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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I was fortunate to have a day off work and school so I was able to hit a local gun show. There were no deals to be had until I passed by the absolute last table on my way out the door. Sitting at the back of the table was a nice S&W 29-2 whose box lid was sitting open, on top of a 1911. All I could see was the bottom corner of the grip, but I could tell it was the Colt wood plastic, which spiked my interest.I lifted the lid and saw the polished Colt blue of the slide and frame. I didn't know the age right off but I knew it was a pre-series 70, post war commercial model. When I got home I did a little studying and it looks like it was made in 1950.As you look at the pictures, do you guys see anything that looks non-original? I wish I knew as much about Colt autos as I do their wheel guns.Thanks guys! ….................P.s. Anyone know a rough value on this pistol?
 

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I've collected every colt from 1946 to 1970 new in the box...From the pictures you have presented here, it look all original...In the sun the slide probably has a purple tint from hardning..Nice Colt $1200 all day...
 

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That really isn't Colt "Royal Blue", but just the standard polish and blue used on the Government Model of that time period. None of the Colt blueing can match the early Colt charcoal blue, and the secret was in the mirror like polish that the old time polishers applied to even the first generation Model 1911 pistols. Colt discontinued this type of blueing around 1912.

Your GM also has the shrinking grips of that period. Some had so much shrinkage that they split out the side of the screw holes. Caution should be used in removing them, as they may not want to go back on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That really isn't Colt "Royal Blue", but just the standard polish and blue used on the Government Model of that time period. None of the Colt blueing can match the early Colt charcoal blue, and the secret was in the mirror like polish that the old time polishers applied to even the first generation Model 1911 pistols. Colt discontinued this type of blueing around 1912.Your GM also has the shrinking grips of that period. Some had so much shrinkage that they split out the side of the screw holes. Caution should be used in removing them, as they may not want to go back on.
is the Royal blue the same as the Carbona blue I've heard of or the fire bluing on the screw heads of my pre-1900 SAAs
 

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is the Royal blue the same as the Carbona blue I've heard of or the fire bluing on the screw heads of my pre-1900 SAAs
The Colt blueing has been the same since 1946 when they went to the hot salt tank blue. I have heard the "Colt Royal Blue" originated with the Python, but the metal is just brought to a higher polish before blueing.

Carbonia blue is a heat blue. The fire blueing on the screw heads you mention was also a heat blue done in cast iron pots filled with charcoal and bone in a coal fired furnace. The higher the final polish, the more intense the blue color. The parts were examined frequently until the desired blue color was achieved.

This is a hammer on a Model 1909 Revolver. Can you imagine a Colt workman of today even being able to polish a hammer like this?

 

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The finish on post war Govt. Models is not called Royal Blue by the company. It is called National Match blue. Royal Blue has an even finer surface polish. This information was provided by BJT72, Brent T., the manager of the Colt Custom Shop, in a post on the 1911 Forum some time ago. I saved the post for my "research".
I was pleased to find this fact out because even though not Royal Blue, I think the post war Govt. Models up through the Series 70 have a terrific finish. That's one reason I bought a Series 70. I couldn't afford a nice pre Series 70 gun at the time I was buying.

Despite the finish name and level of surface polishing, congratulations to you! This is a fine pistol I would love to own.
 

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Plastics were in their infancy at the time - though great strides had been made during WWII.

Shrinkage over time - sometimes due to heat - has been offered up as an excuse, and it's believable.

You'll see this on knife scales, and radio shells and other plastic items, if you really look - they'll be warped.

The early Ruger Standard Automatics' grips did the same thing - often looking a bit like bacon screwed to a blued plank.

Wondering about that, one time - and having a spare set of new grips (a key factor) - we set the grip panels on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven and watched until they 'relaxed' and immediately pulled them out to cool.

They fit perfectly!

Soooo...

I we tried that with a set of '50's - '60's Colt commercials that had ovalled - getting them malleable - and then putting them back onto the frame quickly, before they had a chance to change their mind.

That worked, too.

Obviously, your mileage may vary, and timing the whole affair is a key factor, as well - but then, so is having ready spares, so you can experiment.

Pretty weapon, by the way - my own carry piece is one of the last of the true Government Models made before the advent of the 'Series 70' collet bushing, and like the song said - 'it's been everywhere...'
 

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A bit of mis-information in the change of the blueing process. In 1918 Colt changed from the charcoal furnace to gas fired ovens. Blueing in the gas fired ovens stopped with the end of production during WWII. When Colt began production in 1946 it switched to hot caustic blue. From then on, it was a difference in the polish. Colt's "A Century of Achievement" gives a good description of the blueing process during the 1936 time period when they were still using the gas fired ovens.

At the time the OP's GM was made, there was no National Match being made. It just has the standard blue of that time period.

As to the shrinkage of the Colt grips, Colt began using plastic grips on the 1911A1 in 1940, used them through 1945, and used left over military contract plastic grips when they resumed production of the GM in 1946. None of those grips had a problem with shrinkage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The price on this 1911 was such that I couldn't pass it by. I went to the show looking for a shooter grade Python though. I have a friend with an early 70s blued 4" Python. Does this 1911 seem like a good trade for a shooter grade python?
 
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