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What to do with this 1911?

Discussion in '1911 Forums' started by DrtyHarry, Jul 29, 2009.

  1. DrtyHarry

    DrtyHarry

    1,151
    1
    Sep 26, 2007
    NJ/VT
    Many moons ago when I was 15 years old, my grandfather gave me his Colt 1911 before he passed. He carried this 1911 ever since the war. When he gave it to me, he told me that this gun saved his life on more than one occasion. And if he didn't have it, I probably wouldn't be here today.

    Anyway, when he gave me the pistol at 15, I was always out in the back yard shooting it. Grandpa would always visit bearing gifts, usually ammo for me.

    This was my first handgun, I had a .22 Ruger revolver but I don't think that counts. About a year later, I had an AD with the weapon. I put a magazine in, pulled back on the slide, and released it. Upon releasing it, a round chambered and the hammer fell. Blew a hole in my floor. Is the pistol too old to continue to use it at the range? I love shooting it, it reminds me so much of the times I had with my grandfather.

    So, I did some research to see if I could fix the problem myself (I wanted to learn). I all ready knew how to field strip it. I was so young at the time I didn't realize a few things. I didn't realize that drop in parts often needed some fitting. I bought some new internal pieces from Wilson, didn't work. I must have spent days trying to figure out what the problem was. My stupid ass scratched it in a few places around the trigger. And if the pistol is valuable, should I try and repair the scratches? Can they be repaired? Will refinishing the frame cause it to lose more value?

    Since I couldn't fix it, my friend who is a LEO took it from me to have his smith fix it. He replaced a lot of parts, and it works just like it used to. Perfect. Now I'm wondering, should I keep it as is....or put it all back to stock/original where the hammer falls? I'm older now and realize that this pistol could be worth a pretty penny. So does it go in the display case....or does it come with me to the range. I want to keep my word to my grandfather and carry his 1911, but I think he'll be fine knowing I replaced it with a Wilson. Here are some pics...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Zombie Steve

    Zombie Steve Decap Pin Killa

    18,083
    18
    May 31, 2007
    Old Colorado City
    Leave it as is, consider it lessons learned.

    Carry the Wilson and take this one to the range once a year on his birthday.
     


  3. Cappi

    Cappi

    209
    0
    Jun 23, 2009
    I know little to nothing about old Colts and their collector value

    I do know by looking at the frame by the trigger area, it's an old one from the WWI era or shortly after.
    I'm also guessing that given it's finish condition relative to it's age, it's been refinished.
    that has made it lose a ton of collector value

    personally, I probably wouldn't shoot it much, if at all.
    I'd also put an original parts* on it.
    *Not the original dangerous worn out parts, but original parts for the year model.

    If you can afford a Wilson, you probably don't need to sell your Grand Pappy's pistol for lunch money
    (or maybe you do cause you spent too much money on a Wilson:rofl:)

    never the less, if it were mine, it would be in original condition and a display/sentimental piece.
    not a carry, nor a shooter


    ..L.T.A.
     
  4. DrtyHarry

    DrtyHarry

    1,151
    1
    Sep 26, 2007
    NJ/VT
    Believe it or not, it has not been refinished. The main flaw is the scratches around the trigger on the frame. I have no intention on selling it. I guess I can look for original internal pieces. By the way, why is the Colt logo missing from the slide? Shouldn't there be one there? I saw pics of others from this era and they had the stamp.

    Harry
     
  5. Morgo

    Morgo

    3,189
    15
    Oct 12, 2002
    Australia
    I would keep all the original parts aside in a safe place and leave the newer parts in the pistol so that it is safe to shoot.
    Buy the new 1911 that you want and keep your grandfathers for special range shoots i.e birthdays, war related days etc
    On a side note my Grandfather gave me his SMLE No1.MkIII which I shoot every ANZAC day.
     
  6. Cappi

    Cappi

    209
    0
    Jun 23, 2009

    I just recently read something about that here or on M1911.org
    I can't recall the specifics, but it was related to the year it was manufactured.

    they didn't start adding the pony til the year 19??
    (don't recall the year)

    if that is indeed the original finish, I wouldn't monkey with the idiot scratch, I wouldn't shoot it and I SURE wouldn't put it in a holster to carry..:wow:



    ..L.T.A.
     
  7. Deployment Solu

    Deployment Solu Kydex Crafter

    6,011
    4
    Jul 18, 2007
    Arkansas
    Nice!! If you have others to shoot, I'd put it up and only handle it gently and enjoy the good memories!!!
     
  8. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson

    4,304
    47
    Jul 10, 2001
    Alabama
    The gun or at least the frame was made in 1918, based on serial number and inspector's stamp.
    There SHOULD be a "horsie" on the left side of the slide behind the serrations.
    And it is suspiciously shiny, how do you KNOW it has not been refinished?

