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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'd like to purchase an accurate 5" 1911 that can also serve in a home defense role. Rather than buy a customized gun to get the desired reliability and accuracy, I want to look at stock Gold Cups but don't know a thing about them.

What's a National Match version versus a Trophy version and which is better? Are these guns really better built, more reliable and accurate than other models? Which is preferred-a Series 70 or 80, or a pre-70 series?

Any and all advice will be appreciated! Thanks.

PS I just read a previous post that indicated thet Gold Cups are set up to shoot wad cutters only, especially the thinner pre 70 version, and not defensive loads ala a 230 gr hydra Shok (sights shoot loose). Is this true of all versions of the Gold Cup or is there a series or vintage that can handle defensive loads?
 

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Years ago I went through the same thought. I talked to a friend who owned a gunshop. The kind you don't see much anymore. You could ask questions and never feel stupid. I wanted a accurate, reliable, .45 with adj sights. HE SUGGESTED A GOLD CUP [230 grn fmj]. JUST CHANGE THE RECOIL SPRING WHEN SHOOTING HARDBALL HE SAID. This was back in the 60's when they didn't make many customs. I even coresponded with Mr. Swenson.

I did buy a 70's Series Gold Cup. On the side it said National Match. There was a special made .45 acp by that name but they started calling all the Gold Cup's N. M. The Trophy came allong in the 80's I think, [someone will correct me /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif] It was supposedly throated and better sights and in S/S. The recoil spring was for hardball.

I changed the spring made for wadcutters, to an 18lb and shot it a bunch. The rear sight finally fell off. I read the roll pins on the Elalison [spelling] sight is weak. So I bought a bunch of roll pins and kept shooting. My son has it now, some 30 years latter and he enjoys shooting it. It is a fine pistol, it's a COLT!

I think you would enjoy a Gold Cup too.
 

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Back in the 1960's there was a persistent rumor that the Colt Gold Cup National Match 1911 had a lighter spring in it and the gun was not made to shoot full power ammo.

Famous gun writer Skeeter Skelton noted that Colt listed ONLY ONE recoil spring for all their .45 autos, and a call to Colt confirmed that the Gold Cup used the same spring as the standard Government Model.
What caused confusion, was that some Gold Cups were supplied with two springs, one of which was for light Mid-range target loads.

To put an end to the rumors about suitability with standard loads, Skelton got 10,000 rounds of full power ammo, and he and his friend proceeded to shoot the entire 10,000 rounds through a factory-new Gold Cup with the recoil spring that it came with.

After 10,000 rounds, the rear sight pin had broken and they could detect blue wear on the slide and frame rails.
That's IT.
No cracks, no battering, no detectable wear, AND the gun was MORE accurate than it was right out of the box.
 

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dfariswheel, thanks again for your input.

I do remember that article. I remember going to my box and checking the recoil spring that came with my pistol. It was approximately one inch shorter than my new 18 lb spring. I then counted the coils, thinking it my have "compressed" from when it was originally installed. It definitely had less coils. I wrote the info down to discuss it with friends but lost the notes now. I then ordered a stock recoil spring just to see if the 18 lb was too long. It was longer than the "stock" spring but about 3/8 of an inch shorter than the 18 lb. Confusing to me.

Like I said, I did read the article , I think it was shooting times. I just did not feel good using a shorter spring. But heck, what do I know. /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It seems that a Gold cup will work for both target and defensive purposes.

If I find a 70 series shooter-90-95% Will I adversely impact its value by any of the following: replacing springs, throating the barrel and polishing the feed ramp for hollow point ammo feeding, tuning the extracter and ejector and having the trigger pull adjusted?

Thanks.

Dick
 

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Thought I would answer again, here at home. /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

A Gold Cup does come "throated and polished" standard. The slide is "beveled" cut already. The trigger comes adjustable standard, factory tuned, never had to touch mine. Changing the spring doesn't effect anything. I even used shock buffs sometimes.

Makes me want to go get mine again.

The series 70 had the old style firing pin, and the finger collet, supposedly for better accuracy but a potential for breaking and rendering the pistol out of commission "they said" in the gun rags. I got another collet but never changed it. It never broke in over 30 years of shooting. The slide also has a nice finishing touch of slight serrated rib. I think if you find one, you should buy it. It is a heck of a shooter!!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks very much!

Is there a recommended one to buy? Pre 70 Series, 70 Series, 80 Series?
 

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I think they're all nice but a would go for the 70 series or older. You can always fit a one piece collet, just take your time stoning it.

I don't like the " creep" in the trigger on the 80's. But I do have the "spilt" firing pin, 80 series and I am used to it. It took a while though.
 

