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Discussion Starter #1
Commercial NM Colt. S/N is C177953. My grandfather indicated he bought it new in the 1930's. I don't have any real good pictures, but I'll try to load one that I do have.

It has been refinished around 3 times according to Pop as a result of finish wear from it's time in service (he was a commissioned Officer and carried his personal sidearm). No combat history, just stateside service. I am wanting to go ahead and get Adair to restore it since the finish isn't original anyway. Any thoughts? Also, any idea where I could get a correct repro box like it would have come in originally?


Thanks,
Saleen
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I forgot the picture....
 

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best guess

My guess is a 1934 Commercial Model. Serial numbers ranged between C174600-C178000 for that year with 3400 manufactured. This would be consistent with what your Grandfather told you.

Bill Adair has my 1914 doing work on it now. No I have not gotten it back yet, but I have found him professional, knowledgeable, and a gentleman to work with.

On whether to reblue it or not, its your call. I would since it has been done already, and it sounds like you want it back to original. Further with the history of the firearm in your family it doesn't sound like you have any interest in letting it get out of your families treasures.
 

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Using the link above, it shows his being made in 1934, with 3400 being produced that year.:)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
You are right about not letting it out of the family. This one is definately a keeper. As far as restoration is concerned, my line of thinking was like yours......why preserve a non-original finish?

I have been emailing Bill and he seems very professional. I'd love to see some of his work first, but this one will be going to him as soon as possible.

Anyone have any idea where I can get a repro box. For that matter, what did they look like back then?


Saleen
 

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Saleen,

I don't know of any source for a repro box but I can email you pictures of what an original box looks like.

Is the barrel original as far as you know? How is it marked? How about the magazine?

Thanks,
Kevin
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The magazine is a 2 tone that is marked "COLT 45 AUTO" on the base plate. No rust to speak of, but you can see where the base plate got wet and was wiped, then the waterspots stayed. Also, Pop scratched H W Aldredge in the blued finish on the left side long, long ago. You can barely see it, but it's there when you reflect light off of the surface.

The fram has a "G" to the right of the disconnector hole. The trigger guard has a "4" over an inverted triangle design on the left front portion, and on the right front portion there is a "60"

Under the slide there is what apears to be a "Z" or an "N" (depending upon how you look at it) in the right channel. Under the firing pin stop, the S/N is marked with a "177" on top and a "953" underneath. The right side slab says "NATIONAL MATCH COLT AUTOMATIC CALIBRE .45" followed by the rampant colt logo. On the left slab there is "COLT'S PT F.A. MFG. CO HARTFORD. CT. U.S.A." Under that there are the patent dates from APR 20, 1897 through AUG 19, 1913. No rampant colt is on the left side, and there are some irregularities in the dates. For example: The "8" in 1897 looks like a "0" to the casual observation (though you can see the dimples in the sides of the character, just no horizontal line to make an "8"). The "9" in 1913 appears to be missing the lower left portion of the loop. Close inspection does reveal a light impression however.

The barrel is marked with "45 AUTO" on the left side in about the 8o'clock position just above the extension that the link attaches to. On the left side of that extension there is an MB inside a circle stamp. The barrel would be excellent except for some pitting damage on the edges of the lands where I guess Pop's cleaning missed. The rifling is extremely strong, and the bore would be perfect if he would have been better about cleaning after corrosive ammo. I guess there is always going to be at least one fly in the ointment.:( Is there any way that this can be corrected since I'm pretty sure this is the original barrel.

Are there any other marks I should pick up on?

KWILL, I'd love some pics of that box. Send them to [email protected]


Saleen
 

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Oh the Pity

Saleen,

You didn't say that was National Match!!!! My bust for not noticing the "C: prefix. If you only new what a original depression era National Match was worth. That is a highly desirable gun even reblued. There are many Colt collectors that feel this was the high water mark for Colts. The metal got better later ( actually heat treating ), but I don't think there are any Colts that had the labor and attention to detail put into them.

Your Grandpa and Pop like you very much to give you that and don't ever let some weasel talk you out of it cause its reblued and the value is gone. Maybe to a hard core collector that is looking for top dollar as a collectable it isn't , but it is still pretty valuable.

Don't change out parts either, keep it original, blueing is one thing missing parts is something else.

