Stock Range Officer Range Report

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Stock Range Officer Range Report

Post by Tim:H11 on 11/5/2017, 9:27 pm

It is widely known that the Springfield Armory Range Officer makes a wonderful entry level pistol for target shooting. It makes a great addition to the rimfire pistol you might have started on and it fits the bill for that "first centerfire pistol" you're looking for. I'm not going to go into detail on the specifications of the pistol but rather share my range experiences while testing the gun. See the big question or questions from newbies is "How accurate can this gun really be (being factory and not "custom")? And "Is it accurate enough to start with or should I save and have it rebarreled right from the start?"

First - for me I wanted an affordable service pistol for CMP EIC matches. There are some more costly routes to take; a Les Baer, a Springfield Armory Custom Shop, a gunsmith build, Accuracy X, etc. For service pistol, my thought process was this; most really good shooters are probably already distinguished by this time or don't care enough to chase it. So a high dollar pistol capable of destroying the X in the X ring isn't necessary. If I was trying to win the presidents 100 match at Perry then maybe things would be more critical but I'm just looking to leg out. Locally, the scores probably aren't going to be as hard to beat as they would be at Perry or any other very popular regional or championship match. I just want the badge. It's a personal goal. 

So on to the gun! I wanted to see what I could do with the gun first as it was out of the box stock. No trigger job no nothing. I was using 4.0 grains of Bullseye powder with a 200 grain LSWC that I cast from a Lee mold and tumble lubed it. I loaded the ammunition with Lee dies for the most part on a Dillon 550. My first test was to see how accurate is this thing if a new shooter was to use lead bullets for a 2700 match. I shot two 92-2X Slow Fire targets back to back. Not bad I thought. I took some shots at 25 yards first to zero the gun and found the load was actually too light for the 16 pound factory recoil spring to function. So it was no longer a truly stock test. For reliability sake I replaced the spring with a 14 pound recoil spring and it functioned just fine after that. Neither one of those 92-2X targets had a single shot outside the black. But can I trust out of the hand shooting alone? Lets sand bag it and see. 




Now sand bagging pistols... I don't like it. It drives me nuts. I don't own a pistol scope and I don't own any fancy rests or machine rests. So I just sand bag em and use the on board sights, be it iron sights or a dot. I need to buy a pistol scope. I feel that would help if I'm to continue sand bagging guns as a test. 

Any way I sand bagged the thing at 50 yards using the same load mentioned above with the slow fire targets (4.0 grains of Bullseye and a 200 grain LSWC). I fired a couple of groups but the best I got was this one pictured below with a couple of flyers. Not bad I thought! I couldn't find the 10th shot but being close to the edge of the page it's probably off the paper. Now this is off sand bags. So I can't help but wonder if it'll shoot even better out of something like a Ransom Rest.... not bad at all I think. For a factory gun. Looking pretty good for the budget shooter right? But I bought this for service pistol. That's a jacketed bullet game.





I had some 185 grain JSWC. I don't know who made them. They were piled up in a cigar box I got from a former shooter. I've never reloaded for pistol using jacketed bullets before so I did some asking around about what charges to use. I decided for experimental sake the press was already set for 4.0 grains so why not try it again. Just a different bullet this time. So the load was a 185 grain JSWC over 4.0 grains of Bullseye powder. The results weren't as nice as the lead bullet target but still this is just a shoot and see. I can try other loads later. But still I thought the results weren't that bad. Totally usable I think. Now there are 11 shots but thats because I had two groups on that page and one of the shots went wide and overlapped on to this one. Now again this is off sand bags. What would've happened out of a ransom rest? Perhaps tighter groups? I don't know but I would guess so... ? Maybe?





The big reason for doing all this and posting it here with pictures was to share what a Springfield Range Officer can do stock out of the box. Since these targets were fired the gun has had a simple trigger job done to smooth it up and the 14 pound recoil spring remains in the gun. That is all. No other modifications were made. Not even grip tape on the front strap! So a new shooter on a budget, needing their first gun or perhaps a service pistol to leg out with can get away with this factory model. Now most people know what these things cost new ($700-$800 ish) but I bought mine on gun broker and after the background check fee, shipping, transfer fees, the cost of the gun was $600 even. Previously owned but advertised as still new in the box unfired. I got a deal I thought! But again this is an example. If you're new to this sport, if you need a spare gun, if you need a service pistol that won't get shot much and don't want to break the bank for one (like me!) get a Range Officer. And later if you want the accuracy upgrade then have it rebarreled by a good pistol smith. You'll still be ahead on the price vs your other options mentioned above. 


