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Thread: Stupid question looking for a stupid answer... (RIA)

  1. #1
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    Stupid question looking for a stupid answer... (RIA)

    So forgive me if I have offended the 1911 gods, but my first pistol was an RIA 1911 tac. I know, I know, phillipino piece of junk. It was quickly replaced by Glocks as I began to do more serious shooting.

    Now I am getting a hankering to return to the 1911, and I am wondering if it is possible to do so with the gun I currently have. For the record, it has just north of 1k rounds through it (I'd estimate 1300 or so) totally trouble free.

    However, the finish is crap (very poorly done Nickel), and I question the longevity of some of the internal parts. I haven't been able to do a full detail strip of the gun as the ambi safety (a part I would be totally happy to do away with), but I am doubtful that most of the internal bits are up to par. They've done fine with 1k rounds but I'd like to work this gun up to be able to take a little more than that.

    So, first things first - who should I be looking at for a refinish, and what kind of job should I look at to replace the nickel, and what should I expect to pay for it? I don't want to break the bank on something like Robar - I'd rather spend that money on smithing than on the finish - but something decent like hard chrome from a respectable outfit would be nice.

    Secondly, I would like to get it done up by a decent gunsmith at some point. I have read that many gunsmiths will not work on the foreign pistols (which strikes me as odd given that most SAs are still built on brazilian frames...). What is the rationale behind this? are there any who would take my gun that are worth spending coin on? I probably won't want to go all out - just have it cut for decent sights, probably replace the internal parts that need it, etc...

    Let me know if any or all of this project is foolish. I am really only looking into this for the pistols' sentimental value - if I wanted a truly nice high end 1911 I'd look at a WC or something similar, but I want to be able to do this in pieces, starting with the finish, so that in a couple years I have a decent 1911 that I would be comfortable carrying and that would be the basis for a second 1911 purchase further down the line.

  2. #2
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    I'm not sure what others think about the RIA, but I'll share my limited experience with them. I've shot 4 RIA 1911's, 1-GI, 2-"Tactical" models, and 1-commander length. All four were extremely reliable and reliably fed a variety of hollow point defensive ammunition. They were all also plenty accurate enough. I didn't see anything wrong with examples I've handled.

    One of the guys at the local IDPA matches used a RIA GI model in competition and does very well. I know he's had night sights installed and he changed out the grip panels. Otherwise the gun is 100% stock and he does great with it.

    If you feel that you need to upgrade yours then go ahead. That's a personal choice. I can understand the finish, but if nothing has broken yet, then don't worry about it. Make internal upgrades when things break.
    Quote Originally Posted by markm View Post
    It's not truly a build unless you mine the Aluminum Oxide ore, refine it yourself, and forge the receivers yourself.

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    Personally, I'm not one to put lipstick on a pig. The ria is a budget 1911... with that in mind, it can easily serve its intended purpose. If you're not planning on using it as a defensive weapon, why bother with upgrades? If you are, I'd highly recommend investing in something with a better known track record. Can cheap guns run well? Sure can... but I'm not willing to stake my life on them unless they're made right and have proven themselves.
    Acta Non Verba

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    Quote Originally Posted by lethal dose View Post
    Personally, I'm not one to put lipstick on a pig. The ria is a budget 1911... with that in mind, it can easily serve its intended purpose. If you're not planning on using it as a defensive weapon, why bother with upgrades? If you are, I'd highly recommend investing in something with a better known track record. Can cheap guns run well? Sure can... but I'm not willing to stake my life on them unless they're made right and have proven themselves.

    Well the finish I absolutely want to get fixed up as it is a pain to have to worry about rust etc... I also wouldn't mind putting a new pair of sights on it.

    That said I don't see why the RIA would be any better or worse than, say , a Springer GI model given what the average "upgrade" package costs and includes. Provided that the frame and slide are OK (which I think they are) I don't see why not.

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    I own a RIA “Tactical” 45 and I use it as my IDPA backup should my primary gun break during a match. The gun is well made, shoots well, handles anything I feed it and generally does exactly what I need it to do. On top of that they are an amazing value for what they cost.

    That said they are what they are. They are well made yet somewhat crudely finished guns. If you want something with better fit and finish you would be better off selling yours and buying one that meets your criteria.

