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View Full Version : 1911 .45 - SA Loaded vs RIA range review


dbbspider
02-26-2012, 5:24 PM
I had some time today so I decided to do a comparison of these two Gov't 1911s that I own. Both are over 2 years old. I lost the round count but well over 500 ea, probably over 1000. The SA Loaded is all stock, no upgrades, no modifications. The RIA, i switched out the stock trigger with a Cylinder & Slide lightweight Videcki drop in, no fitting required. No other upgrades that affects the shot. Oh I polished both feed ramps. I shake both pistols and no rattles at all.

http://i378.photobucket.com/albums/oo224/dbbspider/IMG_0087.jpg
http://i378.photobucket.com/albums/oo224/dbbspider/IMG_0086.jpg
http://i378.photobucket.com/albums/oo224/dbbspider/IMG_0104.jpg
http://i378.photobucket.com/albums/oo224/dbbspider/IMG_0106.jpg

dbbspider
02-26-2012, 5:25 PM
The SA Loaded has adjustable sights, RIA has fixed. They both feel the same in hand and I cant tell the difference in weight.

SA on the left
http://i378.photobucket.com/albums/oo224/dbbspider/IMG_0101.jpg
http://i378.photobucket.com/albums/oo224/dbbspider/IMG_0100.jpg
http://i378.photobucket.com/albums/oo224/dbbspider/IMG_0097.jpg
http://i378.photobucket.com/albums/oo224/dbbspider/IMG_0095.jpg

dbbspider
02-26-2012, 5:25 PM
I went to the indoor range and shot 5 rounds from the SA loaded, then shot 5 rounds from the RIA at 10 yards. I used new WWB, 230gr, rnd. The triger pull is better (lighter) on the RIA (most likely because of the upgraded trigger)Here are the results.
http://i378.photobucket.com/albums/oo224/dbbspider/IMG_0094.jpg
http://i378.photobucket.com/albums/oo224/dbbspider/IMG_0093.jpg

I then shot approx 100 rounds of my own reloads (230 gn rnd) from each pistol with no hiccups, no problems.

The SA Loaded cost over $1000 new
The RIA in SS cost over $550 new

My conclusion...both function with zero problems, both are accurate, both look good, both are good fitting, one cost almost twice as much as the other.

BoJackUSMC
02-26-2012, 5:28 PM
Nice shooting, I love my Springfield Armory 1911 9mm. I am planning to buy 45ACP down the road.

Press Check
02-26-2012, 5:57 PM
My conclusion...both function with zero problems, both are accurate, both look good, both are good fitting, one cost almost twice as much as the other.

Glad that both pistols are running, and that's what's important. However, the bulk of the price differential is based on the fit and finish. A prime example would be the first picture you posted. The fitment of the RIA grip safety is far beyond terrible compared to the grip safety on the Loaded. Also, if parts are simply dropping into your pistol and don't require fitment, your pistol was probably assembled with loose tolerances.

Bakerloo
02-26-2012, 6:06 PM
The RIA grip safety looks like Stevie Wonder installed it.

jeffrice6
02-26-2012, 6:16 PM
Is the RIA a Tac, or a worked over standard?

Press Check
02-26-2012, 6:31 PM
Add the lowered and flared ejection port on the Springfield to the price differential.

walmart_ar15
02-26-2012, 6:36 PM
OP, is that a stock BT on the RIA? It looks like an aftermarket upgrade

c3 rolling
02-26-2012, 6:53 PM
The RIA grip safety looks like Stevie Wonder installed it.

Lol, they did a good job fitting the extractor flush on the rear though.

Add the lowered and flared ejection port on the Springfield to the price differential.

Better sights, front cocking serrations, Videki trigger, more complex finish, superior warranty, and American labor costs.


To the OP, does your loaded shoot really low? The rear sight is pretty jacked up high.

wash
02-26-2012, 6:56 PM
Just looking at the beavertail, front sight installation and the rear sight (including the slide cut), you can tell where that extra money went.

I guess some people like prime rib and some people like hamburger.

dbbspider
02-26-2012, 6:57 PM
The RIA is a Tac not standard. It had blued slide stop, ambi safety, MSH, grip safety and trigger. I wanted all stainless so I replaced all of the above with stainless parts. I know the Wilson Combat drop in BT looks like $h-t, but its temporary. I am having the stock one chromed to match the SS and it'll fit stock. So the stock BT on the RIA fits perfect and is up there with the fit and finish of the SA Loaded. I will see if I have a pic of the RIA with the stock parts so you guys can see the finish. Standby

SilverTauron
02-26-2012, 7:13 PM
The price of a handgun at retail suggests nothing about how much it cost to build or the workmanship thereof.1911s are a hot commodity right now, thus companies sell them for a relatively high price compared to Glocks and polymer frame weapons. "Build Quality" is better translated to asethetics. There is nothing wrong with saying the $1000 weapon looks better to one's eyes than the $500 gun, but do not attempt to establish a functional difference when there is none. Were we to show both pistols to an average California citizen they'd probably think the guns were identical.

