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Posted: 1/16/2006 1:11:26 PM EDT
Gimme a one word answer to which 1911 straight out of the box is the one you'd trust your life too...the one that is dead on reliable. Is it Springfield? Maybe Kimber or Colt... or it might be Para or another manufacturer? No custom jobs please, just an under $1,000 1911 that you'd trust without having a bit of work done to it.

I'm real close to my purchase and I've narrowed it down to 2 brands. I want to see how they compare to the answer I get here.

Mucho thanks!
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 1:23:15 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/16/2006 1:23:51 PM EDT by kk7sm]
Boy, now, there's a subjective question if I've ever seen one!

I like your avatar...

OK, no really, in my very small sample of 1911s, the most reliable right out of the box was a Colt. The Springfield came in a close 2d, and the Kimbers a 3d.

But my sample is skewed:

Colt: New in Box
Kimber 1: New in Box
Kimber 2: 10 years old used
Springfield: New in Box

Kimber 1 was a 2d Generation with a flawed external extractor, so that caused a problem. Kimber 1 just had some worn-out parts I knew when I bought it and I fixed that. It's shooting 100% with my reloads and it's become my primary IDPA shooting gun.

Best bang for the buck was the Springfield, and honestly, I've only had a few FTF on it and that's with the MIM extractor still in it. I need to replace that with a Wilson bulletproof.

But if I come into some cash soon, I have my heart set on one of those new manufacture Series 70 Colts.

Now, that I've totally confused you, in my experience, this is what was most reliable, in order, out of the box for me:

Colt
Springfield
Kimber

­If I were making my first 1911 purchase, this is the order I'd do it in:

Springfield
Colt
Kimber

­And now that I've said, that, I'll also say, past performance is not meant as a guarantee of future performance. Your mileage may vary. Do not use this advice while driving a motor vehicle or operating heavy machinery.

Cheers,

kk7sm

ETA: I had very good experience with a Remington Rand I carried in the Army. That was one solid pistol.
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 1:26:23 PM EDT
Now wait a second, you've confused me. You say Colt is the most reliable but then you say to get the Springfield first????

Why not the Colt?
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 1:38:55 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/16/2006 1:45:00 PM EDT by kk7sm]

Originally Posted By Sandman67:
Now wait a second, you've confused me. You say Colt is the most reliable but then you say to get the Springfield first????

Why not the Colt?



I told you I'd confuse you. It's entirely subjective. There's one part that's a sore spot with me on the Springfield. It's a $23 part from Brownell's (Wilson bulletproof extractor), and super easy to replace. Also, Springfield has the lifetime warranty, so if there's a problem, they'll make it right. It's also nice to just polish up the breech face a little. It doesn't take making it all shiny, just a little smoother.

With the "loaded" versions of the Springfield, like the "Loaded Parkerized" that's really popular here, you wind up with a lot of the features people spend $$$ to have installed and you won't find on a stock Colt, like high quality night sights (mine are Novak), ambidextrous safety, beavertail grip safety, commander hammer, etc.

Some people have a problem with the ILS (Integrated Locking System or gun lock doodad), but it's never been a problem for me so I'm ignoring it.

Either way, I carry my Springfield. The Colt I have, well, I loaned it to my Dad because he needed a 1911, and I shoot IDPA with a Kimber, but I've done a lot to that Kimber to make it my own.

But that's just me.

ETA: When I first got that Springfield, I ran whatever crap I had in the garage through it - old funky lead semi-wadcutters, ball ammo, hollow points, just anything. I ran myself out of crap .45 ammo. It seemed to do OK with it all. The lead semi-wadcutters even mostly worked, and accounted for the few stoppages - those were crimped incorrectly and would not run at all in a Series II Kimber. I'm really picky about my handguns, though, so I remember any stoppages at all, even understandable ones.
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 1:45:04 PM EDT

Wilson bulletproof extractor


What does this part do? Is it something I am definitely going to want to change out?
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 1:54:04 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Sandman67:

Wilson bulletproof extractor


What does this part do? Is it something I am definitely going to want to change out?



The extractor does a couple of things. In the feeding cycle, it allows the base of the cartridge to slide up underneath it as it slides along the breech face. If it's really out of spec, it just gets in the way.

In the extraction and ejection parts of the cycle, it does the extracting. It has a little notch in it that pulls on the base of the cartridge (It's not really a rimmed cartridge, but the part that would be the rim, if you will), so that the base of the cartridge will hit the ejector and get flung out of the slide.

I only replace parts when I'm doing one of two things:
1. correcting some issue that's causing the gun to malfunction.
2. customizing a gun for a specific thing I'm doing with it.

