Take a look at my freshly refinished "Royal Blue" Colt 1991A1 Compact Clark Meltdown


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WC145
May 8, 2012, 07:56 PM
OK, it's not real Royal Blue since Colt didn't do it, but it is a very nice high polish blue in the spirit of the infamous Colt finish.

Anyway, my Clark Meltdown 1991A1 Compact was suffering from a very worn finish and I was hemming and hawing on what to do with it when I bought a nice set of Grashorn stag grips for it from a Colt forum member. Those grips looked so nice I immediately decided it had to be a high polish deep blue finish. I took it to my friends at Dietrich Gunsmithy in Otis, ME and left it with them for a couple of months and just got it back today. I had them clean all the roll markings off the slide, hand checker the front strap, install a S&A checkered MSH, bead blast the sights for a matte finish and put a brass bead in the front sight, cut an 11deg crown on the muzzle and polish the barrel and muzzle, then polish out the entire gun and blue it. Robin chose to knock down the points on his checkering to fit with the Meltdown theme and it works really well, I'm going to have him do the same with the MSH and round it a bit more to match the frame. Also, rather than cut the front sight to a partridge style and insert a bead, he notched it and filled it with brass. I like it a lot but he left it matte and it needs a bit of polish, that'll get done with the MSH.

So, here's a couple of before pics and the best of the after pics I took today. Please bear in mind, I'm a crummy photographer and it's a gray cloudy day here and I missed some oil when I wiped it down, so they really don't do the gun justice, it looks far better in person than in the pics. Regardless, let me know what you guys think!

Before-
https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-sw9Th3B06z4/TnZywEMjRMI/AAAAAAAADqI/etD4jwJ3gt4/s800/SDC11664.JPG
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-jg8KQKk3OEE/TnZyu0OxegI/AAAAAAAADqA/LTEysvViT74/s576/SDC11661.JPG

After-
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-bqcw5PRUYxk/T6mJBH4R6AI/AAAAAAAAEXA/XML01ZyEJMk/s720/SDC12061.JPG
https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-e8t7nKnPUGI/T6mJD2qYQBI/AAAAAAAAEXk/VrrdhF9WxXs/s640/SDC12065.JPG
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-RPhfdsIM5xE/T6mI_-42mEI/AAAAAAAAEWw/bIHNJS3PUTc/s640/SDC12059.JPG
https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-dC5EmRubMbA/T6mJByNPMtI/AAAAAAAAEXI/9OWrkYxoO4E/s576/SDC12062.JPG
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-mUe38vKdRaQ/T6mJCPStJWI/AAAAAAAAEXQ/UelUPVisyU4/s512/SDC12063.JPG
https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-ePlc0inyMyQ/T6mJKQk-8gI/AAAAAAAAEYI/7_syKHPXbbQ/s800/SDC12070.JPG
https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-l76ErOSxTXY/T6mJKx-Z7TI/AAAAAAAAEYQ/I5NzmAjzLf0/s800/SDC12071.JPG
https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-ckGSg0MEdNg/T6mJJySAfLI/AAAAAAAAEYA/7Q_QEAs5mZQ/s512/SDC12069.JPG
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-h8FTfxVIsoo/T6mJJNiptUI/AAAAAAAAEXw/r_V7gtkJnD0/s512/SDC12067.JPG
https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-AN5HAztKLtA/T6mJJsi2iqI/AAAAAAAAEX8/WeyENaooKNc/s512/SDC12068.JPG

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Weevil
May 8, 2012, 08:02 PM
Nice!

Manson
May 8, 2012, 08:11 PM
Beautifully done. I want it.

BYJO4
May 8, 2012, 08:14 PM
Great looking. Work appears to be first class.

Certaindeaf
May 8, 2012, 08:52 PM
That'd work.

Walt Sherrill
May 8, 2012, 08:53 PM
It is gorgeous. Sinfully so.

The problem with that sort of finish is that I'd be afraid to carry and use it. (The few guns I've had that were that pretty ended up being sold, 'cause I didn't want to mess them up.)

Shame you can't but a high-gloss clear coat on it. (grin)

(Hmmm. I wonder if that would work for some of the surfaces?)

Hastings
May 8, 2012, 08:56 PM
HOLY CRAP, that is a work of ART!!!

Stringfellow
May 8, 2012, 08:57 PM
Unreal. And by "unreal", I mean it is so beautifully perfect, it almost looks photoshopped. ;)

Congratulation on bigtime success for that project!

