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Old 07-07-2006, 04:20 AM   #1
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 12
Feedback on SVI

I'm looking to get a gun built for me for IPSC Limited (40 cal) and have looked at STI and SV. I'm leaning towards SV but I wanted to get some feedback from other people experiences with their guns. Quality, reliability, accuracy... What do they do better than the rest of the pack out there? Is the removal breechface really worth the extra expense? I have considered STI but I've heard that there are some quality issues. For example: at a class I recently took with Manny Bragg one of the students had an STI (model unknown) with 4000 rounds thru it - cost him close to $3K and he couldn't use it. Hammer followed the slide and when that got fixed temporarily he had other issues. The forums have other similar stories. I'm looking for rock solid reliable and dead on accuracy without the BS "guarantee's".
 
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Old 07-18-2006, 04:45 PM   #2
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 16
See my post in your other thread.

My SV factory gun (5" ext dustcover, 40 S&W bull bbl) is now ~ 4 yrs old and I have close to 10k through it. It still shoots less than 2.5" @ 50 yds (off a rest). Once I tuned my mags (big key with these guns) and ammo to the gun - it has been fantastic. I recommend them without reservation.

I also have a 6" 38 Super built on an SV frame, slide and internals by Neil Keller of Kustom Ballistics. Their parts quality, IMO, is second to none.
 
Old 07-19-2006, 05:51 AM   #3
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 951
S V I

Now ...UNDERSTAND...Before I start this reply...This is just My opinion , No charge ,...and thats posssibly what it's worth... I have no use for the interchangeable breech face ....I change slides if I want to change calibers and use the same frame.If a breechface gets beat up...replace the slide.I beleive.....Some smiths get hung up in the challange of repairin' parts , for instance weldin' or filein' breech faces. Good slides cost around $200.00...Versus $65.00 per hr. shop labor.....Most things ,recently invented...and meant to be interchangeable on a 1911..2011. . and gettin' the "HELL"shot out of 'em... seldom last.

Maybe John Travis or Vinny can add to this ...agreein' or disagreein'.

Thanks
Bill Caldwell
 
 
Old 07-19-2006, 01:37 PM   #4
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 119
There are some SVIs out there that have had a hell of a lot of rounds through them. It's not unusual for them to go over 100,000 rounds. They make a very solid gun in the 2011 pattern and are usually ready to run right out of the box, unlike some STIs that tend to need attention.

The way I always heard it was that Strayer-Voigt was more geared toward R&D and taking the design to the next level, where as STI was more mass-production oriented.

You will, of course, pay more for the SV engineering. And then there's the year wait. I own a .40 Limited SV and I have to say that I FEEL it was well worth the money.

I'd probably be just as adequately served with an STI that had been through the able hands of a Brazos or Dawson, but I prefer the SV styling and the cachet of having a gun that is a little bit less common. The SV mags are also a tad less troublesome than STI from what I have heard.

Gratuitious pic:

 
Old 07-19-2006, 08:58 PM   #5
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 15
STI vs. SVI =? Interchangeable breechface?

STI and SVI are two peas in a pod. It's just that side of the pod SVI is on gets more scrutiny and T.L.C.

As was mentioned above STI has become a standard "production" item in the overall marketing scheme, but also has a "custom department" to handle special request. Everything at SVI gets treated as if it was a custom order. Quality control at SVI is superior. It is my understanding that pretty much every single metal part that goes in an SVI/Infinity is CNC carved out of solid bar stock, and then processed and micro-finished. STI does not go to such extremes. Labor cost money. SVI cost more. The question seems to be whether the customer is normally willing to pay the higher ticket for an SVI/Infinity. It is sort of a weed-out process. Those that can will, or otherwise find it hard to justify and buy an STI.

While I like the SVI/Infinity frames, I find myself handling more STI's, both by choice and customers choice. Mostly to keep the overall costs down some, and because by the time all the STI machining marks are removed you've got a great product. Of course STI decided some time ago to fabricate only (with a couple of exceptions) in regular carbon steel. SVI fabricates in carbon steel, stainless steel, aluminum and titanium.

