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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought this Colt 1911 at an estate auction last weekend. Serial # is 392XXX which, according to my research, means made in 1918.
Can anybody tell me anything about it? It is not U.S. marked. Just says Government Model.
It seems to be in very good mechanical condition. I really want to shoot it. Anything that I need to be careful of ?
Will it shoot modern ammo ok ?
Thanks in advance for your input.
 

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Can't be 1918.
Your pistol is a Colt Government Model and the slide and stocks indicates post WWII manufacture. I believe the serial number should have a C prefix. Can you post a picture of the other side? Block out the last few digits if you desire.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm no expert by any means. I own a 1991A1 and a Series 70 and I just liked the looks of this one.
When I said 1918, I was going by a table of Colt serial numbers that I found on the internet. So, are these tables not reliable?
I don't see a C prefix.
So, what year do you think it was made and why ?
Thanks for your help.
 

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The tables are reliable, but something is suspicious about the pistol. I believe you have a Colt Government Model slide on an aftermarket receiver. There are no Colt markings on the receiver.
 

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'Back In the Day', when aftermarket receivers first became available, one could buy 'numbered but unmarked' receivers from 'Crown City' and 'Essex Arms' (and probably more), if you bought in groups of a couple of dozen.

Parts were plentiful - especially GI parts, but Commercial, as well - and assembly was a breeze - putting a lot of affordable pistols into circulation.

There were no in-depth studies on the Service Pistol and most sellers/buyers just didn't care all that much when price point drove the transactions.

This is likely one of those.
 

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The tables are reliable, but something is suspicious about the pistol. I believe you have a Colt Government Model slide on an aftermarket receiver. There are no Colt markings on the receiver.
Johnny, I don't believe Colt put their address on the frame until the 1970's after GCA'68 took effect.
I have a mid 70's Commander were the address is on the slide, like this GM, but none on the frame, just the ser.# with CLW suffix.
 

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The tables are reliable, but something is suspicious about the pistol. I believe you have a Colt Government Model slide on an aftermarket receiver. There are no Colt markings on the receiver.
I think you're right, the serial number doesn't show at all on Proof House, not for Commercial 45 or .38 Super
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
When I put that serial number into the search box on Colt.com, it comes up "1918 Model 1911 Military".

So, when do you think it was made and is there somewhere on the frame I can look to prove or disprove this theory?
 

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Look for investment casting seams on the frame.If it is an Essex or whatever aftermarket frame it will be a casting.They will normally show casting seams somewhere unless they were completely polished off.The finish of the frame in unmachined areas will also give an indication.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So, a Colt frame will be a solid forging ? I will check tonight and let you know what I find. Thanks.
 

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Johnny, I don't believe Colt put their address on the frame until the 1970's after GCA'68 took effect.
I have a mid 70's Commander were the address is on the slide, like this GM, but none on the frame, just the ser.# with CLW suffix.
You are correct that it would not have the Colt address on the receiver, but it would have the Colt Verified Proof and Colt final inspector mark on the left side of the trigger guard. Probably final inspector on front, and VP on the rear.
 

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You are correct that it would not have the Colt address on the receiver, but it would have the Colt Verified Proof and Colt final inspector mark on the left side of the trigger guard. Probably final inspector on front, and VP on the rear.
Yes I missed that inference in your post. I looked for the VP as well as the other little digits that my Colt's have.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I took the grip panels off last night and examined the frame. I didn't see any seams. I will totally take it apart and clean it this weekend.
I looked at the trigger guard and did not see any of the markings that you guys mention. Is it possible that they did not do that back then?
I know things can change at corporations, depending on who is in charge.
 

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I would just about bet money that the frame is not a Colt. Notice the difference between the font of the numbers (particularly the three, on your gun and those on my 1918 Colt:




Colt verified proof: This is a WWII Colt, neither of my WWI Colts have the VP.


Also, yours has the A1 style frame cutouts behind the trigger, not to mention an A1 trigger. I think dogface6 nailed it, it is a aftermarket frame with a Colt slide.
 

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The hammer is also not that of a post war Colt Govt. Model, or a late war Colt M1911A1. The slide stop appears to be of the Series 70 type.
 

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The above M1911 in post #14 is an actual GI-issued, M1911 built in 1918 - yours is not.

They always marked the piece and with the assembler's marks and Inspector's marks - and when they were rebuilt - they marked them as well.

The reproduction frames won't 'always' show a mold seam - early ones often did, though - but the manufacturers seemed to improve as time went along, and overall fit and finish was much better - so much so, that if one had several slides a pretty accurate finish match could be achieved.
 

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[QUOTE

Colt verified proof: This is a WWII Colt, neither of my WWI Colts have the VP.




Colt did not put the Verified Proof on military pistols until 1937.

What type trigger is in your Colt 1911A1?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I'll take it apart this weekend and see if I can find anything else.
I am not a Colt collector or purist. I bought it because I thought it was a cool old gun and I still think that.
Thanks for all the input. I hope to shoot it soon.
 

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Normally the old Colts are sold at a premium, and I am sure everyone here is trying to give you the information needed to tell if you actually have a Colt or not. I don't like for anyone to unknowingly pay a premium for something that isn't original or was misrepresented.
 
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