1911Forum banner

1 - 20 of 32 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello!
I recently acquired some older guns from my grandfather, as he is unable to shoot anymore.

He was a Marksman in the Navy, and once he left his 20+ year career in the Navy he continued to shoot competitively. He had many guns, and preferred pistols, but shot rifles competitively also. He was meticulous in the care and maintenance of his guns. However, they've been in safe storage for nearly 20 years.

Anyhow, of my acquisitions, I received a Colt 1911. I believe it's a M1911A1.


I'm trying to learn about the history of the gun. I'm starting to think the slide and frame are mis-matched. It appears the frame was one of Colt's British RAF Contracts, and the slide is a Gov't Model 1942.


What can you guys tell me?

Also thought I'd mention my grandpa said he had the gun "worked over", because he used it as one of his competition pistols. He mentioned the trigger being "modified", but I'm not sure how. It's modified to have a "tighter action" I suppose. The barrel bushing is VERY tight, so that leads me to believe it's custom.

How do I know what's been done?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
319 Posts
Very nice gun. It's not a 1911A1 but it's nice anyway. The frame is commercial Colt Government model as far as I can tell from the blurry photos and the slide is a post WW2 hard slide. The frame has some British proof marks so it must have spent some time in Britain.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,206 Posts
You did not mention if your grandfather was still alive. If he is why not ask him about the heritage of the gun. When he acquired it , how, and where (ie in the Navy, after the Navy, etc). If he is not alive then give us the dates of when he was in the Navy, when he shot in the Navy or as a civilian and I may be able to give you some thoughts on the gun. Bob
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
To my knowledge, he obtained the gun after his service.....a good 40 years ago.
He's still alive, but I'm unable to contact him for medical reasons.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,206 Posts
Okay. your grandfather is probably in his 80s. When he was a shooter in the Navy the .45 was seen as just another tool (in the early 1960s I was an Army competitive shooter). Most of us shooters were enlisted or junior officers who had little money to spend so if we had our own competitive pistols they were usually parts of this and that masterfully assembled by our team gunsmiths. Today they are called mixmaster shooters, but back then they were put together to shoot and Colt was only a brand name, not a collectible legend like today.
So I'm guessing that approach to a competitive pistol went with your grandad when he left the Navy and that is how he acquired his pistol. It has target sights and a target trigger. But the rest looks like parts that came from different sources that at that time would have been cheap such as slide and receiver.
Now to test this theory get different samples of ammo and see how it shoots (and if you aren't a good shooter get someone who is). What is the trigger pull? Three pounds vs 6 pounds. Is it smooth, with no creep, jerk, or drag? How does it group at 25 yards? An inch? Then its a great accurizing job. 2''? Then its just about average. Three inches or more? Then its just another mixmaster shooter.
In the competitive world of shooting in the 50s and 60s all a shooter wanted was an accurate gun. Today it has to be either a premium designer gun or accurized by a "name" gunsmith, or a stock manufactured gun. If made of odd parts like what you have, today, regardless of how good it is, its seen as just a bag of parts with quite a bit less value. So test what you have and it might turn out to be a very nice shooting gun. Bob
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,358 Posts
From the markings on the frame it appears to be from a .455 Colt shipped to England in the WWI period. The crossed pennants are British military proofs, and the broad-arrow above it is the British property mark. It should have additional markings.
Try using a more neutral background for your photographs. Your camera did a great job of correctly exposing the white background, leaving the pistol underexposed.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
15,657 Posts
Just because nobody else explained, it's not a M1911A1 because the frame does not have the 'crescent moon' finger relief cuts behind the trigger - the frame is from a M1911 (insert Mr. Pepper's comments here). The 'hard slide' is what we call the commercial Colt slide from about 1953 or so, and the same slide was sold to the military for replacement parts. The military slide would have a part number like shown in your picture. These slides were subjected to better heat treatment (hardening) than any before and are always good to have. It looks like a wonderful pistol to own, and being a family gun makes it even sweeter. What would I give for a similar gun put together by or for my grandfather! Thanks for sharing it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Thanks a lot for the insight guys!

I've shot the gun quite a bit actually.

When I received it, It had some cosmoline in hard-to-reah areas, so I field-stripped it and gave it a good cleaning.

I believe the sights on this gun are pretty far off. It seems to shoot 6+ inches high from about 25 yards.
Ha, I don't have a way of sighting it in properly. At least, not until I get a nice benchrest.

It likes to eject the shells straight up, often at your face! Some mags will jam on the first or second round, while other will jam every 3 or 4 rounds.

As far as trigger pull, I've measured it at around 4 lbs.

