other handgun suits me quite as well as the 1911 design. John
Browning’s .45 caliber semi auto
is among the most treasured handguns of the previous
century and remains literally at the top of the heap in this
century. I realize
the pistol is not perfect, but I am willing to devote the time
and effort required to keep it operating reliably.
I am also willing to put range time into any handgun
carried for serious business.
The 1911 man or woman has it easier than they once did.
The modern top of the line pistols are quite reliable for
the most part, and do not require new sights, safeties and other
modifications to work well.
Even the low end pistols now exhibit features that once
were found only on top of the line handguns.
The 1911 is popular for a number of reasons, and I will
list just a few. The
pistol has a single action firing system, which means several
things. The trigger
is compressed straight to the rear for a clean break, and there
is only one trigger action to master.
This break can be a very clean one.
The pistol features a low bore axis, which in simple
terms means that the middle of the bore is just a little above
the firing hand. The bore cannot rise as much in recoil when
this low bore axis is present, there is simply no leverage for
the gun to rise. The pistol is also quick into action when
properly carried. The hammer is carried straight to the back,
cocked, ready for action. This is referred to as "cocked
and locked" carry. Finally,
and as important as any attribute, the pistol chambers a fight
stopping cartridge. The .45 ACP has been proven time and again in action against
enemies of the Republic and motivated felons as well. There have been numerous attempts to discredit the big bore
cartridge and to make the small bores look better than what they
are. These attempts
are silly at best and a hoax at their worst.
I cannot accept unverifiable reports and unrepeatable
experiments - they are not science. I am not a scientist myself,
only a careful experimenter, but the great Enrico Fermi
and I share one great trait - neither of us has ever believed in
Little Green Men. Neither
do I believe in so called experiments conducted in secret by
unknown individuals. The
.45 stands head and shoulders above the rest and will remain so
in the foreseeable future. The .45 represents a good balance of power and control.
Calibers less powerful don’t work nearly as well and calibers
that are more powerful are much more difficult to control.
to the advantages of the type as well as its good sales in
several renditions, the 1911 has been manufactured with varying
degrees of success and product quality by dozens of
Llama, Remington Rand, Singer, Ithaca, Norinco,
Argentine and Norwegian arsenals, Randall, Detonics,
Springfield, Kimber, and
Smith and Wesson are just a few of the companies that
have offered 1911 variants for sale. They range from pretty poor to excellent handguns.
The pistol picture featured in this review is offered by Century
International Arms. The
Scout is a middle of the road gun, with good features but
without the elaborate fit and finish found on high end guns. It is meant as an entry level gun or perhaps a good buy for
the fellow wanting a ‘truck gun’ or to get his feet wet in
the 1911 game. It
succeeds in this, and should give good service.
There are numerous variations on the theme, including a
high capacity variant, and the full length version of the Scout
is known as the Chief. The Scout is a 4 1/4 inch barrel 1911 of
the general type known as the Commander.
This is among my favorite variations of the 1911, a good
size and weight for a carry gun and well balanced.
Scout operates on the same principles as any other Browning
locked breech handgun. The
gun is fired by a single press of the trigger.
The slide and barrel recoil together to a certain point.
When the projectile leaves the barrel and pressure drops,
the barrel and slide unlock and the slide continues to the rear,
ejecting a spent cartridge. As the slide comes forward, a fresh
round is stripped from the magazine and fed into the chamber.
The barrel tilts down and back during this operation.
This is made possible by a swinging link that allows a
good range of movement. Very
few designs survive using this link - the French 1935 S is among
the last non 1911s to use this system.
The Browning High Power and most subsequent designs use
angled camming surfaces, a simplification of the system.
Still, it is far from the oldest system in operation
despite the fact that in appeared around 1900.
Our present service handgun, the Beretta 92, uses
an oscillating wedge identical in principle to the P-38 and
first developed for use in the 1896 Broomhandle Mauser
pistol! Modern? What
handgun truly is?
Century Scout pistol features a slide lock safety that locks the
action and the slide, and a grip safety that will not allow the
pistol to fire unless the grip is properly pressed. The grip
safety is an extended type, as is the slide lock.