    However, if you just want something to shoot, you’re going to have to spend a good deal more money to get a noticeable increase in accuracy and reliability.

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    Quote Originally Posted by S391 View Post
    I own a RIA “Tactical” 45 and I use it as my IDPA backup should my primary gun break during a match. The gun is well made, shoots well, handles anything I feed it and generally does exactly what I need it to do. On top of that they are an amazing value for what they cost.

    That said they are what they are. They are well made yet somewhat crudely finished guns. If you want something with better fit and finish you would be better off selling yours and buying one that meets your criteria.

    However, if you just want something to shoot, you’re going to have to spend a good deal more money to get a noticeable increase in accuracy and reliability.
    Fair enough. I do really want to do something about the finish, parts (beyond maybe new sights) are a secondary and more long term concern.

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    First I would like to state that have zero experience with RIA so I can not comment either way on that, but as for smiths not working on foreign pistols, I believe that stems more from the pistols(not refering to any one brand here) are more often than not with in spec for a build up, but there are exceptions to that rule. But things like the pin holes are a prime example, if they are not where they need to be it can make fitting parts difficult at best. As with all things 1911, starting off with a good foundation will pay dividends in the future.

    As for the finish: Have you checked with any local smiths to see what their capabilities are? The only recomendation I would have is get the sights cut prior to refinish so you dont run the chance of having to do it twice.
    "Deploy yourself. Strike hard. Try everything."-Warren Bennis

    "God gives every bird its worm, but does not throw a worm into the nest"-Swedish proverb

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    Quote Originally Posted by Norseman View Post
    First I would like to state that have zero experience with RIA so I can not comment either way on that, but as for smiths not working on foreign pistols, I believe that stems more from the pistols(not refering to any one brand here) are more often than not with in spec for a build up, but there are exceptions to that rule. But things like the pin holes are a prime example, if they are not where they need to be it can make fitting parts difficult at best. As with all things 1911, starting off with a good foundation will pay dividends in the future.

    As for the finish: Have you checked with any local smiths to see what their capabilities are? The only recomendation I would have is get the sights cut prior to refinish so you dont run the chance of having to do it twice.
    I have heard very good things about JoJo's in Southington, CT, which is not too far from me.

    I think you are right on the money about sight cuts. I *do* know that the RIA Tac has Novak-style sights and slide cuts but not necessarily Novaks. I will likely have to have them recut and real novaks installed. I will have them done simultaneously in order to save on refinishing.

    As for the rest of the frame/slide specs I am not sure, I am not intimately familiar with the 1911 so I would also probably have the smith in question take a look at it for me and let me know what they think.

    One thing I *do* know is that STI builds their guns off of Armscor frames, which is the frame that my 1911 is built off as well.
    Last edited by Nephrology; 10-10-11 at 16:22.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nephrology View Post
    Fair enough. I do really want to do something about the finish, parts (beyond maybe new sights) are a secondary and more long term concern.
    If I ever decide to change the finish on any of my guns I would send them off to Robar for an NP3 finish. You get improved looks (IMHO) as well as the benefits of corrosion resistance plus the lubricity that comes from the Teflon in the finish.

    Add some Novak sights and you would be good to go.

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    Good call on having someone spec the gun out for you. If the frames are Armscor than there is a high likely hood that you would be good to go. I for one don't really care what the "banner" on the side of the gun says, if the frame and slide are in spec and are good forgeings than that is all I really care about, take Norincos for example.

    But I am a sample of one, and I am sure others may offer better incite. My experience with build ups has been limited to springfields since that is what was provided in the class that I took recently.
    "Deploy yourself. Strike hard. Try everything."-Warren Bennis

    "God gives every bird its worm, but does not throw a worm into the nest"-Swedish proverb

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    RIA

    I've owned an RIA for the past year or so putting just over 2000 rds through it and aside from some magazine issues (since resolved) I couldn't have asked for a better "basic package" 1911. If you can get past the brand myopia and the arrogant smirks some 1911 elitists have; with an RIA you are looking at a basic, functional firearm that is and has been great for my needs. I'm not saying there aren't better 1911's out there, but I'm also not saying there aren't worse. If the RIA isn't what you want, you should get rid of it and get the firearm you desire.