As for reference, most Springfield Armory 1911 pistols are built by IMBEL in Brazil and imported by SA for final assembly.Their custom and high end 1911s such as the TRP are made in the USA.

c3 rolling
02-26-2012, 7:25 PM
The price of a handgun at retail suggests nothing about how much it cost to build or the workmanship thereof.1911s are a hot commodity right now, thus companies sell them for a relatively high price compared to Glocks and polymer frame weapons. "Build Quality" is better translated to asethetics. There is nothing wrong with saying the $1000 weapon looks better to one's eyes than the $500 gun, but do not attempt to establish a functional difference when there is none. Were we to show both pistols to an average California citizen they'd probably think the guns were identical.

As for reference, most Springfield Armory 1911 pistols are built by IMBEL in Brazil and imported by SA for final assembly.Their custom and high end 1911s such as the TRP are made in the USA.

1911's require hand fitting unlike polymer pistols. Profits are larger with cookie cutter pistols.

No SA 1911 is 100% made in the U.S. IMO I would take a Brazilian firearm over a Phillipino one any day.

dbbspider
02-26-2012, 7:28 PM
OK, I did not have any pics of the RIA when it was stock so I put the old blued parts back on so u can see the fit. Check it out.

http://i378.photobucket.com/albums/oo224/dbbspider/IMG_0107.jpg
http://i378.photobucket.com/albums/oo224/dbbspider/IMG_0111.jpg
http://i378.photobucket.com/albums/oo224/dbbspider/IMG_0109.jpg
http://i378.photobucket.com/albums/oo224/dbbspider/IMG_0108.jpg

donger
02-26-2012, 7:43 PM
The RIA grip safety looks like Stevie Wonder installed it.

LOL.:cool:

WWDHD?
02-26-2012, 7:50 PM
Great pics. I'm new to the 1911 game and own a RIA tac. One difference I see is how the front sight is fitted and blended a lot nicer on the Springfield.
The RIA's are not bad guns. They are decent quality entry-level guns in a market that can get really expensive for for people like me that don't really know this platform well yet. I like my RIA so far and hope to upgrade to a SA Loaded (or maybe a real Colt) someday down the line.

Press Check
02-26-2012, 7:55 PM
OK, I did not have any pics of the RIA when it was stock so I put the old blued parts back on so u can see the fit. Check it out.

Not entirely sure what to make of those shots, but with all due respect, the pistol looks like it was assembled from a spare parts box. Based on the overall cost, they are in fact nice pistols, and apparently, as evidenced by the endless reviews, run very well out of the box, but the fit and finish simply cannot be compared to Springfield or likewise manufacturers.

Nynvolt
02-26-2012, 7:58 PM
Thanks for the compare review. I'm not into 1911's but if I were to buy one I'd go with a RISK. The pictures show the $500+ price difference really isn't all that justified to me. I can see people wanting a high end gun if they are real fans but for am everyday range gun, RIA seem to produce a decent product for the money.

dbbspider
02-26-2012, 8:21 PM
I like them both equally and are keepers. Im more careful with the SA always making sure not scratch or ding it up (I do have the idiot scratch on it :facepalm:). The SA has never been holstered and i probably wont in the future. The RIA is a shooter out the box and I wont really care if its banged up a bit because the price. Im not saying one is better than the other. One is definatley more expensive. But if I threw in a +$1800 1911 in this review, we would see better fit/finish/material, etc on that pistol vs the SA loaded. If the the RIA cost +$1000, then hands down the SA loaded.

LovingTheYear1911
02-26-2012, 8:21 PM
I'd take that RIA any day over the Springfield. I would never pay that much for a gun made in Brazil. It's like paying that much for something made in Mexico. No offense.

hkfooey
02-26-2012, 8:27 PM
Thanks for sharing.

I agree with most - the RIA is a good deal and the extra $500 (compare to SA) can do a lot of custom upgrade/replacement of parts.

Just my 2 cents. :)

wash
02-26-2012, 8:33 PM
A lot of people miss the true beauty of the 1911 platform. It was the first really reliable semi-automatic handgun chambered in a real man stopping round. Way less complex and bulky than the broomhandle Mausers and with no real weaknesses.

