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Thread: 50,000 (now 88K) rounds and counting: Springfield Operator

  1. #1
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    Now at 118K-plus rounds: Springfield Operator

    (UPDATE Oct 2014,round count now 98K plus) (Update 12-29-14, not at 103 K)

    Update 12-2016, now at 118K-ish. 4th barrel, second slide

    Here's an Operator belonging to my good friend Rob Donaldson. I spent the last few days with him and Jeff Chudwin, me filling the role of assistant to the assistant instructor and class armorer. Rob and Jeff were putting on a CQB class for Chicago-area police officers.

    I did some minor work on this gun for Rob a few years back—it was to be his workhorse gun. I have written about Rob before (on LTW): he is a true shooter, a real hard charger. His is a protégé of Jeff and also of Henk Iverson and in addition to being a police officer, is doing training for Strike Tactical Solutions, a company that Henk originally got rolling.

    So now this Operator is at 50K rounds. Here’s what it looks like:

    This Kart barrel is the third for this pistol. Rob felt the first was worn at about 10,000 and had someone else replace it. I did not see the first one at 10K and I’m guessing it may have still been OK. Barrel number two simply was not fitted right nor throated or chambered right. Rob struggled with it for a thousand rounds and then brought the gun back to me and I put in this Kart Easy Fit. It has held up extremely well to the 30,000 rounds he’s put through it. Rob tells me that maybe 1% of those were jacketed, so maybe 29,700 were lead semi-wadcutters with a 5-point-something load of 231. With his very packed training schedule, he is shooting more these days than ever before, and it was a lot before. He reloads to keeps costs down.


    The frontstrap checkering has taken a bit of a beating……


    Overall right side. One version of my Shield Driver sight, made from a Yost Professional, before I started making them from scratch to my mid-eighties design. All other bits are stock Springfield except hammer and sear, plus the slide stop is not stock but neither of us remembers changing it. I believe the S&A magwell was stock on this but not sure.


    Even the original MIM ejector is still there. I must say this Springfield has held up exceptionally well. The frame rail cracked above the slide stop window—common and no big deal….. that’s all there is for cracks.


    The breech face—not as worn and dimpled as I would expect with this round count, regardless of the loads used.


    Like I’ve said, Rob runs the guns and gear hard. Not an abuser by any means, in fact he’s a rare bird in that he really dotes on his guns in terms of maintenance and lube, but—he doesn’t baby stuff. He uses his equipment to the max. I’ve had to TIG on several stops on his Wilson ten-rounders—see how this one is about to get slammed off? And the base pad saw this and took a hike!

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    Nice post.
    Last edited by givo08; 12-19-12 at 18:08.

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    That is a beautiful, beautiful pistol. It's like a great bourbon, that just gets better with age.

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    10,000 rounds is a pretty short life for a barrel. I would've expected more especially in .45. I've been getting between 50-60K with Schuemann barrels as long as I don't run continuous "Bill Drills" and heat up those barrels until theyre brown. One of my .40 guns is a Dawson build and it's over 61,000 on the original STI barrel. It keyholes with some bullets and is a bit slow but with good bullets (Zero) it'll shoot well enough. It ought to fail any time now....

    Worn out, blue/black guns are PRETTY!!!

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    Good post, Ned

    This barrel looks like new, probably because he shoots lead bullets.

    On a side note, how important really are the "middle" sections (on the side of the mag well) of the frame rails? It seems to me most/all the slide alignment is done fore and aft, that's why glocks and other polymer pistols onlly have rail sections there. The question is because I have an old pistol with a long fisure at the base of the left rail, from the slide stop window to the end of the mag well, and I'm thinking of just cutting this section.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TiroFijo View Post
    Good post, Ned

    This barrel looks like new, probably because he shoots lead bullets.

    On a side note, how important really are the "middle" sections (on the side of the mag well) of the frame rails? It seems to me most/all the slide alignment is done fore and aft, that's why glocks and other polymer pistols onlly have rail sections there. The question is because I have an old pistol with a long fisure at the base of the left rail, from the slide stop window to the end of the mag well, and I'm thinking of just cutting this section.
    Colt does this from factory...

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    Yeah, that middle section is pretty much not participating in guiding the slide, but you could say that it helps keep crud out. Indeed Colt has been doing that for years, removing the bridge just over the slide stop window, starting on the 10mm's. The Guncrafter .50GI has them removed completely from the front to the back of the mag well.... no problem.

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    I'm not talking about the bridge, but removing the entire left rail section from the slide stop window to the rear end of the mag well.

    Ned, do you have a picture of the Guncrafter .50GI rails?

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    Sorry, I don't. Might be one on the GI site, guncrafterindustries.com.

    You can see in some spots where this was an OD green Operator. In the interest of getting it done and not making a Swiss watch project out of this, after checkering etc. I just cleaned it nice and dry, and put some Brownells Baking Laquer over the existing paint and the bare steel on the front strap and MSH. Seems to have held up OK given the amount of use.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ned Christiansen View Post
    Yeah, that middle section is pretty much not participating in guiding the slide, but you could say that it helps keep crud out. Indeed Colt has been doing that for years, removing the bridge just over the slide stop window, starting on the 10mm's. The Guncrafter .50GI has them removed completely from the front to the back of the mag well.... no problem.
    I suspect to stop people from calling and complaining the frame rail cracked.

    What causes this crack? Frame Flex under recoil?
    My brother saw Deliverance and bought a Bow. I saw Deliverance and bought an AR-15.

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