BB gets disappointed – Part 3 The truth emerges on the Taurus PT 1911

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Interesting update on the Pump-Assist for the Benjamin 392/397
Bob Moss, the inventor of the Pump-Assist modification, contacted me regarding the velocity of his guns. He tested each gun before modifying it, but since the wood forearms were sent off for modifying, he used a different steel pivot pin to hold the original pump lever for this test. All his .22s registered around 580 f.p.s. before the modification. But after reading the comments to our report, he just tested the guns with the factory roll pins installed, and they’re now registering 620 f.p.s. with 8 pumps. The test pin he used was a few thousandths smaller than the factory pin and apparently that was all it took to drop the pressure. Bob is retuning all his pump-assist guns in both calibers to equal factory velocities with Crosman Premiers.

He’s going to retest the pump force with the new setup, but he feels confident it will remain the same. Only the length of the pump stroke in which the effort has to be applied should change. Bob is sending me a new .22 to test for you, which I will do as soon as it arrives. This story isn’t over yet.

Now, to today’s business. It’s been longer than three months since I touched this story, and people have both written and asked me in person (at Roanoke) when I was going to write another installment. Today’s the day.

With a subtitle about the truth emerging, I bet you think I’m going to slam Taurus. Well, I’m not. Yes, I think their advertising is misleading, as you will learn in a moment, but the PT 1911 is actually a good value for the money. I paid $500 for mine, but I see the street price starting to increase. I would not pay over $600 for this gun, knowing what I now know, but it’s still a good valve for that money.

What’s a firearm doing in an airgun blog?
If you are just tuning in now and wondering what I’m doing reporting on a firearm in an airgun blog, here’s the deal. There aren’t many surprises left for me in airguns. I’m just not as susceptible to false advertising and inflated claims as a new airgunner. Therefore, when I found myself in a similar situation with a firearm – one in which I wasn’t very knowledgable and had to rely on written reports, I used it to relate to everyone coming into airguns for the first time. The Taurus PT 1911 is my Gamo Hunter Extreme, so to speak.

In the first report, I was extremely dissatisfied with the pistol. It proved very unreliable, which was something I will not tolearate in a handgun. I said then that I would find out how good the Taurus lifetime warranty is, but subsequently I decided to go a different direction. Since I used to work on 1911s in the 1970s, I though I’d try my hand at fixing this gun and learn more about it as I went. I’m glad I made that decision, because I’ve learned that the Taurus PT 1911 really is a good basic handgun. Mine just had some problems that it shouldn’t have had.

Where they mislead
Taurus says this gun is hand-fitted, but that’s either a lie or there is no quality control. I suspect the latter, because the gun is basically fitted very well. But there should not have been a huge burr on the extractor if they looked at the job after they did it. The lesson there is that companies who sell on the basis of price alone (Gamo, Chinese guns, etc.) do not have the time nor the inclination to check their work. Once it goes through the assembly, it’s boxed and shipped. Companies like Weihrauch, on the other hand, do take the time to shoot the guns before shipping. This is neither good nor bad, it’s just a fact that the new buyer has to know.

 

Burr on extractor (huge pointy thing slightly out of focus on the right side) should never have slipped past a quality inspector.
Also, there was far too much tension on the extractor – about double what is called for. This alone is a classic cause of the type of misfeed I was having. I backed the tension down to around 25 ozs. I also removed the burr. I noted that misfeeding is the most common problem reported for the PT 1911, so Taurus needs to look at that part of the job – the same as Diana needs to get serious about producing a scope mount for their seriously drooping barrels. The Diana problem will soon be solved, I hope, but I can’t speak for Taurus.

The gun also shot too far to the left. Some of that can be blamed on me pulling the trigger instead of squeezing it, because shooting to the left is a problem right-handed pistol shooters all have. Since the rear sight was all the way to the left in its dovetail, I decided to center it to see what effect there might be.

