Series 80 and series 70


April 7, 2007, 12:38 AM
MMkay. I'm a bit confused. What are the technical differences here? What are the practical differences here? What guns are which? WWJMBD?

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Black Majik
April 7, 2007, 04:00 AM
Series 80 is a reference to the firing pin block on 1911s activated by the trigger. A series 70 1911 is without the FP block. It's usually nowadays referred to Colt 1911s.

Similarly, Kimber uses the Schwartz safety which is a different firing pin block design activated by the grip safety.This is usually designated as "Series II"

1911 guy
April 7, 2007, 07:34 AM
There's no such thing as the tooth fairy, santa clause and series 70. In the beginning, John Moses Browning made the Gov't Model and it was good. Then some Marketing weenie got together with a Lawyer weenie and decided to create a problem and then sell the solution. Unfortunately, they both worked for Colt.

The "drop safe" problem supposedly resolved by the trigger safety is also solved by a fifty cent spring. (firing pin return spring, for the curious)

The term "Series 70" was never seen until people started complaining about the "new and improved" 1911, then "Series 70" was trotted out. It's the original pistol without the stupid little sheet metal parts.

April 7, 2007, 11:12 AM
So series 70 is better? Which guns are the original design? What are the rock island armory 1911s and springfield WWII mil-specs?

April 8, 2007, 02:08 AM
Series 70 and 80 apply specifically to Colt products. The Series 70 Government Model and Gold Cup (circa 1973-1983) had a collet barrel bushing that was designed to improve accuracy without any fitting. Series 80 (circa 1984) introduced a trigger-actuated firing pin block. Shortly, any Colt that didn't have the firing pin block was referred to as "Series 70", whether it was commercial, G.I., or never had a collet bushing (Commander) in the first place. So, while your Springfield is technically neither S70 nor S80, some will call it a S70 because it has no firing pin block.

May 1, 2008, 12:54 PM
And what is the "problem" with the new firing pin block?

I've heard trigger isn't as smooth, but that can be fixed with gunsmithing.

Are there any theoretical situations where the firing pin block can come in handy?

Old argument, I know, but I can't find much posting that convinces me the pin safety is an evil thing aside from it not being a "pure" 1911. Anyone? Someone? I wanna be enlightened...

May 1, 2008, 01:46 PM
Many purist feel that the SPF is unnecessary and messes up the trigger. A non-SPF gun will not go off if it it dropped. It has to be dropped in such a way and in such and angle as to engage the the grip and thumb safety. It is a very small change of this happening.

I prefer 70 series or true 1911 blue print guns but in the end an 80 series gun can have a very good trigger. They can be improved by a smith.

I think that the Schwartz system is a liability. Colt used it and abandoned it. S&W and Kimber both currently us versions. Failure of this system will result in a non-functioning pistol. To me this makes it a unacceptable.

The Lone Haranguer
May 1, 2008, 02:00 PM
"Series 70" technically only refers to Government Models (Commanders were not so equipped) with a springy-finger barrel bushing and specifically (and rather garishly) rollmarked "Series 70." The firing pin block models are all called "Series 80." Over the years the term has been somewhat corrupted, and now anything with the original design (no FPB) is a 70 and FPB models are 80s.

May 1, 2008, 02:13 PM
Why do I remember a "Series 70 Mk IV"?
In the 'way back, I had a couple government model 70s with the collet bushing. I never had a bit of problem, but some reported broken fingers of the collet.

May 1, 2008, 02:45 PM
How often does the Schwartz safety malfunction as to result in a useless pistol? Moreso than the small chance of the pistol being dropped and firing?

Colt abandoned it, eh? So they wen't back to the "Series 70" variety of no Schwartz?

What do the high dollar custom 1911s use?

The Tourist
May 1, 2008, 02:52 PM
The biggest issue I had ever heard at the time was that four-fingered "collet" bushing. Supposedly some broke, tying up the gun. I never saw one.

I did have a Series 70 in nickel with the collet bushing. One night I happened to take it apart for cleaning, and I realized I had a spare solid bushing that Terry had returned to me.

For grins, I assembled the Series 70 with a solid bushing and no other modifications.

It worked fine.

I now had a Colt without an internal trigger mechanism, but utilizing a solid bushing.

My opinion is the name change was just for advertising.

May 1, 2008, 03:37 PM
First...There are no Series 70 or Series 80 Pistols made by anybody except Colt. Those are Colt trademarks. Another manufacturer may use the Series 80 type system, and it may even be an exact copy of Colt's...but it is NOT a Series 80 pistol.

Second...There is not, and there never has been a Series 70 Commander or LW Commander. Ever. S70 in the serial number is a serial prefix and nothing more. There are many pre-Series 80 Commanders without any added firing pin safety parts that have S80 for a prefix. It doesn't indicate that the gun is a Series 80. After all...a Commander built in 1950 isn't called a "Series 50" Commander...nor were the commercial Government Models built in 1919 called "Series Teen."

Series 70 pistols were all 5-inch guns...either Government Models or Gold Cups...and were defined by the use of a spring-loaded collet bushing and the redesigned "Accurizer" barrel. It had the larger diameter muzzle area that was longer than what we commonly see today. The "flared" end basically allows a close bushing fit without the need to turn a smaller diameter behind it for barrel drop clearance. If it doesn't have the collet bushing, it's not a Series 70 pistol.