Would an aftermarket magazine possibly sure some of these feeding problems?
The magazines I received with the gun are mostly unmarked, except one reading:
"C-L"
and 2 others reading: "C-R".
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
15,657 Posts
'I believe the sights on this gun are pretty far off. It seems to shoot 6+ inches high from about 25 yards'

Maybe it's sighted-in at 75 or 100 yds! Anyway, the rear sight elevation is adjustable. The C mags were sold to the government by Colt in WWII.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,945 Posts
Gramp's .45

Nice gun. You have an accurized "hardball" gun set up for service pistol matches. As mentioned, it has a replacement Colt hard slide that was usually fitted to target pistols because of the large amount of shooting these pistols were expected to do. The trigger is supposed to be set at 4 lbs, as you noted. Sounds like your sights are set for a "sub-six" hold, which was taught by some of the service pistol teams as an alternative to the six-o'clock or center hold. An accurized service pistol like yours would be expected to hold a 2.5" or better 10 shot group with 230 gr. ball at 50 yds from a machine rest. What's the barrel markings?
Bob (OIF2)
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
73,803 Posts
Would an aftermarket magazine possibly sure some of these feeding problems?
The magazines I received with the gun are mostly unmarked, except one reading:
"C-L"
and 2 others reading: "C-R".
These were magazines made in World War Two by contractors for Colt. "L" stands for M.S. Little Mfg Co and "R" stands for Risdon Mfg Co. These mags would've been shipped with new Colt pistols. Mags with just L, R, or S (for Scovill Mfg Co) on them were shipped with contract pistols (Remington Rand, Ithaca, US&S).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Nice gun. You have an accurized "hardball" gun set up for service pistol matches. As mentioned, it has a replacement Colt hard slide that was usually fitted to target pistols because of the large amount of shooting these pistols were expected to do. The trigger is supposed to be set at 4 lbs, as you noted. Sounds like your sights are set for a "sub-six" hold, which was taught by some of the service pistol teams as an alternative to the six-o'clock or center hold. An accurized service pistol like yours would be expected to hold a 2.5" or better 10 shot group with 230 gr. ball at 50 yds from a machine rest. What's the barrel markings?
Bob (OIF2)

Thanks Bob!

As for barrel markings.....there are none I can see on the barrel installed. I also can't get the barrel bushing out to examine the barrel completely. I know the barrel has pretty strong rifling. It came with another barrel, and it is totally unmarked.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Oh forgot to ask....
How much would something like this gun be worth?

I'm not really interested in selling it, but it's nice to know.

It's the first 1911 I've ever shot....first pistol I've ever had too. It's fun when I don't get shells in my face!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,358 Posts
Maybe the pistol had already been parted out when it was turned into a target pistol, but it's a shame to see a historical frame used for that purpose. I would estimate it's value somewhere around $550/650.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
15,657 Posts
Thanks Bob!

As for barrel markings.....there are none I can see on the barrel installed. I also can't get the barrel bushing out to examine the barrel completely. I know the barrel has pretty strong rifling. It came with another barrel, and it is totally unmarked.
You're going to need to take it apart soon for cleaning/oiling - have you tried the standard disassembly instructions?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
You're going to need to take it apart soon for cleaning/oiling - have you tried the standard disassembly instructions?

I field strip the gun after every day at the range.....I completely went through it (dissassembled everything but the bolt itself) about 2 weeks ago, to really clean it up and make sure all the cosmo was gone.

However, now I can't get the barrel bushing to turn fully CCW so I can pull the bushing....weird, it's worked before.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
346 Posts
priceless

peppers is correct about the proof marks, the heritage that comes with the pistol makes it priceless to you. I have a war bring back I bought from my great uncle for $50 in the 60s it is priceless to me dents and all,, my first 45


try a new mag spring cheap fix
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,945 Posts
A good hardball .45 like yours is worth somewhere around $650.00 to maybe $700.00 to a shooter. It has the later-style Bo-Mar sights, so it was built or rebuilt sometime in the mid to late 70's. The bushing needs to be removed and replaced with a bushing wrench. As far as replacing it, GENTLY tap it back in, then center it. Accuracy comes from the rear lug to slide lock-up and the front barrel bushing, so tighter is better. I have a "wad gun" (built for mid-range semi-wadcutters) with the same frame (commercial, British-proofed 1919 vintage) and a later, Colt 50's era slide. At the time, GI guns were common and often used as bullseye gun platforms. No thought was given to any collector value. I wish mine was still in original condition- but it does shoot into one ragged hole at 50 yds... Bob (OIF2)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
989 Posts
Wow. My grandfather was a desk jockey, my other grandfather was in the Merchant Marine, and my great-uncle got it in a B-17 over Germany so there were no souvenir pistols to be had. Nice find. Always nice to have a shootable antique with some family history.
 
1 - 20 of 32 Posts
Top