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Something I wanted to throw out for discussion- I hardly ever see comments or observations on the WW2 Colt repro version...I know there's around 4000 or so floating around. The WW1 version is very popular (and I have one) and is now in its' second production run as the 01918. I know there were quality control issues with the WW2 repro...I'd love to see Colt take another stab at making these again. Shouldn't be that hard parking a gun so that the color is uniform and doesn't flake off. Any comments from anyone who has a WW2 gun?
Bob
 

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Everybody was talking about them on this forum 5-6 years ago when they were still in production. Besides the finish, Colt also needed to try a bit harder to make the small parts look more authentic. The worst offender was the short smooth-faced trigger, which looked really out of place as the originals were knurled. Speaking of knurling, the job they did on the slide stops and thumb safeties looked like they had handed out checkering files to the kiddies in their daycare room to handle the manufacture of those parts.

I agree a well thought-out WW2 repro would sell like hell. Since they apparently learned their lesson on the WW1 Replicas we can always hope they'll give it another try. Even better yet would be a replica of the early pre-war blued M1911A1. Can you imagine an M1911A1 replica with carbonia bluing? Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm.........
 

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I know there's around 4000 or so floating around.
Actually they only made about 2700 of them. The first 900 had the WK prefix serial number and they did not have the USP mark. The rest had the WMK prefix serial number and had some minor changes made to more closely resemble the originals.

I have one and like it very much.

 

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dsk is correct, Colt really improved the WWI repros. Had they not made the WWII repros they probably would have made more mistakes on the WWI repros. It was a learning curve for them. I have one of the WWII repros and I really like it, however the later ones were better, by being marked USP and not having the 10mm frame cut out for the slide stop that the earlier WWII repros had.
 

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I have WK01626 right here in my fat little hands, and I think it's great! The trigger is a little funky-looking, I agree, but I see no quality problems anywhere, and all the checkering looks great! To me, anyway, it's a beautiful, well-made gun, with a great finish. But I'm no war gun expert, there's probably little details I'm not aware of.

I'm not that much of a detail freak that the frame cut bothers me, but I do wish it had the US Property stamp on it. Oh well, at least I have one!

I still need to detail clean and lube it, and put some rounds through it. It's really hard for me to get any shooting time.
 

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OIF2, Your question brings about the ongoing conflict between cost and authenticity. The more authentic a reproduction pistol is to be, the higher the cost. Which is why so many classic revolvers and rifles are made in Italy.
A good example of this is in the current ad for USFA single action pistols. At this time I should also point out how the marketing people of a firearms manufacturer also tend to really muddy the waters. They really don't tell the truth when promoting a firearm, especially a repro. The USAF ad states that USAF makes "the finest, most authentic single action you can buy!" The ad continues to praise the quality of the pistol and how it is the most historically accurate revolver in the world. Now two points need to be made.
First is that right across town Colt is still making the single action (which, without so stating, the USAF is a replica of). So how can the USAF replica be more accurate than the original, still in production? Now you say, but the Colt SAA now being produced is not the same as that made in the late 1800s but is the third geberation. That brings me to point number two. Just reading the ad and looking at the two photos in the ad (and I must confess, they are beautiful guns); one can note that these are not correct replicas of the Colt made in the late 1880s when the West was won. The cylinder release pin (cross-pin frame) is era 1896 (even the ad has the wrong date). The front sight blade is 1902 and the rear sight is of 1940. The copywriters want the purchaser to belive he/she is buying one thing while the actual pistol has refinements running over a period of at least 77 years. Why? Because of costs and purchaser desirability. These guns are not being sold to collectors, but to shooters. Thus the easier to see sights, the easier to use transverse base pin retainer, etc. And I am sure thare are other differences due to manufacturer costs.
Now what does all of this have to do with the Colt WW II Reproduction Pistol Model 1911A1 (what the Colt engineers called it)? Several years ago I wrote an article on this reproduction and a comparison to the original WW II Colt 1911A1. To do this properly I had to spent a lot of time with the Colt people to understand the process of making the reproduction; and that goes back to the first sentence above of this reply. In order to reach a compromise between what retailers would pay and the profitable cost of making the gun, accuracy of parts was degraded. Colt would accept the closest to original spec parts from vendors at an affordable costs. Thus the historical configuration to the original parts, such as the trigger, suffered due to costs. And we are not talking about a small number of accurate parts but in the thousands. And even then, as manufacturing processed, so did parts configurations.
So how did Colt do? Differences between the repro and the original were partially due to costs; but also to current pistol manufacturing laws, technology (such as MIM which was not available in the 1940s), and manufacturing equipment. As I mentioned in my article, on quick glance comparing the repro to a 1943 Colt 1911A1 (which was my comparison pistol for this article) the two pistols look alike. On closer inspection, though, differences are apparent. In the run of just over 2400 guns Colt itself made only seven parts and the rest came from vendors. I found my gun (sn WK 01694) to be a well made pistol. It was reliable and as accurate as my five WW II 1911A1s. It groups at 2" at 25 yards which is a little more than the collective accuracy of my five WW II guns (I have a RR which averages 1.25"). Compare this repro to the other mil-specs available at that time such as Springfield. I think the Colt was far superior to that one, and the others.
To answer if Colt will bring back the WW II. Well, the sn arrangement was planned so they can do that. The problem might be lining up the vendors to make it. I would doubt it as long as the WW I repro sells as well as it does. Since the guns are not hand-crafted custom guns, the change of production lines to accomodate a new line may be too much to do. I don't know, ask Colt. Bob
 

