Colt Combat Government let down


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AndyJ
July 15, 2014, 11:15 AM
I don't have alot of shooters and am not part of the safe queen crowd. I recently acquired one of my grail guns -- a 70 Series Colt Combat Government in deep blue.

It looked to be fired but in 95% plus condition. Good lockup, no unseemly rattling, tight bushing.

Took it to the range and almost threw it down in disgust. Groups were a good 2 feet left of target even though sights seemed properly aligned. Could do no better than a GARBAGE CAN LID group size at 25 feet. Holy cats!

Tried different ammo
Tried different mags
SIL tried it

Same same results -- abominable suckage.

Soooooooo.. thinking maybe we were just having a bad 1911 day, I drug out the Combat Commander and the Government Gunsite. Same mags and ammo and the results were a fist sized ragged hole at 25'.

I fully believe 1911 tuning requires sorcery and the the throwin' down of chicken bones. Read --pretty much beyond me.

Suggestions as to a fix or?

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WC145
July 15, 2014, 11:28 AM
Well, when you by used sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don't. That being said, almost all the guns I've bought were used and every now and again I'd get something that didn't live up to my expectations. The gun was probably great at one time and somebody messed with it. I'd find a good 'smith that is familiar with 1911s and have them give it a going over and see what they find. Or you could send it to Colt and ask them to check it out.

tarosean
July 15, 2014, 11:36 AM
Check the barrel lugs and link for wear/peening, etc

jfrey
July 15, 2014, 11:43 AM
I would send a PM to Brent over on 1911 forum and ask his advise. Past that, I would contact Claudio Salassa at Briley in Houston and see what he has to say about it and what he may be able to do to fix the problem.

Did you clean the pistol before you shot it? I would suspect it may have something to do with lead or copper fowling in the barrel, otherwise it may be a barrel lockup problem.

JTQ
July 15, 2014, 01:47 PM
I'm primarily a 1911 shooter. I like the gun a lot, but it is one of the few firearms that I generally won't consider when buying used. Practically no gun gets tinkered with more than the 1911. There are far too many folks that think they are gunsmiths and try to "fix" their perfectly functioning 1911's to make them "better". I know my limitations, I'm not a gunsmith, so I know I can't fix the mess these folks have created, so I avoid them.

Is this an original Series 70? Was the collet bushing still in the gun? Had it been replaced by "bubba" before you bought it?

Claude Clay
July 15, 2014, 01:59 PM
I've taken a 8" 50' groups to <2" by doing 2 inexpensive things:

the nose bushing ($20) can be ordered to custom OD and ID
get it slightly over/under and than hand fit it

barrel links go to lock-up when in battery -- 3 common sizes/ $5 each
--if the lockup is already tight this may not be needed

this assumes an already very good slide to frame fit.

mackg
July 15, 2014, 02:01 PM
I would try a different top assembly (bbl and slide); then one of my bushings; then a barrel, just a few rounds, if it looked safe.

jjones45
July 15, 2014, 02:37 PM
Try a different barrel first and then go from there. This might be the reason it was for sale

ATLDave
July 15, 2014, 03:10 PM
Any chance the barrel is leaded?

Sunray
July 15, 2014, 03:53 PM
Have one of those. Nothing 'Combat' about it. Anyway, give it a really good bath first. Then check the fit of the barrel to the slide, the bushing(mines a collet that has never given me any grief), sights and trigger. I'd bet on the fit of the barrel and/or bushing though.

Fishbed77
July 15, 2014, 05:22 PM
I would send a PM to Brent over on 1911 forum and ask his advise

I'm not sure how much help Brent could offer you for a used pistol. There's no telling who's boogered with it in the past.

But Colts (at least new ones) do have a lifetime warranty, so it may be worth a try.

Sauer Grapes
July 15, 2014, 08:33 PM
There's no way that gun is locking up the same each time it's fired.

918v
July 15, 2014, 09:00 PM
It's prolly cracked.

AndyJ
July 16, 2014, 09:34 AM
Further examination.

The gun is clean.
No barrel leading.
Nothing 'cracked' (???)
Interestingly, no collet bushing. The bushing is marked 'Brown'

How to proceed from here?

