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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Of course we have very early m1911s and Gov't Models, and, all of those which have come since.

There have been some differences in Metallurgy, Heat Treatments of Slides, and, whatever else.

One sometimes hears of or reads of high Round Counts with never an issue, and or with no appreciable wear to the Pistol.

I am just curious what some of our experiences and judgments are on this.


In my own experience, I had put about 10,000 Rounds of Mid Range Target Loads ( which I loaded using Lead Semi-Wadcutters ) on my 1914 Gov't Model, in the 1980s when I was in some Shooting Leagues.

I saw no wear whatever from this, and, yes, I did keep it clean and well Greased and well Oiled.

Others I have heard of have put 60,000 or 70,000 Rounds through their Colt .45 Automatic, but I have not heard any detailed evaluations of whether this had done some noticeable wear or not.

99 percent of the time, I stay with 'Lead' Bullets for anything I can or can self Load for...and or I avoid Hardball or Jacketed for Plinking or Target.

Others of course, may stay with Hardball or use some of each.


So...what is your-all's experiences or judgments on this?

Assuming one keeps one's Pistol clean and well Lubed - how many Rounds can a Colt .45 Automatic fire, before one will start to notice it has begun to wear?
 

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Can't spot any wear other than on the finish on my first Colt. Keep in mind it was Uncle Sams property from 1913 until sold through the NRA after service in two world wars.

No idea what the previous owners shot in it but I've been putting mid range jacket and copper washed rounds through it for the last 30 years. No Idea of a round count. It goes to the range every four to six weeks.
 

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Back in the 70's I bought a new GCNM for indoor bullseye shooting. I'd been shooting my HS Tournament, and wanted to get into center fire. So I asked around, and was told the best out of the box was the Colt. So I ponyed up the cash, and never looked back. I was going though some personal problems, so I pretty much lived at the range. Three active indoor leagues, and every competition within the tri-state area, kept me on the straight and narrow, and produced a whopping round count. Probably around 5 to 6000 a month. Had a friend who reloaded for me, and kept the 200 grain semi wads at about 560-600 fps through the chrono. I shudder to think what the round cost would be today. So through its life, my GC has probably seen the better part 300,000 rounds, and the only maintenance it's ever recieved was a once a year cleaning and a daily soaking in oil. I still have the pistol, but it doesn't see the action it did. I bring it out when I want to fool myself I'm a better shot than I really am as the years have take their toll. It's still a way better shot than I am. I've never seen any wear. I wish I had held up as good.
 

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MY 1962 NM 45 has 55,000 rounds through it as we speak. Have not shot it in years now but I'll bet the north 185,000 acres it'll still put 'em all in the X-ring, take it ot the bank.
NOW....to put this in perspective, the last time I saw any numbers on it the average 1911A1 in Gov't usage now has been re-built an average of six[6] times in it's service life while shooting regular ol' ball ammunition. THINK about that !!! They made 'em a lot softer in those days so they'd bend, not break. How do they make 'em now ?? Maybe it does not matter as the new crowd seems to do a lot of talking and darned little shooting as they're scared to death their new guin is gonna fall apart as soon they look at it crooked.
 

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I suspect that a round count "lifespan" would be near impossible to determine since there are so many varied factors to take into account. Was the pistol cleaned regularly? Was only one type of ammunition ever shot through it? So on and so forth. My NIB Gold Cup Trophy and NIB LW Commander will outlive my ability to wear them out so the boys will have to give you an update long after I'm gone ;) . My GM MK IV Series 80 was pre-owned so I have absolutely no idea how many rounds were down her barrel but the gentleman was a competitive shooter so I imagine a fair amount. All I do know is she's tight and accurate. My 1993 Norinco, bought NIB in '93, has seen many thousands of rounds of varied grain weight and configuration and she's still as reliable as the day I ran the first mag through her. I wasn't at ALL gentle nor did I baby her and not being a COLT really doesn't qualify for this discussion. Realizing, of course, that I don't own a REAL 1911, as defined by some knowledgeable forum members, I can't begin to hazard a guess on "at what round count will a Colt pistol fail to function correctly?" SO, I don't know. That's my best answer. :)
 

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This mongrel Augusta Arsenal rework was a present I gave myself on my 21st birthday in 1978. It was my first and only Colt .45 Automatic for several years. I used to keep a canvas bank coin bag sitting on the floor with 1200+ handloads in it so I could just reach in and grab handfulls as needed. I reloaded that batch of brass several times a year for many years. Until a Gold Cup came along in about 1982, all that ammo was poured through this pistol. Even after the Gold Cup arrived and also some various military contract models, it was this pistol that was actually shot the most by a large margin.

The pistol also saw some "enthusiastic" experimental handloading back in the day when I was young and foolish. It survived even that. It was kept very clean and was always lubed. Only the recoil spring has been replaced on occasion.

I wore a business suit for much of my career and many's the time this 1911 was kept under the coat in a Bianchi X-15 shoulder holster. It also rode along in a black 1944 dated Boyt holster on many a hike or deer or duck hunt on our old family place.

It was a worn out clunk when I got it but I put considerably more surface wear on it. I expect it was another of the "unservicable" 1911s sold off in the 1950s through the NRA. I've known of several others that resembled it with known acquisition history.

In 2008 the front sight just disappeared while my son was shooting it late one afternoon. It sat for a few years before proper sight was found and fitted. Now it's in "semi-retirement" but still sees occasional exercise and its share of concealed carry duty.

In recent years this business about un-heat-treated slides on the WWI 1911s began to make the rounds of forums. I'd not heard of it until recent times. I've wondered why the old pistol is still hanging in there.

I wish it could talk (I think).
 

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My best friend and gunsmith shot IPSC for a number of years from the early 80's into the 90's with a Colt Series 70 that he customized for competition. He kept a round count during those years and when he retired from competition the pistol had 500,000+ rounds through it. It was cleaned regularly and springs replaced at set intervals. One broken extractor and a worn firing pin I believe were the only parts replacements. He put Wichita competition sights on it and they were forever shearing off. He kept a spare rear in his parts kit. He couldn't replace them with something else because of the special slide cut. The majority of the rounds were 200 grain SWC's. He carries the gun to this day. In fact I saw it this morning as he was getting out of his truck to go to breakfast. Major holster wear does not begin to describe the looks of this gun but there's no rust and it's clean and oiled. I keep trying to get him to have it cerakoted. He just laughs and says,"it might quit working".:)
 

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The "UNSERVICEABLE" classification on the NRA/DCM pistols had nothing to do with their condition. The only thing I can come up with was the classification allowed the pistols to be sold by the military through the DCM. In 1962 a small number of Remington Rand 1911A1 pistols that were as new in the original shipping boxes were sold for the same price as the rebuilt pistols.

This is one of the UNSERVICEABLE pistols.


 

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The "UNSERVICEABLE" classification on the NRA/DCM pistols had nothing to do with their condition. The only thing I can come up with was the classification allowed the pistols to be sold by the military through the DCM. In 1962 a small number of Remington Rand 1911A1 pistols that were as new in the original shipping boxes were sold for the same price as the rebuilt pistols.

This is one of the UNSERVICEABLE pistols.


I should be so "unserviceable" ;)
 

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My uncle had several of the "unserviceable" NRA pistols he'd gathered up when I was a kid. They were just basic used, yet apparently serviceable 1911s and 1911A1s. My cousins have them now. An old friend of mine obtained a Colt 1911 that looked just like mine looked when I first got it. He said it arrived, showing to be "unserviceable" and had no grips. He was always amused about that.
 
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