1918 Colt USGI Range Report


March 11, 2005, 07:22 AM
A few weeks ago, I aquired a very nice 1919 production warhorse. It had a couple of incorrect parts...which I 'corrected". :p I had at first thought that the barrel was lightly pitted, but after a good scrubbin' it actually looks to be in near-mint condition, and even has a few visible tool marks, indicating that
it hasn't seen very many rounds through it. The rifling is sharp and clean.
Slide to frame fit is nice and tight...much better than recent production Colts...and I could see no evidence of refitting.

I took it for a little outing at the range, and since the gun fairly begged to
be fired one-handed in classic Bullseye fashion...that's the way I shot it.

Two magazines full of PMC ball were fired at a 12-inch steel plate at 25 yards
with a slightly low-center hold.

"Bang-tink-OUCH! Bang-tink-OUCH! (That long hammer and short grip safety tang are brutal. The one place that JMB dropped the baton on the early pistols.) 14 rounds went bang and the slide locked on empty both times...
and I was using the magazine that came with it.

I moved over to the 50-yard range and engaged a 16-inch plate with a center hold. Ejection had initially been a little lazy, so i tweaked the extractor a little before I fired the third magazine. AH! That's better!
2 O'Clock out of the dinky port, and no brass was dinged. No surprises, since the Army Field manual gives it a maximum effective range...range at which the average conscript should be able to hit an average-sized man...of
50 yards. (Kinda lays waste to the mistaken idea that the ordnance-spec
1911 was a 25-foot weapon, now don't it?) :cool:

The 50-yard target rang like a bell 7 times, and the slide locked on empty.

I moved over to the 75-yard line and after two low misses, shifted my sights to the top edge of the 16-inch plate. 5 more rounds produced 5 hits...and the slide locked on empty.

I think it's definitely a keeper. (Sorry 2XS. She's MINE) Besides that, there's just a certain "feel" that one gets from a really old GI pistol. A certain character...charisma, if you will...that the newer guns (and even the older commercial models) just can't match.

On a further note of interest...I had already seen that the gun would hand-cycle and feed Winchester White Box 230-grain hollowpoints as slick as butter. It will also function perfectly with the stuff...with the original barrel throat...using the old "Hardball" design magazine. It will also hand-cycle
the old design 230-grain Hydra-Shok...known to be a problem feeder for some guns...though i didn't fire any of it that day. I probably will try a magful of it on the next trip, though I imagine that it will require a modern magazine to function. SInce the Winchester hollowpoints and the Hydra-Shok are noticeable warmer than standard ball, I promise to limit the round count
to one or two magazines. The old girl sure doesn't deserve to be beat on
by the likes of me. ;)

Oh yeah! Headspace checked at .904 inch with less than .005 inch of end-play between slide and barrel, and all lugs are bearing the load. Ahhhhh! They knew how to do'em back then. :cool:

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Mac Attack
March 11, 2005, 10:32 AM
Congratulations on your Colt 1918 Colt. I also was fortunate to have purchased a 1918 Colt USGI in January and corrected mine just like you did. Now it's all within spec and I am really happy with it. I had the same shooting results as you did and actually found this old work horse to be quite accurate. What really amazed me so much was the fact that my gun is nearly 87 years old, loose as a goose and still shot better than most of the modern guns I own. There is just something about owning a piece of history that make it even more special. Colt did a whole lot of good things back then. I wonder why they can't do them now? :confused:

BTW, you probably already know this but there is a subforum dedicated to USGI 1911's on the www.1911forum.com website which provides all sorts of interesting info. If you haven't already you should buy the Charles W. Clawson's book "Collector's Guide to Colt .45 Service Pistols Models of 1911 and 1911A1". It is a great book and very useful in determining what is correct and what is not. On the forum many members recommend that it is not wise to overshoot a USGI 1911 due to the fact that the metal was not as strong back then and was not made to handle todays load pressures which have been known to crack frames and slides. If I were you I would stick to shooting standard 230 grain ball and not the +P or lighter bullets. Just my thoughts, shoot away as you please.

Old Fuff
March 11, 2005, 10:52 AM
Tuner … You must be badly mistaken … Again!! :banghead:

We have it on very good authority that them old guns are junk, being that they were made from old-fashioned steel and not modern powdered metal or plastic. :p

And no-way could the parts fit right unless them were made on CNC machines with computers running them. Besides nobody could be expected to get things fitted right when there was a war on. Make ‘um fast, and make ‘up sloppy was the motto. Some folks are still doing this today, and they don’t have a war going on … :scrutiny:

Then too … if your are going to hit anything smaller then a bull elephant at six feet you have to have one of those Easy Something barrels that say “N.M.” or “National Match” or maybe "Tactical Tu-d" on the top or the chamber. Needless to say, one of them special barrel bushings is required too … :uhoh:

I just know that you can’t feed anything … including ball ammunition until you throat out that barrel and polish the feed ramp with a hand grinder. Don’t you EVER read any advise on the Internet??? :what:

And don’t forget to get some of them eight-shot stainless steel magazines. Carbon steel seven-shooters just do not cut it any more.

You have remembered to funnel the magazine well and drill three little holes in the trigger haven’t you??? WHAT!! Well why not ???

Them little sights have got to go. ‘Specially that one in the back with a little half-round notch. Nobody can hit nut’ten using one of those. If I didn’t know better I’d think you learned shoot’en in the Marine Corps.

You obviously need to be ed-u-cated about .45’s, and you’re just darn lucky I’m available. :neener: :D

March 11, 2005, 11:37 AM
Congratulations and enjoy! :)

I'd love to pick up a nice old GI. I would have to bob the hammer a cm or so though. I just get bit horribly by the long spur.

Tried for years to pry my friends out of his hands without success.

All the ones (a bunch of Rem Rands) I see here are $1000~$1200. A hacked Systema is selling for $499 right now. Waiting for my C&R and a few business trips to Las Vegas to see if I can rectify this situation. :)

March 11, 2005, 12:33 PM
Howdy Mac Attack,

I hear ya my man...I don't plan on this one bein' a shooter any more often than a magful or so on its birthday...which I won't know until Fuff chases it down for me. So far, we know that it was shipped in 1919...and was one of the last of the original military contract pistols from Colt to go. I do want to shoot a little WCC Match ammo through it off the bags...just to see what it'll do without my wobbles. FWIW, this one ain't "Goose Loose." There's barely any sideplay at all... and if I'd oil the rails up good and sloppy, there probably wouldn't be any. Vertical play is about .008 inch, measured with a feeler gauge.

Contrary to popular belief, the loose pistols weren't delivered that way...They aquired it through use. :cool: This one will be laid to rest shortly with the others...Countin' the 99% Rand that I gave too much for a month ago, I'm up to 25 USGI pistols...11 of'em pre-A1s and including *ahem* a very cherry
US&S that ain't seen the light of day in over 10 years, and a so-so example
that came outta the dark last time in '99.

