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crocodile427
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Posted: 11/22/2011 9:19:23 PM

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I have an older friend who is sick and wont be getting better. Cancer, plus a hard life, etc etc.

Anyways, he served in Vietnam as a Combat Engineer and carried and M14 and 1911. Claims to have saved his life and those of his squad mates with a Colt 1911. I have no reason to doubt the man, and want to get a Colt and customize it in his honor.

My idea is to get a Colt 1911 that is setup the way they were as issued in Vietnam. I would like to get his nickname etched or engraved on the slide. But what I think would be special, is to include some coins from 1911 and the time during which he was in Vietnam and have them embedded or mounted somehow in some wood grips. One side made from the best Texas wood, the other side made from good wood from Vietnam.

Anyone have any ideas on what kind of pistol I should start out with? Thats my main question, is what kind of 1911s were issued during Vietnam? He was in the Army if that makes a difference.
17Z
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Posted: 11/22/2011 9:30:42 PM
Same guns they used in WWII..with a few replacement parts. I don't think the military bought anymore 1911 pistols after WWII.
crocodile427
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Posted: 11/22/2011 9:52:17 PM
Originally Posted By 17Z:
Same guns they used in WWII..with a few replacement parts. I don't think the military bought anymore 1911 pistols after WWII.


So should I be looking for a Colt, or an Actual Springfield Armory 1911? He claims it was a Colt. So I was going to stick with that. I was considering a Series 70 but I just want to get as close as possible to what he used during his tours.
xoldsmugglerx
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Posted: 11/22/2011 11:00:29 PM
Originally Posted By crocodile427:
Originally Posted By 17Z:
Same guns they used in WWII..with a few replacement parts. I don't think the military bought anymore 1911 pistols after WWII.


So should I be looking for a Colt, or an Actual Springfield Armory 1911? He claims it was a Colt. So I was going to stick with that. I was considering a Series 70 but I just want to get as close as possible to what he used during his tours.


Well the closest you can get to what he had is the real thing. 1911's were only produced for the military from 1912 to 1945. Replacement parts were produced after 1945, but not complete guns. You can find original guns on gunbroker and other websites. Colt was not the only ones to produce 1911's for the government. Remington Rand, Savage arms, Ithica Gun Co., and Union switch and signal all made 1911's for the gov. during ww2. Springfield Armory did produce 1911's for the military in WW1, but this is not the same springfield armory as today. The Springfield Armory Inc. of today is a private company, not a government arsenal. For the type of thing you want which is to give your friend a modern look a like pistol, I would go with the Springfield Armory Inc GI 1911. In Vietnam, many different variations of 1911's could be found from ww1 era 1911's to ww2 era 1911a1's. You can get the Colt ww1 reproduction which is an exact 1911 copy as used by US armed forces in WW1 up to Vietnam. Sorry, it can be very confusing if you are new to 1911's.
Augee
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Posted: 11/22/2011 11:32:50 PM
Buy five GI style 1911s ranging in manufacture date from 1918 to 1945 or good repros of such. Make sure at least one of them is M1911 spec, not A-1. For good measure, buy a couple extra NOS USGI parts on GunBroker.

Completely disassemble all five pistols.

Put parts in a shoebox.

Close shoebox and vigorously shake.

Reassemble parts at random - if one part doesn't fit, pick another one out of the box.

Re-park if desired.

Present Vietnam era-pistol.

Optional step: Reassemble the other four and re-sell them on GunBroker along with the spare parts as "Vietnam-clone" 1911s and sell them to folks who don't know any better.

~Augee
crocodile427
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Posted: 11/22/2011 11:35:24 PM
Yeah the 1911 can be confusing at times. But I do understand the difference between the real Springfield Armory and the Inc one. I dont understand why they would take a name like that and outsource 80% of the products. Anyways, I have never found any WWII era 1911s in my price range, and I dont think I would want to mangle those in anyway.

Where do I find the Colt Reproduction guns? Its not on their website, I havent really searched for that yet beyond looking at Colt's site. I was looking at the Series 70 because it looks "Plain Jane" like some of the pictures I found when I did a google search for Vietnam pistols. But, one thing for certain that I have found from searching for 1911s, is it has to be American. I have seen alot of nice Asian pistols, and Brazilian, but this one HAS to be American. For all intents and purposes, it really means something for this one.

