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As this Les Baer UTC nears the 3,500-round mark under my ownership, I’m taking a moment to write about the gun a bit and provide a few pictures. Fellow Addict @crc asked me about documenting a take-down of this gun; I hope this will suffice. I’m not quite at the personal skill - / confidence-level to perform a truly full disassembly of the gun, though that’s something I want to try soon.

This 1911 was purchased in-turn from another fellow Addict who had very nicely-spec’d this gun with Baer. No front cocking serrations and no “.45 ACP” marking on the slide are the most notable touches, along with a plain black rear sight. The front blade has a tritium insert that I found a little light for my liking; so, of course, I slapped some Testor’s orange on the rear face of the blade - super classy, hm? Ha! I wanted something that would stand-out a little better for me until such time as I have it replaced, most likely with a gold bead style sight. This gun has Les’ 1.5-inch guarantee - may my shooting prowess grow to take full advantage of that feature!

I replaced the original thin grips and bushings with standard bushings from Challis and an array of grip panels that have ranged from ivory to stag to Craig Spegel double-diamonds. The ivories have been sold to one of our resident 1911 artisans to receive new life. The Spegels have gotten the nod a lot lately, while the “Longmire” fan in me wants to see and feel the stag grips at times. Often, I’m using nitre-blued grip screws from our own @Combat Weapon Systems.

This gun is carried regularly, dry-fired often, shot a bunch (3,478 rounds to-date by me, and 600 from the original owner), and has participated in one defensive shooting class so far. Gunleather is typically IWB from Milt Sparks or Bruce Nelson Combat Leather, and an OWB from Matt Del Fatti has been seeing a lot of use lately, as well.

For a long time, I’ve read comments that Baer’s bluing is “weak.” My suspicion is that perhaps Baer has tweaked that process, as this late 2018-vintage gun has been quite slow to show much external wear. The slide shows evidence of turning a little plum, visible in the right light.

To have put almost 3,500 rounds through the gun (really small potatoes, I realize, knowing there are guys and gals out there with multiple times that many rounds downrange from a given gun), I’ve used only a small handful of FMJ and JHP loads. This gun loves Federal aluminum-case 230 gr FMJ - LOVES it, I tell you. Make no mistake, it will plow right through some brass, too. I was sitting on a pile of Federal aluminum and that’s the one this gun seems to shoot the best.

I’d be less-than-truthful in my reporting if I did not share that I’m still experimenting with JHP loads for this gun. My typical Remington and Federal 230 gr JHPs tend to cause the slide to “lag” a little - you can feel it when you shoot it, and every 5-10 rounds or so, the slide won’t go fully home in chambering a round. A tap to the back of the slide typically remedies this and “preserves” the round in the chamber. When it first happened, I would execute an immediate tap-rack-bang drill which also, of course, cleared the issue (until it happened again 5,10, or 20 rounds down the line). There is no such misbehavior with any FMJ load I’ve used to-date.

I have a new JHP round on-order and will continue the experimentation. I realize that, ultimately, the gun may require a journey back to Le Claire or to the workbench of another gunsmith for full remediation. In the meantime, I’ll cop to going old-school and carrying hardball.

I’ve never had this JHP issue with a Baer or, frankly almost any other 1911 I’ve owned. This is my first experience with a 1.5-inch gun. Is it possible that the “fitment,” if that’s the right word, relative to the 1.5-inch guarantee is just a little too snug here? Total speculation on my part; I truly have no idea. I have to believe that, among the myriad of JHP loads out there, some will work without my having to send the gun off. Of course, when I finally do something about that front sight, off it will go then, too...

Am I smitten by this gun? Perhaps. Just a little.

I’ve been using a Wilson Combat 18.5-pound recoil spring and WC’s extra-power firing pin spring, both installed when I first received the gun and replaced at around 2,000 or so rounds. (Actually, I’d always used a 16-pound spring but moved to the 18.5-pound to see if that would help with the JHP issue...it did a little, bit didn’t solve it). I use Wilson Combat 47 seven-round magazines exclusively, and use their steel low-profile basepads on same.

At one point, I lost the original recoil spring plug when it was launched into what I firmly felt was a low-earth orbit during a reassembly mishap. I thusly ordered a Wilson Combat “Bulletproof” smooth-faced plug in stainless which has served well; alas, the original plug apparently came in for splashdown inside the wooden window-blind unit in my office. I’ve since reinstalled the original and will hold the WC unit in reserve.

More than enough keyboard-verbosity from yours truly - on to some pictures. Some of the shots of the disassembled gun seem to have a somewhat reddish tint or glare to them; chalk that up to the interior lighting, I suppose!

Most of the pics will follow below as comments.

Thank you for looking!


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Discussion Starter #10
Great write up! Glad to see she is getting some honest use. That pistol is looking better with age ...wish I could say the same for myself.
Thank you!
 
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I have always wanted to do what you did John.. Never had the nerve to take down anyone of my 1911 pistols that far..You have given me courage..
Thank you.
By the way nice shooting...
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I have always wanted to do what you did John.. Never had the nerve to take down anyone of my 1911 pistols that far..You have given me courage..
Thank you.
By the way nice shooting...
Thank you! I’m always impressed when I see Addicts take these down to the small, internal parts. Makes me antsy but I may yet try it haha...
 
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Discussion Starter #20
This ^^^^^^^^^^^


Sweet pistol, great shooting, super pics and write-up. Really enjoyed reading it.
Hey, many thanks, I appreciate it!
 
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