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I am am a newbie to 1911's (and the forum) - I finally picked one up from a friend who got it in a trade with other items. (It came with two mags and no box or papers.) It appears to be from 1973 based on the serial # (70SC24xxx), so a 70 Series, I presume? I'd like to be able to shoot (and perhaps carry it). Pics below.

(1) It needs a rear sight - I'm trying to learn how to determine what would fit - looks also like there is a two inch or so piece missing on the top - is that part of the rear sight normally?

(2) Is there anything to be done about the holes drilled in the slide? Ugh.

(3) The front sight seems to be integral - so no replacing that? Or is that something one has a gunsmith do? Or again is that barbarism along the lines of what has already been done to it?

(4) I stripped, cleaned, and lightly oiled rails, primarily. It still is a beast to rack the slide - it seems to be in large part due to the hammer going back hard. That may well be normal, and I am just getting used to it (again, this is the first 1911 I've had in my hand.) I am used to my HK USP 45.

(5) Mags - it came with one that seems to be original to it and one black one that slides in a little rough at the end (and doesn't drop well). Thoughts on what kind of mags to pick up for it?

(6) I'd be curious to know what would be a reasonable price to have paid for it. (I am going to try to save face by not divulging what I paid at this point.) Thanks for any help with my (lack of) buyers remorse.

... and thanks in advance for any other help!

Revolver Air gun Trigger Wood Gun barrel
Wood Composite material Trigger Gun accessory Metal



Gun accessory Cylinder Wood Composite material Machine
Wood Nickel Gadget Aluminium Metal
 

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Where do you want to go with it?

The more I look at it, I wonder if someone had it milled for an adjustable rear sight with a matching front sight and then later had the rear sight removed and a scope rail mounted for an ultra dot or something.

Making it usable for the lowest cost? Find a scope rail that matches those holes, (or buy one that is undrilled, and drill it to match the existing holes) and stick a red dot on it.

Maybe if you could figure out what fits that rear sight cut you could replace the rear sight, but it will take someone more knowledgeable than me to look at it and say, "Ayup, that fits a Lewiston MK14 blaster rear sight, try Ebay".

I don't see any practical way to restore it to original absent a new, correct slide.


Looks like it could be a fun project. If it were mine, I would do the usual safety checks and if it checked out I would start looking for a blank scope rail.
It could be, if someone had a scope rail on it, that it could also have a fitted barrel and bushing and a trigger job. I would do that safety check, first thing, but you could have someone's old steel challenge or bowling pin gun. Could be one of those that turns out to be a real gem that just looks like a beater.

1911s can rack a little hard if the hammer is down. Has to do with leverage of the hammer against the bottom of the firing pin stop.

Thanks for posting an interesting puzzle. I look forward to seeing where this goes.
 

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Yeah looks like this has been played with a bit too much for me.

Wear is one thing to me but cuts welding etc scare me away

I look forward to seeing what you do!
 

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Yeah looks like this has been played with a bit too much for me.

Wear is one thing to me but cuts welding etc scare me away

I look forward to seeing what you do!
Always interesting to see how other people see things. I see a slide that needs replaced or a $35 scope base fitted and the potential for a good shooter. I would want to strip that awful chrome job and refinish it, but that's cosmetic. Looks like, with the exception of the trigger, the frame is unmolested.
 

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Cut for a Smith and Wesson revolver rear sight. Stock dovetail not well filled.

I can only think it was drilled and tapped for some sort of half rib up front. There is some sort of flaw between the front hole and the sight blade. The holes could be filled but not invisibly except by welding, which would run $75 a hole or more.

The present front sight is probably silver soldered on. The current practice would be to just wipe it out by cutting a cross dovetail to take any of the wide variety of sights now available.

Colt was not making stainless guns in 1973 and it is not the color or texture of the matte nickel they were using at the time. I think it has been hard chrome plated, which would add to the cost of closing up those holes.

That is not the original trigger, either.

If, by "Series 70" you mean "lacking a firing pin block" like most people do in the Internet Era, that is so. But it does not have the collet bushing that was the real feature of a Mk IV Series 70 Government Model of the 1970s.

If it had come to me cheaply, I would get a S&W sight for it, mill for a dovetailed fiber optic front sight, and learn to love the holes, call it a Buick Pistol. I would not throw a lot of money at it with a new slide or a scope on a Commander, ick.

