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ColdIron44 05-13-2012 07:40 PM

Amateur Product Analysis
Hello all,

I read this forum religiously every night, but with nothing to contribute, I seldom post here. But after "breaking in" my latest purchase, I figured it was time to throw in my two cents.

I had my eye on a stainless Colt XSE. I ended up with a Springfield Armory Loaded Model. This long, sad story need not be explained here, but after all's said and done, I am pleased with my purchase, and would like to share my experiences with those that care to listen.

The gun:
Springfield Armory Loaded 1911-A1 (stainless on stainless)
Upswept beavertail grip safety, ambidextrous thumb safety, "Novak-style" rear sight, yada, yada, the spec sheet can be found here on the S.A. website.
The gun is presented in a hard plastic, foam lined case with two magazines, a paddle holster, double mag pouch, nylon bore brush, and a coupon for many reasonably priced Springfield Armory products. Walked out the door for pennies over $900, a bit steep for this product, but it was worth the ability to test fire it before the purchase. Not to mention how difficult it is to find anything but Kimbers on the shelves in my neck of the woods...

The ammo:
Monarch Brass, 230gr. TMJ. $18.99/50rd. = $200 and change for 500 rounds.

The "Canebrake 500" break in:
After the initial cleansing of packing greases, and subsequent re-lubrication, I noted the slide's action to be quite stiff, with obvious hang-ups in its travel. I chalked it up to the nature of stainless steel and hoped that 500 rounds might soften things up a bit.

The gun, and both magazines, passed the 500 round function test flawlessly, with no malfunctions of any kind. I felt the "Canebrake 500" to be a very adequate assessment of the weapon's functionality, and my only addtion was to include a few magazines dumped in very rapid fashion. I set aside 4 hours of the morning to complete this task, as I planned for many breaks to allow the barrel to cool, since I prefer not to overheat my guns. To my surprise, the gun's mostly stainless components cooled exceptionally quickly, barrel included, and I finished this chore in 2 hours.

The accuracy:
I ran through all 500 rounds at 10 yards. While I was not shooting for accuracy, it is impossible for me to shoot without at least a half-assed attempt to put bullets on top of each other. I never once measured a grouping, but from ten yards away, it appeared as if I could quickly put 7 rounds in a 2 inch circle. When the time comes to shoot for bullseyes, I imagine the Springfield trigger will hold me back, as it leaves something to be desired. There is indeed so much travel before the break that it almost requires a shift of my finger in order to take out the slack. That being said, it is an average trigger, at an average price, so I didn't expect too much and can easily admit I have pulled far worse triggers. As for the "Novak-style" fixed rear sight, I am thoroughly impressed. Sight picture is acquired and maintained easily and naturally. Springfield Armory states the sights are zeroed for a 6 o'clock hold at 25 yards. The point of impact at 10 yards appeared to be roughly 2 inches low with a 6 o'clock hold, and roughly 1 inch low with point of aim. (Again, these are very rough estimates, as I was not shooting off the bench, and I never once measured these groups). This is easily corrected by raising the front sight bead out of horizontal alignment, something to keep in mind for those who purchase this pistol for self-defense.

The aftermath:
When the shooting was over, I started to regret the "Canebrake 500" as that dirty Monarch ammo did a real number on the gun. Took me the same amount of time to clean it as it did to shoot it! On the positive side though, the slide had worked out some of its rough spots and was noticeably smoother. The gun performed flawlessly, and, aside from Springfield's ugly crossed cannon rollmark, she's a good looker too. The checkered Cocobolo wood grips are beautifully done, but unfortunately got stamped with those ugly cannons, so the Diamondback snakeskin grips should be here shortly!

The purpose of this wordy write-up was to share my experiences with this gun for educational purposes. In the case that one of y'all is sitting on the fence between Springfield Armory and Company 'X', you might at least know what to expect out of this pistol, to assist in making an informed decision.

