Tag Archives: 1911

How To Re-Assemble A 1911 or 2011 Full Length Guide Rod, Spring and Reverse Plug Using A Small Engine Valve Compressor

If you’re reading this then I am assuming you know how much a bear it is to re-assemble the full length guide rod, spring and reverse plug group that many 1911 and 2011 pistols are using. When a takedown paper clip or pin slips during disassembly or re-assembly of the pistol, life gets interesting fast.

Well, if you want to get into an argument with a 1911 guru, ask if the full length guide rods make a difference. The answer tends to be “no” and I am not arguing for them. What I am finding is that bull barrel 10mm pistol makers as of late aren’t using bushings – the slide and barrel mate together directly and the guide rod assembly is captured in the slide, not by the bushing.

This is a Desert Eagle 10mm by Bul Armory with a full length guide rod (the solid circle in the middle).
Rock Island Ultra FS HC – also with a full length guide rod. The silver circle is the end of the guide rod.

To disassemble these types of pistols, you usually need to insert a pin in the guide rod to capture the reverse plug. Some guys bend a paper clip. I got so annoyed by how tacky that looked that I had a ton of takedown pins made from 1mm stainless wire [click here to go to our website].

With the slide locked open, you insert the pin in the hole machined for this purposed, release the slide and move it forward against the pin. I’d recommend against letting the plug slam forward into the pin as it isn’t going to do either piece of steel any favors over time. That’s our takedown pin by the way.
Once the pin has limited the travel of the reverse plug and basically stopped the spring from applying pressure, takedown is a breeze.
With the tension removed, it all comes apart real nice in theory.
Boy, that sure is nice and neat isn’t it?

And Then Reality Hits

Folks, there are a million and one reasons why that pin can get knocked out of the hole and the reverse plus is going to come flying off at the speed of light. This kind of stuff happens to me way more than I care to admit. I can’t tell you how many parts I have lost control of and heard a faint “tick” sound as said part lands on the other side of my shop never to be seen again. Well, that’s not exact true, I did find an AR buffer detent in the tool caddy of my ShopVac last week. I vaguely remember losing one at point.

Big word of advice, if you are working on a spring loaded part, do it in a place were you can find the parts if you lose control. Yeah, you may be laughing now but wait until you hear that “tick” sound of a part landing on the other side of a congested (fancy way of saying “messy”) shop.

In my case, I haven’t launched the reverse plug yet but I did release the tension to see how it was made. Ok, big mistake. The recoil springs for a 10mm start at 16 pounds and are more likely to be 20-24 pounds. With my carpal tunnel, I could not compress the spring enough to reinsert the pin. I had a serious WTF do I do moment? Under no circumstance was I going to ask my wife to come help me 🙂 A second set of hands would have done the trick for sure but I needed to figure out a quick and dirty way to do it myself.

This is the full length guide rod, reverse tube and spring from by Desert Eagle 10mm 1911.

In this case, I carefully inserted the parts in a bench vise and very carefully compressed them until I could get the pin back in. I was really nervous because if either the plug or the rod shifted, I was going to launch parts. It worked, but there had to be a better way.

Solution: Use A Small Engine Valve Compressor

I’ve read, watched and worked on a ton of stuff over the years. I knew there were valve spring compressors for small engines that might work perfect for this so I did some research. The Stens 750-174 looked like it would work perfect and it did.

Here is my new Stens 750-174 that worked perfectly You can adjust the width of the tips and the big screw allows you to very easily compress the spring.
With the two little thumbscrews you can independently adjust the width of the holders.
There’s a trick to getting started – first rotate your guide rod so you will have access to the pin hole once the plug is compressed past it. Now what I did was to start with the base inserted in the tool and it was resting on the table. I then inserted the reverse plug, pushed down and tipped/pivoted the assembly into place so the other tip could grab the plug.
So I adjusted one tend to hold the base of the guide rod and the other to cradle the reverse plug and turned the big crank to compress the spring, reinserted the pin – done!

Conclusion

If you have a pistol with a full length guide rod for whatever reason, I would honestly recommend our takedown pin and also keep a Stens 750-174 spring compressor around if you may need to put it back together solo.


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.



Range Report For The Desert Eagle 1911, RIA Rock Ultra FS HC, and Springfield Armory 6″ TRP Operator 10mm Pistols

Well folks, at one point I had three 1911-style 10mm pistols. A Magnum Research Desert Eagle (model DE1911G10), a Rock Island Armory (RIA) Rock Ultra FS HC (model 52009) and a Springfield Armory TRP Operator (model PC9610L18). While I like the 10mm cartridge, I didn’t really need three pistols so I decided to take them to the range to decide what I would keep and what I would sell.

The Ammo

I took with me about 200 rounds of Ammo Inc’s 180gr TMC load that I had purchased from Palmetto State Armory during one of their daily deals. TMC stands for “total metal case” – meaning the lead is fully encapsulated by the copper jacket. With full metal jacket (FMC) ammo, the base often has the lead core exposed. Ammo Inc is interesting in that they decided to go the public company route and we’ll have to wait and see how they fare when the panic buying dies down.

I also took about 200 rounds of Sellier & Bellot (S&B) 180gr FMJ ammo as well. It’s been my “go to ” 100 range ammo for years. If you don’t know S&B, they are an excellent ammunition producer located in the Czech Republic dating back to 1825.

That is some of the Ammo Inc 180gr TMC ammo in the bag and S&B 180gr FMJ in the tray.