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Even better yet would be a replica of the early pre-war blued M1911A1. Can you imagine an M1911A1 replica with carbonia bluing? Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm.........
This is my first post on this fantastic site. I've been lurking for some time. This is a good forum, a wealth of knowledge but a carbonia blue M1911A1 would be a have to have pistol for me.
 

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I had my Colt WWII repro re-parkerized because most of the finish flaked
off the slide.

Other than that, it is an oustanding pistol. Definately a keeper.
 

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I had 4 of them. I still have three. One I traded for a ww1 repro a few years back. I personally think they are great. The remaining three have all been altered. Ted Yost customized two of them They are both Match tight with Kart barrels,retro sights, all lines cleaned up and all internals replaced. Externally look like the way they came from colt except the " Yost"retro sights on one and and series 70 sights on the other. Chuck Rodgers parkerized them. They are a sight to behold. One of these Yost "done right" guns hasn't been shot since I got it back from Ted 3 years ago. The third is a full custom by Garthwaite "the works" high cut grip, 30lpi. brown safties, heinie sights etc. etc.
I am lucky. I wish I could post pictures but 1911 forum says they are too big? I was using one yesterday to test some reloads. It was -9 degrees no feeding problems.http://s268.photobucket.com/albums/jj23/floydtrinidad/?action=view&current=armycolts005.jpg
 

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It bothers me that Colt out-sources to other vendors for many (maybe most) of the parts for these guns. I guess it must be necessary since Colt Manufacturing is just a fraction of the size it was when they were in the big factory producing handguns. And since they have been under new ownership since 1994, the new owners obviously have a different philosophy. It's pretty much akin to a cottage industry these days.
 

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Texagun, you have it backwards. A cottage industry is a very small operation that makes everything by hand. In today's world of manufacturing, no one makes everything. Cars, trucks, planes, houses, even guns; you name it. The finished product is a combination of parts from all over but assemblied by the brand so Colt is no different than any other manufacturer. It is a matter of economics, its cheaper to buy parts and assemble them than to make everything yourself. Just look at the car or truck you own and see how many parts of it are not made by the emblem on the front. In fact, during the WW II production of the 1911A1s by the four manufacturers (Colt, RR, US&S, and Ithaca) over 45 various parts were manufacturered by over twenty vendors. Bob
 

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Texagun, you have it backwards. A cottage industry is a very small operation that makes everything by hand.
That is the point I was trying to make. Reading the posts from the guys who toured the "factory" recently, I got the impression that it is now a small operation using some very senior and "mature" employees who hand-assemble these guns from a parts bin. Thus, Colt is now a "small operation that makes everything by hand."
 

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Colt today is a multinational business operation although small compared to giants like Boeing, Textron, etc. It is a privately held company with three different entities. In 2002 Colt divided its company into two separate (but both run by the same President, retired USMC Gen William Keys) companies.
There is the part you are referring to, Colt's Manufacturing Co, LLC located at 545 New Park Ave in West Hartford, CT. It has 86 union employees (and they are not all old codgers), makes the guns you and I like to collect and shoot, and makes $12 million annually. Next is Colt Defense, the new company created in 2002. It has 380 union employees located at 547 New Park Ave. Its sales data are not publically shown, but with it four times as large as CMC you can estimate sales in the mid 8 figures or higher. Colt Defense is a leading designer, developer, and manufacturer of military and law enforcement firearms and weapons systems; especially as a prime contractor for the US DOD and NATO.
In 2005 Colt acquired parts of a Canada defense contractor and today it is Colt Canada, which makes and sells to the Canada military the C7 weapons systems. It has 100 employees and sales approaching $25 million.
With this background I wouldn't call Colt a cottage industry. Sure, it had its share of lawsuits and union problems in the 1990s and its reputation with its civilian products and sales suffered. Financially it also hit bottom and endured a bankruptcy challenge but it has endured and survived, most especially under the leadership of Keys. It has a combination of older and also the latest technology manufacturing equipment. Bob
 

