edit: update link(s)
edit2: Warranty update added at end.
And now for my 100th post:
Thanks to all those who contribute their time and energy to posting their candid reviews and test results (both formal and informal) concerning various products and/or answering questions. I have found it to be extremely helpful in making informed decisions and I hope to accomplish the same for you here.
I recently took delivery of my new Springfield-Armory 1911-A1 Loaded Champion PX9142L (known heretofore as Edna) . Not having a .mil or LE background (but having a BS in Mechanical Engineering and having practical experience in that area) I will do my best to adequately evaluate the pistol (its features, construction, etc) and its performance at the range. Feel free to post/email/IM any questions.
(Disclaimer: I’ve shot several 1911 pattern pistols but this is the first one I’ve owned. Handguns I have previously owned include a Beretta 92F Compact (9mm, 13+1) and a Smith and Wesson Model 60 (J-frame revolver, 5 shot, .357 Magnum))
For me the Loaded model has pretty much all the goodies I want in a 1911:
Beavertail grip safety
Novak night sights
Skeleton hammer and ambidextrous safety.
The Champion version gives me the full frame with 4” barrel (more widely known as Commander size). Had the cool double diamond wood grips that were a dark wood.
Lifetime warranty, all parts, for original owner and I have always heard good things about SA warranty service. Night sights are warranted by Trijicon for only 12 years (likely due to the 12.3 yr half-life of tritium, which is beyond the control of the manufacturer).
The pistol could be field stripped without tools.
The front sight was actually a teeny bit crooked! Did not affect aiming, go figure. Ejection port looks like a machining step was missed/forgotten. Otherwise A-OK.
When I did my part the pistol fired to point of aim at 7 yds (although owners manual says point of aim is at 25yds). Firing itself was a piece of cake. The .45ACP is just a big push, not sharp like a .40S&W and not a puff like a 9mm parabellum. Most of the lubricant was wiped off the pistol (frame, slide, etc) to minimize dust collection. No cleaning was done at any time during the test.
Brass showed no excessive deformations.
Unable to rapid fire due to range rules
The Range Report:
(Disclaimer: Multiple paper targets were deliberately and purposely shot in the course of creating this report )
Date: November 13, 2005
Time In: 12:25
Time Out: 17:25
Temp: mid 70F’s
Winchester White Box 230grn FMJ:-205
Remington 230grn JHP:-100
Magtech 230grn FMJ:-50
Speer Gold Dot 185 grn JHP:-20
Speer Gold Dot 230 grn JHP:-50
TOTAL ROUNDS FIRED: 425
7yds / 21ft
I did numerous shots at 17 yds and 25 yds but I was so out of practice that I wont be posting those pics right now . Just think of 4 targets that still look new after having rounds shot at it.
General Range conditions:
Trail Glades Range located at 17601 SW 8th St, Miami, FL (305) 226-1823
Ammo: Primary ammo was Mr. Walton’s Neighborhood Winchester white box, Stock: USA45AVP, ($19.98 retail for 100 rounds of 230grn .45ACP FMJ). The Wal-Mart closest to me doesn’t sell shotguns or ammo; turns out you have to go to the “Supercenter” Wal-Marts .
Magazines: 2 OEM SA 7rnd mags (came with pistol) and 2 Chip McCormick stainless steel 8rnd mags factory# 14131 (chosen based on this article www.signaturegrade.com/sg/1911userguide.pdf)
Standing, Isosceles, left handed using right hand as support (right handed but left eye dominant)
Left handed (single hand) standing sideways (I was much more consistent with this position )
Here is the barrel after 425 rounds.
The feedramp NEW
The feedramp after 425 rounds
Round into feedramp
Round in barrel with magazine inserted
Pistol field stripped
Sidenote: Comparison of .45ACP Gold Dot 185grn vs the mighty .22LR cartridge
The Range Report (Extra Credit): Done at 7yds/21ft
230 grain cartridges:
I fired 50 rounds of Speer Gold Dot (Stock: 53966), 230gr, 50rnd box, $15.00 retail from HERE, and found that felt recoil was ~15% more than WWB. Just as accurate.
I fired 50 rounds of Remington UMC JHP (Stock: L45AP7B) 230gr, 100rnd box, $25.17 retail from Wal-Mart, and found felt recoil to be harder than Gold Dot 230grn and not as accurate.
I fired 50 rounds of MagTech (Stock: BEO423 L-754) 230gr, 50 rnds marked at $13.95, that I had sitting in its box, in the closet (no special care taken), for about 10 years and found that all rounds fired fine and felt recoil was just a touch sharper than WWB.
185 grain cartridges:
I fired 20 rounds of Speer Gold Dot (Stock: 23964), 185gr, 20rnd box, $16.99 retail from dealer, and found that felt recoil was about the same as WWB and as accurate as Gold Dot 230grn.
I fired one 7rnd magazine and one 8rnd mag of mixed ammo, from top to bottom:
1. Top round, WWB 230grn FMJ
2. WWB 230grn FMJ
3. Rem 230grn JHP
4. Speer 185grn JHP
5. Rem 230grn JHP
6. Speer 185grn JHP
7. Speer 230grn JHP (7 rounder)
8. WWB 230grn FMJ (8 rounder)
There were no issues, all rounds fired easily.
