A 100-Yard 1911: Republic Forge Longslide 10mm—Full Test

Send to Kindle
The author tested a new Republic Forge 10mm Longslide out to 100 yards for accuracy. It is shown equipped with a Trijicon RMR.

The author tested a new Republic Forge 10mm Longslide out to 100 yards for accuracy. It is shown equipped with a Trijicon RMR.

For more information, visit http://republicforge.com/.

To purchase a Republic Forge pistol in GunsAmerica.com, click this link: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=%22republic%20forge%22

I have been carrying and using 10mm pistols for years. My current EDC is a custom Colt Delta Elite. The 10mm is certainly not for everyone, nor is it some wonder caliber, but it has incredible versatility. Bullet weights commonly range from 135 to 220 grains with velocities ranging from 1,150 to 1,700 fps.  Thanks to companies like DoubleTap, Buffalo Bore and Underwood, stout loads remain readily available.  Factory loads from Barnes, Winchester, Federal and others cover lower velocity ammunition for practice.  Reloaders have been loading the 10mm for years garnering impressive results. It may be the most versatile round available for use in a 1911.

Like most gun industry mythology, the idea a 10mm 1911 will be damaged when used consistently no longer applies. Initial pistols using the early alloys had issues, but not all of them. My first Delta Elites saw round counts in the thousands, suffering zero issues. Even Commander-length steel versions held up fine. The frame handles it just fine, most people just don’t want to shoot them much especially with heavy loads.  New materials, improved machining, better parts, springs and the like have solved wear issues.  Modern 1911 pistols are capable of long-term use with heavy loads like these.

The 10mm longslide is shown here fitted out with a Surefire X400 unit on the dustcover accessory rail.

The 10mm longslide is shown here fitted out with a Surefire X400 unit on the dustcover accessory rail.

These guns can be magazine sensitive, and the bullet weight versatility can also be problematic. Properly sprung and tuned guns running 230-grain hard cast may not run on the high velocity lighter loads.  Reversing it will make things a tad harsh, but that’s true of most firearms chambered in calibers with wide bullet weight possibilities, its just part of the equation. Properly worked out, the 10mm remains a superb round.

Long Range 1911?

Long range” is a concept requiring perspective. I am talking true pistols, not short-barreled rifle/handguns using a “brace.”  Whether a purpose-built “pistol” chambered in a rifle caliber or AR without a stock, it’s not part of this equation. What I am talking about can be carried comfortably on your hip or in a chest or shoulder rig for miles or hours. If an immediate need arose it must be accessible easily.

During testing, the author maxed out the 10mm Republic Forge on a steel plate at 100 yards.

During testing, the author maxed out the 10mm Republic Forge on a steel plate at 100 yards.

Most consider 25 yards long distance with carry handguns. They have certainly been used at greater ranges (but mostly out of necessity, not design). Revolver hunters and target shooters reach out to 200 yards and beyond with ease given the right ammunition and a scope. Purpose driven firearms, these are not something most would carry as a secondary pistol while hunting. If you still want some level of convenience of carry, a traditional scope on your handgun is probably not going to work.

Republic Forge can cut the slide to accept optics such as this Trijicon RMR. Note the tall rear sight unit behind it.

Republic Forge can cut the slide to accept optics such as this Trijicon RMR. Note the tall rear sight unit behind it.

A quality red dot on a handgun fills that need nicely so long as you are looking at 100 yards or so. Semi-automatics support inletting into the slide for these, keeping them more usable while making back up iron sights possible.  Also, holsters are a ton easier to work out. In fact, it’s all the rage these days and the more I use them  the greater my appreciation. Longslide polymer pistols will work, but the 1911 lends itself to accuracy with its single-action trigger. Heavier steel pistols can suck up recoil, making it easier to practice with a use.  All reasons to put my theory to the test that the 1911 in 10mm makes for a great “long-range” handgun.

Republic Forge pistols are hand built one at a time by a single gunsmith.

Republic Forge pistols are hand built one at a time by a single gunsmith.

SPECS

  • Chambering: 10mm
  • Barrel: 6 inches
  • OA Length: 9.5 inches
  • Weight: 39 ounces
  • Grips: Factory
  • Sights: Tall tritium/cut for Trijicon RMR
  • Action: Single-action
  • Finish: Cerakote
  • Capacity: 10+1
  • MSRP: $5,000 (pistol and RMR)

Republic Forge 10mm

You may not believe this, but as a writer it’s rare to get a pistol built to your specifications, especially custom models.  Most are pre-built with common features and proven demand. Many have tested the Republic Forge pistols, and these are an exception to that rule. These guns are custom guns by their nature.The company had been talking with me about specifying a build for a couple years. Since they allowed me to build “whatever I wanted,” I decided this would be a great opportunity to build “my” perfect long-range 1911. Something that could be realistically zeroed at 100 yards, yet be brought to bear at close range quickly if needed.  While not something you would carry concealed, it could be used in a tactical rig or for home defense.

