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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Gentlemen: What can you tell me about the early post WWII Colt 38 Supers that were rebuilt into Bulleye match pistols. The pistol that I observed had the typical throwback match conversion which mainly consisted of a "Triangle" sight (similar to the Bo Mar), grip stippling on the front strap, and a crisp trigger job. All the work was professionally done and it was owned by a serious competitive shooter. Any information or insights into the civilian M1911 match pistol history, accuracy, and potential value of these old target shooters in 38 Super would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Gentlemen: What can you tell me about the early post WWII Colt 38 Supers that were rebuilt into Bulleye match pistols. The pistol that I observed had the typical throwback match conversion which mainly consisted of a "Triangle" sight (similar to the Bo Mar), grip stippling on the front strap, and a crisp trigger job. All the work was professionally done and it was owned by a serious competitive shooter. Any information or insights into the civilian M1911 match pistol history, accuracy, and potential value of these old target shooters in 38 Super would be greatly appreciated.
Rawhide,

Pictures would help.? Is it similar to this: http://www.coltforum.com/forums/colt-semiauto-pistols/139153-38-amu-r-l-shockey.html

Best Regards,
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Unfortunately, I do not own the pistol and do not have pictures to post. Perhaps the pistol that I observed was a 38 Special conversion. The slide was marked Colt 38 Super and the frame serial corresponded to a 1948 model. The current owner did not seem to be knowledgeable about the history of the pistol. All he could tell me was that it belonged to a WWII vet who was a serious match shooter. I was intrigued because the Bullseye rebuilds that I have seen were made up of US Property M1911s parts. This commercial 38 Super seemed to be a less likely candidate for a match shooter.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Does anyone own a M1911 that was converted into a Bullseye match pistol? If so, what was done to it? Let's see them!
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
It seems that Clark led the charge for 38 Super conversions. Were there others during this period that made similar Bullseye pistols?
 

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Thanks BEEMER1. Looks great! What did Clark do to it?
It not only looks good it shoots good also. I bought the pistol from a friend who bought it new in 1968 and I have never seen a build sheet and I am not a Gunsmith by any means.

-new barrel
-new sights
-reworks slide for a 38 special case head
-change extractor
-the trigger is about 2 1/2# so I do not know what all is done there
-new magazines
-change springs

This probably is just a start, others will know a lot more than I.

Jim Clark Sr. was the best Bullseye shooter of his time. He was the first competitor to break 2600 at Perry. He went on to be the top name in the Bullseye Gunsmithing trade although there were other well know Smiths also.
 

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The Smith & Wesson Model 52 was introduced in 1961

A lot of the conversions were done before that date.

Even Colt was making the national match 38 special mid-range before that.
But many have said that the model 52 was better than Colts factory mid-range guns.

My 1963 National Match Mid Range .38 Special Wad Cutter Bulls eye 1911

 
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I own several factory mid ranges and none of them can come close to a Clark conversion or a Model 52 Smith.

The model 52's are great guns in my opinion and probably was my favorite before I acquired the Clark. The biggest problem with the 52 was the different grip from the 1911's used in the 45 section of a Bullseye match. The switch from one grip to another can cause some bad shots. JMO
 

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John Giles, of Odessa, Florida, active years appx. 1946 to 1990, performed .38 Super to .38 mid-range conversions. As far as my research proves, he had done such with Colt 1911s as far back as 1949, which is what one of my .38 Super to .38 Mid-range Coversion, serial number comes back to. He accurized Colt 1911s in .45 ACP on Government models as well as Colt Gunsmith Kits, .38 Mid-range ( on Colt gunsmith kits as well as Stock pre-70 .38 Super / .38 mid-range conversions) and I have even seen a few in .38 AMU. In earlier days he also accurized the Sturm-Ruger Mark I which later on he switched to High Standard Military Models (105s to 107s) Even his the older of his conversions, fast forward to modern days, are tack-drivers.

In earlier days on the .38 Super to .38 Mid-range conversions he altered the .38 Super magazines, later preferring the .38 Mid-Range Colt magazines. Much to my surprise, even my 1949 Giles .38 Super to .38 Mid-range 1911, accepts the newer Colt Mid-range magazines to function perfectly except, some will not remain open on an empty magazines. Having tried as variety of .39 Mid-Range 1911 magazines, I found that certain after-marked 1911 Mid-range magazines will allow the slide to remain open on an empty magazine.

