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Posted: 3/16/2013 7:55:57 PM EDT
Hey Fellas,

I'm getting an opportunity to take a look at an original Colt M1911 (Not M1911A1) tomorrow to possibly buy it. It's in the 110,XXX range which makes it a 1915 production I believe.

So here is my question, were any of the slides serialized on the M1911 or did that only occur on the M1911A1?

I already know that the grips are not original but I would like to know if the slide matches the frame.

Any thoughts?

Thanks.
Link Posted: 3/16/2013 8:07:43 PM EDT
The m1911 won't have the serial number on the slide. That didn't happen until the A1 came out
Link Posted: 3/16/2013 8:09:15 PM EDT
Originally Posted By zaskar017:
The m1911 won't have the serial number on the slide. That didn't happen until the A1 came out


So no way to tell if the slide/frame match?
Link Posted: 3/16/2013 8:33:51 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/17/2013 7:05:39 AM EDT by fxntime]
Originally Posted By xXNuggettXx:
Originally Posted By zaskar017:
The m1911 won't have the serial number on the slide. That didn't happen until the A1 came out


So no way to tell if the slide/frame match?


Match no, is correct for the time frame the slide/frame was made, yes.

If is is correct, then the finish and wear matching between the two helps a lot.

There are part changes that can help also plus fonts and the cut [recoil spring housing area on slide] changed.

There are also marks on parts like the barrel that can ID them as being correct for that make and time period.
Link Posted: 3/17/2013 5:40:34 AM EDT
There are a number of good forums to review what would be correct but nothing beats having a good reference book with you.
Some basic stuff-
First is finish - that serial range should be blued- if it is any other sort of finish that would not be original
If a military gun it will have United States property stamped on the left side of dust cover - some sellers will say ( incorrectly) that they have some rare unmarked model. Total bs- all gi issue 1911's were us marked. Large numbers had the property mark ground off during civilian life and in some cases well done enough that it can be hard to tell.
A civilian gun from that era will have a frame marked government model above the right grip.
Not to be a pessimist but these days it has become near impossible to find an original 1911 that hasn't been messed with mis matched refinished etc without paying three grand. Let us know how you do
Link Posted: 3/17/2013 6:13:58 AM EDT
Thanks for the replies. I know that it's not 100% original since it's got some aftermarket grips on it. I'm also a bit wary since the seller called it a 1911A1 and said it was from 1912 (which a 3 second google search of thethe SN revealed to not be true). But, he's only asking $1200 OBO so if slide/frame match and it's in decent shape it's probably worth picking up. Will reply later with the outcome.
Link Posted: 3/17/2013 6:43:16 AM EDT
Post some pictures if you can whether you buy it or not.

This way we can tell you if you saved your money or if you were a darn fool for passing it up
Link Posted: 3/17/2013 3:40:34 PM EDT
Go to 'Cool gun site' and find a 1915 M1911. See how the lettering on the slide and frame is all in a serif font except the serial number. If the lettering on the slide is plain, it would be a later slide. Also check the location of the pony at the rear LH side of the slide instead of between the two sections of script. Like already said, the finish should be the same on frame and slide but sometimes slides wear a lot quicker. Also note the general finish on the gun in the picture. You want to see the same thing. It may be worn to the point that there is no finish, but you can still still if the 'grain' from the original polishing is there, meaning the gun has never been re-sanded, polished, buffed or sand blasted. Finally, you may find a Parkerized pistol (gray/green WWII Zinc Phosphate) indicating either a government rebuild or something done after the pistol left U.S. custody. A rebuild with mixed parts is probably around $950. A 50% 1915 M1911 all original is probably around $2000, possibly more. A re-blued 1915 M1911 with mixed parts and some non-USGI parts is probably around $750.
Link Posted: 3/17/2013 4:28:40 PM EDT
Awesome info. Thanks. The guy blew me off . I'm going to harass him again tomorrow but I'm not certain if I'll ever get to see it.
Link Posted: 3/17/2013 6:59:03 PM EDT
Here's my take on those early guns: There is really only one type I'm interested in and that is an all correct one or one that can easily be made back into all correct (like grips or small parts).

These early guns were not heat treated so they are not the best thing to go put a bunch of rounds through which means they are collector pieces or display, fondle, drool and shoot rarely. Buy accordingly.
Link Posted: 3/18/2013 4:40:37 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/18/2013 4:43:26 PM EDT by xXNuggettXx]
Guys, thanks for all of the help.

As it turns out, I finally got pictures of it today. Not sure what happened to this pistol but it was definitely screwed up at some point. Serial number puts it squarely in the 1915 range which was ~9 years before the A1 came out. However, slide is marked M1911A1 U.S. Army.

Also, there is no U.S. Property mark anywhere. Bluing is essentially gone and rust is starting to poke it's nasty head through.

Not sure what value I'd put on it but definitely not in the $1200 range.

ETA: Also has the A1 main spring housing and grip safety spur.


Link Posted: 3/18/2013 6:53:59 PM EDT
Another couple things that stand out to me are the front strap checkering and the arched main spring housing. Talk him down to $800-$850 or less and shoot the hell out of it since its got a later heat treated 1911a1 slide so it should be a decent shooter grade gun.
Link Posted: 3/18/2013 6:59:05 PM EDT
Ya, I've already got a few Colts that are my shooters. No need for another. I was hoping it would be a good collector. Oh well, on to the next one.
Link Posted: 3/18/2013 7:44:23 PM EDT
Originally Posted By MANIST:
Another couple things that stand out to me are the front strap checkering and the arched main spring housing. Talk him down to $800-$850 or less and shoot the hell out of it since its got a later heat treated 1911a1 slide so it should be a decent shooter grade gun.


1911a1 slides were only partially heat treated. They can't withstand the same amount of shooting that hard slides produced after 1945 can.
Link Posted: 3/18/2013 7:52:28 PM EDT
Yikes

I wouldnt even bother negotiating a price unless you can get it for $400 and you wanted a real beater
That pistol offers nothing in the way of collectibility, unless there is a super rare barrel in that slide.
Pass and never look back
Link Posted: 3/19/2013 2:59:49 AM EDT
Originally Posted By xoldsmugglerx:
Originally Posted By MANIST:
Another couple things that stand out to me are the front strap checkering and the arched main spring housing. Talk him down to $800-$850 or less and shoot the hell out of it since its got a later heat treated 1911a1 slide so it should be a decent shooter grade gun.


1911a1 slides were only partially heat treated. They can't withstand the same amount of shooting that hard slides produced after 1945 can.


Yes I know this but it's still a little tougher than a 1915 non A1 1911 slide with zero heat treating. I would still shoot it till its done/cracked replace and move on to another more modern slide. This thing is a poor mutt that just begs to be shot but no way in hell for that price, especially with the major buffing someone has done to her.
Link Posted: 3/19/2013 6:48:03 AM EDT
A GI rebuild or possibly a parts gun that was modified by one or more civilian owners. Fairly common in its day. USGI guns didn't always generate the mania they do today. Thousands of them recieved a similar treatment. Colt's civilian production numbers for the 1911 are surprisingly small. If you want a 1911 and didn't have a lot of money this is the route you took.
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