The test pistol featured forward cocking serrations on the extended longslide.

The test pistol featured forward cocking serrations on the extended longslide.

The company had been talking with me about specifying a build for a couple years. Since they allowed me to build “whatever I wanted,” I decided this would be a great opportunity to build “my” perfect long-range 1911. Something that could be realistically zeroed at 100 yards, yet be brought to bear at close range quickly if needed.  While not something you would carry concealed, it could be used in a tactical rig or for home defense.The 10mm was my first choice. Using a 6-inch barrel should make it softer shooting. My current carry 10mm is incredibly accurate and flat shooting, so adding an inch to the barrel should only make this one better. Stoked with 180-grain JHP ammunition in the 1,350 feet per second range should prove impressive.  Load up some 200-230 grain hard cast and penetration is impressive; perfect for hogs or similar armored game. Carried as a primary hunting pistol or secondary to a rifle, it should get just about any job done.

The author believes that the 10mm round in a quality pistol like this Republic Forge can excel at long range.

The author believes that the 10mm round in a quality pistol like this Republic Forge can excel at long range.

The 10mm was my first choice. Using a 6-inch barrel should make it softer shooting. My current carry 10mm is incredibly accurate and flat shooting, so adding an inch to the barrel should only make this one better. Stoked with 180-grain JHP ammunition in the 1,350 feet per second range should prove impressive.  Load up some 200-230 grain hard cast and penetration is impressive; perfect for hogs or similar armored game. Carried as a primary hunting pistol or secondary to a rifle, it should get just about any job done.

Six-inch 1911’s are popular, but most don’t have tactical rails.  This Republic Forge I had built did, allowing me to attach my Surefire X400U with a green laser and white light. Attach the X400V IRc and grab some NV and you just may own the night. Both are handy for home defense or even tactical use, but hunting is the sweet spot for something like this. Hunting hogs with a handgun is great fun and can be challenging.

Next on the list was an RDS (Red Dot Sight). Republic Forge added a Trijicon 1911 mount and a Dual Illumination RMR with an Amber Pyramid. With no batteries, it is pretty foolproof and as rugged and reliable as current technology allows. For accuracy, the tip of the pyramid can be used without obscuring your target at range. Up close work is simple; just center the pyramid and take care of business. Back Up Iron Sights are a must for me, so Republic Forge added suppressor-height sights with tritium inserts. The rear sight is mounted behind the dot, which is my preference.

The pistol came with a finely checkered frontstrap as well as an extended and flared magazine well.

The pistol came with a finely checkered frontstrap as well as an extended and flared magazine well.

The rest is pure Republic Forge, using forged receivers and slides. This slide included cocking serrations front and rear, and grooves at the top of the slide. Everything is 100% US-made without a single MIM part to be found. Everything is precision fit by one set of hands.  The trigger is crisp and predictable at around 4.5 pounds with no overtravel. An extended beavertail is blended to the frame. Reverse crowned, the match grade barrel fits flush to the match grade oversized bushing. Checkering adorns the high cut frontstrap and mainspring housing. Integral to the mainspring housing is a perfectly blended magazine well. The pistol includes a mild carry bevel removing sharp edges and is coated in a black Cerakote. Republic Forge checkered grips round out the package, and it is shipped in a nylon range bag with three Trip Research 9-round Cobra Magazines.

My only additions were a holster and recoil-reducing spring system. Dave with NSR Tactical was kind enough to make a Kydex holster for use with the X400 light along with a matching double magazine pouch. Both fit perfectly on my Kilo 727 Zero Bravo Alpha Belt system. Light, strong and incredibly comfortable, it remains easy to remove when not needed. Sprinco provided their patented recoil reducer designed specifically for the 6” barrel and 10mm cartridge. Installation is easy and it allows the use of recoil springs designed for a 5-inch barrel. Heavier springs can be used with the hard cast; swap out to a lighter spring and it still runs practice loads with ease.