To round out the test ammo, I took some Underwood 155gr XTP and 200gr XTP jacketed hollow points (JHP). I only had about 50 rounds of this and I wanted to save it for the final round of testing.

For the past six months, finding ammo has been a bear but suppliers are starting to build up inventory. Judging by my inbox, more and more emails are being sent saying “we have ammo in stock” and even a few sales. These tend to come shortly before prices start to drop based on past panic buying ammo shortages [click here for my blog post on the economics of ammo during a panic].

The Range

It was a beautiful March day when I arrived at the Berrien County Sportsman’s Club to use the pistol plate range. The plates are about 30-35′ feet back from the firing line and I had it all to myself.

BCSC is my favorite range hands down and I have been a member there for many years. Definitely a cool place for a variety of sportsman and family activities.

The 10″ steel plates are located about 30-35 feet from the firing line. I really enjoy these for testing pistols. Note the pull cord to reset the plates.

First, the 6″ TRP Operator

As I have written in the past, the TRP Operator was not reliable out of the box and this was a do or die outing for the pistol in terms of whether I would keep or sell it. The TRP Operator is basically a 6″ 1911 and the marketing would lead you to expect that it would have been stunning out of the box but it wasn’t to be perfectly blunt.

Thankfully, after work both myself and Springfield Armory’s repair groups did, it finally handled the way it should have when I first got it. This time around, functioning was reliable and the recoil was handled nicely by the heavy pistol with it’s 6″ bull barrel.

The TRP put in a good showing this time around. All the kinks had been worked out and it ran great.

I was able to fire round after round at the plates at 30-35 feet and hit them. I really wasn’t shooting for benchrest accuracy – just shooting at plates to decide what to do.

Honestly, I had a take-it-or-leave it mentality on front serrations on a slide until I got into 10mm 1911s. Their recoil spring is stout. All of a sudden, those front serrations are really handy. My RIA 52009 does not have them and is way harder for me to hold when racking the slide from the front that the TRP or the Bul.
I was running both Wilson Combat ,and Tripp Cobra mags in both the TRP and the Bul. Both brands are excellent. You can see a Cobra 9-round magazine peaking out of the mag well in this photo. Their beveled base plate is an immediate give away.

In summary for the TRP, it ran just fine but it did nothing to wow me.

Next – The Magnum Research Desert Eagle (model DE1911G10) by Bul Armory

Okay, next up on the testing list for the first time was my new Desert Eagle 10mm that is actually made by Bul Armory of Israel. Out of the box it had the best trigger of any 1911 I have owned and the action was very smooth.

Now I have written about this particular pistol going to the range before – it’s just that I am finally sitting down to write this bigger post about all three pistols just under two months after the range trip. Here are a few pictures for you:

Here’s the Bul with some of the Ammo Inc 180gr TMC ammo and a collection of Wilson and Cobra mags – it ran through everything I brought including the Underwood JHPs with no problems.

Here’s the 6″ TRP on top and the 5″ Bul on the bottom. Those front slide serrations make racking their slides a lot easier.

Let me sum it up and say – I really, really like this pistol. It functioned flawlessly and felt great. With the TRP, I was not impressed by the time it finally worked right. The Bul’s performance was nothing short of fantastic.

Last But Not Least: The Rock Island Armory (RIA) Rock Ultra FS HC (model 52009)

This was the first trip for the RIA Rock Ultra FS HC – let’s just call it the 52009. I wrote a blog post about my first takes and things were looking good so far. At any rate, I knew with the RIA pistols that you needed to clean and lube them plus I slightly beveled the chamber edges and polished the ramp.

I was really curious to see how it would function not only in general but also with the new magazines I was making for them. I also wanted a higher capacity 10mm 1911 if possible so there was a lot riding on the trip.

It looks familiar until you notice the really thick pistol grip and the big mag well funnel.
The 52009 is the bottom pistol and the TRP is the top right. You can see the collection of custom mags I was testing – what you don’t see is that their mag lips are different lengths. I actually found the 52009 very tolerant of different lengths – reliable feeding was a function of how spread open the lips were to point the cartridge towards the chamber. See the magazine laying with it’s back up in the top row? The magazine to the right was the only original RIA ACT-Mag I had to base my work on the shop.
See how short the lips are? By adjusting the lips, it fed surprisingly fine. I have one mag with even shorter lips and it worked.
The stock of 10mm Ammo Inc rounds was dwindling. Let me tell you something – the Mag-Lula universal pistol magazine filler is worth its weight in gold. I really can’t tell you how many 8, 9 and 10 round mags I filled (and emptied) shooting the TRP and Bul pistols but by the time I got to the 52009, my hands were aching thanks to my carpal tunnel issues. By the way, two months later and that loading “finger” you see in the Mag-Lula is now brass colored from all of the magazine test fitting I have done 🙂

To sum up the 52009 – it was starting to wear in and felt surprisingly good. I sure missed having the front serrations on the slide because by the end my hands were starting to ache and my ability to squeeze hard enough to hold the slide and rack it was dwindling.

Once I identified the good mags and problem mags and focused my efforts, it ran great. I was quite pleased with it and I can tell you now that I have cycled it thousands of times fitting magazines, it is quite smooth. The 52009 and RIA 1911/2011 pistols in general are really good examples of parts need to wear in, or get to know each other, to get rid of tiny burrs/imperfections left over from manufacturing.