I also was looking at the new Remington Rand, I was thinking he may have just said Colt 1911 because that was the pistol. For all I know, and Im sure he cant remember in his state, it could have been any of the others you said.

How are the Remingtons made these days? Are they quality and All American? I have only handled one at the LGS, felt nice and simple. But didnt really inspect it or anything, just wasting time really.
crocodile427
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Posted: 11/22/2011 11:37:15 PM
Originally Posted By Augee:
Buy five GI style 1911s ranging in manufacture date from 1918 to 1945 or good repros of such. Make sure at least one of them is M1911 spec, not A-1. For good measure, buy a couple extra NOS USGI parts on GunBroker.

Completely disassemble all five pistols.

Put parts in a shoebox.

Close shoebox and vigorously shake.

Reassemble parts at random - if one part doesn't fit, pick another one out of the box.

Re-park if desired.

Present Vietnam era-pistol.

Optional step: Reassemble the other four and re-sell them on GunBroker along with the spare parts as "Vietnam-clone" 1911s and sell them to folks who don't know any better.

~Augee


Thats actually not a bad idea. That would after all be exactly what they did. What should I search for on gun broker when looking for something like this? Im drawing up nothing for some reason. Google fu is weak tonight.
Augee
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Posted: 11/23/2011 12:03:22 AM
Depending on how much money/effort you're wanting to spend on this, your best bet may be to get a Colt 1918 Black Army repro - swap out the grips with brown plastic, and replace the hammer, grip safety, mainspring housing and trigger with surplus USGI parts, and have the whole thing parked.

Since the last M1911A1s were purchased in 1945, by Vietnam, most had been through at least one rebuild if they remained in service, so an M1911 frame and slide wouldn't be out of the question - plus it would be Colt. One of our members, CombatDiver has posted photos of a 1916-manufacture M1911 he was issued in ~2006 in Iraq - that one even still had wood grips, so a 1918 Black Army wouldn't be impossible.

The problem is that there's not a whole lot of "WWII" repro current production American made 1911s out there.

The Springfield GI is usually the "recommended" model, but they're all made in Brazil, you don't even have the "NM" option of completed in Geneseo with them.

Colt made a WW2 repro several years ago, but they cost as much as the real thing these days.

Auto Ordnance I think is Filipino, but I'm not sure.

The Series 70 repro is going to have the "wrong" sights and thumb safety as the "stand out" parts (the Springer GI needs the thumb safety swapped out, too).

As far as the Remington goes, the current production Remington is in no way related to Remington Rand contract pistols. The biggest thing that most modern pistols will have that will immediately identify them as non-GI pistols is going to be the sights - much larger than the USGI Cavalry sights.

Another option would be to buy a Caspian or Foster Industries frame and collect surplus parts and build it into a "clone" of a Vietnam era pistol.

The thing about most of these options, though, is that they'll easily begin to bring you into the price range of simply buying an actual USGI pistol. This isn't as unreasonable price wise as you might think, either - since you're looking for a Vietnam era pistol, just about any USGI would do, since you don't have to worry about "correct" or "matching" parts.

~Augee
douglasmorris99
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Posted: 11/23/2011 6:35:40 AM
[Last Edit: 11/23/2011 6:41:31 AM by douglasmorris99]
Originally Posted By crocodile427:
Originally Posted By 17Z:
Same guns they used in WWII..with a few replacement parts. I don't think the military bought anymore 1911 pistols after WWII.


So should I be looking for a Colt, or an Actual Springfield Armory 1911? He claims it was a Colt. So I was going to stick with that. I was considering a Series 70 but I just want to get as close as possible to what he used during his tours.


Nam era 1911's were Colt mostly, all I say, but there were probably some Remingtons, Singers, IBM's etc,,,
, Springfield as you know it didnt exist at the time.
as stated all were refurb'd WWII guns, some were even WWI guns
reassembled with working parts, some with wood grips, some with plastic all FrankenColts most parkerized SOME blued but not common.
you're looking at $600 to $1000 in DFW depending on condition..