Accuracy

Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 3.28.57 PMAccuracy testing started at 25 yards. No benchrest was used or any kind of mechanical rest.  Such devices are rare in the field so I did not want to incorporate them into my testing.  Surefire’s X400 was attached throughout testing. Close range groups were taken using my truck’s tailgate and a single bag or pack. At 100 yards one of the safety benches was used. Made of wood, it is nothing like a benchrest but it did provide some stability. The same bags carried with me all the time were used to provide some positional stability.

The Republic Forge 10mm was a solid performer at 25 yards, particularly with the Sig Sauer 180-grain V-Crown load.

The Republic Forge 10mm was a solid performer at 25 yards, particularly with the Sig Sauer 180-grain V-Crown load.

Groups at 25 yards were all in the 2-inch range, with Doubletap 135-grain Bonded Self Defense being the softest and easiest to shoot. Sig Sauer 180 Grain V-Crown took the day with a group settling mostly inside the 2-inch square. Zeroed with the Pyramid centered on target, it was time to move to 50 yards. Loading up the 180-grain Nosler at 1,350 fps, it still hit dead center at this range. It arrived in a hurry and smacked the steel target with authority. Four out of five rounds were about the spread of a fist, with one called shot high and right.

Moving back to 100 yards it was zeroed using same 180-grain Nosler. The 10mm shot flat and hit hard even at this range. Hold was just a tad high (tip at shoulder height) and resulted in center hits. My best group was about 8 inches or so. My best group at this range was using Doubletap’s 200-grain hard cast.

Even with the recoil reducer, the heavy loads are pretty snappy. Recoil is manageable, but you are not going to stay on target producing itty-bitty groups. Practical accuracy is likely around 6-8 inches at 100 yards from a well supported field-expedient position, at least for me. Lock it up in a vice with light match loads and it may cut that in close to half.

Pushing out to 100 yards, the author was able to consistently hammer this steel plate with the ?????.

Pushing out to 100 yards, the author was able to consistently hammer this steel plate with the DoubleTap 200-grain ammo.

Loading up the 220-grain Buffalo Bore at a tad over 1,200 fps it was still quite accurate. One three-shot group during video work was about the same size and recoil was noticeable but about the same as the 200-grain cast load. All the 180-grain or larger full power loads functioned perfectly, ejecting brass with authority. Over the course of a couple hundred rounds of hard cast, the RMR never came loose and held its zero. Sprinco’s recoil reducer excelled here as my wrist, one only recently fully healed from a break, had zero soreness. Returning the next day for a second range session, the pistol was pulled out of the bag, loaded with Doubletap 200-grain hard cast and three rounds were placed squarely in the center of the steel.

 

Other Considerations

Accuracy is great but the pistol still needs to run, and maybe fast if the situation calls for it. Testing with practice loads to start, the Republic Forge ran just fine (although the brass was ejected a bit closer). Limp wristing with these loads and the Sprinco Light Blue (20#) spring would result in an occasional failure to go into battery. Replacing it with the Yellow (18#) cured it. Hard cast were most controllable with the heavier spring, but remained comfortable by comparison.Running rapid-fire strings and Bill Drills using the Sig Sauer V-Crown along with Doubletap 135- and 155-grain bonded, it was fast and flawless. It was the same with the hard cast loads, although my “groups” opened up a bit past fist distance at 7 yards; not an issue for real work, but you notice those rapid-fire strings with the heavy and hot loads.

The author used an NSR Tactical Kydex holster made for the pistol with the Surefire X400 equipped.

The author used an NSR Tactical Kydex holster made for the pistol with the Surefire X400 equipped.

Running rapid-fire strings and Bill Drills using the Sig Sauer V-Crown along with Doubletap 135- and 155-grain bonded, it was fast and flawless. It was the same with the hard cast loads, although my “groups” opened up a bit past fist distance at 7 yards; not an issue for real work, but you notice those rapid-fire strings with the heavy and hot loads.

Zeroed at 100 yards using the tip of the Pyramid for accuracy, it was all but center mass at every other distance holding in the center. Up close it was fast and accurate. The ability to run off 10 rounds of 220-grain hard cast at close range is somewhat comforting!

Final Thoughts

I seldom get the chance to work a pistol at these ranges, at least with some reasonable expectation of consistent accuracy. This Republic Forge 10mm was consistently accurate and reliable, and it was a blast to shoot. Carried in the NSR holster, it felt little different than my high-capacity 2011 or several other 1911 pistols. A bit heavier, but a good belt and holster helps a ton. Zeroed at 100 yards, it was plenty usable with the RMR as close as 7 yards and very accurate at 25 and 50 yards.This is a custom 1911 built to anything but usual specifications with a price tag to match. Retail is in the 5K range with the RMR; add another $700.00 for the X400, so it is not for everyone to be sure. But those accustomed to the cost of custom pistols and the value of a handmade 1911 will appreciate the features and attention to detail. You are probably not going to find anything like this at a big box

The pistol came with a extended beavertail grip safety.