Would I buy it again? Yes. Was it my first choice? No, actually it wasn’t. I really wanted a high cap 5″ pistol styled after one of their Tac or Tac Ultra pistols that has the forward serrations and a Picatinny rail on the bottom of the frame. The reason being is that they are lighter and more compact than the 6″ Big Rock that I had years ago. Their 56862 model has a 5.5″ threaded barrel (hence the extra half inch) that I would have preferred but with the panic buying, it is impossible to find. Who knows – I may find one some day.

In the mean time, my only wish was that the 52009 hand front serrations – other than that it is a solid pistol.

Final Decision

As you can probably guess, the TRP Operator was voted off the island and my friend, and FFL, Scott Igert sold it for me. I felt pretty good about the decision too.

What’s interesting is that if you go to the Springfield Armory website today – the 10mm TRP Operator is gone. It could be that the demand just wasn’t there. I talked to a fellow at Dawson Precision awhile back about Stacattos (STI changed their name a few months back) and if they had any 10mm pistols because they used to have a number of models including the “Perfect 10.”) At any rate, he told me the demand just isn’t there – everyone is going for the 9mms these days. That might be the case for Springfield though I notice they are offering their Ronin model in 10mm.

TRP at the top, 52009 in the middle and the Bul is at the bottom.
Bul on the left and the 52009 on the right. Note how the 52009 has an ambidextrous safety and the Bul does not. Since I am right handed, I really don’t use the safety on the other side. Some guys train to shoot with both hands just in case their right hand injured and use the safety on both sides as a result so I can understand why it is a feature that some folks want.

That’s it for now. I hope you found this post useful.


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


Rock Island Armory’s 52009 Ultra FS HC 10mm Is a 10mm 2011 That Packs a Punch

Hi folks – this is my second Rock Island Armory (RIA) 15 round 10mm 1911/2011-style pistol that I have owned. My first one was a 6″ Rock Ultra that I sold years ago because I didn’t really need it. Lately I have gotten back into 10mms for situations where I need to pack a punch such as back country hiking in black bear country.

At this point, I have two 10mm pistols. My 1911-style Desert Eagle and now this 2011-style RIA 52009 Rock Ultra FS HC. FS meaning Full Size – it’s based on a series 70 5″ 1911 in terms of the action. The HC means high-capacity because it uses a staggered 15 round magazine that means the pistol can hold 16 rounds when topped off with one in the chamber.

The following are a couple of listings from PSA and Primary Arms but due to panic buying, you’re probably only going to find the 52009 on GunBroker at this point [click here to search GB – I bought mine off GB]:

In my opinion, Rock Island pistols are work horses. They may have a very plain parkerized finish and be a tad rough but they were made for use – not just sitting in someone’s safe. In terms of the rough action, they do wear in and give you a very good pistol.

In the case of this 52009, the pistol was well assembled and just felt a little rough. Folks, this is just fine in my honest opinion. What happens is that the parts are made and assembled. There isn’t a ton of hand polishing and tuning going on like when you buy a high end pistol but the fundamentals are there.

The way you address this is to clean the brand new pistol, lube it really well and then use it. What happens is that the parts get to know each other – surfaces start to wear together and smooth out. Sure, you could take it apart and do it by hand but just using it can make a world of difference so don’t judge it right out of the box. I use Superlube grease on the parts that slide and their oil/liquid on the parts that rotate.

The only thing RIA honestly did wrong was forget to pack one of the unique 15 round magazines with the pistol. These mags are normally available but with all of the panic buying and COVID screwing up supply chains, they are next to impossible to find. Armscor USA would not even reply to my emails and it wasn’t until Reed Sporting Goods, the Gunbroker seller I dealt with, got a new Armscor/RIA sales rep that I was then able to get a single mag. By the way, Reed is great to deal with if you see them on GB.

The missing mag irked me but I realized there was a business opportunity and made a bunch more for myself and to sell [click here for that story] and click here if you want to buy one. By the way, after hand cycling my slide hundreds and hundreds of times while testing those mags, it is nice and smooth now.

The left magazine is one that I made and it works great. The right mag is an original ACT-Mag. Quick shout out to Dawson Precision for making some great Para base plates!

It came coated in oil to protect the steel more than anything but you always want to take a new pistol apart, clean it and then lube it. The 52009 has been to the range a couple of times now and I definitely like it.

Click here to go to the section of our online store that has all of our current 1911/2011 magazines and related products.

Here are a few more pictures:

Like I said earlier – it’s definitely well made. The parts all fit together nicely without any slop. The set screw in the trigger allows you to adjust over-travel if you wish. It’s factory set and some folks either remove it or put more thread locker on it. I added wicking thread locker and called it even.
It comes with a huge funnel. Folks, I like funnels and you’ll see them on many of my pistols. They help guide your magazine into place when you are in a rush. In my opinion, any funnel, even a beveled mag well opening, is better than no funnel. I also prefer steel or aluminum funnels to plastic.
Here’s the business end – you can see the big bull barrel and because of this, it does not have a bushing. Takedown is accomplished by putting a pin in a drilled hole in the silver guide rod you see when the slide is locked open. In this photo you can also see the fiber optics collecting the light and send it out the end – the sights worked real nice at the range when I was shooting steel plates.

Conclusion

I definitely like the pistol and we are still getting to know each other. I did polish the ramp and chamber. In the next blog post, I’ll tell you about my range trip with my three 1911/2011 10mm pistols and the one that got sold after – which is why I said I now have two at the start of the post.