IF you're wanting a "GI Custom gun" ala Viet Nam Grunt. BUFFALO Horn grips will do it. Villagers would make all kinds of crap from horn and GI's bought a shit ton of it for keepsakes.
Assuming your friend was is a Marine? carried an M14, buffalo grips with marine emblems imbeded, a "brass" placard with name, rank, serial number, unit number, Nickname, where he did boot, where served etc
can be engraved at the mall or local trophy shop and glued to a box...
Liqour stores will be having christmas specials in abundance SOMEONE usually has a wooden boxed set of something with glasses,,
this box can be easily modified to hold your gun, a Kbar and maybe even the bottle of hooch...use a Marine Corp flag as a "bed" in the bottom of the box.glue the placard over the name branding of the liqour manufacturer etc..

CHEF

SOCIALISM, COMMUNISM AND FACISM ONLY WORK WHEN THE BOOT HEEL OF THE LEADERSHIP CLASS IS ON THE NECK OF THE WORKING CLASS, PICKING ITS POCKETS FOR THE LEISURE CLASS
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fxntime
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Posted: 11/23/2011 9:02:16 AM
Look for something like this.

[/img]

It doesn't have to be this nice, can have more finish wear, the nicer and more correct it is, expect to pay more for it. I don't know your spending limit, that makes a great deal of difference. If you are going to be inscribing it, I'd suggest buying something newer that isn't going to be ruined by marking it up. Maybe finding a Nam era holster and web belt and mounting a plate on that would be better then having the pistol inscribed.

Plan on $1000 to about $1700 for one in the condition above unless you get real lucky or look all the time, I'm always looking and it usually takes a year or two before I can run across a deal I can afford. If it's been refinished outside the Mil, it's worth a lot less, if it's refinished by being blued, even less then that. [[Think $400-$500].

Maybe a 1918 Black Army Repro would fit the bill, it's a 1911, not an A1 but it'll be marked US Property, some would have still been in use, and they are nice pistols that can be shot without worry and found pretty easily for around a grand. I don't know how much time he has left but that may be something to consider.

If you find something, feel free to IM me anytime with any questions about it.

Jim
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captain127
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Posted: 11/23/2011 9:07:49 AM
remington-rand is NOT the same as remington arms.and savage did NOT produce 1911's or A1's- they did make some spare parts.to recap the following made guns for the gov. A .45 used in vietnam could be either a 1911 or 1911A1.
WW1 builders of the 1911:
Colt
Springfield Armory (not the current importer)
Remington-UMC

WW2:
Colt
Remington rand (largest number produced)
Ithaca
Union switch and Signal company( around 55k made)
Singer (500 made)
just because someone remembers being issued a Colt might just mean the pistol had a Colt slide. as mentioned above by teh time of Vietnam many 1911/1911A1's had been rebuilt multiple times and mismatched parts (for example like a Colt slide on a Rand frame) were the rule rather than the exception.
if you decide to get an original do not midofy it in any way.
colts WW1 reproduction is about the closest you can get to what would be an as issued GI gun. Colt did also make a WW2 repro a few years ago but not many and they go for as much as a good condition original these days.
crocodile427
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Posted: 11/24/2011 11:02:20 AM
He was a Combat Engineer in the Army. Says he was issued an M14 by request or something, I think he said he was in Nam from 66-70. Or maybe a bit later. He was 17 when he enlisted.

I guess price should not be a worry, I just dont want to go all custom. I have found some NOS Colt slides on GB, and an assortment of parts from triggers, hammers, etc.

I have found plenty of "GI" remakes, but none of them are American.

Im gonna go with used I guess, start shopping around. Im starting a new job with Siemans after the holidays, thank the heavens I got a job here and dont have to go to afghan.

The only thing I want to be "custom" is going to be the grips. I want to inlay some coins that were minted in 1911 and during his stint in Nam. My idea is to use 2 different types of wood, on the 1911 coin side would be whatever the best wood native to Texas would be, and the other side with his Nam coins would the the best wood native to Nam. Other than that, I would like to keep it as close as possible to what he was issued.

