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Colt Competition vs. Springfield Armory Range Officer in 9mm

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by rocket500, Nov 20, 2017.

  1. rocket500

    rocket500 NES Member

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    I’ve wanted one of these two for some time. Up until now options for a MA approved 9mm 1911 were pretty thin.

    So I bought both and have now run a decent sample size of rounds through each. Upwards of 500 for the Colt and probably 1000 for the Springfield.

    Obviously both are full size all steel 1911’s.

    The Springfield is parkerized and doesn’t look quite as nice as the Colt IMO, which is blued. The Colt is a bit polished on the side surfaces but kind of bead blasted everywhere else.

    I prefer the wood grips on the Springfield to the blue Colt synthetic grips but that’s subjective. Both have the upswept beaver tail type grip safety which I like.

    The Colt slide rattles and is not that tightly fitted. The barrel bushing is easily removed by hand. Undercut trigger guard is nice. The mainspring housing is plastic. Yuk. Colt should use a metal on but I get these are guns built to a price. Colt does make the Gold Cup and I’m sure it’s more tightly fitted.

    The Springfield slide is much more tightly fitted. It doesn’t rattle. The barrel bushing is super tight. When the gun was new i ruined a plastic bushing wrench trying to turn it. Now that the gun is a bit broken in its a little easier but still very tight. Metal checkered mainspring housing. The barrel is ramped if it matters to you. The Colt barrel is not. The Colt has a dual recoil spring. They claim less recoil (I don’t feel much difference) and extended service life. Recoil springs are cheap and easily replaced. Meh.

    The triggers seem similar. Crisp. Both are Series 70 type I believe. I haven’t pulled out the scale but the effort seems similar. My finger says 4-5lbs.

    I like the fiber optic front sight Colt uses. Not as wild about the rear more of a combat type IMO but it is adjustable for elevation with a screw and windage with a punch. Both front and rear are dovetailed. No issues with them. The fiber optic draws your eye to the front sight nicely.

    The Springfield sights are target type with a large rectangular rear sight. Adjustable with a screwdriver for windage and elevation. The front sight is dovetailed and pinned.

    The rear sight on the Springfield has been an issue. It is a sloppy fit. So sloppy that if the set screws aren’t tight the sight falls out if the gun is turned sideways. And the set screws shoot loose. After shooting loose a few times I applied some loctite to the set screws. Held up to about 250 rounds last time. Fingers crossed.

    For target use (my intended use for either of these guns) I have a preference for the Springfield sights although I’d take a fiber optic front if I could get it.

    Shooting the guns I had some issues first time out with the Springfield and IMI ammo. Gun would jam with a live round chambered but the slide about 1/8th inch from in battery. Was a pain to clear. Hasn’t happened after changing ammo. I’m going to guess the Springfield has a tight chamber. Shoots my reloads fine as well as Winchester White Box and Blazer.

    The Springfield mags have tight springs and are a pain to load. It seems to like Metalform mags fine and they are much easier to load.

    The Colt mags are OK to load but I get a few stovepipes with both the Colt mags and the Metalform mags. I also get some brass to the face. The gun runs better and ejects better with Wilson Combat mags. I have not noticed any ammo sensitivity with the Colt although I may experiment with different loads to try and get good function with other than the Wilson Combats.

    Other than these teething issues the guns have been pretty much reliable.

    Accuracy wise frankly not much different. Maybe a slight edge to the Springfield so far but I am not 100% on this yet need to shoot the Colt more.

    As for the verdict I think the finish is better on the Colt but the fit is better on the Springfield. The rear sight on the Springfield has been an annoyance but I like the sight picture. The Colt’s fiber optic front is nice but the rear sight isn’t quite as good for target use IMO. Almost a hybrid target/combat sight.

    Other than with IMI ammo the Springfield seems to be settling in to be reliable. So long as I use Wilson Combat mags the Colt has been too.

    If the rear sight decides to stay put in the Springfield is probably give it a slight edge. If not I’ll be using it as a boat anchor and shooting the Colt!
     
  2. highlander

    highlander

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    I have a SA Range Officer and my rear sight hasn't moved. I did get rid of the locking MSH replaced it with a Wilson MSH. Oddly enough I wa getting fte with Win white box replaced the recoil spring and I was GTG.
     