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


Concealment Express’ 1911 IWB Kydex Holster Is Nice!

Ok folks, I want to be up front about concealed carrying a full size 1911 – in my case a Desert Eagle 1911 in 10mm (DE1911G10) made Bul Armory in Israel. You will never wonder “Did I remember to put my pistol on?” Why? Because it weights 2 pounds 15 oz with 9 rounds of 155gr Underwood HP ammo and no holster is why. There’s no wondering because you can feel the weight and the big pistol pushing into your side.

With that said though, I do like and trust the 1911 design and the 10mm Desert Eagle 1911 has operated flawlessly since I bought it. Seriously, it is a remarkable pistol. Since I do have a Concealed Pistol License (CPL), I wanted a couple of carry options and started with an inside the waistband (IWB) holster.

After doing a bit of digging on affordable options, I bought a Kydex IWB holster made by Concealment Express off Amazon (I’ve since found that if you sign up for their newsletter from their website they will email you a 10% off coupon code for “joining the club” plus they do have good sales from time to time so you ought to check them out). To cut to the chase, I really like it and want to share some information with you about the holster.

Concealment Express is located in Jacksonville, FL, and makes their own holster. What I think makes them different is that they CNC machine their own aluminum molds so this lets them really pay attention to the details of the firearm and dial in their process for making them.

I used to make Kydex holsters but it was more of a artisan craft approach vs. cranking them out in a manufacturing setting. The reason I mention this is that I like their designs and their attention to detail.

First off, look at the very clean lines of the holster. Both exterior edges and details of the molding are very crisp and distinct.
The clip is made from ABS plastic, will fit up to a 1.5″ tall belt and the cant (the angle of draw) is adjustable from -5 to 20 degrees allowing for you to adjust it to your preferred carry and draw style. I am right handed and use same-side (strong-side) holsters so this is their right hand carry model – they can make left hand models as well.

Boltatron

Kydex is a brand name of thermal plastic that can be heated and shaped. It’s also become a bit of a catch-all term for plastic holders but there are differences including holsters that are actually injection molded.

In the case of this holster, the material is a 0.80″ thick thermal plastic known as “Boltaron” and it has some cool characteristics. Kydex can get brittle when cold and may crack when dropped plus in high heat (for example, when a hot barrel gets inserted into the holster), Kydex might soften and deform. Boltaron does not get brittle when cold and doesn’t form/deform until a higher temperature.

Boltaron has many colors and textures. This is their carbon fiber texture and just to be clear – it’s still the thermal plastic and not carbon fiber. By the way, the white specs are dust on the holster just to be clear. Also, note how corners and edges are rounded.

Safety Details

Okay, when I carry a 1911, it is locked and loaded – there is a round in the chamber and the hammer is cocked. Now the 1911 design has two safeties and I really need to rely on them when I have a loaded 10mm in my pants – yes, I can think of a lot of jokes with that comment too but am not going there 🙂 It has the grip safety and a thumb safety just under the rear of the slide.

These are the two safety mechanisms on a 1911. The most important safety mechanism is you – always remember that.

There’s not much you can do to safeguard the grip safety but I really prefer to have something protecting the the thumb safety to keep it from accidentally getting switched from safe to fire. Concealment Express designed their holster to safeguard the thumb safety.

Note how the Boltaron covers the thumb safety and reduces the odds of it accidentally getting switched off. A nice perk of the Bul design is that it has the traditional single side safety and is not ambidextrous. In many 1911s, there is a thumb catch control on the opposite side as well that could still get accidentally snagged but at least it is not right against your body with you moving up and down right against the safety.
You can see from the rear how the thumb safety is shielded.

Adjustments

They designed in two things you can adjust – the cant of the belt clip and they also have two screws that you can use to adjust the tension to make the pistol easier or harder to draw. When you tighten down the screws, the tension increases by drawing the two sides of the holster together. When you loosen the screws, the Boltaron wants to open back up and it becomes easier to draw the pistol.

You can adjust the cant (angle of carry) and the tension that is holding the pistol in the holster.
In case you are wondering how it works, the holster is formed formed on a mold under a vacuum. There is a filler that keeps the bottom edges of the holster open. The holes are drilled for the tensioning screws and the magic happens thanks to the two thick rubber washers. They compress when you tighten down the screws thus drawing the sides together and increasing tension. You can make it too tight such that the pistol can’t be drawn or holstered by the way so experiment with what works for you.

One important comment – always apply thread locker or the screws will slowly loosen over time. You can assemble with a blue medium strength compound like Blue Loctite or you can use a wicking medium-strength formula that is very then and is drawn back into the threads via capillary action. Never use red or permanent thread locker – those require heat to be removed and heat is not something you really want around thermal formed plastics.

What 1911s Does It Fit?

Concealment Express says it will fit most 5″ Government model 1911s that do not have rails. This would include models such as my Magnum Research /Bul Armory DE1911G10 as well as models from Colt, KImber, Ruger and Springfield.

As an aside, it does not fit my RIA 52009 for example – that is 16-round Para-inspired design that is more like a 2011 with a much wider grip. If I heated the holster up at the top with a heat gun and made it wider at the top, I could probably get it to work. I just point that out for folks wondering if this would work with one of the bigger 2011-style frames.

