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Colt 45 1911 Reproduction

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Leedavisone, Feb 15, 2007.

  1. Leedavisone

    Leedavisone Well-Known Member

    I am interested in getting one of the WW1 Repro pistols that Colt has made, and I was wondering if the production run of the 4,000 has been completed, or if they are still working on them.
  2. sd

    sd Well-Known Member

    I don't have an answer for you but you might be interested in the usfirearms.com website, they have two makes of the 1911 from that era.
  3. Coyote3855

    Coyote3855 Well-Known Member

    Colt Model 01911, WWI Reproduction

    I just purchased the Colt WWI Replica. Cost was about $975 with taxes and shipping. I don't know where Colt is with the production run, but my dealer said only one of his suppliers had the WWI's in stock.

    I was somewhat disappointed in the pistol for the following reasons, in no particular order: The grip safety bluing didn't match the rest of the gun. Instead of the touted "Carbona" blue, it was a plum/purple color. The rest of the bluing was consistent and well done, the polish underneath was not. The metal of slide and frame has visable and consistent irregularities, sort of striations over the entire surface of frame and slide, indicating that Colt did not do a great job on final polishing/buffing before bluing. There are very sharp edges and even a couple of minor nicks on the bottom edge of both sides of the slide. The rollmarks are rough, apparently the slide was not polished after the roll marks were placed. The contours of the frame behind the trigger guard do not match the contours of my 1914 vintage Colt 1911 Commercial Model. I suspect this has something to do with leaving out the 1911AI relief cuts behind the trigger, to match the original 1911 configuration. The trigger pull I estimate to be in the 4 pound range, but is uneven. I acquired a new Rock Island Armory 1911 clone ($360.00 delivered)at the same time as the Colt. The RIA has a better trigger pull, and the overall smoothness of metal is better. The RIA is Milspec and parkerized. Quality of parts - hammer, firing pin, trigger, etc., is of course not as good as the Colt. The RIA has about 200 rounds of hardball with no malfunctions. That's with Wolff springs and a Wilson magazine.

    You didn't say why you want the Colt WWI Replica. As a shooter, it has limitations because of the tiny sights. On the RIA, I had no hesitation before widening the rear notch with a square needle file and slapping some orange paint on the front blade. Wouldn't do that to the Colt.

    Before I bought the Replica, I shopped for an original. Found a 1919 vintage Commercial in about 80% condition (on GunsAmerica, who knows if it was an honest gun...) for $1400. I am told that collector interest and thus prices are higher for the "Property of the US Government" marked guns, and that the Commercial models are often cheaper.

    Incidentally, the 1914 commercial was a parts gun with the slide marked Marina Argentina. When I acquired it, it was a conglomeration of 1911 and 1911A1 parts. I was able to find correct 1911 replacement parts and had the whole gun reblued.

    Depending on why you want the Replica -shooter, carry gun, or just to have one, you might consider other options. As sd mentioned US Firearms has a 1910 (with a burr hammer) and a 1911. Haven't seen either gun except in pictures, nor do I know the price, but if I had overs, I'd look at something other than the Colt.

  4. loplop

    loplop Well-Known Member

    I saw this thread but forgot to respond, boy did it drop off the radar fast :)

    I have owned a Colt WWI repro since August of 2004. I am a big 1911 fan, and happened to see one of these in person... I should have bought it on the spot, but like a good hubby, not at the shop to buy a piece, I went home with visions of sugarplums in my head. I must have been really excited, because I told my wife about it, and 2 seconds later she said "buy it!" Oops, went back and it was gone.

    I did get a hold of one, though. Boy, am I happy I did. The good:
    1. The bluing is more beautiful than any current production 1911 I'm aware of. It really is gorgeous in the right light. It holds up quite well, too.
    2. It fits my hand like a glove; I really like the smooth, flat MSH.
    3. It shoots better than the Colt Gold Cup I used to own! My groups are consistently excellent with this piece. The sights are small, but useable. Do your part and the gun will do its part.
    4. I love the old rollmarks

    I think it's a great "repro" of WWI 1911's. The earlier 1911's were indeed polished better than this piece; in particular, the slide and frame sides were quite smooth. On the Colt repro, the MSH is polished beautifully, but the frame sides and slide aren't mirror finished, they are a brushed finish. As I understand it, this is common of WWI-issue 1911's. The earlier 1911's were mirror-polished, but predictably this dropped off as production ramped up. So it's nothing IMO that detracts from the value or beauty of the piece.

    Personally, I have a real fondness for this Colt. I ended up selling off my other Colt's (Gold Cup and Defender) over the years, but this one has always remained a highlight of my "collection" (if you can call my meager arms stock a collection) and is one I never want to part with. It is both a thing of beauty and a wonderful shooting weapon. I just recently retired the WWI repro as my "nightstand gun" for a newfangled Sig Sauer.

    I'm real attached to that piece... The Sig shoots beautifully but I think of it like my hammer. Just another tool... The Colt is a thing I'd display in a glass case if my wife let me :D
  5. COLT 01911 faults

    After saving for a couple of years got my Colt 01911 (4660 WMK) and am nothing but dissapointed in it. Ditto prior post of poor polish before blue applied, purple color grip safety, ugly and poorly stamped "rollmarks". My gun purchased from internet dealer, arrived "factory sealed". Expensive at 1175.00 + shipping and pickup costs at local FFL. The thing is ugly, and not anywhere near being up to Colt standards!

    Can anyone tell me why the grip safety is purple colored?

    My first "new" 1911 type - used many in the army, owned several ex-military and commercial ones (all used).

    Appears to be a "mix" of steel used in the construction - slide stop and grip safety to be sure. Anyone know just what the pistol is made from?

    No serial number on slide (by the firing pin).

    Really disappointed with the piece. And it came out of the Colt Custom Shop?:banghead:
  6. Aguila Blanca

    Aguila Blanca Well-Known Member

    The original Colt WW1 reproduction has been sold out. That one had an early 1918 brushed blue finish (erroneously called "Carbonia" blue by many people). However, to satisfy demand for a WW1 reproduction without screwing over the people who bought theirs with the understanding it would be one of 4,000, Colt is now producing essentially the same pistol in a black oxide finish that closely replicates the late 1918 M1911 finish that is referred to as the Black Army finish. There should be plenty of those available -- they just switched over earlier this year. I believe the Colt model number is O1918.
  7. rondog

    rondog Well-Known Member

    I have a WWI repro, the Carbonia Blue model 01911, with the WMK serial #. I don't know what the others are talking about, mine is gorgeous and the best shooting pistol I've ever owned, it's dead-on accurate. As far as the finish, it's beautiful, IMO. It's not highly polished, because the originals weren't highly polished. Ain't nobody gonna pry it away from me.
  8. uneasy_rider

    uneasy_rider Well-Known Member

    I am sorry you had a bad experience with your gun, but why did you pay so much for it?

    They are routinely being sold for $200 less than that.
  9. Hunter0924

    Hunter0924 Well-Known Member

    The 01918 is the current production Colt 1911 repo.
  10. JohnBT

    JohnBT Well-Known Member

    I still love mine, brushed finish and all. What a fine shooting gun.

    "That one had an early 1918 brushed blue finish (erroneously called "Carbonia" blue by many people)."

    Can I keep calling it Carbonia until Ron's changes the site? :)


    "We are pleased to announce that Colt's Mfg. Inc. has chosen us to be the supplier of our Carbonia finish on their new, current production 1911 WWI Repro. Our Carbonia finish is the result of years of research into every aspect of how the metal finishers of the day had originally applied this finish to the guns. What we can offer to you, is a finish that is absolutely correct in every detail. Period! If you want the real Carbonia finish on your gun, all you have to do is make the same decision as Colt, and we have it for you!"
  11. Aguila Blanca

    Aguila Blanca Well-Known Member

    The finish Ron's provided on the O1911 Colts may have been a Carbonia finish. Originally, though, the Carbonia finish was proprietary to S&W and the bluing Colt used in making the original M1911s back around WW1 was a bone charcoal blue, not "Carbonia."

    Ron's is not providing the black oxide finish on the current O1918 pistols. My understanding is that the current WW1 reproductions are being finished in-house by Colt.
  12. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    There is a lot of misunderstanding about the blue finishes used on recent (so called) World War One Colt reproductions vs. the finishes used on the original military and commercial 1911 pistols.

    Commercial pistols were highly polished and "Charcoal Blued," which was a heat rather then chemical process. The Army objected to the high gloss however because it reflected light. After a few thousand guns Colt kept the process, but reduced polishing to reduce the objectionable reflection. Then in 1918, to speed up production they reduced the polishing even more. This resulted in a flat-black look that collectors call the "Black Army" blue. So from 1911 through the end of World War One, Colt used the same Charcoal Blue process, but got different color and looks depending on the degree of polishing.

