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I was just given a M1911 that was my great uncle's 1920 US Army issued side arm. Mechanically the piece seems to be in very good condition. (I have not fired it yet.)I am debating as to refinish it or not.
 

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Not.
Assuming that it is unaltered, not rusty or badly battered, nor previously refinished, it is best to leave it alone. It will have more dollar value, more collector interest, more historical significance, and I would think a closer tie to your great uncle in its original condition. My uncle was in the Army between the wars, I wish I had his pistol or other mementos.
Just clean it - no sandpaper or steel wool, please - oil it, and admire it as a chunk of history. I'd put in a fresh full strength recoil spring and buffer to shoot it. And I would shoot it, that's what it is for.
 

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I wouldn't jump to refinishing the weapon till you had a good chance to examine and determine it's collector status first...If it's a parts rework perhaps..But I'd just clean the the gun up and atart the research. This forum has a whole lot of expertise availible to you..Use it..

Be safe all.
 

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Refinishing it will destry any collector's value it may have had. I strongly recommend that you leave it alone. Like ScottsGT said, after refinishing it'll no longer be your great uncle's gun.

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Original unmolested 1911s are scarce these days, do not refinish that 1911 unless you enjoy flushing large amounts of cash down the toilet.

7th

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UH OH..the collectors are crying again...I sincerely DOUBT he would sell his great uncles gun....who cares what it is worth to you people...get over it...LOL
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks to eveyone for their responses. As much as I would like to have "shiny new gun". I will keep it as is. I've enjoyed putting a few rounds through it. It does represent a part of my family history and look forward to passing it along to my son when the time comes.
 

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Ugly Jeep Truck, Why do you drive an ugly Jeep, Truck? you should have that thing purtied up a bit even if it cost you more money than the truck is worth!

It's sillines to ruin the value of something simply because you don't intend to sell it.

I plan on keeping every gun I own but I don't trash them to prove it!
 

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I used to own a J20 pickup truck...and your analogy is bad Sir..he would re-finish it so the metal would last longer without rusting...which would be like me painting my truck in rustoleum instead of a 4,000 dollar paint job..which I DID without ANY concern for the value of the pice of hardware(truck)..which is all a gun is my friend. For the record I drive a F250 4wd with the turbo diesel currently, but I use that name on every bullitin board I am registered at because I fuind it amusing that most people did not know Jeep made a 3/4 ton truck.
 

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Originally posted by dwilll:
Thanks to eveyone for their responses. As much as I would like to have "shiny new gun". I will keep it as is. I've enjoyed putting a few rounds through it. It does represent a part of my family history and look forward to passing it along to my son when the time comes.
I believe that refinishing to protect the gun was not the concern. Having a pretty finish was. DO NOT refinish the gun. I am not a collector, but I can't respect the intelligence of anyone who would knowingly wreck the value of a rare and sentimental piece. I do not buy rare 1911's because I like to shoot them. If I was fortunate enough to receive one I would not beat on it nor refinish it. I am very envious of you dwill.


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"A flute without any holes isn't really a flute and a donut without a hole is a danish." Ty Webb
 

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I have no idea what the finish is like on dwill's gun, but if it is 60% or so, I doubt that a quality refinish will harm the value much if any.

I can't remember the name of the outfit, but isn't there a company back east that RESTORES old Colts? I have read about them and I know that they are expensive, but this may actually increase the value if the gun is in poor condition.
 

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Originally posted by Ugly-Jeep-Truck:
UH OH..the collectors are crying again...I sincerely DOUBT he would sell his great uncles gun....who cares what it is worth to you people...get over it...LOL
Well, shucks......in that case, why don't we just nickle plate the thing, and maybe Robar the slide. Might as well slap a comp on it, too! Hell, run it down to TJ and have a few acorns and lariats chiseled into it, too.

A 1911 with any sentimental or actual value is NOT 'just a piece of hardware'!!!
 

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yet another misrepresentation of what I said. *shakes head* Lets say you inherited your fathers corvette from after he passed away..and there were numerous scratches int he paint from things beig set next to it int he garage...would you not repaint the car? How is that desecrating it sentimentaly?????(spelling?) Now ont he other hand...modifying the car for complete drag use by tubbing it out..adding a rool cage, allt hings that help the car be better towards a more narrow goal might detract from the value. Kind of like doing all that stuff you said to the 1911...making it so you could never go back...but simple re-finish..c'mon guys.
 

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Simple..if it is a parkerized gun, then just re-parkerize...same finish.....problem solved...I bet you'd like it to look like new even though it is a memento and you would be keeping it stock, so to speak...
 

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UJT, YOU sir are the person that doesn't get it.

I will follow your lead and cite a different example of how the scratches could have arrived on the classic car.

Perhaps daddy was a trans-am racer and those are old battle scars that have a history?

Perhaps Richard Petty should have the Old STP cars redone so that they don't look raced in?

Every scar, scratch, nick and blemish on that old .45 has a story. EVEN the stupid stories are history. You don't like collectibles? Fine you should just rustoleum all your guns and save yourself the trouble of protecting the bluing. Besides, rustoleum is cheaper.

Do you HAVE any Rustoleumized guns? Put your money where your mouth is! (Shakes his head)
 

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This is an interesting post. I understand both sides here and I think the value of the gun in dollars has zero to do with the question. If his great uncle got the gun new and all the wear was his maybe leave it alone. If the great uncle always wanted the gun to be redone maybe having the blue or parkerizing redone will b a tribute to his uncle. I don't agree that reblueing a gun will make it a different gun. The memories and metal are still the same.
Here is an interesting similar situation. I bought my first 1911 in 1980 / a colt blue standard series 80. I have owned and fired it 55000 times since new, it is still very reliable and stock. The only work needed was to replace the front site after it flew off. I have always wanted to get a trigger job done and get a flat msh put on it. I also like smooth flat wood grips. My gun has been fired by everyone in my family. My now dead grandfather put some rounds thru it and told me his WW 2 stories. My dad and I took it out to the range and he told me he used to be a combat instructor for the guards at government nuke and other high security places... something I never knew anything about. He handled that gun like he was born with it , and he had not shot in maybe 20 years.
I decided to put that gun away as a family piece of history . I thought about having it redone with a better trigger , but now I think I want it to stay completely stock. My gun has 95-98 percent origional finish with only a few minor scratches around the ejection port and other normal stuff. If the gun has finish problems I might get it done in teflon - S and enjoy knowing it is protected for several generations. It is cool to get a gun with family history, It is also fun to create one yourself.
 

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Don't Refinish!

Don't Refinish.I wouldn't even consider refinishing an original that was handed down to me from someone in the family, Absolutly Not..!! It wouldn't matter what the condition. The pistol is a piece of History, Please keep it that way.. and just enjoy it like it is. Our family had a german lugar handed down to us that my granddad had taken off of a dead german officer and it absolutly reeks of history when you hold it. One can only imagine the storys it can tell! Personally I wouldn"t even shoot it very much. Notice I said very much.I would have a go with it but, but buy something newer for a shooter and just enjoy this one for what it is , a piece of history. Just my 2 cents :D Powderhound(NRAlife)
 
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