So, unless there's a problem with the gun, I wouldn't worry about it. I haven't had bad experiences with the Springfield extractors, but some people have. It's a part that wears, so I expect at some point, I'm going to have to replace it. If I am having a problem in the feeding and extracting, rounds getting all cattywhompus when they're trying to feed, or stovepipes or things of that nature, a lot of times I'll look at the extractor.

But all that said, I do this stuff as a hobby. There are some guys who do this for a living who are on this forum, and I'm sure they'll be here in a bit. They have a LOT more experience and have seen a much larger representative sample than I, and I'd really defer to their opinion.

I shoot 'em a lot and work on 'em a little.
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 1:57:18 PM EDT
99% of all handgun issues are the magazine-especially with a 1911. Get whatever one you want and by either McCormick or Wilson mags
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 2:01:48 PM EDT
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 2:04:31 PM EDT

Originally Posted By petagunner:
I'd stick with Wilson for mags, I had a Failure to Feed with a Mccormick this weekend



I think there are plusses and minuses with both. I've had great reliability out of my McCormicks. Also, I live really close by their shop, so if something's wrong, I figure I'll just drop in and get it fixed. Advantage to living here.

The Wilsons haven't been bad, but I only have one left now and I just use it as my Barney mag (topping up mag) because it has not reliably engaged the slide stop. I lost confidence in it after that.

So, I guess anecdotal evidence, well, it's like everything I said in this post. Heck, my experience doesn't mean anyone else will have the same.
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 6:27:53 PM EDT
Smith and Wesson 1911 Hands down the best out of the box reliable for the price range (if you can live with the external extractor)

S&W does not have any problems with the external extractor, unlike other manufacturers.

Some call it the Glock of the 1911's. But calling it a Glock surely would offend some.

Link Posted: 1/16/2006 6:30:10 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/16/2006 6:31:17 PM EDT by ThreeMan]
Double post don't know what happend.

Maybe my S&W pick was too good for just one posting. Haha

Link Posted: 1/17/2006 4:58:43 PM EDT

Originally Posted By petagunner:
I'd stick with Wilson for mags, I had a Failure to Feed with a Mccormick this weekend



And for the record, I recently had a malf. with an almost brand new Wilson (slide locked back with the last round laying loose on top of the follower). Threw me for a loop!

My Colt Series 70 "repro" has been 100% since I got her (with the exception of that one malf. above, which was mag related.....still pissed me off 'cause I can no longer say she's NEVER had a malfunction.
Link Posted: 1/17/2006 5:52:53 PM EDT
From personal experience, I would recommend staying away from Kimbers with the external extractor -- it's a crap shoot as to whether you'll get one that actually works. If I was going to buy a sub - $1,000 1911 today, I'd probably look hard at the Springfield or Smith & Wesson. My only problem with the Smith & Wesson is that I think their external extractor is ugly, but it sounds like those who have them are very happy with their performance.
Link Posted: 1/17/2006 5:54:49 PM EDT
Colt, for the simple reason they're the only manufacturer not making overly "tight guns". Tight means that all of the parts have very close tolerances. Great for accuracy. Bad for reliability. Not to say a Springfield or Kimber will be unreliable, or a Colt inaccurate. Quite the contrary. If kept clean and well oiled, and with the proper mags, you may never experience a failure with your 1911. Also, I've shot kneeling, hand-size groups with my Colt at 50 yards, more than enough to hit a target.

That said, if I had to have a .45 caliber gun on which my life relied upon, it would not be a 1911 but more likely a Sig P220, Glock 21, or USP. 1911s are like AR-15s. Quite possibly the most refined, accurate, and worked on firearm in their class but at the cost of reliability and old design. There are few things you can do with a Sig or a Glock besides a trigger job and night sights quite simply because there's no need to modify them any further.
Link Posted: 1/18/2006 6:12:17 PM EDT

Originally Posted By caneau:
Colt, for the simple reason they're the only manufacturer not making overly "tight guns". Tight means that all of the parts have very close tolerances. Great for accuracy. Bad for reliability. Not to say a Springfield or Kimber will be unreliable, or a Colt inaccurate. Quite the contrary. If kept clean and well oiled, and with the proper mags, you may never experience a failure with your 1911. Also, I've shot kneeling, hand-size groups with my Colt at 50 yards, more than enough to hit a target.

That said, if I had to have a .45 caliber gun on which my life relied upon, it would not be a 1911 but more likely a Sig P220, Glock 21, or USP. 1911s are like AR-15s. Quite possibly the most refined, accurate, and worked on firearm in their class but at the cost of reliability and old design. There are few things you can do with a Sig or a Glock besides a trigger job and night sights quite simply because there's no need to modify them any further.



Les Baer's are possibly the tightest 1911's you can buy, yet they are also incredibly reliable. Just because a 1911 is tight does not mean that it's not reliable. This is an old urban legend that should have been put to rest a long time ago.