JTQ
July 16, 2014, 09:37 AM
While it could be anything, my guess is the barrel bushing is not properly fit to the gun. If you don't know what you are doing, nothing wrong with that, I'm not a gunsmith either, take it to a gunsmith that knows 1911's.

bannockburn
July 16, 2014, 11:07 AM
Andy J

Sounds like somewhere down the line a previous owner possibly tried to improve accuracy by adding a new barrel bushing (possibly Ed Brown manufacture), and things didn't work out quite right. At any rate I would contact a gunsmith who has experience working on 1911s and see what they have to say about your gun.

tipoc
July 16, 2014, 11:18 AM
From Andy J.:

I recently acquired one of my grail guns -- a 70 Series Colt Combat Government

and...

Interestingly, no collet bushing. The bushing is marked 'Brown'

When considering buying used guns we have to examine them first closely. This requires some knowledge before hand. Knowledge and experience are learned at a price.

This Ed Brown bushing should have told you that the gun was "adjusted" some by a previous owner. You can usually tell this if the gun does not have it's original parts and if the wear visible on those parts is uneven.

In this case you were looking for your grail gun and found an example that has been used and worked on by someone. This means you have made a decision to try it out, see how it shoots and rebuild it if needs be. This is what it means when you see a Colt that has non Colt parts in it. Or that shows signs of rough wear or hard use.

So now you have some decisions to make.

tipoc

Combat Engineer
July 16, 2014, 12:28 PM
"I recently acquired one of my grail guns -- a 70 Series Colt Combat Government in deep blue.

It looked to be fired but in 95% plus condition. Good lockup, no unseemly rattling, tight bushing.

Took it to the range and almost threw it down in disgust. Groups were a good 2 feet left of target even though sights seemed properly aligned. Could do no better than a GARBAGE CAN LID group size at 25 feet. Holy cats!" [AndyJ]

It happens. I feel your pain.

Recently decided to optimize my 1954 1911 Colt by putting a new-old-stock Colt National Match barrel in it and also added a new (cheapo Rock Island Armory) muzzle bushing. Had to grind away part of the barrel to make it fit. Result, one-inch groups. Thinking the previous owner tried to do something similar to your gun, but failed. But there is good news... its a 1911, and most flawed 1911s can be saved. Suggestions: 1. Call Colt. 2. If they can't help (unlikely), find an experienced 1911 gunsmith, should be one nearby, you live in Texas, pretty much the official 1911 pistol State. He will find the problem in 10 minutes, or less.

Let us know how it works out, this snafu deserves a happy ending.

Best to you.

shootist2121
July 17, 2014, 07:49 PM
Sorry so many of you seem to have issues with this model. I bought one when they first came out..Mine with all factory parts will shoot 2 inch groups at 25 yards from a rest.. I retired it as soon as I heard thAt they only produce a few hundred before jumping to the series 80.. Purchased a Springfield Mil-Spec shortly there after and thou dis of rounds later still perking along.

Just my two cents

Be Safe😎

Drail
July 17, 2014, 09:06 PM
I just love the term "nose bushing". "muzzle bushing" is also pretty good. I would simply install a quality barrel (oversize and fitted) and bushing.

tipoc
July 17, 2014, 10:07 PM
Sorry so many of you seem to have issues with this model.

shootist, only one fella has said he had an issue with the model. This may be because the gun was bought used and a previous owner had "worked" on it some.

tipoc

AndyJ
August 13, 2014, 05:11 PM
Going to resurrect this thread. Finally had time to study on the problem a bit.

I have a Colt Gunsite for many years that is a stone cold shooter. I took each one apart more than once and compared the fit of parts Gunsite vs. Combat Government. The only difference I could tell was this:

In battery, If I push down on the rear of the barrel of the Combat Government -- the barrel hood in the ejection port, there is a tiny bit of movement. The Gunsite barrel is rock solid at the same location.

Does this indicate a worn barrel link?

I have been debating selling this pistol over the past weeks with full disclosure that it shoots like ass but I just can't do it.

