Les Baer Premier II 15,000 round report

| February 19, 2011 | 12 Comments

The gun
Les Baer Premier II, Bead blasted hard chrome, adjustable nights sights, 1.5 inch guarantee.

Ammo

200 230gr. Gold Dot
200 230gr. +p HST
9000 230gr cast LRN reloads, loaded with mostly 4.8gr. Bullseye or 6.0 gr. Unique (excluding load development, also one or two thousand were loaded with 6.3 or 6.5gr Unique. 1000 Mastercast bullets, 8000 Missouri)
600 200gr cast SWC reloads, 3.6gr. Bullseye (Lasercast bullets)
5000 230gr Missouri LRN over 4.7gr Bullseye


Maintenance

Field strip and clean with Ballistol after ever shooting session, typically 200-500 rounds. Detail strip and clean every 2000 rounds. Replace recoil spring (18#) and firing pin spring every 3000 rounds. Replace mainspring and sear spring every 10,000 rounds. Lube with FP-10.

Accuracy

I don’t shoot rested, but I can still hold the same 2 inch 50 round groups at 50 feet I always could, so it hasn’t degraded at all, as you would expect. Lockup is still tight, and the bushing still won’t budge without a wrench.

Modifications

10-8 flat trigger. Small parts polished (read on for an explanation), about 40 sets of my own handmade grips. (I’ve settle on stippled Ebony Gaboon)

Malfunctions

Lots of failure to return to battery during the first few hundred rounds. After it was broken in, I’ve only had two malfunctions not due to my crappy range mags, a failure to feed at about 14,750 rounds, and a very unsettling one where the fire control parts just totally locked up. The hammer was back as it should be, but the trigger moved a little and then stopped, like the sear was cemented in place. I thought maybe some crud got in there and bound it up, but I detail stripped it and nothing was out of order, and everything was lubed properly.

Parts Breakages

This is where it gets ugly. If you’ve read my other reports you’ll know its had some issues, but here’s a recap plus everything that’s happened since.

Barrel link pin
Loose rear sight blade
2 slide stops
Sear spring
Thumb safety

Bear took care of all the problems quickly a free of charge. Their customer service is excellent.

General

The gun is really well fitted and finished and a real joy to shoot. When things aren’t falling apart, it feeds, fires, and ejects (into low-earth orbit) very reliably. But, things still fall apart. My suspicion is that the slide stops and thumb safety broke due to Hydrogen Embrittlement from the chroming process. After the second slide stop broke I had them replace broken chromed parts with stainless. None of those parts have broken so far, but that fact that the gun has broken like clockwork every 3000 rounds combined with the bizarre firing group lockup has eliminated my trust in the gun. I no longer carry it, and its been relegated to IDPA and Bullseye duty. If it can get to 20,000 rounds with no more parts breakages or bizarre malfunctions, I might carry again. So far its had 1500 through it since the last breakage (safety) and about 800 since the bizarre lockup problem. We’ll see how it fares. I debated selling to fund an SVI carry gun, but decided against it because 1) I couldn’t get much for a gun with this many problems and 2) It really does work most of the time. Plenty reliable enough for competition, which it excels at, just not enough for me to stake my life on and 3) Even though its been such a problem child, I still love it.

Wear, pics, etc

Breechface:

Slide Locking Lugs:

Frame Rails:

Ejector:

Barrel:

Barrel Locking Lugs:

Bore A Little Leading:

Extractor:

All put together with shiny small parts. When the second slide stop broke, I had them replace it with bead blasted stainless. When the safety broke, I had them replace it with stainless. Forgot to specify bead blasted, so it just looked weird with a bead blasted slide stop and a shiny safety. I decided to fix this and got out my sanding block and fine-grit paper and turned the bead blasted stop into a polished one. But it turned out way shinier than the safety. So I got out the Mothers mag polish and polished the safety to match. Then the trigger looked odd. Polished that. And the hammer flats. And masked off the fitted parts of the bushing a polished the rest. So now all the small parts match. It looked pretty weird to me at first, but its growing on me.

Exterior finish is holding up very well, considering the gun got heavy holster use:

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Les Baer Premier II 15,000 round report, 7.5 out of 10 based on 6 ratings

About the Author:

I'm an engineering improvement specialist in the aerospace industry
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12 Comments on "Les Baer Premier II 15,000 round report"

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  1. Joe says:

    So that Extractor has 15,000 on it? Impressive.

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  2. Michael Journeau says:

    Your candid review is appreciated.
    I am expected my Monolith sometime in May (ordered last week or so of Jan). to get it I saved for a few yrs. Seeing so much print on all the quality, accuracy and reliability of LBC’s pistols, the high carbon steal and hard fit, etc, etc settled on my decision. The pistol ordered would be my one and only ‘modern’ pistol and to be used for concealed carry. Now, I’m concerned. I have a good deal of cash tied up in this pistol, not to mention the intended use planned for it.
    I copied this report for future referrence being that all the usual ‘glowing’ reviews/reports are so repetitive and common anymore.
    In a different direction, I opp’d for the 1.5″offer, well… just because. Although, I wouldn’t mind knowing what LBC does to the pistol to half the group size at 50yds. I’ve pretty much exhausted the web (and myself) looking to discover what they/he does in addition to attain it. I can’t find a thing on it. I thought it may have been the addition of Gain Twist rifling but an email to LBC nixed that thought. What do you think?
    Thanks again.

