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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was at a gun show today and had the pleasure of examining a bunch of old Colt 1911/1911A1's. This dealer specializes in pre-80 series and older Colt 1911/1911A1's only. He even had old WW-I and WW-II USGI 1911's. He had a number of old pre-80 series Colt Combat Commanders, some even new in the box. I couldn't help but notice that his prices for the Colt Combat Commanders with the satin nickel or electroless nickel finished or what ever you call this finish was much lower than the same models in the blued finish. As much as $300 to $400 dollars lower. So I ask him why. His answer was simply, they are not popular as compared to the blued models. So I ask him why not. His answer; the dull finish is notoriously delicate, it shows handling wear very quickly and it always looks dirty due to it's rough dull finish. He said that if he priced them the same as the blued models they would be sitting on the table forever. I then said; I thought they were rather rare, you don't see very many of them...then he gave me kind of a dirty look as if I did not hear what he first said about them and then he said; like I told you they are not popular. Well, I must have very bad taste, I thought they looked rather nice or maybe different would be a better way of saying it. Does any one else share my views....comments ?
 

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I tend to buy those and use them to make customs.
For some reason, as you've stated, they are usually the steal.

Mike
 

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Some of my best shooters are in that bunch of unpopular guns! There is no accounting for taste and many of todays shooters are probably wearing clothes with advertising on them?
 

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surplus, I bought a new Combat Commander about 1970 or so with that rough satin nickel finish. My opinion of that finish, it's characteristics and popularity is consistent with what the dealer told you. They're not rare at all. I have seen many more satin nickel Combat Commanders from that era than regular blued examples.

The Electroless nickel models are a "whole nuther thing." Those were limited run with a very smooth electroless nickel finish and looked similar to some of the stainless 1911s we have available today. They had a Colt Custom Shop label denoting the special finish on the box end flap. I had one of the Government Models, and have seen Gold Cups and Aces with this special finish. I never personally saw a Commander in electroless, but have seen photos of one. These, are not often seen now days, but do sell at a premium when offered for sale. I have seen some of the rough satin nickel Colts advertised for sale as "electroless nickel." I will be charitable and assume the sellers honestly didn't know the difference. But, not the same finish at all...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Sorry, I did not know what the proper name was this dull nickel finish. Now I recall the dealer calling it satin nickel. I can't help but wonder, back in the 1970's when Colt offered the Combat Commander in both blue and satin nickel finish, which one had a higher MSRP or were they both the same price ? Anyone know ?
 

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The nickel finishes were very popular during the 1970s, but today they're a pariah in this day and age of black ninja finishes. They're also a pain in the butt to anyone who wants to have the piece customized, as the nickel plating has to be chemically stripped off by a professional refinishing shop before you can have it refinished in something else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I would still like to know which one cost more when new, the blued model or the satin nickel finished model ? Anyone have an old 1970's catalogue laying around ?
 

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I bought one new in 1978 and would have bought a blue one but they seemed harder to find. As I remember they sold for about the same as the satin Nickel ones at least in gunstores. Not sure what the MSRP. Besides the fragile surface, you also got to deal with the silver sights.

Other less desirable Colts are ones made in the 1985-1990 time period where Colt was having a strike and guns were being put together by temp workers plus there was the recent introduction of the Series 80 safety.
 

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Some of my best shooters are in that bunch of unpopular guns! There is no accounting for taste and many of todays shooters are probably wearing clothes with advertising on them?
:rofl:
 

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I love being able to pick up an "ugly" satin nickel Combat Commander for a bargain. I've owned several and, not surprisingly, they function just as well as their blued counterparts. Since I don't buy them to just let them sit there and admire, I don't really mind a finish that gets ugly.

FWIW, I have never understood the "delicate finish" description -- although it doesn't remain shiny and silver, and it gets rather dingy easily, I have never been able to "make" any of my nickel CCs get significant holster wear, or break through to the copper or anything.

One of these days I'm going to take one of them and do this to it:

http://forums.1911forum.com/showthread.php?t=340707


 

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Don't know which is being referred to as electroless, etc., but I've always wanted one with the soft, slightly yellowish look. I think they're sharp as hell. Would never be an EDC, and probably shot seldom, so adding wear would be an non-issue.

Bob
 

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I bought an old dingy satin nickel 1911 government and had it customized/refinished. Colt custom shop did good work on it.
 
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