Combat Commander-Pre Series 80


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1911Tuner
September 14, 2004, 06:48 PM
Had occasion to look at a late 1979 production Colt Combat Commander this past Sunday. A forum member who lives close by wanted me to have a look at it for a teardown/cleaning/inspection in preparation for fitting it with an ambi-safety. He had bought the gun at a local shop in 1980, and has carried and shot it extensively.

Here are a few of my observations:

The gun had never been detail-stripped, so it was as filthy as a dirt road...
but he hadn't had any malfunctions to speak of.

The barrel rode the link into vertical lockup, and locked on the link. The
link pin fell out right away, so I pressed in a .1575 pin that I had on hand.
A .156 was still too loose.

The recoil spring was OEM, and though testing it would have yielded a false reading on its original loading after a quarter-century, the wire miked out at .0425 inch...identical to Wolff's 14-pound Government Mode recoil springs. It had 23.5 coils, and after hand-cycling the slide, I'd estimate it at roughly 14 pounds load at full travel. Interesting...

The gun was in very good condition, although a little blue-worn, and cycled smoothly.

The grip safety was machined steel, as was the slidestop, mag catch,
link, hammer, firing pin and stop, mainspring housing, ejector, extractor, sear and disconnect. The thumb safety wasn't...It had a round indentation that suggests MIM...but as far as I know, that particular material wasn't in use in 1979...at least not in the gun industry. It didn't show any of the charactistic marks of investment casting, though. No parting lines or rough edges. Very interesting...

Slide to frame fit showed a little play both side to side and vertically, though it wasn't excessive by any means. I'd put it at about average for the owner's estimated round count.

Vertical lockup was tight, but mainly because of the way that the link was fitted. The bore was very good to excellent, considering the round count.

The bushing was a light friction fit to the slide...which I would consider to be excellent. Barrel to bushing clearance was .003 inch...also very good for a production gun.

The mainspring seemed to be just a little soft, and likely due for a replacement, as did the sear and firing pin springs. The plunger and mag catch springs were good.

There was no sign of damage to the frame rails, but the ejector showed a little peening and flanging, which I smoothed with a small file. Very slight flanging at the first locking lug on one side...also dressed and smoothed.

I'm going to enjoy refurbishing the pistol, and will probably waste my time trying to buy it. Ah well...ya can't blame a guy fer tryin'. :D

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dfariswheel
September 14, 2004, 09:54 PM
MIM wasn't around then, but sintered steel was, and Colt pioneered it in firearms applications.
I'm still not real sure just what the difference is between sintered steel and MIM.

Still, I think some Colt parts from that era were cast, just by a different process that didn't leave the same mould marks as on more modern parts.
Remember, even though the parts may have been cast, Colt still put in more finishing and polishing than on newer guns.

The spring points up my theory that people play around with and change out springs WAY more than is necessary.

I've worked on many 1911 pistols with the same springs in use since at least WWII, if not 1918 where the springs were still 100%.

It's gotten to the point where people ask "My 1911won't drop the magazine cleanly, I changed out the recoil spring and it still drops poorly. Should I use a different weight"?

To paraphrase Fritz Hollings "There's too much of that springin' goin' on".

garrettwc
September 14, 2004, 10:17 PM
I'm not sure I understand.

You have a 25 year old pistol, that has shot thousands of rounds, and been carried regularly. It has seen minimal maintenance, and yet it is still quite functional???

I thought only plastic pistols from Europe were capable of such "perfection". :D :neener:

I look forward to seeing pictures. There's just something special about an old Colt.

BigG
September 15, 2004, 09:01 AM
Colt P E R F E C T I O N :D

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