WC145
May 8, 2012, 09:17 PM
It is gorgeous. Sinfully so.

The problem with that sort of finish is that I'd be afraid to carry and use it. (The few guns I've had that were that pretty ended up being sold, 'cause I didn't want to mess them up.)

Shame you can't but a high-gloss clear coat on it. (grin)

(Hmmm. I wonder if that would work for some of the surfaces?)
Thanks, guys. Had a similar comment about being too nice to carry on another forum and this was my reply -

I know what you mean, but I met an old guy last November at a local shooting match that changed my mind on fancy carry guns. He was a very dapper fella in his 80s, WWII vet, Special Forces, foreign service, etc, etc and he was shooting a 1923 Colt 1911 that was one of a pair that he had built by Dane Burns and then fully engraved and outfitted with real ivory grips. He said that he had them done about 5 years ago to replace a pair that Armand Swenson built him in 1970 that he was retiring. He was the kind of guy you could spend all day talking to. When I asked about shooting and carrying the expensive guns and ivory grips he said, "Of course I carry 'em, that's what I bought them for. Why would I spend all that money and leave them in a box?". Tough to argue with that kind of logic, so, since I carried this gun before it was refinished, I'll carry it now as well.

jbr
May 8, 2012, 09:20 PM
Wow!

cyclopsshooter
May 8, 2012, 09:52 PM
I want TWO

Liberty1776
May 8, 2012, 10:11 PM
I was prepared to not like it when I saw that first picture, but WOW!!! That is gorgeous....

scf4003
May 8, 2012, 10:24 PM
That is a masterpiece!

Walt Sherrill
May 8, 2012, 10:29 PM
I carried this gun before it was refinished, I'll carry it now as well.

I've got a somewhat worn-looking BHP that needs some attention. I may try the (auto) clear coat after I polish it up a bit and touch some up spots with cold blue... just to see if it will work.

If clear coat can survive big bug hits and some pretty bad gravel hits, it ought to work on a gun finish, to reduce scratching, etc. (It's the little scratches that make a high-gloss blue finish look so bad: they might as well be neon!!)

chutestrate
May 8, 2012, 10:34 PM
I can't believe that is the same gun. Great choice on the finish.

Cocked & Locked
May 8, 2012, 10:50 PM
That little Colt looks fantastic! What a great transformation. I'd carry that gun all the time. :what:

billphoto
May 8, 2012, 11:23 PM
It definitely grows on you. Nice weapon.

IMTHDUKE
May 8, 2012, 11:30 PM
Yessssssssssssssssssssssssss!

cuba
May 8, 2012, 11:41 PM
amazing

millertyme
May 8, 2012, 11:45 PM
wow...

And I don't even like 1911's that much.

DC3-CVN-72
May 8, 2012, 11:53 PM
Cool ! :cool:

Rittmeister
May 8, 2012, 11:55 PM
Gorgeous. I love how the barrel bushing/spring plug and slide are all blended together. Super classy!

Certaindeaf
May 8, 2012, 11:55 PM
You are the anti-glock.

Dentite
May 9, 2012, 12:00 AM
It looks like automotive paint it's so deep!

Very cool...thanks for sharing.

WC145
May 9, 2012, 12:04 AM
You are the anti-glock.
That's one of the nicest things anyone has ever called me!:D

NMGonzo
May 9, 2012, 12:40 AM
holy mother of brahma!

Stringfellow
May 9, 2012, 12:40 AM
It is indeed difficult to get that kind of finish on a polymer pistol.

gunnutery
May 9, 2012, 01:20 AM
FLUID, is the only word that comes to mind. I really like the recessed muzzle and recoil spring cover (for lack of a better term).

bannockburn
May 9, 2012, 06:29 AM
Wow absolutely gorgeous! Have to go with gunnuterys' description: FLUID!! First thing I thought of when I saw your "after" photos. A very beautiful example of gun art at its best. Thanks for sharing.

Creature
May 9, 2012, 06:45 AM
Just curious, why'd you have the roll marks removed from the slide?

jimbo555
May 9, 2012, 06:56 AM
Beautiful!!

OARNGESI
May 9, 2012, 07:33 AM
looks like it was well worth the wait

Nushif
May 9, 2012, 07:55 AM
Gotta say. I usually don't like the organic and melted look on guns.
Also I am not a fan of high gloss finishes.

