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Posted: 10/5/2003 3:35:50 PM EDT
I just recently bought a 1911 Mil Spec SA and was wondering what should be changed out. I have read something about two piece barell not being good and guide rod? Should these items be replaced? IF so where do I get the parts? And where is a good place to get some good good mags for it and some plinking ammo(not that WOLF shit either)? Thank you for your help.
Link Posted: 10/5/2003 5:39:00 PM EDT
Yes, the mil-specs use a two-piece barrel. Yes, they're less than desireable for accuracy. I put a Wilson NM barrel in mine for less than $200 & it now outshoots Gold Cups.

The guide rod is the eternal debate. There's certainly nothing wrong with SA's guide rod. Some folks, like me, prefer a long steel guide rod. Others say it's a waste of $$$ to change it out.

If it were me, I'd change the sights first. Maybe get some Novak-type replacements, not necessarly night sights, just better ones to prevent snagging.

Next, I'd change the barrel. Brownells has a long list of barrel mfgrs you can choose from.

Make sure you have a certified, competent gunsmith to do your work.

Hope this helps.
Link Posted: 10/6/2003 4:12:57 AM EDT
Well, the very first thing I think you should do is to get about 1000 or so rounds of something like WW "white box" 230gr, FMJ and shoot hell out if it. This stuff is often available at very good prices over the counter at WalMart or can be ordered from elsewhere. Ammoman is a great place to get ammo, but they don't carry the WW white box line...Federal American Eagle is an equivalent but slightly higher in price. Try Brownells for Wilson mags...the very best. I am old fashioned and prefer the 7 rounders, but the newer 8rd. mags are a little more dependable than the older models. The Chip McCormick mags are also decent and priced lower.

As fas as what "should" be replaced...that is your call and depends on what you want from the gun. Provided there are no mechanical problems with the first 1000rd., the gun is "good to go" as is for a service grade 1911...which is all it is supposed to be at this stage. You can easily spend $1000 or more on "upgrades" that may...or may not...make the gun more useable for you. Gunsmiths do not make money from guys who are happy with stock guns!

For me personally, the gun would require better sights...I like a Novak rear and a front sight with the tritium dot for dim light use...the Novak tritium rear is grossly over priced and the front dot is plenty for me at the close ranges I will use it. A good trigger action...4-5lb. clean..is next, and I simply cannot shoot a 1911 much unless I have a beavertail grip safety installed...chews my hand up. I might or might not look at barrel replacement, depending on how the stock barrel shot.

Be advised that if you start replacing and customizing much, you might be better off trading or selling this gun and buying a model more in line with what you want/need. JMO
Link Posted: 10/7/2003 5:40:23 PM EDT
Unless you are shooting 50 yard bullseye competition, the factory barrel will be more accurate than what the average human being can shoot. Mine all make one ragged hole at 15+ yards, which is more combat accuracy than I need. I agree with Ikor. Go shoot it a bunch, get it broke in, and then go from there.
Link Posted: 10/7/2003 5:57:47 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Hawkeye:
Unless you are shooting 50 yard bullseye competition, the factory barrel will be more accurate than what the average human being can shoot.




That's totally different than my experience. I was getting 3-4" groups with the SA factory barrel & my groups dropped to half that with my Wilson barrel. That's using cheap PMC/UMC/USA ammo too.

In most guns, there's ALWAYS room for accuracy improvements, especially 1911s like Springfields.
Link Posted: 10/7/2003 6:27:59 PM EDT
Well, as I have said before, out of the 10 or 11 I have owned, in everything from a micro compact to fullsizes, with most being fullsizes, they have ALL shot the same. Heck 3 inches at 15 yards is MORE than acceptable combat accuracy. We have to define this again. Do you want a combat gun, or do you want a bullseye target gun. Sure, aftermarket barrels can be extremely accurate. But how much of it is usable for what the gun will be used for. Again, nothing wrong with the factory barrels.
An AR15 with a milspec chrome lined barrel is more accurate than most people can use. A stainless Compass Lake or Douglas barrel will be more accurate. That doesnt mean that the chrome lined milspec is in-accurate though.