The way it did that was through superior design and superior construction. The RIA kind of has the design side but the materials aren't there. The M1911 ordnance spec includes things like a forged frame that an RIA just doesn't have.

Do not pretend that a gun with a cast frame and MIM small parts is anything like a real 1911.

It's a question mark.

Will it wear out?

Will it break?

Will anyone want to buy one that is used?

Answering those questions is what you are paying for when you buy a quality 1911 like that Springfield.

dbbspider
02-26-2012, 8:34 PM
IMO, the only reason to change parts on the RIA is for cosmetic reasons as it shoots just as accurate as the SA Loaded.

c3 rolling
02-26-2012, 8:46 PM
I'd take that RIA any day over the Springfield. I would never pay that much for a gun made in Brazil. It's like paying that much for something made in Mexico. No offense.

Brazil has an extensive firearm manufacturing/metal forging experience. Brazilians speak Portuguese, look different, different culture, amazing martial arts, etc. Not a very close comparison.

WWDHD?
02-26-2012, 8:52 PM
After reading hundreds of posts about the RIA pistol when I was shopping for one it seems like the only people who don't like them don't own one. But after trying one out or purchasing one they more times than not admit they're a pretty good value for the money.

Sac-AR15
02-26-2012, 9:05 PM
I enjoy shooting all of my SA 1911's. Would never ever trade them for any RIA. Although the RIA are decent quality pistols.

wash
02-26-2012, 9:30 PM
I have a Filipino "1911", a Charles Daly made by KBI I think.

Compared to a real 1911, it's a pile of...

I'm the man that owns one.

I just made a real upgrade by buying a Chinese 1911 (Norinco).

Mickey D
02-26-2012, 9:47 PM
I was going to say, those pics of the RIA at the beginning of this thread are not of a stock RIA gun.

The grip safety and ambi safety and slide lock have been changed along with the OP's claimed trigger swap.

Here is my RIA, stock other than the grips.
Fit and finish are great for a <$500 pistol.

http://i172.photobucket.com/albums/w22/MickeyD1/RIALH.jpg

http://i172.photobucket.com/albums/w22/MickeyD1/RIAGS.jpg

http://i172.photobucket.com/albums/w22/MickeyD1/RIARH.jpg

wamphyri13
02-26-2012, 11:27 PM
The RIA kind of has the design side but the materials aren't there. The M1911 ordnance spec includes things like a forged frame that an RIA just doesn't have.

Do not pretend that a gun with a cast frame and MIM small parts is anything like a real 1911.

It's a question mark.

Will it wear out?

Will it break?

Will anyone want to buy one that is used?

Answering those questions is what you are paying for when you buy a quality 1911 like that Springfield.

So according to this logic, my 2005 DW Cbob is not a real 1911? Thank you so much for opening my eyes! How do I get rid of that phony, flawless, and extremely accurate poser gun I have? And I spent $860 for it, too. I feel like such a loser. Boy was I duped. :rolleyes:

I dare you to say that to my DW's face. It won't do anything about it because it's an inanimate object, nor will I because everyone is entitled to their own opinion, as narrow minded as it is. I'll take the Springfield, N serialed or NM serialed. I'll take the RIA too. I'll take most major manufacturers 1911s. In fact, I already have. Cast or forged, Brazil or US. If it's made with some quality and priced accordingly, I'll buy it.

But that's just me.
Ryan

MA2
02-27-2012, 1:54 AM
RIA's tactical comes with a checkered polymer main spring housing now (if anyone cares).
Well, they are what they are, great project guns :p

Low-Pressure
02-27-2012, 3:21 AM
I have a friend who was telling me, why would I even consider buying a 1911 made in the Philippines. Well, I still bought the RIA Tactical, I am extremely happy with it. I've shot my friends Kimber, Para-Ordinance, Springfield and Colt. As far as I can tell they all shoot the same. My 1911 might not have the same fit and finish as their guns, but the papaer target doesn't know that. :D

Ventura_Yak'r
02-27-2012, 8:05 AM
Love my Springfield 1911's. But at a VERY reasonable price point, I love my RIA too! Nice report!

dbbspider
02-27-2012, 8:36 AM
Love my Springfield 1911's. But at a VERY reasonable price point, I love my RIA too! Nice report!

Thanks. When I have time, I will do range reviews on my other guns. Stay tuned :)

Moto4Fun
02-27-2012, 10:13 AM
A lot of people miss the true beauty of the 1911 platform. It was the first really reliable semi-automatic handgun chambered in a real man stopping round. Way less complex and bulky than the broomhandle Mausers and with no real weaknesses.

