Springfield Garrison &
Cast ‘Boolits’

Great Blue-Collar Combo
; .

Accuracy was all you could hope for as these targets are a
representation of what you can expect with good cast handloads.

It seems Springfield Armory (SA) has been taking refresher courses on cool, vintage, battle-proven pistols of late. And the best part? They’re made of good, old-fashioned forged steel, striking a chord with traditionalists of the pistol craft, not that there’s anything wrong with poly-framed guns, mind you. But come on, we can only take so much of a good thing.

First, they released the SA-35, a modern version of John Browning’s Hi-Power. Then they pleasantly surprised us with an affordable, durable, original warhorse of the most recognizable semi-auto in existence.


Here’s Tank’s handload samples (left to right): Lee 230-grain
truncated cone, Lyman 452374 and MP Molds 200-grain HP.
The Lyman cartridge gauge made sure everything was spec.

The Blue Collar Special

SA has released what I consider the “Blue Collar” special of the 1911 world — the Garrison. This 1911 has everything you need to efficiently run it, with none of the extra “fluff” getting in the way. Nothing fancy necessary for hardball handgunners pining for tradition! The Garrison comes in both stainless steel and blued versions.

The blued version, which is shown here, has the vintage looks of a WWII era slab-side, with deep bluing and checkered stocks, complete with double diamond accents. It has the surplus feel traditionalists love and miss so much.


The Garrison provides everything you need, with no extras. The oversized
thumb safety is positive, clicking with both an audible and tactile “click.”

Some Improvements

However, there are some improvements on the Garrison. There’s an oversized thumb safety on the left side (sorry lefties, no ambidextrous safeties here) having a positive audible and tactile “click” when engaged, as should be. There’s also a skeletonized hammer adding a faster drop time while providing stylish good looks to the gun. The beavertail grip safety is pronounced and free moving.

Sights are 3-dot low profile, snag-free Novak style rear assuring smooth presentation, matching up nicely with the white dot front sight. Rear slide serrations provide positive gripping power during slide manipulation. Both slide and frame are milled from forged carbon steel for toughness. The 5″ forged stainless steel barrel has a 1:16″ twist rate providing top-notch accuracy for such a reasonably priced 1911.

Trigger is serrated and skeletonized, breaking at just over 4 lbs.


A blue collar combination consisting of a solid, affordable forged-steel
Springfield Armory Garrison 1911 and cast bullet handloads.
Nothing better than the basics!

Casting Call

Rugged 1911s and cast bullets go together better than prime rib and horseradish. A true-blue combination, I have three favorite samples I’ve included in the evaluation of this mighty-fine shooter. Shooting was done at 50 feet with my forearms resting on a 6×6″ carpeted block. Being 28 degrees out, I had the range to myself, a perk for those willing to brave the cold. Ammo was loaded on my Dillon 550C progressive press.

The first load consists of a cast bullet from MP Molds. It’s the second mold I ever bought from the Slovenian master mold maker, Miha. It’s a 200-grain radiused flat-nose HP design. The pentagonal HP design peels back in petal fashion like expensive factory ammunition.

When a good friend stated it looks like it feeds well, I told him, “Like a steak down a Labrador’s gullet.” And it does! My pet load consists of 6 grains of 231. Velocity runs 980 FPS. Accuracy averaged 1.1″ for 3 groups of 5 shots.

The next slug is Lyman’s famous 452374, a classic round-nose bullet design. Loaded over 5.3 grains of 231, it chugs along at 850 FPS. This bullet feeds extremely well and is also quite accurate. Accuracy averaged just under 1.5″, with tight clusters of 3 shots running a confidence boosting 0.5″. Must be operator error here, eh, on the other two rounds?

Lastly, we have Lee’s 230-grain truncated cone design. I have a six-cavity mold and casting with it makes a pile of projectiles in a hurry. It’s one of my favorite bullets for the .45ACP with its large, flat meplat. My favorite load is again 5.3 grains of 231, which pushes this bullet just over 860 FPS. While quite accurate in other guns, this bullet/load combination came in 3rd accuracywise but kept all groups under 2″ for 5-shots — still respectable.


Rob Leahy’s Simply Rugged holster is perfect for the Springfield Armory’s Garrison!
The Garrison provides everything you need, with no extras.

Overall Impression

The SA Garrison is a wonderful shooter and true bargain for what you get. With an MSRP of $800, realistically we’re talking about $700. Stainless runs about $50 more. The gun fired, fed, extracted and ejected without fail, right from the box. It’s well built with its forged steel slide, frame and barrel. So, if you like classic-looking 1911s like they used to make, at fair, affordable prices, check out SA blued Garrison.

Combined with your own cast bullet handloads, you’re in for some affordable shooting fun as you run your gun the way it was supposed to be run.


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