Colt Forum banner
1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
159 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My father has always wanted an old Colt 1911 from WWI. This gentlemen on GB has a very nice looking one for sale. My father would like to be able to take this gun to the range and shoot it but he also wants this gun to be in excellent shape. Do I need to be concerned with the integrity of these 100 year old guns? Any idea how to value these? i.e what do you think this gun is worth.

Trade Beautiful Early Colt 1911 Us Property 1918 : Semi Auto Pistols at GunBroker.com

I bought a Colt WWI Carbonia Blue for us to use, thought it was a nice compromise. I like my repro but my father has a thing for the originals. I.E, he loves all his old Colt revolvers and Winchester lever guns.

Any thoughts/advice would be appreciated.


I would also be interested to know if anyone has a reputable antique firearm dealer they use to find old Colts and old Rifles.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,459 Posts
I'm no M1911 expert. The expert or more experienced member's comments will have more weight than mine will, but I will try to help as best I can.
The gun does not have original finish. It was re-arsenaled by the govt. at Anniston Arsenal in Alabama. Notice the stamping AA on the left side of the frame between the back of the trigger and the magazine release button. I'd also check to see if the gun has all matching parts. Most times M1911s were re-arsenaled, the parts got switched out between many other guns that were being refurbished.

The wood stocks are not original to the gun. The gun came with what we commonly call double diamond checkered walnut stocks. When rearsenalled, many guns were reissued to the service branches with plastic stocks like M1911A1 guns had.

Because of these aspects I don't know if it's really worth 3K. I kind of doubt it.

Again, we have some very expert members here who will hopefully see your thread and make more comments about this pistol.

Another important aspect is that heat treating of the slides of M1911s, M1911A1s, and Govt. Models of this era wasn't perfected. Heat treating can warp slides and frames and affect reliable functioning. In fact, M1911s and commercial Govt. models from 1911 and through WWI weren't heat treated at all.
Sometime during WWII, Colt and other manufacturers had started to heat treat approximately the front 3rd of the slides. That's why even newly issued M1911A1s from the wartime era show a different shade of parkerizing at the front end than the rest of the gun's finish. After the war, complete firearm heat treating had been perfected to the point where the process did not warp frames or slides.
Guns of this type that weren't heat treated have estimated life spans of about 5,000 rounds (according to the experts, not me). Therefore, you are taking a risk every time you fire an old 1911 pistol. If the slide cracks, you're out a lot of money. Most advise not to shoot these old relics and to buy a post WWII gun, which you can shoot as much as you want without undue fear of breaking a gun that cannot be replaced (in historic context).
For example, your Carbonia blue custom shop reproduction is fully heat treated and can shoot an almost unlimited amount of ammunition. I understand this is not your dad's "cup of tea", though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,464 Posts
It's been refinished - and has the wrong grips - originals having large 'diamonds' surrounding the screw holes.

Originals weren't parkerized - this one has been by Augusta Arsenal, during a Government rebuild.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,459 Posts
It's been refinished - and has the wrong grips - originals having large 'diamonds' surrounding the screw holes.

Originals weren't parkerized - this one has been by Augusta Arsenal, during a Government rebuild.
See, one of our more experienced M1911 members has already contributed. I thought AA was the symbol for Anniston Arsenal refurbishes. He knows it was Augusta Arsenal! :)
The fact remains it was refurbished and no longer has any remnant of the original 1911 finish.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,271 Posts
Apparently you are having to pay for the 230 photos he posted, as the pistol is worth no where near the asking price. There was also a prick punch mark on the receiver indicating a earlier rebuild at Springfield Armory. While nothing is original to the pistol any more, the plastic grips would be correct for a rebuild. The barrel went through rebuild also, indicating that it was still in excellent condition and was reused, but now it appears corroded. Worth somewhere in the $800/1000 range
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
159 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks very much for the education. You can see my dilemma I want to buy a nice older 1911 for my father but I lack the expertise. Does anyone have a gunshop/dealer that is trustworthy that could find me something? Malysh mentioned a post WWII 1911, what type of price point do you think I would be looking at?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,459 Posts
It gets complicated. A commercial Govt. Mod. 45 from the 1947-1969 era in new or excellent condition with no replacement parts could cost roughly $1500-$1600. It would also come with post WWII plastic stocks Colt made in-house, and they were called Coltwood stocks. In 1970, Colt changed the Govt. Model design by redesigning the shape of a few parts such as a different finish, the slide stops, the frame safety, wood stocks instead of plastic, different roll marks and factory stampings and most importantly, the redesigned barrel bushings. These were called the Series 70 model. A new or excellent condition Series 70 could roughly cost about $1200. Either post war commercial example with the original matching box could add about $150-$200 to the asking price. Colt did another redesign in the early 1980s, coming out with the Series 80 pistols, which had a new firing pin block added to hopefully prevent negligent discharging of the weapon if dropped with a round in the chamber. They also dropped the special Series 70 barrel bushing for the traditional type barrel bushing.

The post war Colts are all commercial, not military pistols, which may also be relevent to you and your dad.

Dogface6 and JohnnyP are very well versed about the M1911 and M1911A1 pistols. Much more than I am. I would listen to their advice!
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top