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View Full Version : choosing a reliable budget 1911 w/ rail


Cossack
November 28, 2014, 01:55
I've been thinking of replacing the double-action pistol that we have as a "bump-in-the-night" gun with a railed 1911 because I like the manual safety. (I'm not a big fan of rails, but my wife really likes the ideas of having at least one pistol mounting a flashlight). Some night sights would be a helpful feature. I also have to keep the price pretty tame.

My current gun (a P229) is trustworthy, and so I want any 1911 that takes over its job to be very reliable. I'm hesitant to cut corners unless a budget gun is well proven and recommended. I've looked at the ATI FX45-K (can the the threaded barrel e replaced with a normal commander-length barrel?) and CDNN has quite a deal going on them. Anyone tried one of these? Would you trust them as a primary HD gun, or is it more of just a fun range gun?

I'm hesitant to trust the Girsan, even though I've heard few reports of problems.

I'm leaning towards a Sig. It seems a used or new Nitron Rail on sale or similar can be had for $750 or so. It's stretching the budget a bit, but seems like the best for the money.

Shat about the Para-ordnance nite-tac single-action/Single stack pistols? The ones I have seen already have some options I like, such as the arched MSH, and I think I could find one for less than the Sig. But I've also heard of problems with Para reliability. Is this as trustworthy a gun as the sig?

Are there others I should be considering?

Thanks for any help you can give.

MAINER
November 28, 2014, 13:31
Seeing as how this will be your "bump-in-the-night-pistol", the Sig would be my choice with its combination of quality, reputation, customer service, resale value and just the warm comfy feeling one gets from a well made arm by a company with a reputation for quality.

I would not think a Sig could be called a budget 1911. :shades:

I think the ATI would be a good choice, but only after a break-in period, a trigger job, and either cutting the threads/recrowning the barrel or a replacement barrel. If the deal is good enough and you have the time, this might be an option. With this threaded barrel, I might just look for a "sleeve" to screw on the end and give it a try. :biggrin:

Re the Girsan, I'm not comfy with guns or much of anything made in Turkey, them that likes are welcome to them.
In that price range, I would prefer an RIA or one of the other Philippine efforts.

Para Ord 1911's seem to blow hot and cold, this one is great, that one suks, luck of the draw.

SAFN49
November 28, 2014, 15:20
As far as a reliable budget 1911, I don't think you can use those 2 words in front of 1911 in the same sentence. A budget 1911 can be reliable with 230 gr FMJ rounds but I would not guarantee it would be with some of the flying ashtray hollow points. Most 1911's need a feed ramp and throat job to be reliable with big HP's. Just my experience. If you are good with a Dremel tool you can do it your self.

Olaf
November 28, 2014, 19:21
I agree with SAFN49, You can have reliable OR cheap (budget) that being said, I wouldn't think sig would be a problem, or consider them a budget pistol.

fnogger
November 29, 2014, 10:43
Not sure about the rail requirement...

But I'd look at the Rock Island Tactical model... I have the GI, buddy had the Tactical (since unemployed and sold to pay bills). I had a few jams in the first 100 rounds, no issues in several thousand since. Have put 400 or so of the Hornady XTP hp/defense rounds thru it, rest of it has been ball from various makers. Go wtih teh tactical model - much better sights.

Otis Treekiller
November 29, 2014, 11:02
If you really want the manual safety, Sig also makes single action only 220's with a frame mounted safety for carrying cocked and locked. I have one, it's pretty sweet.

CZ also makes the 97 which has a safety, not sure if they have a model with a rail. They do have some models in 9mm with both rail and safety.

raexcct2
November 29, 2014, 16:57
Sig Scorpion 1911. Quality, rail, extended magwell, night sights, etc. I paid $920 for mine on sale. Check out my post on the Glocks suck thread.

hueyville
November 30, 2014, 15:54
As far as a reliable budget 1911, I don't think you can use those 2 words in front of 1911 in the same sentence. A budget 1911 can be reliable with 230 gr FMJ rounds but I would not guarantee it would be with some of the flying ashtray hollow points. Most 1911's need a feed ramp and throat job to be reliable with big HP's. Just my experience. If you are good with a Dremel tool you can do it your self.


