Monday, February 21, 2011


My most recent 1911 was pulled out of the box and taken to a 2-day, 1,000-round training course without any cleaning. I gave it a cleaning after the class, and it has fired a bit over a hundred rounds since then. This is a tightly-fitted custom that will shoot an inch at 25 yards and has a 3.5# trigger, so after the first case or so of ammo I decided to run it down to the guys who built it at Coal Creek Armory and let them inspect the guts.

Gunsmith Bob tore it down and we examined all the surfaces that you worry about in a hard-fit custom under a loupe and pronounced it good. No sign of battering on the barrel feet, no uneven wear on the rear of the barrel hood... Not that I expected any, but it was good to get the official clean bill of health. I'm happy. I'll bring it back for another check at the 5k mark or so.


Anonymous said...

Had a buddy who did that with a well built 1911 back in the day. He finally quit around 25k as there just wasn't much wear. Tool steel on tool steel with proper lubrication and a relatively low pressure cartridge is pretty benign. :)

Al T.

ViolentIndifference said...

So Tam do you follow the procedure that the gunsmith does to duplicate the effort yourself? Or would you rather have Bob's eye take a look at it?

ToddG said...

If that's the gun you had at AFHF, it ran like a sewing machine all weekend...

wv: icunted (not even going to try to make a joke)

Holly Chism said...

I'd been wanting a 1911 for about 3 years, and didn't know which one would be worth the money. I've heard so much bad about so many in my budget range that I've honestly been a little scared to buy one (they're about 10% of my salary as an adjunct prof, and I didn't want to spend that on a bad gun). It's mostly thanks to this blog I found a reference to the STI Spartan so I could research it.

Mine should arrive on Wednesday.

Bram said...

I wish I had a pistol that could shoot a 1 inch group at 25 yards. Since I can't shoot a inch group at 5 yards with a target .22, user error may be involved.

Anonymous said...

Bram, get some coaching. No reason you can't do that unless you have a physical challenge.

Al T.

aczarnowski said...

Persnickity sewing machines must be attracted to me. Every time I have to use one I wish it ran as well as my M&P.

My wife thinks it's operator error - either ammo that's too heavy or getting the magazines (i.e. bobbins) loaded up wrong.

Old NFO said...

Quality pieces work correctly... That is the bottom line. And checkups on a routine basis are not a bad idea either!

Matt G said...

ViolentIndifference, I know that Tam could break open her 1911s and never interrupt her conversation with you, while scanning for shiny marks on the work areas.

But She was not only doing this for herself, she was doing it as a favor to the guys at CCA, as feedback. Also, what you and I and she may see as normal working wear and tolerances, the gunsmith who makes the gun may see differently, through a loupe. Me? I can see uneven wear...when it's gotten to be too much. :(

ViolentIndifference said...

Thanks, Matt. Pretty much what I assumed. I'm so far down the ladder that when I look up toward Tam all I see is a golden glow.

markj said...

A message to Holly; Kimber make a great 1911.
Not all manufacturers are created equal, unfortunately. I had a bad experience recently with a Taurus, pump action 22 rifle. Their lifetime warranty has a lot to be desired, as does their customer service. I'm told that many gun companies are now owned by short sighted investors who's do not consider product quality and customer service nearly as important as "the bottom line"

MonteG said...

Clearly a "homo glock-lover."

On a side note, I just noticed that that Gunbroker thread was nuked.

On a side-side note, my "word verification" word for this post is "pantrum," which sounds like a good word for the tantrums I throw when I'm told I have to wear pants.

This post is now several times longer than I'd originally intended it to be, yet it still has no useful content. You're welcome.

D.W. Drang said...

Last weekend I made arrangements to take my mid-80s Combat Commander in to have a set of sights I can see put on it, and a beavertail.
Taking it apart to clean it, one of the grip screw escutcheons came off with the grip panel.
Then, when I had the barrel out, the barrel link pin fell out, too.
have a suspicion this is going to be more expensive than I realized..

Anonymous said...

"Kimber make a great 1911" uh, no.

"Kimber made a great 1911", there, fixed it for you. STI makes Kimber management cry for their mommies.

Al T.

Joshkie said...

I'm Bored. You ever walk by a hornets nest and want to throw a rock at it. I'm kind of experiancing a simular feeling right know.

Tam don't know nothing about 1911's.

I think I might have a death wish,
Josh :-)

Anonymous said...

Kimber, sadly, has fallen from where they were, by quite a long drop. The turkey running SIG is also screwing a once fine product into the ground for short term gain as well. Bean-counters.

Tam said...

"The turkey running SIG..."

That'd be Ron Cohen, the same guy who killed Kimber QC.

Not many people can go to their grave saying they ruined two whole gun companies.

Kevin said...

I'm still in the market for a first-gen Kimber. My early-90's Classic Stainless is a damned fine piece.

I can't really say the same for my Ultra CDP-II.

I traded my Eclipse straight across for an EAA Witness .38 Super and I think I got the better in that deal.

Dr. StrangeGun said...

*sigh*. I miss shooting. I'm at the point where I'm starting to want to take a vacation *just* to gather up all the guns and go somewhere where I can run through my entire stockpile of ammunition in all of them.

Haven't taken a real vacation in over three years now, so I doubt I'll do it soon.

That said, I'm *yar* close to starting up a series of firearm related projects in the mad scientist's lab... it's been too long, and the toolset has expanded to where I have workable equipment or the capacity to make workable equipment. Still have two complete AK sets, two AR lowers, and a one-off 1911 slide to do something with.

Also got reminded of the day I spotted a used combo rifle on the stand at the shop that irked me a little. Turned out to have a barrel with a very slight (few hundredths of an inch) bow in the top barrel, that I saw from ~10 feet. Definitely have the eyes for precision machining, don't have the time anymore.

Charlie said...

Tam, what finish do you have on the CCA? Is it their Isonite QPQ? If so, what is your impression of it so far? I have an older SA that is in need of a re finish and I am interested in your thoughts.

All the best,


Tam said...


I just went with the plain ol' spray-on teflon.

Tam said...


Gunsmith Bob finally replaced the stainless Colt 1991A1 he'd been carrying for over a decade with one of his own CCA customs last year (shoemaker's children and all that...) and his has the Isonite QPQ finish. He's been carrying it IWB every day for over a year now, and there's no real wear to speak of...

Charlie said...


Thanks for the quick replies. It is much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine armorer level inspections every 1k to 5k rounds in any of my working weapons... At peak, I was shooting easily 1k per week from my service weapons - Glock and HK (before the need to buy my own ammo and the damn ammo price increases, but that's another story. I love the 1911 design, but just cannot have that kind of checkup routine when it comes to tools for serious social purposes.

Tam said...

"I can't imagine armorer level inspections every 1k to 5k rounds in any of my working weapons..."

#1: Did I imply that this was somehow required?

#2: Did I imply that I am unable to detail strip my own heater?

The man who built the custom pistol on my hip asked if he could look inside after it had a statistically significant number of rounds put through it, because he cares about the product he turns out and wants to make sure everything is in order, and to see if there's anything he could learn to make subsequent pistols even better.

I like that kind of service from the purveyor of an essentially hand-built $2k+ weapon. I certainly don't expect it from the manufacturer of a $499 one.

I can't remember the last time either of my other 1911s was detail-stripped. I think "never" in the case of my Springfield Pro (another tightly-fitted custom).