Any help appreciated.

skt239
August 13, 2014, 05:24 PM
I didn't notice you mentioning it or anyone asking so I will... Have you tried a different shooter or firing off a rest?

AndyJ
August 13, 2014, 05:30 PM
I didn't notice you mentioning it or anyone asking so I will... Have you tried a different shooter or firing off a rest?
Yes to both and different mags and 4 different kinds of commercial ammo. It was a helter skelter mess

Ken41
August 13, 2014, 05:35 PM
Andy,

If it was mine, I would order the Brownells Wilson Link Kit #965-142-000an. It has 5 different length links. It sounds like the link that you have is too short, which does not tightly lock the barrel lugs to the frame lugs. You could also swap the link with the other 1911 you have too see if it makes any difference, also see if the link pin is sloppy.

rklessdriver
August 13, 2014, 06:31 PM
I would strongly caution against fooling with the link in a 1911 unless you fully understand what it does....

Changing the link does alot more than just affect the in battery lock up of the barrel, which BTW is NOT the barrel links job at all... it is intended to control the barrel ttiming in and out of battery.

Too long of a link could put the barrel in the position of when being in lock up, where its sprung between the longer link and the bushing.

Also a longer link without the aid of the correct length barrel feet can allow the barrel to cock to one side in battery or in worst case scenario it will break the slides stop or link itself as the pressure from camming the barrel into battery is concentrated on the small area of the link instead of the barrel feet as the 1911 was designed.

In short somebody that didnt know what they were doing messed it up already, so best thing to do is take it to someone who knows what they are doing. At worst, it'll need a new barrel and bushing fit.
Will

tipoc
August 13, 2014, 08:04 PM
I tend to agree with Restless Driver here. You bought a gun that some fella messed with and messed up. As soon as you saw that Ed Brown bushing it should have been a warning sign. It told you that the gun was not stock. Since they did not sell it with papers attesting that a well known smith had done the work then you had to assume a home job and you took on all the risks associated with that.

Can you post pics of this gun? If you can load up some good clear pics of the top of the locking lugs on the barrel and the lugs on the slide. As well as the gun as a whole.

That there is slight movement of the hood means almost nothing.

tipoc

AndyJ
August 13, 2014, 08:08 PM
Nah,

Seems like the main subject matter is to ridicule me for making a bad purchase. I came here looking for solid advice which is scarce. FWIW, the Gunbroker pics prior to purchase showed nothing but a solid gun from a reputable seller.

JTQ
August 13, 2014, 08:17 PM
No, I think the main point is you need to take it to somebody that knows what they are doing. As I've mentioned, I'm not a gunsmith either, I would need to take it to a gunsmith too. There is not shame in that. The 1911 is not a Glock, parts don't just drop in.

I do think the problem is the barrel bushing was not done properly when the previous owner replaced the collet bushing, as I mentioned earlier in post #5. However, there have been a bunch of different suggestions for what the problem is, but we are all just guessing. A professional gunsmith, that knows his/her way around a 1911 could probably figure out the problem in just a few minutes.

Good luck. I hope it works out for you.

tipoc
August 13, 2014, 08:41 PM
Well, I'm not ridiculing you. But you have to realize that you began this thread by denouncing a factory made Colt. Only after a post or two was it possible to figure out that the gun was a used gun that had been worked on by someone else before you got it.

I'm not making fun at all. Never buy a gun without the right of return. Period. It takes time to see the difference between a stock gun and one that has been added to.

You bought it from a reputable dealer and you had the right to expect it was what he said it was. But it wasn't.

In this case you have your work cut out for you.

Pics would help folks some in making useful suggestions beyond just suggesting swapping out parts. It would give folks here a chance to see what might be wrong or worn.