Where am I?
On yesterday’s trip to the range, there was a single failure to feed from the last round in one of the two Taurus magazines. The Wilson Combat magazine fed reliably. I fired a total of 151 rounds, so the failure rate has been drastically reduced. All 100 of my handloads fed reliably. The one failure was a 230-grain Remington hardball round that has the reputation of feeding perfectly in most guns. So, I’ll credit that one failure to the Taurus magazine with its too-weak mainspring.

Instead of telling you where the sights ended up, I’ll show you. This target was shot rapid-fire at about 10 yards. There are 40 shots on this target. I used a center hold with the combat sights, so the sights are pretty close!

 

A center hold with the popular “8-Ball” combat sight (white dot in front held above white dot in rear) produced this group at 10 yards. 40 shots fired rapid-fire. Shots on the left are from a flinch that I’m still working on. This is minute-of-bad-guy for certain!
I’m not done
There will be more to this report. I want you to see how I deal with a problem that was a catastrophe in the beginning. Over the course of the past six months, I’ve done extensive research on M1911A1 designs, gunsmithing techniques and modern shooting techniques. I have even learned how to shoot two-handed, though I prefer one-handed and do better that way, so far. I’m telling you this so you can relate as you progress into airgunning. You will no doubt encounter many similar problems along the way, and I want you to see that they happen to everybody. The only way to get through them is to plod ahead with a purpose.

53 thoughts on “BB gets disappointed – Part 3 The truth emerges on the Taurus PT 1911

  1. BB
    Actually, I greatly appreciate your blog. I’ve known other Taurus pistols that were pretty decent, and I’m considering getting some kind of 1911 type soon, I’ll probably consider them now, even though you’ve pointed out a couple problems that seem able to correct.
    What I’m really curious about is if you are going to start a separate firearm blog or if you know of any that you would recommend for someone who wants to make a good choice in a purchase. Still, I appreciate the info. JP


  2. Hi BB
    Sam
    How and when is RWS going to fix their Droop Problem. I own a RWS Panther34 that the sights broke and I removed………?
    I spoke to you at the Roanoak Airgun
    Show. Great Show.
    I plan to buy a Airforce Condor and use air and Co2.. Is a Co2 adapter available for the 88 gram throw away bottle….?


  3. Hello, Your blog is great. I guess I’m old fashioned but I would not like going through all the hassle for something that costs that much. You should not have too. Buy a Ruger. Thanks



  4. Hi Sam,

    No, the AirForce CO2 adapter isn’t capable of using the AirSource cartridge. Only paintball tanks.

    Diana isn’t going to correct the barrel droop problem as far as I know. But I am working with a manufacturer to create a new type of scope mount for all Diana spring guns that will automatically corerct the problem, plus be the easiest scope mount you have ever used. I hope to seego on sale in a few months, but there is some more testing needed.

    B.B.


  5. Hi BB. I have a new Talon SS. I do not have a chronograph (yet). I have a couple of questions.
    1. I am currently shooting Beeman Kodiaks at 6+ on the dial. I get a definite “crack” when I shoot them. The gun is pretty potent at this level, the pellets easily penetrate 1/2 plywood at 30 yards. At what power level should the sound lessen?
    2. In one of your articles you talk about identifying three power levels. One for hunting, one for plinking, and one for max number of shots. What would be your off the cuff suggestions be for someone without a chronograph?

    Thanks,

    Mike T.


  6. Hi BB!

    Is this gun made in Brazil? Our quality control is not really that good… in fact, we`re used to the `at least it works` policy.

    I shot a few times with a gun like yours and I enjoyed a lot… it`s pretty acurate and I couldn`t find a single flaw… then I shoot with a Glock and realized how heavy and rude the Taurus guns are (that day I shot with a Taurus .38 revolver too, I`m not comparing calibers, just the quality of the materials involved). I tryed a .45 IMBEL (another Brazilian brand of guns) and it was a little better than the Taurus (light and precise).


  7. Question about JB compound, read what has been said about it, that you should clean once and then basically not clean a springer.

