Home - Volume 2 (2007) - Issue 2 (Spring '07) - Pistol Review: Cylinder & Slide CSP800 R&D

Cylinder and Slide CSP 800 R&D 1911 .45 ACP

A full featured 1911 for informal target shooting, tactical competition, or personal defense.

Reviewed by Hunter Lee Elliott (Hunter, )

I have been shooting Government Models for many years now and I believe most on the market today are quality firearms. I have heard of Cylinder and Slide as a parts manufacture before but this is my first opportunity to see first hand their work.

The Cylinder and Slide Recreational and Defense is a Springfield Armory GI Government Model that has been massaged and optimized by the competent gunsmiths at Cylinder and Slide. The Springfield Armory GI is a fine pistol in its own right, so the R&D is built on a solid and proven platform.

I took delivery of the R&D on April 20, 2007, from Jim's Guns in Garner NC. Jim made the comment he had noticed it was a nice pistol as he was checking it in. I had a chance to look it over in his shop before I left.

As far as I know M1911.ORG is the first publication to review the Cylinder & Slide R&D pistol.

First Impressions

The very first thing I noticed was the plain cardboard box with the Cylinder and Slide logo and description of the contents. It was very reminiscent of the old boxes the Colt 1911 came in way back when. To be honest I really liked the simplistic look.

When I opened the box the pistol was wrapped in the same sort of wax paper the old Colts came in. This is another nice touch that's in keeping with the original style of packaging for 1911s.

I then gave the R&D a once over. I noticed the thin Linen Micarta stocks right off. They added to the look and feel of the pistol.

Another nice touch you really don't notice until you hold the R&D is the stippled front strap and Ed Brown mainspring housing.

The sights are dovetailed Novak Low Mount rears and Cylinder & Slide dovetailed front. The front dovetailed sight followed the radius if the top of the slide and had a clean look.

The trigger is another change done by Cylinder & Slide that caught my eye. It is a Cylinder & Slide long aluminum solid, smooth face, match grade trigger with overtravel adjuster screw.

Cylinder & Slide machined front cocking serrations starting three quarters from the muzzle end of the slide and continue an inch. I have mixed emotions on front cocking serrations. Though they take away from the traditional look of a Government Model, they are useful for keeping your fingers away from the muzzle during a press check. These are nicely done, so I am keeping an open mind.

The magazine well was nicely beveled.

Overall impression was good, I liked it so far but the range day would be the deciding factor.

Detail Strip

Detail stripping is as any other Government Model, though I would recommend a barrel bushing wrench. The bushing is well fitted and without a wrench you will need to take the slide out of battery to begin field stripping. All parts are quality and I was impressed with the sear, disconnector, and trigger.

Range Trip

I left the house early Sunday morning, looking forward to finding out if this Government Model shot as good as it looked. When we arrived at the range, it was about 85 degrees and sunny. I set up at 45 feet and gave the R&D a dose of CLP to get it ready for the trial.

I loaded up seven rounds of 230gr FMJ that Armscor was good enough to send us for testing. I ran two magazines through the pistol and checked my target. Grouping was within three inches and slightly to the left of the orange. I then alternated among Winchester 230gr FMJ, Hornady 200gr TAP JHP that Hornady donated for our testing as well, and my own reloads. I fired two seven round magazines each type from 45 feet, and all the groups fell within the three inch circle just to the left of the orange.

Then came time to get some numbers on these loads, so with my CED chronograph set up ten feet from the muzzle I ran a seven round magazine each of the Armscor, Winchester, Hornady, and my reloads across my chronograph.

For the record my reloads were my own cast 200gr LSWC (Lyman mould 453620) with a Brinnell hardness of 19.3 using a soft Alox lube loaded with 5.3gr of Unique with Winchester brass and primers.

I fired a total of 84 rounds at 45 feet with grouping averaging around three inches. The real test will be at the 75 foot mark from a rest so better detail is provided on that string. I then handed the R&D off to my shooting partner, Clint, to get his opinion before we moved to the next firing line. He ran two magazines of his Winchester 230gr FMJ and his grouping was similar to mine. He was good enough to bring along his stock Springfield GI for comparison to the R&D, which (as we noted above) is built on the GI. His Springfield has been 100% reliable so I am by no means taking away from that pistol, but the R&D with its better sights, National Match barrel bushing and trigger, and other enhancements consistently shot seven round groups about half the size of the stock Springfield pistol.