One of the better suggestions is to take it to a gun smith who can look it over and at least give an experienced opinion on the gun.

tipoc

Drail
August 13, 2014, 10:53 PM
If the barrel is damaged or worn internally playing with different links isn't going to help (and as mentioned could cause much more serious issues). I would order a Storm Lake match barrel and have it fitted with a new bushing if you want to squeeze the best accuracy out of the gun. Storm Lake also makes a "drop in" barrel that won't be as tight as a hand fitted barrel but will almost certainly be much better than the barrel Colt installed. I have installed them in a lot of guns over the years and the difference in accuracy was amazing. Colt made some really good barrels (if they fit) and they made some not so good ones. You could have bought this gun brand new and still had the same issue.

tipoc
August 13, 2014, 11:05 PM
Storm Lake also makes a "drop in" barrel that won't be as tight as a hand fitted barrel but will almost certainly be much better than the barrel Colt installed.

Drail, right now we don't know if the barrel is original. If it is original we know that someone, not Colt, installed a replacement bushing for the original collet bushing and apparently fit that to the barrel that's in their now. So it's definitely not "the barrel Colt installed" well definitely not the way Colt installed it anyways.

Other changes may have been made.

A Storm Lake barrel might help, especially if gunsmith fitted.

tipoc

Delmar
August 14, 2014, 01:00 AM
IIRC, the series 70 barrels with the collet bushing had a gradual step up in the last inch or so before the muzzle itself. That way, the collet was supposed to be squeezed by the barrel while in battery, then the collet fingers would relax while the slide cycled.

If the barrel was replaced, its probably a constant diameter to the muzzle-easy enough to check with calipers. If so, the collet would have a tough time keeping the muzzle tensioned between the collet fingers.

sgt127
August 14, 2014, 02:46 AM
Help me out a little. Is it shooting 2 ft off of point of aim with a decent group or is it shooting 2 ft off of point of aim and shooting a garbage can sized group?

It's easy to start "chasing" the shots. Leading to a horrible group. Particularly if you are trying to make the bullets go in one spot and you're a decent shooter (and it sounds like you are) Try bench resting it and aiming at the exact same spot for 5-6 rounds.

It's actually harder than you may think to ignore the bullets hitting where they are not supposed to. You keep making subconscious corrections and wind up with a huge group.

I swear I'm not trying to be condescending. It's happened to me.

JTQ
August 14, 2014, 07:42 AM
Delmar wrote,
IIRC, the series 70 barrels with the collet bushing had a gradual step up in the last inch or so before the muzzle itself. That way, the collet was supposed to be squeezed by the barrel while in battery, then the collet fingers would relax while the slide cycled.

If the barrel was replaced, its probably a constant diameter to the muzzle-easy enough to check with calipers. If so, the collet would have a tough time keeping the muzzle tensioned between the collet fingers.
A worthwhile point, except the OP has mentioned the collet bushing has been replaced with a Brown bushing. We don't know if the barrel has been replaced too.

orionengnr
August 14, 2014, 10:25 AM
I see you are in North Texas, as am I.
I have used the services of Ken Crawley (www.crawleycustom.com) on several occasions, and can wholeheartedly recommend his work.
He is in Kemp, TX, a bit south of the DFW area.

jmorris
August 14, 2014, 10:40 AM
In battery, If I push down on the rear of the barrel of the Combat Government -- the barrel hood in the ejection port, there is a tiny bit of movement. The Gunsite barrel is rock solid at the same location.


Mr. Clay had your answer in #6 last month.

Contact Gene Williams 214-673-5510 he can fix it for you, without much wait and it won't cost you an arm and a leg.

Mainsail
August 14, 2014, 10:18 PM
I don't think I'll ever understand the surprise people feel when a product fails to live up to its hype.

Yes, Colt made the 1911, and was the sole source for many years. Then other companies started making them; some to the original specifications, and some tinkered a bit. I've been reading about and listening to people talk about handguns for over 30 years, and the consensus seems to be that Colt *was* the go-to 1911, but that ended in the late 70s or early 80s.

Whatevs. I like my Rock Island and my Sigs. I'm never going to pay more money for a gun just because it has a certain name. I'm not wealthy enough to buy guns just to impress others; my gun buying is purely utilitarian. I buy guns I might need to use. That prancing pony looks awesome on the slide, but if I'm dead because it jammed, or because it couldn't hit a barn door if I threw the gun at it, then it has no purpose for me.

