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Old 03-17-2011, 05:43 AM
billt460 billt460 is offline
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Default High End, Middle, And Low End 1911's ?



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This was being discussed at another forum and it turned into quite an interesting thread, so I thought I would toss it around here. A few months back I was in the market for a high end 1911. I researched all of the top brands. Les Baer, Ed Brown, Wilson Combat, and Nighthawk. As many of you know these guns are very expensive, with many models costing upward of $3,000.00.

There is a small, very well stocked gun shop near my home that I frequent quite often, and he stocks all of the high end 1911's. After examining them very closely I declined the purchase in favor of 2, very nice Springfield Armory 1911's, and a H&K USP 9, 9 MM. The cost of all three of these weapons was under the cost of one top of the line 1911 from the above manufacturers I mentioned. I like and respect high quality, but I just couldn't see it in this case. There is just too much difference in price in direct relationship to what you get.

Being a machinist for over 40 years I full well realize how quickly costs can escalate involving custom machine work and hand fitting. But at some point value has to kick in. Looking at the cost extremes of the 1911 models, you have the Rock Island Armory models selling everywhere in the $400.00 range. Moving up you have a great many models from Kimber and Springfield Armory selling anywhere from $750.00 up to $1,400.00. Going up from there you enter into the high end 1911 market where costs can rise to over $3,000.00 for the top of the line Ed Brown and Nighthawk models.

I understand that a Rock Island Armory gun is nowhere near the quality of the Ed Brown or Nighthawk, but it isn't 3K either. That is a huge difference, especially when you start thinking about what 3K will purchase in today's depressed firearms market. For example 6 Rock Island Armory guns would cost under what a single high end model would run.

Anyway, like most I work hard for my money. As I mentioned I declined the ultra high end 1911 in favor of these 3.







So far I'm happy with my choices. All run very well. Has anyone here sprung for a ultra high end 1911 pistol? If so which model did you buy, and are you satisfied with the purchase? I know we have a lot of people here who own Rock Island Armory guns and I would like to hear from them as well, as to how your gun is running, along with what if any issues you might have had. I'm just trying to establish the true value of these weapons in regard to price point. I don't think there is another model of pistol out there that runs the gamut as far as price as much as the 1911 does. Bill T.
Old 03-17-2011, 10:17 AM
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Never have, and never will !!!

The high price, as you said, just isn't justified for me personally, and the tight tolerances, while good in some instance, can also be a negative from a daily carry, shoot any ammo you can find perspective.

They're very nice guns, but you can get equal for much less, and you can take a quaity low dollar 1911, spend some time and money, and end up with the same level of tolerance and precision that a $3000 gun will give you, for much less ... You just won't have the bragging rights of a name.
This of course is assuming that you can do the work, or find a competent gunsmith, who won't charge you an arm and a leg to do the hand fitting of parts.

Also,
When you consider that most people can't shoot really tight groups off-hand ... Does it really matter that a manufacturer can build a gun that will shoot 1/2 inch groups @ 50 yards from a mechanical rest.

I think you made a smart purchasing decision.
Old 03-17-2011, 10:39 AM
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I also picked up this Kimber Stainless II a while back. It's been a very good running 1911. I think it's a toss up between Kimber and Springfield Armory. Both build really nice 1911's. Bill T.
Old 03-17-2011, 10:51 AM
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I own a Remington R1. Its a work of art, produced by one of the original 1911 manufacturers....



Paid 600 for it, runs like a champ. American made, and came with dovetailed sights, match grade barrel and bushing, all standard. Its no more or less reliable than a kimber, Wilson, or any other top end design.
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Old 03-17-2011, 10:51 AM
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Low end..
The first 1911 I bought was a Llama,... around $250.
I put a LOT of rounds down the tube. It ran 100%, was more accurate than I was at the distances I shoot at. I even threw some rounds downrange at 100 yards and did pretty well.
I was the limiting factor at that range. I should never have sold it. But I do like my Glock 30, a good replacement.

