Combat reliability in a 1911 - Pistolsmith

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Old 06-19-2001, 08:39 AM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 72
I've been reading posts where guys state "I have 5,000 rounds through my Kimber, Springfield (etc.) and haven't had one problem." Based on my experiences with 1911s I'm suspect of this. First, in 5,000 rounds you are sure to have some out of spec ammo, even if you only shoot factory stuff. Second, what kind of shooting do these guys do? Almost all my 1911s are _very_ reliable if I'm shooting on the line, using timed shots, and using a firm grip. Where some of my guns start to break down is when I'm running them hard, such as during an IPSC match where you hose targets in 30+ shot sets or in intensive training courses where you fire 1,000 rounds in two days. So, I'm starting to distinguish between combat and firing line reliability -- two different kinds of shooting. BTW, I like IPSC matches since I find them to be a good test of my equipment.

Given the fact that guns are mechancial and no mechanical system is 100% reliable all the time, what is an acceptable measure of combat reliability?
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Old 06-19-2001, 08:49 AM   #2
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I think you'll see that they do have failures, but they blame everything except the gun. i.e. ammo, limp wrist, magazine, ect.

Although, not a 1911, the only gun I've shot for thousands of rounds without a failure of any kind, regardless of ammo, magazine, ect, has been my Sig 226. Absolutely nothing has made this gun fail yet.
Old 06-19-2001, 09:06 AM   #3
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Well I disagree...If someone says they have 1000 or whatever non-failures, why would you say they are...what? You didn't use the word lying but you might as well have. I kinda' give people a little more credit unless I know better...I haven't had any gun that's 100% in a lifetime, but that certainly doesn't mean they aren't out there...Poor choice of wording I think...It IS morning after all...
Old 06-19-2001, 09:21 AM   #4
Join Date: Apr 2001
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What I'm saying is that it's possible to fire 1,000 or more rounds without an FTF or some other problem in firing line shooting. My question regards combat (action shooting) reliability.
Old 06-19-2001, 09:28 AM   #5
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I see...I understand the difference you're shootin' at :wink:
Old 06-19-2001, 10:34 AM   #6
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I trust my guns once they are broken in, and I can run 750-1000 rds. between stoppages.

The main thing I look for is how many failures I get WITH THE FIRST MAGAZINE, after the gun has been cleaned and lubed. I have never had a FTF/FTE with any first magazine ever, in any of my guns. This is the condition my gun would be in when needed for self-defense (clean/lubed), and I KNOW that my first mag will run no problem. To me, this is combat ready.
Old 06-19-2001, 03:03 PM   #7
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Well let me relay my experience. The 1911 that I've had the most rounds through without any kind of stoppage is a SA with just some standard reliability work and basic touch ups. It had 2 maybe 3 failures to go into full battery in the first 100-150 rounds. Since then it's seen about 2500 without a stop. This includes shooting at the range, and 2 different handgun courses, one with a 500 round count, another with 250. During those course and all subsequent range shooting since, I've not had a failure of any kind. I'd say that's pretty reliable and certainly speaks well of the design.

Regarding the 2 handgun courses. We did, strong and weak hand shooting. Shooting from barricade. Shooting from prone, upside down, you name it. Clearance drills. I think that would qualify as something other than your typical range shooting.

The only gun I've never experienced a failure of any kind on was Berreta 92F that had about 700 rounds through it before it was sold.

Alex Tham
"To kill a gopher, you must think like a gopher."

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Mute on 2001-06-19 16:03 ]</font>
Old 06-19-2001, 04:12 PM   #8
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Royal Arkansas
Posts: 47
Back in the late 80s, I built a 1911 on an Essex frame, using GI parts. It was as close as you could get to an original 1911 with the exception of the relief cuts in the frame and better sights.
I kept a Weapons Record Book on it for the first 5,000 rounds.
First three rounds were failures to feed. I adjusted the extractor and then didn't have another failure to feed again in those 5,000 rounds.
I quit keeping the record book after that, it was pretty pointless.
Sure, over the years, I've had a few FTFs. Every single one of them has been because of crappy, GI surplus magazines. Tossed the mags, and the FTFs went away.
For the record, two months ago, I had my first parts breakage on that gun. The sear pin snapped in half, causing the hammer to drop to half cock every time I pulled the trigger.
I replaced the pin and have had no failures of any kind since then.
How many rounds do I have through it?
I'd hate to have to guess, but any number between 75,000 and 100,000 rounds wouldn't be too wild a guess.
Even if you include the magazine failures, I think the failure rate is something like 1 in 5 to 7 thousand rounds so far.

I've also got a Kimber Ultra Elite with over 2,000 rounds through it and ZERO malfunctions to date.

I've also got a REALLY nasty little IAI Israeli made Commander. Slide sounds like it's full of ground glass when you pull it to the rear, but it keeps inside 4 to 5 inches at 25 yards and I have not yet had a malf with it either. I've probably only run 1000 rounds or so through it so far, it's not much fun to shoot, but it was reliable "out of the box."

Maybe I'm just "lucky?"
Old 06-19-2001, 05:43 PM   #9
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In my experience, stock factory 1911s are as reliable as any of the other guns I shoot alot i.e. Glocks, S&W revolvers, and SIGs. My Kimbers and Springfields even work with the junk magazines that came with them.

Invariably, the 1911s I see malfunction in competions and gun classes have been due to being "customized", operators inducing the malfunctions, and improper lubrication or the lack of it.
Old 06-19-2001, 11:56 PM   #10
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first. let me say that i only have about 2500 rounds through my duty colt.

second i will say that i have never had a failure to feed, or eject, or ammo problem at all. i look at the primers when i load my mags.

i come to this board to get advice on guns, i say that i have never had a problem out of my colts, why would i lie? if i was having trouble i would want to ask so i could figure out what was wrong. i have no intention of wasting my time on a board lieing about the guns.

i think the trouble is many companies now days try to make a combat weapons competition accurate, and they get the tolerances too tight. thats why i stay with the basic colt models, because they are combat weapons.

anything man made can fail, but the fact that mine hasn't yet doesn't make me a liar, and I MUST GIVE THE OTHER PEOPLE ON THIS BOARD THE SAME RESPECT.

just my thought

russel the cop

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