Conclusion

Plain and simple, the Concealment Express 1911 Government IWB holster is a perfectly decent holster. It’s built nicely and is easy to carry (albeit with a heavy pistol). “Is that a 1911 in your pants or are you just happy to see me?” springs to mind 🙂 At any rate, I’d recommend and will continue to use it myself when I do carry this big pistol.

Concealment Express Makes Many Holster Models

I’m impressed by their approach and plan to buy one for my Glock 29 Gen 4 and will report back on my experiences. Click on the following ad to go to their website:


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


Adjusting 2011 Rock Island Armory HC Magazine Feed Lips – It’s Easier Than You May Think

In most magazine fed weapons, the angle at which the cartridge feeds into the chamber is critical to reliable functioning. This is certainly the case on 2011 and Para-style pistols. I wrote up a blog post outlining what I did to modify Mec-Gar Para P16 10mm/.40 magazines over for use in the Rock Island HC-series (High Cap series) pistols such as my 10mm 52009 (click here if you want to read it). I got a few emails from guys asking if I could explain what needs to be done to adjust the cartridge angle.

Okay, so what is controlling the feed angle is in part the shape of the lips, the gap between them and the shape of the follower. Let’s take a look at an ACT-MAG that works for both .40 and 10mm:

This is a Rock Island Armory 10mm magazine. It’s made by ACT-MAG and is part number  OEMP164015B. RIA worked with them to design the angle of the lips, the gap between the lips and the shape of the follower to feed the round at the right angle. The cartridge is a 10mm Underwood with a 155gr XTP JHP bullet. Look at the angle.

There are a whole bunch of reasons why you need to adjust the angle as a consumer. Slight variations in how the pistol or magazine were made, wear over time, etc.

What you can do is to bend the feed lips open or closed in the front to adjust the angle. This works because the cartridge is round and the gap affects how far up that part of the cartridge will rise up.

By changing the gap between the feed lips, the cartridge goes higher or lower. The trick is to adjust parts of the lips – usually just the front portion. Yeah, I can’t draw to save my life but I hope you get the basic idea.

In general, the back of the lips are relatively fixed because of the extra material around them. Now they can get bent out of shape for one reason or another and I would recommend you compare the front and back feed lip caps of a questionable magazine to a good magazine.

Safety Comment – Use Dummy Cartridges / Snap Caps

I said this in the first post and it is so important that I want to reinforce the message – I knew I was going to need to do a ton of cycling of rounds. Using live ammo is risky because you have the very real risk of a negligent discharge. To avoid this, order yourself in a bunch of dummy cartridges. There are sellers on eBay that will sell you 10+ at time. Order yourself in 10-20 rounds. You are going to smash the crap out of them due to the heavy recoil spring a 10mm uses. I trashed at least 10-15 of them. Most were due to the bullet being smashed back into the case, one dented the case pretty bad and one deformed the case right at the mouth.

I can’t even guess how many cycles I did – especially starting out. I’m going to hazard a guess and say I averaged about three cycles per dummy before something failed on the dummy as I worked out the kinks and I would load three rounds per magazine to do the testing.

I can’t stress it enough – get dummies to tune your magazines.

Actually Adjusting The Lips

The goal is for the bullet to point straight into the chamber so that when the slide goes forward, the cartridge is stripped from the magazine and is fed straight into the chamber. We can move the front of the cartridge up and down by changing the gap between the lips.

In general, the gap at the back of the lips tend to be slightly smaller than the front. What happens is the cartridge gets pinched/stopped at the back while the relatively wider front portion allows the cartridge to be pushed farther upwards per the figure above.

Do not rush! If you take your time this goes pretty smooth. Do a little bit of adjustment and test over and over. It gets easier the more you do it.

If you need to close the lips, you can slightly crush them in a soft-jawed vise, use rubber/plastic tipped/non-marring pliers or light taps with a non-marring hammer. Just do a little and test over and over. In general, I use either the vise or pliers depending on how my hands feel as I prefer the control vs. tapping with a hammer. Everyone has their preferences and I know guys who can rock with a hammer. It’s up to you.

I get it in the ballpark and then I fine tune by spreading the front lips open a bit with malleable chain pliers – these are made for being the links of chain that some hanging light fixtures have. Any plier that opens when you squeeze it, such as external snap ring pliers, can work.

These are malleable ring chain pliers. You can find them readily on Amazon or eBay – plus there are good odds that your local store selling hanging lights might have them as well. Also not the dummy rounds pictured and the odd mottled color. Those are from Realistic Snap Caps and work great.

What I do is to put the pliers inside the front edge and open just a tad. I don’t try to do it all at once – it doesn’t take much to open them up a slight bit. So do that and then test with dummy rounds (snap caps) over and over. You will trash a lot of dummy rounds doing this so keep spares around. I absolutely do not recommend doing this with live ammo – it’s an accident waiting to happen.

You just want to open that front part a bit to raise the cartridge up. If you need to close it. I really prefer using a vise or non marring pliers to squeeze the lips shut. Some guys use a rubber tipped hammer and that works for them but I prefer more control.
I put my pliers on that angled portion of the magazine tube to spread open the front but there are other approaches also.

You really need to experiment with every mag and fine tune them. I don’t have a set of measures that works perfectly every time. Instead, just remember to aim the bullet at the chamber and tune from there.

Last comment – always take your pistol to the range and make sure a magazine is reliable before you count on it. I like to number my mags to I can keep tabs on ones that are having problems and need adjustment.

