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Discussion Starter #1
Back in August, my brother picked up a used Colt 1911 for my birthday. Other than the fact that it's a series 80, I don't know much about the gun. I am assuming that it is a one piece guide rod because, well, it's only one piece. What do I need to know about this gun?

Pictures

I've put around 200 rounds of 230 grn FMJ ammo through it with absolutely no problems. The ammo was a mix of Wolf and Blaser Brass.

Also, I have a hard time picking up the sights because they are just plain blued steel (by the looks anyway). I really don't have the money to drop $60 onto a new set of sights, but I saw a glow paint kit supposedly designed for this sort of thing. Anyone ever see/use this and does it work?
 

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I have used white-out on the front blade when in a financial pinch. You just have to reapply it each trip to the range, but it is cheap and effective.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
FXR, interesting idea.

DB, thanks for the reminder. New to hand guns, but not firearms in general.
 

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It's a bit hard to tell from the pics, as they are on the smallish side, but the piece looks to be a Commander. If the barrel is 4 1/4" long then it is. It should also say Commander on the slide.

It looks as though the hammer has been swapped out at some point. Possibly the trigger as well.

Yes that is a full length guide rod. A two piece one and was installed by a previous owner. Should you want to change it out for a standard G.I. plug that is an easy thing to do and aids disassembly. They are only a few bucks, most gunsmiths have a few on hand and they are available at gunshows.

A dab of red or white nail polish on the front sight may help you pick it up. You don't need too much. The sights look to be stock Colt and are generally pretty good IMHO providing a decent sight picture. I've seen more expensive ones that do not work as well.

You have a flat main spring housing and that may be the stock grip safety and thumb safety, it's hard for me to tell from the pics.

When you get a few bucks together you may want to have a gunsmith in your area check it out for function.

Hope this helps.

tipoc
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The barrel is about 4 7/8" depending on where I measure it and there is no "Commander" anywhere on the gun.

On the trigger there is a small allen screw centered in the bottom hole and running parallel to the barrel. Is this to change the pull weight of the trigger? To be honest, I'm probably not going to touch it. Compared to the shotgun triggers I'm used to, it's really light.

The gun was bought through Cabela's, is there a reason to still have it checked out? There are not any gunsmiths in the area that I would trust and it seems to shoot flawlessly.
 

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The "yellow glow paint" will work on sights pretty well

The allen screw in the trigger is for "take-up" the play between when you first touch the trigger and when it contacts the sear. I usually take the allen screw out and toss it. should it move inward, it can cause the gun to not fire.

Look in the "how-to" section for "safety checks" and perform each check. If it passes, I'd shoot it.
 

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Measure the barrel length down the bore to the face of the closed slide. A 5" barrel will be about 5-1/8" measured this way. Commander will be about 4.3".

Is this a M1991?

High visibility sights are the primary requirement of a service pistol after caliber and reliability (both of which you have with this pistol out of the box). Start saving. Good sights ain't sixty bucks, they're closer to $200 including the machining required to get then in the slide. This is my major beef with Colt's: they keep putting old WW2 size sights on their pistols for the most part. Then could have milled the slide for Novaks at the factory for a couple bucks more per pistol.

Replace the "full length rod" with GI-type parts at your earliest convenience.

Sights will look like this when you get them mounted:





-- Chuck
 

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Sounds like you likely have a 5" barrel and it's a Government Model.

The suggestion that you go through the safety check procedures in the sticky is a good one. Do that then go shoot it.

Since you're not all that familiar with the 1911 I'd suggest that you spend some time shooting it and getting to know the gun you have prior to changeing out parts. What works for one shooter may not work for you. Time will let you know what you really need and what just looks nice on someone else's gun.

tipoc
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Well, I did it backwards; shot it then did the safety checks. Fortunately, everything with the checks worked as it should.

For $200 I think I could spend that much on ammo and teach myself to shoot instinctively.

As far as getting familiar with the gun: Not to brag but I can field strip and put the gun back together blindfolded/in the dark. Now I need to find the time and the money to shoot it more.
 

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"On the trigger there is a small allen screw centered in the bottom hole and running parallel to the barrel. Is this to change the pull weight of the trigger?"

Nate,
I must disagree with a previous poster. That screw is a Trigger Stop adjustment. It is to prevent excessive trigger movement to the rear AFTER the sear has been released. If the gun fires OK, then leave it alone.

To adjust the trigger stop screw:
1. BE SURE the gun and magazine are totally unloaded.
2. Turn the screw several turns CW (clockwise) and try to fire the gun by pulling trigger.
3. If gun fires, repeat step 2 until gun will not fire.
4. If gun will NOT fire, turn the screw CCW (counter clockwise) about 1/4 turn and try to fire the gun by pulling trigger.
5. Repeat step 4 until the gun will fire.
6. When the gun will fire again turn the screw CCW about 1/2 turn more (for good clearance of sear) and put a drop of Loctite or fingernail polish on the screw.
At this point, you should be good to go.

Good shooting and be safe.
LB

ps: The only adjustments for 1911 take-up (free movement before engaging) that I know of are a couple of small bent tabs on the front of trigger inside housing. These prevent the trigger from moving too far forward when resetting. However, the trigger needs a certain amount of free movement both backward (after firing) and forward (when resetting) to function properly. Failure to allow this needed amount of free movement can cause problems and misfires.
 
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