The way it did that was through superior design and superior construction. The RIA kind of has the design side but the materials aren't there. The M1911 ordnance spec includes things like a forged frame that an RIA just doesn't have.

Do not pretend that a gun with a cast frame and MIM small parts is anything like a real 1911.

It's a question mark.

Will it wear out?

Will it break?

Will anyone want to buy one that is used?

Answering those questions is what you are paying for when you buy a quality 1911 like that Springfield.


Are you implying that the Springfield has a forged frame and no MIM parts? I wasn't under that impression, but if it is true, then that would lift the value of the Springfield.

It has been said many times yet will be debated for years to come, MIM parts are just fine. They help us not have to pay $2000 for hand made or CNC machined parts.

c3 rolling
02-27-2012, 10:22 AM
Are you implying that the Springfield has a forged frame and no MIM parts? I wasn't under that impression, but if it is true, then that would lift the value of the Springfield.

It has been said many times yet will be debated for years to come, MIM parts are just fine. They help us not have to pay $2000 for hand made or CNC machined parts.

SA frame/slide are forged but does contain MIM parts.

chickenfried
02-27-2012, 10:28 AM
nice review. How about testing them a little farther out, next range trip?

dbbspider
02-27-2012, 11:17 AM
SA frame/slide are forged but does contain MIM parts.

I verified and agree with this statement. Nothing wrong with MIM parts

AeroEngi
02-27-2012, 11:18 AM
Are you implying that the Springfield has a forged frame and no MIM parts? I wasn't under that impression, but if it is true, then that would lift the value of the Springfield.

It has been said many times yet will be debated for years to come, MIM parts are just fine. They help us not have to pay $2000 for hand made or CNC machined parts.

All Springfield 1911's have forged frames, not cast. However, they do have MIM small parts though.

dbbspider
02-27-2012, 11:20 AM
nice review. How about testing them a little farther out, next range trip?

I will test it further. I think the range goes out 20-25 yards. Stay tuned

civilsnake
02-27-2012, 1:56 PM
My experience with SA 1911s has been just as hit n miss as my experience with RIAs. The main difference is that the extremes are closer together for Springers. Every SA I've handled has ranged from "not very good" to "pretty nice", while the RIAs tend to run "bad" to "great". SAs seem to only get good after you cross the $1k threshold, and even then mistakes may need correcting. RIAs need to be handled and inspected before purchase to avoid headaches.

My honest opinion is that the value just isn't there with SA. I had an MCO that had to go back multiple times for several issues, requiring a new slide and then reliability work. My buddy's milspec had to go back because the thumb safety was terrible. I've fired Loaded models that just didn't look well put together and dug into my hand because the grip safety was not well-fitted. I've inspected numerous examples at shops and only found a few that I would consider purchasing just based on visual inspection.

So I went into Turners one wednesday and bought a RIA GI for <$400, cast frame and all. Parkerizing kinda sucks, and the channel for the recoil spring plug wasn't machined properly so the plug was a pain to deal with until I filed it down a bit. But other than that, the thing is a shooter. The trigger was already better than most standard Colts I've handled, but I took the stones to it and cleaned it up even more. Gotta admit, I'm pretty happy with it. I've fed it ball and several JHPs with no problems. I think of it as my handheld AK. Or my skinny Ruger P90 lol. My experiences with the Tactical have not been as good, though. Improperly cut dovetails, bad ambi safeties. But there must be some good examples out there, too.

rumblebee
02-27-2012, 2:19 PM
He said Stevie Wonder :laugh::laugh:

The RIA grip safety looks like Stevie Wonder installed it.

therza2071
02-27-2012, 2:24 PM
Lots of hostility toward the RIA's.

I love mine to death.

Fishslayer
02-27-2012, 2:52 PM
Lots of hostility toward the RIA's.

I love mine to death.

Haters gotta hate. It just really disturbs some people's universe to think somebody could possibly have a preference for something besides what they have.
:shrug:

dbbspider
02-27-2012, 3:10 PM
I had a SA loaded in 9mm that had feeding problems even after I sent it back to SA for warranty work. I sold it. I have another parkerized RIA tac .45 and it shoots very accurate with zero problems and the fit is just fine. I will do a range review on that one as well for all. I have a SA Loaded ultra compact that I shot once and it had one round feeding hiccupp (maybe due to the ammo) but ran fine the rest of the box. I will also do a range review for that as well. I bought a RIA in 38 super, replaced the barrel with a 9mm, replaced the recoil spring and extractor and it shot accurately with no hiccups for <$500 inlcuding 9mm parts. I sold it only to fund another purchase otherwise I would have kept it.
Dont think when buying a new SA, it'll be perfect out the box. Lucky for me, my .45 was but the 9mm wasnt. Same with the RIA, I was lucky. Spend your money on what u want. I wanted both so I got both with no regrets. Would I do it again? Not only yah, but hell yah.

c3 rolling
02-27-2012, 3:22 PM
I had a SA loaded in 9mm that had feeding problems even after I sent it back to SA for warranty work. I sold it.