    What if you get a used gun? You want the best accuracy and don’t know if it is clean or not.


  8. Mike,

    At the power setting 6 to 8 you are where you want to be for hunting. Maybe go up to 10 if you’re huinting bigger game like raccoons and woodchucks.

    The “crack” you are hearing is the muzzle report – not the sound barrier, if that’s what you thought.

    Some one without a chronograph should dial the power down until the rifle becomes quieter for plinking, but use a lighter pellet than a Kodiak.

    B.B.


  9. Raphael,

    Yes, this pistol is made in Brazil. But the plant has installed all new manufacturing methods like MIM (metal injection molding) that the old-timers hate. I’m hoping to see whether they have any basis for feeling like they do.

    I really do think this pistol is a good one, but they over-sold it in the ads. However, with a little gunsmithing I expect to end up with a reliable companion.

    B.B.


  10. JB Compound,

    I’m the one who said a lot of that, so I know what’s been said. It’s never a good idea to clean an airgun or rimfire barrel if they don’t need it. With the rimfire you don’t have a lot of choice, but with an airgun you wait until the accuracy drops off. The danger comes now from the brush or the compound, but from the improper use of the cleaning rod that can oval the muzzle.

    With a used gun you don’t know if it can shoot better, so unless it is really a tack-driver, you probably clean it once.

    B.B.


  11. David Tubbs shoots air rifles to get better (if possible) at high power so perhaps shooting high power (pistol) will help with airguns, too?

    I tend to think that almost any form of trigger time is good for accurate shooting. Dealing with recoil forces one to be very careful with trigger control even without the recoil.


  12. I love the variety of this blog.

    I’m surprised it’s so hard to find a good version of the Colt 1911 which is probably one of the most prolific handguns in existence. You would think there would be many good, cheap options.

    I’m curious about the special technique for firing this gun effectively that was mentioned in an earlier blog. Is it a loose hold like the artillery hold to go with the big recoil, or is it an extremely tight hold?

    Also, are the Colt 1911 air pistols based on a revolver mechanism like Umarex? They’re not blowback, right?

    Matt


  13. Matt,

    There probably ARE a lot of good inexpensive 1911s on the market, but I wanted this gun for defense. The unreliability I suffered in the early days, which may now be corrected, was what put me off.

    On the hold, I am in the process of cdhanging my mind. I was taught to shoot 1911s by my Squadron Commander when I was a Lieutenant in the 3d Cav. LTC Bonsall was a Master shooter, which means he had qualified to shoot in the Olympics, had he wanted to. He could shoot a 2-inch group at 25 yards offhand with any arms room .45 her drew. That’s the hold I use with the P1, which recoils very little, and it seems to work well. I wrote about it in the P1 report.

    But I just received a free DVD from Wilsoin Combat in which an IPSC shooter demonstrates a different hold. I tried it and reduced the muzzle flip by about half. That’s the hold I used to shoot today’s group. So I’m in the learninjg mode now and won’t know for sure for many months.

    The 1911 Umarex pistols are 8-shot revolvers, same as all Umarex pistols. There is no blowback. Only the Umarex Desert Eagle has blowback.

    B.B.






  14. hi bb, Im ready to buy myself a new air rifle after many years away from the sport.After reading your reviews it will more likely be a TX 200 mk3 .22. My question is beech or walnut stock, would you be kind enough to explain pros and cons of each of these woods and do you think the quality of walnut avialable for mass produced guns today is what it was.thanks. GED


  15. Sumo,

    Actually, I was robbed while living in government housing at Fort Knox. Because Ft. Knox is military property and because the kid who did it was a minor and also a civilian, the investigators refused to let me go after his parents to recover damages. Can you believe that?

    However, about 20 years ago, in Maryland, we had a crackhead blow his brains out just outside our bedroom window. My wife, who was already pro-gun, became extremely interested in being armed ALL the time.

    You would not want to rob my house today!

    B.B.


