1911: customizing/tuning a special edition, pictures


May 17, 2011, 04:13 PM
Along with a p38, a Luger, and a Broomhandle Mauser, I came into a 1911 "age of flight" mkIV series 70 Colt 1911. It had been fired; it was not abused, but it had been used. I've seen the special edition colts for sale, and it seems that unless they are in NIB condition, with box and papers, they aren't worth more (and are sometimes worth less) than their standard series 70 counterparts. So, I figured, if I own a shooter, I may as well make it into a shooter that I like!

details for anyone interested, if not, pictures lie below

To start with, the recoil spring was binding, so I ordered a new one from numrich and replaced it. I've read a bunch of horror stories about the series 70 collet bushing, so I also fitted a match oversize bushing to the barrel for a nice, tight, but near frictionless, fit. This also resolved a lot of binding issues since it puts less tension on the barrel than the collet bushing on lockup. From what I can only assume were too many slide-drops on an empty chamber, the hammer was following the slide. I fit a new sear to the stock hammer, smoothed everything up, and now I've got a nice 4-4.5lb pull with no creep, a little overtravel that will be fixed in the future with a better trigger, and that is consistent on both hammer hooks. I also added pachmayr american legends, that have been torn down and reglued so they won't fall apart like those in some reports I've heard. It's also got a new Wolff sear spring and a new disconnector, because someone electropenciled under the slide which wore the old one out. That has been polished smooth.

Since I can't find much information on the "age of flight" series guns, I thought you guys might be interested in seeing this slide. I have a polished blue slide coming in that I'll have cut for better sites, but this slide will stay unmolested in case I ever decide to sell, and I have to admit that it's growing on me enough that I may keep it on the gun for show n' tell :D
Anyway, I haven't done anything too drastic, and I have kept all the original parts, but it's been a good bit of work making it feel and run right. I'm bitten, and when the new slide gets in I'll have more work ahead of me, not to mention all the 1911's I'll have to buy after this one...

Without further ado, here's some glamor shots.






And one to show off the nice Colt finish :)


Thanks for looking!

If you enjoyed reading about "1911: customizing/tuning a special edition, pictures" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
May 17, 2011, 05:45 PM
Cool. :cool:

Sniper X
May 17, 2011, 05:48 PM
Pretty gun!

Cop Bob
May 17, 2011, 08:55 PM
Sweet... and you didn't over do it with the zombie killer attachments... kept the basic integrity of the original pistol... good thinking, good job..... Bob Likey!!!

May 18, 2011, 03:18 PM
Range report:
I took it out today and put 200 rounds of cheap Tula steel, 100 rounds of American Eagle brass, and 25 rounds of Hornady +p JHP through the stock Colt mag and a cheap $5 tiawanese mag, all absolutely flawless.
This gun is far more accurate than I am; it's not my 6" Smith 19-4, but it's a tack driver all the same. I was able to keep 2-2.5" groups at 15 yards without much trouble, and I'm pretty shamefully out of practice... still, no beer can is safe!

Bob- I wanted the features I wanted, none that I didn't, and I'm pretty happy to be able to pull that off on a college budget without going to MIM or foreign guns. This is a comfortable, accurate, reliable shooter. It's my first, but won't be my last 1911.

June 7, 2011, 10:53 PM
A friend sold me a high-polish blue Remington Rand slide for $50, installed it yesterday and test fired today. It took some fitting to the frame, but the barrel dropped right in and was in spec. Based on my measurements and the slight drop in recoil, the lockup with the new slide is even better than the stock Colt, which I can't explain, but am curious about if anyone has any insight into the fitting of WWII slides vs 1970s Colt production. The blue is very well done, and between the chrome on the bottom and blue on the top, it's near impossible to focus on any particular part of the gun... it's like looking through glass at any given section.

The sights are too tall for me, I suspect it was originally done for a suppressor build as it's obviously been messed with (lack of serial on right hand side, bluing, new sights), so my next move is to change out the rear sight and cut the front to match. I'm almost there. Here's a few pictures of the current incarnation:





As an afterthought, I'm curious about the remington-rand slide. It's been molested, so I'm not concerned with collector value, but the method of heat treat at the time intrigues me. How many rounds can I expect before I have, if any, malfunctions or breakages of the slide? Was WWII remington-rand heat-treating anywhere near as good as current or 1970's commercial heat-treating?

If you enjoyed reading about "1911: customizing/tuning a special edition, pictures" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!