Another thing I noticed when I ran the first magazine of the Hornady 200gr TAP JHP was that perceived recoil was not as bad as other Government Models I have shot that round through. The TAP is a self defense JHP and is loaded on the warm side. The R&D tamed them better than I expected.

Grouping from 75 feet from a rest.

With preliminaries out of the way, we moved back to the 75 foot mark and set up a bench rest to get some well aimed shots. This time it was a seven round magazine fired with the same types of test ammunition, shooting from a rested prone position. The following table reflects the chronographed results from the 40 foot line and the groups fired from the supported 75 foot mark.

At this point in our testing, I had run 112 rounds through the R&D and my shooting partner, Clint, had run 14. I had experienced one failure to eject, on a Hornady 200gr JHP on the last string of the 75 foot sequence. After that we moved back to the 45 foot line for some rapid fire.

I then mixed it up, loading the Hornady, Winchester, Armscor, and 200gr LSWC in the same magazine and shooting to slide lock rapid fire. I was checking for function as the R&D cycled through a magazine of various rounds with different profiles as well as rapid fire accuracy and perceived recoil. I ran four magazines through the R&D using that method. It cycled through those 28 rounds without trouble and there was a six inch ragged hole just to the left of the orange.

I then alternated between a seven round magazine of Armscor 230gr FMJ and Winchester 230gr FMJ for another for another 56 rounds from the 45 foot mark. All those fed without trouble and stayed within the six inch group.

There were a total of 210 rounds run through the R&D, with one failure to eject. The failure was on the heels of a few magazines of LSWC. In all honesty, when I cleared the chamber the extractor looked as if I had been out gardening with it. Considering the pistol was brand new and tight as a drum that one failure did not seem excessive.

I like to run 200gr LSWC through a Government Model as my personal litmus test of function. The shape of the LSWC with the large meplat and sharp ogive make it a difficult round to feed. Many standard Government Models that otherwise perform flawlessly will choke on the LSWC. The testament to the Cylinder & Slide Government Model was no failure to feed the LSWCs or any other round shot during our test session. Here is a picture of (from left to right) Winchester 230 FMJ, 200gr cast LSWC, Hornady 200gr JHP for comparison.

A call to Cylinder and Slide

I called Cylinder & Slide Monday morning and spoke with Sharon and then to Dan (both nice and knowledgeable folks) to ask a couple of questions. I asked about the reason for using an 18 pound recoil spring. Dan explained to me that the R&D is built primarily as a defensive and range pistol and it is sprung to absorb the recoil from being stoked with defensive ammunition (which was proven when I shot the Hornady TAP rounds). He also informed me that the R&D is assembled without any MIM parts. We talked a little about the weather and shooting. I got the idea that he was in no way trying to just answer my questions and hurry off the phone. I was impressed with the time they took to help me and answer my questions.

Second range trip

Sunday morning was the second outing with the Cylinder & Slide R&D. When I arrived at the range it was about 75 degrees and beautiful. These are the days made for shooting. I removed the R&D and sprayed it with CLP (that is the extent of cleaning performed since the first range trip where 210 rounds were fired). On this trip, I concentrated on slow and rapid fire at the 21 foot line. My first three magazines were shot at a four inch black circle, shooting offhand and slow fire. The 21-shot group measured just under two inches using my reloads of 200gr LSWC with 5.3gr of Unique.

I put up a fresh target and ran a magazine of Winchester 230gr FMJ that measured an inch and a half and then a magazine of Armscor 230 FMJ that measured about the same. So far, I was pleased at the function and accuracy at 21 feet. I then turned the Cylinder & Slide over to my father, Ronnie, to shoot a few magazines of his reloads (which consisted of 230gr Berry's plated FMJ loaded with 5.4gr of Winchester 231 and Winchester brass and primers). He ran two magazines of his loads and his groups were similar to mine. So far we were at a second trip round count of 49.

I then loaded up five magazines and ran through them in rapid succession. There was a ragged hole about five inches in diameter. We than ran another 116 rounds of the test ammunition through the Cylinder & Slide at 21 feet and 30 feet, in a hurry. Accuracy was consistent with that obtained from the first range trip, and we experienced no failures.

All in all, 200 more rounds were expended during the second range session (50 of my reloads, 50 of my father's reloads, 50 Winchester 230 FMJ and 50 Armscor 230 FMJ) without failure. After two days of shooting, I was getting the hang of this pistol and I liked it even more. My father was also impressed with the R&D and he is no stranger to the Government Model either.

Round count to date is 410.

