... Look and listen up some. You can take a Colt 1911 new out of the box and have a perfectly dependable firearm for life.

That said. Misunderstand what your 1911 is meant to feed and you can easily run into feed ability issues.

Become obsessed with feed ability and machine tool reliability and prepare your self to spend 3k easily.

Spend some time reading, listening to rational owners of 1911s and you will find you can achieve reliability in almost any cookie cutter, name brand 1911 for the price of.... and maybe an additional cash outlay of a few hundred dollars and have a 1911 that is the definition of reliability.

You can have just as much reliability in a Rock Island with a few part mods as you can an all out full custom job by one of the pre-madonna builders.

Then again, I don't know shit. I'm just some internet dude who professes to punching one too many cows in a days work.

Brilliant!


I've seen $5000 wunderguns go down in speed stages. I've seen my old stock 1991A1 run those guns into the ground.

Most of the usual suspects, Springer, Colt, Dan Wesson, Wilson, even the budget RIA guns will run fine if the tolerances are close to spec and they are using decent parts.

Where an 1911 owner runs into problems is when adding aftermarket parts. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't.
Then there are used guns. It took my gunsmith a couple of tries to sort out my LW Commander. It was new in 1985? I bought it in 1997 and It was pronounced fit in mid 1998. It runs great. I think because I resisted the urge to add more stuff to it.

Buy a reputable brand and resist the urge to screwdriver it. Shoot it instead.
Link Posted: 9/14/2010 4:39:50 AM EDT
Originally Posted By ZekeMenuar:

Buy a reputable brand and resist the urge to screwdriver it. Shoot it instead.


I agree to a point, that everything doesn't need to be scrapped, but in today's world of MIM and cast parts, swapping parts out IS an upgrade and can improve the reliability and durability of the pistol.

Being haphazardly alergic to aftermarket parts because "that's not how it left the factory" is ridiculous.

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Link Posted: 9/14/2010 6:16:28 AM EDT
while you MIGHT get a cheap (under 600) 1911 that runs flawlessly (some I have had did just that) when you buy say a 1500 dollar les baer you are kind of buying "insurance" as the high end guns are much more likely to be reliable and accurate. stating this another way,there's a 60% chance of getting good accuracy and reliability out of a cheap gun but a 95% chance with a high end semi custom.
My 1.5" accuracy les baer has been a reliable brick since day one (did get it used) and is tight as hell. over at 10-8 forums they did a test and a properly assembled/fitted tight 1911 is not always unreliable
Link Posted: 9/14/2010 6:47:25 AM EDT

Originally Posted By WIZZO_ARAKM14:
Originally Posted By ZekeMenuar:

Buy a reputable brand and resist the urge to screwdriver it. Shoot it instead.


I agree to a point, that everything doesn't need to be scrapped, but in today's world of MIM and cast parts, swapping parts out IS an upgrade and can improve the reliability and durability of the pistol.

Being haphazardly alergic to aftermarket parts because "that's not how it left the factory" is ridiculous.

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I forgot about MIM. My Commander is pre MIM and has most of the internals replaced.
He should put some rounds through it and then decide what if anything needs replaced.
Link Posted: 9/14/2010 7:36:38 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/14/2010 7:44:58 AM EDT
When it comes to reliability, every 1911 is an example unto itself due to the high proportion of hand-fitting operations versus more modern designs.

However, in my opinion, you're much more likely to experience better reliability with the semi-custom 1911s, which have more hand fitting and tuning and generally better parts quality than the run-of-the-mill production guns.
Link Posted: 9/14/2010 7:58:59 AM EDT
Originally Posted By ken_mays:
When it comes to reliability, every 1911 is an example unto itself due to the high proportion of hand-fitting operations versus more modern designs.

However, in my opinion, you're much more likely to experience better reliability with the semi-custom 1911s, which have more hand fitting and tuning and generally better parts quality than the run-of-the-mill production guns.


This is what I suspected and what seems to be the general consensus.

I guess with a custom gun you pay for other features such as cosmetics as well. I have been in search of that boringly reliable/durable 1911. Kind of like a (and I really hate to even use the word) Glock 1911. It's not pretty but it functions flawlessly and goes bang every time. I don't want a "Glock for when the SHTF and a 1911 for the range", I want a 1911 for all of it.
Link Posted: 9/14/2010 8:35:35 AM EDT
Ive owned tight guns that were 100 percent reliable if you eliminate mag and ammo problems. Some werent tack drivers, some were. Ive owned loose rattle traps that jammed atleast once a mag but shot great.

My Baer TRS was stupid tight out of the gate and has never skipped a beat, hardball, powderpuff lead swc and half a dozen different hollowpoints. My Brown, not as tight hasnt skipped a beat either with the same ammo. The TRP I got rid of recently, first mag through the gun had one round that didnt totally go into battery. After that it was flawless. The Colt 1991 fed all the hardball I ran through it, a couple of hiccups with hollowpoints and LSWC though.

I seem to get lucky though. Through the years Ive owned dozens of 1911s. Most all were pretty damn reliable.
Link Posted: 9/14/2010 9:16:28 AM EDT
Guns are like anything else. To a certain degree you get what you pay for in terms of reliability (there are always exceptions to the rule). After that point you are spending money on options and name. My philosophy is buy a base gun that fits your needs, identify problems (if any) or options that you would prefer to have, fix or add as needed and have a work horse of a gun. After you do this then you are prepared to spend money on a semi-custom because you will know what you want. At which point you still may have to fix or add options as needed to get it the way you want but you will have a much prettier package.
Link Posted: 9/15/2010 4:28:44 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/15/2010 5:00:53 AM EDT by Boom_Stick]
Buy a base model gun built by a reputable maker, a Colt or Springfield GI model as an example. THEN....and this is important, get quality magazines. Feed geometry is paramount in a 1911. I learned this after years of dealing with the question you're asking. Stay away from parallel feed lip mags. The 1911 was designed for GI style feed lips however the new hybrid feed lips (a mix of GI and abrupt release) made by Checkmate for Colt oem, are the best ones.
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