Colt Forum banner

Grandpa passed, looking for some advice about this Essex Arms SS 1911 .45

611 Views 13 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  kenhwind
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
See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 3
1 - 1 of 14 Posts
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!
See less See more
  • Like
  • Helpful
Reactions: 5
1 - 1 of 14 Posts