Tuesday, March 29, 2011

RIA Tactical 1911: 2,000 Round Review, Part II

I've been shooting and carry my RIA Tactical for seven months.  Some shooters would be approaching the 10,000th round of shooting, but I can't afford that so I've only been able to shoot 2,000 rounds so far.  I've had a lot of fun with this pistol.  I really like it, and for the price I can't complain at all.

The gun shoots better than I do.  I shoot Dot Torture almost every time I'm on the range.  I started out at 3 yards, but two months later I was shooting Dot Torture at 7 yards.  7 yards has proven to be a hell of a lot more challenging than 3 yards.  I've shot it ten times with my scores ranging from 21/50 to 44/50, with a mean score of 31.  I can put all my shots into an 8 inch circle at seven yards with no problem and I've taken to using 3" sticker targets to add more of a challenge to my practice. 

The RIA has taken any ammo I've given it and a fed reliably no matter if it was FMJ or JHP.  Any issues I've had I generally been able to lay at the feet of bad magazines and/or a dirty gun. 

I love/hate the ambi safety.  I love having it for weak hand shooting, and I hate the way it can sometimes pinch the hands.  The safety is something I'm giving serious consideration to replacing. 

The sights on the RIA are good.  I'd prefer nights sights, and I may have some put on it at some point, but what I have works well.

I've enjoyed shooting my RIA Tactical.  It is a cheap and faily reliable pistol.  It's not pefect, and I'll make no claim that it is, but for $500 it's not bad either.  If you want a 1911 and you don't have a lot of money to spend by all means take a look at RIA.

It's got it's problems and I've done nothing to gloss them over, but I'm happy with it and I'll continue carrying it.  I'm hoping to buy another 1911 this year and it'll probably be something that is more expensive (and hopefully won't suffer from the same issues).

At the very least I've now got a basis upon which I can judge any other pistol which I buy.

RIA Tactical 1911: 2,000 Round Review, Part I

Last August I traded my RIA GI 1911 for a Tactical model.  The main differences are a commander hammer, beaver tail, and decent sights.  It was a very inexpensive gun, especially for a 1911.

What can I say?  I like the gun.  It's not perfect (I'll get into the problems I had with it later), but it works well enough that I don't feel any worries about carrying it.

Anyway, the first thing I did to this pistol was to change the grips.   I had a nice set I picked up at a gun show that I knew would look great on it.

I had a little issue with the ambi safety and the new grips.  The safety didn't want to completely disengage.  A little work with a sharp knife and a brown sharpie and the issue went away.

I got it out on the range and it ran well.  I had three failures to feed (FTF) that I was able to lay at the feet of the cheap factory magazines two hundred rounds or so in.  I replaced the magazines with Wilson Combat magazines and the FTF issue disappeared.

Initially I only fed the gun Winchester 230 grain FMJ.  Most of the 2,000 rounds I've put through the RIA have been this same round and I've had no issues with it that I can blame on the ammo.

Early on I put 20 rounds of Speer Gold Dot 230gr. GDHP.  I'd bought this stuff with my Kimber Ultra Raptor in mind, but wanted to try some JHPs in the RIA.  Two of the FTF mentioned above happened with this ammo, but also with one of the cheap mags.  Later testing with Winchester 230gr. JHP and Wilson mags showed that it wasn't the ammo causing the problem but the cheap mags.

Once I started using decent magazines I never had another FTF with JHPs, however I did start having another issue:  my slide wasn't locking back after the last round.  This was probably one of the single most frustrating issues I had with the RIA.  It took a while, but I finally decided it was the Wilson magazines.  I'm not sure of the exact reason (I suspect the plastic follower).

I switched over to Chip McCormick magazines and the issue largely disappeared.  It happened once or twice with the CM magazines, but only when the gun was extremely dirty.  I have not had this particular failure in over 800 rounds of shooting so I believe I solved the problem.

My only other issue with the gun has been failures to extract (FTE).  I had my first FTE between 350 and 450 rounds.  I had lubricated the pistol after buying it but following the advice I'd seen going around the blogs I had not cleaned the gun up to this point.  At 450 rounds I cleaned it for the first time.  I cleaned the gun again at 980 rounds.  I was still having the slide lock issue, but no other types of failures.