Now...if I can just bambooz....er uh...talk Mr. 19112XS outta that minty '17 Commercial model, I'll be a happy man.

Fuff! I was as shocked as you are. Everybody knows that that old technology just didn't produce anything but junk...and that effort spent
on those old clunkers just resulted in nicer junk. This one MUST be a fluke!
Either that, or some sharp gunsmith musta got his hands on it somewhere along the line and tweaked it up. Lemme see...Accordin' to the man I got it from, that woulda had to have been along 'bout 1950, since that was when his brother bought it...and stored it away in an ORIGINAL MILITARY HOLSTER WITH A WRAPPED LEATHER THONG AND A 1912 DATE ON IT!!! No. You can't have the holster either. :neener: It's all greasy anyway. Looks like it's been soaked in dirty, boiled linseed oil. Yuck! I guess I'll hafta go get me one of them new-fangled tactical Kydex holsters to tote it around in at the range.
Wouldn't want anybody to make fun of that OLD UGLY, DIRTY, CAVALRY HOLSTER. :D

Did I mention the two-tone magazine? Better not. Might be more'n you could
handle right now.

Did I mention the (incorrect) full-checkered 1930s era stocks that were on it?
Guess not. It's got some old, original double diamond grips on it now, though.
I had a set that I was savin' for just this purpose. I think I'll hang onto those
old full-checkered stocks too...never know when I might run up on a...uh...nevermiiind. :evil:

March 11, 2005, 01:03 PM
That's interesting on the slide/frame fit. I've read that before.

That's good. I'm tired about reading that Colt's current "rattle trap" fit was the way it's supposed to be. Maybe, they just don't take the time to do it right. :rolleyes:

Old Fuff
March 11, 2005, 01:06 PM
Beg to report that the poor Ol’ Fuff is now sitting in a chair looking at a blank wall with unfocused eyes… Keeps mumbling something about, “full checkered grips,” and “two-tone magazines.” :confused:

His personal mental counselor has been called and is on his way. We’ve been instructed are to hold an open bottle of Hoppe’s Number Nine under his nose until professional help arrives.

It is highly probable he will remain in this comatose state until someone wraps his hand around the butt of a vintage Colt. Mental Health Professionals are presently consulting as to which is the better choice – a pre-World War One 1911 or a middle 1930’s USGI 1911-A1. Perhaps it would be advisable to get him both …

Ya’ think???? :evil: :D

Edited to add: Be sure to send the holsters to ...

March 11, 2005, 01:27 PM
Tuner- I'll give ya $50 and a 686 for it.

Seriously- it had the old gun smell to it. Nice piece of work.

Old Fuff
March 11, 2005, 01:40 PM
O.K. Now how many of you guys can tell me WHY those pistols had such a good slide-to-frame fit? Remember, they were being mass produced under wartime conditions.

March 11, 2005, 01:52 PM
I don't know, but I'll guess.

They had dedicated workers doing just slide fitting. Probably had a file in each hand, metal shavings flying and bingo... :)

Old Fuff
March 11, 2005, 07:08 PM

Nope, or at least very little of that. They couldn't take the time because a war was on. Still they got near perfect fits. Think again. :scrutiny: :D

March 11, 2005, 07:47 PM
because Colts machines and toolings were still new at that point. :neener:

Old Fuff
March 11, 2005, 08:20 PM
>> Because Colts machines and toolings were still new at that point. <<

Yes and no. Some machinery was relatively new, but some went back to the Civil War. Try again ... :D

March 11, 2005, 09:02 PM

March 11, 2005, 11:09 PM
Hi Tuner. I’m glad MY 1918 USGI COLT shoots so well! Thanks for trying it out for me. Sorry it bit your hand, but I’m sure it won’t bother mine. Original holster and mag…Great! Now I won’t be short either one. All I need to worry about now is someone bamboozlen’ me outta a couple ol’ POS Smiths if they look up in time :D Slather my honey in FP10, I’ll be there soon. Fuff, don’t worry. This ‘un will end up with a good home.

Old Fuff
March 11, 2005, 11:18 PM
Now Tuner .... :rolleyes:

Don't get these good folks more upset and frustrated then they already are ... :confused:

This is not a trick question. There is a good reason that Colt in particular, but also some of the other World War One contractors could rapidly assemble a frame and slide and get the kind of fit Tuner has explained. At one time it was a fairly common practice throughout the firearms industry, but now I think it has almost been lost. That's why I brought up the subject, and I will "'fess up" and explain before this thread is over.

Today we brag (sometimes) about how much better our machine tools are, and the close tolerances they can hold (which is true). Yet these old-timers with less precise machinery could produce closer fitting frames and slides then we see today except in custom-built guns, and they could mass produce them.

If no one comes up with an answer I'll spill the beans tomorrow - after I've had my Turbocoffee.

So ... Tuner???? Or anybody???? :cool:

Oh, and about that … ah … well rather common … 1918 pistol you have, I’ve done a little more research and decided I should bluff … no, I mean tell you … yes! That’s right, tell you … that … it really isn’t of any consequence at all. I’m sure there are hundred of thousands out there that are exactly the same … well maybe not hundreds of thousands but … well maybe hundreds …. :scrutiny:

Would Arts Grandma get mad if I told a little fib … ??? :evil: :D

Old Fuff
March 11, 2005, 11:21 PM
>> Fuff, don’t worry. This ‘un will end up with a good home. <<

Yes, (SOB!!) But that's the trouble. I want it to be MY HOME!!! :evil:

scratchy wilson
March 11, 2005, 11:37 PM
I am envious of your barrel condition, sir. Mine looks like acid was poured down the bore at some time and allowed to sit. Any recommendations on an 'honorable' or 'righteous' replacement?

March 12, 2005, 01:01 AM
'Tis said that the mark of a good machinist is to be able to hold his tolerance,
even with worn machinery...and it's very true. They can do that...and many do it every day. That's the one advantage that old, sensitive machine tools have over CNC machining and turning centers. The human element. The skill
to "feel" when something's wrong with the cut. The automated machinery
can't do that. It can hold a very close tolerance, and dead in the middle of print specs...as long as the cutter holds true. When it wears or dulls...the machine doesn't know it, and will finish its program regardless of a finished dimension. It doesn't know that the part out of spec until the operator
runs a check. It depends on the motivation of the operator to use his gauges and measuring tools.

'Tis also said that the secret to making a good part is to have a good machinist who checks his set-up often for tool wear and/or fixture
slippage or movement. That is also very true. A really GOOD machinist will
check his dimensions no less often than one in five parts, even though he is only required to check one in ten. A dedicated machinist will check every part, and usually during the process so that he can correct a mistake before it gets too big to correct.

Standardized blueprints are also handy to have...and people who are both conscientious and skilled (Read that as well-trained and experienced)...and a quality assurance department that doesn't let something go because it's
"Close enough for Gub'mint work."

Training...Experience...Skill...Dedication to producing quality parts...part after part. Day after day.