Food for thought. Good luck newbies! Buy a gun, borrow a gun - it doesn't mater. get your hands on one, and join us on the line. It's fun. You won't regret it.
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Re: Stock Range Officer Range Report

Post by orpheoet on 11/5/2017, 9:36 pm

My RO got me EIC points stock. It has since been accurized and had trigger work done but I can confidently say the gun out of the box was more accurate than me.
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Re: Stock Range Officer Range Report

Post by noproblem on 11/6/2017, 6:47 am

Tim

Excellent job, i enjoyed every word. I am still on the ground floor with my RO 45 ACP. Only changes i have made is new barrel bushing from EGW i think is was $25 - $30 and a recoil and main spring change. I suspect this setup will gracefully take me to the Expect or Master. 

Again thank you for your report. I would love to see an update on your targets once you add barrel bushing

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Re: Stock Range Officer Range Report

Post by Tim:H11 on 11/6/2017, 7:03 am

noproblem wrote:Tim

Excellent job, i enjoyed every word. I am still on the ground floor with my RO 45 ACP. Only changes i have made is new barrel bushing from EGW i think is was $25 - $30 and a recoil and main spring change. I suspect this setup will gracefully take me to the Expect or Master. 

Again thank you for your report. I would love to see an update on your targets once you add barrel bushing

This is the second Range Officer that I've owned. My first one I didn't do much with before turning it into a dedicated lower for the 22 conversion I have and use. I did play around with the mainspring some in my first model. I noticed at 50 yards with a lighter mainspring, the hammer takes less force to push it back, so the slide moves faster (gun comes out of battery too quickly or faster than it should or needs to) and I feel its because of this the groups opened up. The Range Officer is still a factory gun keep in mind. The lock up is still just factory. With a lighter mainspring I noticed the groups opened up and with the factory mainspring reinstalled I noticed the groups tightened back up. If I were you I would try to achieve the trigger pull you wanted without changing out the weight of the mainspring. Maybe others have not had this experience I had but I feel it's something to watch for. Again this was some things I did with my first gun and I did not try this with the current RO I have that I tested in the beginning of this thread. Thanks for reading and the compliment!
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Re: Stock Range Officer Range Report

Post by Multiracer on 11/6/2017, 7:14 am

Nice down to earth test, Thank you for sharing.
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Re: Stock Range Officer Range Report

Post by Virgil Kane on 11/6/2017, 7:22 am

Luck of the draw I guess.  My stock RO ( bought brand new) shoots about 4" groups at 25 yards but shoots them way to the left at 25 yards with the rear sight moved all the way to the right.  I sent it back to SA and they replaced the sear and said everything else was within specs.  Still shoots way to the left and at least with my RO is totally useless for the role I bought it for which was EIC.  
I bought this RO for the same purpose as you, EIC, after all the glowing reports I have read.  Maybe I got a lemon but SA wouldn't make good on it after sending it back and several phone calls. Call it sour grapes but I will never buy another SA product again.
I'm sure your mileage will vary.

Virgil

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Re: Stock Range Officer Range Report

Post by Tim:H11 on 11/6/2017, 7:37 am

Virgil Kane wrote:Luck of the draw I guess.  My stock RO ( bought brand new) shoots about 4" groups at 25 yards but shoots them way to the left at 25 yards with the rear sight moved all the way to the right.  I sent it back to SA and they replaced the sear and said everything else was within specs.  Still shoots way to the left and at least with my RO is totally useless for the role I bought it for which was EIC.  
I bought this RO for the same purpose as you, EIC, after all the glowing reports I have read.  Maybe I got a lemon but SA wouldn't make good on it after sending it back and several phone calls. Call it sour grapes but I will never buy another SA product again.
I'm sure your mileage will vary.

Virgil

Sorry to hear about your bad luck. Funny you experienced the way it shot... mine with lead bullets shoots straight on. With jacketed however I noticed a huge shift to the left. I did not do any testing at 25 yards. Just 50 yards. So I can't say if there is a change there too or not.
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Re: Stock Range Officer Range Report

Post by noproblem on 11/6/2017, 7:44 am




With a lighter mainspring I noticed the groups opened up and with the factory mainspring reinstalled I noticed the groups tightened back up. If I were you I would try to achieve the trigger pull you wanted without changing out the weight of the mainspring. Maybe others have not had this experience I had but I feel it's something to watch for. Again this was some things I did with my first gun and I did not try this with the current RO I have that I tested in the beginning of this thread. Thanks for reading and the compliment!

TIM
I will try that, at present i think i have a 17lb main spring along with 12 lbs recoil spring with frame Mounted red dot. Actually i put in a bid for another RO on gunbroker as i want to use it for 22 nelson conversion presently i use a SW 41  w/ a custom clarks barrel for my 22 match. 

I am decided now to go the route of 1911's for CF and 22 using the RO. Although i dont expect an increase in accuracy from with a 22 nelson conversion over using my S&W 41 w/custom clarks barrel. I feel this approach will help me with consistency on the trigger and grip.


