Saturday, August 13, 2011

Ruger SR1911 .45 ACP Review - Fit, Finish, and Features

Ruger SR1911 .45 ACP Review - Fit, Finish, and Features

As some point or another every gun owner has said they want to own a good quality 1911 pistol that will not break the bank. In fact most of use have an image of that gun floating around in our heads.

This driving desire to own a 1911 has been our 100 year romance we have had with the gun since it's namesake year.  Of course the power and accuracy potential of the venerable 1911 design all makes us feel like bullseye shooters and 1920's gangsters.

When most of us think of that image of a quality 1911 in our heads, we think of a gun with the basic upgrades but not so many upgrades that the gun becomes unaffordable.  For most this means a price range well under $1000 and preferably under $800.  That mental image of the perfect sub-$800 1911 usually includes over-sized beavertail safety, skeletonized hammer and trigger, a crisp trigger feel, and upgraded barrel and bushings to increase the accuracy.  Somehow Ruger was in our heads and designed the SR 1911 and upgraded our idea to stainless in the process, a firearm which is surely destined to become another long-term perennial favorite such as the GP100, Mark III, and 10/22.

Someone once said the secret to great cooking was using the best ingredients available and then just not screwing them up.  Ruger did the same with their version of the 1911.   They used the best components available, let them shine without over doing it.  The result is base priced 1911 in stainless with the basic “must do” upgrades covered all for under $800.  No need to spend a fortune for parts and gunsmithing services... Just plop down your cash on the Ruger SR1911 and go have fun shooting.

This at least will be the impression most will have with the Ruger SR1911 however there are more subtleties to the new Ruger 1911 than meet the eye which increase the gun’s appeal even further..

Finish & Fit
Overall the Ruger SR1911 is one of the best fits of production 1911s between the stainless cast lower receiver and miller stainless upper receiver. Perfect buttery custom gun feel? No, but tighter and smoother than other production guns I have shot. Many will say, “Milled lowers are better”, however keep in mind Ruger’s high precision foundry has been delivering some of the most precise castings to manufacturers across the industry for decades.  I would challenge you to notice from a fit perspective that it is cast lower versus milled. All the parts are tight and have that solid “build like a Ruger branded brick shit house” feel about them.  Most will find the fit and finish as good or better than other production 1911.
The SR1911 gun feels solid, beefy and is comfortable in the hand.  One of my typical tests it to hold the firearm in my hand during a full length movie at home.  This test confirms that the gun would be comfortable during a long event or during extended shooting and also shows exactly where blisters will begin to form. The horns on the beavertail do start to create a couple sore spots and the inside trigger guard could be slightly more radiused, however unless you have stumpy hands like me or are shooting the gun for over an hour you probably will not notice. The rest of the gun is very comfortable and the grooved rosewood grips and rear checkering provide a perfect grip without being too aggressive on the hands.

Features - Firing Pin
Ruger skipped the problematic newer generation firing pin safeties which leave many 1911 owners swearing about higher manufacturing costs, failures to fire, and harsher trigger pulls. Ruger just made the older simpler problem-free 70-series design just as safe by using a stronger firing pin spring and lightweight titanium firing pin. This allows the gun to survive drop tests without accidental discharge when the gun hits the concrete, provides nice upgrade, a less complex and less expensive design all while maximizing a great trigger feel.

Features - Trigger
The trigger is skeletonized aluminum with over-travel adjustment and is probably one of the best triggers I have tried on a production 1911.

Features - Barrel & Bushing
The stainless barrel and bushings are made from the same piece of bar stock. Why? Because every piece of bar stock is just unique enough that one piece will be marginally harder or softer than another. By using the same barstock for both barrel and bushings the chance for wear over the long term is greatly minimized and a better fit equals tighter groups now and into the future.  Nice detail..

Features - Standard Upgrades
The Ruger SR1911 includes a oversized mag release, thumb safety, beavertail safety with a nice palm swell for positive safety dis-engagement, skeltonized and bobbed hammer.  The beavertail safety and thumb safety are not hugely oversized, so the Ruger should be a good comfortable carry option.  The hammer is nicely stylized and deeply serrated and can be cocked single handed with the grip hand. The magwell is more of a standard type with a decent magazine flaring, but for competitors, they will want to add some sort of aftermarket magwell funnel to assure speedy mag changes.

Features - Magazines
The Ruger SR1911 magazine are some of the most gorgeous magazines I have ever seen on any production gun.  The included seven and eight shot magazines are mirror polished stainless steel with anti-tilt followers.  The 7 shot provides a flush fit with the lightly beveled mag-well while the extended 8-shot includes a hard plastic bumper.  These magazines are a work of art all unto themselves.  Just a note my Kimber .45 magazines functioned perfectly as well for those looking for possible compatibility options.

Features - Sights & Grips

The sights are Novak three dot dovetail sights and provide plenty of function with the rear being adjustable for windage via a set screw. Unless you are a target shooter, these are all you will ever need.  It should be noted that the top rear of the slide is milled to accept other Novak equivalent extended combat and adjustable sights, however should you want other non-Novak compatable target sights, you may need to have the top of the slide milled to provide clearance.  Grips are beautiful cocobolo with deep aggressive checkering for plenty of grip.
Features - In the Box

Included in the now standard cardboard box was a lock, the gun, two magazines, the plastic take-down wrench, and a zippered pistol pouch.

Testing included five-hundred round of five types of ammo ranging from the inexpensive steel case Herters & Wolf, and various standard and premium Winchester rounds in hollowpoint and FMJ.  Everything feed, fired and ejected without a single issue.  Based on the fact the gun could feed anything I threw at it, I would not hesitate to recommend this 1911 for anyone intending to utilize the SR-1911 as a reliable defense gun.

Ruger has mentioned that the gun will do 1.5” groups at 25 yards and I don’t doubt in a Ransom rest or someone more competent than myself that would be true.  Almost all of my groups were solidly in the 2” range for 8 shot groups.  A magazine full of the cheap ammo grouped mostly in the 2.25” range which I was very happy with.  My second best group was a four-shot 1.8” group with Winchester 230-Gr FMJ rounds... yes the cheap stuff.  My best group was a four-shot 1.6” group with Winchester PDX1 230-Gr defense round.  Noting the Winchester PDX1 ammo has been some of my most consistantly accurate rounds in a variety of pistols and calibers.  I believe Ruger’s SR1911 claims, now apparently I just need to improve my skills a bit more to match theirs.

The Ruger SR1911 is an outstanding value for a feature loaded production 1911 that you can just buy and have the confidence in to go out and shoot.  For my hands the standard grips are a bit wide and would like to swap those for something thinner, however I would keep everything just as it is.  As that old chef told me, if you have great food ingredients make sure you don’t screw it up and Ruger certainly added up all the right ingredients and prepared an outstanding 1911 for the masses.  Highly recommended.

Caliber:.45 Auto
Slide Material:Stainless Steel
Sights:Fixed Novak® 3-Dot
Barrel Length:5.00"
Twist:1:16" RH



1 comment:

RonnBlog said...

After reading all the reviews and info that I could the Ruger 1911
went on sale so I took the plunge. The look, feel and balance was perfection then it was on to the range where the love affair
deepened. I have only 200 rounds through it and can't wait to get back to the range. The Ruger has exceeded my expectations and I highly recommend it.