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Should I Buy Colt Series 70

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by LouisianaGunslinger, Jan 22, 2012.

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  1. LouisianaGunslinger

    LouisianaGunslinger Member

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    A guy is offering to sell me his Colt Series 70 1911 for $1,100. It is in good condition, the only finish wear I can see is on the top and bottom back corners of the trigger, which is normal for a 1911 that's been shot even a few times. He is the original owner, and he bought in in 1976.

    I know the 70 Series is considered to be one of the more desirable 1911's, and I like it a lot. But what kind of quality were the Colt 1911's back in 1976? I know for a while there Colt had basically no quality control. What kind of reliability could I expect out of this? I know they don't like HP's out of the box, but I can fix that. I remember reading that back before the 90's, people who bought 1911's basically began a new project and brought the gun to a gunsmith, as an out of box Series 70 usually wasn't reliable enough to stake one's life on. Is this true?

    Should I buy this? I'd be buying it with the intent to shoot and maybe carry, so reliability is of paramount importance.
     
  2. wow6599

    wow6599 Member

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    Not sure about QC at Colt in '76 (year I was born!), but $1100 seems a little to high for me. Just my opinion, but I think $850 +/- seems more in line. YMMV
     
  3. 918v

    918v Member

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    You are paying a premium for a collector gun with pretty lousy sights, trigger, etc. I'd put the money toward a used semi-custom Springer.
     
  4. marcclarke

    marcclarke Member

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    I have a Model 70 Colt 1911 so maybe I can help. The manufacturing quality is very high. The trigger on the Model 70 can be tuned to the proverbial glass-smooth break. Functioning and reliability are both superb. The Model 70 was the apex of Colt's manufacturing quality.

    Then came the Model 80 with its firing pin block and trigger mechanism that could not be tuned to give as good a break as the older Model 70 (which did not have a firing pin block).

    Parts are readily available for the Model 70 and every pistol-smith with gray hair knows how to make them sing.


    The asking price seems extremely high to me.
     
  5. skipsan

    skipsan Member

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    $1100 would be OK for a pristine example--no wear showing--with good condition box and paperwork. $8-$900 for a 95% example without box.
     
  6. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    I saw a LNIB Series 70 Government at a gun show last weekend.
    They wanted $1,800 for it, and wouldn't take a penny less.

    It was gone before I left the show.

    rc
     
  7. Archie

    Archie Member

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    Series 70s are good guns

    I've got a Series 70 I bought in - 1975 - I think. I think it's great.

    Some of the pistols from that time had problems feeding anything but hardball. Most would work with most bullet types, but would object to certain types. Having it 'ramped and throated' was a pretty easy fix. Some pistols had problems with the collet type barrel bushing - fixed by replacing with a solid type bushing and some fitting.

    $1100 seems a bit stiff. I'd offer less and dicker with him. All in all, that's a good pistol in general.

    I'd like to get a pre-Series 70 pistol, but those are all collector price guns now. I wish I could have purchased ten or twenty in 1963 when they were new and just $82.50 retail.
     
  8. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    1976 Year of Change

    If the Serial number starts with 70NXXXXX & its a Gold Cup its worth every penny. Very accurate right out of the box. Quality went down hill after the N70 was moved to the back of the serial number. Like this xxxxxN70
     
  9. Wildbillz

    Wildbillz Member

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    I have a Goverment Mod series 70 that I bought in 1977. Quality is good as far as I can tell on it.

    I would never pay that much for a stock used Series 70. I recently got a case of the got to have its and bought a 1970 mfg Combat Commander. It looks to be in verygood condtion, no box or paperwork. I paid just under $800 for it.

    WB
     
  10. Pilot

    Pilot Member

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    You can buy a new Colt S70 Repro for less, and probably get a better pistol that is also brand new.
     
  11. sarge83

    sarge83 Member

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    $800 is what 70 series are going for in my neck of the woods. I have a 70 series LWC .45. It's my favorite 1911.
     
  12. Auto426

    Auto426 Member

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    Colt's troubles didn't start until 1985, when their UAW union workers went on strike. They declared bankruptcy in 1992.

    As far as the whole "you bought a Colt and sent it straight to a smith" thing. That's largely BS. If you wanted a Bullseye or competition gun you would, but other than that those old box stock Colt's would feed and shoot ball ammo just fine. A company doesn't survive by selling products that don't work. The Series 70's were generally pretty accurate as well, due to the collet bushing that Colt later dropped.

    $1100 is a little high unless it has the original box and paper work. I'd say $800 to $900 for a good condition model missing the box and papers.
     
  13. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd Member

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    Without more particulars - I'd say $1,100 is a reasonable starting point for some aggressive and non insulting haggling. Not knowing anything but exactly what you've already stated, I'd be shooting for the 8 range number as stated above.

    I think everyone should have at least one series 70 to shoot.
     
  14. PabloJ

    PabloJ Member

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    No.
     
  15. skt239

    skt239 Member

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    Ideally they wouldn't but Kimber and Taurus seem to be doing just fine.
     
  16. wojownik

    wojownik Member

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    Good gun but at too high of an asking price. He should consider coming down a few hundred, depending on true condition, and whether the box and papers are there.
     
  17. dprice3844444

    dprice3844444 member

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    se fla i love claymores 01/sot
    get a colt rail gun,
     
  18. cyclopsshooter

    cyclopsshooter Member

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    The only problems I have faced with 70 series Colts are feed ramps "polished" with a grinding wheel. Is the one you speak of a Government model or a Gold Cup?

    And +1 on the Rail Gun or any other Colt XSE- Colt is putting out some very good stuff right now.

    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=620192
     
  19. LouisianaGunslinger

    LouisianaGunslinger Member

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    1100 doesn't seem much overpriced for me. For one, it's a private deal. No tax. The only other gun I was considering was ordering Colt 1991 series which would be about 850, and plus tax and shipping would be about 965. So the extra $135 isn't too big a deal to me. It's not really price that's the issue, it's reliability of the Colt 1991 vs this series 70
     
  20. brnmuenchow

    brnmuenchow Member

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    Quite a few Colt collectors I have talked to in past years that have owned them during this "Quality Control" period seem to be in the '80's that they say are the less desirable period's. I however can't speak from experience, I do not own one made in the '80's most of mine are before 1978 or even in the last few years, and all are high quality gun's.
     
  21. claiborne

    claiborne Member

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    I think I would use the $1100 to buy a new production series 70, blue or stainless. I have a new production blue series 70, great pistol.
     
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