My last .45 magazine purchase was CMC RPM, but there are others; Checkmate is closest to GI and older factory.
 

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Always interesting to see how other people see things. I see a slide that needs replaced or a $35 scope base fitted and the potential for a good shooter. I would want to strip that awful chrome job and refinish it, but that's cosmetic. Looks like, with the exception of the trigger, the frame is unmolested.

Just more of a project than I like
If you do work yourself I am sure it would be a fun project.
I am just a bit of a gun snob when it comes to my own collection but respect and appreciate everyone choices and collections.
 

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Jim Watson's suggestions make the most sense. Depending on how "bad" you want an all original 1911 you should buy a new one and sell this one. If you are interested in a solid "shooter" pick up a rear sight and have a dovetail cut for an aftermarket fiber optic front sight. It's not a total loss, unless you paid big bucks for it (and it doesn't sound like you did). If you have not owned any previous 1911 pistols, the least expensive fix will give you a good one to begin with.

Grumpy
 

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If that were mine I'd get a nice blued replacement slide for it with some decent sights, and make it a duo-toned carry pistol.
 

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As above, the slide was machined for use with a S&W revolver rear sight.
Years ago that was very much a "thing" for combat shooters.

To replace it, you'll need a complete old model S&W rear sight complete with the elevation screw stud that slides into the smaller cut in the sight leaf cut, not the current type with the rounded front on the sight leaf.
Installation is easy, just slide the elevation stud into the cut on the slide and install a front retention screw.
It's very likely the front sight will be perfect with the S&W rear sight.

Older model S&W revolver rear sights are getting harder to find, but are available.

To at least make the holes in the slide look better, I suggest installing some stainless Brownell's Positive Lock plug screws.
These have a domed head that would make it look more "finished.
Use some Loctite when installing the plugs.


So, it could be returned to shooter shape with the purchase of a rear sight and plug screws.
 

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I think the missing part is a "Bomar Style Sight"... Real Popular in the Mid 70s for target shooting. Unless you are seriously attached to that Slide... I would do myself a favor and replace it. Steel Commander Slides are under $150 on Ebay. The Welded front sight means you are STUCK at that Attitude and Cant. Is The Barrel actually Ported?
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Maybe you fit the holes with LED lights, red, white, and blue and use those to line up on the target. "We don't need no stinking sights". I have always left my guns stock but I think you have an opportunity to make a great shooter to fit your needs. Understand that there is nothing wrong with a 1911 for a carry piece. I hope you post the progress of this project.
 

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Definitely looks like you have a real diamond on the rough there. If you got it for less than two Gs then you did well. And clearly you have the situation well in hand. Let us know when you get that gem tuned back in.
 

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Where do you want to go with it?

The more I look at it, I wonder if someone had it milled for an adjustable rear sight with a matching front sight and then later had the rear sight removed and a scope rail mounted for an ultra dot or something.

Making it usable for the lowest cost? Find a scope rail that matches those holes, (or buy one that is undrilled, and drill it to match the existing holes) and stick a red dot on it.

Maybe if you could figure out what fits that rear sight cut you could replace the rear sight, but it will take someone more knowledgeable than me to look at it and say, "Ayup, that fits a Lewiston MK14 blaster rear sight, try Ebay".

I don't see any practical way to restore it to original absent a new, correct slide.


Looks like it could be a fun project. If it were mine, I would do the usual safety checks and if it checked out I would start looking for a blank scope rail.
It could be, if someone had a scope rail on it, that it could also have a fitted barrel and bushing and a trigger job. I would do that safety check, first thing, but you could have someone's old steel challenge or bowling pin gun. Could be one of those that turns out to be a real gem that just looks like a beater.

1911s can rack a little hard if the hammer is down. Has to do with leverage of the hammer against the bottom of the firing pin stop.

Thanks for posting an interesting puzzle. I look forward to seeing where this goes.
Love the E.E. "Doc" Smith references!
 

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I am am a newbie to 1911's (and the forum) - I finally picked one up from a friend who got it in a trade with other items. (It came with two mags and no box or papers.) It appears to be from 1973 based on the serial # (70SC24xxx), so a 70 Series, I presume? I'd like to be able to shoot (and perhaps carry it).
...
(4) I stripped, cleaned, and lightly oiled rails, primarily. It still is a beast to rack the slide - it seems to be in large part due to the hammer going back hard. That may well be normal, and I am just getting used to it (again, this is the first 1911 I've had in my hand.) I am used to my HK USP 45.

