RANGE REPORT: Springfield Armory 1911-A1 GI 4.25".;..... in depth but a good read !!

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Thread: RANGE REPORT: Springfield Armory 1911-A1 GI 4.25".;..... in depth but a good read !!

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    VIP Member Array Taurahe's Avatar
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    RANGE REPORT: Springfield Armory 1911-A1 GI 4.25".;..... in depth but a good read !!

    So I couldn't take it any longer and went to the local range for a half hour magic with my new to me Springfield armory 1911-A1. This is the GI model, which is a heritage throw back to the original 1911, taking many styling points from the original, with modern internals. The SA 1911-A1 is host to original specs such as high walled and narrow ejection port, GI style spur hammer, solid serrated trigger, GI style low profile sights, parkerized finish, and a standard grip safety, true to the original. It even has vertical slide serrations.

    The grips that come on this model are simple, checkered cocobolo emblazoned with a big fat US on each panel, a visually pleasing referral to the military heritage of the 1911. Added to my gun is a pachmyer finger swell pad that mounts under the grip panels. My SA 1911 also has an arched main spring housing they felt great in hand. The sights leave much to be desired though. True to its heritage, the GI model sports military styled low profile combat sights, which also equates to low usability IMO. The sights present a small, somewhat obscured sight picture, with the small rear notch and even smaller front nub ( its not big enough to be called a blade) being difficult and slow to line up, even in good lighting. The side to side fit on the nub in the rear notch almost entirely filled the sight picture, which i found difficult to keep once aqiured. If I had been tracking a moving target, It would have been impossible.

    Anyone who has ever even thought of owning a 1911 knows that it is, and will always be, lauded for its superior trigger compared to pretty much anything on the market..... except for maybe a silky butter smooth revovler fired SA...which the 1911 can easily be confused with. The trigger on my SA armory 1911-A1 was just that, a trigger. It was by no means bad. Minimal travel and takeup, crisp clean break, smooth fast reset. It was a little gritty compared to a higher end gun, but it was not horrible. I was lucky enough to be able to compare the trigger to a SA range officer and also a Nighthawk Custom. The Night hawk had a 3lb trigger and was enough to make angels cry.... the range officers trigger was also excellent, much cleaner with no grit to the pull or slop of any kind. Ir broke clean between four and five lbs. The GI 1911-Al broke consistently between 5 and 6 lbs, a touch heavier than i expected but still consistent, and in the same territory as my striker fired guns. Being that the trigger is much cleaner and crisp, it was the easiest 5lbs I have ever pulled, and it showed in shooting, but more on that later....

    While I was there, I also compared the Springfield to some of the Philippine made clones and I was impressed.... while some of the Philippine guns were actually solid...others were...ummmm.... flabby. Loose is a good term to use, showing that the Springfield is a good solid gun with excellent frame to slide fit and no wiggle. Overall fit and finish of the Springfield was excellent with machine marks everywhere you would expect to find them on a sub $700 gun when new, but it was clean and smooth every where it counted.

    And since no gun is worth anything with out a reliable source of feeding, i took along two factory mags and a Chip McCormic 8 round mag.All three fed with gusto and aplomb, with no feeding issues from any of them. All three mags dropped free when released, full or empty, and did so with a quickness. One small complaint, the mag release is a bit stiffer than I would have liked but it was by no means a deal breaker of any kind.

    So how did it shoot?
    Well............................

    In case you havent been following my Saga with this piece of steel, I traded a G22 for it. I had some concern with its inability to eject casings from the gun when hand cycled but chose to wait and see what happened when I got it to the range.......

    A i hoped against, the gun had a serious inability to eject spent casings. I fired 100 rnds through it and it did do a little better after the first fifty, but it was more frequently fir a round clear a malfunction, fire a round clear a malfunction. I was able to get 2 mags to fire all round with no issues, but that was it. Sometimes it would go 3 or 4 rnds, but it never ceased to act up. It really chewed the brass up to, denting the cases badly at best. The extractor left very heavy marks. I am no gunsmith but everything pointed a serious extractor issue. I had double feeds, stovepipes, and more, but every malfunction was clearly cause by the guns inability to get the case out of the way. When it did extract "properly" it was random wher the brass would land..... i got hit on the forehead, the glasses. the arm..... brass was bouncing off the walls of the shooting land on both sides of me.... heck I even had it going straight up !