Finally, Proof-firing the pistols before they leave the facility so that any functional problems will occur in the factory instead of in the field, and final adjustments made before the pistol is released and packaged for shipment.

As Ralph "Papa" Thornsen said:

"New things are nooooo good!" :p

March 12, 2005, 01:15 AM
Fuff...I think the frame's defective! The openings in the frame under the grip panels ain't right. I found it when I put the right stocks on it!
They look kinda like a double chin with pointy shapes in the middle! Think
maybe it was a reject?


March 12, 2005, 01:36 AM
Congrats Tuner!

Thanks for sharing another great gun, and gun history with us.

I suspect the reason the OLD guns "fit" with a war going on - well you said. A fella knew his stuff and took pride in it. A tool is only as good as the operator, be it a #2 pencil to a pc of machinary, to a file.

In order to continue my Reprobate Studies, I must have that pistol to inspect and shoot. My Mentor has said so. Now you do want me to do well in my studies- right? ;)

[Dang it Fuff, work with me here] :D

March 12, 2005, 03:26 AM
good to see someone can hit with one. the 1918 colt I have has such pee poor sights its hard to get on a target much past 75 feet. the old gun actualy will shoot tight groups at short range but that thumbnail front site tends to disapear in that rear tiny U and then its a bit like tossing rocks at the target.

March 12, 2005, 08:26 AM
Diggin' a little deeper early this mornin'...My Colt may technically be 1919
production. In the works in December 1918, but not finished, proofed, and accepted until sometime after January 1 of 1919...which would put it a little farther up into the "Collectible Status." Wowzer!

Waitin' for the Old Fuff to see if he can dig up any information on where the gun has been, and/or who it's been issued to over the years. Given its overall condition, my bet is that it hasn't been to truly awful places...so it's probably not carrying any ghosts around with it.

I don't have a way to post pictures, but I'm gonna try to find a way soon. This one's worth showin' off. Stand by...

March 12, 2005, 09:24 AM
I'm up to 25 USGI pistols...

No wonder I can't find a good GI pistol for a decent price, ya bought 'em all. I'm green with jealousy here. Sounds like you have some keepers. Now how 'bout a few pictures? Maybe I could do the photography? :D

But can't you keep the "everything old is better" out of ONE thread you and Fuff post in? :neener: It'll be like WildAlaska's challenge but you pledge not to rag everything invented after fire(or dirt, in Fuff's case) for... three days. Betcha can't. ;)

March 12, 2005, 09:54 AM
Dang Feanaro! Three days? You woudn't try to stack a deck, now wouldja? :p

Now hold onto yer seat while this next one sinks in...One of my carry pistols is
a 1918 Colt in the 280,000 serial range. Style! STYLE! :D

Got no digital camera to post pix, and don't know how nohow...Not on the forum anyhow...I might hafta borrow one for this old Colt though...She's too purty not to show off. I'll probably E-mail the shots to one of the 'puter whiz
kids here and get it posted. Might even toss in a picture of a minty Rand that
I wheedled Keller out of not long ago...and I do mean MINT!

Old Fuff
March 12, 2005, 09:56 AM

You are absolutely right!!! That gun is a condemned reject, and clearly nothing that you should let get next to your finer examples. :eek:

What you should do is dump it on some inconsequential nobody like a certain grasshopper. Even though "sm" is hopelessly inept and inexperienced he couldn't possibly hurt this gun because it's trash already. :barf:

So give it to the kid to play with ... :uhoh:

Steve, I’ll get a’hold of you later …

Old Fuff
March 12, 2005, 10:12 AM

It is true that I, and occasionally Tuner have emphasized that in the case of 1911 pistols (copies, clones & whatever) older is indeed better. Now it’s one thing to say this, but both of us have explained in detail why so many of the more recent guns are actually inferior.

Some manufacturers have seriously degraded materials and manufacturing processes that are used, and it is obvious that parts are too often out-of-dimension and ineptly assembled. Inspection and quality control are a joke. :banghead:

As a consequence, this and other forums that deal with this handgun are filled with threads and posts complaining about how newer guns won’t work like they should. These issues are seldom brought up when older pistols are involved. :scrutiny:

Tuner and I hope that our harping will serve to make owners, or potential ones, wiser about what’s going on, and in the process maybe get some manufacturers to straighten out they’re acts. Ignoring the situation and pretending that nothing is wrong will not bring any improvements.

In this thread we are having a bit of fun though, because it is apparent that this 87-year-old-gun that was made under wartime conditions, does perform better them most new guns with all of their supposed improvements. :evil:

Do feel free however, to rebutt our contentions by telling our members what currently manufactured gun(s) can equal the older ones when it comes to overall materials and workmanship. Big-bucks (over $1000.00) custom built examples don't count. Few people are willing to sell the farm to buy one.

March 12, 2005, 10:37 AM
Johnny - you mean you bought Keller's Remington Rand?!? (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=78426) (pics on post #19)

March 12, 2005, 11:24 AM
Old Fuff, Tuner -

I've been paying attention, I had some elders and mentors that you two remind me of.

OT, but good example. I was going to buy a new Coleman Lantern. My mechanic buddy a mentor the one in regard to the Colt DS, was a heck of a fisherman, night fishing especially. "Don't buy a new one with double mantles, get the old red ones, they put out more light and the fuel last longer".

I bought 3 old red ones for less than $10 - garage sales. A new double mantle green one sold for about $27 at the time. I bought a new generator for one. Cleaned them up and they do in fact work better and the fuel lasts longer.

The one I use most was made in 1954. I was born in 1955. I am still looking for one made in '55.

I lost the Coleman stove I bought for $7 in a move. It worked better than the new ones that sold for more money as well.

Just because something is new -don't mean it is better.

March 12, 2005, 12:23 PM
mpthole! Yep, i did...and the pix do NOT do it justice. :cool:

Fuff! Not to worry. I ran down to Lowe's and got me a rotary file for my Dremel and I'll have those ugly, pointy things in that grip frame smoothed up and lookin' righteous real soon. :neener:

Feanaro! If you could get your hands on a really good example...one that's not shot so loose that it'd field-strip itself if ya laid in the bed of a pickup
and drove down a bumpy road...you'd know what Papa Thorsen meant... :p

Steve! Never give up hope, brother! I might leave ya one of the Rands in my will. :cool:

March 12, 2005, 12:48 PM
Man I'm jealous... happy for you, but jealous. ;) :cool:

Now, back to that 1918 (or is it 1919) Colt...

Old Fuff
March 12, 2005, 01:43 PM
Well I’ve frustrated you long enough … :banghead:

So why was it that Colt could build 1911 .45 automatics with precise slide-to-frame fits during World War One?

