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Old 12-16-2011, 05:56 AM   #1
 
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Reliability and the 1911

I have never seen a reliable 1911 that did not Jam out of nowhere a time or two. They are reliable pistols ,but its the nature of the beast. Like others have said on this forum ,If you run them hard and long enough any machine can fail. 1911,s can have a senior moment or brain fart out of nowhere. Even if its 99.9% reliable. I like the Colt 1911 and have had over 40 since my first at age 13. How about your pet 1911?
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Old 12-16-2011, 07:31 AM   #2
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The new generation of plastic pistols is much more forgiving. They just lack soul.

I have given my 1911 lecture else where but in a year of IDPA competition, I have had one shooter induced malfunction and three ammo induced (WIN White Box is underpowered). Next year I am switching to BHP-35 in 9mm. We will see how many I have then but I spent half this year with my original 1973/74 Colts and the other with the Les Baer TRS. The SA LTWT full-size is in to Richard Fletcher for modification (make it 29 ounces Rich!). It worked fine when I last shot it.
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Old 12-16-2011, 09:00 AM   #3
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I've seen everything choke, 1911s, P35s, Sigs, HKs, revolvers and yes, even Glocks. If it hasn't malfunctioned it hasn't been shot enough. I've seen them all stutter because of parts failure or neglect and for reasons that have nothing to do with ammunition. They are all machines and are as reliable as machines possibly can be, but they all have their limitations.

I've never suffered the plethora of malfunctions that seem to plague the 1911s in the hands of others. This is because I buy quality pistols and take the time to maintain them. I also stick with 1911s that use the basic Browning designed format of a five-inch barrel and bushing, with the standard recoil spring design. No fancy bull barrels, captured recoil springs, full length guide rods, or other such drivel, I'd rather play Vegas. The only chronic malfunctions I've had of late were caused by Wilson 8-round magazines. As soon as I deduced that I switched to standard 7-round GI type MecGar magazines and the issue disappeared. I don't insist on shooting cheap eastern european ammo out of an expensive pistol and my handloads are carefully assembled so ammunition failures are extremely rare.

My current go-to 1911 is a five-inch stainless Colt Gunsite Pistol that was a gift from my wife eight years ago on our twentieth anniversary. It's had thousands of rounds fired through it without a failure being attributed to the pistol itself. The only parts breakage I've experienced with it was a broken ejector about three thousand rounds ago. Even with that the pistol still functioned and the only indication I had that something was wrong was a suddenly erratic ejection pattern. I recently had to adjust the extractors tension and know that it will need replacement before too long. Do I criticize the weapons design because the original extractor is wearing out after nearly ten years and thousands of rounds fired? Hardly, that's just simple maintenance. Criticizing my automobile because the tires need to be replaced would be just as ridiculous. For ten years before the GSP I carried a Colt Commander and had zero problems with that one.

The 1911s reputation has suffered of late for two reasons: first, there are more being manufactured than at any other time in history and from many different sources, all at widely varying degrees of quality. Some of which barely qualify as a 1911. Stick with the tried and true design from a quality manufacturer and your issues will be minimal. Second...........people are stupid. Yes, there it is. I said it, people are stupid. The 1911 is a very hands-on system exisiting in a very hands-off world. We want our food to be instantly prepared and easily obtained. We want our entertainment to be mindless and pretty without requiring any brain power to figure out. We also want our weapons to be so simple that a drunken monkey could operate it. All the while not realizing we are becoming the monkey.

The 1911 comes from a time so different it might as well have happened on another planet. The user was expected to know what they were doing and if they failed it was their responsibilty. The manufacturer wasn't blamed for failing to incorporate a dozen passive safeties into the weapons trigger assembly. The user was expected to know and carry out basic maintenance and parts failures past a certain sevice life were expected. If these basic principles were neglected no one was surprised when bad things happened at the worst possible moment.

The current crop of service weapons are excellent desings but they have their limitations as well. The Glock and the 1911 are constantly compared because they are both icons of their age. The comparison is actually a tribute to them both. However, one is a Shelby Cobra and the other is a pick-up truck. The user has to decide which one they want to drive and what kind of driver they want to be.
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Heraclitis, 500 BC.