Many thanks to the regular posters in this forum who unknowingly influenced my decision to purchase this firearm. Your knowledge, and the willingness to share it, is an invaluable asset to me. My bank account may never recover from the 1911 fever I have contracted... Now about that Colt...


fmj 05-13-2012 08:08 PM

Hooray!!! Well written.

If i may...

I happen to dig on the Springfield Armory "trademark" crossed canon roll mark...not ugly at all but a fixture in american history!

Drop in a wilson combat trigger group and you will have a gun that puts any kimber to shame!

danf_fl 05-13-2012 11:52 PM

Great report! Thanks.

Quality ammo is the way to go. Should problems arise, it is easy to blame the firearm when the ammo is the culprit during break-in period

Axxe55 05-14-2012 12:13 AM

good writeup! very well written and will be useful information for someone wanting input on a Springfield. i too like the crossed cannons on my SA Micro Compact 45. i have owned several SA 1911's over the years and wouldn't hesitate in buying another because of the quality and accuracy.

kytowboater 05-14-2012 12:17 AM

Enjoyable to read! Thank you for taking the time to do so. I have been curious about SA 1911s. Enjoy!

ColdIron44 05-14-2012 04:19 AM

My sincerest apologies to the crossed-cannon advocates out there! In my eyes they appear cartoon-like, and there's only one cartoon-like cannon for me; It's black on a white flag with the words, "COME AND TAKE IT!"

bartwatkins 05-14-2012 11:36 AM

Also (in addition to fmj's trigger group advice) the Super Match Trigger Group from C&S(Cylinder & Slide) is an excellent choice too. I have that installed on my SA Loaded and my trigger is butter now.

ellwood45c 05-14-2012 12:12 PM

Great read thanks for the post. I also like the cannons but thats just me. I had just about the same experience when i got my SA.

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trip286 05-14-2012 12:19 PM

The coupons for SA stuff included in the can get a lot of that same stuff for half the coupon price at midway. Other than that, I like the crossed cannons too.

:) enjoy. I got the SA milspec, absolutely love it. Yeah, the trigger has a bit of take up on mine too.

canebrake 05-14-2012 07:19 PM

Amateur analysis my azz! That is one damn fine report ColdIron44.

And that's "Mr. Canebrake 500" to all you mooks. :p

I see I'm going to need to explain this "Canebrake 500" school of thought once again.


If the new gun (ie: my new Commander) runs say, three boxes (150 rds) of 230gr ball without a single hiccup, and the gun is to be used for carry, I will start to introduce PD ammo and continue the test. If it likes the JHP's I've tested I settle on one brand and if it runs 50-100 rounds glitch-free, I'm happy and feel the gun is ready for carry. This can put a quality pistol into service in as few as 300 rounds.

If the gun is to be used for plinking, range lizard or competition and 200 rounds have been spent with NO ISSUES, you're GTG.

Now my repeated reference to 500 rounds is for those guns that experience some form of trouble out of the box. If you do experience FTF, FTE, hang-fire, light primer strikes, brass in your face, brass in the next county, POA does not match POI, no slide lock-back, fit & finish issues.................but the gun does continue to fire, albeit erratic, you should not complain, call the gun shop or call the manufacture until you have a minimum, 500 rds of 230gr ball downrange.

My reason for this suggestion is simple. They (see above) will ask you the following;
  1. How many rounds have you fired?
  2. What type of ammo?
  3. Have you made any modifications to the gun?

If your answer to #1 is <500 rds they will tell you to shoot it some more.
If your answer to #2 is anything other than ball ammo they will tell you that's your problem.
If your answer to #3 is yes, they will probably void your warranty.

If your answer to #1 is >500 rds and,
If your answer to #2 ball ammo and,
If your answer to #3 is no, they will probably send you a will-call ticket and have you send your gun back for warranty work.

Simply put, don't b1tch until you give the gun a chance to settle in. If you experience premature complaining the customer service person will see you in the same light as your girlfriend would.

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