But man. That thing is a beauty. I would be afraid to carry it, too. >•<

the count
May 9, 2012, 09:26 AM
Nobody has asked the most important question: Who did the re-blue? My guess it's Fords Master Blue.

LJ-MosinFreak-Buck
May 9, 2012, 09:26 AM
I don't personally like the melt-down theme at all, but boy is that a beautifully finished pistol!

ApacheCoTodd
May 9, 2012, 11:06 AM
Holy Guacamole! That should get thrown up on the BBQ gun post.

robinkevin
May 9, 2012, 12:07 PM
BEAUTIFUL! Bad thing is I wouldn't ever want to carry it that baby would be in a glass case!

Old Fuff
May 9, 2012, 12:58 PM
Yes and no... :what:

A high polish job is not difficult, but it does take time and skill. What is hard to do is a high polish that doesn't round off "crisp" edges and wipe out markings. But you took both of these factors off the table before the job was started.

Colt's famous polish was done with combination of highly skilled workers plus a set of polishing wheels that were shaped and contoured to exactly match the particular area on whatever part was being buffed. Small-shop refinishers don't have this kind of set-up.

So if you have a handgun like the one you have, where edges and corners have been melted and markings don't matter this may be a great way to go, but otherwise maybe not. :uhoh:

CharlieDeltaJuliet
May 9, 2012, 01:02 PM
I love it. I have an 1911 Officers I'd like to see turn out like that. Very nice.

WC145
May 9, 2012, 01:46 PM
Just curious, why'd you have the roll marks removed from the slide?
Because they were already thin from the original Meltdown job and the big rollmark "1991A1" looks terrible even if it is fresh (IMO), so I felt it would be a cleaner, classier look if the slide was bare.

Nobody has asked the most important question: Who did the re-blue? My guess it's Fords Master Blue.
As I put in my original post, all of the refinishing work - checkering, brass bead, removing the roll markings, the high polish, and the blue - were done by Dietrich Gunsmithy in Otis, ME. Robin Dietrich is the 'smith and he's a very talented young man (he's in his mid-20s). He'll be happy to hear that you guessed Ford's, they do great work.

HarcyPervin
May 9, 2012, 07:07 PM
You are the anti-glock.

Absolutely beautifully done. I looked at the first pictures and was ready for disappointment, but that is stellar.

Jason_G
May 9, 2012, 08:15 PM
I have to say, the Meltdown and the high polish pre-bluing treatment really look awesome together.

Jason

VN Vet
May 11, 2012, 09:38 PM
I am in love.

Safe shooting,
Vv

Claude Clay
May 11, 2012, 09:45 PM
for sure it looks tops in any field.

and kudos for using it as its made to be.

power5
May 11, 2012, 10:18 PM
I thought the first pictures were the finished product at first and almost closed the thread. Didnt even notice the before text. Glad I kept scrolling though. Looks like a sports car. Slick and amazing. Love it. I think the grips do not go with the look though. needs some nice polished SS grips. I would do the same with the trigger. Can that bushing be purchased separately?

bdb benzino
May 12, 2012, 03:45 AM
Beautiful!!
I also love the way the muzzle looks with the barrel bushing and plug smoothed together like that! awesome work!!

WC145
May 12, 2012, 08:02 AM
Can that bushing be purchased separately?
You can get the bushing and reverse plug from Clark Custom Guns, it's their big bushing. Of course, it doesn't come all melted.

Thanks again for the compliments everyone, I've sent links to the 'smith so he can see what folks have to say about his work. Not too shabby for a kid in his mid-20's.

Baba Louie
May 12, 2012, 10:29 AM
I felt it would be a cleaner, classier look if the slide was bare.
Dietrich did an excellant job milling the sides... or did he? (that'll buff right out smooth as a babys behind when I get er done)

Black liquid steel. Suh-weetness. Stags (or ivory) for the sublime contrast, nice grip checkering, not too bold, not too weak.

Never a big fan of extreme melts but between Clarks and Dietrichs work, WC that is a superb compact Colt 1991A1 (ORM never looked so good IMO).

Clean. Shiny. Black. :cool:

What kind of leather do you carry it in? Might need to upgrade to a Tucker or some other BBQ status holster made out of velvet or something... :D

triage1998
May 12, 2012, 10:32 AM
That is one sharp looking handgun.

skt239
May 12, 2012, 10:32 AM
Wow the original melt job was no joke! That finish looks amazing and I agree about carrying it. How could you not want to take it every where you go?