SVI is also the only manufacturer that offers a replaceable/interchangeable breech face. Initially I took it witha grain of salt, but it grew on me. There are some detractors that view it with fear and distrust. But frankly there is nothing to distrust (if you do your usual maintenance), and plenty to love about it. The weak point is that you must be careful not to overtighten the breech face hold down hollow allen head bolt as you could snap it or strip it. Just make sure it is clean and apply a little bit of blue loctite, and you are good to go. Now and then when you clean up check for tightness, but even if it loosens up a little bit it will be of no consequence as the design is self aligning. The other item to address is the firing pin spring. Regular lenght springs do not fit, and you must cut one to the right leght that will not bind by being too long. If you already have one cut, the best thing is to count coils, cut and match.

Frankly there is no real advantage to an interchangeable breech face unless you intend to use the feature for a purpose/reason. One reason is if you are going to shoot houmongous amounts to where your breech will be worn out. Then you normally get a new slide and pay the costs of such replacement, or ... just buy a new breechface and replace. The other advantage is that you can indeed either change caliber without having to get a new slide ... or my favorite: "multiple caliber conversion" on the same frame and slide. (If you want to spend the bucks and have the time for the change overs and back.)

If you don't mind spending the extra money, and take good care in maintaining your equipment (as you should anyway) and SVI interchangeable breech face slide would be a great investment. But if you can not justify the extra expense, by all means the STI is as good as it gets for conventional slides. For myself, given the choice, (and I do) I did spend the extra money and use the SVI/Infinity and am very happy with them. ( Especially since I like stainless steel slides and STI doesn't make them. But that's another thread. :wink: )
 
Old 07-21-2006, 09:47 AM   #6
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 119
Re: STI vs. SVI =? Interchangeable breechface?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Venry d'Aiguillon
STI and SVI are two peas in a pod. <snip>
Well said. Thanks for elaborating, I know I learned something. SVI doesn't get a lot of press these days, and unless you were active in the IPSC/USPSA scene in the mid-to-late 90's, one would never hear a lot of this stuff.
 
Old 07-22-2006, 10:21 AM   #7
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 251
I really wonder if it is worth the extra money to buy SV over STI..I have an Edge w/long dust cover with 45k rounds thru it and it is as tight, and shoots as well as it did the day I got it.....bought the slide and frame and my smith put it up for me...maybe that is the difference, but I think they are almost the same gun...I would go for STI..just my .02 :lol:
 
Old 07-22-2006, 03:47 PM   #8
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 12
I want to thank everyone for their feedback. As some of you noted, there is not a lot of information about SVI out there on the web. A few articles but little in the way of first person experience so your feedback is especially valuable. I'd like to ask you all if I could go back to the well of knowledge again and ask for your insights as I pull together the design. The preliminary design is below:

Template Name: Infinity Sight Tracker - Wide Body
Trigger pull should be 2.75lbs
AET Barrel Option: AET
Barrel: Rib without holes (Sight Tracker)
Barrel Length: 5" (Government)
Barrel Style: Non-Bushing Style (Cone/Bull Barrel)
Caliber: 40 S&W
Compensator: No Compensator
Dust Cover: Standard (all)
Dust Cover Fluting: Lane Flute
Frame Material: Stainless Steel
Frame Style: Competition (Polymer wide body)
Front Sight: Red Fiber Optic .100 wide x 1mm
Front Slide Cut: 15 lines per inch
Grip : Standard, Right Handed (Competition frame only)
Grip Safety: Stainless Steel
Grip Surface / Finish: Scotts Grip (Competition and Compact)
Guide Rod: Stainless Steel
Gun type: Government (5 inch)
Hammer: Triple Xcelerated SV
Hammer Finish: Stainless Steel
IPSC Modified Division Infinity IMM Special®: No (typical)
ITI Rail cut: No Rail Cut
Mag Well: Stainless Steel
Magazine Catch: Stainless Steel, 4-40 tap
Magazine Release Button: Small Stainless-This option requires 4-40 magcatch.
Mainspring Housing: SS Steel, Flat
Panel Cut: No
Pistol Finish: Stainless Finish
Radial Flute: None
Rear Lightening: No
Rear Sight: Bo-Mar® BMCS
Rear Slide Cut: 15 lines per inch
Slide Lock Pin: Stainless Steel
Slide Material: Stainless Steel
Slide Profile: Three Sided
Slide Racker / Lightening: No
Stirrup Cut: Yes
Strut: Titanium
Thumb Safety: Stainless Steel
Thumb Safety Style: Ambidextrous Wide
Top Rib: No Serrations
Trigger Base color: Silver
Trigger Bow: Titanium
Trigger Guard: Square
Trigger Insert Color: Silver
Trigger Insert Style: Curved Medium
Triglide System: Yes