Overall conclusions

The Cylinder and Slide Recreation and Defense is a fine looking Government Model built on the Springfield Armory GI platform. Accuracy was good, as was reliability. I imagine with more time shooting this fine pistol I could shrink my groups and get a better feel of its nature.

The only two issues I had were: a single failure to eject (1) during the first range trip; and (2) an empty magazine does not always fall freely when the magazine release is depressed. Overall I would not be concerned by either, as the failure to eject I believe was due to the pistol being hot, dry, and dirty.

I am a Colt man at heart, but I have learned to keep an open mind and that has paid dividends many times. I have decided to like the Cylinder & Slide R&D, based on the reputation of the company that built the frame and slide, the company who enhanced the basic model, and the results of my trips to the range.

Specifications

Weight: 2 lbs 10 oz
Length: 7 " muzzle to slide rear
Width of slide: .906"
Width of grip (including stocks): 1.107"
Trigger pull: (as measure with an average of 5 pulls with a Lyman mechanical scale) 4 lbs 4 oz.
Barrel twist: 1 turn in 16 inches.
MSRP $1695

The Cylinder and Slide R&D pistol encompasses the following (from the Cylinder & Slide website):

  • Springfield Mil-Spec 1911 A1
  • Barrel and Frame Feed Throat Re-Contoured and Polished
  • Breech Face Polished and Deburred
  • Center Rail Radiused and Polished
  • Barrel Re-Crowned 11 Degrees
  • Fitted Barrel Bushing
  • External Corners and Edges Rounded
  • Extractor Radiused and Tensioned
  • Ejection Port Lowered
  • Bullet Nose Relief Cut in Front of Ejection Port
  • Magazine Well Beveled
  • Cylinder & Slide 24/7/365 Professional Hammer, Sear, and Disconnector Set
  • Trigger Job 4.5 lb.
  • Cylinder & Slide Long Aluminum Trigger with Smooth Rounded Face and Over Travel Stop
  • Cylinder & Slide Tactical Extended Thumb Safety
  • Front Strap Machine Stippled
  • Flat Mainspring Housing Machine Stippled
  • Front Cocking Serrations
  • Novak Low Mount Carry Rear Sight
  • Cylinder & Slide Dovetail Front Sight
  • Smith and Alexander Beavertail Grip Safety with Palm Swell
  • 2 Extreme Duty 7 Round Magazines
  • Wolff 18.5 lb. Recoil Spring
  • Matt Re-Blue Pistol
  • VZ Thin Green/Black Linen Micarta 320 Blast Grips with Bushings and Screws
  • FREE ½ GAL. DUNK-KIT a $49.95 value!!

Acknowledgments

I would like to thank the following people for making the test possible:

- Sharon at Cylinder and Slide for sending this fine Government Model to me for testing.
- Steve Johnson, the Director of Marketing for Hornady, for donating ammunition for the test.
- Ivan Walcott, from Armscor, for donation ammunition for the test.
- Jim, owner of Jim's Guns in Raleigh, NC, for providing his FFL in order to have this pistol shipped.
- My father, Ronnie, for donating ammunition and helping with the test.
- Tom Beliveau, Gunsmith, in Wendell, NC.

You may discuss about this pistol, ask questions or in general discuss about this review, in this thread in our Forums Site:

http://forum.m1911.org/showthread.php?t=30240


SOURCES

Pistol

Cylinder & Slide, Inc.
245 E. 4th Street
Fremont, NE 68025
USA

Phone: (Toll Free Orders only) (800) 448-1713
Phone: (402) 721-4277
Fax: (402) 721-0263

E-Mail: bill@cylinder-slide.com
Web site: http://www.cylinder-slide.com


Ammunition

Armscor Ammo

Advanced Tactical Firearms
150 N. Smart Way
Pahrump, NV 89060
USA

Phone: 775-537-1444
Fax: 775-537-1446
Web Site: http://www.advancedtactical.com


Hornady Ammo

Hornady Mfg. Co
P.O. Box 1848,
Grand Island, NE 68802-1848
USA

Phone: 1-800-338-3220
Fax: (1) 308-382-5761

Email: webmaster@hornady.comm
Web site: http://www.hornady.com


Chronograph

Competitive Edge Dynamics USA
P.O. Box 486,
Orefield, PA 18069-0486
USA

Orders: (1) 888-628-3233
Phone: (1) 610-366-9752
Fax: (1) 610-366-9680

Email: info@CEDhk.com
Web site: http://www.CEDhk.com


Home - Volume 2 (2007) - Issue w (Spring '07) - Pistol Review: Cylinder & Slide CSP800 R&D