The Kimber is now at 1247 rounds fired. Since completing the 500 round break in period that Kimber recommends, it has shot 747 rounds and experienced one failure to extract. Compare this to the first 500 rounds where it experienced 4 different malfunctions. At least in regards to this gun, perhaps the “break in period” isn’t a myth after all.
For the first 50 rounds I decided to use Browning’s Practice/Target ammo in 230 grain. I know that Bill Wilson is on record stating the smaller 1911’s run better with lighter bullets, preferably 185 grain. I plan on trying some of them but these were what I had available.
So how did it do? Not good. Not good at all. Literally every three rounds, for the first 36 rounds, the slide locked back. In the photos to the left you can see where the slide stop just barely caught the slide. I tried using a different grip, even trying strong hand only once. It didn’t make a difference. This thing would simply discharge three rounds then lock the slide back. The problem could be the slide stop, or it could be mag related. I haven’t investigated it, nor do I plan too; at least until I have put a total of 400 rounds through the gun.
In fairness, following the 36 round malfunction fest, the remaining 14 rounds cycled and shot fine. I ran two seven round mag dumps trying to get it to malfunction again. This is obviously not a long-term test scenario, and I would have loved to continue, but there was a serious lightning storm moving in. Here at Gun Nuts we go too great pains to avoid death by lightning strike.
An annoyance that was discovered revolved around the safety. It clicks off and on as a nice 1911 should, but it overhangs the frame ever so slightly. I never noticed it prior to shooting the gun, but once I had some rounds down range the web of my hand started to blister. I have seen this on many other 1911’s and it isn’t the end of the world; but at the same time, this is not a $500 RIA! I expect better when dropping north of $1000 on a pistol! If I keep the gun after the testing than I’ll correct the issue using my best home gunsmith skills. Until then I’ll deal with it with either gloves or raw ignorance.
The final unexpected issue centered on the sights. (see what I did there) I shot at 7, 10 and 15 yards and no matter the distance the sights hit low – really low. It grouped nicely though but at least 3 inches below my point-of-aim. Given my statement above concerning 185 grain ammo being recommended for small 1911’s I find myself hoping DW installed sights regulated to lighter ammo. I am looking for some 185 grain I can test this theory.
As expected the recoil was snappy, but not the end of the world. You definitely want to have a good grip on the gun though.
With a little luck I can run some more ammo through it soon. Will it continue to malfunction? Will it eat my hand? Will it hit POI/POA with 185 grain ammo?
Stay tuned as we find out.
I have a real love/hate relationship with one of the standard tests I do as part of our 1911 tests, and that’s the 100 round challenge. Shooting 100 rounds rapid fire in ~60 seconds isn’t actually that pleasant, but I keep doing it because it keeps revealing interesting data about the guns we test.
Earlier this week I started a long-term review of a Dan Wesson ECO, which is a 3.5 inch Officer’s sized 1911. Lest anyone think its reliability will be a gimme, I offer the following video from Rob Pincus. I don’t know Rob, and I don’t agree with everything he writes, but based off my personal experience he is correct.
Yes, the gun in the video is a Kimber, but that is irrelevant. Small 1911’s are generally finicky. In fact, I fully expect the ECO will fail at some point. And if it does, I have a couple of things in my bag of tricks that might help reliability.
Did you see the challenge at the end of the video? I don’t know if Rob is still offering this, but if the ECO kicks ass, maybe I could take him up on the offer – not likely.
In the end, I hope the ECO stuns me with utter reliability, but if it fails, I will not be shocked in any way. It is the nature of the beast.
So… do you have a small 1911 that has been flawless? Let us know. Please include the total cumulative round count, as well as the maximum round count you shot in one session.
And for those that care, I finally got around to buying some ammo so testing will start tomorrow!
Jerry Miculek is a treasure. Don’t ever stop, Jerry.
What the… another 1911 review?
I say why not? We here at Gun Nuts are simply trying to appease the ghost of John Moses Browning. We feel such appeasement is necessary given that most people flock to polymer wonders and shun ole’ slab sides. Simply put, the 1911 can be an excellent projectile launcher and if well-built, it is an exquisite work of art. It can also be a source of endless frustration and malfunction drills if poorly built or improperly maintained.