The ten reasons I bought the PX9142L:
6. Caliber (.45ACP)
8. Appearance/Looks (both design and stainless steel)
My other choice was the Browning High Power in 9mm because of, yep, ergonomics. But I decided against the 9mm because it seems that you need to get The Perfect Cartridge in order to do what most “any ‘ol round” will do in .45ACP (Flame On!).
For me the slim full frame with 4” barrel is perfect for me in terms of pointability and concealment. It just fits my Medium hand perfectly and seems to aim itself!
General Pistol Observations:
Fit and finish showed an above average level of attention to detail (likely typical of this production level but I have always read about SA having a good level of finish).
The trigger had a clean break at the same point of every pull (factory listed at 5 to 6 lbs, actual lbs unknown but seemed ‘normal’, not too light or too heavy). Having been several sun cycles since last firing a 1911, the effect of the Integral Locking System on the trigger operation could not be determined (note: six pages in the User manual are devoted to the use, Removal and re-assembly of the ILS)
The operation of the ambidextrous safety was crisp and clean and could be operated with the thumb for both ‘on’ and ‘off’ positions in either hand.
Inserting a magazine required a firm hand and the magazine release button seemed a bit heavy, when pushed, the magazine (both SA and McCormick) dropped completely and freely out of the well even when empty.
Again, the pistol could be field stripped without tools.
The magazine well is beveled.
The feed ramp is integral to the barrel.
The Novak night sights were easily seen in the dark.
The grips are fastened to the frame with Torx screws, size T15. Torx screws are easier for an assembly line machine to install and set to the proper torque, so this is most likely the reason for their use (I do think they look cool though)
The factory magazine baseplate is welded and ground flat.
The frame area below the rod guide was engraved with “Made in Brazil” with “IMBEL” centered below it.
The light blue, plastic, case was found to be sturdy and could easily be secured with a lock (no pistol lock was included). There was room for the pistol (up to six inch barrel), two magazines (included), pistol/chamber brush (included, along with optional really sharp end!), a small press lock bag which included orange chamber safety flag, trigger hex key, two ILS keys, a 90deg bent wire (?) and guide rod spacer. The lid housed the safety/operation manual (point open end to target, repeatedly pull trigger until lock slides back, reload and repeat J) and some warning tag. Also included within the case was the warranty card and a ‘coupon’ that allowed you to get multiple SA accessories at a ‘special’ price (explained to me as dealer cost). E.g. SA 7rnd blued magazine, retail $23.50, coupon price $9.00 (limit 10)! Can be used only once and must be within 90 days of purchase (get the list and funds ready!)
As far as the Beretta goes, I was never comfortable with it. The grip was too thick and the reach to the trigger was excessive for me. 9mm is a great shooting round though! Beretta had excellent fit and finish and easy to clean, very high quality. Looooong double action trigger pull but crisp.
The J-frame Smith was a great little gun! .357 Magnum, 5 shots. Funny, I never shot .38 Special through it so I can’t compare. With the stock grips I could go thru a 50 round box in one session, but that was pretty much the limit. Accuracy OK out to 15 yards, after that it was basically a 6”+ group.
Super sweet trigger both double action and single action, incredible fit and finish.
I ordered from Ashley Gerbig at email@example.com, 402-423-5962 because, of all the dealers local to me (Miami), none had the PX9142L in stock and it was two/three weeks to order! And yes, the price was attractive too, $699 plus $30 shipping and local dealer transfer fee is $35 (typical around here) plus $7.50 background check, which brought me to a total of $771.50. This is somewhat less than the dealers asking price of $899 (plus 7% tax!). He was willing to deal and that would have been fine, but he had none in stock!
Ashley was very easy to deal with and he is very professional in his communication.
The Pistol Prep:
Prior to Edna’s first shots I stripped the pistol down and wiped all visible lube off all accessible parts.
Inserted an empty magazine, racked the slide (did not allow slide to slam into battery by itself), flicked off safety, then dry fired.
I did this 20 times left hand then 20 times right hand to acclimate my hands to this particular gun and to work the components while dry/unlubed without the force of firing actual cartridges.
I degreased the barrel link pin and then applied Sentry Solutions Tuf-Glide to the pivot and to the inner race of the link (where the slide stop comes into)
I treated the barrel by saturating a patch with Sentry Solutions Smooth-Kote and running it through barrel (one way, chamber to muzzle) ten times. Having the Otis cleaning cable makes this extremely easy. I then took a clean bore mop and loaded it up with Sentry Solutions BP2000 powder and ran that, one way, ten times through the barrel.
This is what you have left when you hit the target support.
This is what happens to the target (separate hit)
In total I hit the supports four times BTW I heard other people hitting the support with .40S&W and 9mm, target stand did NOT rotate as much ..........
Thanks for reading! Enjoy the ride!
The Warranty Work:
Turnaround time: 11 days including the weekend.