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One cannot "assume" just what the 'poundage' of any spring is, may have been a different 'vendor'; the size (gage) of the wire, wraps per inch and the heat treat can effect the springs 'tension weight". Doubt very seriously if it got "shorter" due to wear (collapse/set) I have some springs around here from WW I and they are still "good".

Yes, the first guns made UNDER serial number 10,000-NM were what is referred to as "thin slides". They had material removed from inside of the slide and they were indeed , thinner, lighter and made for 'target/w/c type ammo. Yes, when these guns had been shot with 'ball ammo' (230 gr) they would and could crack at the front end of the slide. Our shop had some of these in back in the very early 70's and from what I recall in talks with Colt then, they were the 'early' vintage made in the mid 60's. Two were in the #6xxx-NM range and I still have one in the #970x-NM range and it too is ths "thin slide". Had shot it for years, was my second .45 'target' gun , only added one of the 'early' Wilson 'Shok Buffs' (fiber washer) and it's been "retired" for years now. Have had others over the years and they were all capable of "ragged hole" groups at clubs 50 ft indoor range and using a B-3 target, with NOTHING ever done to any of them, out of the boxes.
Yes, if one would shoot ball out of them , about the only thing that would happen is the rear sight pin break as noted above and the front sight would jump out of it "swaged pocket" tenon, we would have to 'reswage' a new one in place. /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks.

Did Colt make National Matches that were not Gold Cups? A gun dealer says he has an early 60's National Match-not a Gold Cup-in excellent, original condition for sale for $1300.
 

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Yes they did. I believe it was in the late 30's and 40's.

I don't know if another version was made in the latter years.
 

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Yes, also like this one , they are "National Match" guns, but form the 60's..............


 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Is there a difference between Gold Cups, National Matches and Gold Cup National Matches? If so, what is it?

Which has the highest degree of collector interest?

Thanks
 

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Hi Dant,
GREAT looking 1966 National Match Pistol! Is it a collection gun or do you shoot it too? How is the accuracy if you shoot it?... I have recently gotten interested in the SA Match guns do you have others too? Bob Best
 

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Bob, sorry I couldn't pull the trigger on this one, it was in the "sealed" wrapper when we got it and it went into a very good friends collection, in fact another guy watched the deal going down and had offered me MUCH more and I told him it wasn't about the money. He was a bit "miffed" to say the least...........Will only "keep" the 970x-NM as it's MY favorite and has a 'fitted" .22 conversion unit with it and still shoots WAY better better than I ever could, so it's "just here". /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif
 

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Hi Dant,

I don't blame you... I would be hard pushed to shoot that one too... and I agree... Friendship is definitely better than a "few bucks' any day! A GREAT GUN! Bob
 

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The National Match pistol was first cataloged in 1933. These early pistols received extra attention in manufacture and assembly, and are valuable collectors items today. They did not survive World War II.

In 1957, the new Gold Cup National Match was introduced with all the features as shown on dant's gun in the "Trophy Box" on another thread concerning the Mid-Range National Match box styles. (dant's beautiful gun pictured in this thread is not a Colt factory gun.) It continued in that form until the Gold Cup Mark IV/Series 70 National Match was introduced in 1970 with the collett bushing.

With the advent of the firing pin safety Series 80 pistols introduced in about 1983, the name was changed to Gold Cup Series 80 National Match. My catalog collection is not at hand as I write, so I cannot determine when the later name changes came along, but I think it was in the mid-1990s when the Gold Cup Trophy name came along. I believe the trigger and sight styles were changed at that time, but, without checking the catalogs, I cannot recall for sure. I also recall some special models from time to time, but nothing spedific in regard to features or names. Someone here may know.

Basically, I think it is common practice to refer to Colt factory Post-WWII target pistols based on the Government Model as "Gold Cups," but that would not be accurate for later pistols with the "Trophy" or other nomenclature.

As far as which to buy, your budget will dictate that. Generally, the older the gun, the more expensive. Pre-WWII National Match pistols can sell for several thousand dollars. If I recall correctly, just a box for one sold for over $1,000 on eBay recently. If the poster is looking for a shooter, then I doubt that a Pre-WWII collector's item would be of interest. Of course, all Gold Cups are now collectors items to one degree or another, so that will affect the price of any pistol bought, whether to shoot or collect.

If the gun dealer mentioned as having a 1960s National Match, not a Gold Cup, is not mistaken in the proper nomenclature, then it probably is a non-factory gun like dant's pictured above. It would be well worth the money asked in either form. If it is a 1960s Colt factory target gun, then it has to be a Gold Cup.

I hope this helps rather than confuses.
 
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