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Series 70 1911--worth it?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Eightball, Feb 15, 2008.

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  1. Eightball

    Eightball Member

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    Basic question--are series 70 1911's REALLY worth it? Just got into a heated debate with one of my fellow schoolmates about it. He says that with a Series 70, you'd have to file parts to fit individual frames, that the only good ones are the WWII Colts (I thought some of the "rolled-off-the-factory-floor-last-week," WWI repro ones were good? Correct me if I'm wrong), and questioned the validity of really wanting to order one. I was under the impression that, on a good series 70, you could just order a part from Brownells or whatnot, have it fit (generally speaking), less to go wrong, and (once you do some footwork and get some stuff done to it) would be a better all-around 1911. He also argues that by the time you take a Series 70, and maybe put some night sights and an ambi safety, maybe get a trigger job, and if I felt like it some front-strap texturing, maybe eventually get a new hammer/beavertail safety, that I "could just buy an off-the-shelf Ed Brown for about the same price". While I tried to explain to him that "getting done eventually" type work is less costly in the immediate sense, and I don't just "have" the money to plunk down on a custom jobbie, this failed to get through to him.

    So now I'm wondering--is it really worth it to get a Series 70, if I want a "made in america, done like it should be" type 1911? I really don't think I'd ever have the $1000+ to get one of those "custom" deals, which is why I'm mulling this over.

    EDIT: And yes, I would lump some of the brand-new Series 70 Colts in there, not the middling "crap" batches they were putting out for a few years.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Snake Eyes

    Snake Eyes Member

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    Not sure if you're talking about the new "Series 70" pistols Colt is making, but if you are actually referring to Pre-Series 80 Colt 1911's, well, good luck finding one under $1000.
     
  3. GLOCK45GUY

    GLOCK45GUY Member

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    I have a Colt Sistema (made in Argetina in 1927 on US Colt Tooling) 1911 that I bought for $375. The Parkerizing finish was redone, newer barrel, new trigger, sear/hammer, sear spring, main spring, and sights. All I plan to do is intall a commander style hammer, Beavertale grip safety, and ambi thumb saftey.

    Maybe you can look into these as a base to build what you want.
     
  4. MarshallDodge

    MarshallDodge Member

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    The 70 series are nice but there are comparably good 1911's on the market today with more features for the $$$. Springfield, STI, and Dan Wesson/CZ to name a few. The bluing on the 70 series is hard to beat for looks.

    A lot of companies today are building their guns like the 80 series with the firing pin safety- Kimber series II, Taurus, Sig, and S&W to name a few.
     
  5. col_tapiocca

    col_tapiocca Member

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    I onw a 1976 made Colt Serie 70. You'll never find a current Mod. 1911 with those bluing finish.
    I've luck and paid 600 Swiss Francs (approx. 544 US$) for it. In unfired condition from a collector.
     
  6. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Horse manure.
     
  7. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    I've had a number of the original Series 70 Government models, and I don't ever remember having to file any parts to fit anything to a particular gun. Not real sure what your friend meant by this. All of them worked fine; definitely wouldn't mind having any and all of them back because as Snake Eyes noted, you're not going to find many at less than $1000 these days. The only problem area for the Series 70 Colts was with the collet bushing design. And while I never saw one fail (or knew of anyone personally have one fail), it's easy enough to replace it. In reality, nowadays you would probably be better served looking at other manufacturers for more product at a lower cost, rather than an original Series 70 Colt.
     
  8. weisse52

    weisse52 Member

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    Well,

    I think your friend is "wrong". Wait, I know he is wrong.:neener:


    The orginal series 70's where / are wonderful pistols. They have been the basis for lots of custom pistols.

    The 70 series re-issue are also great pistols. They come with far fewer MIM parts that most production pistols. The blueing is not quite the Royal Blue of old, but still better than most. They are coming out of the Colt Custom shop. Most are fitted and finished quite nicley. The collet bushing had a reputation for breaking, but in 35+ years of shooting I have never broken one, or personally seen one broken. With the 70 series re-issue they have gone back to a solid bushing, so that is not an issue.

    I own several SA's now, and have a few in the past. I have handled several from several different builders. None of them come close to a Colt. At least not till you get on the high end of some of the custom shops. As far as adding parts and pieces. I only buy the basic models of all pistols. I add to them what I want and from who I want. I am amazed that everyone thinks they must change everything that came on the pistol to carry it. Yes, you want good sights, yes you want a quality trigger. As far as the other things, I am convinced that in alot of cases they only get added because people think that is what they must have to have a reliable pistol. In some cases this quest just causes problems.

