What is the Best Basic Complete Gun to Buy to Use the Frame - Pistolsmith

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Old 10-27-2001, 06:51 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 64
The title is a little Funny but here is the question I pose to you,

I want to buy a Shooter for now to learn the 1911 System, I am Currently a Glock,S&W and Ruger Semi Auto Owner and want to buy a new 1911....

In a Few Years or as Money Permits I want to Buy parts to stash away till I can afford to get a Smith to Work on the gun and put it All together into a full blown custom carry with a damascus slide and all the other tid bits.

So which of the following would make a good "basic" Shooter till I could afford the Ultimate Build Up (basically the only pitol part left would be the frame for my new Custom)

- Springfield Milspec 1911a1
- Para-Ord P14/45
- Colt 1991a1
- Older series 80 or series 70 Used

Pick the one that has the best Customizability and tell me the reasons why YOU think I should buy Brand XYZ.
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Old 10-27-2001, 09:52 PM   #2
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 70
My bet goes with the Colt 1991........
Old 10-27-2001, 10:27 PM   #3
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 78
Of the guns you list,

- Springfield Milspec 1911a1
- Para-Ord P14/45
- Colt 1991a1
- Older series 80 or series 70 Used

My first choice would be a series 70, simply because of the lack of firing pin block (easier to get a fine feeling trigger) and the great rollmark. I would avoid series 80 and 1991A1 for the same two reasons. The Colt XS and XSE guns have a good looking rollmark, but have the firing pin block.

I would avoid Para products like the plague. My own experience with a P14 was very dissapointing. I broke the firing pin, extractor, barrel bushing, and the gun was very loose. In addition, the holes in the frame for the sear and hammer pins were off by a little, and oversized, which made it hard to get a good trigger job although I was able to use a C&S match kit with no problems. In addition, for a carry gun, the para is too wide for best comfort and concealability. I've seen a LOT of para's break a LOT of parts in the last several years of shooting IPSC. Often times the problem is poor fit of the barrel locking lugs. I've seen a lot of barrel links, bushings, and extractors fail. I've seen very few similar parts breakage with Kimber, Colt, and Springfield 1911's.

The SA Milspec is a good base for a full house custom, as is the Kimber base gun.

The best way to go for a well equipped, resonably priced, quality gun that you can shoot now and upgrade later is is either the base Kimber or a Springfield Loaded. Both will require minimal upgrading (compared to other brands) to make a very fine gun. Check out Dane's site - he does a lot of work on Kimbers (www.burnscustompistols.com)

Old 10-28-2001, 06:40 AM   #4
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 181
Of the pistols you selected

- Springfield Milspec 1911a1
- Para-Ord P14/45
- Colt 1991a1
- Older series 80 or series 70 Used

Series 70 first (just cause they are cool)
Springfield ( most practical )
Colt 1991 or series 80 ( forget these 80 series parts are a pain in the butt)
Para ( I can't think of any reason to buy one of these)

but my first choice would be a Kimber but not one of the Kimber IIs for the same reason as to not buy a series 80.

I do happen to have several examples of all the above pistols but the Para.

Old 10-28-2001, 12:06 PM   #5
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Richardson, TX
Posts: 1,580
I'll go against the grain and suggest the 1991A1 for the following reasons:

1. It is a Colt.
2. It has the cool old-fashoned rollmarks with the horsey now.
3. It is a new pistol, which will reduce your potential headaches.
4. S80 safety gripes are WAY WAY overstated.
5. The prices are darn good now.
6. SA ergonomics are inferior.
7. Para Ordinance has a dubious reputation (I had one that wouldn't feed 230gr FMJ), inferior ergonomics and proprietary parts.
8. I'd be leery of customizing anything as old as a Colt Series 70, just because.
9. Did I mention that it is a Colt?
10. You didn't put Kimber on your list (best frame/slide combo for the price). :grin:
Old 10-28-2001, 09:55 PM   #6
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 137
Opt in for a Kimber Classic, blued or stainless. They are a good place to start.