Some of you suggested it was because Colt’s human machinists were true craftsmen whose skills made up for deficiencies in the machines they worked on. There is some truth to this. Few people know it, but the government had to make their own complete set of blueprints for the pistol at Springfield Arsenal when Colt couldn’t provide them - because they didn’t have any themselves. Their machinists and inspectors used gauges instead of prints, and the guns themselves proved that the system worked. ;)

But the real secret of wartime frame-slide fit was something called “selective fitting.” During the manufacturing process frames and slides (as well as other parts) were constantly checked with gauges and inspection fixtures. Thereafter frames and slides were segregated in storage according to being high-tolerance, zero tolerance or low tolerance. When it came to assembling these parts into pistols a highly skilled and experienced assembler would match a particular frame to a slide that had tolerances to match. Speed was essential! After all there was a war going on and pistols were in short supply and in big demand. But by using selective fitting a near-perfect fit could be made in usually under a minute with little or no handwork. Did this work? Ask Tuner – he has the proof in his hands. I suspect that if he pulls that 1919/1911 apart he won’t find much evidence of file marks. :scrutiny:

Now days when guns are assembled it’s usually a case of putting a slide on a frame and letting it go at that, or higher-priced models may have slides lapped to fit, which is precise if done right, but expensive.

It should be noted that pistols that were made using selective fitting sometimes defeated the ideal of being able to switch any slide onto any frame. When World War Two came along frame and slide dimensions were revised so that parts – including frames and slides – would be completely interchangeable regardless of what contractor or sub-contractor made them. After that a precise frame-slide fit might be a case of “luck of the draw,” although by the war’s end Remington-Rand had come very close.

So now you know … :cool: :D

March 12, 2005, 02:19 PM
Ah yes, Fuff...That's why I believe in good tooling.

It's also a neat explanation as to why a given company won't introduce or reintroduce this gun or that gun. Tooling and/or retooling costs are high.
If the company can't justify the costs with a fairly conservative sales projection, they won't do it.

FWIW...Production pistols are still built using the selective-fit method...and gauges are still in use. The glitch is in the dedication/determination of the assembler to find the best fit for a part or sub-assembly possible, and the
process is too often affected by the rush for production. This explains why we can find two outwardly identical Colts...or Springfields...or name your brand...that seem to have come from two different manufacturers. Fit and
function will be flawless in one, while the other is a rattletrap with hit-and-miss functional reliability.

March 12, 2005, 05:03 PM
Dang I'm jealous. Are you planning on doing anything with the hammer bite issue? The job you did on my Colt was A+ and it hasn't bitten me since. :)

March 12, 2005, 05:12 PM
Do feel free however, to rebutt our contentions by telling our members what currently manufactured gun(s) can equal the older ones when it comes to overall materials and workmanship.

Direct comparison Fuff....New Series 70 Colts...

And better sights too....


Old Fuff
March 12, 2005, 05:34 PM
I admit the sights are better, but as a rule the frame-to-slide fit isn't, and some internal parts are made from investment castings or MIM. Also I not sure if they are still using plastic mainspring housings and trigger fingerpieces or not, but I sure hope they aren't.

So are castings or MIM parts acceptable? That depends on one's point of view. But having disassembled 1911 pistols of all ages I still contend that the older guns had better workmanship. That why in my post I threw in the word "overall."

That said, I still respect your opinion.

Edited to add: Why not the Series 80 pistols? Do you see a marked difference between them and the current Series 70's?

March 12, 2005, 06:47 PM
Why not the Series 80 pistols? Do you see a marked difference between them and the current Series 70's?

In my humble eyeballin and fondling the Series 70s are fitted just a hair better....


March 12, 2005, 07:06 PM
AFAIK automobile engine makers follow that practice to this day, pulling from different lots of pistons with marked ounce weights and/or diameters to fit the pistons properly.

Works well :) I was expecting an answer like maybe they were forcibly fitted by some special process or gritted together. Heh, goes to show you can't forget the simpler things :)

March 12, 2005, 07:20 PM
Steve! Never give up hope, brother! I might leave ya one of the Rands in my will. :cool:

I'm going to enlarge and frame this - talk about something to boost one's Self Esteem. :)

Thanks for the kind words Tuner.

Personally feel the OLD guns - be it 70 or 80's series built "back in the day" had better fit, parts , attention to detail...etc. As if one could "feel" the honest effort the folks put into them. Guns had "soul" and "character".

Seger said it best Today's music ain't got the same soul - gimme that old time Rock&Roll...

Old Fuff...ain't a darn thing wrong with the Big Band Era... ;)

March 12, 2005, 07:47 PM
Well...it's probably a good idea to change the thread title and some of the
text...since it's highly likely that the gun is a 1919 production Colt, according to a couple of good sources...but still waitin' for the final word from the Ol' Fuff. Stop draggin' yer feet, man! The suspense is killin' me!

This makes me a happy guy, by the way... :D :D :D

March 12, 2005, 08:27 PM
Do feel free however, to rebutt our contentions by telling our members what currently manufactured gun(s) can equal the older ones when it comes to overall materials and workmanship.

You had to bring logic into this. I was jes' pokin' 'round the hive to see what I could stir up. Should have known better than to poke the old codger.

But... "because it is apparent that this 87-year-old-gun that was made under wartime conditions, does perform better them most new guns with all of their supposed improvements." I can't exactly agree with that if we are speaking of handguns in a broad sense. Perhaps speaking of 1911s only. But I'm not as experianced with those as the new plastic fantastics.. The pistol has performed very well according to Tuner but it doesn't seem miles ahead of, say, a Sig. (It probably looked and felt better while it were performin' though)

(I briefly considered adding Tuner's tuning of the tuneless extractor as a defect but Tuner seems to fix problems that haven't exactly... manifested yet. ;))

Feanaro! If you could get your hands on a really good example...one that's not shot so loose that it'd field-strip itself if ya laid in the bed of a pickup
and drove down a bumpy road...you'd know what Papa Thorsen meant...

Are you offering to "introduce" me to such a beauty? You'll bring the coffee? ;)

ken grant
March 12, 2005, 09:48 PM
All you lovers of old 1911's need to make a trip to MECCA (1911 Tuner) and take your old Colt's,Rands,US&S,SA and Singer's to be inspected.
Please handcuff them to yourself,because you will have a hard time leaving with them :neener: :evil:

March 12, 2005, 10:12 PM
Standin' invitation, Feanaro...I'll keep the coffee comin' and let ya shoot a piece of history. Be aware that if ya get well infected, nothin' else will seem quite the same. :p

You said:

I briefly considered adding Tuner's tuning of the tuneless extractor as a defect but Tuner seems to fix problems that haven't exactly... manifested yet.

That's true enough. I do tend to be anal about correct extractor tuning, and I'd have to agree that the extractor was, in fact defective
in the state that it came to me in...but even if it's a WW2-era replacement
part, that would make it at least 60 years old. It's earned the right to a little defect...wouldn't ya say? :neener:

At any rate, since it's highly unlikely that the extractor is original to the gun...and I've got 4 spankin' new, in-spec USGI extractors...AND...since I also want any gun to be in serviceable, ready-to-grab-and-run condition...I'll probably replace it with a new one soon. The old one will go into a plastic bag and identified as to the parent gun though...

