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Old 09-03-2011, 23:48   #1
cole
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Join Date: Dec 1999
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American Tactical M1911 Military

FYI: See sight issue in Range Report 3 & 4. See Range Report 6 for modifications.

Just picked this up new and I must say this is a very well put together production level, value 1911. Fitment of parts is MUCH higher than price point (and better than MANY other like-priced AND more expensive production 1911s I've owned and seen) and the gun feels very tight, smooth, crisp and solid overall. Some sharp edges, but nothing that can't be corrected easily. Time and rounds downrange will speak best to the actual quality of the parts and steel used (i.e. durability), but based on inspection and handling - at the $450 price point - IMO this is a hard 1911 to beat. I went with the "retro" Military model for the nostalgia (it's the 100 year anniversary afterall) and plain, old-fashioned function over form.

Update: Range report follows pics.

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Range Report 1:
Put 180 rounds downrange (230gr .452" LRN: 140x 4.5gr BE with LPPM primer at 1.150" and 40x 3.8gr BE with LPPM primer at 1.135", all with mixed brass). Used only the supplied ACT mag. (Note: ACT mags are not my favorites and I've had issues with them before.) FTRB in the second mag (round got in front of extractor) and FTE on the 6th (?) mag (last round jammed upon ejection in the port destoying the brass). All failures were with the 4.5gr loads which have proven too hot for my liking. No more issues after first 50rds, and no issues with the 3.8gr load. Round cycling (e.g. feeding) seemed a bit rough at first and smoothed up with rounds downrange. The 3.8gr loads were very nice and reminded me of 5" 1911 bliss. Solid, centered primer hits. Slight dinging of brass upon ejection from non-lowered port. Somewhat erratic ejection at times, but mostly a consistent spread of ejected brass (reminder these are mixed brass with variations in times reloaded and varying conditions of case rim quality). Sights are functional and shoots to POA. I did get some moderate hammer bite with the 4.5gr loads, and/or some rubbing raw from the sharp edges of the grip safety. Somewhat par for the course with this style 1911 grip safety tang with my hand shape. However, these 4.5gr BE loads (though they more-or-less match my Gold Dot loads) are too stout for plinking fun IMO (same in my G30 and Kimber 4"). After I run through the last 400 I'll run the 3.8gr or similar for range fun. Still, I took a stone to many of the sharp edges on my return home. I'm going to run ~500rds before disassembly and cleaning. So far, I really like this $450 retro 1911. I will keep this post updated.

Range Report 2:
100 more rounds downrange. One more round got ahead of the extractor causing a failure. I'll give this ACT mag until 500 rounds before dumping it. Overall, I can tell the gun has smoothed out. As a bonus, this gun has the USGI cut port but does not ding brass (something we reloaders appreciate). The smoothing of the edges via the stone helped quite a bit. I decided to clean the gun fully after removing the extractor to check tension. The tension was good and does not appear to be causing any issues. Replaced the FP spring with a spare Wolff XP spring. If anything, IMO the springs on this gun may be subpar, but that's easily and cheaply fixed. I remain pleased with the value of this retro 1911.

Range Report 3:
100 more rounds. Ran my Kimber Tac mag this tims w/ out issues. Shoots 230gr LRN about 6" high at 25 yards (this was the first time I went out past 7 yards). My gun has the wrong (shorter) USGI front sight when paired with the taller rear sight. (It was one of those "duh" (i.e. because I missed it before) moments when I noticed it.) I called ATI and they will send the correct sight set when it comes in (ETA unknown). Not a huge deal and I can fix it myself w/out ATI (via taller front sight or the correct shorter USGI rear), but annoying. DO NOT buy the M1911 Military with the shorter, rounded USGI front sight (see my image above) paired with the taller rear sight and expect POA = POI vertically w/ 230gr ball at 25 yards. It appears the issue has since been corrected on newer guns (though you could find a new old stock like mine apparently is) as the current/new model image(s) show on most websites shows the correct taller, non-rounded front sight.

Range Report 4:
150 more rounds. 2 FTF. Same issue as before: round getting in front of extractor. And, same ACT mag. Might be time to try another mag. Gun still shoots 6" high at 70', and I confirmed it shoots 5" left. I drifted the rear sight at the range with a sight pusher. That sucker was TIGHT! Getting home I looked more closely at the rear sight and it's too tall (as noted earlier) AND the sight notch itself is not centered. I mic'd it and there is a 0.01" difference when measured from the sides that seems to match the distance I needed to drift the rear sight right. So, I opened up the notch to balance the measurement and will see if I need to recenter in the dovetail. And, while I was at it I started to file the rear sight down to bring POI down. I'll just slowly go that route to get POI to equal POA with 230gr loads. Once set I'll cold blue or paint that bugger to touch it up.

Range Report 5:
180 rounds. 2 FTF. Same ACT mag. I filed down the rear sight and POA = POI now out to 25 yards. Got it right first time out using the math method to determine how much to take off. I also was able to recenter the sight once I evened out and opened up the notch as noted above. All set now. I think more and more the springs are crap in this gun. Wolff may be swapped throughout soon. I still think this is a nice, value, retro,USGI 1911 as long as the price is under $450 OTD new.

Range Report 6:
130 rounds. First time out with a new ("used") Detonics hammer ($10), rear sight ($5) and grips ($15). As noted in earlier range reports the rear sight was mismatched (from the factory) with the front sight height, and generally screwed up alltogether, and the wide spur hammer was biting my hand. I decided to fix both. THE REAR SIGHT DOVETAIL IS NOT MILSPEC (it's too big). So, I had to settle for the only sight I could find in the parts bin (at the gun show) that fit (I tried over 20 kinds), but it was not a USGI type. Annoying, but I did at least find one type, and only one, oversized rear sight that was a tight fit. Gun ran perfect (130rds) with replaced hammer and rear sight was spot on. Also put a spare/used Nighthawk follower & spring in the ACT mag which ran w/out issue. And, the grips look much better. IMO a definate improvement.
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Range Report 7:
Another 80 rounds in the recent configuration. All rounds fed and fired. No hammer bite. The firing pin stuck forward at the end of the session (dry fire to drop hammer). Wax and gunk build up from my reloads was the issue (last time I removed the FP was Session 2). Non-issue with firing a chambered round as FP rebounds off primer. Removing pin and taking a brass brush to it resoved the issue, plus some cleaner down the FP channel and hole. Slide to frame fit has loosened up some. A bit of a rattle to the gun now, like many fired USGI 1911s of old. Non-issue to me (as a retro USGI 1911 replica), but others may not like this. Still patterns well at 20yrds.

Range Report 8:
100 rounds. No issues.
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Last edited by cole; 12-14-2011 at 00:22..
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