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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
As mentioned in the prior thread I finally managed to score a blued 2013 production Series 70 repro. I had long since given up on ever finding one locally, but as they appeared on Gunbroker from time to time I decided to save up and be ready when a new batch finally came out. Recently a bunch of them popped up on GB, but as usual the prices were high and pictures were lacking. Like many people I’m leery of buying anything sight unseen, especially with Colts as you never know if you might get one that still has a cosmetic flaw somewhere. The newest pistols Colt has been making since setting up their new CNC equipment have been great, but I still see a pistol with a flaw or two show up from time to time even if the number of occurrences are a small fraction of what they used to be. The problem with online ads is that, besides the lousy pictures often the images you see are stock photos of a representative item, and not the actual pistol you’re bidding on. In the end I decided to contact about a half-dozen sellers and asked for more detailed pictures of the actual pistol being listed on their auctions. I figured that most of them were going to be too busy to waste time dealing with a buyer with obvious OCD, but if just one or two actually honored my request they were more likely to get my business. In the end just two sellers responded with additional pics. I'm not saying there was anything wrong with the other pistols listed, but I wasn't going to waste my time rolling the dice if they weren't going to waste theirs sending me some better pictures. Of the two prospects, one pistol (the cheaper one) was sold out from under me before I could make my move but the second one was still available so I snagged it.





The pistol I received is about a close to perfect as I’m likely to find. No lopsided flats, no dust cover rubbing, no crooked markings. It’s got a couple of small marks from handling, but short of getting one fresh off the factory floor before anyone’s had a chance to even touch it I don’t think it’s preventable. I’ll get more marks on it eventually just from shooting it or taking it apart for cleaning, that’s for sure. It did have some crusty bath salts oozing out of the joint between the slide and the front sight, but I’ve noticed that on several new Colts recently and it was easy to remove. I simply poured some boiling water from a teakettle over the front sight and the stuff instantly melted away, quickly followed by drying and saturation with CLP oil. I also discovered that the trigger pad was slightly bent to one side and rubbing the frame, so after detail-stripping it I carefully straightened it out in a small vise. During reassembly I replaced the factory grips with some much nicer cocobolos I had on hand from Hogue. I also have a set of original-type Colt medallion grips, so it looks like I’ll be playing Barbie with it for awhile before I decide what I like best on it. As far as nit-picking is concerned, the only thing I could really say was that the edges are very sharp, not just on the outside but inside as well. While running my finger along the inside of the slide to spread some oil I caught a thin sliver of metal from the locking lugs, which are as sharp as a metal file. Pretty much the rest of the pistol can be used to shave with as well, which as we all know is a common complaint regarding today’s Colts. That and the cratered metal that’s usually left around the rollmarks, but on mine it wasn’t too bad. On a stainless pistol you can carefully stone the edges and soften them, and even polish out the rollmark cratering if you feel game. But on a blued pistol you’re stuck with it as-is unless you want to pay to have the entire pistol refinished afterwards. On the positive side barrel lockup is tight and all the parts fit very snug into the slide and frame, even the pins. The slide to frame fit is more relaxed than I was expecting, but still not too bad. It would probably bother some people but I’m a lot more tolerant of loose 1911s than most. The trigger pull is excellent. I don’t have a scale but it feels like around 4.5 pounds with a nice letoff. The firing pin is titanium, so if heaven forbid I ever drop it on a concrete sidewalk at least it won’t likely discharge (although I’ll be so grief-stricken afterwards I might shoot myself with it anyway). (continued...)

 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)


Compared to the stainless Series 70 I bought around 2005 or so (made before the current CNC machinery was in place) the overall quality is essentially the same. The trigger pull is better on the blued one, the slide/frame fit is actually tighter on the stainless, the quality of the external finish is comparable, and the feel of the thumb safety is equally smooth on both. When compared to my original 1980-vintage blued Series 70 the overall quality is much better with just a couple of notable exceptions. The external contours of both repros are cleaner and more true, with no wavy or non-uniform edges like on the original. However the polishing on the flats is much better on the original, with mirror-bright flats and no cratered rollmarks or razor-sharp edges. Also the bluing on the original is more of a true blue color, while the blued repro is almost black except under strong light. This surprised me, as I seem to remember the last blued S70 repro I owned 8-10 years ago looked just as blue as my original, even if the polishing wasn’t as bright. Perhaps Colt is using a different bluing solution now, or perhaps it’s just my unreliable memory. But the pictures here show the difference in color as well as polishing. Understand that I’m not really complaining, as nobody does as good of a polish/blue these days as Colt does, at least not in this price range. But if you are addicted to the mirror-bright, deep blue finishes of old you’ll probably be considering handing your new repro back to Colt for their Royal Blue finish from the Custom Shop, or else over to Steve Moller, Ford’s Refinishing or Turnbull. Making a production gun as shiny and bright as they did a few decades ago simply costs way too much money, so be grateful for the finish that we’re seeing now.



