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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello. Having owned SA handguns off and on for a number of years now, I decided to try the parkerized Mil-Spec. For those interested, SA designates it as "PB9108L". I'd owned a couple of Mil-Specs some years ago, but managed to trade or sell them.

I had seen and shot a friend's WWII GI Mil-Spec, which is now called something else by SA and was most impressed with the barrel-to-slide and frame-to-slide fit, but I had been satisfied with the sights that came on the "regular" Mil-Spec and opted to go that route.

These pistols can be found under or right at the $500 mark from what I've seen...at least in my neck of the woods.

The Pistol: This gun came with the standard GI grip safety and spur hammer and checkered black plastic grips. The frame and slide are parkerized and the finish is even and not unattractive. The fixed sights are of the 3-dot variety and the front sight is a non-serrated ramp as opposed to the post sight on my earlier Mil-Specs. The trigger is short and grooved and the arch, grooved mainspring housing does have the integral lock.

I was surprised to see that the barrel in my gun was stainless steel and new to me was the small groove cut in the top of the barrel hood to act as a visual loaded chamber indicator.


The Mil-Spec is somewhat spartan, but this one turned out to be reliable and accurate. It is not without faults, however.

Unlike it's WWII Springfield cousin, the Mil-Spec has a lowered ejection port and the magazine well is beveled nicely. It came with one 7-round magazine.

Shooting: On two ocassions now, I've fired just over 600 rounds throught this pistol. These included FMJ, flat-points, factory JHP's, and handloads with both CSWC bullets and JHP bullets.

After the first session, I replaced the standard GI grip safety with a drop-in from Pachmayr that works fine with the spur hammer. The reason was that I was getting eatten alive by both the hammer spur and the sharp edges of the grip safety. I've had this problem with about every 1911 I've ever shot that was in this configuration. The wide grip safety stopped my being more chewed up, but managed to rub off the rather deep scabs from the previous session.

Due to rain and wind, shooting was confined to 10, 15, and 25 yards. No chronograph work was done as I didn't care to set it up in the rain, but I will check out this particular gun in the near future. I expect it will fall in line with my other 5" guns.

10 Yards: Nothing fancy a tall, just some controlled pairs fired starting from a low-ready position and a few failure to stop drills thrown in.


I found the sights easy to pick up for controlled pairs. Each set was fired in something under a second. The trigger pull on this gun is heavy, but that will be remedied in the near future.

15 Yards: Shooting from this distance was done standing and using a two-hand hold in slow-fire.


I was VERY pleased to find that the fixed sights were "on" for me. Many times this is not the case. I suspect that the group being very slightly to the left with a few shots low and left are due to the somewhat heavy trigger pull. I'd estimate it as 7 or 8 pounds. This will be changed in the near future.

25 Yards: Groups fired at 25 yards were done in slow-fire while seated and my wrists braced.


This group was fired using Federal 230-gr. HydraShok JHP in the "old" version, ie, truncated cone bullet rather than the current one having the more rounded ogive.

Observations: The gun was utterly reliable. It fired a total of just over 600 rounds w/o cleaning and the number of malfunctions was exactly zero. There were no failures to feed, fire, or eject. The slide locked open only when it was supposed to.

For those interested, a more detailed report is at:

http://www.hipowersandhandguns.com/Critical%20Look%20at%20Springfield%20Mil%20Spec.htm

This one is a keeper.

Best.
 
G

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From your review:

The gun is a keeper and one that will have different "guts" in the near future.

What have you decided to go with on this Steve?

I think it's a wise decision myself. I have a Champion on the bench I'm doing a few things to for one of your fellow Texan's. It's a Mil-spec also, and while it didn't have the problem of the hammer falling from half-cock, I didn't really see the worth in trying to improve those parts. The fit and finish of everything else was very good though.

I agree with you completely on the safety shelf being converted to more of a "Gold Cup" style notch to help protect the sear. A lot of hammers come that way, Chip McCormick comes to mind, but some have to have it milled in which is an easy task for a skilled machinest/smith.

Here are a couple of comparison pic's of the same hammer, before and after.