Lots of reviews on the 'net.

http://www.johnwmyers.com/column103.html

Old 03-17-2011, 11:43 AM
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I was in the market for a 1911 a few weeks back. I chose the SIG Tac Ops 1911, though I never handled the higher end firearms I am very pleased with my purchase. I did come across a used RIA last week and I'm quite tempted to pick it up.
Old 03-17-2011, 06:39 PM
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Though I have owned a few 1911's over the years, I really never got on the bandwagon until recently, and now I have 3 Wilsons and a Kimber. Having researched, handled, and shot quite a few guns before buying what I have now, I have to respectfully disagree with the poster who said "you can get equal for much less". You might get close or similar but definitely not equal.
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Old 03-17-2011, 09:32 PM
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I bought the Para O. GI Expert ESP today, with the ESP, I got Fiber front site and a lightweight match trigger with adjustable overtravel.

I am on leave tomorrow so I am headed too the range. I will report how it fires, if it lives up to the reviews then it should be a nail driver!!!
Old 03-18-2011, 10:23 AM
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I always try to buy everything at least middle of the road in quality, sometime better if it is worth it.

For 1911's I think springfield or colt is going to give you the best value.
Old 03-20-2011, 11:48 AM
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My first 1911 was a Springfield GI that I did some work to, but I still was not happy with it so I went and picked up a Springfield TRP Operator and I could not be happier. I will own a higher dollar 1911, but it will be the Springfield Professional as soon as the time comes for that to happen.
Old 03-20-2011, 12:06 PM
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For any gun, whether 1911 or anything else, what the user plans to do with it is the deciding factor. A guy that plans to shoot his 1911 at the range all the time, doesn't want to do IDPA or other competitions and doesn't want a show piece, a Rock Island will be fine. A professional shooter, needs a more accurate, higher end, customized 1911. Someone that wants to shoot a piece of art, needs the top end. I feel this way about all guns, not just 1911. Personally, the only thing I need are workhorses. All my guns get shot and while I clean them and make sure they aren't left dirty, none are high end show pieces worthy of being a cased piece or safe queen. Not saying that people who buy high end only do that, just saying that I have known plenty of people that buy em, safe em and never shoot em. My local dealer, also a friend, recently took on a collection from a widow. The husband had 19 hunting rifles that were never shot! Not all the same brand or caliber either. Why he bought them and never shot them, I will never know. I just can't understand that kind of thinking.
Old 03-21-2011, 03:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cuse View Post
Why he bought them and never shot them, I will never know. I just can't understand that kind of thinking.
This is not uncommon. The same thing exists in the collector automobile and motorcycle market. Jay Leno owns countless high end automobiles and motorcycles. Some of them are rarely, if ever driven. To do so would diminish their value, not to mention subject them to the high risk of damage through accident. Firearms are much the same to some people. A lot of people lose the physical ability to shoot many of these weapons because of health issues, but the allure of owning them remains high in their souls.

Different strokes for different folks. I shoot all of my weapons, but I'm, very careful with them. I have Trap shotguns with over 10,000 rounds through them that look as if they were just taken from the box. I'm the same way with my vehicles. My truck, for example is over 20 years old yet it looks and drives like new. I've seen 2 year old Ford pickups that look like they've been through the war. There is a big difference between use and abuse. Bill T.

Old 03-21-2011, 03:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billt460 View Post
There is a big difference between use and abuse. Bill T.

That might be true, but if you drive where they salt the roads, its impossible to keep a truck that nice!

To the OP, Kimber is nice. Very close to the high end, but not CRAZY expensive.

Springfield is a great classic, too.
Old 03-21-2011, 04:25 AM
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That might be true, but if you drive where they salt the roads, its impossible to keep a truck that nice!
Very true! I lived in and around Chicago, Illinois for 38 years. A car was simply a disposable item in that weather. You had a 90 day Summer, (June, July, and August), and half of that time it was either raining, or else threatening to. By the middle of September it would dip below freezing at night, leading you into what was basically a 9 month Winter. Rain, snow, sleet, salt, all added up to a very short life span for most any vehicle. It got to the point if you wanted a nice car there you bought 2. A nice one for the good days, (of which there were very few), and a beater for everything else.

That weather was like a bad marriage. You don't know how bad it is until you get away from it. The only thing I regret about moving to Arizona was waiting so long to do it! Bill T.
Old 03-21-2011, 11:37 AM
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Kimbers quality has gone down. One guy on another forum LOVED 1911s, and still does but he went through 4 kimbers in 3 years. Kept on getting cracked slides right at the extractor.