If you like plain jane 1911, or really want to customize your 1911 EXACTLY like you want it, then I think Colt can be a good choice. If you're a very talented bullseye shooter, you may have to have the Colt slide to frame and barrel bushing fit tightened on some of the standard models to improve the accuracy.

As for reliability, I do not believe that Sig and Glock are more reliable than a well made 1911. As an example, check out this Glock verses 1911 1,000 round competition. The Glock won the first year and a 1911 won the second year. 1911 verses Glock 1,000 Round Reliability Competition

I'm not against Glocks or Sigs as I think they are fine tools, I just happen to prefer 1911's for a number of reasons and I believe they can also be relied upon just as much.

Link Posted: 1/18/2006 8:35:28 PM EDT
Smith and Wesson.
Link Posted: 1/18/2006 8:43:01 PM EDT
Under a grand and 100% reliable out of the box with all ammo:


STI Trojan


S&W 1911PD
Link Posted: 1/18/2006 8:55:14 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/19/2006 6:50:41 PM EDT by MonkeyGrip]
Colt (new rollmark models)

Unlike these other liers and exaggerators, I've actually owned Kimber, several Springfields and a couple of Colts (nrm). Both Colts have been 100% out of the box. The Springers required some work before becoming 100%. I never could get the Kimber completely reliable before selling it.
Link Posted: 1/18/2006 9:08:54 PM EDT

Originally Posted By MonkeyGrip:
Colt (new rollmark models)

Unlike these other liers and exaggerators, I've actually owned Kimber, several Springfields and a couple of Colts (nrm). Both Colts have been 100% out of the box. The Springers required some work before becoming 100%. I never could ge the Kimber completely reliable before selling it.



I dont know about liars and exaggerators, but there seems to be some mis-information in this thread.
Link Posted: 1/18/2006 9:21:13 PM EDT
The Springfields and Kimbers I've had were reliable right out of the box. And the Kimbers had external extractors. I sold the Springfields (and my first Kimber) because I'm an idiot.

I've since picked up another Ultra Carry II and it's been reliable so far.
Link Posted: 1/18/2006 9:35:56 PM EDT
I think a Kimber with a I/E or a Colt 70 are the best out of the box for the money.
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 4:09:20 AM EDT
I can't believe how many votes for Smith and Wesson. I never even considered them. I'm going to have to take a hard look at S&W now
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 8:05:09 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ThreeMan:
Smith and Wesson 1911 Hands down the best out of the box reliable for the price range (if you can live with the external extractor)

S&W does not have any problems with the external extractor, unlike other manufacturers.

Some call it the Glock of the 1911's. But calling it a Glock surely would offend some.





+1
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 8:10:37 AM EDT
Kimber for sure. and get good mags i.e. Wilson or McCormick. If you have a FTF with either one send them back and they will replace quickly. less than one week for McCormick
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 8:11:42 AM EDT
I've never had or seen a problem with a Series I Kimber. I currently own two that I bought used, and after a spring change they both run perfectly. I don't clean them until they have about 1000 rounds through them and they keep on trucking right up to that time.

I had a Series II TLE (internal extractor) that geve me nothing but fits. Sold it and bought my first Series I.
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 2:04:53 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/19/2006 2:07:07 PM EDT by IndianaDean]
I have two SW1911PDs, one in Commander size. I like them so well that I might even sell one of my High Powers to get another one. I'd keep my Colt 38 Super, but I think Smith is making some of the best 1911s on the market at any price.
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 3:18:07 PM EDT
What can one expect to pay for a commander size Smith and Wesson? The prices on their website are pretty hefty, but I know that's list....or so I hope
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 3:21:31 PM EDT
At the risk of being called a liar, I'll say that my Springfields have always been reliable out of the box. If you are having problems with WC mags, USE THE WARRANTY! Call Wilson's, explain the problem, and they'll mail you a new spring and or follower at no charge. As soon as I have a mag problem, that's what I do, and so far, no problems.YMMV
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 9:53:14 PM EDT
i cant say...i have never bought a NIB 1911

h/w, of the ones i have seen, only the SW 1911sc and my Kimber TLE (internal extractor) have feed 100% (previous owners said the same)

my SA loaded and champion have had a few FTFs--but it was mag related
Link Posted: 1/20/2006 4:02:30 AM EDT
I paid $749 for my Commander SW PD, new in the box.
Link Posted: 1/21/2006 5:36:36 AM EDT
S&W 1911 Target Model.
Link Posted: 1/21/2006 9:45:47 AM EDT
Dan Wesson/CZ
Link Posted: 1/24/2006 12:58:01 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/24/2006 12:59:08 AM EDT by IndianaDean]
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