Colt O1911C Classic: First Impressions
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    dsk
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    Colt O1911C Classic: First Impressions

    I just picked up my new O1911C Colt Government Model Classic today, and here I will share my initial impressions of it. A range trip will follow in the coming days. The pictures you see here are of the pistol fresh out of the oily bag prior to me giving it the usual teardown and complete cleaning and oiling. I apologize if the color/contrast isn't the greatest, but it's due to the evening light. Before I get into the details, let me sum this pistol up: it's basically a hybrid of the Series 80 O1991 and Series 70 O1970A1CS models, sharing features of both pistols. Most of the external features are like the O1991, while internally it lacks the firing pin safety and as thus is a Series 70 model.





    First off, my example appears to be very well-made. There are no obvious cosmetic anomalies to be found, and no deep tooling marks anywhere which is good. The bluing is even, but very black in color (despite the bluish tint of these photos) and the flats have a very dull, low-glare finish. The rounds are of course sandblasted matte. The checkered wood grips actually look pretty decent to my eyes, and I will probably keep them on the pistol for the time being. I did replace the mainspring housing with an arched steel Colt unit after I took these pictures, but here you're looking at it as it came straight out of the box.








    Going from top to bottom, here are the features I noticed:


    1. Sights are standard high-profile but plain black, like on the Series 70 O1970A1CS.


    2. The barrel is a stainless unit marked "COLT .45 AUTO NM" on top, meaning it's one of their National Match barrels. I *think* the only difference between a standard and NM Colt barrel is that the ones with the best accuracy when fired in fixtures during proof testing get selected as NM barrels. If anyone knows for sure or knows otherwise please comment.


    3. The barrel hood extension is indeed the narrow Gold-Cup style, with a matching ejection port opening. The latter is lowered in the same style as a Series 80 O1991.


    4. The slide and frame markings are all laser-engraved. The big news here of course is the LH slide marking, which closely matches that found on Colt Government Models made during the 1950s and 1960s. By engraving them Colt avoided the problem of unsightly "cratering" around the markings. However the laser-engraved markings are still very sharp and catch lint/grit easily, as the picture below shows:





    The rest of the markings are typical of current-production O1991 and Series 70 pistols.


    5. The hammer is fully blued in the same style as a O1991. The trigger is a short serrated unit, but interestingly has a black-anodized alloy trigger pad. This is the first time I've seen this trigger used on a new Colt pistol. The way mine is fitted there is a small amount of play, but nothing like the sloppiness common to the steel trigger used on the Series 70 models. The trigger pull on my example is very good. I don't have a scale but I'd estimate it to be at or below 5 pounds with only a hint of grittiness.


    6. The thumb safety is pretty well-fitted, but a bit gritty. Fortunately it isn't full of mush and over-travel like a lot of thumb safeties are on many recent-production guns.


    Continued...

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    dsk
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    7. The slide stop cutout is completely milled away like on all Series 80 models, making this a hybrid O1991 frame but minus the firing pin safety. Interestingly the slide also has the disassembly notch in the same position as a Series 80 O1991, making the slide a hybrid as well. The magazine well is not beveled, and oddly the lower grip screw bushings are staked in place while the two top ones are not. The mainspring housing is a typical flat, serrated nylon or Delrin unit as seen on many other Colt models. While functional, my preference is for steel housings and I definitely don't care for the short trigger/flat housing combination so I quickly swapped the housing out for an arched steel housing as I already mentioned.





    Internally there were no surprises. There is a slight finish anomaly inside the dust cover (shown below) but it's a non-issue to me. The internals are clean and well-machined, although in typical Colt fashion there are sharp edges everywhere.








    If there is an odd duck in all of this it's the magazine. It's a Checkmate 7-rounder as indicated by the spring and witness holes, except it has an 8-round follower in it! As a result I can almost get 8 rounds into it, but not quite. I have absolutely no idea why Checkmate would make a 7-round magazine if they're going to use the 8-round follower in it! Now I will have to hunt around and see if I have an 8-round magazine spring that will work in it.





    The pistol ships with just the one magazine, and the blue plastic box and cable lock is something you've all seen so I didn't waste time taking pictures. The manual is the same as for a Series 70 O1970A1CS.


    Overall I am very pleased with it, although once again I'm still a bit disappointed Colt didn't go all the way and make a true pre-Series 70 reproduction since with this pistol they were nearly there. However it looks like it'd make a great base gun for a custom build, although I am leaving mine mostly bone-stock. Soon I'll hit the range with it and see if the NM barrel makes it shoot any better than my other Colts with their standard barrels.

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    Interesting; nice write-up. I like the plain-black tall fixed sights. I'm also glad Colt built this on a series 70 frame. The checkered, no-medallion stocks look great, too. I'd want a steel long trigger and a steel arched MSH, but I can fix that myself.
    Bob
    Last edited by OIF2; 05-23-2019 at 08:54 PM.
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    These seem to be a nice option from Colt. I've always preferred this style rollmarks.

    The only difference between the 7 and 8 round Check-Mate magazine seems to be the spring, and the 8 round are marked 8 round on the base.
    I bought two magazines from Midway and they were 7 rounds, but as you posted they had the CNI follower
    Ken
    "I like Colts and will die that way"

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    Nice write up. For comparison below is a 1991 in 38 Super made in 2013. Not visible are the white dots on the sights and the right side of the slide is blank. It also has the non metallic MSH.

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    Nice review. So far I like what I see. I'm anxious to see one in the flesh. I may be the only one who likes the flat MSH and the short trigger. Different strokes........ I'm thinking I will buy one if I can find one locally and visually inspect it . My cardinal rule is don't buy any Colt unless I can hold it in my hands and do a preliminary inspection prior to purchase. Thanks for posting your review and comments. Looking forward to your upcoming range report.
    Last edited by texagun; 05-24-2019 at 07:03 AM.
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    I like the roll marks and short trigger. Series 70 or 80 doesn’t bother me,I can make a Series 80 trigger as crisp as a 70
    blindfolded you can’t tell the difference. The 80 does take longer to work on. My wonder is the bluing. I had a new
    Gold Cup Blued that the finish started fading ie. ( looking worn)after very little use,very disappointing. YMMV.
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    Guys, I just figured out how to fix the white balance in the photos and re-uploaded them which are now much closer to true color. I apologize for the assault on your eyes! You'll have to clear out your browser cache to reload them however.

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    Thank you for the review! I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who prefers short triggers and arched mainspring housings.

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    I'm not a fan of the short or the long trigger opting for a medium length. While I do like the flat MSH, I do have two pistols with the arched MSH, neither of which is plastic.

    I am also not a fan of the shortened grip panels, as the original design the left grip held the plunger tube in place in the event is loosed up, no problem there either Herrett's grips are available and not expensive.
    Last edited by kenhwind; 05-24-2019 at 09:07 PM.
    Ken
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