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Colt 1911

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Rbstuartjr, May 21, 2019.

  1. Rbstuartjr

    Rbstuartjr Member

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    I just inherited this nice 1911 Colt Government Model with a serial number C26xx. From what I can discern it was made in 1913. I was told it was taken to war In WW1, but I cannot verify that. The person whom I received it from was told it was non functional and she played with it as a little girl in the 1950’s. She said it has not been fired by anyone in her lifetime.

    I field stripped it and can tell you it is very functional. It just had a little rust and a lot of dried and caked on oil. A little scrubbing with some Remoil cleaned everything up nice.

    I don’t know very much about these pistols, as all of mine are fairly modern. Most of the info I can find is more about the M1911 and not the commercial ones. So if anyone can point me to a source about these or has any info themselves about these I would be grateful. I can upload more pictures if anyone needs to see something on it. Thanks all.
    B0B5BD48-1F27-4F72-9F45-E3FFCCA88538.jpeg AA83AC59-1600-4F61-97CA-528EF6129CB5.jpeg 8D0C2ED3-3830-44C5-BE6F-667DE61D984E.jpeg 22A9EB34-02BB-4364-9C2B-045FE2EBD114.jpeg 1D3E5CBC-DFF9-4DA8-A42B-DDA3332D7D25.jpeg 91156A95-6CCF-4DB7-A21A-90610176F701.jpeg E86F4A48-5258-4735-9463-61D816C93740.jpeg C63C8471-039C-4A1B-A3C0-74F2BE257AB5.jpeg 8B38542F-5043-490B-A99C-5BD0F57938F5.jpeg 307284D6-5B20-45F0-BD02-24C5EBE7E61D.jpeg
     
  2. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    Very nice Colt! Even with the "idiot mark" thats a couple of grand these days- the magazine alone is worth decent change.:)

    A great gift with a good story too, congrats.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
  3. LRDGCO

    LRDGCO Member

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    Sorry to hear about the circumstances in which you came into it. But that is very, very cool and rather timely with Memorial Day coming up.
     
  4. tarosean

    tarosean Member

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    C in the serial number denotes civilian model. There were only a small handful of C models that went to "war" and they all had a number prefix.
     
  5. maxxhavoc

    maxxhavoc Member

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    It sure looks like a non-A1 1911 to my untrained eye. Straight MS housing, no finger cuts. If the story is true, it should be a $1500+ gun to the right person.

    The CMP forums are very good for history. This thread is where folks have been posting serials to get original shipment of USGI 1911s: http://forums.thecmp.org/showthread.php?t=223499

    If it is a Colt, they will actually give you original shipment info if you contact Colt.
     
  6. maxxhavoc

    maxxhavoc Member

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    OK, I was distracted by the eye candy. Missed the Serial prefix.
     
  7. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Indeed.
     
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  8. Rbstuartjr

    Rbstuartjr Member

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    If anyone knows, are these safe to shoot with modern factory ammo or should I load up some soft shooting reloads or just not shoot it at all?
     
  9. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Rbstuartjr

    That's a very nicely preserved Colt 1911. I would contact Colt and see about getting a factory letter for it.
     
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  10. tarosean

    tarosean Member

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    Yes it's safe to shoot with normal range fodder.
     
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  11. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    My maternal grandfather was a surgeon in the medical corp in France during WWI. He bought his own pistol, a Colt 1908, before being sent to France. The Colt went to France with him. My uncle, my mother's brother-in-law and a surgeon in Italy during WWII said that medical personnel were not issued fired arms so I assume WWI medical personnel were not issued firearms either.

    So, it is possible a civilian model M1911 went to war in WWI although I agree the numbers were probably relatively small.

    Also, my father's brother was a B-24 pilot in WWII. He carried his father's, my paternal grandfather's, M1911 originally issued in during WWI. My grandfather was in the quartermaster corp in France.

    Several years ago, I did some research on where my maternal grandfather had been stationed in France during WWI. I had the opportunity to go to France and actually stand at several of the field hospital locations where he was stationed. It was a great trip and experience.

    Both of my grandfathers were outdoorsmen and hunters.

    I hope the OP enjoys his new pistol and maybe learns more of the gun's history.
     
  12. 94045

    94045 Member

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    I was fixing to point out the same thing others did. It's very hard to say a pistol didn't go to war as personal weapons with permission of commanding officer. I know a Nazi Marked P38 that was carried in Korea and Vietnam.
     