    Semper Fi,
    ~Str8
    I come in peace, I didn't bring artillery. But I am pleading with you with tears in my eyes: If you **** with me, I'll kill you all.

    Marine General James Mattis, to Iraqi tribal leaders

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    Quote Originally Posted by Str8Jacket722 View Post
    I've owned an RIA for the past year or so putting just over 2000 rds through it and aside from some magazine issues (since resolved) I couldn't have asked for a better "basic package" 1911. If you can get past the brand myopia and the arrogant smirks some 1911 elitists have; with an RIA you are looking at a basic, functional firearm that is and has been great for my needs. I'm not saying there aren't better 1911's out there, but I'm also not saying there aren't worse. If the RIA isn't what you want, you should get rid of it and get the firearm you desire.

    Semper Fi,
    ~Str8
    I'm perfectly happy with its functionality - I just want to invest in a better finish and sights that will make me even more happy in, say, 20 years.

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    My first and only 1911 is an RIA. Started as a plain jane gov model and worked just fine. Bought some parts off of a friend who was going full custom on his stainless kimber. Everything in the frame is now from a kimber, but I still have all the original parts as well. Had novak sights installed and the whole thing duracoated (about to be redone in ceracoat because the duracoat was not done well).

    The only time the gun has given me any problems was the first time I tried HPs. That turned out ot be a mag issue. Switched to 47D's and the gun has been flawless since.

    Right out of the box I shot it way better than my G27 or USPcompact.
    Last edited by ssracer; 10-10-11 at 19:51.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ssracer View Post
    My first and only 1911 is an RIA. Started as a plain jane gov model and worked just fine. Bought some parts off of a friend who was going full custom on his stainless kimber. Everything in the frame is now from a kimber, but I still have all the original parts as well. Had novak sights installed and the whole thing duracoated (about to be redone in ceracoat because the duracoat was not done well).

    The only time the gun has given me any problems was the first time I tried HPs. That turned out ot be a mag issue. Switched to 47D's and the gun has been flawless since.

    Right out of the box I shot it way better than my G27 or USPcompact.
    Did you do the internal parts fitting yourself? I was looking at Novak for a refinish and sights install, I would probably be comfortable installing some of the easier parts myself (I know, easy to install 1911 parts, oxymoron...)

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    The only parts that needed any fitting were of course the beaver tail (had to radius the back of the frame) and the mag release was a little tight at first. I did do those myself. Everything else dropped in.

    Had a smith do the slide milling for the sights and the duracoat.
    Last edited by ssracer; 10-10-11 at 21:17.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ssracer View Post
    The only parts that needed any fitting were of course the beaver tail (had to radius the back of the frame) and the mag release was a little tight at first. I did do those myself. Everything else dropped in.

    Had a smith do the slide milling for the sights and the duracoat.
    have any pictures?

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    I totally agree with the lipstick on a pig idea- dumping cash into a 400 dollar 1911 to tune it up and make it look nice makes no sense at all- mag wheels on a yugo if you will. Run it the way it is replace stuff if it breaks and save the money for another 1911.
    While I am not a big fan of foreign made 1911's, the RIA's and various other foreign made guns (anything from the phillipines plus SA's guns- which are made whole or in part in Brazil) have a pretty good reputation for working.
    Getting an American made 1911 (either a semi custom, S&W or my Favorite colt) would be preferable to sinking cash into the RIA.
    considering the cost and variable reports of quality I've heard, I think I'd rather Have an RIA than a kmber at this point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nephrology View Post
    have any pictures?
    http://www.m4carbine.net/showthread.php?t=76425

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    Would swapping out your sites and refinishing your RIA increase the resale value of the gun? If you decide that you would rather sell this one in say 6 months to a year, would your see a return on your investment (higher resale value) or would the money have been wasted? (lipstick on a pig)

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    Very nice! I would be happy to end up with something similar. Refinish and sights would be all I want at this point I think, anyway.

    As to the above, I do not really intend to sell this pistol. I am only getting it done up a bit because it has sentimental value, if I wanted resale value I'd spend the cash on a glock or a 1911 5x the price.

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