(5) Mags - it came with one that seems to be original to it and one black one that slides in a little rough at the end (and doesn't drop well). Thoughts on what kind of mags to pick up for it?
...
... and thanks in advance for any other help!
The concern that I have is the difficulty described in operating the slide. For 15yrs, I've been teaching people the 1911. About 2/3 of them women. Some are tiny little old ladies with arthritic hands. All could operate a 1911 slide with a few minutes of instruction on the skill of operating the slide ( strength is not required ). If the hammer / slide is that difficult, it reads as something wrong, such as a super stiff main spring. Now that's going by the hammer going back hard. With all the work done on the slide, possible that it's bearing too hard on the frame. I'd be interested in a gauge reading of how much pressure it takes to cock the hammer.

As to magazines: there are several brands that I generally trust, would not throw in the trash if they accompanied a pistol purchase. But now the only .45ACP, 1911 mags I buy are CMC RPMs. About the price of other premium quality magazines and better engineered. The other brands are CMC Power Mags; Tripp; Wilson Combat: those I might still buy for a CCW when the tube of a flush-fit magazine wears out. Flush-fits, so far, used in the pistol in the holster ... RPMs are a little longer.
 

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Love the E.E. "Doc" Smith references!
That's what I love about forums, there is almost always someone who will pick up on any joke or reference.

I'm glad you all recognized the S&W sight cut, that recess just looked too deep to me for some reason.
 

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The rear sight cut is for a S&W rear sight. I believe K frame sights were the most popular. I just checked on eBay and found one for $70. You probably will have to shorten it and drill the hole to match the one on the slide. Another option is buying an off brand slide. Once again on eBay I found them for $150-$200. Good luck with your project.
 

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Perhaps the slide had one of the old school bullseye extended sight full rail modifications done.
Joe
Just reread the OP and don’t think a commander slide would have been a candidate for the full length rail…
 

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Cut for a Smith and Wesson revolver rear sight. Stock dovetail not well filled.

I can only think it was drilled and tapped for some sort of half rib up front. There is some sort of flaw between the front hole and the sight blade. The holes could be filled but not invisibly except by welding, which would run $75 a hole or more.

The present front sight is probably silver soldered on. The current practice would be to just wipe it out by cutting a cross dovetail to take any of the wide variety of sights now available.

Colt was not making stainless guns in 1973 and it is not the color or texture of the matte nickel they were using at the time. I think it has been hard chrome plated, which would add to the cost of closing up those holes.

That is not the original trigger, either.

If, by "Series 70" you mean "lacking a firing pin block" like most people do in the Internet Era, that is so. But it does not have the collet bushing that was the real feature of a Mk IV Series 70 Government Model of the 1970s.

If it had come to me cheaply, I would get a S&W sight for it, mill for a dovetailed fiber optic front sight, and learn to love the holes, call it a Buick Pistol. I would not throw a lot of money at it with a new slide or a scope on a Commander, ick.

My last .45 magazine purchase was CMC RPM, but there are others; Checkmate is closest to GI and older factory.
My exact thought! I believe it was Armand Swenson who first popularized S&W revolver sights on 1911's, also close-fitting slide to frame and hard-chroming to preserve the "tune." His work was expensive and everybody in the country set out to do it themselves on the cheap . . . with predictable result I have a Commander slide so done. Sight did not want to stay put.

I believe this photo is a genuine Swenson build. Beautiful stuff

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My exact thought! I believe it was Armand Swenson who first popularized S&W revolver sights on 1911's, also close-fitting slide to frame and hard-chroming to preserve the "tune." His work was expensive and everybody in the country set out to do it themselves on the cheap . . . with predictable result I have a Commander slide so done. Sight did not want to stay put.

I believe this photo is a genuine Swenson build. Beautiful stuff
is
View attachment 623084
Did they use a S&W revolver sight or m39 type? I haven’t had any work done on a 1911 since I had a Colt GI given the full meal deal / BoMar ect back in 70s. Just a few months ago I took a chance on a commander that had custom work done. Glad I did, few small glitches ironed out and I got Target grade Commander.
 
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