I don't own a "range gun" or a "safe queen" - I own guns that fulfill a purpose in my personal safety plan, and a couple that found their way to me at no expense. Hey, I like a good Colt 1911 as much or more than the next guy, but I still have never bought one because I feel I can get a better built more reliable 1911 for less from those 'other' manufacturers. YMMV

Paul7
August 14, 2014, 10:34 PM
I had an original Series 70 that did the same thing, shot way left.

Recently I bought a new Colt Gold Cup National Match that is a tackdriver.

JDR
August 15, 2014, 10:08 AM
IMHO, the fixes recommended here would justify the $60.00 it would cost to have my gunsmith test fire & then detail strip the gun and do a complete written inspection of the gun along with repair costs.

Paul7
August 15, 2014, 12:10 PM
I don't think I'll ever understand the surprise people feel when a product fails to live up to its hype.

Yes, Colt made the 1911, and was the sole source for many years. Then other companies started making them; some to the original specifications, and some tinkered a bit. I've been reading about and listening to people talk about handguns for over 30 years, and the consensus seems to be that Colt *was* the go-to 1911, but that ended in the late 70s or early 80s.

Whatevs. I like my Rock Island and my Sigs. I'm never going to pay more money for a gun just because it has a certain name. I'm not wealthy enough to buy guns just to impress others; my gun buying is purely utilitarian. I buy guns I might need to use. That prancing pony looks awesome on the slide, but if I'm dead because it jammed, or because it couldn't hit a barn door if I threw the gun at it, then it has no purpose for me.

I don't own a "range gun" or a "safe queen" - I own guns that fulfill a purpose in my personal safety plan, and a couple that found their way to me at no expense. Hey, I like a good Colt 1911 as much or more than the next guy, but I still have never bought one because I feel I can get a better built more reliable 1911 for less from those 'other' manufacturers. YMMV
IMHO the Colt is a better gun than the Rock Island, it has forged frame and slide for one thing. Look around, you can get used deals for not much more than the RIA.

Jim K
August 15, 2014, 09:07 PM
It would take a really bad bushing fit to do that. It sounds very much like a messed up barrel at the exit point, either a burr or the end of the rifling messed up, resulting in the bullets tipping as they exit the barrel and going off in unpredictable directions.

Jim

Mainsail
August 15, 2014, 09:19 PM
IMHO the Colt is a better gun than the Rock Island, it has forged frame and slide for one thing. Look around, you can get used deals for not much more than the RIA.LOL

I would hope so for almost triple the price!

My dad has a Colt 1911 in .38 Super he bought probably in the late 50s or early 60s. I want it.

But yes, the Colt 1911 is a good gun, as are the Kimbers. Unless you get a bad one. If you do, ask yourself why you didn't go with a Sig or a Springer.

HexHead
August 15, 2014, 09:36 PM
I don't think I'll ever understand the surprise people feel when a product fails to live up to its hype.

Yes, Colt made the 1911, and was the sole source for many years. Then other companies started making them; some to the original specifications, and some tinkered a bit. I've been reading about and listening to people talk about handguns for over 30 years, and the consensus seems to be that Colt *was* the go-to 1911, but that ended in the late 70s or early 80s.

Whatevs. I like my Rock Island and my Sigs. I'm never going to pay more money for a gun just because it has a certain name. I'm not wealthy enough to buy guns just to impress others; my gun buying is purely utilitarian. I buy guns I might need to use. That prancing pony looks awesome on the slide, but if I'm dead because it jammed, or because it couldn't hit a barn door if I threw the gun at it, then it has no purpose for me.

I don't own a "range gun" or a "safe queen" - I own guns that fulfill a purpose in my personal safety plan, and a couple that found their way to me at no expense. Hey, I like a good Colt 1911 as much or more than the next guy, but I still have never bought one because I feel I can get a better built more reliable 1911 for less from those 'other' manufacturers. YMMV
You might find it interesting that Colt is making the best guns now that they ever have. Without going to a semi-custom like a Wilson, NHC, Baer or Wilson, another Colt would be my first choice.

And what makes you think you didn't pay more for the one that says Sig on it?