Old Fuff
March 12, 2005, 10:29 PM

Since you undoubtedly see more current Series 70's and 80's then I do I'll accept your judgment on that point, but I still wonder why that is ... :confused:

sm: I got nothing a'gin the Big Bands ...


Dang nab it!! I'm working as fast as I can ... Tomorrow is the day ... :eek:


Given the title of the thread, I restricted my comments to the 1911 pattern pistol. I will acknowledge that some other folks do make handguns that (sometimes) work better in harsh environments, and are unquestionably more reliable then most of the 1911's being made today. However considering how a lot of them are being put together that doesn't necessarily come as a suprise. Also if one of the European contenders happens to bust you wont't take it apart in the field without an armorer. :neener:

March 12, 2005, 10:48 PM
Do feel free however, to rebutt our contentions by telling our members what currently manufactured gun(s) can equal the older ones when it comes to overall materials and workmanship. Big-bucks (over $1000.00) custom built examples don't count. Few people are willing to sell the farm to buy one.

I agree that the older guns are often (usually) better finished and fit. The only 1911s I've seen malfunction are some newer Kimbers, those running on old/cheap magazines, and some crazy 3" chopped Government model ( ;) to A Wyatt if he's reading this...). The USGI and older Colts in good condition have seemed to run perfectly in my (limited) experience...however, isn't this a bit of an unfair comparison, because didn't a commercial 1911 cost around $1000 in 1919 dollars?

Old Fuff
March 12, 2005, 11:21 PM

Somewhere in my stuff I have an original 1917 Colt price list. Off the top of my head I believe at the time a commercial 1911 .45 pistol cost about $30.00 suggested retail. In 1917 Colt accepted a government order for 500,000 pistols at $14.50 each with one magazine. Extra magazines were fifty cents each.

During the middle-1960's you could buy USGI .45 pistols from Uncle Sam through the NRA for $21.00 and shipping (about $3.00). In 1968 president Lyndon Johnson ordered this to be stopped, and any future surplus guns were to be scrapped. I haven't voted for a Democrat since.

March 12, 2005, 11:34 PM
Inflation calculator says that equals $484 in 2003 dollars (doesn't go up to '05), with extra magazines at $8.07. Dang! And with all forged/machined parts, no cast or MIM, hand assembled and machined too. I guess I was wrong...The least expensive modern 1911 I've seen with no MIM or cast is made by RRA, at $1500. What's the deal; are companies now just absorbing the profits? Or is it in the cost of labor? Any input would be appreciated!

Old Fuff
March 12, 2005, 11:51 PM
As you might suspect the cost of labor went way up. Colt workers were always well paid for the times, but in 1936 the company reported that materials vs. labor was split about 50-50. That's far different then today. Of course having workers earning more in wages isn't necessarily bad. The first new commercial Government Model that I owned was purchased during the early 1950's and cost $86.00 plus sales tax.

Excluding the "Coltwood" plastic grips the entire pistol is made out of parts that are either forgings or machined tool steel bar stock. No potmetal and no plastic. No production shortcuts to save costs.

Yes, I do still have it. :D

Also, prior to World War Two Colt made just about everything that went into the guns, including screws, pins and springs. These days just about everything is outsourced.

March 13, 2005, 12:23 AM

I was trying to think of that term. I remember back in my day in another business I was in ,we made most of what we used as well. Really trying times to change from making our own and buying from outside. Outsourced "materials" were not always up to "our par" and the disgusting feeling "our" product [ end result] would be viewed as "taking a step down" in quality.

Domino effect...

March 13, 2005, 10:47 AM
What's the deal; are companies now just absorbing the profits?

One reason might be that when the 1911 was made, it used a period manufacturing process. Milling from bar stock was standard, as far as I know. But technology got better(Or not, depending on how ancient you are :D) and techniques changed. The way a 1911 is designed isn't conducive to the current manufacturing style.

Standin' invitation, Feanaro...I'll keep the coffee comin' and let ya shoot a piece of history. Be aware that if ya get well infected, nothin' else will seem quite the same.

Yer offerin' me a sword blade first then? Well, we'll see about it. Logistics is my only problem. Hope that coffee is as good as everyone says it is.

I'd have to agree that the extractor was, in fact defective
in the state that it came to me in...but even if it's a WW2-era replacement
part, that would make it at least 60 years old. It's earned the right to a little defect...wouldn't ya say?

In all seriousness, if we are making the claim that this pistol is going better than a modern pistol, doesn't having a defective extractor mar that record a smidge? Sure, an old man has a right to be slow and rusty, he worked hard to get there. But iffin he claims to be faster than a young'n, it b'comes an issue.

ken grant
March 13, 2005, 10:54 AM
You can't place blame only on inflation or labor the increase in prices of Colt's pistols. `
Lawyers and Taxes take up a large part :cuss:

March 13, 2005, 11:53 AM
Feanaro sez:

In all seriousness, if we are making the claim that this pistol is going better than a modern pistol, doesn't having a defective extractor mar that record a smidge? Sure, an old man has a right to be slow and rusty, he worked hard to get there. But iffin he claims to be faster than a young'n, it b'comes an issue.

Well...maybe. Only way to find out is if ya match the round count on your Sig
or Glock over the next 60 years...with the same extractor and spring...and see if the gun would still function like it does now. The old Colt functioned
just fine with the extractor that came in it...I called it defective
because the ejection was a little erratic. Took about a minute-five to tweak the it and correct the problem. That's one of the good things about an internal, spring-tempered extractor. :neener:

March 13, 2005, 12:27 PM
Well...maybe. Only way to find out is if ya match the round count on your Sig
or Glock over the next 60 years...with the same extractor and spring...and see if the gun would still function like it does now.

On princible, I agree with you. An apple to apple comparison would be two pistols with equal rounds and equal years. But Fuff had to bring an orange in and compared the old stuff to the new.

The old Colt functioned just fine with the extractor that came in it

But you had to play with it, didn't'cha? Hehe, I think I understand. Everytime I buy a new gun, the others tell it horror tales involving Dremels while I'm gone.

March 13, 2005, 12:35 PM
'Course I had ta play widdit. I'm a tuner. That's what I do... :D

And I agree with Ralph and the Ol' Fuff. New things are noooooo good! :p

The coffee is everything they say...and more. Not for the squeamish, though.

How far are ya from Muscle Shoals/Leighton area? I know a guy down there.

March 13, 2005, 12:56 PM
Feanaro...tell ya what. You ain't that far away from me...Come on up and bring that ol' Sig. We'll have us a contest and just to make it fair, I'll pull the extractor outta my old Colt and shoot it like that. :p

Old Fuff
March 13, 2005, 02:20 PM

O.K., this ones for you .... :D :cool:

Of course, anyone who wants to can ride along. ;)

The 1st World War ended on the Western Front when Germany signed an Armistice Agreement in November 1918 on the 11th of that month. Thereafter the artillery and trenches fell silent. There were joyful celebrations throughout the Allied countries, but in the United States the pacifistic government headed by president Woodrow Wilson moved to cancel armament contracts as quickly as they could. There was no reason to spend good money on military supplies when it was declared by the politicians that this had been, “the war to end all wars.”