  16. GED,

    Lucky you! How I envy the experience you are about to have! Believe me when I tell you that your first sight of that rifle will make it all worthwhile.

    Now for the wood question. I have a beech stock because beech is cheaper and stronger than walnut. However, walnut is both lighter weight and much more attractive. The pictures on the Pyramyd Air website are of a walnut-stocked rifle.

    The first TX I owned had a walnut stock and I thought it was prettier than the one I have now.

    The walnut they put in these rifles is not the equivalent of the $5,000 blanks that shotguns get stocked with. It couldn’t be. But even a plain walnut has more character than beech.

    If it were my choice, I’d pick walnut.

    B.B.



  17. Good to see the update, glad to know there is improvment. Might consider Wolff, Wilson or McCormick springs to replace the factory magazine springs for possible improvement in the future.

    On another note, for those who may not know, there is a new story posted on the “Remembering When…” blog – cheerful memories of yesterday.

    http://remembering-when.blogspot.com/


  18. B.B.
    Not that easy to order something form pyrair.
    Im in Cyprus. Here they use wd40 for oiling the guns so….
    Nothing similar to molys?



  19. Mixalis,

    Well, for gosh sakes DON’T use WD-40 on a spring gun for anything!

    You neded to contact some high-level maintenance facilities and in your area I would look at marine maintenance. I bet they use noly for something. Get the highest ration of moly powder to grease you can find.

    If not marine, then check aviation. Also, see what those places that sell airguns can do. If they are hardware stores, they should be able to order moly for something.

    B.B.



  20. B.B.
    Do you know a place where it lists the NRA rankings and the qualifications to get them? The ranks I’ve heard like Distinguished Master and Distinguished Expert sound like Kung Fu. If the qualifications are in terms of a particular score for a particular distance and target size, one could try to reconstruct them on the indoor range and dream….

    I took a look at the NRA site but it was too complicated for me to find what I want.

    Matt







  21. Matt,

    If you really want to do this, you will have to learn them all. The Distinguished ratings are on top of the lower Marksman, Sharpshooter and Expert ratings.

    Different disciplines have different ratings, too.

    I would contact HQ Moody at this address:

    hmoody@nrahq.org

    B.B.



  22. lol! No you’re not! I am!

    I could have sworn that in part one or two of this post you said that the gun was shooting to the left no matter what you did you try to fix that. maybe it was a different airgun pistol.

    maybe I’m a confused kid who just got home from school and had only a few hours sleep last night!

    I realize now that I really overdid this! Oh well, it was fun at the time, and it seems like I don’t really comment much on anything but the Benjamin 392. Soooo…

    My fault, srry for the mix up! I was just glad for a chance to maybe help on something. Something that was a little more obvious than I thought.

    Oh well. Good to talk to you anyways!

    Thanks and Sorry :)
    Insomniac



  23. BB,
    You mention that you are using this gun for home defence. Im just curious as to why you would use a semi-auto instead of a revolver. Revolvers will never jam or missfeed. Im not critsizing just wondering.

    Nate in Mass


  24. Doing some research on kroil, considering don’t know if a used gun would benefit from JB or not, considering using it on a used gun overnight, then maybe using JB for about 6 strokes the next day. Sound reasonable?


  25. B.B.,
    Diana droop……..I can’t wait to see what design you’ve come up with for an adjustable mount, and please put me on the waiting list. I put the B-square on the Diana 54 this weekend and had to have almost half of the threads on the rear post exposed to get it zeroed at 20 yds, plus I had to fabricate a decent scope stop. Its holding well now, but it seems like the sliding recoil carriage puts a sharper recoil impact into the scope than regular spring guns do. Do you think that is true: less recoil to the shooter; more recoil to the gun and scope? I love the recoil-free action, though.
    Pestbgone



  26. Nate,

    I have 2 .357 revolvers ready to go for defense, but they only have six rounds and the .357, while effective in a full-power load, isn’t as good in the weaker loads I have handloaded for my guns. I do that so my wife will shoot the guns. We practice periodically with all our defense weapons so she feels familiar with them.

