1918 1911 range report


Peter M. Eick
May 6, 2012, 03:26 PM
I took my 1918 original 1911 out to the range today to see what it could do. This is (as best I can tell) an original 1918 "black" colt. The only obvious difference is the hammer is some sort of cropped spur unit. It may be an original Springfield possibly.

First the gun.


I have 3 mags now for it. 2 are period and one is some sort of give me mag so I will use it with it. Here is the gun in its glory afer I have cleaned it and lubed it prior to packing it away in storage. The small parts are still reasonably well blued. I do like the nice checking that was put on the guns back then and I really like the smooth frame. No checking or serrations to confuse you.

The sights are small though!


One of the things that impressed me was the fit of the gun. Colt sure knew how to fit it well back then. This shows how well the rear of the slide is fit to the frame. There is very little movement or give anywhere. Frankly Les Baer would be proud with the marriage of the frame to the slide.


If you are interested, here is the slide roll marks on one side of the slide.


And here is the name of the gun.


The slide is already pretty peened up which is partly why I am willing to shoot this one. You can see the metal has been raised and overall the gun has been used and is worn so it is not a perfect piece. The slide to barrel it of the lugs are good and there is plenty of engagement so I am pleased and figured it would make a great occasional (rare that is) shooter. The problem I am told about the original 1918's is they are soft. If you shoot them much you can beat them apart so I will keep it to a minimum.

I did not get a good shot of the barrel but frankly it is in poor shape. It is pitted for the first 3 or so inches and the rfifling is light.

So on to shooting. I used 4.1 grns of Bullseye and a 230 grn lead LRN. This is a very light load but enough recoil to operate the gun.


Here is 50 shots at 15 yrds offhand.


Here is another 50 shot pattern at 15 yrds off hand. The bullets tended to rip the paper on this one so it looks a lot better in the picture then when I shot it.

So, the gun fires, I had a lot of fun, no damage seen and it all worked. Will I shoot it much more? No. Just occasionally. The sights are terrible, the trigger is excellent, I like the ergos of the frame without the A1 series improvements but the accuracy is poor. Also the gun has a bad habit of tossing your brass every which way and as a reloader I cannot tolerate this.

I bought the gun to remember my grandfather by. He served in WW1 and while he has passed now, I do remember some mention of him carrying a colt 1911. I was thinking of him when I was shooting thinking could you have made it with this gun? The answer is yes but not at far ranges.

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Jon Coppenbarger
May 6, 2012, 03:37 PM
nice pistol I hope you will have many years of enjoyment with it.

May 8, 2012, 12:48 PM
I LOVE those old colts.

You know we gotta ask....How much?

Doubting Thomas
May 8, 2012, 11:56 PM
I have one that shipped in 1913, with the same invisible sights and a 9 pound creepy trigger. It shoots noticeably high and a bit off to one side, but that's just a matter of knowing the hold off. Not quite state of the art but I would take it to war tomorrow over an M9 Beretta!

As a matter of fact, a few years back I was trying (and failing) to get groups out of a Glock 17, and in frustration I shot the old 1913 Colt as a control piece. That old Colt outshot the Glock even with the primitive sights and holding off.

I dumped the Glock right after that.

Next year I will shoot that old .45 on the 100th anniversary of it's shipping date...

Peter M. Eick
May 10, 2012, 08:20 PM
I was around $1700 for the gun. Probably paid too much but frankly I wanted it and it showed up right when I was thinking about my grandfather. My understanding is he carried one of these in WW1 and served a fair amount over there.

Mine would be more accurate if the barrel were not so heavily pitted. That is the problem with it.

May 10, 2012, 08:37 PM
That's a beautiful thing. That old metal looks fiiiine.

May 12, 2012, 10:51 PM
nice pistol!!!.....i'd be easy with the ol' gal.....nothing was hardened on them.....watch for cracks!!!

Claude Clay
May 12, 2012, 11:38 PM
beautiful. id try a plastic slide spacer; find a spring that cooperates with light 200gr LSWC's. just being gentle and shooting it often. the price is not that high; locally i've seen a number of older ones 2300 to 2500. do not know the years but similar roll marks and condition. perhaps the primers were a bit corrosive back than.
and a 'softer' powder like unique. 5" lets it all burn. i use bullseye for under 4"

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