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View Full Version : Help out a bro?


Nihonto Chicken
01-22-2012, 4:22 PM
Edit: If interested, see #21 for new pics.

So, I drop into a local gun shoppe just to see what's what, and on my way out I spy what appears to be an old 1911 Colt hiding in the shadows, as it turns out with possibly a reasonable price tag affixed. Here's a composite of the quicky photos I took:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v139/nihontochicken/1911Colt1.jpg

Now I don't know very much about collectible military 1911s, certainly not all the types of original parts and their unique configurations and marks. Sorry for the poor pics, but this example appears to be in original black oxide finish with about 70% remaining (maybe better on the slide and upper frame with more thinning on the grip straps) with about a dozen or so scattered light rust spots of around a millimeter in diameter. The serial number is 292xxx, the owner indicated a 1918 manufacture date. The hammer appears to possibly be a replacement as its finish is darker than the rest of the gun (also the trigger and mag release button escutcheon?). I didn't field strip it, but noted the barrel chamber is marked (seen through the ejection port) with a small P and a small H, while the frame is marked near the disconnector with a small H and a small W. There is a stamp on the frame left side behind the trigger of a stylized co-joined J and M inside a G. The two-tone magazine is unmarked.

What would be a decent price, assuming the hammer and perhaps the barrel and some other small parts are replacements? If I do get to field strip it, what should I look for, and is there a way to tell whether the hammer is indeed a replacement or not without disassembling the gun further? TIA for your help! :)

littlejake
01-22-2012, 6:15 PM
The serial Number is definitely a 1918 Colt according to Clawson's book. JMG is Lt Colonel John M Gilbert, Army Inspector of ordinance for that period Colt. P is a proof mark. H is a provisional inspection mark for Francis L Hosmer. There a many little variations in the knurling of the slide stop, hammer spur, magazine latch, et cetera that have to be compared to have a 100% correct 1911. Clawson's book has gone astronomical in price. The later editions have a CD with detailed photos of most aspects of the 1911 service pistol throughout it revision history. Although it might be difficult to prove you have the pistol's original hammer; one could certainly verify if it were correct to the gun.

It' looks pretty good from the photos you have -- I'd say it would be a steal at $800 and is more likely worth in the neighborhood of $1800.

bruceflinch
01-22-2012, 6:20 PM
Looks like a pretty nice specimen. No apparent holster wear. In the Pics, it appears the hammer & trigger look the same shade. Don't know anything about them in particular.

What was the asking price?
Have you compared on Gunbroker, etc?

littlejake
01-22-2012, 6:25 PM
BTW -- 1918 Colt's were being rushed through production because the war in Europe was ending and contracts would be cancelled. The finish is not black oxide -- it's actually a bluing. But, because of the hurried process it looks black; and it does tend to wear easily.

Nihonto Chicken
01-22-2012, 7:54 PM
It' looks pretty good from the photos you have -- I'd say it would be a steal at $800 and is more likely worth in the neighborhood of $1800.

Looks like a pretty nice specimen. No apparent holster wear. In the Pics, it appears the hammer & trigger look the same shade. Don't know anything about them in particular.

What was the asking price?
Have you compared on Gunbroker, etc?

Been looking at the closed auctions on GB, seems the darker hammer, trigger, escutcheon and sometimes safety are typical for this year production. My best guess now is that it's all or mostly original, note the lack of wear on the barrel (which seems to be original), I don't think the gun was ever shot enough to break or wear anything out. The GB examples in similar shape that actually sold seem to have gone for a bit below to somewhat over $2k. The asking price is a few hundred less than that, thinking I'll offer 10% under the ask and see what happens. Man, am I risking a SWMBO whupping here! :sweatdrop: Time for "creative finance", I may have to sell off a toy or two pronto and hope to replace the funds before getting caught out. Hey, Jon Corzine seems to be getting away with it, why not me?!!! :rolleyes:

GOEX FFF
01-23-2012, 12:12 AM
The grips are also correct Colt manufactured, noted by the 15 rows of checkering between diamond points.
Looks like an all correct piece for 1918.

As littlejake mentioned, production of field gear and arms were sped up in 1918, so finding an original 1918 dated leather holster, is fairly easy too.

littlejake
01-23-2012, 9:48 AM
BTW -- that 2 tone magazine alone is worth $100 bucks.