    The.45 ACP, on the other hand, has little recoil compared to its overwhelming stopping power – not foot-pounds, but a combination of a large heavy slug moving just fast enough – that it is the gun of choice for defense. She may not care for it when she shoots it, but I find it to be very sweet.

    This is a debate that has gone on for years, but I feel more comfortable with this caliber. And a properly set-up 1911 can be nearly as reliable as a revolver. Until owning this Taurus, I had never seen a 1911 that wouldn’t shoot 1,000 rounds without a problem. That’s what I’m aiming for with this gun.

    B.B.


  27. Kroil,

    It sounds to me like you are afraid that JB paste will somehow harm the bore of your gun. It won’t. Benschrest competitors use it regularly on expensive custom barrels to keep them shooting well.

    Now an airgun barrel is softer than a centerfire barrel, but if you use JB paste in moderation, it won’t harm your gun. Twenty strokes in each direction ensures that all the lead is removed. It probably goes with fewer strokes, and probably varies depending on the condition of the bore, but 20 is the number I recommend.

    B.B.


  28. Pestbgone,

    In my opinion, the Diana 54 is softer on scopes than the 48/52. Because the action moves, I believe that it absorbs a bit of the shock that normally gets transferred to the scope and rings.

    That’s just my opinion.

    B.B.



  29. Also B.B.,

    Will you PLEASE review the Viper? I know it doesn’t really have any gimmicks, but it is really a great gun for the money (except for the trigger of course), as it seems you’re going after all the gimmick guns:

    Viper express = Air shotgun/ “slug” (22 cal pellet) combo

    Hunter extreme = “1600″ fps

    Gamo whisper = integrated silencer

    Thanks for reading,
    Viper Guy



  30. Hi again BB,
    Getting back to what said about the .45 vs .357. I agree with what you said about the stopping power. I know there has been a big controversy about the use of the 9mm M9 by the military. I know you can fit more 9mm rounds in a clip, so it was basically a question of capacity. To have less powerfull shots or more less powerfull shots. (does that make sense?)What are your thoughts on this? I know this isnt directly airgun related but i’d like to hear your oppinion.

    Nate in Mass



  31. Viper guy,

    I’m sure the Vipewr is a wonderful air rifle. Working with the Whisper has taught me that, plus you will recall that I as much said so in my report of the Viper Express.

    Unfortunately I have limited space here to review airguns. Gamo will get its time, but I have already covered quite a few of them. So the Viper will take a lot of time, if I can get to it at all.

    B.B.


  32. Nate and Insomniac,

    I formed my opinion based on the experience the U.S. Army had in the Philippines in the early 1900s with the Moro tribesmen. The .38 cartridge they were using was ineffective in combat, causing them to re-issue Colt .45 single action revolvers.

    That was what drove the decision for the 1911 pistol to be produced in .45 caliber – a caliber created especially for the Army. Since then, law enforcement has had the same experience. The .38 bullet does not prove as effective as the .45 at stopping men.

    Since the 9mm is essentially the same caliber (.355 vs .357), it falls into the same category as ineffective against humans.

    Please understand what I mean. I don’t mean a 9mm won’t stop MOST human beings. It will. But there are a few persons in the criminal world, and in the military, who are much tougher than the norm. These are the people you shoot with a 9mm and they cut your head off with a machete anyway. They may even die afterward, but that’s not the way I would prefer the story to end.

    The .45 ACP, on the other hand, has a significantly better record at putting people down for good. That doesn’t mean it’s infallible, either – just significantly better.

    The funny thing is, if you continue on up the power spectrum beyond the .45 ACP, the more powerful cartridges don’t get significantly better. That’s because there isn’t that much room for improvement.

    Believe me, I would shoot a 9mm if the results were in its favor, because the recoil is indeed less. But in defense, I want results above all else.

    B.B.




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