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I've been thinking about getting a Smith & Alexander magazine well guide/mainspring housing for my SA Loaded Stainless, but I've heard differing opinions on their usefulness. I'm mainly using this gun for fun and home defense, but I would like to attend an IDPA event in the near future. Your thoughts?
 

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They work fine..I think when you blend them a little more they give you a bigger opening that what they give you from the factory. Then if you break the edges and bevel them they work for carry just fine. SOme don't like them at all, since they add about a quarter inch to the length of the gun. Anyway. they work fine if you want one...they will speed up your reload slightly, but not greatly.
 

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Ed Brown offers a better product, IMO. His are a two-piece design allowing the magwell to be easily removed if desired. The checkering is also MUCH better as it is actually cut, not cast.
The only drawback to the Ed Brown product is for the shooter that prefers the arched design. Brown doesn't offer a true arched mainspring housing, only the "Wedge".
 

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I have one Brown two-piece MSH-funnel on one gun, S&As on several. The Brown was bad to come unscrewed and shift enough to lock the mag in the gun. Blue and red Loctite would not hold it. Now the screw is green Loctited and it doesn't shift. But it doesn't come off to reduce length in concealment, either. But it is nicer made, I have to give it that.

I consider a funnel essential on a gun to be shot in competition, but most gunfights will be long done before you need to reload.

[This message has been edited by Jim Watson (edited 10-24-2001).]
 

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From the gunsmith's point of view, S&A's require some work, as mentioned above, to make the thing look and feel right. They are usually an awfully sloppy in the frame, and tend to have a lot of wobble. So if you do a nice job of matching the frame to the magwell's opening, it'll ship and still not look right. The first thing I do is tighten up that fit. usually there's quite a space between the bottom of the frame and the tops of the "ears" of the S&A. This varies quite a bit. Sometimes I just bend the ears up to touch the frame, but the gap still exists in the back. Only so much you can do without making it over. Then I sharpen-up the checkering.

I really prefer not to put them on a gun that features a full-house job, but sometimes it's a customer spec and that's fine. They do indeed give you a lot of magwell area for the price. I'm doing a Springfield Operator for a guy now who has great big hands and wants the extra backstrap length. I've gone a few extra steps with the S&A on this one and will post a pic or two.
 

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Have you considard a Wilson Combat Mag Well #188? I just got one for my SA SS loaded 2000 ( the hand shredder) and just got through installing it.
The Mag Well hooks on to the lower grip screw bushing. there is no gap that Ned mention the S-A mag well has. I have a pair of Hogue rubber finger groove stock on my 1911 and it took 15 min of shaving off enough rubber and plastic to fit the mag well hook on the grip.
Function wise. it works fine. When I first tried it I thought it helped with speed reloading. But then I tried speedloading with another 1911 w/o the mag well and discovered that the result was pretty much the same maybe slightly slower but not by much.

I too like the look of it and so it's staying on my 1911. One last thing. The mag well seems to be 2 mm shorter than the length of the mag opening so the mag well ends 2mm short of the front strap. Function wise it's fine. it just looks slightly off but i'm sure it's one of those "you wouldn't have notice it if I didn't tell you where to look" thing.
The best thing about the mag well ... it cost $25 at Dillons web site. Vs $70 plus for the Smith Alexander unit.
 
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