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Colt today is a multinational business operation although small compared to giants like Boeing, Textron, etc. It is a privately held company with three different entities. In 2002 Colt divided its company into two separate (but both run by the same President, retired USMC Gen William Keys) companies.
There is the part you are referring to, Colt's Manufacturing Co, LLC located at 545 New Park Ave in West Hartford, CT. It has 86 union employees (and they are not all old codgers), makes the guns you and I like to collect and shoot, and makes $12 million annually. Next is Colt Defense, the new company created in 2002. It has 380 union employees located at 547 New Park Ave. Its sales data are not publically shown, but with it four times as large as CMC you can estimate sales in the mid 8 figures or higher. Colt Defense is a leading designer, developer, and manufacturer of military and law enforcement firearms and weapons systems; especially as a prime contractor for the US DOD and NATO.
In 2005 Colt acquired parts of a Canada defense contractor and today it is Colt Canada, which makes and sells to the Canada military the C7 weapons systems. It has 100 employees and sales approaching $25 million.
With this background I wouldn't call Colt a cottage industry. Sure, it had its share of lawsuits and union problems in the 1990s and its reputation with its civilian products and sales suffered. Financially it also hit bottom and endured a bankruptcy challenge but it has endured and survived, most especially under the leadership of Keys. It has a combination of older and also the latest technology manufacturing equipment. Bob
Bob,

Thank you for sharing that information. I love Colt, and learned more about them from your post.

WJR
 

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If you haven't read the posts from the guys who recently visited the new Colt "factory" where our handguns are produced, here it is:

http://ezine.m1911.org/ColtTour2_frame.htm

http://forum.m1911.org/showthread.php?t=33890&highlight=colt+tour

The things that struck me is that the facilities are much smaller than previously, the millilng machines being used are quite old, and the workforce is mostly older and senior employees, and our Colt handguns are still assembled by hand by old-world craftsman.

"The factory is amazing filled mostly with old milling machines which I believe were Bridgeports. The craftsmen (the term employee here is not appropriate) were actually very nice taking time out to visit and answer questions. We had a chance to see where the pistols were assembled and rest assured they are hand assembled and checked by skilled gunsmiths. We also visited with a few of the engravers in the custom shop that are true old world craftsmen. The junior gunsmith in the repair shop has been at Colt about 42 years, these folks know their trade."

This kind of attention to hand-assembly is commendable. I just wonder how the Colt handgun operation would compare in size and scope to competitive manufacturers like Kimber, Springfield Armory, Smith & Wesson and others.
 

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If you haven't read the posts from the guys who recently visited the new Colt "factory" where our handguns are produced, here it is:

http://ezine.m1911.org/ColtTour2_frame.htm

http://forum.m1911.org/showthread.php?t=33890&highlight=colt+tour

The things that struck me is that the facilities are much smaller than previously, the millilng machines being used are quite old, and the workforce is mostly older and senior employees, and our Colt handguns are still assembled by hand by old-world craftsman.

"The factory is amazing filled mostly with old milling machines which I believe were Bridgeports. The craftsmen (the term employee here is not appropriate) were actually very nice taking time out to visit and answer questions. We had a chance to see where the pistols were assembled and rest assured they are hand assembled and checked by skilled gunsmiths. We also visited with a few of the engravers in the custom shop that are true old world craftsmen. The junior gunsmith in the repair shop has been at Colt about 42 years, these folks know their trade."

This kind of attention to hand-assembly is commendable. The good news is that our Colt Reproductions (WWII 1911A1's, WWI Blue Carbonia and Black Army Repros) are still being assembled by hand by skilled craftmen who know what they are doing just like they were decades ago. I just wonder how the Colt handgun operation would compare in size and scope to competitive manufacturers like Kimber, Springfield Armory, Smith & Wesson and others.
 
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