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Thread: Springfield Mil-Spec 1911 pre-firing review

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Springfield Mil-Spec 1911 pre-firing review

    There I was, larger than life. I was doing a pawn shop crawl in search of...well, I didn’t know what I was in search of, lol. I head into a local shop and hit the used gun counter. Nothing stood out, so I moved to the new guns. In the case they had a Colt’s 1991 and a Springfield Armory 1911 Mil-Spec. I looked at the Colt’s, and it is about what I expected. Loose slide to frame fit, Loose grip safety, clocked extractor, and sharp edges.

    Now normally, I won’t even ask to see a Springfield, but I figured why not. Once I got it in hand I was glad I did!! Slide to frame fit was as tight as my loosest Les Baer, the grip safety had no movement. The extractor stood proud of the slide, but was lined up correctly. Barrel had no movement, and was well fitted. The stampings were crisp and the parkerizing was perfect. No sharp edges. Hmmmm, the wheels started turning in my head, lol. They gave me $350 in trade on a Glock I paid $125 for and I walked out with the Springfield for under $400 out the door.

    Getting it home I pulled out the depth gauge, feeler gauges, trigger gauge, and micrometer and got to measuring. Here is what I found:

    The dimensions for the small parts are outstanding. They were almost as good as if I had hand fitted them. The fit of the parts were on the same level. There is not a single tool mark inside or out. The slide to frame is tight, with no overhang on the rear of the slide. The parkerizing is flawless. The stampings are perfect. The barrel fit is dang near as good as if I had hard fit one and near the same level as my Les Baers. The barrel is beautifully throated. Holes are where they are supposed to be. Trigger pull is 4.5 lbs. The pistol is bank vault solid. If I built you a gun to this level of fit and finish, you wouldn’t be able to touch it for less than $1500.

    Cons:
    Extractor stands proud of the rear of the slide
    Overly stiff thumb safety


    Possible mods I will make if necessary:
    Fit a bushing. The factory one isn’t sloppy, but it can be improved.
    Fit a beaver tail grip safety. I’ll only do this if the GI grip safety eats my hand.

    Mods I will do:
    30 LPI checkering on the front strap
    Serrated rear of slide
    Blend extractor to rear of slide
    Make a set of smooth, over width grips from highly figured desert ironwood.
    Cut a coil or two off the plunger spring

    Mods I will farm out:
    Installation of Novak Cut Trijicon HD night sights
    Metaloy hard chrome

    Final thoughts:
    I don’t know if I got a Wednesday built gun or what, but I will say this 1911 was put together right. Being the owner of several Les Baer, ground up customs from the 1970’s to current builds, numerous Colt’s, and the tools to measure stuff; this gun is seriously in the top of the heap for build quality. It just blows my mind. If this is an indication of Springfield quality, then I recommend one of you can handle
    It in person.

    I’ll be firing it next month, lol. Knowing my luck it’ll probably be a jam-o-matic, lol, but all signs indicate that all will be fine.

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master tazman's Avatar
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    Mine is like yours as far as the fitting goes. I did have a beavertail safety fitted along with the requisite hammer. I also had an adjustable trigger installed.
    Those are the only modifications I had done to it. That service safety did eat my hand.
    This gun has been flawless for me ever since.
    I think you will love yours.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master Bazoo's Avatar
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    I have a milspec stainless made in 2013. It was tight when new, and remains fairly tight after 6k rounds. Its got zero play in lockup, but the slide is a touch looser than it used to be. You best give it a look, the ejector in my gun was not pinned, but rather, glued in. I had SA pin it when I sent it back for other repair.

    When I first fired it, it jammed. I rounded the sharp edges on the extractor bottom, and chamfered the firing pin hole lightly. I've had very few malfunctions since then, all related to a bad mag I had, or the Lee TC in conjunction with several different mags that dont like it. With ball ammo, or factory HP, or lead RN, it runs flawlessly.

    That other repair, consisted of having a chip in the corner of the hammers half cock notch. SA paid shipping both ways for it, and did the ejector pin at the same time for free. Other things I've had go awry, is the ILS started snagging on the mainspring. The plunger tube came loose and needed restaking, as did the front sight, 3 times now. The safety plunger kept getting a little burr on it and making the safety very hard to disengage. I replaced it with a steel SA pin and its been fine since. I also shortened the plunger spring some.

    So, i've had problems.... that said, I carry the gun 24/7 and feel the bugs are worked out of it.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Thanks for the additional information!

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Love Life View Post
    Knowing my luck itíll probably be a jam-o-matic, lol, but all signs indicate that all will be fine.

    That could be true.

    And, 'You'll put your eye out kid'.

    So, for your own safety, ya should send it to East Texas.
    Everyone can learn from their mistakes.
    However; it's less painful, and cheaper to learn from the mistakes of others.