Link Posted: 10/8/2003 8:40:07 AM EDT
Just so Schmidt can have some frame for comparison, I thought I would add this:

Novak sights...standard, not NS...about $55 plus install...at least another $25

Wilson barrel & bushing...drop-in $150...oversized and fitted correctly about $250 or so

Brown beavertail safety...$26.50 plus install...figure $75 at least for both

Trigger work...$50-75 for a decent "street" trigger

Now we are up to at least $350...probably more since the finish will be buggered up by the beavertail install...let's call it somewhere between $400 and $450...plus the original price of the gun. Not all that bad, really, but this will not bring it to serious "target" specs...figure another $500 at least for that...plus the cost of another MilSpec to go in the truck since you can't bear the thought of beating around your super accurate target piece now...Ha!

See how this stuff gets expensive in a hurry?

Your gun...your call.

Link Posted: 10/8/2003 5:31:04 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Hawkeye:
Heck 3 inches at 15 yards is MORE than acceptable combat accuracy.




Ask someone who is a hostage with a knife at their throat & you're holding down on the thug, if THEY think 3-5" is enough?

I prefer the accuracy while keeping the dependibility. It's not hard to do, IMO.
Link Posted: 10/8/2003 10:22:07 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/8/2003 10:23:59 PM EDT by RMPSTRAT]
If you take a shot at a perp from 15 yds who's behind a hostage you're a fool. Real life ain't the movies. That shot would be taken with a carbine or precision rifle, and even then it has to be a sure shot, know your limits.
Also this crap about the two piece barrels is something else. Why don't you order up a Barsto barrel for a Browning Hi Power. Don't be too shocked when you see the line where it's brazed together. I've said it before and I'll say it again two piece barrel meaning nothing. It's LUG ENGAGEMENT! Maybe you got a loose barrel in yours, overcut hood,top and bottom lugs etc Yeah I know you can buy stock springfield barrels all day long for 70 bucks, they are made to drop in to anything with no fitting. A "spec" barrel
Finally I've seen very few Gold Cups that have shot like they supposed to. We've had probably 4 GC's into the shop I work at for new barrels this year because they were a disappointment.

On the original topic, just shoot the gun enjoy it, if there are any problems that arise then worry about it.
Link Posted: 10/9/2003 4:35:04 AM EDT

Originally Posted By BobCole:

Originally Posted By Hawkeye:
Heck 3 inches at 15 yards is MORE than acceptable combat accuracy.




Ask someone who is a hostage with a knife at their throat & you're holding down on the thug, if THEY think 3-5" is enough?

I prefer the accuracy while keeping the dependibility. It's not hard to do, IMO.



Well, for me, that not a shot I would take with ANY handgun, and I am pretty confident in my marksmanship. But thats just me. A 15 yard head shot with a handgun under stress is not something I would attempt with a handgun, especially with another head close by that I dont want hit. Maybe some guys can do that and not think twice about it. Not me. Now, if I had a carbine, well, the distance I would be comforatble with making that shot would be extended quite a way.
Link Posted: 10/9/2003 6:22:55 AM EDT
Cutting through some very good ideas, IMO, the best way to see what you need is to shoot it "as is" for now.
The 2 piece bbl. may be fine for you, mine sure is, as my Wilson "drop in" resides in the parts bin.
As you become familiar with it, you will notice, for example, the trigger could use a few pounds shaved from the let off.
Or the sight picture may not be ideal for your eyes.
The grips and trigger type are easy to change and are a personal preference.
A beavertail safety does feel better, if you "need" it.
As pointed out by Ikor, you can spend more than the original cost of the gun itself.
My SA? I just worked the action and added an adjustable rear sight, that's it. (for range use only)
Some folks get caught up with swapping parts, myself included.
It's fun, and some parts do improve shootability to varying degrees, depending on your needs, either percieved or real.
That's part of the alure of the 1911, in some cases, is limited only by your wallet.

Link Posted: 10/10/2003 9:23:31 AM EDT

Originally Posted By RMPSTRAT:
If you take a shot at a perp from 15 yds who's behind a hostage you're a fool.
Explain that to a dead hostage then, eh?

Real life ain't the movies.
Gee, let me write THAT down, that's a real pearl of wisdom.


That shot would be taken with a carbine or precision rifle, and even then it has to be a sure shot, know your limits.
One does not always have access to their gun safe whereever they're at, do they?