I had a second FTE between 1,100 and 1,200 rounds.  I had three more FTEs over the next three hundred rounds.  I cleaned the gun and switched from lithium grease to Hoppe's gun oil for lubrication.  Unfortunately, I had another FTE around 50 rounds later.  This happened with ball ammo just after I'd finished running 25 rounds of Winchester JHP and 15 rounds of Hornady TAP 230gr. +P through the gun (I'd decided to switch to the Hornady for my carry ammo).

At this point I went 300 rounds without another problem.  I lubed, but didn't really clean aside from wiping the chamber with a bore patch (paying special attention to the extractor).  My thinking at this point was that that the extractor getting gunked up was the problem.

Yesterday I shot 180 rounds.  Within the first 17 I had a FTE.  Later on I had a FTE and a FTF.  I had been hoping to get through my last five hundred rounds to 2,000 with no problems, but that wasn't the case.  I believe the my issues yesterday were a direct result of a dirty gun, but I can't be sure.  I've only had one FTE with a clean gun.  All the others have happened hundred of rounds after cleaning.  Still, that one gives me some doubts that lack of cleaning is the culprit.

I field stripped (I've decided to put off a detail strip until 5,000 rounds, especially considering it's already been done once) and thoroughly cleaned the RIA.  It was, quite literally, filthy.  I broke out the tooth brush and was literally pulling built up gunk out of the nooks and crannies.  It's well cleaned and lubed, and I'm going to see how long it takes me to get a FTE.  My hope is that I will make it 200 to 300 rounds.  I can live with that as a cleaning schedule.

Since I've put 2,000 rounds down range I'm going to replace my recoil spring.  This will be the first part I've replaced, and it won't be because I've had issues but rather a matter of scheduled maintenance.  

So far most of what I've talked about has focused on the issues I've had and how I solved them.  Obviously, there is still one ongoing issues but I'm hoping I have it whipped.  In Part II I'll focus more on the positives of this pistol. 

On The Range #46: 2,000 Rounds

Yesterday I put my 2,000th round from my RIA 1911 down range.  It's taken me a while to get to this landmark, but I'm here and I'll soon be putting up a 2,000 round review of the pistol. 

My time on the range yesterday was more about having fun that anything.  I ran through a bunch of single target drills at 7 yards, did some shooting at 25 yards, and tried to shoot fifty rounds through the same ragged hole (and did, for the most part). 

I shot Dot Torture at 7 yards and scored 38/50.  That's better than last week and almost at good as the week before. 

I had a couple of problems yesterday.  I had two failures to extract and one failure to feed.  These were disappointing but I think were a direct result of having a very dirty gun. 

100 years old and still kicking ass.

On this day 100 years ago the US Army adopted the John M. Browning designed Colt .45 ACP pistol as the M1911.  The pistol remains in service with some organizations within the US military to this day.  It is in use by law enforcement organizations at all levels.  It can be found in the holsters civilians all across the nation.   

The 1911 is the pistol I carry every day.  There are other pistols out there, and I'm sure I could be happy with them, but they're not a 1911.    

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Fun show.

Work has put us on a four on, three off schedule and I opted for Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, which gave me the opportunity to go to the local gun show today with my friend Logan.  It was nice.  I saw quite a few things I would like to have (but of course did not have the cash for). 

Ammo prices were comparable to Walmart so I saw no reason to burn through what money I had on .45 ACP, though I was tempted.  I did however pick up a 1911 100 year anniversary shirt on the back of which is an M1911 and JMB's patent application drawings.  I also bought myself a Gadsden flag and a Colt 1911 armorer's manual.  The manual contains information I can easily get online, but it's nice to have something in print (which diagrams!).

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The joy of living in a tin can.

Well, the man on the tv tells me there is a possible tornado out there and from the look of the radar it is quite literally pointed directly at my ass. 

I'm in a for a lively evening. 

Celebrate Human Achievement Hour Tonight.