Videos

Here are two mag lip tuning videos by Atlas Gunworks who has way more experience than I do. The first is about feed lip tuning when it comes to STI magazines – they are similar and you can get ideas but they are slightly different as well so the dimensions may not apply in your case:

The second is about STI magazine tuning in general – another solid video you can get ideas from:

Lastly, let me share this video from Adrian Cobb who owns MBX magazines and they make both STI and Para style mags. They don’t support 10mm today but plan to in the near future (note, they changed the thickness of their tubes and while they work with .40 caliber rounds right now, they stopped handling 10mm but they plan to address this in the near future):

Conclusion

This is what I do and it works for me. I know other guys have other approaches so do some searching and decide what works best for you. I hope this helps you out.


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.



The Magnum Research DE1911G10 10mm Pistol At The Range – It’s A Keeper

In the previous post I outlined my first impressions, cleaning and lubrication of the Desert Eagle 5″ 1911 in 10mm (model DE1911G10). I finally had a chance to get to the range and I was so impressed.

It was a nice Spring day as I set up at the Berrien County Sportsmen’s Club’s pistol range. I have always liked the club in general and I like to use their pistol range with metal plates at about 30 feet when I am testing pistols.

The 1 0 yard pistol range wih metal plates is great for testing pistols. I like how I can pull the rope and reset the plates for another round.

For testing,I brought some Ammo, Inc. 180 grain TMC rounds that I had bought in bulk from Palmetto State Armory (PSA). I have to confess that before I bought the ammo I had never heard of “TMC” and had to look it up. TMC stands for Total Metal Case where in the entire lead bullet is covered with copper vs. Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) that leaves the lead at the base of the bullet exposed. TMC is not a magic silver bullet though – there are pros and cons with the process but regardless, it is another option for you to explore when you are looking for range ammo.

I also brought with me a variety of other rounds including S&B 180grain FMJ, Underwood 155 and 200 grain XTP hollow points.

I also brought a number of Wilson Combat and TRP Cobra Mags with me. There are a ton of magazine makers out there and some tend to be better than others. I’ve not had a problem with Wilsom or Cobra 1911 10mm magazines yet.

The left magazine is a 9-round Wilson. The middle magazine is a 9-round Tripp Cobra and the right magazine is a 10-round Cobra.

For safety, I was using my shooting glasses and my Leight Howard electronic hearing protectors.

Looking Over the Pistol

You know, really wasn’t sure if I would like a two tone pistol but it has grown one me. The attention to detail is just remarkable and I wanted to share a few more photos:

Skeleton hammer, nice beaver tail, checkered backstrap. The G10 handle plates are surprisingly comfortable. Note the safety is not ambidextrous but since I am right handed, it really doesn’t bother me.
It’s a sharp looking pistol. I really wasn’t sure how I would like the two tone finish and blue/black handles but it actually looks really good in person. By the way, it worked just fine with all of the Wilson and Tripp Cobra mags I brought.
I kid you not, I was really surprised about how good the trigger pull was.
You can see the bull barrel and lack of a bushing. I really have grown fond of front serrations on slides in general to aid with getting a good grip to rack the slide. A 10mm 1911 tends to have a pretty stout spring so I like the serrations. My RIA 52009 does not and I can tell you it is not as easy for me to rack from the front.
I really like the attention to detail. Notice how the bottom of the G10 slab is beveled, the front of the grip is checkered and the mag well is beveled to aid in loading? That helps you get an idea of the attention to detail.
All the controls functioned just fine.

Shooting the Pistol

I got up to the line, loaded my first mag, racked the action, took aim and squeezed off a round of the Ammo,Inc 180gr TMC. The first thing I noticed was how smooth it cycled – It’s hard to explain what I am thinking when I test a firearm but the first few rounds are all about function – feed, cycling, ejection, etc.

I proceeded to shoot more magazines and noticed there were no failures to feed (FTFs) or failures to eject (FTEs). Matter of fact, after I shot probably 100-150 rounds of all the different 10mm loads I brought and had zero problems. Folks, that is remarkable right there. So often firearms have to wear in and I am kind of used to having a few problems as stuff gets to know each other. Not here – it ran like a top from start to finish.

In terms of accuracy, I was regularly hitting the plates. I’m good enough with a pistol so I’ll just say the pistol was hitting what I was shooting at reliably. I’ll try it from the bench some time and see.

The ergonomics were all solid. I liked the whole package – the trigger, checking, feel of the grip panels and the serations on the front of the slide. Matter of fact, this is the first 1911 in ages where I think I may well leave the G10 grip panels on it vs. swapping out to the Hogue wrap-around models I usually use.

The grip angle of the 1911 has always appealed to me. It enables me to use a natural point of aim meaning I bring my hands up and I am pointing at the target. With a Glock for example, I have to adjust my aim. Now everyone is different — if you are new to pistols, go down to your local gunstore and try different models. Literally see which one feels best for you.

Conclusion

This pistol is probably going to be one that I keep if I were to make a bet. As my friend Scott can tell you, it’s rare that I keep a gun around – I buy it, try it, learn from the design and move on. Every once in a while some design really strikes me and I keep it aroud. That’s the case with this Desert Eagle. They are hard to find right now and I bought mine off Gunbroker. If you find one, I’d definitely recommend it.

Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.




The Magnum Research DE1911G10 10mm Pistol – I Really Like It!