At the Colt factory in Hartford, Ct. there was relief that the frantic pace they’d been going through would slow, but on the other hand their storage areas were filled with completed guns, completed parts, other parts is various stages of completion, and piles of raw materials. Colt had literally fabricated everything that went into the pistols themselves, and provided some parts to other government sub-contractors as well. All of this that was “on hand” hadn’t been paid for. Uncle Sam only sent money to cover completed pistols, after its own inspector had accepted them.

So while they negotiated a financial settlement, Colt tried to get all of the guns out the door that they could, but it wasn’t easy because the Army had suspended most deliveries.

Generally, USGI 1911 pistols are categorized as being Pre-World War One, and World War One. But advanced collectors are now beginning to notice another possible class – Post War 1911 pistols – those made too late to be used in the conflict. They would however, play a part in several lesser actions involving U.S. military forces between the World Wars, and a critical role in the early part of World War Two when pistols were in critically short supply, and contractors other then Colt had not yet come on line.

While it may be concluded that pistols probably wouldn’t have had time to get to France and be issued if they hadn’t left Hartford before the middle of September 1918, we can be sure that any pistol that was shipped during November 1918 or thereafter certainly didn’t get to fire any shots in anger, and are therefore “post war” pistols.

Determining exactly what is a post-war 1911 can be difficult, and may require a letter from Colt. The last substantial shipment made before November 11, 1918 was on November 5th when 10,050 pistols within a serial number range of 503,000 to 516,000 were sent to the Ordnance Depot, Bush Terminal in Brooklyn. NY. On November 11th 10,050 more went to the Ordnance Depot, Greenville Piers, Jersey City, NJ. They were in a serial number range of 500,000 to 527,000. Then on the 19th another 11,000 were shipped to Bush Terminal. Clearly Colt was cranking out guns. These Terminals where in effect shipping docks where freighters were loaded with war material and sent directly to France with no unnecessary delay.

The flow continued. On November 25th 1918, 500 guns were sent to the Ordnance Depot in Washington, DC and on the 29th Bush Terminal got another shipment of 11,000, serial numbered in the 535,000 to 551,000 range. But that was the end of such massive shipments. Thereafter nothing exceeded 3,600 pistols until the very end – which we shall get to. Throughout the latter part of December 1918 to March 1919 many small shipments were made with mixed serial numbers. Sometimes an earlier shipment might contain serial numbers that were higher then a shipment that was made later. Quantities were only a few hundred guns, and sometimes substantially less. Where previously most guns either went to Springfield Armory or one of several shipping ports on the east coast, these smaller shipments went all over the map to various military instillations. Serial numbers tended to be in the middle 500,000’s but occasionally they dipped into the high 400,000’s. Obviously Colt was clearing out anything and everything they could.

On March 3rd 1919, Colt ended an era when they shipped the last military 1911 pistols. There wouldn’t be another order until 1924, and it was for the new “Improved” Model 1911 (aka Model 1911-A1).

That last shipment, consisting of 12,200 guns (the largest since October 3, 1918), went to Depot Officer, Army Reserve Depot, South Schenectady, NY. The serial number range was between 580,000 to 600,000.

Tuner’s pistol is in the 581,1xx range. Because of Colt’s propensity to mix serial numbers during these last shipments I cannot be absolutely sure that his gun way part of the last shipment of USGI 1911 pistols. Only a factory letter would confirm that. But I think it is highly probable that it was.

Sometimes you can hold history in your hands. :) :D :)

March 13, 2005, 02:52 PM
You can't shoot till you install a FLGR and fancey sights . So put it a way till it fixed the right way.

March 13, 2005, 03:44 PM
Well...it's OH-ficial! The pistol is 1919 production.

Tuner has a big sillyass grin coverin' the whole front side of his head.

See? ---------> :D

Wonder how that thing made its way into southeastern Virginia? :confused:

I already know how it got to The northern NC Piedmont. :p

Wonder where else it's been? :scrutiny:

Old Fuff
March 13, 2005, 06:40 PM
I know ... :evil:

One of them rednecks ah ... well ... borrowed it from Uncle Sam back in '42. :D

March 13, 2005, 08:37 PM
Rednecks!!?? Heyyyy...I resemble that remark!

And it ain't "Borrowed"...It's "Borried". You're comin' to North Cackalackey, you gonna hafta l'arn ta talk...I'll send ya the crash course in Red-Bonics
so ya won't draw attention when ya come ta town. :p

Many thanks for all the research time, Fuff. I owe ya a big'un.

I guess since ya spent all that time and it IS a piece of history and all...and seein' as how it's really in good shape for an old slabsided critter ...
Well..I guess I'll skip the ducktail and the Novaks and the FLGR... :eek: :D

Old Fuff
March 13, 2005, 09:31 PM
>> Well..I guess I'll skip the ducktail and the Novaks and the FLGR... <<

You Rednecks just ain't tactical ... :fire:

Ya' forgot to funnel the magazine well, and square the front of the trigger guard ...

And how 'bout the 30-line checkering ??? :evil: :D

March 13, 2005, 09:36 PM
Throw out all those junky old parts and swap em out for some quality new parts by brand name manufacturers. :evil:

It can't possibly run right without a flgr.

March 13, 2005, 10:18 PM
Invitation to Bid

Vendors are invited to submit bids for the supplying the following items to one envious old foo…..er ah… to one individual;

One one hundred pound bag Gravy Train Dog Food.
One pair real big sneaky shoes.
One official Harry Potter Invisibility Cloak also real big size.
One bag to carry the loot… er ah paperweights also real big size.
Discount replumbing and sew jobs in event any of above items fail.

Please submit bids to me here.


Old Fuff
March 13, 2005, 10:30 PM
Ah .....

Ya' could just make a run with an A-10 ... :what: :D

March 14, 2005, 07:16 AM
Well....Seein' as how ya'll are all my good friends...and seein' as how the
gun was prob'ly among the last 12,200 shipped...Seems right to start the biddin' at 12,200 dollars...plus...50 bucks a year since it left Colt. Just in
case I'm a little off on the overall condition, let's just knock off the chump change and call it 16,000 even. Do I hear 16,500? :evil:

March 14, 2005, 08:48 AM
Put it on one of the auction sites, with Ole Fuff's history, and it darn well mite bring that much! :)

Tuner...I'm waiting for another Colt series 80, with "less than a mag shot through it," to come. Shouldna bought that first one...now I'm infected with the Colt Virus. Or maybe the 1911 Virus if I find a good buy on a Springfield.