Upper pistol: 2013 S70
Lower pistol: 1980 S70




Note the difference in polish and finish color. The older pistol is glossier but the newer pistol has cleaner lines.




L -R: 1980 S70, 2005 stainless S70, 2013 blued S70


Aside from the little nit-picky details there can be no question that this is one of the most attractive-looking handguns being offered today, and on balance the quality surpasses even my 1966-vintage Government Model, a pistol supposedly made during Colt's "good ol' days". The folks at the local gunshop where I had this transferred to haven’t seen anything like it in ages, and they were simply blown away by how nice it looks. They’ve gotten in an O1991 or two in the past, but the level of bluing on those is a step down with less polishing of the flats, and more of a satin brushed finish than semi-gloss. I guess my quandary now is do I take this thing out and shoot it on occasion, or do I lay it on a soft velvet pillow and place it inside a hermetically-sealed chamber to keep it looking like-new for eternity?
 

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I have heard that some of the finishes that Colt produced from years back are very hard or impossible to duplicate due to not being able to polish the metal the same because of the inability to get or use polishing wheels because those companies are no longer around or even use some of the techniques due to environmental regulations.

I don't know how true that is, it's just something I remember reading or hearing somewhere.
 

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I am really starting to develop an high appreciation for clean factory stock Colts. All three of those s70s are gorgeous.
 

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Nice snag Dana. I think you got the one that was going to be mine. LOL

Did you notice the difference in hammer shapes and GS thickness? Or is that a photo optical delusion?
 

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Beautiful pistol. I got to handle a stainless reproduction last year and it had that annoying gap between the dust cover and slide, turned me off to buying it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Did you notice the difference in hammer shapes and GS thickness? Or is that a photo optical delusion?
Whatever difference there might be in the shape of the hammer, grip safety, and/or frame contour must be very subtle, but I'm sure it there. The reason why I say that is because I can shoot the 1980-vintage pistol without getting any hammer bite, yet I have to hold the stainless repro carefully or else get nipped. It'll be awhile before I have a chance to go to the range again but I predict the blued repro will do the same.

I got to handle a stainless reproduction last year and it had that annoying gap between the dust cover and slide, turned me off to buying it.
Now that you mention it, if I hold it up to bright light I can see a very slight gap exposing the recoil spring. There's no gap with the other two. My O1918 also has a visible gap, in fact it's wider than on the new S70. Fortunately as with the slide/frame fit it's something that doesn't bother me, although it might annoy others. It's like what we were discussing in JeffWarner's S70 thread, if you really try you can find a flaw in virtually any production Colt pistol. It's good enough for me, and that's what counts.
 

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Beautiful pistols all!

Had a few of them back in the 70s, early 80s.

Naturally, back then it was common for many of us to open the ejection port, put in a longer trigger, get a flat MSH, install a beavertail and perhaps add an ambi. Kinda what's done on almost all production guns today.
 

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dsk, nice write-up and nice pics. The stainless steel S70 versions are more available because they don't sell as well as the blued S70s?
 

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Great find. Congrats, all three look fantastic. I am still on the lookout for one but also want to handle it before buying it. LGS will get one in eventually it is just a waiting game.
 

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Ye gawds, those are all beautiful...nice write up too, DSK.

If that blue one had a long trigger and flat mainspring housing that would be my ultimate 1911 right there.

And as for shooting it vs. sealed pressurized chamber, my vote is that you should use it as it was intended, there is something sad to me about a gun/book/guitar sitting in a glass case never to be used.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
dsk, nice write-up and nice pics. The stainless steel S70 versions are more available because they don't sell as well as the blued S70s?
I believe Colt makes equal numbers of each every year. However I also noticed that there are probably three times as many stainless pistols available on Gunbroker right now as there are blued ones. I suspect that if the typical buyer wants a classic style 1911 they probably want it to be blued as well. However there have been times when I couldn't find a stainless model for sale anywhere either, so demand likely fluctuates between the two.
 

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Great write up ! You have sold me on one. If I ever come a cross one and it is as nice as yours. It's mine!
 

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Whatever difference there might be in the shape of the hammer, grip safety, and/or frame contour must be very subtle, but I'm sure it there. The reason why I say that is because I can shoot the 1980-vintage pistol without getting any hammer bite, yet I have to hold the stainless repro carefully or else get nipped. It'll be awhile before I have a chance to go to the range again but I predict the blued repro will do the same.
The upper tang cut seems to be a little shallower on the original 70. Would be interesting to compare measurements from the pin holes to the end of the frame and safety tangs.

 

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Like the simple look to them!
 
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