  3. chris_1001

    chris_1001 NES Member

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    I was a bit torn between the two. Agree that the samples I played with match what I read above. The SA had a nicer slide to frame fit. But hate the target sights. I only shot the Colt, and accuracy was just fine (off hand shooting so not a real test)

    So this week I hope to get the Blued Colt in 9mm
     
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  4. tomp

    tomp NES Member

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    I did purchase the colt stainless 9mm. had problems with fte . I went with a fullsize guide rod and a flat wire 13lb spring with the shok buffer all fro Wilson no issues since. I do have a failure to lock the slide when the mag emptys . both with th efactory colt mags and a set of mec-gar 10 rounders I purchased. going to try a dawson precision or Wilson see if that helps. other than that I love it. might try the springfield ro in 45acp next. was looking at the colt45acp, not sure what way to go. any input on the 45s out there yet
     
  5. kelton

    kelton NES Member

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    My Colt 9mm (avatar) has had 100 rounds of American Eagle 124gr., only one hiccup, and I blame myself limp wristing when my glasses fogged. Worked great with factory and Wilson mags. I haven't noticed the slide rattle.
     
  6. chris_1001

    chris_1001 NES Member

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    The Colt I tried (stainless 9mm) had a failure to hold back the slide, its a range "rental" and I was blaming the mags. I have a Sig TTT that did the same, but I lightly sanded the slide release pin and that solved it.
     
  7. highlander

    highlander

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    The magazines I use are the factory either Metalform or Checkmate not sure which but I have some 10 round mags from Tripp that work very well but they are pricey.
     
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  8. weehooker

    weehooker NES Member

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    I've handled both extensively. I believe the SA to be a better fit gun.
    That said, the Sig 1911 in 9mm has a edge on the SA .
     
  9. rocket500

    rocket500 NES Member

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    The SA is most definately a better fit gun. Much tighter. Interestingly I’d expect a tightly fitted 1911 to be less reliable and I haven’t found that. It runs fine.

    I’d also expect the sloppier fitted Colt to shoot sloppier groups and it really hasn’t so far.
     
  10. jakeroub

    jakeroub

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    I’ve been thinking about getting a Range Officer but am torn on .45 vs. 9mm. I do reload .45ACP already but not 9mm- factory ammo is too cheap.

    Does anyone know if the RO in 45 uses standard 1911 parts? What parts on the 9mm aren’t standard 1911 besides the barrel, slide, and magazine? I’m a tinkerer and may want to fit some replacement parts down the line.

    My wife doesn’t like to shoot my Auto Ordinance 1911 because of the recoil. Would 9mm be much different?

    Thanks!
     
  11. CoastieRon

    CoastieRon NES Member

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    I have the SA in 9. It shoots better than I do. Haven't had any issues yet with FTF or FTE. 500 rounds through it. No issue with rear sight either. Is my first and only 1911.
     
  12. rocket500

    rocket500 NES Member

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    I’m not an expert but I’d expect that some of the small parts in the slide don’t interchange with a .45.

    I expect trigger parts do interchange as well as safety parts, mainspring housings, hammers. Grips definately.
     
  13. gxx9sdb

    gxx9sdb

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    I have the stainless RO with the fiberoptic front sight. I like it a lot! Only issue i had was due to the sub par ammo that I was using (maxx ammo or something). The case must have been bulged and it got stuck on its way into the chamber. First time i had a live round stuck in a gun before and it was not fun trying to free the slide to get the round out.
     
  14. rocket500

    rocket500 NES Member

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    I’ve had the same thing happen with IMI ammo. I think the RO barrels have tight chambers.
     
  15. chris_1001

    chris_1001 NES Member

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    So, I was about to buy the Blued Colt in 9mm last Friday. Played with one fresh out of the case and noticed on loading an empty mag it would hang up on (probably?) the mag catch. Tried a Stainless one. Same issue. So I held off.

    Took the "range rental" Colt 9mm to play with. Every other shot was a failure to extract. Obviously the Extractor is worn or chipped. And being a range rental, I'm sure its beat to death.

    But overall, I'm kinda dissapointed and am holding off on buying one. Yes, this is an inexpensive mass produced Colt, but still...
     
  16. rocket500

    rocket500 NES Member

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    Save a hundred or so and get a Range Officer 9mm
     
  17. Eugenio.FV

    Eugenio.FV NES Member

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    I just got my first gun, a 1911 RO in 9mm, I am obsessed with it. Granted, I know that this being my first gun, I wouldnt be able to compare it to others, but this gun feels very solidly build, its crazy accurate, and imo looks better than the colt. All ive done so far is get a bulletproof slide stop to help me avoid the idiot mark, and got a couple of cobramags. This thing is a pleasure to shoot, and I actually really enjoy the maintenance that goes with a 1911.

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. BrianWilson

    BrianWilson NES Member

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    This how it starts...... Great looking gun.
     
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  19. rocket500

    rocket500 NES Member

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    I’ve got a good number of additional rounds through each now. Probably 500+ more thru each since last report.