    I think it is a good idea to buy the Colt 70 re-issue and shoot the stuffing out of it to see what you really need. Then, make changes as you see fit. Then, you will have what works for you.

    And a Colt is always the right answser! :)
     
  9. XavierBreath

    XavierBreath Member

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    Most aftermarket 1911 parts are designed to fit a Series 70 Colt. It is the standard. That being said, any aftermarket part should be fitted to the gun, no matter which gun it is. Parts may "drop in" but that does not mean they are correctly fitted to the pistol or other firearm. With modern CNC machining, many parts come close.........and sometimes all you have to do is check and confirm the fit, but to get optimal performance, you must be prepared to fit the parts. Obviously, if you want dovetailed sights and a beavertail grip safety on a gun that doesn't have them, they will have to be fitted.

    The lowest cost off the shelf Ed Brown, a blue Kobra, runs $1995. The Special Forces also runs $1995. Expect to special order it and pay MSRP. A NIB Series 70 Colt usually leaves the gun store for under $900. Decide what you want on the Colt, and figure up the cost of getting the job done. Then compare an Ed Brown pistol, which is a very good pistol, and a custom Colt made to your specifications, and decide which you would rather have. In the end, the choice is yours, it's your money being spent.

    If this is to be your first 1911, a less expensive approach to try out the platform and see if you like it might be the best approach. That would mean a Colt Series 80 1991, a Springfield Mil Spec. Both a good, reliable pistols.
     
  10. Eightball

    Eightball Member

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    Here's a thought:
    All I can think that I would want to change from a Series 70 would be to replace the MIM parts (obviously), maybe get some night sights (yes, I know, $$$), maybe an ambi safety, and maybe a trigger job, or whatnot, but I would primarily begin with shooting the heck out of the thing. I'd change stuff "as I go along" and determine I need it, but only to the point where I think it would be a worthwhile change. For that, would it be worth sticking with the Series 70 design?
     
  11. SoCalShooter

    SoCalShooter Member

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    That's for me to know and not you!
    I picked up a colt Pre-series 70 national match and it still shoots out the 10 ring. My sistem colt holds the 8 rings (needs some help). Don't know whwere you friend is getting his info from.
     
  12. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    I would not consider buying a series 70 as a packing pistol, or really as a shooting pistol. It is unfortunate, but the value of older Colt pistols continues to go up and putting wear on one is not justifiable from an economic viewpoint.

    As others have stated, you will have a hard time finding an excellent condition Model 70 Colt at a bargin price. More likely the price you will have to pay, you would be better off with a newly made pistol.

    I just got off the Springfield Armory web page, I cannot tell if their "GI spec" pistol is a series 70 type, or something with a firing pin block, but I suspect you can get one of those for less than a Colt series 70.
     
  13. Eightball

    Eightball Member

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    Just to restate: the Colt WWI Repros are Series 70, newly made, and I could get one for....somewhere between $750 and $900, depending on the day and the guy who helps me out at hte local shop. I would not buy one of the older pistols to just mess with it; I am referring mainly to the newly produced ones, unless I find a steal of a deal on an older model. They're firearms, and I'll use them, I don't like safe queens. But on the flipside, I'm not into the "bubba" business, either. SAs look good on paper, but is not quite what I'm going for here.
     
  14. weisse52

    weisse52 Member

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    Minor point, the WWI are a 1911 copy without a FPS. A series 70 re-issue is just that. Copy of the old 70 series, that was a 1911A1. Slight difference in frame shape, hammer, and trigger.

    You will be happy with the Colt. I have SA's and they are nice pistols. But they do not match the Colt for looks, fit and finish.
     
  15. Eightball

    Eightball Member

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    I could just be inept, but you're saying the WWI isn't a series 70, or that a true series 70 re-issue is acrually a reproduction 1911A1?
     
  16. weisse52

    weisse52 Member

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    The WWI is the orginal 1911 frame style. It does not have a FPS, like the series 70.
    http://www.coltsmfg.com/cmci/1911WWI.asp
    A Series 70 is the 1911A1 syle.
    http://www.coltsmfg.com/cmci/Series70.asp

    If I bought a WW1 I would keep it as a safe queen, I have a re-issue series 70 and shoot it.
    The Colt has 3 MIM parts, none of them stress related. I will replace them someday. Just not needed right away.
     