I am not a 45 or 1911 fan, I think they are fine, but to many people get them (like glock-heads) just because someone said they would kill better (BS) and are completely reliable (BS), but if I were to buy another 1911 style the springfield would be my choice. They seem to be value wise the best for the buck. They work pretty well, and the only known issue with them is safety lever issue. Most people switch it out just in case and call it a day. As for having to have a 45..... probably HK just for reliability sake..
Old 03-21-2011, 03:05 PM
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@billt460: I hear you on collector value, but these weren't rare or collectible firearms. If the guy had 20 years of an annual Winchester 70, I could get it. But he had Sears model 30.06, a Wingmaster and old Mossy single shot. It wasn't anything rare or collectible, just a bunch of hunting caliber rifles, with decent glass on them, never used.
Old 03-21-2011, 04:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cuse View Post
@billt460: I hear you on collector value, but these weren't rare or collectible firearms. If the guy had 20 years of an annual Winchester 70, I could get it. But he had Sears model 30.06, a Wingmaster and old Mossy single shot. It wasn't anything rare or collectible, just a bunch of hunting caliber rifles, with decent glass on them, never used.
What is valuable to you may be junk to the next guy.

My most prized firearm isn't my .338 Lapua Magnum rifle or my Sig 226 or my Sako 85 Hunter in 7mm Rem Mag ...

My most prized gun is a New England Firearms single-shot 20ga shotgun. You can pick one up new for about $110.00. This one, however, was given to me by my late grandfather; it is the same shotgun he used to bring home hundreds of pheasants ... he also taught me to dress those same pheasants.

Rarity or monetary value are not the only things that make firearms valuable.
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Old 03-21-2011, 08:52 PM
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I enjoyed this thread. I'm a 1911 fan and enjoy this gun from the cheap basic models to the upper end. Mostly I enjoy looking at the upper end.

Before I bought my Kimber Custom II (my first 1911) I borrowed and shot a friends Springfiled GI model. I loved the gun but the sights were hell to use. Now I'm thinking one of my next few guns will be a GI Springfield or a RIA. Funny, right.

Though I want a Desert Warrior I'm not likely to buy one soon and will probably pick up a less expensive model first. The 1911 market is wide open with quality makes of all prices. I think it's pretty cool that most makes perform well (for the most part) and even though some of us own more expensive models we still pitch woo at the cheaper ones.

I guess I've kinda considered myself a Kimber man in the past due to my experience with the one I have. My Kimmey has a ton of rounds through her without one missfunction in 5 years and that's with the hated external extractor. Despite that I cannot ignore the Springfield quality. SA makes some pretty interesting 1911 handguns of more than adequate quality.

On Kimbers problems, I think Kimber has had some problems. A great many do not care for the MIM parts but I don't think this is the problem so much as the challenge of keeping quality control high with incredible growth. I think it's time for Kimber to slow down or take a bigger look at what is going out the door. The Kimber is far too fine a pistol to fall into a bad name.
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Old 03-22-2011, 05:56 AM
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Quote:
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A great many do not care for the MIM parts but I don't think this is the problem
I have to agree on this whole MIM parts thing. It is not the kiss of death just because a firearm contains MIM parts. I used to hear the same crap about Ruger Investment Cast receivers. They are as strong, or stronger than anyone's. This is a well proven fact in the firearms industry. The Ruger #1 action is one of the strongest ever produced. MIM parts manufacturing is no different, in that if it's done properly it can and does produce very acceptable parts.

Personally, I almost bought a Remington R-1 which uses MIM parts in it's manufacture like several of the Kimber models, but went for a Springfield Loaded Model instead. It was just personal preference. But I would not hesitate to purchase a Remington 1911, and still may do so. If I do I won't be running out and replacing parts as soon as I get it. The Remington 870 Express Model shotgun has used MIM parts in it's manufacture for years. It is one of the most popular models used in 3-Gun Matches across the country every weekend. These guns are run hard, and how many do you see fail on the course costing their owners matches? Very few.

People on the Internet take these things and run with them. Be it MIM parts, "Mil-Spec" AR-15's, 1 in 7" twist barrels, Mag-Pul P-Mags, and everything else. It's either mall ninja approved, or else it's crap. Most all of it based on nonsense or hearsay, rather than fact that can be backed up with any legitimate documentation. Bill T.
Old 03-22-2011, 09:56 PM
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