From 8:30 to 9:30 tonight leave your lights on to celebrate the fact that people invented things like light bulbs, computers, the internet, and modern medicine.

H/t SnarkyBytes

Quote of the Day: Media Panic Attack

From Tam:

I'm waiting for one of these tired and frazzled-looking nuke types to tell them that the reactor's dilithium crystals have cracked and, yes, that's a very bad thing.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

On The Range #45

This past Monday I put a hundred rounds down range.  Unfortunately, one hundred rounds is the most I can afford.  Frankly, it's a hell of lot more than most people manage to put down my range so get off my lawn!

Anyway, I've been trying to do more dry firing as well. 

I shot twenty-five rounds of press outs, then did some Mozambique Drills and other stuff with the next twenty-five.  I shot Dot Torture with the last fifty rounds.  I scored 32/50, which isn't bad, but not as good as last week. 

I'm up to having shot 1,820 rounds through my RIA 1911.  Two hundred more and I'll be ready for that detail strip and review I've been planning. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Quote of the Day

Regarding the Arab League's flip-flop about the No Fly Zone Tam at VFTP had this to say:

You know what? Screw these people. While all our armed forces are in the neighborhood, we should just seize the oil fields and the pumping facilities, and let them go back to arguing about which one of Mohammed's cousin-in-law's nephew's brothers is the real Caliph out in the desert someplace. 

Damn straight.  Fuck'em.

Another day, another war...

They told me if I voted for John McCain I'd be putting another war monger in the White House, and they were right!

Honestly, I think those cruise missiles and stealth bombers would better serve our interests in Afghanistan and Pakistan than in Libya.

As for the Mad Dog of Libya I recommend the same thing I recommended for Saddam and his cronies, single rounds of .50BMG delivered by certain members of the USMC.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Life expectancy in US surpasses 78.


The U.S. life expectancy has just hit a record high — rising to just over 78 years, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Wednesday.

Now we can raise the retirement age for Social Security to 82! (this is roughly four years past life expectancy, just like in 1935 when FDR signed it into law...think that was a fluke?)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Quote of the Day: Our Debt

In understandable terms, from Joe Huffman:

It is predicted the Federal budget deficit will reach $1.65 trillion this year with a $14.1 trillion debt and about $2.1 trillion in income. Yet the House cannot reach agreement on spending cuts. The House Republicans want to only cut $60 billion in spending and the Democrats only want to cut spending $6.5 billion. If you were to scale this down into numbers people might be able to relate to it would look like the following.
If your family income were $50,000 then:
  • Family debt is $335,700
  • Family deficit is $39,300 (spending is $89,300/year)
  • The head of household wants to cut $1,430 in yearly spending
  • The spouse wants to cut $154.80 in yearly spending
The children should cut up the credit cards and sell everything that isn’t the bare minimum needed for food, shelter, clothing, transportation, and communication. If the debt still isn’t being paid down they should consider selling their parents organs.
Someone asked me a couple of days ago if I realized how deep in debt we are.  I said that I did, and that it scared the shit out of me.  Think about those numbers folks.  We are trully fucked.  There is no nice way to say it.  We cannot continue in this fashion.

At this point, though, I don't know that there is a solution.

H/t The Smallest Minority

At least it's consistent.

As I've found is ALWAYS the fucking case, not long after getting to a point where I was beginning to feel a little financially secure I had to make a few large and unexpected payouts.  The result is that I'm in the hole once again.  And I'll be there for a month or two.

And the heating element on my clothes drier went out. 

Joy.  Fucking joy.

My favorite commercial.

The best part?  If Steve McQueen had been alive to actually star in it, the little note that said 'Closed Course.  Professional Driver' would have been true with McQueen behind the wheel

Monday, March 14, 2011

On The Range #44

I shot 100 rounds today.  I worked on speed and accuracy with my first fifty; drawing from concealment, reloads, shooting strong/weak hand only.  I'm pretty comfortable at seven yards so I'm thinking of moving all of my general shooting back to ten yards.  Seven is getting to be 'too' easy so that I'm not really improving anything. 