    IF that IS the original blue, congratulations, you have Bubbaed off a thousand dollars or more.

    Do you have the original parts; hammer, trigger, grip safety, and grips?
    If so, I would take it back to the original configuration and get the hammer fixed so it did not follow. If it were irreparable, you can get a wide spur hammer that looks closer to Colt until you could scrounge a real one.
     
  9. DrtyHarry

    DrtyHarry

    1,151
    1
    Sep 26, 2007
    NJ/VT
    Thanks so much for the help guys. Yes, I do have all the original parts. The smith set them aside for me in a bag. I know it an original finish because my grandfather had told me so, as are some of his older war time pieces. Every time I'd visit, we would sit down together, strip it and clean it. He took very good care of it, I just wish I had done the same...stupid kid.

    OK, so I'm going to take it to a smith and have him put it back the way it was. If I can find an original piece to whatever piece made the hammer fall, I'll get it. So where would one find such pieces? Gunbroker? Is there anyone that deals with OLD 1911s? And when it's complete, maybe I'll have some sort of commemorative case made to keep it in and shoot it on special days. Again, thanks for the help guys!!

    Harry
     
  10. 1006

    1006

    873
    0
    Aug 12, 2007
    Newnan, Georgia
    Harry--

    I'd ask the smith to see if that gun has been refinished. It sure looks like it has from the pics. I would guess that at the very least,, it has been rebuilt at one of the military arsenals. See if there is a small "AA" some where on it. This would indicate the Augusta Arsenal -- one of several possible rework facilities. If it has not been refinished, it is worth more, but if it isn't functioning properly, the best action may be to repaire it with period correct parts.

    Either way, it is a nice gun that most 1911 folks would like to have.
     
  11. DrtyHarry

    DrtyHarry

    1,151
    1
    Sep 26, 2007
    NJ/VT
    Thanks! Nope, it doesn't have any other stamps. I recall seeing an "AA" on another 1911, it was located behind the slide above the hammer on the right side. That one had the horse stamp.

    Is there a way to fix the scratches around the trigger guard without having to have the entire frame redone? I understand a refinish on the entire frame will make the pistol less valuable.

    Harry
     
  12. 1006

    1006

    873
    0
    Aug 12, 2007
    Newnan, Georgia
  13. jrs93accord

    jrs93accord

    6,150
    179
    Jul 10, 2005
    Pensacola, FL
    Personally, I would return it to the original configuration. That means putting the original grips back on it too. That is a beautiful early model Colt 1911. I would not "Bubba" it up for any reason. I have one that is not that pretty, but it shoots great.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. automan

    automan

    434
    0
    Jan 26, 2007
    NVA
    Original 1911 frame, different grip safety, commercial grips, commander hammer, commercial trigger. The "idiot" scratches and dents by the trigger also lower the value. Good shooter though.
     
  15. DrtyHarry

    DrtyHarry

    1,151
    1
    Sep 26, 2007
    NJ/VT
    Thanks for the link! I gave them a call...and you are correct, a bit pricey. Restorations start at $2K. I don't want to refinish the pistol, the finish looks real nice and it is the original finish, the pistol is also rather tight, VERY little play. In other words, the slide doesn't rattle much.

    So, I'm going to put it back the way it was. Can anyone tell me what caused the hammer to fall when I released the slide? Maybe I just need one part and I could do it myself...unless it needs fitting? Thanks!!

    Harry
     
  16. FreeAmerican

    FreeAmerican

    544
    1
    Sep 21, 2004
    I'll try to help as much as I can. Looks like it was built in 1918 from the ser no. It may not have been refinished. Should be brushed blue with small parts matching the blue. Yours looks refinished but I could be wrong. The blue back then was not as tough and you couldn't carry it in a leather holster and not have wear on at least the high spots.

    Hammer, grip safety, trigger, slide stop are not Org. Sounds like you may have those parts though. The kicker is the barrel, it should have an H and a P as such
    [​IMG]

    For your hammer follow you could have a good gunsmith true up the sear and hammer hooks if they are not too bad.

    It woudl be worth it to put it back even if refinished.
     
  17. DrtyHarry

    DrtyHarry

    1,151
    1
    Sep 26, 2007
    NJ/VT
    Thanks for the help. There are some markings on the barrel, 2 of them. One does look like an H, and I'm guessing the other is a P that you mentioned. All the small parts match the finish of the slide and frame. Here is a pic close up of the barrel...

    [​IMG]
     
  18. FreeAmerican

    FreeAmerican

    544
    1
    Sep 21, 2004
    With all matching parts and org finish I would say you have well over a 2k gun