  13. Col. Harrumph

    Col. Harrumph Member

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    You might consider replacing the recoil spring with one from Wolff's, but if so DO keep the original one in a safe place for authenticity's sake. And get an aftermarket magazine too, to avoid wear on the original. But to your question, any modern standard pressure factory load will be safe, provided the gun is as good on the inside as your pics of the outside show. Do not, however, expect trouble-free operation when feeding it anything other then ball ammunition.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
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  14. Rbstuartjr

    Rbstuartjr Member

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    Thank you all for the info on this firearm. I do appreciate all the knowledge here!
     
  15. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    Very nice
     
  16. South Prairie Jim

    South Prairie Jim Member

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    28280192-FB8F-4DB6-B481-7DE27754D341.jpeg This is my bible
     
  17. il.bill

    il.bill Member

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    Sweet!

    A new RECOIL SPRING (save the original) and a new MAGAZINE or two (save on wearing the original) sound like good ideas, then take it out shooting and enjoy ...
     
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  18. tipoc

    tipoc Member

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  19. WC145

    WC145 Member

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    Nice gun. For the record, the 'C' prefix is for Commercial. Also, that 1911 disassembles, reassembles, and operates exactly like the latest one off the Colt assembly line. It might be old but it's not obsolete, Many, if not most, "modern" pistols have parts of their design that can be traced back to the 1911 or one of Browning's other designs.
     
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  20. CoalTrain49

    CoalTrain49 Member

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    Nice Colt. Slide probably isn't heat treated. I think that came about after WW2. It's possible to crack those old slides. I have my dad's model 97 shotgun that hasn't been shot in 50 years. I think that one was made in 1917. Anything that old deserves to be retired. JMHO.
     
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  21. wojownik

    wojownik Member

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    Fantastic early Colt 1911.

    No, it wouldn't be heat treated. If it's going to be shot, certainly no higher-pressure ammo. I don't know about being "retired", but that vintage Colt deserves to be treated with honor. It's a valuable piece, I hope the OP takes care not to clean it up aggressively, or modify it. That's a collectible, not a carry piece.

     
  22. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator

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    Fantastic Colt! Personally, I would be unable to resist shooting it. (Of course, maybe that's why I can't have nice things . . . . .) Out of an abundance of caution, I would get a new recoil spring in there and use a new magazine, as others have suggested, and stick with standard pressure ball ammo. Bear in mind that I'm a terrible collector and not an engineer, though.
     
  23. 94045

    94045 Member

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    I would put the original magazine and any springs replaced in a safe place. The more original parts you have the higher the value.

    A new magazine and a Wolff recoil spring of 16 lb would be my initial changes. I like Checkmate 7 Round with their patented follower for the reduced noise dive on the last round and they do have the dimple to avoid pushfeed on the last round. At least in a traditional looking magazine.

    I wouldn't carry it or shoot it to death but 50 rounds on occasion isn't going to hurt it. Fiocchi rounds are generally quality, clean and only run about 790 fps out of 5" on a chronograph so shouldn't batter the old girl to bad. I would generally stay away from some of the imported stuff. The Armscor we just shot was HOT.
     
  24. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    The number of people who think a firearm is "non functional" always manages to surprise me.

    Although I'd be tempted to pull the firing pin out and measure it, after checking that it still had its spring.
    (This is not complicated; you need a pokey-thing--I have used the cap off a Bic pen--and depress the firing pin in until you can lift the firing pin retention clip vertically out of the slide; keep an eye out ,the firing pin may want to goi spoing across the room; re-install is the reverse.)
     
  25. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    I have several similar pistols that are WWI-era veterans. Replacing the mainspring would be very smart. Since it's a family heirloom, getting and using a new magazine would also be smart. It would cost you something like $30 for both of those combined.

    After that, there's no reason not to shoot it occasionally. I shoot my Colt 1903, Mauser 1910 and 1914, S&W M&P and Hand Ejector, and Colt Army Special whenever I feel like it. Moderate-pressure range ammo is probably lighter than the ammo that they were designed for.

    Military pistols like the 1911 were designed for hard use under adverse conditions. If you replace the springs and keep them clean, shooting 50 or 100 rounds at the range every once in a while is almost irrelevant. My uncles carried WWII-era 1911's in Vietnam. They had been shot so many thousands of rounds that they were pretty loose (and put together out of random parts), but they still went bang every time.

    It's heavy-duty machinery. It will be fine.

     
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