So it was with your interest in mind – or maybe it was the fact I really liked this pistol and wanted to try it – that we open up the testing on the Dan Wesson ECO. This will be a kick-off review. As I write this, I have yet to actually shoot the gun. This is a quick bench top, initial impressions review. My goal is to track the rounds fired and give updates as the weapon either proves itself or infuriates me.
Now for you heathens that don’t know; Dan Wesson was founded in 1968 by Daniel Wesson, great-grandson of D.B Wesson who co-founded Smith and Wesson. In 2005 the company was bought out by CZ, who also makes quality firearms. But enough history, if you want to know more about Dan Wesson’s history you can look here, or here.
The ECO is an Officer sized 1911, thus it is sporting a 3.5” tapered bull barrel and the requisite shorter grip. Being chambered in 45 ACP the capacity is lacking, but frankly I don’t care. With 7+1 rounds of .455 diameter ballistic goodness I can take on seven parachuting ninja (or is it ninja’s?) and at least one pissed off gopher. Yeah, yeah, I know… no one has ever asked for less ammo in a gunfight. Ironically I own a double stack combat autoloader for those causal jaunts through gangland, or into Syrian held territory.
The ECO has an alloy frame which reduces weight. In the past I have owned some lightweight 1911’s in both Commander and Officer length; and while the recoil wasn’t life-ending it was definitely there. I suspect this will be similar; however, the ECO comes with a flat wire guide rod setup. Rumor mill says it is from Evolution Gun Works. If that is true it is great news as I have read good things about that setup’s duality of increasing reliability while reducing felt recoil. We shall see.
Here are the specs from Dan Wesson.
- Chambering: 45 ACP
- Magazine Capacity: 7
- Frame: Anodized Aluminum
- Grips: G-10
- Barrel Length: 3.5 in
- Weight: 1.56 lbs.
- Overall Length: 7.25 in
- Height: 5 in
- Width: It’s a 1911, it’s thin. Duh!
So what do I love about the weapon?
- It feels good in the hand.
- It is well-balanced.
- The sights are not bad – although I will likely put some orange around the front tritium insert to mimic a Trijicon HD.
- It is well de-horned and the fit and finish are very, very good.
- The safety clicks on and off with confidence.
And what I hate about the weapon so far?
- I guess I could complain that Dan Wesson didn’t add a magwell, but so what? It is not like I will be running this in Single Stack.
- I don’t care for the zebra grips. But that is subjective.
- So what do I really hate about it, at this time? NOTHING!
I really hope this short 1911 proves to be reliable. I should be able to report back in a week or so with some rounds down range. Dan Wesson recommends a break-in period, so I will not be performing the 10-8 test until I have put 400 rounds down range.
To say I want this to succeed is an understatement. Time will tell.
One of the things I really like about the Pro Carry II is how accurate it is, especially for a smaller gun. This long video is me shooting a 49/50 on Dot Torture with it, putting the pistol through its paces for accuracy.
I did some shooting yesterday with the Pro Carry II, and while it wasn’t a great practice session by any means, I was able to come away with some useful data about the gun itself. I’ve mentioned that the gun feels tremendously oversprung, and when reviewing slow motion video of some shooting I see that the slide is actually traveling forward and hitting cases at times causing them to fly forward of the gun. One of the other side effects of being oversprung is how easy it is to induce a failure.
Time to test a new gun, while the Dan Wesson is off at NRA getting its photo taken for Rifleman. We’re starting with the Kimber Pro Carry II in 9mm, and like all of test guns it starts with the 10-8 Performance test.
710 rounds in and no failures of any type. The most recent range session was a simple, 200 round USPSA warm-up session using the excellent Birchwood Casey reduced USPSA targets. I’ve been using these targets to train with because they’re almost exactly half the size of a regular USPSA target; plus when I’m training on a single lane indoor range I can hang two of them on the carrier and work on transitions. Like my friend Annette says, “splits are for show, transitions are for go.”