    Needless to say I was a sad Panda, but I refused to let it keep me from having fun.... so I shot anyway. Malfunctions aside, this gun is pure, unadulterated, uncut, fresh from the bag FUN!!!!!!!!! I cannot remeber the last time I had such a blast putting rounds downrange. I don't even know where to start.....

    Unloaded, this gun weighs in at the 32 oz mark or close to it. I have th 4.25 inch model. I didn't have a scale, but the 5 inch weighs 35 oz.....
    In hand the gun is heavy but yet satisfying, as if my hand knows that the gun is solid, substantial and ready to rock. The weight feels right. After loading a fresh mag and dropping the slide, the gun magically hovers in place over the target..... ok, magically hovering may be a bit much, but it was very easy to point, and easy to hold on target as well. As earlier mentioned, the sights were somewhat abysmal, but I made them work. It wasnt the best sight picture in the world but it was usable. I found that a dead hold worked best for me, but I am not sure what these sights were designed for either. As the old saying goes, if it aint broke........

    Shooting was a lesson in fun unto itself. I honestly dont think I have shot such an easy shooting gun. Recoil was what I expected, smooth and easy, with a good push more than a sharp snap. As a.40 cal shooter I am used to muzzle rise, so I found myself preparing for it needlessly. The muzzle quickly and easily returned to target. I was not rapid firing but I wasnt taking my sweet time either. I fired as soon as my sight picture looked and felt right.

    Malfuntions aside, the gun really shot great. everything worked as advertised, it was smooth and fluid in everyway. I didnt have to adjust myt grip, the gun just stayed put and played nice. The SA pointed like a finger, much more so than my glock ever did, with the sights just falling on target. There was no feeling as if it was out of control, or any recoil related issues. The only complaint in shooting was the standard grip safety...... my hand went on strike from workplace abuse..... the top web area of my right thumb and forefinger was nice and red, with a little pinch mark..... a beavertail grip safety is on the top of the to get list. Other than that it had no bad tendencies that I noted.

    So we talked about how it shot, so lets talk about how it REALLY shot........


    " He shot his arrow right in twain... !"

    I am not a top shot by any means, but i was very impressed. All shooting was done two handed using 230gr FMJ WWB ammo. Shooting distance was 10 yds as measured by the wall marks on the range walls. My first magazine was for familiarization purposes, and the first box was for function testing purposes primarily with multiple mags shot into each area. The second target was for group shooting with one mag in each area. Somewere better than others, but all were more than defensive sufficient for a social situation. This gun is a solid shooter, to the point it made me look good. All groups were easily under 5 inches with the smallest at under 2 or so.....not to shabby IMO. in skilled hands, this gun would be devastatingly accurate.....

    Once the extraction/ejection kinks are worked out this gun will be a superb shooter I am sure.... I am not even dismayed by the ejection snafu ...... luck was on my side tonight. The range gave me a contact card for a local gunsmith who does 1911 work. I called my personally chosen gunsmith, and he said the guy is a super nice guy, and a super 1911 doctor as well. If my usual GS recommends him that is good enough for me. Even better, I called him and he was able to not just look at it, but also teach me a lot about how and why the 1911 works, as well as inspect it. He is confident he can make her run right, but he gauranteed me that if he cant, there wont be a charge for his services. Needless to say, I left it in his hands this evening for him to look at. Hopefully he can get it running properly. He looked over the whole gun and figures the it has less than 200 rnds through it, as there is almost no wear anywhere on the gun. He couldnt believe that I got it in such great shape.

    All in all I have no complaints. The SA 1911-A1 is a budget friendly, solid gun to enter the 1911 world with. Whether I choose to upgrade, or make this gun into the gun of my dreams, it is a well built tank that will provide years of service and enjoyment. Having played with it, I see more 1911's in my future.... and maybe a sub compact .45 as well !!!!

    photo(6).jpgphoto(7).jpgphoto(8).jpg

    The first target picture is the familiarization target.... but the groups were very promising...the second target picture was for accuracy..... the small group in the loxer left area is the best group of the day.... That is 8 rnds fired two handed from ten yds with a new gun... pleased is an understatement
    ”God grants Liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it.”
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    Good report!

