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RIA 1911 metal hardness

Discussion in 'Maintenance & Gunsmithing' started by JGRuby, Sep 8, 2012.

  1. JGRuby

    JGRuby Portland Oregon New Member

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    Can anyone provide first hand evidence that the metal that is used in the production of the 1911 RIA pistols is soft metal in comparison to other 1911 pistols. None of this I heard a guy, or some one said - only actual first hand evidence. I am not into metallurgy and am not fmailair with doing hardness testing - so please real scientific first hand experience please. I have been told that RIA will eventually fail because they are made of soft steel but I see no evidence of this yet.

    I often also wonder about all the MIM parts failure - I have never seen one fail but apperently everyone else has. Does anyone actually know the failure rate on MIM per 1000? Seems when one fails it goes viral on the internet and everyone seems the same images - how much should I actually worry about MIM?

    James Ruby
     
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  2. coop44

    coop44 Tacoma ,WA Well-Known Member

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    better not buy one, everything you see on the internet is true.
     
  3. Velzey

    Velzey Estacada, Oregon Gunsmith Gunsmith Bronze Vendor Bronze Supporter

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    I have milled dovetails, drilled for rails, etc etc....that metal is no softer than a Colt or a Kimber.... I did a hardness test prior to drilling and it was exactly the same as my Colts....

    I actually put a full size in my Ransom rest the other day, and at 35' it grouped all 7 shots just over an inch and a quarter. Thats almost as good as a pistol that cost 4 times that!
     
  4. iamme

    iamme Lane County Well-Known Member

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    My only concern with RIA is same I have with Caspian- if you start cutting into the frame of a cast receiver there is a CHANCE you'll find small voids that can impact the end appearance.

    MIM- the big issue isn't MIM itself, it's like all things WHO's making the parts, the quality of parts being used in the process and their tolerances, etc. Kimber for a long while had many problems with their MIM, I don't know how their newer guns are doing.
     
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  5. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Why would you cut into the frame on a 1911?
     
  6. iamme

    iamme Lane County Well-Known Member

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    Please tell me this isn't a serious question?
     
  7. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    I can't speak much to the metal hardness on the RIA, because I havn't actually thrown one under the DPH tester, but I have spent a fair amount of time handling them of late working on them for some of my friends and other than some fit and finish issues the RIAs are pretty impressive guns for the price. Honestly, I would put them in a category above colt in terms of quality, but I think that says more about colt's quality than it does RIA's, on the other hand, the RIA is built substantially better than many of the south american guns that have been sold here in the US over the last 50 years.

    From what I can tell after having to grind a few frames (putting on beaver-tail safety) and giving them the Bomar treatment, they're made out of identical material to most other guns, even after grinding and cutting through the frames. I don't actually think their frames are cast, even though that's what I keep hearing, there are usually minor irregularities as the metal cools, and unless they do a solid job of surface grinding them after casting, they sure look machined. I recently took a buddy's RIA, stripped it down, put a beaver tail on it, and then carefully surface ground both sides to give it that "two-tone" look and I didn't have to take more than about .0005" off to get the look I wanted.

    I have had one RIA that had a bad feed ramp, after a little bit of work with a round sharpening stone it was reborn.
     
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  8. iamme

    iamme Lane County Well-Known Member

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    I'll answer in case: have you ever fit a GS, done a bobtail, checkering, slide serrations, sight cuts... and those are just basics not getting into what some of the craftsman can do to a 1911.
     
  9. Velzey

    Velzey Estacada, Oregon Gunsmith Gunsmith Bronze Vendor Bronze Supporter

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    I never do checkering or serrations on a cast frame, simply because it does not come out as smooth as steel. Sight cuts, drilling, no big deal if there is a small void.

    I just checked my books and I have installed over 30 grip safeties in RIA 1911's with no voids incountered....thats pretty good
     
  10. wichaka

    wichaka Wa State Well-Known Member

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    ...and don't forget the undercut of the trigger guard. That's where I find most of the cast voids.
     
  11. RoundsDownRange

    RoundsDownRange United States Member

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    When I had my kimber rebuilt with all Ed Brown parts I also had my RIA compact tactical reworked. The thought was that my kimber parts propperly fitted would be a cheap improvement over stock. When I picked both guns up from the shop my gunsmith to my surprise had not used any of the kimber parts... The RIA mim parts where of better quality then the kimber. Honestly I was quite surprised and have been very happy with this gun. It's my EDC and would buy another.