  17. AJD

    AJD Member

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    Hi Eightball,

    Series 80 and Series 70 are both scecific and general terms. Series 80 pistols were first released in a believe 1983 and were made by Colt. These pistols had a new firing pin safety. At the same time we still call all the Colt 1911's with that firing pin safety "Series 80" 1911's.

    The Series 70 pistols were made from 1970-1983 and had a unique collect bushing. These pistols didn't have any firing pin safety.

    To distinguish between 1911's with the FP safety and those without we refer in general terms calling them "Series 70"(1911's without FPS) and "Series 80"(1911's with FPS).

    So the WWI Repo is a "Series 70" in the sense it doesn't have the FPS.

    I like the new Colt Series 70 and WWI pistols and own one of each. As the base for a custom build the new Colt Series 70 pistols are probably the best choice around. However both pistols are very enjoyable and worth owning on their own merits.
     
  18. Eightball

    Eightball Member

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    Well, by that standard.....would it even be worth considering to "customize" the WWI repro, or just to sink my money into one of the Colt Series 70 repros? I don't think my "local shop" has the Colt Series 70 re-issues, only the WWI, and I don't know the relative price difference :eek:
     
  19. AJD

    AJD Member

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    I wouldn't customize a WWI Repo. To me the appeal of the pistol is that it is set up like a Colt M1911 like they were produced 90 years ago. The WWI is an M1911 and has certain features that are unique to the early 1911's.

    http://forum.m1911.org/showthread.php?t=4354&highlight=M1911+1911a1+differences

    To customize it seems to contradict the purpose of the WWI repo in the first place.

    You can find the Series 70 re-issues for around $820+ NIB online. You can find them in LNIB condition for around $700-$800, sometimes not even fired.

    http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.asp?Item=92631121

    The WWI repo will probably sell for around $925-$975.

    I'd recommend doing some more research on both the Series 70 and WWI repo and seeing which one you would like best. m1911.org or 1911forum.com would probably have alot of info for you to look at.
     
  20. obiwan1

    obiwan1 Member

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    Jeez .... I hate to say how much I paid for mine in 1975, so I won't. I'm getting a similar sticker shock that I had with my 1967 PPK .380 before Interarms/Smith started making them here - OVER 15x my purchase price! :what: The prices being hinted at here are over 6x the purchase price of my Colt. I guess I'll just have to hang onto it! :D
     
  21. Eightball

    Eightball Member

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    Well....on the subject again....

    Chatting with the same friend, about the whole "beavertail safety" bit to stick on these things; is there one that would work well with either model that would allow me to still use the spur hammer? Goofy question, I'm sure....but I like the look of that spur :D

    And I know the WWI is not "ideal" for customization, but if I could get it for ~$200 less than the actual "series 70 repro".....should I get that for my purposes, or just get the series 70?

    Sorry for so many questions about it...I keep learning as I go along.
     
  22. GaryP

    GaryP Member

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    The Colt Series 70 Combat Commanders, unlike the Government models, do not have the collet bushing, at least mine doesn't, and I purchased it NIB in 1975.


    :evil:
     
  23. weisse52

    weisse52 Member

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    I have never seen the WWI model listed for less than a 70 series re-issue. In most cases they run $150 to $250 or more higher. You could if you wanted, but there are alot of 70's floating around.

    King Gun Works makes a drop-in that will work with the orginal spur hammer. IF you need it. Please give it a try before you change anything. I have shot them for a long time and have never been "bitten". This just seems to be one of the things everyone thinks they must change.

    http://www.kingsgunworks.com/newcatalog/page03.html
     
  24. AJD

    AJD Member

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    Hey GaryP, your Commander is as it should be because technically Colt never made a Series 70 Commander model because as you noted they never implemented the collect bushing and that's what made the original Series 70 pistols...well...Series 70 pistols.

    Eightball, I've seen a few beavertail type grip safeties that work with the standard spur hammer. Like this one below.

    http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.asp?Item=92426129

    I'm not sure about the WWI repo as I think the hammer is longer than most other spur hammers.

    I can't say I know of a place that sells beavertails to work with the spur hammer but I've seen other examples besides the one above.
     
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