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.
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 http://www.springfield-armory.com/armory.php?version=3
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...
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.
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.
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...