Nihonto Chicken
01-23-2012, 9:01 PM
Thanks to all for the feedback. I made an offer, the shop has to contact the owner (consignment sale) to see whether it's a go. I'll find out tomorrow. If it works out, it won't be a steal, but a decent buy, I think (I hope!).

Nihonto Chicken
01-24-2012, 2:01 PM
Offer accepted, deposit made, paperwork started, took the handgun safety test (haven't bought one in years), but the shop is out of handgun safety cards and indicates it can't start the 10 day clock until they come in from the State, so jail time will be extended. Oh, well. :(

morrcarr67
01-24-2012, 3:39 PM
Offer accepted, deposit made, paperwork started, took the handgun safety test (haven't bought one in years), but the shop is out of handgun safety cards and indicates it can't start the 10 day clock until they come in from the State, so jail time will be extended. Oh, well. :(

Well that's good and bad.

Good he took the offer :clap:

Bad he took the offer :shrug:

WW2Buff
01-24-2012, 3:55 PM
Great buy! I'm envious.

RazzB7
01-24-2012, 3:57 PM
That's a beautiful example of american workmanship! Congratulations!

Nihonto Chicken
01-24-2012, 9:28 PM
Thanks guys for the positive vibes. When I get it in my hot little hands, I'll try to post some better pics for those who may be interested (which will probably inspire someone to identify a major incorrect part and burst my bubble, oh, well :o).

This is the most I've ever paid for a collectible firearm without having the necessary knowledge to justify the purchase, kind of a leap of faith, which we all know goes unrewarded more often than not. Well, hey, it just "spoke to me". Which is more than my wife will do when I come clean on this acquisition. :rolleyes:

I'm not a big 1911 freak, but have always had in the back of my mind how neat it would be to have an early example. I am sort of a JMB freak, but more for his shotguns. Either way, it's kind of a way of being able to reach back into the past to touch and appreciate bedrock genius.

BTW, I don't have the Big $$$ Book on 1911s, and am not likely to get it, as I think this is the only collectible example I'm likely to acquire. So can I impose on someone who does have one? I'd be interested in the approximate month this 1911 was manufactured. Serial number is 292xxx, which I'm guessing is earlier in the year from what I've seen up for grabs on GB. TIA!

Rogerbutthead
01-25-2012, 6:22 AM
Clawson's book (copyright 1993) on page 385 regarding Military Sales states in part:

Shipping Date Approximate serial range total Destination
May 9th 1918 289301-293000 3,600 commanding officer, Springfield Armory
May 13th 1918 292000-298000 4,800 " ", " "

Earlier on page 379 under Appendix A Automatic Pistol, Cal. .45 Model of 1911 it states in part:

Serial Numbers Quanity
1918 233601-580600 Colt 347,000

Nihonto Chicken
01-25-2012, 7:50 AM
Thank you for the info, much appreciated! :)

rplusplus
01-25-2012, 8:01 AM
Good deal or great deal...

Saving a piece of America from a $100 Walmart Gift Card Melt Fest... Priceless.

To think of all of the pieces that have been destroyed makes me sad.

Enjoy.

drifter001
01-25-2012, 8:09 AM
Very nice! Congrats on the purchase

littlejake
01-25-2012, 8:52 AM
Offer accepted, deposit made, paperwork started, took the handgun safety test (haven't bought one in years), but the shop is out of handgun safety cards and indicates it can't start the 10 day clock until they come in from the State, so jail time will be extended. Oh, well. :(

If you had your C&R + COE, you wouldn't need a HGSC for a C&R purchase -- plus you could take it home without the 10 day wait. :oji:

GOEX FFF
01-25-2012, 10:16 AM
<Snip>

This is the most I've ever paid for a collectible firearm without having the necessary knowledge to justify the purchase, kind of a leap of faith, which we all know goes unrewarded more often than not. Well, hey, it just "spoke to me". Which is more than my wife will do when I come clean on this acquisition. :rolleyes:


Good to hear he took your offer!

Even though it may seem like a pretty penny to spend, that 1911 will hold its value. As long as you take care of it (which i'm sure you will) you'll never lose money on it if you ever have to part with it for any reason. Next, you need to grab a WWI Mills web belt, a 1918 dated double pocket magazine pouch and two more two-tone colt mags (about $100 ea), a 1918 dated leather holster, first-aid pouch and canteen, and a WWI lanyard for the pistol. You'll increase the value of the whole rig for not that much more.