Hopefully not on Calguns :facepalm:

therza2071
02-27-2012, 3:23 PM
Haters gotta hate. It just really disturbs some people's universe to think somebody could possibly have a preference for something besides what they have.
:shrug:

That must be it.

I don't remember anybody from Armscor or RIA ever claiming that these guns were supposed to be period correct replicas, or that they were supposed to be high quality Colt competitors.

They must have said something along those lines, though, since everybody's trousers are in a bunch about them. :rolleyes:

It mist just be hard to accept the fact that these ugly, cheap 1911's can hang with a lot of the semi-custom guns out there, and they cost under 5 bills.

dbbspider
02-27-2012, 3:32 PM
Hopefully not on Calguns :facepalm:

I told the buyer that it has been sent back to SA for warranty work, so I disclosed the info and SA has record of it. He checked out the gun and still wanted it. He lives in the same city as me and I never heard from the guy since. Perhaps he fixed the issues.

mikaarce
02-27-2012, 3:51 PM
Did we forget, no matter what we have, The end result is the proficiency of the shooter.

Nice review OP, now for further testing.

Lead Waster
02-27-2012, 3:56 PM
1911's require hand fitting unlike polymer pistols. Profits are larger with cookie cutter pistols.

No SA 1911 is 100% made in the U.S. IMO I would take a Brazilian firearm over a Phillipino one any day.

You know that the Philipines was once part of the US, right? So if you are to buy a gun made from somewhere else, the Philipines is as close to American as you can get without being American.

Lead Waster
02-27-2012, 4:05 PM
The proof is in the pudding. I would LOVE to be able to group as well as the OP.

Both groups are nice. Given the performance, either gun will do, I don't care about aesthetics for a gun if it shoots well.

Now, if you were to offer me either gun, for free, I would pick the Springfield, since they both shoot the same, but the SA is prettier. If I you offered me the Springfield for free OR the RIA AND $500, I'd take the RIA and $500.

1911 Snobbery will always be around.

cortayack
02-27-2012, 4:10 PM
You know that the Philipines was once part of the US, right? So if you are to buy a gun made from somewhere else, the Philipines is as close to American as you can get without being American.

I believe the original company was American in the Philippines. I own two RIA 1911's, one GI and the other Tac....Both have been great shooters, especially the Tac.... All my reloads shoot in them and all my mags work with them.....(GI needed to be broken in first) Friend at work has a SA loaded, even tho it shoots great, he's having alot of problems with mags and stoppages...

I still might pickup TRP in the future....But there's nothing wrong with RIA 1911...

Lead Waster
02-27-2012, 4:28 PM
^^ TRP = fantastic gun!

Fishslayer
02-27-2012, 7:34 PM
You know that the Philipines was once part of the US, right? So if you are to buy a gun made from somewhere else, the Philipines is as close to American as you can get without being American.

There are some absolutely outstanding craftsmen in the P.I. Whether wood carving, metalworking, whathaveya. The fit & finish on my RIA is satisfactory for my use. If I wanted a thing of beauty I can assure you it would be a Dan Wesson, not a SA. Though the RIA stainless I've seen are not dogs by any means...

wash
02-27-2012, 10:22 PM
Are you implying that the Springfield has a forged frame and no MIM parts? I wasn't under that impression, but if it is true, then that would lift the value of the Springfield.

It has been said many times yet will be debated for years to come, MIM parts are just fine. They help us not have to pay $2000 for hand made or CNC machined parts.
A Springfield might have MIM parts, I don't know.

My point is that MIM isn't in the ordnance spec.

When you are trying to buy quality, you have to start with quality materials.

A beautifully fitted pot metal gun is still a piece of junk. MIM and investment cast steel are better than pot metal but they still are not up to ordnance spec.

I think it's perfectly reasonable to buy a gun with MIM parts in it and upgrade later if you want to increase the quality and value. What is not reasonable is buying a poorly cast frame 1911 and expecting it to hold value next to a Colt or something else built to ordnance spec. (or better).

