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WW II 1911 shootable?

Discussion in '1911 Forums' started by Pier23, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. Pier23

    Pier23 Silver Member

    Feb 26, 2012

    I have my father's WWII vintage 1911. It has prob been about 30 years since I last fired it. I dontnthink it saw much use when my father had it aside from being used to capture Hitler or Goering...I forget which...

    Is this a sound weapon to shoot, or should I treat it as a curio at this point...ummm...think Ithica made it, but need to verify.

  2. faawrenchbndr

    faawrenchbndr DirtyThirty fan CLM

    Nov 24, 2005
    Should be shootable.
    However I sure as hell would not! That's a piece of history that can
    not be replaced. Would be nice if you could verify it's history,.....& we NEED pics!

  3. zackwatt

    zackwatt That's a Bingo! Lifetime Member

    Nov 25, 2007
    Inspect it. Clean it. Lube it. Shoot it.
  4. why not take it and get appraised, find someone who is a 1911 expert and WWII expert, no point in taking chances and finding out later that you decreased its value:cool:
  5. FLIPPER 348

    FLIPPER 348 Happy Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    Bend Oregon

    and repeat

    I've got one from WW1 and one from WW2, they both get shot
  6. tango44


    Jun 16, 2005
    Miami Florida
    Please share pics!
    Thank you.
  7. TN.Frank

    TN.Frank Glock4Life

    Oct 11, 2004
    Avondale, AZ.
    Might have been Goering since Hitler killed himself to avoid capture. I'd clean it up and do a quick safety check, if all looks well then I'd shoot it but not very much since it IS a piece of History and you want to avoid breaking parts if at all possible. Some of these older 1911's can be worth quite a bit. It's great to have something in the family like this. Love to see some pics.
  8. My only suggestion is not to use any of the +p ammo.
  9. Frog1


    Aug 28, 2009
    Compared to the third world castings made today, you will be just fine. Real forged steel, even the worn out ones are safe.
  10. fnfalman

    fnfalman Chicks Dig It

    Oct 23, 2000
    California & New Mexico, US
    I'd say at least put in a new recoil spring and firing pin spring. Keep the originals though, but at least put in these new springs.

    The GI recoil springs were really weak, at least the 50-something-odd M1911A1s that I had to take care of as an armorer back in the days. They were prone to open too early and spit all sort of unfired powder back onto your face.
  11. 1911Tuner


    Feb 24, 2003
    North Carolina
    The WW1 and WW2 pistols were dead soft 3000 series steel. In 1936, Colt started installing hardened steel inserts in the breechface, and the WW2 slides were spot-hardened about 2 inches behind the bushing and in the slidestop notch.

    Slide lugs are often deformed from recoil forces, and cracks were common in the corner at the cartridge guide block, adjacent to the breechface. Those are dangerous. IT most often shows up in the top, left side of the port. Look closely, and don't ignore any crack matter how small.

    As the slide lugs deform forward...along with barrel lugs that set back...dynamic headspace increases by a like amount. If your slide lugs have a stair-stepped appearance...your headspace is probably beyond allowable limits.

    GI-spec springs weren't specified in pounds, but by the wire diameter and the number of turns. The originals were .043 diameter with 32.75 active coils. Later, that was changed to 30 coils of .044 diameter music wire. They averaged 14 pounds at full compression, and around 13.75 at full slide travel.

    The gun can't open early unless there's a serious problem like grossly excessive headspace or a cracked slide, and the spring wouldn't have any effect on that in any event. The 1911 pistol can be fired without a spring, and nothing bad will happen other than having to manually put the slide back in battery. It won't unlock early, and it won't blow up. won't destroy the frame.

    Neither can it fire so far out of battery to blow it up. It's mechanically impossible...even if the disconnect is worn to a nubbin. Preventing firing out of battery isn't the disconnect's function anyway.

    At .100 inch out of battery, the link is just starting to tug on the barrel. The upper lugs are still vertically engaged with those in the slide, and slide and barrel are still locked horizontally if the gun fires...which it can't. At .100 inch out of battery, the hammer is stopped by the bottom of the firing pin stop and the hammer face can't reach the firing pin...and if the firing pin stop has the original 5.64ths radius on the'll stop the hammer at .090 inch out.


    If anybody wants to try firing one without a recoil spring...actually an action spring since its primary function is returning the slide...use a full-length guide rod and matching plug. The standard "stub" type will get cattywampus and damage the gun.

    Last edited: Apr 17, 2012
  12. tsmo1066

    tsmo1066 Happy Smiley

    Aug 31, 2004
    Houston, TX
    That pistol isn't just a piece of history, it's a family heirloom. I'd clean it and find a nice display case for it.
  13. deadite

    deadite Groovy.


    I just had to fire my WW1 Colt 1911 when I got it. I put a buffer in it, though, and only ran a couple mags through it. It's retired now. :)

  14. Pier23

    Pier23 Silver Member

    Feb 26, 2012
    Ask and ye shall receive.... this is just a mug shot, I didn't strip it, just grabbing some pix for insurance.
  15. Pier23

    Pier23 Silver Member

    Feb 26, 2012
    And totally off-topic, but because I have an appreciative audience.... Mauser HSc in .32 (7.62) and Luger 9mm, WWII vintage.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2012
  16. SpringerTGO


    Jul 30, 2011
    I've shot my 1907 long barreled Lugar a few times.
  17. pipedreams

    pipedreams Member

    Feb 19, 2011
    S. E. Iowa
    Wow! very nice..................
  18. seanmac45

    seanmac45 CLM

    Apr 13, 2000
    Brooklyn, NY
    That's in beautiful condition! Best of luck with her.
  19. glock2740

    glock2740 Gun lover.

    Jun 19, 2008
    NW Ark.
    I really hope you are kidding.