I like the grip safety but prefer a standard slide lock.
There is no firing pin block or hammer-drop safety.
The pistol features a dull matte finish that is the norm
for handguns in this price range.
It proved serviceable enough in a few months use.
When you look at the Scout, something tells you the gun
is different. And
it is. The front grip strap is of a different design that any
other 1911 in my experience.
There is a pronounced dip or indentation depending upon
your viewpoint. This seems to allow for a more solid grip and
even to lower the pistol’s bore axis. No one complained about
this grip design but many found it quite comfortable. The
trigger guard is enlarged, another departure from the 1911
makes for easier use by those with large hands or who must wear
gloves in inclement weather.
The short trigger 1911 may not be the easiest handgun to
manage with cold-numbed hands, and this is a worthwhile addition
for anyone needing a gun for cold weather use. Finally, the
pistol has pretty decent sights.
They are larger than the original GI type sights but not
as good as King’s Hardballer sights.
They work just fine for most of us.
A big advantage is that the front sight is dovetailed
rather than staked on. It isn’t going anywhere.
lubricated the Scout from the first with Pro Tec gun oil
and have continued
to use this product, cleaning the pistol every two hundred
rounds or so. The
Scout has proven reliable with most ammunition.
Like all handguns, it likes some ammunition better than
other. The Scout is
well regulated for 230 grain ammunition. This is ideal for my
use, as most of my handloads use bullets of this weight.
It will feed lead flat point 230 grain bullets and the
200 grain SWC, but will not feed every wide mouth hollowpoint
with perfect reliability. It would be a simple matter to caress
the feedway in what is known as ‘throating’ the feed ramp
and chamber. But
there is little need to do so.
A number of first class defense loads such as the Federal
230 grain JHP Classic fed perfectly.
Since the gun was supplied only with one magazine, I used
several of W C Wolff’s new magazines. Long known as a
supplier of premium gun springs and a respected source for
custom gunsmiths, WC Wolff and Company has entered the high
grade magazine business with full length 1911 type magazines.
The results are excellent magazines at a good price.
During the test period, there were no failures to feed related
to the magazine, but we did suffer a number of failures of
certain factory and handloaded rounds to feed, attributable to
the large open cavity and soft nose of certain types of
realize it is going against the modern trend and clearly against
the findings of
ballistic science, but I do not feel undergunned or suffer
ballistic anxiety loading my .45 with hardball ammunition.
A good top grade load such as Hornady’s 230
grain Flat Point certainly gives me confidence that the pistol
will demonstrate adequate penetration and good accuracy- along
with flawless feeding.
did not idly waste ammunition during the test period. After several months, I have tested the Scout from several
good holsters with fine results. Like other similar 1911s, the
Scout is quite fast on target. The slightly shorter slide and
barrel allow the pistol to clear leather quickly.
The short slide radius makes for a pistol that comes onto
the target quickly. This is a defensive type handgun, and for
overall shooting and informal targets the Chief would be a
better choice. But
for those who like the Commander style-and I am one of them-this
is a good handgun.
this point it is a matter of wait and see if the pistol will
the course of years of use, but it certainly seems well worth
its modest tariff and I can find no signs of eccentric wear with
several hundred rounds fired.
The 1911 fan will find this gun most interesting, but the
newcomer to the tribe just may find that the Scout offers the
most bangs for the bucks in its class.
Fully realizing that most defensive encounters
take place at three to seven yards, I still measure the
practical accuracy of a handgun by slinging it across the
benchrest and carefully squeezing off several five round groups.
These are the results.
Some of these groups were fired early in the test period,
months ago, and others were fired yesterday.
Overall, the Scout is clearly accurate enough for
personal defense and general shooting practice.
grain JHP ‘Classic’
grain JHP Hydra
|230 grain Oregon Trail/Titegroup
|200 grain SWC Oregon Trail/Titegroup
|230 grain Sierra FMJ MATCH/Bullseye (788 fps)
|230 grain Sierra FMJ MATCH/Unique
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