I appreciate all the info guys. This weekend Ill start searching hardcore for the right pistol. Im gonna set a limit of 1200$ on the pistol, so Im assuming that will give me plenty of room to work with. Thanks again, keep the info coming, Ill need as much as I can to do this right.
crocodile427
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Posted: 11/24/2011 11:04:54 AM
[Last Edit: 11/24/2011 11:09:58 AM by crocodile427]
Originally Posted By captain127:
just because someone remembers being issued a Colt might just mean the pistol had a Colt slide. as mentioned above by teh time of Vietnam many 1911/1911A1's had been rebuilt multiple times and mismatched parts (for example like a Colt slide on a Rand frame) were the rule rather than the exception.
if you decide to get an original do not midofy it in any way.
colts WW1 reproduction is about the closest you can get to what would be an as issued GI gun. Colt did also make a WW2 repro a few years ago but not many and they go for as much as a good condition original these days.


Thats exactly what I was thinking. I was thinking back then, everyone considered a 1911 to be a Colt 1911 regardless of who made it. My preference would be for Colt, just because its Colt, but any American Army issued 1911 will do. Colt is what he said, but he also called his M16 an Armalite. I cant really get much more quality info out of him because he is always doped up on morphine and other crap. He is basically going senile right now and talks about ducks and beetles alot. Dont ask....

My only worry is getting this done before he starts his new journey. He is just getting worse, lives in a crappy apartment, and I have a feeling we will get a frigid winter this year. My main focus right now is getting the pistol, and letting him hold it. Thats what he was talking about this summer, and I want to make it happen for him. He may not be able to talk straight, but Im sure he will know what the pistol is when I hand it to him. Thanks again guys.
2506jet
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Posted: 11/26/2011 3:26:59 AM
Pick up a re-blued/parkerized original government issue pistol on Gunbroker or one of the 1911 boards (as others said about $400-500) and have it re-parkerized like an arsenal rebuild would look. Put in some new springs, add your custom grips and give it to him. Parkerizing only runs about $100 or so and many people do it, you should be able to find someone local. Should be able to present him the finished piece in about a month.
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Posted: 11/28/2011 7:48:29 PM
I read some where that Colt did not produce the most 1911-A1 during WWII, Renington Rand was King, Top Dog and add to the list US&S ,UMC ,COLT. SINGER produced 40,000,00-50,000,00 all Blued,No Park
SSeric02
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Posted: 11/28/2011 8:22:42 PM
[Last Edit: 11/28/2011 8:24:29 PM by SSeric02]
Originally Posted By Lawdog-1:
I read some where that Colt did not produce the most 1911-A1 during WWII, Renington Rand was King, Top Dog and add to the list US&S ,UMC ,COLT. SINGER produced 40,000,00-50,000,00 all Blued,No Park


Singer only made 500 M1911A1s on a test contract.

ETA:

Remington Rand- 900,000
Colt- 400,000
Ithaca Gun Company- 400,000
Union Switch & Signal- 50,000
Singer- 500
45FMJoe
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Posted: 11/28/2011 8:24:23 PM

Originally Posted By Augee:
Buy five GI style 1911s ranging in manufacture date from 1918 to 1945 or good repros of such. Make sure at least one of them is M1911 spec, not A-1. For good measure, buy a couple extra NOS USGI parts on GunBroker.

Completely disassemble all five pistols.

Put parts in a shoebox.

Close shoebox and vigorously shake.

Reassemble parts at random - if one part doesn't fit, pick another one out of the box.

Re-park if desired.

Present Vietnam era-pistol.

Optional step: Reassemble the other four and re-sell them on GunBroker along with the spare parts as "Vietnam-clone" 1911s and sell them to folks who don't know any better.

~Augee




Perfect clone!

SS17
netwt12
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Posted: 11/29/2011 1:03:25 AM
the buy it now is high but this one fits the bill as a mutt.

RIA
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Banshee35
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Posted: 11/29/2011 9:46:30 AM
Here's another possibility that may be worth watching to see what it goes for. The previous owner was kind enough to scratch his name on the slide maybe he has the same name If not a repark isn't real expensive as mentioned and it sounds like the scratching is shallow but so is the rapant pony it seems.
1saxman
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Posted: 11/29/2011 12:59:53 PM
Originally Posted By netwt12:
the buy it now is high but this one fits the bill as a mutt.