JTQ
August 15, 2014, 09:48 PM
Paul7 wrote,
IMHO the Colt is a better gun than the Rock Island,
Mainsail wrote,
I would hope so for almost triple the price!
I'd say "triple the price" may be somewhat of an exaggeration. I'd expect double the price is a closer estimate.

1911Tuner
August 16, 2014, 05:53 AM
After watchin' for a spell...maybe I can offer a little...somethin'.

Colt's early Series 70 days were rife with problems within the company. Skilled machinists and armorers were retiring, quitting, etc...and you could get a very good pistol or the 1911 from hell as it were.

On two separate pistols from that era...a Series 70 Government Model and a Combat Commander...I found slide lugs that were machined off center...both to the right as viewed from the rear of the slide.

And both guns shot to the left. If memory serves me...about a foot to the left at 25 yards.

This is why it's a good idea to thoroughly inspect any Series 70 Government Model, Gold Cup, or any Commander/Combat Commander with a B70 or S70 serial prefix.

Paul7
August 16, 2014, 03:33 PM
I'd say "triple the price" may be somewhat of an exaggeration. I'd expect double the price is a closer estimate.
Its a gross exaggeration. I saw a used Series 80 M1991A1 on GB recently for $500, it was in good shape. Granted this one has been bubba'd, but current bid is $375. I'll take a forged slide and frame any day over a RIA.

http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=435196609

I had a RIA that was a POS, it went back to the factory several times before they gave up on it and sent me a new one, which I sold. I also was unable to get an arched MSH on it, my local gunsmith said the RIA was slightly out of spec to most 1911s.

JTQ
August 16, 2014, 04:13 PM
Paul7 wrote,
Its a gross exaggeration. I saw a used Series 80 M1991A1 on GB recently for $500, it was in good shape.
In all fairness to Mainsail, I'm sure he's talking about new guns, not the used market.

I'd rather pay the premium for a new Colt over a new RIA, since I believe the extra cost is mostly due to better parts and how they are put together, rather than the name on the slide. I believe the up charge is worth it, to me at least.

On the other hand, I'd rather have a new RIA, cast frame and all, than a used Colt that shows any signs of being worked on by somebody that doesn't know what they are doing. I'm not a gunsmith, and I don't have the skills to fix something that has been ruined by somebody else. RIA makes a good gun and they have a fine warrantee.

AndyJ
August 16, 2014, 06:07 PM
After watchin' for a spell...maybe I can offer a little...somethin'.

Colt's early Series 70 days were rife with problems within the company. Skilled machinists and armorers were retiring, quitting, etc...and you could get a very good pistol or the 1911 from hell as it were.

On two separate pistols from that era...a Series 70 Government Model and a Combat Commander...I found slide lugs that were machined off center...both to the right as viewed from the rear of the slide.

And both guns shot to the left. If memory serves me...about a foot to the left at 25 yards.

This is why it's a good idea to thoroughly inspect any Series 70 Government Model, Gold Cup, or any Commander/Combat Commander with a B70 or S70 serial prefix.
It is a B70X serial number

harvester
August 16, 2014, 08:19 PM
Probably too simple but are the sights loose?

Lafitte
August 17, 2014, 09:22 AM
I think that the most helpful (and inexpensive) things for you to try are a well fitted barrel bushing and a longer link. These are two things that keep the barrel aligned with the slide (sites).

Lafitte

1911Tuner
August 17, 2014, 11:26 AM
I think that the most helpful (and inexpensive) things for you to try are a well fitted barrel bushing and a longer link.

Here is strong indication of a misunderstanding of the link's function.

The link's only function is getting the barrel out of the slide. That's all it's there for.

More than that...the barrel's timing as it drops is critical...and the link's on-center length determines that. Dinking around with different lengths is a good way to turn a simple problem into a very complicated and expensive problem.

200Apples
August 17, 2014, 12:53 PM
.
I'm throwing my two cents' worth in with1911Tuner: until the machining of the slide lugs can be "blueprinted", anything else done to the gun might well be a waste of time, best case, and, as he's just now noted, messin' with link length can complicate the situation exponentially.

Bummer is that the gun will be out of service for as long as it takes for a good "smithy" to do his job.

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