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Hey, first post here. Unfortunately my grandpa recently passed - he had many great firearms, though here is probably the worst one out of the collection.

Thanks to Revolverguy38's posts about this a few years ago, I was able to get a bit of info on Essex arms. This particular example was very early in the production run, as you can see by the serial.

Unfortunately, this thing shoots TERRIBLE. I pride myself on my shooting ability, but with this, you are hard pressed to even get it on a paper target from just 10 FEET away. It usually shoots super low and to the left, but not consistently (can rule out the sights being an issue?).

The slide has no markings on it, I believe it was original, just a cast "SS" which I can only assume refers to the stainless steel model. Further, the barrel has no markings at all.

I'm wondering where to start with this. I don't think the sights are an issue (Though I could be convinced otherwise). From what I've read, these slides and barrels were poor quality to begin with, so I'm wondering if next steps ought to be a barrel upgrade, or more.

Any input or advice would be appreciated - thanks!

Below are some photos. Tried to get some some quality pics so I apologize if you're browsing on mobile. Hopefully you enjoy the last photo, of a much better 1911 out of his collection
Air gun Trigger Gun barrel Gun accessory Wood
Air gun Gun barrel Trigger Gun accessory Everyday carry
Sleeve Finger Collar Electric blue Fashion accessory
Sleeve Electric blue Denim Collar T-shirt
Hand tool Tool Electric blue Wood Metal
Finger Toy Automotive lighting Watercraft Vehicle
Finger Nail Gadget Office supplies Electric blue
Air gun Trigger Gun barrel Gun accessory Electric blue
Hand Finger Bumper Gadget Eyewear
 

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Your Essex came to be when investment casting suddenly was a go-to for gun parts.

All manner of anomalies occurred then - some fixable if one started substituting parts - reshaping frame rails by building up with weld - different slides - and so on and so forth.

I 'knew a guy' and got a number of un-finished Essex and Crown City frames at cost or below that were built into accurate, serviceable pistols fully the equal of any WWII-era GI piece, but there was a lot of individual fitting to each.

I had the time 'and' GI parts and viewed it as therapy, so I took care and did the work - when I found the right combination, I bead-blasted it all, blued it and they went on their merry way - looking good and working as they were intended, handling both hardball and JHPs with ease.

These frames all seemed to need 'something', but if one knew what he was doing, they worked.

Unfortunately, 'back in the day' you could buy a GI .45 for around $100, so those often were chosen, simply because they were already assembled and available - the idea of getting your own .45 'on the cheap' didn't work out unless you had a bunch of parts.

Accuracy-wise, you 'should' be able to hit a milk jug at 50 yards with standard ammunition - they kinda shoot 'minute of torso' - so back up your targets and use a sandbag to see exactly where your rounds strike consistently on the target paper (not necessarily on the actual target) - maybe we can go on from there.

Good Luck!
 

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Ok.... so, it's inaccurate but at least it groups poorly.:)

In cases such as this, for me, it's best to start eliminating externals first. I'd do this by shooting only factory ammunition. Have shooters in whom you have confidence also fire it and have closely comparable pistols shot by the same folk on the same day as a sort of 'test-group'.

Call it a poor-man's socially gratifying Ransom Rest.;)
Try first for consistency of grouping and if that can be achieved - address 'accuracy' with all the known physics of the situation.

If NO ONE can group ANY ammunition consistently - It's a whole 'nother can of worms as to how you want to approach it and then, the actual value of the pistol as it sits becomes the single most important factor.
 

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It looks to me like the front sight is too high for the MMC rear sight.
The early Essex frames as posted had something to be desired but iirc they were about $40 when a new Colt was about $125-$150, and there were plenty of original GI parts available from Gun Parts, Sarco, and several other venders I can think of that are long out of business.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the feedback guys, I appreciate it. I do think next steps would be to get a better understanding of just how it's shooting, with some concrete data at different distances. I can safely rule out ammo for now, though I will have a friend (also experienced) shoot the gun as well when testing it soon here.
 

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The later Essex frames were pretty good.
The earlier investment cast parts were poor.

The early frames were made with investment casting simply because it was cheaper then standard cast or forged.
The problem was the casting process was not well done and it was common to see porous castings with voids, pin holes, and "slumped" areas where the mold didn't fill out properly.
This was usually most noticeable around the inside of the trigger guard area.
Other problems with frames and slides was uneven rails with one rail higher or lower then the other and in a great many cases frame pin holes that were misaligned or miss-placed, often holes off set from the hole on the other side of the frame.

Decent shooters could be built, but it took some work and a knowledgeable builder who could figure it out.
 

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Welcome to the Forum from (northern) South Texas!
Sky Cloud Window Door Facade

Coldolences on the loss of your Granddad.
Shooting decent factory ammo off a solid rest is a good place to start. That front sight looks pretty tall to me as well.
I don't know how many rounds have been through it but the barrel locking lugs look like there is some uneven wear.
All of the problems are fixable, it just depends on how much money you want to spend.
 

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Try the steps that others have posted above to eliminate the ammo or shooting technique as possible sources of the accuracy issue.
But what I suspect is that someone "assembled" the gun from parts. That is different from assembling and fitting the parts. All of the parts may have gone together without really obvious signs of binding or not firing, jamming, etc. when shooting it. But there may be some fairly serious dimensional issues, especially regarding the bushing to slide fit, the barrel to bushing fit, and the fit of the lower and upper barrel lugs to the frame, slide stop pin and slide.
 

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Sorry for your loss. If it doesn’t hold real sentimental value, send it down the road.
There you go. Pick your 'battles'.
I was named custodian and distributor of my Ol' Man's guns - which is to say at least 3 generations of family guns. I carefully noted what mattered to me most and then made sure my Brothers got what they wanted within my reasoning of the care that they would attend to in ownership.

The three that I kept are dearly cherished and used regularly, still.

I don't think that ANY of my Brothers still have the guns that they whined about so loudly at the time.
 

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This Essex is nothing more than a parts gun, but if the frame and slide are a decent fit a nice shooter could be made out of it.
Is it worth it? Who knows.
The parts including the barrel seem to be of the low end.
 
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