I have had to weld up and regrind MANY 1911's because somebody got after it with a dremel tool. If you dont own or can borrow a feed ramp gauge then I would do no more than polish. Majority of 1911 KaBoom's I have seen are from ruptured cases in guns with home feed ramp work. Owning a dremel tool does not make someone a gun smith. Most people who show me their home done feed ramp work are out of safe specifications. Most ignore even when show them with gauge. Amazes me they bring in to have fixed or something done that actually needs specialized tooling and when pointed out they respond "well it feeds everything now". I send them out the door as dont want to be last person to work on before it KaBooms.

SAFN49
November 30, 2014, 22:59
I have had to weld up and regrind MANY 1911's because somebody got after it with a dremel tool. If you dont own or can borrow a feed ramp gauge then I would do no more than polish. Majority of 1911 KaBoom's I have seen are from ruptured cases in guns with home feed ramp work. Owning a dremel tool does not make someone a gun smith. Most people who show me their home done feed ramp work are out of safe specifications. Most ignore even when show them with gauge. Amazes me they bring in to have fixed or something done that actually needs specialized tooling and when pointed out they respond "well it feeds everything now". I send them out the door as dont want to be last person to work on before it KaBooms.

I am calling complete bullshit on this. A feed ramp job has never caused a ruptured case. You don't know WTF you are talking about. Just sayin.
Proper feed ramp and throat to feed flying ashtrays.
http://i148.photobucket.com/albums/s30/djm540idjm540i/1911_zps28902652.jpg (http://s148.photobucket.com/user/djm540idjm540i/media/1911_zps28902652.jpg.html)

hueyville
December 01, 2014, 09:29
I am calling complete bullshit on this. A feed ramp job has never caused a ruptured case. You don't know WTF you are talking about. Just sayin.
Proper feed ramp and throat to feed flying ashtrays.

Actually I have seen dozens of "improper" feedramp jobs destroy 1911's. And I have never seen a "proper" feedramp job cause an issue. I have had to weld up muptiple feed ramps and replace.barrel because somebody decided to grind on their pistol or let friend grind with Dremel tool make a gun dangerous.

From Sight1911.com:
Most barrels of modern manufacture (since the middle 1980s) come already “throated,” or widened, in the ramp area. This is the best type of barrel to start with. Earlier barrels have a narrow feed ramp which is designed to feed hardball ammo only. These barrels are best throated first by a competent gunsmith who really understands the 1911 design. Although proper throating is not beyond the realm of a competent amateur with a Dremel tool, the possibility of ruining an otherwise good barrel demands that this task be left to the professional.

There is one main area of the frame which must be addressed with respect to reliability. This is the feed ramp, which in most factory-fresh pistols is pretty rough, with plenty of tooling marks. The objective here is to polish the ramp until there is a very smooth surface for the chambering round to work against. Take great care not to change the angle of the ramp, and to maintain a fairly sharp edge at the upper lip of the ramp. In some cases, if the tooling marks are pretty deep, it’s not wise to try to take down the ramp until the tool marks disappear completely – just polish-flatten the marks out a bit. Keep in mind that you absolutely must have that 1/32nd of an inch gap between the frame ramp and the lower edge of the barrel. Pistols have been absolutely ruined by improper shaping and polishing of the feed ramp, and the only solution is either a new frame or inserting and welding a new feed ramp surface.

I can come up with examples and pictures. Several reputible nationally known smiths actually have rewelding feed ramp on their price list as this mistake is so common. To go online and just arbitrarily recommend someone get after a new 1911 with a dremel tool is ludicrous. Unless someone has the skills and proper tools then they need to do no more than what is possible with emory cloth or fine wet/dry sandpaper followed by some polishing compound and touch up bluing.

American Rifleman also rscommends unless experienced to let a professional do feedramp and throating work.

http://www.americanrifleman.org/mobile/article.php?id=14001

From another popular website:
There are some very specific measurements that need to be maintained when doing a ramp and throat on a 1911. If you under cut the throat on the barrel you can have blow outs in the brass and if you under cut the ramp you will have significant feeding issues that cannot be fixed. I would recommend you buy and read Jerry Kunhausen's "The Colt .45 Automatic, A Shop Manual" vol's I & II before taking a Dremel to your 1911.*With proper attention you can achieve the ability to feed empty cases from the magazine. Push it too far and you will have significant issues. At best you will need a new barrel, at worst someone will have to weld up your frame and begin again.*

Throat mods to the 1911 can be tricky. If at all possible, I'd delegate this task to an EXPERIENCED 1911 smith. I've tried it myself, and essentially ruined a beautiful series 70 Colt Gold Cup frame.A viable alternative is to have a barrel with integral feed ramp installed, but this should also be done by an experienced 1911 smith. This is how we salvaged the frame I ruined.