By the way, what did you do with the GI model that you fired a zillion rounds thru?

March 14, 2005, 08:55 AM
>By the way, what did you do with the GI model that you fired a zillion rounds thru?>

Well...After I busted the slide, I check-drilled the cracks in the frame and rebuilt it...Shot it a couple hundred times to settle things down and it
became one of my carry guns...Matter of fact, it's doin' that service now.
Serial# 280XXX

Now I ask ya...Izzat style, or what? :cool:

Down Fuff! Down! :neener:

Old Fuff
March 14, 2005, 09:04 AM
Gimmie 'dat gun or I cut off your history ... :evil: :evil: :evil:

Dean Taylor
March 14, 2005, 10:20 AM
I have a 1914 US Army Colt given to me at age 14 (I am about to turn 68) with over 150,000 rounds through it by me. It still runs with the original extractor, It is now retired to basically a paper weight status but it still is an adaquate shooter. The old ones were and are still great - just different than my custom 1911s.

Tuner - aren't the old ones fun! My emotional attachment to my old Colt and the fun over the years is very strong.

It is interesting how many competition classes have been formed so that individuals do not have to compete against 1911s.


March 14, 2005, 10:57 AM
They are, Doc...They surely are. I've got a '14 here that I'm workin' frantically to correct. It came with a later slide. Hammer and thumb safety are either original or correct for the era. I've run down...and rejected...three slides. Got one more to look at before I start the search again. I'll get it one day. My ol' man was born in January 1914, so it's a Holy Grail sorta thing.

Fuff! Not yet! If ya cut me off now, I'll...I'll...I'LL DRILL HOLES IN THAT TRIGGER!

Got two more Mystery Colts to run down...The '18 and the '42 A1. I know the '42 did service in the Ardennes...but that's about all I know. I suspect that it came ashore at Normandy...but so far it's a suspicion. I found Jun-44
scratched on one side of the grip frame under the original grips and MG on the other side. Not sure if those are somebody's initials or if it means "Market Garden."

The '18 is still cloudy. Serial number in the 280,000 range too, and only 175 numbers away from the one on my hip. I'd like to believe that it's the one my grandpappy capped that hun with at Belleau Wood. :cool: I may have to ante up the bucks for Colt to check their archives...Wish I had an insider with the Army Ordnance department. :evil:

March 14, 2005, 11:14 AM

Mom ran across one of a pair of matching plastic dart guns I had some 40+ years ago. 1911 style with a dancing horse on the plastic grips. :D

Well- I was raised right. Even came with genuine imitation flap holters.

So I am looking at what is left of this busted dart gun, IIRC this is the one that fell out of the tree house and the "slide" busted off. Shooting Zeros is a tough job for a kid. :p

That old dart gun has more 'soul' than my Keltec P-11. With a sigh and fond memories I tossed into the trash. Probably get recycled into a ....nevermind. :p

Old Fuff
March 14, 2005, 11:15 AM
O.K ... I give up!! DON'T DRILL THAT TRIGGER !!!

Make a list of numbers and either P.M. or e-mail them to me. If Colt happened to send any of them to Springfield Armory (which was often the case) you can contact them and they'll check their records too - very nice people to deal with.

If they were sent directly to the East Coast docks you can be very sure they saw service at The Front, except for those shipped after September, 1918 - those may be questionable because of the time element.

March 14, 2005, 11:27 AM
Here's the number for the '18. I'll have to go dig the '42 outta the mothballs.
Should be able to post it tomorrow before noon Eastern.


Tell me it was at Belleau Wood!!! :p

Old Fuff
March 14, 2005, 06:44 PM
Da' details according to Fuff ...

Shipped April 29, 1918 to Springfield Armory. Part of a shipment consisting of 5,500 guns - numbered between 278401 to 383900. Tuner's pistol was number 2804xx. The folks at Springfield might know more, but given the circumstances I strongly suspect that the gun eventually went to France, but possibly not in time for the Battle at Belleau Woods.

Belleau Woods happened in June, 1918.

When the French pulled back they ran into a USMC brigade moving forward. They advised the grunts to join them in retreat. In response, Capt. Lloyd Williams, USMC answered, "H--l, we just got here."

March 14, 2005, 07:47 PM
Both my grandfathers were at Belleau Wood, though they never met until after the "War to End All Wars".

Both were wounded on the same day...which was the same day that I was born over 30 years later. Neither one was taken out of action due to the wounds received.

Both men were wounded in the upper arm from shell fragments...One in the left arm and one in the right.

Both men used 1911 pistols to stop unexpected close-range encounters.

Both men returned to the coal mines after the war. One in Coeburn, Virginia and one in Harlan Kentucky...about 50 miles apart. The men met through my mother and father...after they snuck off to Abingdon, Virginia and got hitched. My mother was 16...my father was 25. Shortly afterward, Dad went to his own little piece of hell in the Ardennes...later to become known as "The Battle of the Bulge."

He used a 1943 Colt to stop an unexpected, close range encounter on Christmas Eve, 1944. He also used the same pistol to capture a
German major and his garrison of children-soldiers at Colmar pocket...date unknown. I have the pistol, along with the BYF 42-marked Walther P-38 that the major offered in surrender. Dad refinished both guns in the early 1960s.
Beautiful, deep blue...but assuredly NOT good...but it doesn't matter.
(I don't need the history on that one, Fuff. I already know all I need to know.) :cool:

Dad was wounded in Holland shortly afterward...date also unknown. A Corporal was able to snag his souvenirs...along with his Colt...and save'em for him. They didn't check his sea bag on the trip home, although they promised that they would. He told me that several P-38s...Lugers...Mp38s and Mp40s,
and many other prizes went to NY harbor on that boat.

I've got my own 1911 story, but it'll hafta wait for another time... ;)

March 14, 2005, 08:14 PM
Speaking of early 1911's, just read in the Blue Press that USFA is making a 1910 colt replica. No details on when, or how much.

March 18, 2005, 05:28 PM
Aight! Finally got over to the vault and dug that pistol outta the mothballs.
It screamed when I brought it out into the light. It's been a while... :D

Colt...All ordnance and proof marks are correct or original. Serial number:
22864XX The gun shows holster wear...finish is about 85% intact, and appears to be unrefinished. The numbers are within 500 of the one my father
managed to get home after his expense-paid vacation in the Ardennes...

What say you, Sir Fuff?

Old Fuff
March 18, 2005, 06:30 PM
>> What say you, Sir Fuff? <<

Gee, you are being so good to me... :cool:

Number 2,286,4xx was shipped on May 29, 1945 as part of a 1,463 gun shippment serial numbered between 2,286,000 to 2,300,000.

They went to: Transportation Officer, Springfield Armory. Most likely it was on its way to Europe within a week thereafter.