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  3. William Snell says:

    I just recently recieved my new S.R.P. After a full cleaning, I shot 4 mags of Federal American Eagle ball ammo, at a distance of 30ft. I had hangups on every mag. The accuracy was atrocious. I shot another 3 mags, changing the ammo to Speer. Accuracy was about the same,(all ammo was 230 gr.). I still had the stovepipe, and double feed hangups. I ordered 3 Wilson mags for it, and plan to shoot it alot. It is built very tight. I talked to Mr. Baer about it, he feels his mags are fine,the gun needs quite a bit of oil in the right places, and shooting, shooting, shooting. I will do that, and see how it progresses. Good Luck, R.S.

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  4. SB says:

    My LB Custom Carry suffered a slide stop break yesterday. My round count is over 10,000 and the gun is 2 years old. Very disappointing mostly because when I called the shop I was told 3-4 weeks to fit a new piece. Great gun but the service wait time seems a bit ridiculous.

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  5. TheWiryIrishman says:

    Michael – I wouldn’t be too worried. My gun is the only LB I’ve had experience with or heard of that has such persistent problems. They get the 1.5″ groups pretty simply, they just take longer to fit the parts to a finer degree. Apparently the 1.5″ guns have about 8 more hours of fitting work put into them. I’ve heard that they hand-select accurate barrels for them as well, but I’ve never seen it confirmed.

    William – Bears are the only guns I know of where the 500 round breakin period is actually necessary. The first few hundred can be problematic. Mine didn’t like to return to battery fully until it had about 300 through it. I’m not a fan of the LB mags. The one that came with my gun somehow manages to flip hollow point vertical inside the mag. I’ve never had issues with Shooting Star, Kimpro, Metalform, or Tripp mags, though. The Wilsons should serve you just fine.

    SB – I agree. LB service is adequate at best. They’ll fix things that go wrong and not charge you for it, but they take a while. And despite my repeated questions, they’ve never attempted to give me answer on why my gun falls apart so belligerently.

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  6. Jeff Scudder says:

    Guys,
    I have been saving to buy the LB “Prem. 2” 6 inch. Knowing what you know, is it worth the money?
    Thanks,
    Jeff

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  7. TheWiryIrishman says:

    I don’t really know.

    My experience with my Baer was pretty poor and soured me on the product in general, but I can’t really say “Don’t buy a Baer”. I have too many friends with Baers that run great, and the internet is too full of Baers that run great to make a convincing argument that they have bad product. In fact, mine is still the only Baer I’ve seen or heard of with such pervasive problems.

    If you’re looking for another option, I would recommend SVI, I have reviews of two of mine posted on this site. They’ve become my go-to for everything 1911. I even have SVI internals in my Baer now.

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  8. Jim says:

    I recommend you take a very careful look at your barrel link, and the link pin hole. On two different .45 pistols built by Les Baer (Premier II and SRP) I have seen the link hole (that the slide stop fits through) cut to an oval shape with a round file.

    This is a shortcut to get the gun to run where the fit between the barrel, link, slide and bridgecut is not correct, and the pistol is not timed properly. If yours is oval, that would explain the broken link and the broken slidestops. If the link was replaced by Les Baer, then they might have fit the second link the same way.

    Have a very experienced 1911 gunsmith take a look at the pistol. I used Cameron’s Custom in Phoenix. He can inspect and diagnose your pistol, and verify whether the timing is correct.

    I needed to have the bridgecut on my Premier II re-cut about .020″ deeper, needed a new link, and opted to have a new Kart barrel hard-fit at the same time. The pistol has run flawlessly since then, over the course of more than 6000 rounds. The barrel foot / slidestop fit is still very tight, and the pistol is quite accurate.

    The 1911 design will run a VERY long time, but it has to be built/fit/timed properly. If the barrel does not link up into the slide properly, or link down into the frame properly, or if the slide does not stop against the frame properly, the pistol will shoot itself apart.

    Kart Barrels has a very informative instruction book (that they include with their barrels) that goes into great length regarding 1911 barrel fit, link fit and barrel timing.

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  9. Mark says:

    I know this is an older topic but thought I would give my two cents worth. I have a LB Premier II that I bought about 10 years ago with the melt option for $ 1500 new. I have had in the 7000+ rounds I have put through it only one malfunction (type 3) during a 3 day training class with Rudy Waldinger. Took a couple of us 10 or so minutes to clear it as the gun was still very tight. It is as accurate as anything I have shot and now totally reliable and I have replaced 0 parts in it. I carry it pretty often and whatever I carry is 1911. I would not hesitate to buy another one tomorrow.

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