An investment cast 1911 is like a double wide trailer home. It kind of looks like a house but it's really ~disposable.

The Springfield has a decent foundation and they got a lot more of the details right.

Buying an RIA is false economy.

therza2071
02-28-2012, 1:30 AM
A Springfield might have MIM parts, I don't know.

My point is that MIM isn't in the ordnance spec.

When you are trying to buy quality, you have to start with quality materials.

A beautifully fitted pot metal gun is still a piece of junk. MIM and investment cast steel are better than pot metal but they still are not up to ordnance spec.

I think it's perfectly reasonable to buy a gun with MIM parts in it and upgrade later if you want to increase the quality and value. What is not reasonable is buying a poorly cast frame 1911 and expecting it to hold value next to a Colt or something else built to ordnance spec. (or better).

An investment cast 1911 is like a double wide trailer home. It kind of looks like a house but it's really ~disposable.

The Springfield has a decent foundation and they got a lot more of the details right.

Buying an RIA is false economy.

:rolleyes:

bug_eyedmonster
02-28-2012, 3:47 AM
^^ TRP = fantastic gun!

I've never held let alone shot a RIA, but like many, I've read decent reviews on them. I have several Springfields, a Kimber or two, and a few custom 1911s. I can honestly say, some of the stuff being thrown around in this thread makes absolutely no sense. For example, someone used the polymer MSH as a sign of poor quality, when Kimber uses one on the CDP line to save weight. My loaded in 9mm was HORRIBLE out of the box, and needed a significant amount of work by a gunsmith to run correctly. One of my TRPs with a full dust cover came from the factory with the firing pin stop dragging on the frame. I had to file it down to get the slide to release properly. I've had a Kimber come with missing parts from the factory. Nowadays, every manufacturer has the potential to have problems or make mistakes. It comes down to how those companies take care of them that justifies costs.

The only 1911s I've never had problems with were custom/hand built guns. You want an asthetically pleasing, well shooting pistol that you can beat the hell out of? That's what I would recommend. You want a beat around gun to bring to the range, buy what you want, but there's no such thing as a perfect 1911. Sure, you might have one that's working NOW, but after a few thousand rounds, some kind of problem will surface. The TRP I shot for limited 10 in USPSA had to be worked over by Springfield for problems with the finish, and then worked over by a local gunsmith, and after 57,000 rounds after, needed to be redone again. After a few more rounds, I plan to have it rebuilt AGAIN. My humble opinion on guns in general is simple, they are tools that were designed to be used. Like any other tool, if you use them, they might break or wear down. Buy a cardboard box cutter, the blade dulls or breaks, toss it and buy a new one. Buy a fancy knife, use it, and you will need to sharpen it. Regardless of what you buy, if you don't use it, nothing breaks.


Jerry

bug_eyedmonster
02-28-2012, 3:55 AM
A Springfield might have MIM parts, I don't know.

My point is that MIM isn't in the ordnance spec.

When you are trying to buy quality, you have to start with quality materials.

A beautifully fitted pot metal gun is still a piece of junk. MIM and investment cast steel are better than pot metal but they still are not up to ordnance spec.

I think it's perfectly reasonable to buy a gun with MIM parts in it and upgrade later if you want to increase the quality and value. What is not reasonable is buying a poorly cast frame 1911 and expecting it to hold value next to a Colt or something else built to ordnance spec. (or better).

An investment cast 1911 is like a double wide trailer home. It kind of looks like a house but it's really ~disposable.

The Springfield has a decent foundation and they got a lot more of the details right.

Buying an RIA is false economy.

I slightly agree with you on certain points. I bought a franken-1911 made with a Springfield slide and Essex frame. I bought this gun as a carry piece for when I go fishing. I've fallen into water, slipped on rocks, and had dirt/sand cover it. I would never do this with a fancier gun and WANT some slop because of this. I would also consider this 1911 a disposable gun, it was a low cost gun, and I just need it to go bang, I'm not worried about shooting through the same hole at 25 yards.

Some of my builds were built on STI frames, Caspian frames, and even Foster frames. Not to say that the Foster is considered a POS pop metal frame, but it's not considered as high in quality because they are deemed flawed from Caspian, but I've got one with a very high end 1911 builder as we speak. Does the name Foster make it worth any less? Not to me. If I tried to sell it (not that it would ever happen) would I get less money because the frame says Foster? Most likely not... =)

Jerry

chim-chim7
02-28-2012, 4:18 AM
5 shots from each weapon at 10 yards? It's a 1911, standard is 25 yards. Did you eliminate the human error?

civilsnake
02-28-2012, 8:48 AM
An investment cast 1911 is like a double wide trailer home. It kind of looks like a house but it's really ~disposable.