I shot Dot Torture at seven yards, scoring 39/50.  That's my second best score at seven yards to date.  Hopefully I can keep up the consistency, but that will depend more on the availability of ammo than anything else.

I had no malfunctions of any type.  After I finished shooting I wiped down the extracter claw.  That's 250 rounds without any FTE.  I'll be pleased if I can put three hundred more rounds down range with no issues. 

Three hundred more rounds will put the RIA 1911 at 2,020 rounds. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

It's not every day you meet a hero.

One of my customers greeted me today wearing a Purple Heart, Combat Wounded hat today.  He was an older gentleman, and I assumed Vietnam or possibly Korea. 

As he watched me work he did what a lot of older gentlemen do to pass the time and told me a little about himself.  He'd retired from the Army, worked as a school teacher, then a driver, and then in maintenance at a school.  He'd also done some work as an electrician for a short time after retiring from the Army.

As I was finished up some work in his house he pointed out a framed newspaper clipping in passing and said, "A little write up they did about me."  When I had a moment I took the time to read it.  He had served in Vietnam.  It talked about how as a Sergeant at 26 (my age now) he felt kind of like a father to the 18 and 19 year old soldiers under him just coming into country.  Yadda yadda blah blah. And then I got to the third paragraph and feeling a bit stunned found myself looking over at him sitting in his chair.

"You earned a Silver Star and a Bronze Star?"

"Yeah," he said, nodding toward the wall behind him, "they're over there."

I honestly was at a loss for words.  I think I stammered something about that being very impressive.

He went on to tell me that during the Tet Offensive he and seven other men were grouped together when a thrown grenade landed amongst them.  He grabbed the grenade and tossed it back at the VC who'd thrown it at them and got shot twice for his trouble. 

He even showed me the mangled bullets they'd pulled out of him.  He keeps them in a pill bottle in the display case holding his medals. 

I'm 26.  At my age this man picked up a live grenade and threw it back at the enemy, saving the lives of seven other men, and got shot twice in the doing.  He was told in a hospital in Japan he wouldn't walk for over a year.  He was on his feet walking out of a hospital five and a half months later.  I can't even imagine. 

As a history nerd I've read about this kind of thing plenty of times, but this is the first time I've ever met someone, that I know of, that has done those kinds of things.  I'm at a loss to describe how that makes me feel.  Impressed.  Awed.  A little embarrassed that I've never served myself.  And thankful.  Thankful that I can say I shook the hand of a hero. 

They're really out there, walking among us.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Robert's Picks


Hard Magic by Larry Correia (excellent)

Sea Change by Robert B. Parker (good)



The Last Legion (good)

Take Me Home Tonight

Lions For Lambs

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

On The Range #43

I made the call the other day to spend a little bit extra on some .45 ACP and picked up 300 rounds so that I can run 100 rounds through my 1911 for the next three weeks, at least.

Yesterday I put the first 100 down range.  I did press outs for most of the first 50 rounds.  This is actually a difficult exercise for me.  I can't quite get it right.  I try to do press outs while dry firing, and I think more dry fire and slowing down on the range is the surest remedy. 

I also shot Dot Torture at 10 yards.  My score was abysmal.  I scored 22/50.

Out of 100 rounds I had no failures of any sort.  I cleaned my gun afterward without doing more than removing frame from slide.  Made sure the extractor was clean.  I'm thinking my extractor issue might be a result of it being dirty, but I don't know.  It's been suggested that I replace it, and I might. 

I'm at 1,620 rounds through my RIA 1911.  At 2,000 rounds I want to do a detail strip and cleaning, examine the parts to the best of my ability, and then give a comprehensive review.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


On The Range #42: A Quickie

Yesterday my friend Logan came by with his latest acquisition, a Mossberg 590 12ga. shotgun.  It was very nice, though not set up in the way I'd prefer.  I like a combo shoulder stock (non collapsible) pistol grip on a tacticool shotgun.  Logan went with a folding collapsible stock with pistol grip.

We didn't do a whole lot of shooting, but I want one of these shotguns even more than I did before.

I LOVED the ghost ring sights.  I'd read somewhere around the blogs that ghost rings sights on a shotgun where something that would get you killed, that adding anything but a bead sight in those situations where you would use a shotgun would add confusion when trying to aim.  This is not the case.  You throw the gun up to your shoulder and there is a big blade front sight right there in front of you (the back side of the thick blade is bright orange).  It's only when you take the time to concentrate that you realize you're seeing this through the rear sight ring.

Great gun, and I can't wait until I can pick up one of my own.

Promises, promises...

They said if I voted for John McCain, I was voting for four more years of George W. Bush...and they were right!

President Obama on Monday lifted the ban he imposed two years ago on military trials for detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison, ending his bid to move most terrorism trials to civilian courts and pushing his already busted deadline for shuttering the island prison indefinitely forward.

The reversal came as Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates visited Afghanistan and indicated that he was willing to keep a presence of U.S. forces in the war-torn country beyond the Obama administration’s 2014 pullout goal, highlighting again the difficulty the president has had moving from the policies of President George W. Bush.

It's not even funny anymore how much of a coward and liar our president proves himself to be every day.  The man can't even stick to his own convictions, if he ever had any.

Free ammo?

Well, Hell yeah, I'd be interested.  And machine guns.  That I get to shoot?  Awesome!  Check out the Lucky Gunner Memorial Day Weekend Blogger Shoot.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

On The Range #41: Getting in touch with my inner Russian

I haven't had the money for .45 ammo lately so pistol shooting has been put on hold for a bit.  I'm thinking the next time I've got a few extra Benjamin's I'll be hitting up LuckyGunner for a thousand rounds.

Anyway, I've got a box full of 7.62X54R, a Mosin, and plenty of spare time. 

I only put ten rounds down range, but it was enough to tell me what I need to know.  First, it hits about 6" to 8" high at 50 yards.  Since I can only get out to 50 yards in my backyard that's what I had to deal with.  Adjusting my point of aim put my shots where I wanted them. 

I did my shooting from prone.  I know I should shoot from some other positions, especially standing, but I was more interested in seeing what I can expect to do with this rifle.  From prone I'm comfortable putting my shots in a roughly 6" target.  I think I could keep my shots on a Nazi's chest at 100 yards.

I have a spot a short hike away where I could do some 100 yard shooting.  That's definitely going to happen soon.

How many chances do you get?

I spend the vast majority of my time alone. While it is possible to share my hobbies and interests with others they are primarily solitary endeavors (reading, shooting, writing). 

I don't precisely want to spend all my time by myself but it becomes more and more clear to me that most of my closer friends have differing priorities and interests.  That's not to say I don't enjoy my time with them, but that even with that I still feel a considerable loneliness.  I don't feel like I'm a real part of the group.

I'm too young to be a bitter old man, but I feel like one and more and more I am acting like one.

I'm just so damned tired of being alone, but at the same time more willing to be alone than be with the wrong person. I don't know how to close that gap. Temporary fixes do more harm than good.

Oh, well. What's one more pile of stress? At this rate I'll have heart attack before 30 and not have to worry about it anymore.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Congratulations GM!

On producing another piece of shit at taxpayer expense and trying to convince us it's gold!

"When you are looking at purely dollars and cents, it doesn't really make a lot of sense. The Volt isn't particularly efficient as an electric vehicle and it's not particularly good as a gas vehicle either in terms of fuel economy," said David Champion, the senior director of Consumer Reports auto testing center at a meeting with reporters here. "This is going to be a tough sell to the average consumer."
GM sucks.  I'm sorry if you like Chevy, but GM sucks as a company.  There should be no Volt, or Camaro, or Corvette anymore.  They should have all died with that bloated carcass that is General Motors but instead we have a shitty company producing shitty cars and we're all paying for it because assholes in the government didn't want to face the consequences of pissing off the unions that put them into office, not to mention the hits their stock portfolios would have taken when GM died a much deserved death.    

H/t Snarkybytes

Robert's Picks


The Shadow of Saganami by David Weber (good)

The Fate of Africa: A History of Fifty Years of Independence
by Martin Meredith (very good)


Bonnie and Clyde