When I was in the market for a 1911, way back 2 years ago, my favorite gunshop iron slinger didn't have a posted tutorial of what to look for when you were in the market. Apparently to do that justice you have to ride in a car with her for 12 hours traveling from the coast of North Carolina to Indiana or somesuch.
Anarchangel did, and I relied on that. There were other hints, from Tam and others.
And this past week, Tam mentioned some details on gunparts materials in relation to a new Remington 1911 offering
I knew I wanted some certain particular features. Back then. When I knew even less than today. I wanted tritium sites, and I wanted an ambidextrous safety, and I didn't want to spend $2000, or $1000 for that matter. For giggles, I wanted to lose any on board trigger locks in the mainspring housing, lose any full length guide rods, and any humps on the grip safety. Springfield had the closest thing to what I wanted that I could also find, in the Loaded.
When I pulled the trigger on the purchase (heh!) Springfield had just switched to making a lot of their stuff in Brazil, so mine was 'Hecho en...' (or the Portugese equivalent.)
I only sorta knew what MIM (sorta like cast parts, but different. it stands for metal injection molding. think of something you made out of play-doh. but special play-doh that if you stick it in the oven it comes out as solid steel. THAT is MIM. ) parts were at the time, and had no idea, really, what the implications of same, were on my 1911. I did know, from experience elsewhere, that forged can be better and more desirable, but what was there to do about that? And at a price point less than $700?
My next 1911, someday, I hope to get something in a Combat Commander size, with the same requirements/features I have in the Springer, but with known better internal parts plus the frame and slide. Forged parts.
Heck, I did swap out the slide release and bought replacement pins. I even NEEDED a replacement pin as one of the original factory pins snapped on me. Whatcha bet it was a MIM pin that broke? But I have no idea the brand of slide release, so I have no idea if it is forged or MIM. It was probably a Cylinder and Slide brand out of the Brownells catalog, so, there is hope it could be forged. And I can always get another, knowing what to look for now.
Swapping out my trigger group with KNOWN forged parts is more problematic. I don't know if I could re-assemble the pistol, and I am sure I can do no gunsmith style fiddly fitting of replacement parts. But I bet I need to if the whole MIM thing bothers me. It doesn't. Yet.
So, why don't manufacturers tell the customer about the part types on the product specs? Tam's post was in response to Remington specifically NOT mentioning it wrt their new 1911. I'll tell you why. They only refuse to mention it when it is MIM parts. Forged are more expensive, and not enough gun buyers demand it and are willing to pay the difference.
And back in the day, forged parts was the only way to make a part. There is a bit more labor and skill involved, too. Ok, in case you don't know because you only took Band class and Creative Writing and had no interest in Shop Class and how things work. A casting is when you melt metal and pour it in a mold. When it has cooled it is the shape of the mold. Like water in an ice cube tray. Forging is when a plain bit of metal is heated up to a yellow incandescent heat. Then it is placed on a anvil with a certain shape to the surface, and a great big heavy industrial mallet like thing with a certain shape to IT come down and smashes that softish hot piece of metal. This will actually align and compact the metal molecules a little bit.
Tempering steel or case hardening iron is a whole nother ball of wax. All this metallurgy junk can take up a thousand blog entries. If I knew what I was talking about. At most I have 2 more blog entries on it in my head, and some of that may be dead wrong. Tell me to pump my brakes, that I am on a slipper slope, when I say martensite out loud.
Back to gun parts...
If you insist on the quality, and want to be sure, buy a custom or half-custom gun. Like Tam says: "I'd probably buy a loaded Springer or a Colt, and add C&S lockwork and a Greider or Wilson Bulletproof slide stop and call it a day." It'll cost you a bit more, but a true custom gun has a lot more in it, what with tighter tolerances and nicer finishes. I'm talking for a 'as good as practical' USER 1911.
Sound advice, it seems to me.
It'll cost you a bit more, but a true custom gun has a lot more in it, what with tighter tolerances and nicer finishes. I'm talking for a 'as good as practical' USER 1911.
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