Ok folks, I’m experimenting with 10mms again. I had a run in with a bear last summer and while nothing happened, it sure made me want to carry a more powerful pistol than a 9mm. Years back, I had a Dan Wesson Bruin and a Rock Island 6″ Ultra that were both in 10mm that I eventually sold and was firmly in the 9mm camp for years.

My first 10mm to try out this time around was a Springfield Armory TRP Operator with a 6″ barrel. Folks, I genuinely was not impressed and reliability sucked out of the box (click here for a blog post about that). So I dug around and ran into the Magnum Research 1911-style pistols. Know what? They get great reviews and guys kept mentioning how well they were made and what great triggers they had.

I ordered a DE1911G10 pistol and it arrived a bit over a week later so I rushed over to my friend Scott Igert’s gun store (Michigan Gun Exchange) and checked it out. I was genuinely impressed by how smoothly the action cycle and the excellent trigger right out of the box. I’m used to things being gritty or really tight from lack of lubrication but this pistol was remarkably smooth. I’ve only encountered one other pistol this way – my Dan Wesson Bruin was slick – but nothing has come with this nice of a trigger right out of the box.

Before going further, let’s take a step back and look at who makes this pistol.

Magnum Research Makes 1911 Pistols?

The short answer is “no” but they do sell them. I owned a Desert Eagle Mk.V .44 magnum way back in the 90s so I was familiar with the Magnum Research (MR) of old but kind of stopped keeping track as the years went by. I did some digging and over the years they worked out deals with other firms to make certain pistols (for example IMI/IWI and Saco) they sold and eventually MR was bought by Kahr Arms in 2010.

The firm that actually makes the MR 1911 pistols is BUL Armory of Tel Aviv, Israel. They were founded in 1990 and make a wide range of CZ, 1911 and 2011-style pistols. Their pistols have s great reputation and are in use all over the world.

My Pistol

It’s a good looking pistol and I am glad it doesn’t have the huge gaudy engraved letters on the side that previous Desert Eagle 1911s had. If you don’t know what I mean, just look at some pre-2020 articles or posts and you’ll see.

I had to wait for some time to take the pistol apart, clean and lube it before going to the range. For those folks new to firearms reading this – you always clean and lubricate a new firearm – even if they come in a bag soaked in oil.

The DE1911G10 disassembles like any 1911 with one big exception – does not have a bushing so to remove the slide assembly requires the insertion of a pin in a hole they machined in the recoil spring guide (the round metal rod that the recoil spring rides around).

It seems like I am seeing fewer pistols with bushings – at least 10mms. The ones with a setup like this make takedown very easy – you lock the slide open, put a bent pin (MR/BUL provides one) into the exposed hole in the recoil spring guide, release the slide and then the recoil spring tension is removed. Everything then strips down real easy – easier than even traditional 1911s in my opinion because you aren’t fighting any spring tension trying to shove the slide forward.
With the pin in place and the slide released, the pin holds the spring in place. Note, I released the slide by gently racking it – not just dropping the slide stop as that will slam the recoil spring parts against the pin unnecessarily. If you don’t have a factory pin, you can bend a small paper clip to have a small 90 degree leg on one end. It doesn’t look very good but it does the job.
You pull the spring assembly straight back and out – including the pin. Just take care not knock the pin out. A 10mm pistol uses a stout spring and it will be a bear to re-assemble. Either use a vise to help or a second person. I plan to do a blog post on this at some point.

Cleaning and Lubricating

For a while now, I’ve been using RamRodz to clean pistol barrels and bought packages for both my 9mm and 10mm pistols. I like how tight they fit and I can really clean out the barrels. I coat them with CLP to do the cleaning, lubrication & protection (hence the acronym CLP).

I wiped everything down to remove any dirt or debris from the factory. Other than the oil that coated the pistol from the factory it was very clean. In looking at the parts, everything was nicely made, fitted and assembled. So far, so good.

Here’s the field stripped pistol with all of the major parts plus you can see the RamRodz, CLP and my precision SuperLube applicators.

To lubricate the pistol, I use Superlube liquid to get all of the traditional points except for the slide rails and the heavy bull barrel. On those I user SuperLube synthetic grease to make things slick. Folks, when it comes to lubrication you will get a million opinions and get into arguments. It just so happens that I find SuperLube works really well and I use the grease on all of my firearms now where parts slide together. It’s a synthetic grease and it has tiny PTFE (Teflon) particles in it to help with lubrication. I know when you hear “Super” in anything it sounds like a rip off but this stuff really works and I have been using it for a few years now on my pistols and rifles.

I use an acid brush to lightly apply SuperLube grease to all surfaces the slide – the frame rails and the bull barrel because it directly contacts the slide. It makes one heck of a difference folks.

Re-Assembly

Again, it’s just like a 1911 with the exception of that recoil spring assembly. Just insert the barrel into the spring and then carefully insert the recoil spring assembly so the groove is against the barrel and don’t knock the pin out of the hole.

Re-assembly is easy with no spring to fight. Just don’t knock the retaining pin out of place.

Video For People New to 1911 Pistols

If you are new to 1911s I have great news – there are tons and tons videos, blogs and books about how to clean and care for your 1911. Just remember by comments above about there not being a bushing and the takedown pin you insert in the recoil spring guide — otherwise it is the same.

The following video from Ruger has a very similar bull barrel, no bushing and uses a pin. The person doing the video does a nice job.