Another highly recommended gunsmith on restoration work is Doug Turnbill:

http://www.gunshop.com/dougt.htm

He comes highly recommended but I personally have not used him, but I heard he is doing the Carbona blue on the new Colt WWI replica. Here is a pics of his George Patton reproduction (zoom and look at the pics closely)

http://www.turnbullrestoration.com/spclprojectspatton.htm

Your numbering irregularities are probably from past reblue and polishing operations. Adair specalizes in engraving back the rollmarks, and I believe he has an extensive library of the rollmarks to work from. My suggestion is you have someone experienced look at it, cause I think you might consider touching up your lettering before you have it reblued. I have spoken with Bill Adair many times on my 1914 restoration, and I think he charges a couple of bucks per letter on the engraving. If you have missing original parts he is also a lot of help sourcing them.

Whoever you send it to ensure he is top notch and knows what he is doing on restoration work. The list of smiths that specialise in this type of work is short but you can afford to be picky.


You lucky dog:D

I have been looking for several years for one of those, I just haven't found one that I didn't have to give up an arm or a leg to afford.
 

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BrianMajors said:
Check this out here. A buddy of mine found it and sent the link to me about a week ago.

http://www.sightm1911.com/1911Production.htm
Alright, cool. Thanks for the link! I just joined the forums myself, and one of my first questions was going to be about my 1911 (C169134). According to the page you linked to, S/N C164800 to C174599 was made in 1933. The guy at the gun store said it was from the 30's..

I think it's Mexican or Argentine though, since both of them also had "C" serial numbers, and stamped on the side of the slide is "Policia Federal".

It is a beauty though. The only pistol I've ever wanted to own is a 1911A1 and now I finally have one :)

I look forward to learning all I can on these forums, looks like there's a ton of good info here.

See ya
 

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box pictures

here is a URL to pic of the box.

http://www.coltautos.com/

Use the drop down search for National Match. There are pictures of both a 1934 and 1935 pistols with the boxes.

A note on engraving there are a lot of subtle differences in the lettering on old Colts. The style of text and how they are formed are very important to proper restoration work. There are probably a half a dozen different styles of 9's ( your partially missing letter ). Have somebody who knows his stuff work on this. I would also have your barrel looked at ( not replaced ) I believe that they can help you out there also, especially if your rifleing is still good.
 

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I have been studying pre WWII Government Models and National Match pistols for some time now and just wrote an extensive article on them that provides much more detail than any other published source that I know of. It is due to be published soon. There are actually six possible NM barrels. I believe yours to be correct for that serial number (assuming it has a period at the end of 45 AUTO). The magazine is also correct but from what I can see in your photo there are a couple of problems with it. The grips appear to be plastic M1911A1 grips. They should be fully checkered walnut. Also, the MSH should NOT have a lanyard loop. It has been replaced at some point. The picture is very small but looks like the front sight may have been filed down a bit. As schromf has pointed out, www.coltautos.com is a great resource on these pistols. Three of the National Match pistols pictured are mine and two of them have their original boxes pictured with them.

Brew, I believe your pistol is from Argentina. Is the finish original?
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Kwill,

I just put the handle and the collection together......awesome indeed. (I assume you are Kevin Williams of the Kevin Williams Collection credited on that website, no?).

If so, I just fired off an email to the webmaster of that site asking for information on who restored that box for you on C178839. I'm thinking that one could be made for this gun from a repro USGI for display purposes (though the interior stampings couldn't be replicated). Most importantly, if someone already has done the research and printing of lables etc. once, they should be able to replicate them readily again. If you don't mind, who did you use?

I already knew the grips were wrong and wondered about that lanyard loop on the MSH. Actually, is the MSH supposed to have vertical lines or cross-hatching? (this one has the cross-hatching)

I guess Pop put the MSH on so that the loop could be used, and perhaps changed the grips out after the originals got trashed. All I know is that he did not give the originals to Dad. He did pass on a nice 1918 dated russet USGI hip holster though. Not the one he usually wore, but one he stored the gun in after his retirement.

I guess if grips and a MSH are all that go monkeyed with in nearly 70 years, we could do alot worse. That bore concerns me though.


Saleen
 

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kwill said:
Brew, I believe your pistol is from Argentina. Is the finish original?
How would I be able to tell?
(I'm pretty new to shooting actually)

It looks like dark gray metal, almost like anodizing except its soft, not shiny.

Actually, I have my card reader here at work so I'll post a photo or two.
 

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sorry, didnt know i couldnt attach on an edit.

here's a photo of the right side and the stamp. looks like there's part of a logo which is mostly worn off, next to the "policia federal"
 

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Brew,
That is a phosphate (re)finish. The pistol was heavily buffed before finishing and may have been refinished multiple times. The original finish was blue. These are excellent, and interesting, shooters.
 

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ok cool.
thx for the info.
here's another photo of some more stamps... any idea what they refer to?
also, you can see that inside the trigger guard, its a little worn through and discolored.. any recommendations on a good way to clean it without hurting it?
 

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