    The blueing that Colt uses today is a chemical finish, and does not exactly duplicate the color of the earlier blue. They have chosen to go to a high polish finish, which is historically incorrect - but more like what their customers expect. If anything it comes closer to the finish provided on the earlier commercial guns, rather then military models. They also seem to lack the highly skilled and experienced hand polishers of yesteryear. In this day and age such workers are very hard to find.
  13. JohnBT

    JohnBT Well-Known Member

    Okay, I'll call it a carbonia-oil finish and save the big-C Carbonia for S&W. Colt had their own version using American Gas Furnace Company's carbonia oil process. Heck, I thought the basic process was used on all sorts of guns/hardware/tools/etc. for 40 years, with slight variations in the formula, quenching oil, etc.

  14. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    Sort of...

    They used a gas furnace process from about 1922 to 1940.
  15. rondog

    rondog Well-Known Member

    This is my 01911 Colt WWI repro. There are 3999 just like it, but this one is MINE! And I don't care what you call the finish, to me it's BLUE! Got it for $899 in a FTF transaction, from a guy that works in the office building across the street from my office. It was a deal that was just meant to happen. Some deals are a nightmare to put together, this one came on a platter with a blue ribbon around it. And it's so accurate it's scary, tiny sights and all.


  16. Geno

    Geno Well-Known Member

    Anyone who ever has a problem with a Colt firearm (finish or function) should call Cindy at Colt. Cindy is top-notch, and she will assure that your Colt is up to Colt quality and appearance.

    Edit to add: My own Colt WWI Reproduction is beautiful, accurate and fully reliable.

  17. ? 1,175 is the going cost these days. Will go call Cindy at Colt to see what can be done about the purple grip safety. Mike.:cuss:
  18. krs

    krs Well-Known Member

    Too much misinformation to address but Mike, the MSRP on the pistol isn't that high and never was. $990. is closer. I'm afraid you got reamed .........http://www.galleryofguns.com/Genie/default.aspx?item=O1918

    We all feel your pain, and most all have had the experience at least once.

    The above gun is the so-called "Black Army" version. The blue version is the limited run of 4000 maybe 5000 but they finally did stop. The two are the same pistol except for finish and serial number prefix/suffix.

    I'm surprised to hear of two purple/plum parts on two pistols in one thread, they must have had a run of bad blueing solution or had the temperature to high or something to cause that coloring.

    I'd recommend to anyone who isn't happy with their finish to do as Doc suggests and call Colt and arrange to send it back. Be VERY specific about what your complaints are because they won't fix something they don't know is wrong, but if you do this in all liklihood they'll send it through their custom shop for a careful refinish. Make sure and request a return ticket be sent to you before you send it in so you can have the shipping paid both ways.
  19. XavierBreath

    XavierBreath Well-Known Member


    Here's my Colt M1911 Repro. As you can see, the color of the thumb safety, the trigger, and the slide stop is slightly different than the frame and slide of the pistol. This is because the metals are different.

    A blue finish is oxidation. It is not paint. Different metals oxidize differently, resulting in color variations. You will see this on most older guns. Doesn't bother me one whit.

    The thing that does/did bother me was the trigger was not milled. While appearing correct on the outside, it is not correct inside. A milled trigger was probably too much to ask though. I would have liked a ball cut slide without bevels on the front of the slide as well. All in all though, I'm happy with the gun.

    At the height of the scrambling for these guns, they were selling for the prices Mike paid. They were seen as a limited production gun that would increase in value. The guns were not easily obtained. There were waiting lists. Any time you have that, the prices go up. If you want one under those conditions, you sometimes have to pay the price. Some folks paid $900, others paid close to $1200. Some folks bragged about sub $800 prices. I doubt that, except in only one case.

    I wasn't willing to pay a dealer what it would take to own one of these pistols. Fortunately, I ended up being able to help someone who needed it, while still obtaining my Colt WW1 Repro.

    Mike, if you aren't pleased with your Colt, call Cindy. If she can't make you happy, sell it. You might even get what you paid if it's still unfired.
  20. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    I suspect that some of those parts were investment cast. If so, the alloy used probably had a high silicone content, (for a mold release) and that can cause parts that are chemically blued to develop a purple cast after a short time if they come out of the bath too soon, and/or if the temperature is too low. They could have missed it at the factory because the color develops over time. Early Ruger single action frames were famous for the same kind of color until they modified the bluing process.

    You wouldn’t see this on pre-war Colt pistols because they were blued using a heat process rather then a chemical bath, and the parts were all of a similar alloy with a very low or no silicone content.

    I have no idea what a MIM would look like coming out of a chemical bath, and I’m not sure I’d want to find out…

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