Take your wife out for a day of shopping and dinner, then spill the beans (if you really want to :D ) and justify the investment you made. ;)

Nihonto Chicken
01-25-2012, 11:28 AM
Next, you need to grab a WWI Mills web belt, a 1918 dated double pocket magazine pouch and two more two-tone colt mags (about $100 ea), a 1918 dated leather holster, first-aid pouch and canteen, and a WWI lanyard for the pistol. You'll increase the value of the whole rig for not that much more.

Good idea, except that I don't know I could adequately care for a full outfit like that. There is neither temperature nor humidity/moisture control in the dog house. :o

Nihonto Chicken
03-14-2012, 6:41 PM
Finally got the 1918 made Model 1911 out of jail, here are some better pics of it for any who may be interested in vintage porn:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v139/nihontochicken/1911Colt001.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v139/nihontochicken/1911Colt005.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v139/nihontochicken/1911Colt002.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v139/nihontochicken/1911Colt003.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v139/nihontochicken/1911Colt004.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v139/nihontochicken/1911Colt006.jpg

Sorry, don't know why some of these photos got rotated, they appear correct in my photo album. Pics continued below.

Nihonto Chicken
03-14-2012, 6:43 PM
Here are the worst areas of rust/pitting:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v139/nihontochicken/1911Colt007.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v139/nihontochicken/1911Colt008.jpg

Perhaps the best feature of this piece is the barrel interior, it is nearly pristine:


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v139/nihontochicken/1911Colt009.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v139/nihontochicken/1911Colt010.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v139/nihontochicken/1911Colt011.jpg

Overall this pistol has been carried some and shot little. Note no idiot scratch!!! I'm happy enough, given the tariff (about fifteen Benjamins).

fal_762x51
03-14-2012, 7:45 PM
Lucky man.

bigbryan
03-14-2012, 7:47 PM
Look like a great buy
Now we need a range report

SFgiants105
03-14-2012, 7:48 PM
I wouldn't pay more than $800-$1000 for it. But that's why I don't any Colts :)

edit: just saw that you got it already; how much, if you don't mind me asking?

meaty-btz
03-14-2012, 7:53 PM
Nice find, sweet piece of history you got there.

GOEX FFF
03-15-2012, 2:30 PM
Hey you got some nice carpet in that doghouse! ;) :thumbsup:

Very nice example you can be proud to own.


Finally got the 1918 made Model 1911 out of jail, here are some better pics of it for any who may be interested in vintage porn:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v139/nihontochicken/1911Colt001.jpg

Sorry, don't know why some of these photos got rotated, they appear correct in my photo album. Pics continued below.

Nihonto Chicken
03-15-2012, 8:49 PM
Thanks for all the positive comments. I'm not into "Look At Me" type of stuff, not bragging here, just wanted to indicate an example of what may still be out there that is available at a decent price, if you happen to trip over it. Another local small gun shop has a WWII original 1911A1 plus an arsenal repark for $2500 and $2000 respectively. That's more typical of what I tend to see nowadays. So I had to bite on this one. Good fortune and good hunting for all you 03 FFLs!!!

Curley Red
03-16-2012, 7:55 AM
Nice Colt, I have a 1911 made in 1919 that I shoot at Wild Bunch matches. It is also one of my carry pieces and I love it. I hope you plan to shoot it and not make it a safe queen. Mine is pretty accurate and have never had a single failure with it.

Here's mine with his little brother.

http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y85/PsychoZ/Firearm/IMGP3871.jpg

Flintlock Tom
03-16-2012, 8:48 AM
Very nice. Well done.
I would have been very tempted as well.

TheExpertish
03-16-2012, 8:55 AM
When I start earning the big bucks I'm gonna have to start collecting these. Right now I'm in the nearly broke stage which is why I collect Mosin's.

MarcM
03-16-2012, 10:30 AM
Mine looks like it was riden hard and put away wet! I guess thats why it was only $350.00 bucks about 16 years ago.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v315/MarcM/017.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v315/MarcM/IMG_8913.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v315/MarcM/IMG_8916.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v315/MarcM/IMG_8919.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v315/MarcM/IMG_8924.jpg