    Never ask an old person, "how are you doing"?
    They eagerly look forward to telling you,,,,,,,, and ya really don't want to know.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Click image for larger version. 

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    The hard part now is figuring which blanks to use.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
    lefty o's Avatar
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    id go for the bottom left one.

  8. #8
    Boolit Grand Master

    DougGuy's Avatar
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    LL your mil spec sounds like you got it just like I built one for me, I wanted a parked straight up GI 1911A1 exactly as it might have been issued in 1943. I used one of the Auto Ordnance complete lowers from Gunbroker, $300, and a 1943 Remington Rand slide and GI barrel, all WWII era parts in the upper.

    I had to lap the side to the frame but everything else went together just like an armorer dug in a barrel and pulled out whatever part he got first and fitted it together. It fits a BUNCH better than the 1943 matching numbers Colt I had, and groups as good as most customs costing $1500 or better. I think I got about $450 in the whole thing. I wanted a 1911A1 that looked, felt, and shot like a WWII issued gun. I won't even change out the military sights.. The only thing I did to it that an armorer wouldn't have done is throat the barrel. Apparently this was a good move going by the first group fired (see target below).




    10yds standing




    I did eventually swap the link for a longer one which brought the group down on the front sight, and I bent the sear spring a little, still has a fairly stiff trigger but on first outing, it was gritty and probably 6lbs when it fired the group above.

    The one thing it did do, that I was happy for, I no longer kick myself in the butt for letting the Colt get away...
    Last edited by DougGuy; 05-20-2019 at 06:25 AM.
    Got a .22 .30 .32 .357 .38 .40 .41 .44 .45 .480 or .500 S&W cylinder that needs throat reaming? 9mm, 10mm/40S&W, 45 ACP pistol barrel that won't "plunk" your handloads? Shoot me a PM! Also on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Cylinderhone-756429174391912/

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

    LUCKYDAWG13's Avatar
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    I like the bottom left too
    kids that hunt and fish dont mug old ladies

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    I think I’m going to get some different blanks. The pattern in the wood really doesn’t flow with the pistol.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master


    fecmech's Avatar
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    I bought a Mil Spec with the 3 dot sights and it was an honest 2" 25yd gun. All I did was lighten the trigger from 5 lbs to 3.5. The gun fed and functioned just fine with Lymans 452460 SWC. They are one of the best bargains out there IMO
    "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
    - C. S. Lewis

  12. #12
    Boolit Master




    EMC45's Avatar
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    I bought a used Mil Spec from a member here. He had a Gold Cup and the Mil spec for sale. I shot both and bought the Mil spec. It shot better than the Colt for me. I don't know how many rounds I have put through that gun. Many many.....
    You can miss fast & you can miss a lot, but only hits count.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    I have one I bought as a base for a project gun that I haven’t done.

    Grip safety does irritate my thumb’s second joint.
    Thumb safety is ungodly stiff. I should pull the plunger and clip the spring.

    Other than that it’s a good gun with the improved sights over the gI ones.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master pretzelxx's Avatar
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    I don't have a milspec but I got a range officer for 711 out the door in Washington a few short years ago. It's tight as I would assume it should be. It was my first 1911 and I surely love it. Except the safety. It eats my hand when I shoot, so it's not a frequent 300 round gun but the thing is a tack driver. I was ringing 6 inch steel at around 25 yards pretty easily in a moderate wind with strong gusts not too long ago. I love my Springfield for sure!

    Sent from my LG-US998 using Tapatalk
    Using Tapatalk

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Good info and thank you!!

    I have a new set of blanks on the way that I believe will dress the gun better than the current ironwood I have.

    I went to shoot it Sunday at the public range, but forgot my target, lol. So no range report yet.

  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy
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    I don't own a springfield, but I think your are passing up a good bookmatch on the bottom right pair.
    Good Judgment comes from Experience, Experience comes from Bad Judgment !

  17. #17
    Boolit Master mattw's Avatar
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    Bottom right set of panels! I own 8 or 9 various models of Springfields in various lengths, both barrels and grips and various calibers. I see no reason not to buy a Springfield over any other similarly priced gun. My favorite? Factory ported slide 40.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    I started working a set of blanks today, and reminded myself of why it’s called ironwood and why I don’t make them for money, lol. Much sandpaper has died, and the files are unhappy. Brought the grips up to a 320 finish to better see what I was working with, filled some imperfections, and started initial shaping.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Uh-oh, mis-measured and missed the hole for the bushing. Time to break out the gorilla brand super glue and some wood dust...

    That’s what I get for rushing and nut using my templates, lol. All that stuff is still packed away. When I’m done I’ll show a picture and you can try and find the goof up, lol.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check