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Been working on my Colt Commander

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Schlegel, Nov 5, 2019.

  1. Schlegel

    Schlegel Member

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    I got this a few years ago but never did much with it because every mag it would have a failure to feed. Well, I have had more time to tinker than shoot for a while so I decided to try to do a few things to it.

    A little reading made me think it might be something simple, so I replaced the recoil spring of unknown age with a new 18lb one, and picked up 3 new Wilson 47D magazines.

    Looks like the spring didn't hurt, but the magazines were definitely an issue... the Colt mag jammed nose down, the Wilson mags fed JHP and ball ammo fine.

    I also installed a Wilson Combat beavertail grip safety I've had for almost as long as the pistol. I chickened out when I first got it, but since then I've disassembled a 1911 enough that the fitting process seemed doable, and it went fine. Liking it a lot more now. Maybe I might sent out the slide for new sight dovetails one day. The pic is so shiny it kinda looks stainless, but it's blued. 20191105_193430.jpg
     
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  2. drband

    drband Member

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    Good for you! Enjoy!
     
  3. nofendertom

    nofendertom Member

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    What ammo do you shoot in it? Have you polished the feed ramp?
     
  4. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    Looks good!

    I would love to find an old Commander someday.
     
  5. Schlegel

    Schlegel Member

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    I tried Federal ball and JHP, and Fiocchi ball. Haven't touched the ramp.
     
    Cocked & Locked likes this.
  6. edwardware

    edwardware Member

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    Good, don't. It won't help, and might ruin the gun.

    Buy Kuhnhausen's 1911 Shop Manual, and understand it, before you remove or polish anything.
     
  7. Schlegel

    Schlegel Member

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    My basic plan for this kind of thing is if I ruin a new part trying to fit it I can always put the old one back on. The frame and slide themselves I will leave alone without more education.
    The grip safety is something I was willing to undertake because in the course of reading about how to fit a new trigger I happened to also see a good video shot of the interaction of the trigger and grip safety with all the other parts removed for a clear line of sight.
    I'd like to learn how to fit replace more and maybe do a complete build. Kuhnhausen will be first in the cart if I do.
     
  8. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Schlegel

    Nice looking Colt you've got there! Is it an aluminum frame Commander or a steel frame Combat Commander? Hard to tell from the photo but I'm thinking it's a Combat Commander. I tried replacing the standard grip safety with a polished stainless beavertail one on my Combat Commander but didn't care for the way it changed how the gun felt in my hand so I went back to using the original. Since I never had a problem with hammer bite the factory version continues to work just fine.

    I found that my Commander and Officer's Model ACP pistols in .45 ACP always did better with lighter weight (like 185 gr. or 200 gr.) bullets versus standard 230 gr. Hardball ammo. Never had a problem with Colt factory magazines.

    P7kzXHg.jpg
     
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  9. Lennyjoe

    Lennyjoe Member

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    I have 2 Kimber and as soon as I got them home I pitched the factomags into a spare parts box and replaced with Wilson mags.
     
  10. Schlegel

    Schlegel Member

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    It's a Combat Commander, bit over 20 years old I think. It was used when I got it. I never tried lighter rounds, something to try out of curiosity, perhaps. I know I've heard that as the slide gets shorter on 1911s they get more finicky about needing things just right to work properly. I don't know myself, this was my first. I just got a second, full size model, but I haven't had a chance to shoot it yet.
     
  11. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    I seem to recall reading about using lighter bullets in Commander length guns (maybe from Massad Ayoob?), years ago, gave them a try and liked the results. My Combat Commander with 185 gr. target ammo will go shot for shot with a Gold Cup anytime. I also have a Colt Officer's Model ACP that likes them too!

    RAZcMxr.jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2019
  12. Cocked & Locked
    • Contributing Member

    Cocked & Locked Member

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    Just another old Colt Combat Commander

    402336148.jpg
     
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  13. GBExpat

    GBExpat Member

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    ... [​IMG] ...
    Gorgeous! Brings to mind the nickeled (mine was brushed) Colt Combat Commander that I bought & carried in the late '70s.

    I took a Stupid Pill one day and traded it away. :( <sigh>

    It was the first of my pistols that felt truly ... comfortable ... to me. I could shoot that pistol very well. Mostly 230gr FMJ. Old school. :)
     
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  14. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    GBExpat

    I was never a big fan of the brushed nickel finish that Colt use to put on their Combat Commanders. Guess it just wasn't shiny enough for me! So when I saw this Colt with bright nickel plating I decided I had to have it! Even more so when I learned of all of the extra features Colt's Custom Shop added to the gun. Besides the nickel plating there was the Gold Cup trigger, the MMC rear sight, and it was tuned and accurized (it could run all day with a Gold Cup while being way less finicky about the ammo used in it).

    And yes, I did sell it once when I needed the cash to a friend of mine. One thing I did ask for and received was that if my friend ever decided to trade or sell it, I had the right of first refusal. Some years later I found out my friend really wanted one of the then new Colt Officer's Model ACP. So I got one, threw in a surplus West German P1 to sweeten the deal, made the trade and got my Combat Commander back!

    ZFwuWE7.jpg
     
  15. gotboostvr

    gotboostvr Member

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    Just chiming in with some more love for Commanders.

    Here's my early Wiley Clapp lightweight


    [​IMG]
     
  16. 351 WINCHESTER

    351 WINCHESTER Member

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    I bought a combat commanded in the early 80's as I recall. It was not throated for hp ammo, but my brother's gold cup was. He had a dremmel tool so I took both guns apart, looked at his barrel while I was throating mine. When I got done my barrel look just as good as his gold cup & never missed a beat. The only problem I had with that pistol was the horrible sights and trigger. Accuracy was just so so, so I sold it.
     
  17. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    From the Wilson Combat FAQ pages, this directed at compact guns, but it really applies to all
    https://www.wilsoncombat.com/faqs/
     
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