View Full Version : My newly saved(ish) Colt 1911

10-21-2007, 12:49 PM
Someone asked in a thread a little while back about which of our handguns would we considered the best/most valuable/rarest of our collection and I realized that in my collection this one was it:


It's a Series 70 Colt Combat Commander in 9mm (haven't been able to find exact date of manufacture but somewhere in the early to mid 70's is my guess). It seems to be all factory original except the grips, which were originally some rubber wrap around grips that I found out (thanks to Calguns!) were made by a company called Mustang in the 1980's. The pistol itself was from the private collection of an old FFL who had closed his business and held on to his favorite pieces before finally handing them all over before the great end. It had sat on a shelf at a pawn shop for somewhere between 15 and 20 years waiting for the pawn shop owner to get around to registering it to himself (apparently he had set it aside as one he wanted and never got past that point). Being a friend of the managers I was able to see it, feel it, purchase it, and take it home.

The finish was superb outside of the extreme edges which seem to exhibit holster wear. Outside of mechanical wear there seems to be only one scratch on the gun and that is in the trigger relief cut under the slide stop (idiot mark). The rifling is very strong and seems to be fired very little, if at all. The gun had light rust on some internals, partcularly the hammer and pivot pins, but a little bit of care took care of that - LIGHT surface rust and rust on some springs. The trigger had an unusally light feel to it. The trigger pull had a LOT of slop in it and little to no actual resistance. It may have been a botched DIY trigger job but it couldn't have been more than a couple ounces, maybe a quarter of a pound at tops. The hammer strut might have been shortened as the hammer return pressure was minimal at best. It was enough to light off a round but not nearly enough for proper ignition, especially on a hard primer (maybe a match modification to have a lighter trigger pull for use on light primers?). The captive mainspring housing spring BARELY put enough pressure on the hammer strut to return it to uncocked position (the hammer could wobble in the uncocked position because the ignition force of the hammer was all inertia based and had no spring backing at uncocked position). I replaced the mainspring with a lighter mainspring to give a slightly lighter trigger pull and removed the mainspring retaining pin to allow it to travel to the top of the mainspring housing which solved the weak hammer problem. A lightweight Chip McCormick sear spring was used to replace the factory spring which had been bent somewhat amatuerishly, I would assume, to give a better trigger response/feel. The sear spring was a little long, maybe .050", but it still fit without modification. I might fit it later if I find a need, but I like to leave good enough alone. The gun also failed to eject but would not double up in the chamber. Removing the firing pin and cycling the action ejected rounds so short stroking was my guess. The factory recoil spring was 14lbs and I replaced it with a Wolff 15lb spring (hoping the added weight of the all steel gun and a slightly stiffer spring would help make a smoother less snappier gun). Firing pin also got an extra power Wolff firing pin spring. Magazine would tend to want to bind, although not during function, but was functional so I replaced the spring with a McCormick extra power spring since I was overhauling all the bad springs anyways. The magazine release was VERY stiff and required a stiff fingernail to remove the magazine by prying the floorplate from the magazine well. Replaced the magazine release spring with a low power spring to help facilitate mag changes and now the magazine drops free even when empty. Safety and slide release plunger spring also got changed while I was at it. To finish the gun off I replaced the deteriorating rubber grips (again which were aftermarket anyways and starting to turn gummy nd had formed light surface rust underneath) with some McCormick rosewood checkered diamond grips.

The gun had originally been cleaned and oiled and when I went to the range it shot amazingly well and had little snap to it, again being able to only fire single rounds at a time. After another cleaning, the replacement parts, and another oiling I hope the next range trip will be quite a bit smoother in operation. The gun is not complete, not until I can get some factory wood checkered grips with the Colt emblem on them, but for now it will do.

Total cost for me at this point was less than $750 OTD including replacement parts, shipping, tax, DROS, etc. My first Colt and I am in love.

ETA: The uneven finish, particularly around the slide stop pin, is oils from my hand on the gun. The finish is just about mirror for a blued gun except the sharp edges which have the finish wear.

Mr. Beretta
10-21-2007, 4:52 PM

Thanks for the story. Good job! Love those 9mm 1911's. :)

10-21-2007, 5:44 PM
Excellent. You're saving a bit of history. I bet you're having some fun too. ;)

10-22-2007, 3:57 AM
I have a 9mm Commander LW (Pre-Series 70), made in the early 60's.

Fun to shoot.

Nice score.

10-22-2007, 10:18 PM
Neoweird, that gun is awesome! Good to see you're improving its quality of life.