The pistol came with a extended beavertail grip safety.

This is a custom 1911 built to anything but usual specifications with a price tag to match. Retail is in the 5K range with the RMR; add another $700.00 for the X400, so it is not for everyone to be sure. But those accustomed to the cost of custom pistols and the value of a handmade 1911 will appreciate the features and attention to detail. You are probably not going to find anything like this at a big box store to begin with, but it is as solid as any custom pistol I have ever tested.All that’s left is to get out and do some actual hog hunting with this pistol, and that is in the works. It is one of my most interesting and fun projects to date, and whacking a 300-pound hog will be the ultimate test, something I will look forward to for sure!

All that’s left is to get out and do some actual hog hunting with this pistol, and that is in the works. It is one of my most interesting and fun projects to date, and whacking a 300-pound hog will be the ultimate test, something I will look forward to for sure!

The rear sight is a tritium-equipped, suppressor-height unit.

The rear sight is a tritium-equipped, suppressor-height unit.

The front sight is a tall, suppressor-height tritium unit.

The front sight is a tall, suppressor-height tritium unit.

           

 

{ 19 comments… add one }
  • Mark Warner February 8, 2017, 12:09 pm

    These guy are just catching up, this is Old School Technolgy. I own 3 10mm’s, an AMT Longslide “Javelina” which is a 7 inch, a Springfield “Omega” 6 inch ported from the factory and a 5 inch Kimber Custom Target II that i had mag-na-ported. The AMT chronos a 180 XTP at 1375 feet per second that is loaded with 11.5 grains of Blue Dot with a CCI large magnum pistol primer. The Springfield Omega fires a 165 grain Golden Saber over 1400 ft per sec. with the same load. Both guns and loads will “CRUSH” whitetails.
    Now if you like a more powerful normal 5 inch 1911 just convert it to a ( Johnny Roland) 460 Roland which has been around for years. A 460 kit is available from Brownels for about $375, brass is from Starline. The kit contains a compensated 5 inch barrel full guide rod and spring, most 1911’s is a drop in fit with minimal or no fitting. A 185 XTP or Gold Dot with a max load of Accurate #7 will push that 185 at 1550 feet per second, think what this will do to Whitetails. Lets Go Shootin,

  • Jeff Drake November 24, 2016, 1:07 am

    4k is not much money at all. This gun isn’t worth 4K but I will still buy one and give it to one of my kids after I shoot it six times. Buying cheap 500 glocks or ria tac ultra is ok. I have 4 of each so I don’t need to clean them. Keep them on atvs or in tool boxes for whenever. Keep a glock 20 on every atv. Ria tac ultra in each of the trucks. Have 3 sig p220 in 10mm. Each model. Adjustable rear sight is best. Get slide milled and toss Rmr on and you’re golden. The crazy part is the cheap rip tac ultra actually shoots better than the pricier sig but you will need to send probably each tac ultra back for service first.
    Poor people suck anyway. Save your food stamps peasants and splurge. You and your wife will appreciate it. Donald Trump wouldn’t respect your broke ass shooting a cheap 500 pistol near him and neither would I. Seriously. Get a real job and make some money poor chumps. Stop blaming your neighbor for you’re failures in life. All the walls in the world won’t make you a winner. Trust me. You will suck tomorrow, next week, next year. Don’t come here complaining about the price of a gun just because you can’t afford it. I know you can but you won’t. Either way stop bitching. You either have the money to play or you don’t. Not having it doesn’t make you a bad person. Makes you lazy and not smart enough to better yourself but not bad. This is America. If you are not making 7 figures here you are too stupid to get out of your own way and should probably save a bullet for yourself. Live life. Buy the toys you like or want. We only live once.

  • Steve Warren August 8, 2016, 3:06 pm

    Yeah… I went through this phase back in my early twenties too. But after years of carrying and thousands of rounds down range and bad things happening every once in a while, I just want something I will be sure to have with me when I need it and will go bang every time I need it too. But I’ll bet it is a sweet pistol.

  • john dozer July 21, 2016, 9:30 pm

    gotta para elite hunter does all that at a fifth of the cost, not for sale!