Before Series 70, there were only 1911A1 clones. Government Model is also a Colt trademark. There are no Springfield or Kimber or Rock Island or anything else that are Government Models. Not even the WW2 pistols were Government Models...not even those made by Colt. Those are USGI pistols from different contractors. Government Model is a commercial designation, and it's been on Colt's commercial pistols since they started using the trademark.

May 1, 2008, 04:30 PM
Sorry if I misworded something. Yeesh.

On a side note, can one change the blade sights on a Series 70 or Series 80 Colt to more modern novaks or the like?

Colt has redone the "Series 70" recently, haven't they? As a new release? I heard they omitted the collet bushing on this, though, yet they even call it a "Series 70". No integral safety blocker or whathaveyou.

Sounds like a lot of support for the Pre-Series 80. Does anyone prefer a Series 80 over a Series 70? And Why?

May 1, 2008, 04:37 PM
Now that you have all of the above, realize too, that even though "Government" model and "Series 70" were originally trade marks, they are now common jargon, and even parts makers will refer to certain parts as series 70 or series 70 type XZY. The same for the term Government Model.

It's sorta like the word Coke used as a generic term for soft drinks.

May 1, 2008, 04:46 PM


I actually didn't even read the posts. Just saw the thread and did a rapid response drive-by while on my way to another neighborhood before it got tangled up in myth, mystery and miscalculations.

May 2, 2008, 09:55 AM
Makes sense :cool:

Any preference for Series 80 OVER a Series 70 (Pre-80)?

The Tourist
May 2, 2008, 10:59 AM
Technically, there is no such thing as a "triple lock Smith." However, we all know what it is and the mechanism that defines the revolver.

To me, a Colt with a collet bushing and no internal firing pin safety is a "Series 70."

If I tell another Colt pistol collector I have a 1911, and I use that name, he knows exactly what firearm I am about to hand him.

May 2, 2008, 05:17 PM
It's like Kimber's Series I, which is actually a pre Series II or Colt .45 LC. If it is called by a name long enough, it becomes its name.

May 2, 2008, 05:32 PM
It's like Kimber's Series I, which is actually a pre Series II

Yup. Search the land long and hard. You won't find a Series 1 Kimber.

May 2, 2008, 05:36 PM
Okay, what does mark IV or "Mk IV" stand for ?

May 2, 2008, 05:50 PM
Okay, what does mark IV or "Mk IV" stand for ?

Speculation and myth abound over that one...and if the truth was known, it's probably sorta like the way that Carroll Shelby came up with GT500-KR moniker for his big-block Mustangs.

"Because it just sounded right."

Jim Watson
May 2, 2008, 05:51 PM
To me, a Colt with a collet bushing and no internal firing pin safety is a "Series 70."

Well, it IS, says so right on the gun. Unless it is one of the few hundred "BB" (Barrel and Bushing, not Daisy) guns made before they changed to the "Mk IV Series 70" rollmark.

There is a legend that Mk IV is to honor one of the design team named Mark Ivey. Right.

I think it is the fourth variation; counting the base Government Model as Mk I, but not so named because at the time they could not conceive of monkeying with the design.
I THINK the Mk II was the second variant of the .38 Wadcutter Gold Cup.
I know the Mk III was the last variant of the .38 Wadcutter Gold Cup.
(It was also the coil spring Trooper Mk III family of 1969, apparently the automatic and revolver departments were not on speaking terms.)

I think the Series II Kimber without a Series I is like Colt without a Mk I. They thought they were doing OK and had no reason to mark a gun One when there was no plan for a Two at the time.
Better attitude than those ambitious promoters who announce the First Annual Concert or a new author's "first book in a trilogy."

The Tourist
May 2, 2008, 11:21 PM
Well, it IS, says so right on the gun.

Of course, you are right. I was more referring to the "shorthand" way we refer to our firearms.

What would you think if I said I owned a "J-frame"?

There are lots of different calibers, to be sure, but what comes to mind when I say "government model"?

How about "Long Colt"? Everyone says it, even I catch myself and I know better. To confuse the issue, I believe there is, in fact, an obscure .452 round that is longer than a Schofield, and shorter than a .45 Colt.

My point is that we toss these names around, and most times we "know" what our friends mean. We are too quick to stereotype. What you call a switchblade, I call a stiletto.

May 2, 2008, 11:48 PM
What you call a switchblade, I call a stiletto.

And Microtech calls it an automatic.

The Tourist
May 3, 2008, 02:03 AM
And Microtech calls it an automatic.

Excellent example.

A switchblade might be a stiletto, but not all stilettos are switchblades. A Microtech might be automatic. It also could be a stiletto. Many stilettos are not Microtechs. A Pro Tech is a stiletto, and an automatic. A Pro Tech is not a switchblade. An OTF could be a stiletto, and it could be automatic. But an OTF is never a switchblade.

Still, there is an ignorant know-it-all yutz in the cheap seats that thinks all assisted opening knives are switchblades. He also thinks his mom's AMC Pacer is "collectible."

May 3, 2008, 07:22 AM
You better know the "shorthand" expressions when you order parts from Brownells...series 70 or series 80 for an an example.

Do you ask for a "Kleenex" or a "tissue"? ;)

May 3, 2008, 07:39 AM
Well...If ya can't lick'em...join'em.

Check out my Mark I Series Teen Colt.

In the background is a Mark III Series 40 Remington Rand...

May 3, 2008, 07:43 AM
HMMurdock, I have seen IIRC Massad Ayoob state in print that he prefers the series 80 type in guns like the Para Ordnance or Colt to prevent accidental drop discharges.

I personally generally dislike them as making the gun more complicated and harder to detail strip.

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