SPringfield's problem is that the frame and slide are slightly heavier than standard and holster fit is tight. Other than that they are excellent 1911s.
Old 10-29-2001, 09:21 AM   #7
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 520
The first question which would seemingly need to be asked is whether you want a hi-cap .45. If so, your choice (among the listed makes) is Para-Ordnance (note spelling). Period. A Springfield "hi-cap" is only ten rounds - that is NOT "high capacity."

While it is extremely fashionable to knock Paras on this forum, and I have some serious complaints about the fit and finish on my second P-14 Limited, I have owned 3; still own 2 (.40 and .45), and have never suffered a broken part. As for "propriety parts," that depends on what parts you wish to change. The slide is basically 1911; if you want to change the trigger, you can fit an SVI (and, presumably, an STI) trigger.

If you want a single-stack, your options are numerous. I have a Springfield "loaded" that has its own problems, even after a pilgrimage back to Geneseo. Pay your money and take your pick..........
Old 10-30-2001, 10:32 AM   #8
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 50
My vote goes for the SA Mil-Spec. I'm kinda partial here since I own one. It went back to SA for a little work that it probably didn't need, and they got it back in a week. That's pretty good turnaround in my opinion. The ergonomics question above is due to the fact that the frontstrap and dustcover are thicker than "normal", presumably to allow for metalwork like checkering, etc. This is quickly and relatively cheaply resolved by a gunsmith, and it's a good excuse to get a Wave or scallops done! It shoots great, and still has some of the more "basic" customizations already done, such as a lowered/flared ejection port, extended ejector, and beveled mag well. Plus, Dave Williams at SA is great to talk to if you ever have a problem or question.

The new Colts look to be great guns, especially with the nice-looking new rollmark, but are a little pricey IMO for a "base" gun. I would probably leave a Series 70 as it was if I found one. However, a Colt will likely retain it's value a little better than the others, if that matters to you.

I personally don't care for the frame size of Paras, but I've got short fingers, too.

Other than that, although you didn't mention it, a Kimber is a great place to start, too. Already has some things you'd probably want, anyway, and the slides and frames are good quality. I haven't had one of my own to comment on yet, so I won't try to get into any finer details.

Are you confused yet? :grin: Everyone has an opinion, and they don't always agree! Good luck with your decision, and welcome to the world of 1911 addiction!
Old 10-30-2001, 03:14 PM   #9
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 66
My votes:
Kimber Classic Custom (pre-Series II)
Springfield Mil-Spec
Opinions vary of course, but I like these because both have excellent basic forged frames/slides, NO firing pin safety (per the original Browning design), and are basically usable out of the box. The Kimber is better in this regard as it is not as no frills as the SA. The Colt M1991 and later model Kimber IIs are OK if you don't mind the firing pin safety. Personally, I prefer not to have it.
Bill Go
Old 10-30-2001, 03:58 PM   #10
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 29

I hate to go against the current grain, but the first question is "What kind of shooting are you planning". If you need the high capacity of a Para, these other guys are full of crap and apparently haven't run into a good gunsmith who actually knows how to make one run (all of mine have run out of the box with no mods - I currently have three). I just got one back from EGW after having a checkered panel welded in and I think it is a keeper!
My primary competition gun is a box stock P-14 with the following mods: Brown beavertail, Novak night sights, trigger job and a crowned barrel. That's it. Capable of 2" groups offhand at 25 yards. I have fired over 5000 rounds in it this summer with the only malfunctions being due to my failure to clean the mags and poor ammo from a bad bullet design (Rainier 200 SWC).
I use it for practical, IDPA, night matches and three gun competitions.
My backup gun is almost identical with a couple of extra mods.
My gun for next season is a 38 Super based Para comp gun (the one I got back from EGW).
I have never broken any parts on any of the 10 or so Para's that I have owned. I even use the plastic mag catches! I do convert all the paras to 70 series with the adapter plates.

And just in case, I own a Springfield armory 1911 with the FBI package from Novaks and a Springfield 1911 custom loaded in 9mm for my wife to compete with.

If I didn't need the high capacity, I would probably go with another Springfield Custom Loaded or their FBI gun.

Before you discount Para, look at the equipment lists for most of the maor shooting matches. Most of the top shooters are shooting Para's or STI's.

Just my 2 cents (US Dollars).

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