  • Ken July 19, 2016, 1:00 am

    I’m not sure what the point of the article or the gun is. I often shoot steel plates at 100 yards with the Dan Wesson. 45 1911 I bought used for $900. No special anything except how it came from the factory. A $4100 premium to do the same thing hardly seems like a good idea. That extra money can do a lot of good elsewhere. Perhaps to get the author’s head examined for thinking that he needed to spend $5k to hit steel plates at 100 yards.

    • jerry molloy September 4, 2017, 10:58 am

      my thoughts exactly !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • KBSacto July 18, 2016, 9:37 pm

    I like these articles. Yes, it is (ridiculously) expensive and a loaded STI would probably shoot just as well; however new ideas are interesting and for the guy who can’t spend all his money, this might fit well in his vault. I think I’ll take my Glock 20 to my range and see what I can do with it at 100 yds. My Glocks are amazingly accurate, and yes they are ugly, but they perform, and will shoot just about anything.

    For those who want the 1911 platform, I would recommend the Wesson Razorback in 10mm. Beautifully made; smooth as silk; all for around $1,300. Unfortunately, here in California, the Wesson is not on the list or I would have one. Thanks.

  • Scotty Gunn July 18, 2016, 8:04 pm

    I was shooting a Glock 20 with a KKM match bbl at 200 yds last week. Was able to consistently place rounds into a full size steel silhouette gong. 100 yds was a piece of cake. Open sights. Really want to try their long slide version, the G40…
    As long as the gun is accurate and consistent, it is just looking up the bullet drop for that distance, trying it and having a buddy spot for you. Once you get the hold, it is fun.
    10mm is one of my favorite rounds. 40 is flat shooting,too. The 357 was famous years ago for shooting revolvers at distance..

  • Mark Wolfson July 18, 2016, 5:11 pm

    Great review! So, for us mortals in the $1k range, based on what you are saying, the latest version of the Delta Elite has no restrictions on hot loads? That is why I was holding up a 10mm purchase.

  • alvin york July 18, 2016, 3:40 pm

    Maybe if you put it in a vice you could hit a paper plate at 100 yd. Besides, what’s your point?

  • Rob July 18, 2016, 3:02 pm

    I have been enjoying a similar experience with a WW1 artillery luger with iron sights. I used to use a regular luger and
    get about half on paper at 100, so the improvement was noticeable. It’s a lot of fun to go to the range and display this kind of
    accuracy with a handgun, even a 9mm.

  • JR July 18, 2016, 10:52 am

    If this was ment to impress, sorry I wasn’t. I can do the same thing all day long with my Sig 226’s, .40 and 9mm, and my S&W 627, .357. Iron sights, red dot not needed.
    That aside it does seem like a great handgun and I’m sure they will sell to certain botique shooters/collectors.

  • wake_Up_America July 18, 2016, 10:41 am

    Don’t be jealous and don’t hate people . . .It’s America.

  • Ricky Price July 18, 2016, 10:29 am

    Was not meant for the poor hunter. You could buy lots of guns for that price.

  • fred July 18, 2016, 9:20 am

    You should put a standard disclaimer on every article stating: “Note: The money used on this pistol could purchase X Glocks, Y XDs, Z AR-15s.” I get tired of reading the same comment from the peanut gallery on every post.

    All I can figure is that it’s envy: the same guys that see a Ferrari and turn to their wife to say “I could by 4 Kias!”

    FWIW, $5k is out of my budget also, but I’m not knocking anyone who makes that choice. Smells like leftist class-warfare.

    • Leonard Feinman July 18, 2016, 10:49 am

      I must agree. If this gun was priced under $1,000, I would justify buying one. I like the caliber, but I like big bores in general. The 10mm is still an expensive round but as a hand loader, I could manage. It’s the price of the gun that I don’t like, custom or not.

  • Memo July 18, 2016, 8:19 am

    somebody should REALLY get their copy proofed and edited before it’s published. Otherwise, it undermines the readability and credibility of the article. As to $5k for a handgun that can shoot to 100y, that’s just ludicrous in my opinion. My S&W 629 can do that, and more (as proven in numerous metallic silhouette matches, IHMSA for those curious), and be equipped with various sights (including a scope) without any special modification. As to having 6 rounds instead of 10, that’s virtually no concern in any realistic scenario. And the $4k saved can be spent on ammo, optics, and/or a house payment!

    • mike July 20, 2016, 3:43 pm

      stop being cheap

  • Jeff Heiple July 18, 2016, 6:44 am

    Bad azz ! That would bring a bunch of comfort in dangerous game hunting areas. Accuracy with a solid punch at 100 yards in a semi with 9 more rounds at the calling is a beautiful thing. It will dent the bank account though.

Leave a Comment

Send this to a friend