I became highly impressed with Giles Customs in approximately 1990 when the older bullseye shooters I met, here in Florida, would speak of Giles customs with the highest regard.

It is most important, however, to identify what spring and purpose a .45 should have, to properly load the ammunition as Giles recommended. Full loads on a bullseye 1911 was usually .3.6 to 3.8 bullseye with a 200 grain cast, semi-wadcutter bullet while others he customized were for more of a Military competition requiring full load US Army standard issue ammunition.

Using high powered ammo on a lighter spring tension-ed bullseye 1911 causes the slide to take an unnecessary beating, sometimes causing his custom, narrowed hammer spur to break off. Even as such (with the hammer spur broken off) it will continue to function and fire as accurately as when originally crafted.

It was apparent that during his later years, some of his older guns had reached a more public venue of generic sellers who, as I believe, did not know WHAT they had (especially in the pre-internet days). It seems many of the older, well used, Giles customs had been fed factory pack .45ACP instead of the designated ammo per his original test target ,upon which was had written by Giles himself, the recommended load at a specific distance, most pulling groups of under 1 inch at 200 yards from a machine rest.

It is apparent that of the first Giles 1911s I found at local shows, had fallen into the hands of a dealer or owner that did not come accompanied with the Giles paperwork and test targets. The first Giles I purchased had the hammer spur broken off. I was eventually able to find another, exact Giles hammer from an old-timer who kept a few spares. On another, with the same issue, I ventured to try a modern, skeletonized hammer to very beneficial results. Although I prefer to keep a Giles in its original Giles configuration, after John Giles passed (somewhere around or near 2000), no on else "lightened" the original Colt hammer with the same configuration as John Giles did.

I had originally been introduced to Giles Custom pistols by older shooters who stated that John Giles was either "the" first of "of the first" unique gunsmiths that devoted his talents to accurizing the 1911 a far back as the 1940s when stationed in the Panama Canal zone before and during WWII. I later verified, by research and data supplied me by John Giles, Jr. that the information is accurate.

He desinged and manufactured his trade-mark sights, in house. He held several patents, some including non-firearm items, however, one of his MOST famous trademark components is the full length sight rib which he did not patent. It is said the Bomar sight rib was copied from the John Giles, original, design.
 

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​Jim Clark Sr, Shreveport, LA .38 Special Mid-range Wadcutter, long-slide made in 1968 - 2 Colt .38 Special (unobtanium) magazines!



attributed to Alton Dinan, another great gun smith. A .38 Special Midrange Wadcutter built on a .38 Super Frame. Modified .38 Super Magazine.



​Jesse Harpe .45 acp Bullseye gun. Harpe was a locksmith in the Tampa, FL area from the 1930s to 1950s. Note how thick the barrel bushing is.


Smith & Wesson Model 52-1, .38 Special Midrange Wadcutter. Factory Stock Pistol; the Model 52 (no dash) is claimed to be better.


1936 Officer's Model Heavy Barrel .38 Special
 

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I had two tables at a gun show in Michigan years ago - sold a few guns so I was in the market for a "new" Colt 1911. Saw some really nice guns; settled on a mint like Combat Elite for $750 (hey is was about 11 years ago!). On one dealer's table was a Colt, marked "Kit Gun" - at the time I didn't have clue one what that meant. When I asked the seller what a "Kit Gun" was; his reply was "Give me $1,500 and I will tell you all that you need to know." I replied something like "if you tell me about the gun I might just give you $1,500 for it" but he wasn't talking. Great salesmanship - with the reply he gave me to my question - he probably still has the gun!
 

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Colt .38 Special Kit

Here's a Colt .38 Special Kit, built in August 1966 by Jim Clark
The first 2 pic's are what a "Kit" pistol looks like from the factory. These were available in .38 Special and .45 ACP. Colt ended the practice of shipping unfinished "Kit" pistols in 1970 for perceived liability issues according to Jim Clark.

nmkf.jpg qxkj.jpg IMG_0692.jpg IMG_0696.jpg
 
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