I'm looking to buy a Colt 1911 and there are two to choose from locally - a 1951 in about 92% and a 1967 in about 98% condition. The 1951 is $150 more money - why? - all else is pretty much equal. Which is the better deal? Thanks!
Assuming they were both steel Gov. models it is still something I have seen. In the last year or so the older guns are starting to go up in price; sometimes a lot. If the shop owners are not new they may have a feel for what they can sell a given gun for in their area despite blue book lists etc. The next question is do you want a shooter, and how much are you going to shoot it?
I'm seeing early 50's guns bringing in higher prices lately. I don't know why other than on the auctions, they are C&R and that may broaden the market - just a theory. The finishes were the same during the 50's and 60's, hot salt blue vs. over blue for pre-war guns. I think the prewar guns are nicer when you can find one in great condition but the prices go into the stratosphere. I guess that will happen to the ones made after the war too.
I appreciate the replies. I guess I should have mentioned these are located in two different stores many miles apart. I don't think I missed anything on the '67 - accept that it is by serial number a 66!!!! (Sorry, I should check these things before posting).
Both are Govt. models. Both have nice, but replacement grips. Both have those HUGE and incredibly ugly, yet functional, Bomar (sp.?) type target sights that will have to be dealt with. Why did people put these things on - I've seen a lot of older Colts with these installed - were they factory added? Well, they ruin the look IMHO. Can they be easily removed?
The '66 is $780 and the '51 is $935. Neither store is negotiating at this time.
It's possible that one or both of the guns are consignment guns, not store owned, and placed out for sale by the owner who wants to make a certain amount from the sale.
You can always make an offer.
If the Bomar rear sights are the adjustable type and low mounted it's likely the slides have been machined to fit them. Take a look at that and figure that if metal has been removed it will cost a bit to place another type of sight there. It's much easier to replace a sight that uses the standard Colt dovetail. You may want to weigh the cost of this versus getting a newer gun and doing that up, over time, the way you'd like it.
Thanks for replying. I take it putting on Bomar sights modifies the slide? The dovetail has to be larger? Couldn't really see if it was larger or not. Replacing the grips and putting on sights doesn't seem much of a modification to me. Also, they are easily rectified.
As far as "maybe I should get a new gun" - I like the old ones better - I don't have a reason but I do. Both have that pretty Colt blue that the newer guns just don't have.
As far as "$500 tops" for a pre-70 series, "modified" - please direct me to some in this condition for this price - I'll take three.
It's your money:biglaugh: but I try not to buy used guns that have had some gunmonkey's hands on them. Too many things could have been done to the slide and frame that make them unusable. And I hate to buy a gun and then replace parts because someone was file/dremel happy. $900+ for a pistol + new parts + gunsmith + shipping = way too much money invested in a common shooter.
Well I'm of a different mind than Bill I guess. If the work is quality work than the prices that you mentioned are not too much so long as the alterations are ones that you want or that can be changed easily for your needs. If the gun has had a good trigger job, the ramp correctly polished, etc. than that's money you may not have to spend later.
Bomar low mount rear sights are some of the best adjustable sights on the market. They do require milling out the rear of the slide for proper installation. Replacing them with another set may be pricey so that's a factor to consider.
If they are another type of sight that is just in a dove tail than they are easily replaced. Replacing the stocks is nothing.
So ask the shops to hold them for a day for you and look them over closely. Your call. But guns from the 60s and 70s are not so uncommon that you can't find good clean examples in the same price range.
Maybe I'm describing these sights incorrectly - they are not very "low mount" - I found a photo of another gun with sights like the ones I have seen on these two guns - do these require the frame to be modified?
Those sights are easily replaced. No metal has been removed. Remember you can always make an offer on the guns as well and check them over to see if anything else has been done to them as Bill suggests.
That was the standard Bomar installation for G.I. match and bullseye guns. The problem is more likely going to be the front sight, as a very tall replacement must be fitted, and sometimes you will find the sight attached in a non-standard way (welded, or the hole for the tenon cut oversize). It's possible that the guns are set up specifically for bullseye competition, and that the only visible mods are the sights. You could find that they have hand-fitted barrels, triggers, etc., and if they are good shooters, they are going to be priced higher than a gun that has merely been "messed with". Those prices could then seem pretty reasonable.
Be sure which Bomars are there. Some did not have to be "hacked in" and others did. Bomar made and still makes many sights. There is an older 1970 Gold Cup in a gunstore I go to every now and again for $600. It has a Bomar on the rear that was hacked in (Meaning metal was removed from the slide and you do not easily, and never cheaply, ever go back.) and nobody has bought it in a year.
Other readers also have a good point. If a person or some "smith" put the Bomar sight on, what else did they do?
I would have to look at these in person and have a 90 return policy before I would think of buying (Have a good gunsmith lined up to evaluate them). From the information on the thread, I would not even think of buying these and would keep on looking.
We might be getting to the bottom of the barrel at the local shops. On my 1911 gun hunts, I used to come across and buy some nice 50's-60's commercials, series 70's and honest WWII GI's rigs from time to time.
Nowadays, when my eye catches a nice old roll mark Colt in the display counter, it is usually accompanied by 'bomar' along with a welded on sight rail! :barf::biglaugh: