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Gentleman, I have recently come into possession of what in my very small knowledge of the subject appears to be a colt model of 1911 from I believe 1913 serial # 22XXX. Please check out the pictures and let me know if anything is not correct. I noticed a plastic piece at the rear of the recoil spring that I don't feel confident in being correct. Any help is truly appreciated! I love this piece of history and will not be too dissapointed if it isn't completely correct, still a great piece regardless.

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The piece of plastic that is between the recoil spring and guide is what is referred to as a "recoil spring buffer". This item is of current origin and it supposed to help absorb some of the beating that is taken in that area when shooting. Nice looking pistol you have there!!
 

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Very, very nice pistol.

It looks to be all correct including the barrel, which is a major bonus after 102 years. Judging by the way the barrel link pin is laying, it looks good. There should also be a small "H" stamped on the back end of the barrel hood.

You didn't give me enough serial number to work with for an exact date and destination, but your pistol shipped in one of 3 shipments in February, 1913. Two went to Rock Island Arsenal, Rock Island, IL and the other went to Benicia Arsenal, Benicia, CA.

The modern shock buffer indicates a previous owner shot the pistol, but had the good sense to pad the impact of slide against frame. If he knew enough to add the shock buffer, he most likely installed a new recoil spring and firing pin spring. This implies the original recoil spring is long gone.

Congrats on a fine acquisition!
 

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It looks really good for its age, but I believe it was reblued a long time ago then subsequently continued to received more finish wear. It's getting hard to find these early pistols in any condition however, so you were probably wise to snag it while you could.
 

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How can you tell the barrel without seeing the top?
On the early barrels, the area between the lower lugs was not milled out as deeply as on later barrels. The extra material between the lugs prevents the barrel link from folding forward as far as on later barrels.

On the left is an HP barrel from my 1918 Colt and on the right is the barrel from my 1912 Colt...


I was 700 miles from home with only my Collector's Guide with me when I stumbled upon the 1st year production Colt in an out-of-the-way shop in backwoods Tennessee. I was able to contact mpd1978 for advice and guidance. He instructed me to check out this trait to ascertain barrel originality. That's a lesson that stuck with me!
 
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