Need advice on a potential deal...


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Preacherman
March 25, 2004, 02:37 PM
Hi, folks. I've been offered a blued Colt 1991A1 in very nice condition, fitted/gunsmithed with the following "extras":

- Jarvis match barrel, ramped;
- Match bushing;
- Millett fixed sights;
- Smith & Alexander mag well;
- Front strap stippled.

It's had the usual trigger job, etc. - in fact, if I get it, I suspect I'll have the trigger made heavier, as it feels in the 2-3lb. range, which is way too light for a safe carry gun.

I don't know when this one was made, but I assume mid- to late-90's production. It has the old-style large roll-mark. Lock-up is good and tight, although not "match-tight" - the owner specified reliability in the carry role, so it wasn't made into a competition gun.

The seller wants $575, which seems exceptionally good value to me. However, I don't know the 1991 model, and could use some advice. Would you buy this gun, at that price, assuming it's in A1 condition, as described?

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Kodiak AK
March 25, 2004, 02:45 PM
At least buy him dinner first .That is a smokeing deal as far as I am concerned.

Sean Smith
March 25, 2004, 02:53 PM
The only thing that has me scratching my head is the ramped barrel. Why the heck would somebody cut the frame of a 1911 in .45 ACP to stick a ramp in it? :scrutiny:

Old Fuff
March 25, 2004, 04:21 PM
The advantage of a ramped barrel in a combat pistol is that the cartridge case head is better supported – which may be important if one uses some of the hotter loads offered today. A potential problem with most match barrels is that they have tight chambers that can affect reliability. This is why, with one exception, my carry guns have service spec. chambers that are always kept very clean.

The optional magazine well may or may not be a plus. They add length and bulk and may not be necessary – this is a personal judgment.

The sights are good ones if you like the white outline and bar arrangement.

Overall, I think the price is a good one, if (very important “if”) the builder knew what he was doing. The condition of the trigger pull would worry me. If the hammer hooks have been cut back too far it could affect the reliability of the manual safety.

All things said if it’s good to go, it’s good. If you have to spend money to make it so then it’s not so good. On carry weapons I prefer to buy stock guns and make my own modifications, or have exactly what I want done by a professional I know I can trust. I have known a number of men – some of them famous – with gunfighting experience, and without exception none of them carried duded up guns beyond simple basics such as custom grips or more visible sights.

George Hill
March 25, 2004, 04:33 PM
Jump on the deal... If you don't like it, hold onto it for a year and I'll buy it off you. :D

Sean Smith
March 25, 2004, 05:00 PM
The advantage of a ramped barrel in a combat pistol is that the cartridge case head is better supported – which may be important if one uses some of the hotter loads offered today.

The ramped barrel canoffer better case head support. But it doesn't always offer better case head support. See Glocks for details.

Thing is, though, the SAAMI Maxiumum Average Pressure spec for .45 ACP is only 21,000 psi. Even +P is only 23,000 psi. My 10mm 1911 has a ramped barrel, but it runs at a SAAMI MAP of 37,500 psi... and there really isn't a consensus that 10mm guns even need a ramped barrel for safe operation. At least if you aren't trying to run over 40,000 psi or something.

.40 S&W and .38 Super run at fractionally lower pressures than 10mm, but have much weaker case designs, so most folks agree that a ramped barrel is desireable on those in a 1911, especially if you are hot-rodding them for gun games like IPSC.

More significantly, more than one pistolsmith will tell you that a ramped barrel in a .45 ACP 1911 (as distinguished from other designs in .45 ACP) is actually a detriment to reliability. Skinner calibers, on the other hand, seem to play better with ramped barrels in 1911s.

Hence my :scrutiny: at the idea. Not that it can't work great, it just seems to me to be pointless.

Overall, I think the price is a good one, if (very important “if”) the builder knew what he was doing.

I agree 100%. Maybe 900%. :D

The condition of the trigger pull would worry me.

Yeah, that is kind of funny. Many 'smiths won't even give you a trigger pull under 4 lbs unless you tell them it is for a game gun, as opposed to a practical weapon.

A potential problem with most match barrels is that they have tight chambers that can affect reliability.

Funny thing is, it seems like chamber tightness doesn't have jack squat to do with handgun accuracy. I've got a super-duper Schuemann AET barrel that does NOT have an especially tight chamber... not sloppy, but not obviously overtight like I've seen on some other quality barrels... but seems to be just cosmic stupid accurate. Of course, a good 'smith will ream the chamber for whatever role you told him the gun is for.

Old Fuff
March 25, 2004, 05:41 PM
Sean;

You are right in that the 10mm cartridge will handle much higher pressures, but that’s partly because the case heads are much more beefier.

The “National Match” barrel concept goes back to the U.S. Arsenal at Springfield, MA. during the early 1960’s. They were assigned the task of developing a match-grade .45 pistol that could be built on regular 1911-A1 service pistol frames. During their experimentations with different pistols mounted in a machine rest they discovered that a tighter chamber did add a percentage (abet a small one) to overall accuracy, and maximum accuracy was what they were after, not combat reliability. I know this because I was around at the time. Yes, a gunsmith can ream the chamber, which is something I usually have done – but this should be considered into the price of the gun, as should other work, like fixing what is obviously a too-light trigger. The question is, “why is it too light?”

Josey
March 25, 2004, 09:20 PM
Series 80. IF it has a 2-3 lbs trigger, something has been compromised. There might be parts required to be replaced in order to ensure SAFE CCW. I suggest the following test; UNLOAD and check that the chamber is indeed empty. Re;ease the slide. The hammer should be at full cock. Without touching the trigger, push with your thumb on the hammer, if it releases from the sear, PASS! I have seen a few fail due to the modification Old Fuff referred to.

Will Fennell
March 26, 2004, 12:51 AM
Preacherman,
The MILLET sights...check the front sight installation....if it is the dreaded "Millet Dual Crimp", understand that you are now pretty much stuck with that style front sight. If it had the Dual Crimp, I would pass. Also, if you don't like the stippling, you are pretty much SOL because there isn't much going back after the stippling.

If it were me, unless I really had an attraction for that particular COLT, I would take that money and buy a Springfield Mil-Spec.

Sean,
I know that you don't NEED a ramped barrel in a .45acp 1911 to be reliable, but......

Of all the 1911's, custom and otherwise, that I have owned and shot, the 2 MOST RELIABLE .45acp 1911's i have had the pleasure of owning have had ramped barrels.

If they are properly set up, ramped barrels in 1911's are great.

Preacherman
March 26, 2004, 06:10 PM
Thanks for the advice, folks. Based on your input, and uncertainty about the trigger, I've passed on the deal.

BluesBear
March 27, 2004, 06:16 AM
Just replace the new sear, hammer and 3 finger spring and your too-light trigger problems are solved.

Even after spending the $ for those 3 parts you'd still have a good deal.

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