This next video covers re-assembly:

These next two videos provide nice overviews of cleaning a 1911:

Conclusion

The action and trigger were so slick at this point! I was deeply impressed. After lubricating, the trigger pull averaged about 4 lbs 2oz using my Lyman digital trigger pull gauge. In general, I like the trigger – I can feel where it is going to break and then can cleanly pull through.

Okay, with this part done and my seriously liking the pistol up to this point, I had to take it the range and that will be the next post.


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.



Update On My Springfield Armory 10mm 6″ Pistol – Answering Some Questions

H folks – I’ve had a few questions come in about my Springfield Armory TRP Operator 10mm 6″ pistol. I answered the emails but figured a blog post might help others out so I am going to list the question and my answer to each.

Was it reliable out of the box?

The short answer is “no” and for the price you’d expect better reliability out of the box. This is my third 6″ 10mm 1911 style pistol – I had a Rock Island Big Rock (their Tac Ultra (arguably a 2011-style given the double stack magazine) and a Dan Wesson Bruin. Only the Bruin was flawless in terms of operation out of the box. I wish I hadn’t sold it actually.

I am to the point in life where I trust nothing out of the box and have found that ammo, lubrication, magazines, and design factors all can impact reliability. The TRP Operator had issues until I sent it back to Springfield Armory for repair – the slide was randomly locking open so they replaced that and I also noticed the magazine release button was far stiffer. I’d heard that they go over the pistols carefully when they go back for repair and I guess they do. I lubricated it carefully, took it to the range and only then did it run without any surprises. It does run very well now.

At any rate, I learned from my friend Scott Igert what I needed to do to improve chambering for the Big Rock and wrote a blog post about it. I did the same to the TRP and it did solve the chambering problem. I did a blog post on that too.

It does beg the question why did I need to do this in the first place – the TRP wasn’t reliable with any model of mag I had or any type of ammo including FMJ. What it tells me is that they really didn’t put a lot of care into assembly. It also reinforces that you should never trust a pistol out of the box for something critical – hunting or defense – ever.

Note, I am to the point where I also immediately replace the mags of 1911s which leads us to the next point.

What magazines do you run?

I’ve had so many feed problems caused by 1911 magazines over the years that I always replace the mags that come with the pistol with Wilsons or Tripp Research Cobras. I did not have magazine related problems with the 8 round magazines.

I did write up a blog post if you are interested.

What ammo works best and worst?

Guys ask this quite a bit. My go-to ammo maker for 10mm is Underwood. They have a number of offerings and a great reputation. So, I have a number of HP and hard cast rounds from them and they all work just fine. For range ammo, I use 180gr S&B FMJ and it all works fine,

I simply can’t afford to buy a ton of brands and types of ammo to test – the above is just my experience.

Does it use a barrel bushing like a traditional 1911?

In short, no it does not. A match bull barrel is fitted to the slide.

There is no barrel bushing like a traditional 1911 uses. The bull barrel fits directly into the slide. The three piece operating rod and free spring make re-assembly a challenge at first but you get used to it after a while.

Does it use a captured recoil spring?

No, it uses a unique setup of a rod, spring and end cap (see the above photo) that fit together but are not held together in any way. I’ve not seen this setup before and while it makes re-assembly a different experience, it does work and I am used to it now. I would gladly have replaced it with a captured model but I was unable to find anyone who makes one for the 6″ TRP.

Is the 6″ model worth it vs the 5″ model?

I’m to the point that a 6″ pistol really is for hunting and I’d prefer shorter for easier carrying. The weight and balance of a 6″ 1911-style pistol, including the TRP, really soaks up the recoil of the 10mm and makes it easy to shoot – even heavy loads. I really like the 10mm cartridge and think I will get either a 4.25″ or 5″ 1911 model in the future. I may just get a Rock Island and plan on tuning it up out of the box – they are good base pistols in my honest opinion.

I do have a custom shoulder holster from Tucker Custom Gunleather that is a work of art but your’s truly who stands 5′ 8″ is maybe 2-3″ too short to pull it off comfortably. I’d go with a 5″ or even a commander next time if I wanted it for EDC. I have a Blackhawk Spec Ops chest holster that works great for the TRP for field use.

Why did you replace the grips?

The short answer is that I have carpal tunnel and rubber grips are way easier on my hands.

I find Hogue wrap around grips really help my hands.

Do you like your TRP Operator and would you recommend it?

This is a weird question for me to answer. The reliability sucked out of the box and really disappointed me – especially given the cost. It runs great now though and I think I am to the point that I trust it. I only have maybe 100 rounds through it since it came back from Springfield Armory to fix the random slide locking open issue and want to get 100-200 more through it before I decide for sure.

After I did my tuning and SA did the slide lock repair, the pistol ran great. It also needed lubrication when it came back from repair but during the last range trip it worked great with all the magazines I bought and types of ammo including FMJ and HPs.

I will say that Springfield Armory’s customer service was good but the repair turnaround was slow due to all of the pandemic buying – I sent it in for repair in late June or early July and got it back in about six weeks. No telling how long it would be now if someone needed to send in their pistol. I always have a “can I trust this now” thing going on in my head when a pistol comes back from repair.

So I am thinking as I write this. I guess I would say the TRP Operator is a decent pistol but it does not wow me – especially for the cost and what I needed to do. If you buy one, I would absolutely recommend you test the hell out of it before relying on it. That’s a recommendation I would make regardless of weapon to be fair. In conclusion, I do think it is reliable now and may very well keep it – we’ll see how it performs over time.


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.