Last edited by trooper; 12-16-2011 at 09:02 AM.
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Old 12-16-2011, 09:19 AM   #4
 
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Yes the John Browning designs speak history you can hold in your hand and have been proven in combat for a century. While I like the 1911 its not my first pick for everyday protection,but it is viable defence tool. It will serve well. The Sigs ,Beretta,s,Glocks have pretty much taken over modern combat& L.E. pistols. With a sprinkle of HK,s,SW,Ruger and lesser brands. Taking away from the lime light of the old timers 1911,HP,P38,CZ75,s with newer simple to use designs. The browning locking system lives in most of the newbies. Even if the art of steel and design in oldschool classics is not there. But newbies are writing the standards of the new chapters&century. The newbies have been Knighted! Even in matchs a stock Glock 34 with some grip tape on it is winning alot today over well tuned and custom hi-dollar old school pistols. Much akin to AR,s winning cmp matchs over the M14.

Last edited by jeep; 12-16-2011 at 09:48 AM.
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Old 12-16-2011, 09:31 AM   #5
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Trooper, if you have not chucked or swapped those WC 8s yet, you may try the Tripp Conversion Kit. It takes an iffy 8 round mag with a quality body and makes it into a reliable 7 rounder. The WC follower is replaced with one of similar design that features a steel reinforcement in the polymer shelf that catches the slide stop. The original 8 round spring is also replaced. They are about $8 or so but in my experience they can revive a questionable 8 rounder. Just a thought.

Having a GSP means that you recall the great man's book title - "The past is a different country. They do things differently there." Jeff Cooper. RIP.
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Old 12-16-2011, 11:45 AM   #6
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Everything malfunctions, it is the nature of the Universe. 1911's suffer from multiple manufacturers trying to make a gun that was designed when labor was cheap and machines expensive in an economy where labor is expensive and machines cheap.

I don't really buy into the whole "1911's are unreliable, Glocks always run" mantra. I've seen failures on a Glock that made it completely useless without tools, replacement parts and time to fix. Also, go back and read about the original Army trials for the .45 - the 1911 went non-stop 6,000 rounds without a failure, on a pre-production gun with pre-production ammo at the beginning of the 20th century.

Most (if not all) of the problems I've seen with guns are due to either ammo (handloads in particular) or amateur gunsmithing.

My pet 1911 was made by Sig, one of the early runs that allegedly had problems. Mine didn't have any significant problems (I don't count grip screws or a loose set screw on the rear sight as significant). I've had failures to feed, but then again I'm the poster child for not cleaning guns until you either have to or can't stand it anymore.
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Old 12-16-2011, 12:00 PM   #7
 
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I agree Grocks are not the final word. Test your platform and use proven reliable ammo&mags. I have a stock spring in my lastest Colt,but I will put a wolf 18lb in it to make it more positive chambering on forward motion. Seems to keep the 1911 more positive.
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Old 12-16-2011, 03:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oberstlt View Post
Trooper, if you have not chucked or swapped those WC 8s yet, you may try the Tripp Conversion Kit. It takes an iffy 8 round mag with a quality body and makes it into a reliable 7 rounder. The WC follower is replaced with one of similar design that features a steel reinforcement in the polymer shelf that catches the slide stop. The original 8 round spring is also replaced. They are about $8 or so but in my experience they can revive a questionable 8 rounder. Just a thought.
Thanks. The springs seem to wear out much faster with the Wilsons than with others. I've never experienced failure to lock back or anything else, but I have replaced the springs at least three times whereas I have other magazines as old as WWII that keep chugging along without a problem. The Wilsons will run fine and then suddenly start failing to feed the last round. For the time being I've relegated them to range use. The Tripp kit sounds like a good idea.

Quote:
Having a GSP means that you recall the great man's book title - "The past is a different country. They do things differently there." Jeff Cooper. RIP.
The words are true.
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"Of every one hundred men they send me, ten shouldn't even be here. Eighty of them are nothing but targets, nine of them are real fighters - we are lucky to have them, they make the battle. Ahhhh but the one. One of them is a warrior and he will bring the others home."

Heraclitis, 500 BC.

Last edited by trooper; 12-16-2011 at 03:45 PM.
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Old 12-16-2011, 04:34 PM   #9
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I think it was Another County. My brain is fairly much cream cheese in the day of the plastic pistola.
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Old 12-16-2011, 05:36 PM   #10
 
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To think of it the 1911 .45 was the last Cavalry pistol made . At a time from the birth of flight,radio,tanks, machineguns. To a time of going to the moon, a-bombs and plastic grocks,big screen T.V,s,cell phones,internet etc. What a run of history in those 100years and what a ride for all.
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