A few things I'm thinking about is the full dust cover (which would mean no stirrup cut) Vs. the Standard with fluting. I like a heavy gun but I'm concerned about too much weight. I need to ask SVI actual weight. The design has a steel frame and slide yet it also states "Frame Style: Competition (Polymer Wide Body). Can someone enlighten me? Grip surfaces; The preliminary choice is the Scotts Grip based on a discussion with Tammy at the factory. I've never felt their grips so this is a tough. I like rubber grips - good contact even when it's hot and sweaty and they don't bite the hands. Any thoughts? Finally, the sight tracker is supposed to be a big sea change in competition shooting: allowing for target acquisition a bit quicker because of barrel stability. Anybody got one out there and is it myth or truth. Is the barrel fixed to the frame i.e. no barrel link???

Again, thanks for all the feedback.
 
Old 07-26-2006, 09:03 PM   #9
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by duffy1
A few things I'm thinking about is the full dust cover (which would mean no stirrup cut) Vs. the Standard with fluting. I like a heavy gun but I'm concerned about too much weight. I need to ask SVI actual weight.
With the 5" long, solid dust cover (no fluting) and bull barrel, my .40 is 38 oz.

Quote:
The design has a steel frame and slide yet it also states "Frame Style: Competition (Polymer Wide Body). Can someone enlighten me?
The frame is a two-part piece: the actual metal frame which can be steel, stainless, or perhaps even Al or Ti -- and the plastic grip frame.

Quote:
Finally, the sight tracker is supposed to be a big sea change in competition shooting: allowing for target acquisition a bit quicker because of barrel stability. Anybody got one out there and is it myth or truth. Is the barrel fixed to the frame i.e. no barrel link???
The way that the Sight Tracker works is the sight merely dips down a bit, and comes back up as the gun returns to battery. It is a lot easier to follow versus the sight hanging off the end of the slide as it reciprocates. The barrel has a standard 1911-style link.
 
Old 07-28-2006, 05:02 AM   #10
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 520
Yes and No

"The way I always heard it was that Strayer-Voigt was more geared toward R&D and taking the design to the next level, where as STI was more mass-production oriented."

A fairly accurate assessment. Both have the same widebody frame/grip design as their origin, but STI has designed nothing new, therefore patented nothing, and has done nothing to develop that original design.

"Two peas in a pod?" Only to those not truly familiar with current events.

STI basically churns out certain established models on a production line. This keeps costs down and makes its products a good value. For most people, myself definitely included, the gun shoots far better than the owner.

That said, I own 3 SVIs. Because of SVIs innovations, the guns have superior features. Go to the American Pistolsmith Institute and look for Dave Skinner's name - you won't find it. Look for Sandy Strayer's and you will.

SVI has patented the Tri-Glide trigger system, a tri-lobe barrel bushing, a safety, a magwell and, of course, the removable breech face (handy if you've blown a case trying to make Major 9!). Its guns are virtually all custom pieces because of the Gun Builder program, which allows the purchaser to specifiy the design from about 8 pages of options.

All this takes time and costs money. If you are just getting started, an STI (or even a Para) would be a cost-effective way to go. If you KNOW what you want in a gun and are willing to pay for the increased quality, SVI is your choice. :wink:

Want further evidence of SVI's cachet? Michael Mann went THERE to arm Crockett and Tubbs for his new Miami Vice movie. We're not talking "product placement" here; he PAID for each and every gun! What does that tell you?
 
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