Friday, April 07, 2006

Buy-A-Gun Day Purchase No. 1: My First 1911

I never heard anyone say it outright, but I think it's probably a rule that you can't really call yourself a bona-fide gun nut unless you have at least one of John Moses Browning's master creations, that is, at least one M1911A1. As I got more into guns, I heard and read much about this famous sidearm and how it was THE pistol to have. So, as this year's tax season rolled around, I thought, well, it's time to take that leap. Right before I filed my tax return in late January, I went off to my friendly local gun dealer and asked him to order me a stainless-steel Springfield Mil-Spec full size 1911, shown here.

I went back to him a few days later, and over the next few weeks, seeing if it had come in yet. "Nope." They were all either out of stock or being allocated to other dealers. No idea when I'd get my hot little hands on one. And I thought, damn, what's a wannabe gun nut to do? So I held out for a few weeks. Still nothing. Fortunately, I was in luck. About six months before then, he showed me another Springer 1911 he'd gotten from someone, this one the more bare-bones model, the World War II-replica GI .45, shown here.

It was still in my dealer's safe by mid-February when the money came back, and I thought, you know what? I'm gonna bring that thing home. It's been sittin' in that damn safe for too long, that thing was made to shoot, and by-George, I will. So, a couple of days after I got the money, I went by, filled out the 4473, plunked down the money and brought her home with 100 rounds of 230-grain Magtech hardball.
Took her to the range the day after. Feels great in the hand, probably the best weight-balanced pistol made, at least the best, that is, most evenly weight-balanced pistol I own -- much more so than the Ruger P-Series pistols I own, with their synthetic stock and stainless-steel slide-barrel-guide rod assembly. (That is definitely not a dig at Bill Ruger's creations, though -- I would trust the P90 .45ACP with my life, indeed, it's the one that stays loaded in case a goblin comes calling. I've considered getting another, just because it's that damn good.) I put about 400 rounds through the Springfield, and once in about every 100 rounds, it'd get what they call a stovepipe jam; the spent shell would get caught in the slide as the slide was coming back to chamber another round. I fired off an e-mail to the good folks at the Springfield Pro Shop, and they said it sounded like the problem was a faulty extractor and recommended sending it back to check it out. So I did, and a week ago yesterday, it came back, with a new extractor. Next day, off I went to the range once more, with 200 rounds of Winchester White Box -- and it ate every last one of them, and 100 more on Sunday morning, with no problem. So we're good to go, with much more fun to come behind those low-profile GI-style sights. As it is, that's the only problem I see with this gun; after shooting with the big 3-dot sights that are found on the Ruger P-Series and many other sidearms, those tiny things take some getting used to. But it'll be good for me, I think -- make me a better shooter in the long run. I look forward to it.