    The Springfield is more accurate- shoots great. It has a very tight chamber and is a bit finicky about ammo. When it jams it’s just shy of being in battery and it’s a pain to clear. The ammo has to be at about minimum spec to chamber reliably. I ordered an undersized resizing die as my normal reloads don’t always chamber. We’ll see.

    The Colt ejects brass to my face off/on and it’s annoying. Impacts my shooting. The fit of the slide to frame and barrel to bushing are kinda sloppy. I get occasional stove pipes. I’m going to try a lighter recoil spring- I suspect it’s oversprung with the dual spring setup. A lot of rounds barely eject- both factory ammo and target loads even loaded hot. I get some stove pipes. Accuracy is good but not as good as the Springfield.
     
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  20. smokey-seven

    smokey-seven NES Member

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    I had occasional stove pipes years ago and could not figure out why. I had a pal watch from behind while I was shooting and the previously ejected brass was going up and falling back into the gun when the next round was being ejected. Crazy timing issue. I then recalled that the brass was falling onto the gun now and then. It took me 10 minutes with a file reworking the ejector and the brass went right and forward after that.
     
  21. rocket500

    rocket500 NES Member

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    I think this is what is happening with mine too. Very erratic ejection with the Colt. All over and kinda weak.
     
  22. rocket500

    rocket500 NES Member

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    Even with ammo loaded to +p levels and 124gr bullets.
     
  23. Ranger007

    Ranger007 NES Member

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    rocket500 thanks for starting off a good thread. :emoji_thumbsup:
     
  24. Squib308

    Squib308 NES Member

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    i also had BTF w my colt competition 9mm. otherwise i love it.

    one thing i noticed with hand cycling is that the empty brass seems to hit the next round in magazine. looking at the factory magazines one sees a ridge in the back of the magazine that holds the rounds in the front of the magazine. presumably this is because 9mm magazines are the same external dimensions as 45acp mags so the rounds have to be held in place otherwise would slide around.

    so to test this hypothesis i found magazines where the rounds are held in the rear of the magazine such that they are less prone to hitting the empty brass under extraction. these are the mec-gar 9mm 1911 mags. sure enough both hand cycling and firing the gun i get about 1/10 as much BTF. ejection is much better. still occasional BTF but far improved.

    the extractor tension is correct so that's not the issue. i agree w above the recoil spring is too stiff for a 9mm. between the hammer spring and heavy recoil spring the slide velocity is slowed down. i don't think this will fix the BTF issue although i can't say i've tried it. if the gun didn't BTF with most mags I would consider the colt competition a win. but this issue is pretty widespread and irritating. i'm told colt can fix it.
     
  25. rickflst

    rickflst NES Member

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    I will be in the buying for either one of these. I have handled the SA RO 9mm and it was nice and tight. I have not had the opportunity to handle the colt and after reading this thread about the fit I think I may be disappointed. I would have to order the Colt which will mean it will be the luck of the draw. I guess I will need to look around and see if I can find an FFL with a Colt to see how the fitment is.
     
  26. EddieA

    EddieA NES Member

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    I wanted the Colt, handled/examined both, bought the RO. Happy.
     
  27. rocket500

    rocket500 NES Member

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    I have ordered a lighter recoil spring to try and get some more positive ejection from the Colt. If that doesn’t work i’ll likely see if Colt can fix it. I had marks on my forehead from the empty cases hitting it!
     
  28. Parker Duofold

    Parker Duofold NES Member

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    There is a discussion on the 1911 forum on this very subject. One guy thinks the 9mm from the factory is "oversprung" and has substituted a 10 lb. spring and a traditional Colt style guide rod. He says his gun now throws brass like it should. They are talking the 9mm Competition gun like you have I believe.
    Colt Dual Recoil Spring System - 1911Forum

    I am not a gunsmith. YMMV
     
  29. rocket500

    rocket500 NES Member

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    I’ve ordered a 10 & 12 lb spring to try. I agree, I think it’s oversprung.

    I’ll report on results.
     
  30. daekken

    daekken NES Member

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    Interesting to know.
    I've been planning on finally get a 1911, but in 45. I was leaning towards the Colt Competition but was considering a different Colt model. I was also interested in the Ruger SR1911 which I have shot before. I will admit part of me wants the Colt just because it is a Colt.
    I really am concerned hearing about everyone's issues on the 1911s (although my understanding is that 9mm ones are less reliable).
    My Sig P226 and Glock 19 run fine with no problems regardless of the ammo, etc.
    It seems kind of crazy to spend $800 give or take and then say, "all I had to do was buy some springs, file this and that, swap out the mags and shoot one particular brand of ammo and I'm good to go." At that price, it should run right out of the box...
     
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