Buying an RIA is false economy.

sigh...

Caspian? Dan Wesson? Bueller?

Almighty Colt makes Al framed guns that will call it quits long before the RIA frame disintegrates.

A gun that costs 70% as much but offers 80% finish and 95% function: how is that false economy?

Moto4Fun
02-28-2012, 10:37 AM
A Springfield might have MIM parts, I don't know.

My point is that MIM isn't in the ordnance spec.

I thought your point was that Springfield was forged and didn't use MIM parts which contradicted what I thought. We were both 1/2 wrong on that account! But I don't know anything about ordnance spec, and didn't know that was on the table.

What is not reasonable is buying a poorly cast frame 1911 and expecting it to hold value next to a Colt or something else built to ordnance spec. (or better).

An investment cast 1911 is like a double wide trailer home. It kind of looks like a house but it's really ~disposable.

The Springfield has a decent foundation and they got a lot more of the details right.

Buying an RIA is false economy.

I have to respectfully disagree with all of this. If you are trying to have a fine 1911, like drinking a fine wine, your standards are set on different variables. That doesn't mean the $2 Chuck tastes bad. Refinement of the pistol may have nothing to do with its ability to perform or even look decent to an unrefined eye. Sure, a "poorly cast" gun of any kind would suck, but who says investment cast RIAs are poorly cast? And whether you are talking about guns or houses, their disposability is based on the relative value. I might consider a $150 gun to be disposable, but I am not of the economic stature that would make a $400 gun disposable.

More than anything, it seems that you are taking the RIA vs Springfield personally. Which is fine because it is a fairly common reaction on these boards when people start talking about one brand vs another. I will likely never buy another Springfield 1911 (mark my words, because I will probably do the opposite in the future!) because they don't fit a price point that make sense to me. For $500 I can buy a 1911 that works just as well with less risk, and customer service reputation to be on par with Springfield (but they are closer and are in a gun friendly state). If I want to step up the Fit and Finish and spend 2 to 3 times as much, it will be for one of the next level 1911 builders like Dan Wesson, Wilson, Les Baer, Nighthawk, etc.

Regardless of how well SA takes care of its customers, I don't like the number of accounts I have read about guns not working without having to go back to the factory for extensive work. Not for a $1000+ gun.

OutlawStar
02-28-2012, 11:30 AM
I really want to know where people are getting the idea that MIM parts are made of glass and cast steel is inferior to aluminum. I think Terry G. (the gunsmith for nutnfancy) mentioned that MIM parts, while aren't the absolute best possible, have nothing inherently wrong with them. My RIA has had about 6 feeding failures and the finish is showing accelerated wear from the my Serpa holster, but its a $523.26 gun that after a feed ramp polish and modifying my holster I would put up against colt, SA, and Kimbers costing twice as much.

I think theres a bit of brand favoritism, myopia, and competitor resentment. I'd be pissed too if my $500 RIA was matched in performance by a $250 1911, but it wouldn't justify calling the $250 gun a pile of crap that should be thrown out.

Its like the 2013 Cobra mustang ($55,000)that is on par performance-wise as a Lamborghini Gallardo ($180,000) and the Lambo guys point out its a FORD and start with the acronyms.

What's wrong with the Philippines BTW? Yeah it sucks having to send my money some place other than the US but until someone in the US is willing to sell a similar product at a similar price I'll let my wallet voice my preferences.

Gary13
02-28-2012, 12:43 PM
I now have three 1911's. The RIA Tactical I purchased new as my first 1911. Came with a really nice trigger and cemented my love of 1911's. It shoots fine and as a shooter gets put in a holster, etc. I recently put VZ grips and Dawson front FO sight on it. Also had the trigger worked on. I hope to shoot some USPSA single stack with it.

My second purchase of a 1911 is a used Kimber Tactical two tone that is beautiful and shoots well, and I got it for $800 from a calgunner. I enjoy it, but so far shoot the RIA more.

Recently I purchased my third 1911, a used SA Loaded SS Commander. I love this gun. Well built. Paid $720 I think for it from a calgunner. I have not had a chance to shoot it much, but as long as I am into guns, I will own this gun.

All shoot about the same in my hands. All will be shooters. While I would love to buy a DW, Les Baer, or Wilson, I am not sure I ever will.

My three prove what a great platform the 1911 is.

To the OP, I wondered about the look of the RIA. I thought you had taken the finish off yourself. Now that you have added the other picture, I like the two tone a lot more. Thanks for the write up.