Don’t send anything other than what is requested (in my case the slide, which had to include the rest of the pistol in order to fit the new slide to the frame). I had also sent the two OEM magazines, the baggie of tools (chamber flag, etc) and the pistol was wrapped in a yellow microfiber towel. I did not get back the tools (or the towel but that is easily replaced). SA promised to send back the tools (or a replacement set).
Be very clear, in writing, what you want done and attach pictures of what you are talking about with a memo on the pics with the attention areas circled; leave nothing to interpretation. Ex. The hammer was hitting off-center and I knew this was not good for durability so I requested it be fixed, the hammer was swapped out.
Concerning the tweaked front sight and the machining on the ejection port, I emailed pics to SA and followed up with a phone call the next day. I spoke with Tracy and she immediately agreed that the front sight was not up to snuff and she called a tech over who confirmed that a machining step was missed pertaining to the ejection port. Keeping in mind that I had sent in my warranty card just the day before, I gave Tracy my contact number, address and Serial number and she gave me an RMA # (which are good for 30 days). I was too eager to shoot the thing already and I had wanted to find out if it would shoot low as I have read about on the forum, so I shot my review and report first and then sent the entire pistol out to SA. Why not just the slide you ask? Well it turns out that the slide is fit to the frame and if it needs to be replaced then the frame would be required!
Here is one email response from SA:
Just a little update on your pistol, our technician has decided to replace the slide on your pistol. Your slide stop is already forged and the technician will put a steel extractor in the pistol for you. He has also agreed to find a lighter color grips for you. In your letter you also mentioned the accuracy. Accuracy issues do take longer than normal repairs. We do not have a range here at the factory; there fore the techs have to schedule time to go. Since this is a shortened week I doubt if they will have time to go this week. It will most likely be the beginning of next week. I will update you again as soon as I have any more information.
Shipping to SA was reimbursed (up to $50) and they sent back at their cost. To avoid dealerships the OWNER must ship the pistol to SA and MUST RECEIVE it back at the HOME address where it must be signed (can be sent to your place of business if you are the business owner).
A target (25yds) was returned showing five rounds fired, centerline, slighty right and above. This demonstrated itself when I fired the pistol after I got it back.
Thanks for reading and Enjoy your shooting!
Good and thorough. I did not know the Champions had a ramped barrel.
Good post thanks for taking the time with the pics and report.
Excellent job on a write up.
Enjoy your new pistol!
Superb review! Your attention to detail is amazing!
hope everyone is getting good mileage out of it
Somebody has read a few Gun Tests in his day.
I think mine is better
with an engineering degree it better be
that has to be the most detailed report ever!
VERY well done. Great pics.
Definitely paid attention to detail.
Awesome review! I was looking for more info on the champion series and this certainly shed some light. Gracias. :D
I was thinking of getting one of these champions but didn't find much info on them. But after reading this report I just ordered one from Ashley Gerbig. Thanks for the report it really helped me in picking which 1911 to buy.
glad I could help
now take it to the range with this ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=5&f=4&t=23106
I like the champion a lot. You should call Springfield and voice your concern and thoughts about the frontsight and ejection port. They will probably have you send it back.
danpass, i got one from a trade comming in tomorrow....i hope mine stacks up like yours!
thanks for your review!
Already done . Still framing my "The Warranty Work" section
Warranty work update added as requested
It's hard to tell from your photo of the ejection port "flaw" but I believe this is normal... It's an extra relief commonly found on the Champion/Commander sized guns to allow you to eject a loaded round without it hanging up in the ejection port.
And that 90 degree bent wire is most likely for you to capture the spring on the guide rod to allow you to remove the full length guide rod when you have a bull barrel and reverse spring plug.
Yes, the 90 degree 'bent wire' was to capture the spring in the MSH to allow for removal of the ILS system.
here are some other pics concerning the ejection port
This is exactly what I have been looking for. This is an EXCELLENT writeup and I encourage you to post this at 1911forum.com in the Springfield section.
I am looking to purchase one of this in the extreme near future, and this took the cake for me.
-- OJM - FF/Medic
I'm pretty happy sticking with ar15.com (I do have an account at 1911 forum) and want to minimize scattering.
Would they (anyone) be put out if I merely post the link over there ?
Maybe we'll make some more converts (to ar15.com)
Just upgraded to Bronze membership here today . See how long it takes
edit: for clarification
edit2: Crap, wasn't paying attention and missed my #300 post
My new Kimber's hammer hits off-center. Never thought anything of it until now. What problems could it cause? If it's a serious problem that should be looked at, I could start a new thread and post some pics to keep this thread on topic and allow more experianced people to see it.
Very nice report. Very nice pictures. Nice abuse of a new pistol. I love it. I fired about 300 rounds in one range trip through my Mil spec. It hasn't had a feeding hiccup yet.
Off center puts a torque (twist) at the base of the hammer. As far as I'm concerned anything extra to the impact of the hammer on the firing pin stop is a no-no for me.
edit: for clarification
What is that stand you are using to hold the pistol up and 4 mags?
Thanks, very nice!
Better review than a lot of gun mags are capable of.