If your too cheap to invest in a chamfering gauge and feed ramp gauge before beginning the job because your too cheap to buy proper tools then you are not qualified to recomend home gunsmithing. The money saved doing guesswork will bite people on the @ss. Price of proper tools will pay a professional to do a one time job. If plan to own and work on multiple 1911's then buy proper tools. SAFN49, I would bet your "picture of a model job" would be out of spec if checked with a set of gauges. But from reading some of your other posts I realize arguing with you will be as productive as a debating a rock. I just want someone to think before plunging a dremel into the frame and barrel of their 1911.

While I build lots of 45's, I also send a lot out. Most due to amateur home gunsmith grinding too much metal off important parts. Both smiths I use are internationally known master gun smiths and both use proper gauges for chamfer and feed ramp work. Just eye balling work where tolerances are measured in hundredths and thousandths is why gun smiths have an up charge to work on guns whose owners tried to do it themselves first. Yes, it can be eyeballed but its a guess work job and not a professional job.

Cossack
December 01, 2014, 09:33
I appreciate both of your advice, Hueyville and SAFN. I have been and continue to be extremely leery of touching any of my guns with a dremel tool for anything other than cosmetic purposes, and I'd likely not even do that. I've buggered up too many simple and inexpensive items to trust myself applying a dremel to a gun.

hueyville
December 01, 2014, 10:57
Cossack;
I would advise almost anyone to polish their own feed ramp within parameters. Using some 400 to 500 grit wet/dry sandpaper rolled around a dowel rod of correct diameter, lightly knock the high points off any machine marks. Then hit again with some 600 to 800 grit to begin the polish phase and finish with some polishing compund of your choice. Crest toothpaste will even work. Everyone needs a small bottle of cold bluing liquid to touch up dings so once done, reblue the feedramp and your good to go.

Most current 1911's of any reasonalble quality will be adequately throated and very few will suffer from some feed ramp polishing. I see gunplumber on occassion try to post material to keep the untrained from damaging their guns unknowingly. He is usually flamed by a certain group of people. Trying to save someone from paying to have a major repair is not unreasonable.

You either know your capable of doing a job or not. A broad across the world wide web statement telling all just to dive in with a dremel tool is nutts. I actually had a guy bring me a expensive pistol built by Wilson's that was not feeding his favorite load so let a "friend" who worked on 1911's all the time ruin his frame. I sent it back to Wilson's where they welded it up and put it back exactly the way they shipped it initially.

I don't expect every pistol to feed every ammo in its caliber. Some just have a dislike for each other. If a 1911 feeds eight or nine out of ten designs of gaping hollow point ammo you try, I would recommend polish feed ramp, try again and if still an issue with one or two particular loads, just feed it what it likes. I know lots of people that can eyeball a ramp and throat job but funny thing is most check their work with a gauge to be sure they stay within specs. Just be careful with power tools.

legion489
December 05, 2014, 18:40
A while back I ordered a stainless Taurus PT1911 .38 Super w/rail from CDNN for $450 delivered. At that price I couldn't pass it up! It has not (yet) failed me in anyway (unlike the Kimber which was junk out of the box). The grips are cheasy and need replacing with Pachmayrs (always the first thing I do with any new 1911 anyway) but it feeds everything so far and looks wonderful.

If you are looking for a more common cartridge, a 9mm barrel drops right in and a .45 con kit will too (got several 9mms and .45s around so swapping parts was dead easy). While I don't know about long term or customer service (heard horror stories about Taurus CS. As a gunsmith I can tell you quite a few horror stories about companies that everyone else thinks are great however) so far I am more than impressed.