Although I would get some disagreement from some of my peers, a majority of the one's I speak and work with consider this an essential improvement to protect their work from actions the final customer may take like handeling their pistol improperly or 'testing' the half cock notch. ( which there is really nothing wrong with, but some people take things to extremes )
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hello, Bill. I'm going to go with a spur hammer that is bobbed and am going to radius the sharp edges of the GI grip safety. The sear will be replaced as well and trigger work done. The gun's going to remain externally much like it is now, but with a few internal upgrades. All I want out of this one is a clean 4.5-5.0 pound trigger, complete reliability and accuracy comensurate with my perceived needs. The parkerized finish is satisfactory but the plastic stocks will be going the way of the goose. The gun will be comfortable to shoot when I'm done as I do shoot my "carry guns" on a regular basis.

Best and thanks again.
 
G

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I've got an un duffed with Colt hammer and sear out of a pre 70 series. They will need work as the hooks are at .032, but there is plenty of material to work with there. Also have a wide spur hammer that just needs cleaning up, hooks set at .020 and squared and the notch is cut in, but it needs a gentle blast and polish. I owe you a couple anyway's, let me now if you want me to ship em' out.



 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hello, Mr. Z and thanks for the kind offer. I'm going to see what might can happen here for now, but thank you again.

Best.
 

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Dear Mr. Camp,

Outstanding review!

Springfield Mil Specs were going out the door for about $425.95 at the last gun show here in Myrtle Beach back in October. I was dearly tempted to pick one up, but remembered the little used Colt Combat Target .45 needing some attention.

What other modifications are you planning?

Again, great review.

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hello. Possibly a flat mainspring housing and trigger work primarily. I may leave the Pachmayr drop-in grip safety right where it is or bevel/round the edges of the GI grip safety and I could nearly shave with the edges on them now.

This one is doing what I want and I want a "carry gun" that I don't have the proverbial "arm and a leg" invested in, but one that can be depended upon in "the dark place."

As this will be carried, there's the possibility of it's being used if push comes to very hard shove and no reasonable alternative exists. It's my fullest intention to walk away from such an encounter if I'm unfortunate enough to be in one and be the "leaver" rather than the "left." Should that happen, the gun used will be taken for evidence during the time of the shooting and the final disposition by the grand jury. I could part with this one for that time
frame w/o undue concern. The same could not be said for some of my other 1911's and Hi Powers.

I also want a "ringer," i.e., a gun that looks pretty plain from the outside, but is capable of performing to a higher than expected level.

Best.
 
G

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I have had a stainless Mil-Spec for about a year now. The first barrel had a very rough leade but SA replaced it promptly, paying shipping both ways. Only have about 600 rounds through it but so far I would say it is a pretty good gun. The sights are excellent but the gun shot high for me; had to fit up a dovetailed front sight to bring it in.

Other changes I made were putting on a nice pair of Spegel grips that I had in the grip box--which really set it off--and hard chroming and swapping in a GI MSH with lanyard loop. Also modified the thumb safety tab to GI configuration which I prefer.

So far have had no need to trifle further with it. It shoots better than I do and is turning out to be a nice reliable pistol. I am not wildly enthused about some of the MIM parts and internal changes but until something breaks I see no need to fix it.

I grew up in the 60s when you could pick up a boatload of good DCM .45s for $25-35 bucks, so have never gotten used to $1000 1911s.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hello. I wagged the Mil-Spec back out to the range today and did another 200 rounds w/o any problems at all, so the gun's now had 600 w/o cleaning and 0 malfunctions + 200 more after cleaning inside and out (couldn't stand it) and I'm beginning to trust it for serious purposes.

Ammunition used so far has included ball from Winchester and S&B as well as Remington's 185-gr. MC-Flat Nose, and handloaded 230-gr. Hornady FMJ-FP, handloaded 200-gr. CSWC's, and JHP's from factory and the bench. Most have been in the 200 to 230-gr. weight. Factory JHP ammo included Winchester 230-gr. "DP Subsonic", Federal 230-gr. Classic JHP, Remington 230-gr. Golden Sabers, Hornady 200-gr. XTP +P, and Winchester RA45T 230-gr. Ranger JHP's.

Even though some parts will wind up being changed, I bobbed the hammer spur and radiused the sharp edges of the grip safety.


A quick bobbing of the hammer spur eliminated the "pirahna" as did the light "melting" of the edges of the GI grip safety.

This seemed to work and my hand was not bloodied up as it was on the first trip with the gun. I've always had this sort of problem with standard spur hammers & GI safeties, but the edges on this particular SA safety were just plain too sharp and aggravated the problem.


I went ahead and stuck another set of grips on the thing as I didn't much care for the stock black plastic ones.

Best.
 
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