March 18, 2005, 07:27 PM
Hold the phone! I grabbed the wrong Colt! I ran in while I was runnin' around
like a drunken rooster, and THOUGHT I had the right side of the safe. I've gotta go back over there tomorrow. I'll dig up the other one and report back. I guess I put it closer to the bottom of the pile. :p

I need to sit down and take an inventory soon... :rolleyes:

Old Fuff
March 18, 2005, 07:43 PM
No!... No! ... No!! :eek:

The one you found is mine ... You simply forgot to send it back ...

Ask Steve (sm), he'll tell ya' this is so ... :evil: :D :D

March 18, 2005, 09:05 PM
Sorry Fuff...Didn't mean ta have ya worryin' over a GI Colt not bein' in your armory. I...I promise that I'll try not to mention any more after I go check that last serial number. I won't tell ya about the...WHOOPS! Nevermiiiiind... :evil:

I need ta get rid of some of these Colts and try to pick up a couple more Ithacas...Another Union Switch would be good too.... :neener:

Old Fuff
March 18, 2005, 10:12 PM
>> I need ta get rid of some of these Colts ... <<

Ya' do .... ??? ;)

I bet there are a whole lot of folks in this forum (including me) who will be glad to help. All of those heavy guns in the safe might give you back strain ... :neener: :D

March 18, 2005, 10:19 PM
Fuff...I don't know how ta break this to ya...but I've got a near-pristine
'17 Commercial model in the crosshairs...or is it a GI? Can't remember to save my aged backside...No matter. It's supposed to be arrivin' here for the negotiations next week. :evil:

You need ta relocate to a more easterly locale...Seems like a lotta old Colts are turnin' up...and Rands and Ithacas and.... :neener:

Not many Kimbers though...Odd. :scrutiny:

March 18, 2005, 10:46 PM
Tuner, I have an early 1911, serial number 10,2XX shipped to Augusta Arsenal November 1, 1912. It is a shooter, having an old refinish and the barrel and some minor parts replaced--but lots of nostalgia. Picked it up years ago just because it had so much character. Shot it now and then with RNL hardball equivalent loads.

Some time back I picked up a Glock 17 to wring it out and find out for once and for all if I was missing something by not owning one. Tried and tried to get used to the "green twig" trigger and never could get the $%#@ thing to put shots where I called them.

Broke out the old 1911 in frustration one day and even with the old invisible knife-edge front sight, round notch rear sight, 9 pound pull--and hold-off--I shot it better than the Tupperware. Not bad for 93 years old.

The Glock is long gone. The 1911 is, of course, a keeper.

Old Fuff
March 18, 2005, 11:43 PM

Back around the time that Colt’s new .45 automatic hit the commercial market our neighbor to the south was in the middle of a revolution. This made for a somewhat unsettled situation along the border that got even more agitated what with labor troubles in the mines and certain Germans working undercover to disrupt copper production that was needed to manufacture shells and cartridges.

As a consequence Colt started shipping 1911’s down to El Paso and points west into New Mexico and Arizona in boxcar loads. Have any idea how many .45’s can be fitted into a boxcar??? Good! Now ya’ got the picture.

Now I have good news and bad. As a consequence this part of the world is, or was, flooded with .45 pistols, some of which remain in pristine condition. Many of them are still in the families of the original owners. The bad news is that they’ll sometimes let you look if they get to like you, or would like to tap into your brain, but if you make any move to try and buy it they will have your head on a platter.

I have tried using all of the guile and sneaky tricks I’m famous for, but ya’ know, so far it hasn’t worked. Them ol’ ranchers are a lot smarter then they look, and good shot too … :what: :banghead: :D

March 19, 2005, 02:14 PM
Okay...Got it this time. The numbers are:

8541XX and 8544XX Both Colts...

March 19, 2005, 05:21 PM
I just got your messages sent by Carrier Pigeon, oh btw sorry about the Pigeon, 1 1/4 oz of # 7 1/2 shot is called "Pigeon Load" for a reason ...

I have been checking my mailbox, still NO Reprobate Cert. NO brown trucks have pulled up out front , nor any calls from FFL buddy, either. :scrutiny:

What am I going do with you two? :uhoh: :p

Well at least folks are getting a great history lesson about a proven Combat Weapon, I am grateful for that.

Now all you young whippersnappers, dig around in the attics of relatives and get them old Colts out and ready to ship out...don't use a Carrier Pigeon for my delivery- Pony Express [ get it] is fine.


March 19, 2005, 05:28 PM
sm...I got Colts. What I need is more Rands and Ithacas...Word! :p

March 19, 2005, 05:37 PM
Well then Tuner, I won't tell you bout the old Colt bring back from the Pacific by an old Marine who was telling me all about it at Hickory yesterday. Said he'd been offered $3500 cause he can document it, etc. Didn't have it at the show but gave me his phone and wanted me to come look at it. I don't doubt he brought it back, but based on his story of hiding it during shake downs I doubt he can really prove it. Still, I'm gonna go see it next week.

IF, big IF, it can be proved and is in nice condition...what kind of money are we talking about its being worth?

If it can't, then we're probably in the $1500-2000 range?

I'm just asing for guesstimates as I know there are many variables.

March 19, 2005, 05:40 PM
Hush your mouth.

Your weren't supposed to mention them other "names" - bad enough folks looking for the original dancing pony.

I did mention didn't I that as a wee brat I shot a Gov't Model made by folks known for sewing machines...

Folks he was "just kidding" , Rand made cash registers, Ithaca only made shotguns. < crossed fingers behind back>

[bolt of lightning strikes]

March 19, 2005, 06:01 PM
Well...I kinda doubt if he can document more than the fact that it did go to the Pacific Theater...but even if he can, I don't think it would be worth
3500 bucks, even if it's dead pristine and original. 1500-2,000...Well, maybe.
It would have to be a pretty nice specimen...and if it was in the island actions, it ain't real likely. Things had a way of rustin' in that environment.
At the very least, the finish would likely be history.

sm...I'll swap a decent Colt and a semi-rough Ithaca for a US&S. :p

Old Fuff
March 19, 2005, 09:34 PM

Pinning down the exact date those two 854,xxx 1911-A1 pistols were shipped will require a factory letter for each one.

Why? Because at the time Colt was making frequent shipments and not keeping the serial numbers in consecutive order. The war was on, and not going particularly well for us, so whatever was ready to go … went. Anyway, these are the possible shipping dates:

Nov. 23, 1942 2,000 guns between (841,000 to 856,000)
Nov. 25, 1942 1,200 guns between (843,000 to 861,000)
Nov. 30, 1942 2,600 guns between (845,000 to 862,000)
Dec. 4, 1942 1,800 guns between (847,000 to 863,000)
Dec. 10, 1942 2,100 guns between (849,000 to 865,000)
Dec. 16, 1942 1,900 guns between (850,000 to 867,000)
Dec. 18, 1942 1,800 guns between (852,000 to 867,000)
Dec. 23, 1942 1,200 guns between (854,000 to 869,000)

That’s 14,600 pistols in about four weeks !!! :what:

Edited to add: All shipments went to Springfield Armory.

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