RIA


Way, way too high. That's a $450 pistol. For the purpose of the OP's desired pistol, it has to have a USGI frame. Its hard to find ANY USGI M1911 or M1911A1 even in rebuild condition for less than $800

1saxman
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Posted: 11/29/2011 1:03:54 PM
Originally Posted By Banshee35:
Here's another possibility that may be worth watching to see what it goes for. The previous owner was kind enough to scratch his name on the slide maybe he has the same name If not a repark isn't real expensive as mentioned and it sounds like the scratching is shallow but so is the rapant pony it seems.


I agree - that's a decent buy if you could get it for that. But really, a M1911A1 would be best, although technically there had to be M1911s in Viet Nam.
crocodile427
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Posted: 11/29/2011 8:24:53 PM
I never have luck with the bidding on GB or ebay. I usually rely on the Buy it Now more than anything. But that Colt is definitely a looker. And Im certainly watching it. Maybe the name on the slide will make most be swayed away. I could just have it re finished or buy one of the NOS slides on GB as well.

Augee's route seems the best right now. Would make it mean more too piecing it together myself, with a smith's assistance of course. I appreciate the ideas guys. Im gonna try and bid on that listing. If it gets too high, Ill go Augee's route.
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Posted: 11/29/2011 9:41:27 PM
[Last Edit: 11/30/2011 9:36:20 AM by Rick-OShay]
another way to go - get a military style frame and slide from Fosters - basicly the minor blem/over-run clearance house for Caspian. You can get the set for less than 400 bucks when in stock - add a surplus GI barrel and other parts - and - voila!
you can throw enough money at any problem to fix it, except when government is involved
Banshee35
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Posted: 11/30/2011 12:20:30 AM
[Last Edit: 11/30/2011 12:25:51 AM by Banshee35]
Originally Posted By crocodile427:
I never have luck with the bidding on GB or ebay. I usually rely on the Buy it Now more than anything. But that Colt is definitely a looker. And Im certainly watching it. Maybe the name on the slide will make most be swayed away. I could just have it re finished or buy one of the NOS slides on GB as well.

Augee's route seems the best right now. Would make it mean more too piecing it together myself, with a smith's assistance of course. I appreciate the ideas guys. Im gonna try and bid on that listing. If it gets too high, Ill go Augee's route.


Here's another thought. Maybe try messaging the guy who has it listed and perhaps he'll give you a good buy it now price especially if he knows what you intend to do with it. Maybe send him a link to this thread with your message. You never know what may happen, maybe the guy is a vet himself or has family that is and will understand...or maybe he's just looking for as much as he can get, but it never hurts to ask.

The name scratched on it threw me off of it but I would still consider it for that price. Don't worry though I wont be bidding against you

I think my local shop still has a US Property marked Colt 1911 that has been blued. I don't really remember any more details than that as once I saw the refinish I moved on but I will check it out for you. I want to say their price was $799 or so for it but the owner is a nice guy and could probably work with you on it plus it's been there a while.

I'll probably be up there in the morning and will check to see if it's still there and if so I will forward you the contact info.
Banshee35
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Posted: 12/2/2011 1:17:26 PM
[Last Edit: 12/2/2011 1:28:56 PM by Banshee35]
Here is another possibility. The other one I posted doesn't look to have a US Property marked frame but I could be wrong. This one has the right frame but wrong slide but the price is ok for a place to start.

And here's a Colt slide to go with it,
streetstar
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Posted: 12/2/2011 2:42:54 PM
[Last Edit: 12/2/2011 2:43:15 PM by streetstar]
Under the circumstances, i don't think the gift would be any "less special" if you put the custom grips you have in mind on a Springfield "GI" model and gave it to him. You mentioned time was a little bit of a time concern here and you don't want to get into a several month long project

One of my uncles almost came to tears when he was handling my GI model at the memories it brought back to him –– he could've cared less about what some tiny numbers on the frame indicated

(but then again, if you are wanting to do something "all domestic" for your sake, i understand too i guess)
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