I agree, not a fan of rails, but if the wife wants one get her one if it makes her happy.

nearmisses
December 06, 2014, 21:38
I believe I saw a bolt on rail in Brownell's catalog. Drill and tap for a picatinny rail type deal. Would that work on a 1911 you already have? I have heard nothing but good about Taurus 1911 from a gun dealer I knew. Claimed it out shot many Kimber's he sold. It was his own. They make one with a rail too.

nearmisses
December 14, 2014, 01:53
Found this a few nights back, Plastic grips with the rail incorporated, cheap way to go, 49.95 or so if I recall right. At least you can take them off and sell if you don't like them!

N4KVE
December 15, 2014, 11:05
Rock Island. Great gun, & great price. GARY

ByronF
December 15, 2014, 19:48
RIA GI style here. Tactical sights are nice but one might be tempted to aim when they should be pumping lead. No need for sights except for range fun.

Mine didn't eat HP from top of mag until I installed a raised mag catch to hold it higher. Now it feeds anything. Also polished feed ramp with a dremel. Blended the inside part of mag catch because big HP left copper marks on it.

You asked for budget 1911 recommendations, received recommendations for high end pistols, and do not want to touch your pistol with a tool. Recommend buying an expensive pistol if you aren't comfortable doing a little massaging to address nuisances sometimes encountered with budget guns.

nearmisses
December 23, 2014, 21:22
I bought this Amigo a year and a half back and love the darn thing. Put some XS nite sights on it. I had to do some things to make it 100% like add a Wolfe recoil spring and newer style recoil rod and plug, an extended slide stop because I like them. I don't like extended thumb safeties or beavertail grip safeties but can live with them. If you have a DA nitestand pistol why a 1911 for similar duty? Do you have a holster mounted to the bed to secure it cocked and locked or some other method, just curious? I understand the need for a flashlight to put on but seems a stretch in the wants category. I did get a deal once on a set of Crimson Trace for my Colt Sr70 and it's available for use, seems as good a choice as many others.

Invictus77
December 23, 2014, 21:41
@ OP w/ my $.02

I don't really know why anyone would want a rail on a handgun, but I do know that "budget" and "reliable" seldom come in the same package.

Right Side Up
December 23, 2014, 21:47
I like a rail on my night time pistol with about 300-400 lumens. I like to be able to see what I'm shooting at. I don't want to shoot a neighbor's kid that drank too much and came in the wrong house.

Invictus77
December 23, 2014, 22:52
I like a rail on my night time pistol with about 300-400 lumens. I like to be able to see what I'm shooting at. I don't want to shoot a neighbor's kid that drank too much and came in the wrong house.

I disagree on several levels, but this particular discussion probably deserves it's own thread outside the OP's question on 1911s.

Right Side Up
December 24, 2014, 00:37
Since he wants to mount a light on a 1911, I think he'd probably allow it.

nearmisses
January 18, 2015, 14:51
Here's another thing to consider, I wasn't a big believer in these till recently. They make them for your Sig I believe and cheaper than buying a new weapon to replace and with the correct inside the home ammo would be a fine alternative. video included, have a gander. There's more there along side that one on the You Tube page. They do seem to work really well. Both my defensive pistols not have them. Ken Hackathorn's flashlight is a winner too, anyone know what it is? I have been looking high and low for it. Any clues?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3dB8FiaM6k

spider991
January 19, 2015, 15:51
Rock Island. Great gun, & great price. GARY


As usual Gary is spot on....my Rock Island GI 1911 is a super reliable and by that I mean it feeds every thing I have ever ran through it..speer gold dot, rem golden sabers, lead reloads by the ton...I would have no issues carrying this gun..but it needs better sights for that as I do have the GI model....but it will tear one hole all day long if I do my part so I might just but another one with the bo-mar lime sights..tactical model...best customer service in the industry. .

nearmisses
January 19, 2015, 18:58
Here's a little something to look at and see if it wouldn't replace that light rail. A better picture of the crimson trace and XS sights Nite sight.
Somehow a bigger shot is on another thread and this one would only take this size so.
http://www.falfiles.com/forums/showthread.php?t=380922 Last thread has same but bigger for some reason

Last one was in dark, looks like, with sights and laser dot on the same deer head

If you can cut the dovetail on the front then it would be easy to install similar XS sights, they work nicely.