340PD
May 12, 2012, 10:51 AM
Liquid metal. Now you need to buy another one to shoot.

WC145
May 12, 2012, 12:40 PM
What kind of leather do you carry it in? Might need to upgrade to a Tucker or some other BBQ status holster made out of velvet or something... :D

I'm in the process of finding someone to make me some new gear for it. I want horse hide so it'll be easier on the finish, but it must also be made snug and not overly boned because with the melt and subsequent shaving of the slide it is slightly smaller all over. If you guys have any suggestions for holster makers that might accomodate an order like that, I'd love to hear them. Thanks!

mesinge2
May 12, 2012, 02:16 PM
I so wish that was my gun! Mad jealous here!

http://www.blogcdn.com/www.joystiq.com/media/2006/12/simpsonhomerdrool.jpg

From all the drool:

http://www.wikiwirral.co.uk/forums/ubbthreads.php/ubb/download/Number/13559/filename/drool.jpg

tarosean
May 12, 2012, 07:24 PM
Very nicely done.

newbuckeye
May 12, 2012, 11:24 PM
That is a SEXY little beast!

Walt Sherrill
May 13, 2012, 10:16 AM
I've already commented on the beauty of the gun, which is exceptional, but let me offer a dissenting note:

While I like the white/bone/stag color of the grips - it's a great visual contrast to the dark beauty of the slide and frame - the grips visually seem out of character with the rest of the gun. Everything is "melted" and color-uniform except the grips.

I'd argue that SMOOTHER (i.e., less visually rough) single color (bone or Ivory-like?) grips, more nearly matching the gun's slide and frame in appearance, would provide a final touch that would make the package perfect.

I'll go duck and hide, now, as I'm sure a bunch of folks will want to shoot me for being even a little critical of such a gorgeous gun.



.

Baba Louie
May 13, 2012, 10:36 AM
Walt has a good eye for aesthetics. Ivory or smooth bone would complete the slick look. BUT... for sake of comparison and contrast, the stag texture does contrast nicely and sets off the blue melt well.
I want horse hide so it'll be easier on the finish, but it must also be made snug and not overly boned because with the melt and subsequent shaving of the slide it is slightly smaller all over.When I think horsehide holsters for some strange reason Kramer always pops up in my mind. My fear would be that due to the shaving done on it and it's new slim figure, a good holster maker would probably want your gun in hand to mold around and I don't know if I could bear the thought of having that loverly little blue beast sent off to who knows where, handled by who knows who, wrapped in plastic and having any kind of wet skin stretched around it for an exact fit...

But then again, if you're going to carry it and actually use it, "character" will soon begin to show. Might as well get that first scratch over with... :uhoh: :eek:

Who does your smith recommend locally (in way of holster makers)? Anyone near by or in state so's you can drive to and "gently hand off" said work of art to another artisan who can match that level of work in leather? There's got to be a saddle maker or custom cowboy boot cobbler or someone nearby who works leather. Maybe someone from within this link can offer some advice?

http://leatherworker.net/content/

gym
May 13, 2012, 11:12 AM
Name it Knight Rider, that's what I thought of when I saw it, great job, How does it shoot? Does he take in "out of state work", if you could either post or Pm me the number, I would appreciate it, thanks,
George

HGUNHNTR
May 13, 2012, 11:15 AM
eeeyikes. Thats too beautiful to leave at home, and waaaay too beautiful to reside in some sweaty dudes waist band. You should carry it high over your head for all the world to see!!

Hunterdad
May 13, 2012, 12:47 PM
Gorgeous!

WC145
May 13, 2012, 03:58 PM
I agree that ivory grips would look great on it but I can't afford real ivory and I'd rather have real stag than fake ivory. Plus, it was that pair of stag grips that inspired the finish and I really like the contrast in colors and textures. I was actually leaning towards something like cerakote before I put the grips on it to see how they looked, once I did I knew it had to be a high polish blue.

There's only one guy in this area that I know of doing holsters, I'll check with him and see what he says. I have a a nice chestnut brown basketweave rig from Black Hills Leather for a full size 1911 and it has a smooth lining, I might call Rudy and see what he can do about a holster that will match the belt and other gear.

CharlieDeltaJuliet
May 13, 2012, 04:01 PM
I cant quit thinking about this pistol. LOL, now I want to have my Officers 1911 refinished in Royal Blue. I just sold a 2.5" Python that was Royal Blue, there is nothing like that color.