Also this crap about the two piece barrels is something else. I've said it before and I'll say it again two piece barrel meaning nothing.
Yet Brownells sells factory SA barrels for around $65. "Good" aftermarket barrels go for around $150 & up. You get what you pay for.


Link Posted: 10/11/2003 1:05:55 AM EDT
Sounds like you've been reading a bit too much Masaad Ayoob.
Link Posted: 10/11/2003 5:46:20 AM EDT
It depends on what you are going to do with the pistol. The SA Mil-Spec is a high quality rendition of a weapon that has served millions quite well throughout the years. As stated by others above it all depends on what you are going to do with it. If it is only going to be used for personal defense don’t do anything but shoot, clean and polish out a few rough spots on her. We as Americans ALL love to tinker with stuff and that is how things often improve but after almost 100 years that particular pistol has been pretty much debugged. Although it maybe not a true match grade firearm out of the box the Springfield Mil-Spec is just fine as is. You will be financially better off to sell it and buy a Loaded model or whatever floats your boat if that is what you are trying to end up with anyway. I would keep this one as it is minus the personalization stuff like grips/guide rod etc.

If you go pick up a copy of “Hallock’s .45 Auto Handbook”, he meticulously shows you how to modify/fine tune your basic .45. Here are some but by no means all of the improvements that can be made over the stock offering: a 45 degree bevel at bottom of mag well, modify the extractor by filing an angled camming surface, angle/breaking the lug corners in the slide and barrel, ramping the barrel etc. etc.

OK, now for the good part; the SA Mil-Spec has had all of the above done at the factory prior to shipping. Once again this is simply part of the evolutionary debugging process.

All I am trying to get across is that you own a darn fine pistol that you can be proud of “AS IS”.

Shoot and Enjoy.
Link Posted: 10/11/2003 2:46:39 PM EDT

Originally Posted By RMPSTRAT:
Sounds like you've been reading a bit too much Masaad Ayoob.




No, just a good bit of common sense.
Link Posted: 10/13/2003 2:19:33 PM EDT
I have to say that the 1911 blackened loaded that I picked up today is more accurate than any stock glock or hk than I have ever fired. With that said I easily put rounds in the 4X4 black portion on the target with aimed shots off hand at 15-25 meters. A head shot would be technically possible. Also, if you arnt planning on putting down your weapon (you shouldnt) you really need to take the shot.
Link Posted: 10/13/2003 8:05:36 PM EDT

Originally Posted By RMPSTRAT:
Sounds like you've been reading a bit too much Masaad Ayoob.



Is that possible?
Link Posted: 10/14/2003 8:29:00 AM EDT
No flame here, just the mechanics of a "hostage shot" at 15yd.

I have run this scenario at much closer ranges than this many, many...did I say many...times with both Sims and the older FATS system. The rate of success is about one in twenty tries or so, provided that the "good guy", hostage taker and hostage are acting true to life and not only not standing still, but moving unpredictabily on normal, uneven ground, and armed with handguns. Remember, a "hit" anywhere in the head is not enough...it must be a solid brain shot.

Under such conditions with the added stressors of a "live" situation, and a range of 15 yards, I would be more than willing to bet $100 a shot...20 shots minimum...against success by even world class shooters with the most accurate service type handguns available if the good guy is standing and shooting non-supported. If he is kneeling or prone and shooting supported, I would back that up to $50-75 a shot or so, since he may be able to do a little better...but I predict it will be only a little.

The point here is not to yak about who can or cannot "make" such a shot, or even to make too fine a point as to the feasibility of trying to make it. The point IS to hopefully emphasize that such stuff is only an absolute last resort...and that the hostage can be of great help by dropping flat ("fainting"), etc. to give responding officers or her husband, father , boyfriend, girlfriend, or whoever, a clear shot. Now at THAT point this situation becomes a different puppy altogether!

Hopefully your families, partners, etc, and you have talked this over and have some sort of plan and a signal for it to begin.
Link Posted: 10/14/2003 8:46:47 AM EDT
I gotta go with Ikor, Hawkeye and RMPSTRAT.

My personal .o2 would be better sights and a good trigger job.
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