    Both my Springers had 'snug' chambers that fed almost anything after some modest throating and polishing. My 1911-A1 (the one in my avatar) got a trigger job, Commander hammer and a drop-in beavertail grip safety not long after I got it, 23 years ago. It's been incredibly reliable over the years, with hard use in training classes and even in competition (club-level action matches) for several months this year. No dilettante usage here.
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    Man, if this was a Glock, Sig, or anything else, the owner would have bitched and moaned to the factory demanding the gun replaced, shipping paid both ways, etc. By the way, why are you having a gunsmith work on it? You should have SA fix it. Have them pay shipping too....lol!

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    I briefly owned the exact model that the OP wrote about, and loved it!
    Mine had ZERO malfunctions, with strong ejection and feeding.
    The trigger was HEAVY on mine, but broke cleanly.
    Sold mine off to pay for a new gun purchase (I have that bad habit), but wouldn't hesitate to get another (if you can ever find one)

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    unfortunately Springfield no longer makes that model and no more commanders in any model

    By the time I figured out they were making these gems they took them out of production
    now that I am becoming a 1911 guy more and more id love for them to re make these again
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    OP, I think that's pretty good shooting, and proof that some good work can be done with the GI sights.

    As far as the feeding and extraction, you can tune that one yourself with a little instruction( a little goes a long way here).
    If it were mine, I would tune it myself, and order another from Brownells to have on hand.

    But I would say that as far as delivery of the goods, that gun is going to give you all you can reasonably ask for.
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    VIP Member Array Taurahe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sikiguya View Post
    Man, if this was a Glock, Sig, or anything else, the owner would have bitched and moaned to the factory demanding the gun replaced, shipping paid both ways, etc. By the way, why are you having a gunsmith work on it? You should have SA fix it. Have them pay shipping too....lol!

    Sent from my SGH-T889 using Tapatalk 4
    The range I went recommended the GS to me and I called him. Turns out he was 15 min away from the range and was willing to look at it for me last night. Also, he said if he cant get it running properly then there will be no charge, and should have it done by sat. I figured it couldnt hurt much letting him look at it so i left it with him
    ”God grants Liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it.”
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    How to check extractor tension.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sonnycrocket View Post
    unfortunately Springfield no longer makes that model and no more commanders in any model

    By the time I figured out they were making these gems they took them out of production
    now that I am becoming a 1911 guy more and more id love for them to re make these again
    That's not quite true.

    They do, in fact, still make the Champion; I've seen them in Loaded and Lightweight Operator configurations with 2013 build dates.

    Springfield Armory
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    VIP Member Array Taurahe's Avatar
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    This was the first thing he did, and the extractor would not hold the round tightly. Since I dont have the tools and I dont like undertaking such things with out supervision I figured it was safer to let him tinker with it for now and get it running until I get a small tool kit and am able to take the weapon completely apart.
    ”God grants Liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it.”
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    Senior Member Array tmoore912's Avatar
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    Tools? You need tools to take down a 1911?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Taurahe View Post
    This was the first thing he did, and the extractor would not hold the round tightly. Since I dont have the tools and I dont like undertaking such things with out supervision I figured it was safer to let him tinker with it for now and get it running until I get a small tool kit and am able to take the weapon completely apart.
    If you're lucky, he uses Jack Weigand's tool.

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    VIP Member Array Taurahe's Avatar
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    I dont even own a small punch... I am lucky to have screw driver at home


    Quote Originally Posted by tmoore912 View Post
    Tools? You need tools to take down a 1911?

    ”God grants Liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it.”
    ~Daniel Webster

    Your points are shallow... my points are Hollow....

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    If you can remove the slide, you will have the only tool you need for the rest of it in your hand.
    Ignorance is a long way from stupid, but left unchecked, can get there real fast.

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