PanaDP
02-28-2012, 12:58 PM
A lot of people miss the true beauty of the 1911 platform. It was the first really reliable semi-automatic handgun chambered in a real man stopping round. Way less complex and bulky than the broomhandle Mausers and with no real weaknesses.

The way it did that was through superior design and superior construction. The RIA kind of has the design side but the materials aren't there. The M1911 ordnance spec includes things like a forged frame that an RIA just doesn't have.

Do not pretend that a gun with a cast frame and MIM small parts is anything like a real 1911.

It's a question mark.

Will it wear out?

Will it break?

Will anyone want to buy one that is used?

Answering those questions is what you are paying for when you buy a quality 1911 like that Springfield.

Oh come on, there's really no need to be a ***** elitist like that. It's a nice gun for an affordable price for those who can't just drop a grand on a gun because it's pretty. The RIA runs well and shoots well, which are the important details for a lot of us. I like great workmanship as much as anybody but I can't afford that on every firearm I own. I pick and choose.

therza2071
02-28-2012, 1:06 PM
Oh come on, there's really no need to be a ***** elitist like that. It's a nice gun for an affordable price for those who can't just drop a grand on a gun because it's pretty. The RIA runs well and shoots well, which are the important details for a lot of us. I like great workmanship as much as anybody but I can't afford that on every firearm I own. I pick and choose.

This.

And for what it's worth, the workmanship on mine is great. Much better than I expected for the price-point.

SFgiants105
02-28-2012, 1:36 PM
Cool report. Just goes to show that dropping thousands on a gun doesn't necessarily make it better than a lower end gun.

Also, I read somewhere that armscor bought the factory built by colt during WWII, basically making the RIA 1911 an exact replica of the GI 1911s. If true, then I think that's pretty cool.

dbbspider
02-28-2012, 7:47 PM
http://i378.photobucket.com/albums/oo224/dbbspider/IMG_0126.jpg
http://i378.photobucket.com/albums/oo224/dbbspider/IMG_0125.jpg

One 8 round mag for each. The SA shoots a little high, but its an easy fix with the adjustable sights on it

keenkeen
02-28-2012, 8:03 PM
Also, I read somewhere that armscor bought the factory built by colt during WWII, basically making the RIA 1911 an exact replica of the GI 1911s. If true, then I think that's pretty cool.

Not true...but that does not mean they are not quality guns for the price point.

:p

alpine600
02-28-2012, 10:44 PM
Nice write up. Thanks for that Range report. I can't wait to pick up my RIA.

LovingTheYear1911
02-29-2012, 10:28 AM
Looks like the RIA did better.

gorenut
02-29-2012, 12:56 PM
I'd take that RIA any day over the Springfield. I would never pay that much for a gun made in Brazil. It's like paying that much for something made in Mexico. No offense.

Someone needs to get their geography and sociological information updated. There's a reason why Brazil has actually been on a major economical incline. They're doing very well for themselves.

Brazil has an extensive firearm manufacturing/metal forging experience. Brazilians speak Portuguese, look different, different culture, amazing martial arts, etc. Not a very close comparison.

110% (I used to train in Brazilian JJ as well). All part of their economic success.

Great report. I like both SA and RIA. I've always looked at RIA if you just wanted pure function and didn't care as much about aesthetics.

Lead Waster
02-29-2012, 2:45 PM
Considering how the sample targets look, and the prices the OP mentioned, I would definitely prefer having TWO RIAs with their slightly rough fit than a single SA with its "nicer" fit.

Moto4Fun
02-29-2012, 3:12 PM
Lets not forget that the OP swapped in parts on the RIA. It may be on its way to looking better, but poor fitting parts like the beaver tail was not the fault of RIA. I ragged on RIA a couple different times in the past for being less refined or feeling cheaper, but after buying up an Officer's size and comparing it an EMP and a Micro Compact in person, I didn't feel the RIA came up very short at all. In fact, I thought the rough edges of the stainless SAs felt less finished. I will admit the SAs and Kimbers look particularly good in photos. I think that Kimber does an excellent job with their marketing material. But some times looking good doesn't out weigh issues with reliability.

I really do like all of the above however. RIA, Springfield, Kimber, Sig...I just think RIA is being a little more fare with their pricing.

dbbspider
02-29-2012, 3:14 PM
Considering how the sample targets look, and the prices the OP mentioned, I would definitely prefer having TWO RIAs with their slightly rough fit than a single SA with its "nicer" fit.

It's not the tool, its the fool. And im the fool. The holes not being closer is due to human error. If it was the other way around, I would be tiger woods if u gavemne his: golf clubs
:)