Dr.Rob
May 13, 2012, 06:33 PM
I am not a fan of melt-jobs but with the refinish, that is BBQ gun pretty.

C0untZer0
May 13, 2012, 07:01 PM
Wow that finish is like liquid night.

Coltdriver
May 13, 2012, 08:20 PM
That is pretty. I'd carry it too.

Try this fellow for incredible leather work.

http://www.levergunleather.com/

Walking Dead
May 13, 2012, 08:26 PM
Awesome!

SEE IT LIKE A NATIVE
May 13, 2012, 11:07 PM
That is the most beautiful auto pistol I have ever seen ! Kevin

Myles
May 13, 2012, 11:21 PM
Absolutely beautiful. I don't think I've seen a melt done so well.

M14sRock
May 14, 2012, 02:16 AM
Stunning.

cyclopsshooter
May 14, 2012, 02:39 AM
Here, you need this to go with that-

http://i415.photobucket.com/albums/pp233/wrc376/P1012260.jpg

WC145
May 14, 2012, 05:18 AM
Ha! Nice ride! That would be perfect. It would be cool to get some pics of the gun displayed on the car.


Coltdriver- I'll check out that leather shop. Thanks!

Lt.Dan
May 14, 2012, 02:56 PM
I need my Ruger mark 2 done like that. But I don't think I'd want to shoot it anymore haha.

ifit
May 14, 2012, 04:32 PM
WOW, very nice sir. if there was anything as Black Chrome or Liquid Metal...that would be it:cool: reminds me of the finish on my friends colt delta elite 10mm

WC145
May 14, 2012, 04:56 PM
Shot it today, it's training and qualifying time. It functioned 100% and I shot a perfect score with it. Good looking AND accurate, doesn't get any better than that.:D

gym
May 14, 2012, 10:19 PM
Who chopped that sled?

Husker_Fan
May 15, 2012, 10:53 AM
I am also in the camp of not normally liking severe melt jobs and I don't care much for the "before" pics. However, that high gloss look really works with the melt. That is a thing of beauty. It looks like it should be dripping off my screen.

GambJoe
May 15, 2012, 08:37 PM
Polished stainless steel and nickle plating always looked to showoffy and not so practical to me but that black chrome look is it.

bluethunder1962
May 15, 2012, 08:58 PM
I hate blued guns. The only one I have is my fathers gun I have always hated them and said I would never own one............................till now. Man that thing is beautiful. I was looking at the before pictures saying that is a cool looking gun. I did not know that was before. You got a great gunsmith. Thanks for not doing like most of us and give up on the old guns. If you got a gun and like it but it needs some work do the work. We can all just go buy one. That is what I do but I think you have changed my mind. By the way what is your add? and are you going out of town anytime soon? HEHE.

iLikeOldgunsIlikeNewGuns
May 17, 2012, 06:01 AM
Holy Sweet Moly that is one BEEEEEAUTIFUL gun!!!!!

Absolutely gorgeous!

My screensaver says THANK YOU for the sweet sweet gun porn :D

coop2564
May 17, 2012, 05:17 PM
That is a looker!

asia331
July 22, 2012, 02:36 AM
Wow! Quite a transformation; well done.

EddieNFL
July 22, 2012, 08:42 AM
Enjoy, 'cause it appears no one else will.

http://www.clarkcustomguns.com/notice1911.html

Beginning June 1, 2012
Until further notice, we are suspending all services / conversions on customer supplied 1911s.

RetiredUSNChief
July 22, 2012, 09:33 AM
Sweet!

I especially like the clarity of the reflections of you taking the pics. That says a lot about the finish and the amount of loving care that went into all that work.

:):)

hammer502
July 22, 2012, 02:34 PM
i'd be afeared to carry that FINE piece of work!!!!! if i scratched it i'd jump in front of a bus. LOL NICE gun!!!!

Shipwreck
July 22, 2012, 04:57 PM
That's just awesome looking!

SSN Vet
July 22, 2012, 10:49 PM
finish looks great...

did they send it out? and if so, do you know to who?

kazaam
July 23, 2012, 12:09 AM
Wow, that looks beautiful. Congrats!

WC145
July 23, 2012, 05:10 AM
finish looks great...

did they send it out? and if so, do you know to who?
All the work was done in house, which is one of the many reasons I use Dietrich's - I know who is working on my gun.

If you enjoyed reading about "Take a look at my freshly refinished "Royal Blue" Colt 1991A1 Compact Clark Meltdown" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!