Last edited by noproblem on 11/6/2017, 8:38 am; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Stock Range Officer Range Report

Post by Virgil Kane on 11/6/2017, 7:56 am

Hi Tim,

I had posted earlier under Range Officer Woe's in the equipment section.  I'm still waiting to decide what I'm going to do with my RO.  When at Perry for the EIC matches I had my slide stop pin crack during the President's 100. RO still functioned and I didn't notice it while shooting.  I shot an embarrassing 36 for the whole NTI match with a whopping 6 points total in slow fire ( one hit on target out of 10 shots). Thank God it was the last match for the weekend. Found the cracked SS pin when I got home and cleaned the RO.  Left me with no support on the lower legs and the barrel flopping around.

To say I'm frustrated with SA would be an understatement.  I would sent this RO to a good smith but I'm afraid of spending good money on a bad firearm.

Just my experiences.  Many have had very good luck with their RO's.  Mine is the exception to the rule.

Virgil

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Re: Stock Range Officer Range Report

Post by jglenn21 on 11/6/2017, 10:21 am

Virgil

the broken slide stop may well point to the issue with your RO..  The ROs I've looked at all had cast SS and were a bit undersized... I'd replace it with a quality forged part and then have someone look at it who knows about the 1911...  especially in the lower lugs, link pin,  and Vertical impact area (position of the area) ..

I'm surprised about the lack of service on your RO..SA has historically had an excellent rep for customer service. Times and company do change though.
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Re: Stock Range Officer Range Report

Post by Jon Eulette on 11/6/2017, 10:34 am

I like the RO for a complete build. I replace all internals and rebarrel with great success. Can be made into great shooter!
Jon
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Re: Stock Range Officer Range Report

Post by PMcfall on 11/6/2017, 12:43 pm

Jon
Just curious, if one has to replace all internals on a Range Officer, would starting with a Caspian (Foster) frame and slide make more economic sense?
Phil
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Re: Stock Range Officer Range Report

Post by Jon Eulette on 11/6/2017, 12:58 pm

PMcfall wrote:Jon
Just curious, if one has to replace all internals on a Range Officer, would starting with a Caspian (Foster) frame and slide make more economic sense?
Phil

Phil,
Caspian will be a better pistol in the long run. Every part is fit by builder. But a Caspian will also cost more; parts, labor & finishing. So like they say, "speed cost money, how fast do you want to go?"
Jon
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Re: Stock Range Officer Range Report

Post by Virgil Kane on 11/6/2017, 2:51 pm

Jon Eulette wrote:
PMcfall wrote:Jon
Just curious, if one has to replace all internals on a Range Officer, would starting with a Caspian (Foster) frame and slide make more economic sense?
Phil

Phil,
Caspian will be a better pistol in the long run. Every part is fit by builder. But a Caspian will also cost more; parts, labor & finishing. So like they say, "speed cost money, how fast do you want to go?"
Jon

Jon, are the RO's  Kalifornia compliant ?  I had thought they were on the "banned" list.

Virgil

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Re: Stock Range Officer Range Report

Post by Jon Eulette on 11/6/2017, 3:49 pm

They are banned but still out here! Cops buy them because they are exempt and private party sell to individuals which is currently legal.
Jon
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Re: Stock Range Officer Range Report

Post by SW-52 on 11/7/2017, 6:15 am

Jon Eulette wrote:I like the RO for a complete build. I replace all internals and rebarrel with great success. Can be made into great shooter!
Jon
Replace including firing pin,ejector and extractor??
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Re: Stock Range Officer Range Report

Post by Gary Wells on 11/7/2017, 8:37 am

Jon Eulette wrote:They are banned but still out here! Cops buy them because they are exempt and private party sell to individuals which is currently legal.
Jon
That might be legal but I think that it would be against departmental policy/procedure and I have heard of at least 1 LEO in SoCal somewhere losing his job over doing that too man times. Don't know if it is true or not.

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Re: Stock Range Officer Range Report

Post by Bullseye_Stan on 11/9/2017, 6:16 am

I've recently gotten back into Bullseye shooting and bought a 1911 Springfield RO.  I installed a Cylinder & Slide reduced force sear spring, a Wilison Combat (sheet metal) front checkering strap, and a Frank Sokolowski trigger shoe.  The sear spring brought the trigger weight to 4lb and the trigger shoe allowed me more control.  I also adjusted the trigger stop.  I've been tinkering with light loads and have used 3.3 gr BE over a 185 gr LSW bullet reliably with an 11# recoil spring.  I have no idea if it's an accurate load, but it's light, doesn't make me flinch, and allows focusing on grip and trigger control.   I bought one of those Kart Xact fit barrel kits for installation, but after shooting my RO some it's not a priority.  The pistol will keep all the rounds in the black if I do my part - this is at 25 yards which is all I shoot.   I've been impressed with my RO right out of the box (well, out of the box with drop in parts).

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