1918 Colt - shoot it or sell it?

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by Paul Francis, Jan 15, 2018.

Shoot or Safe Queen

  1. Too nice to shoot much.

  2. Not really that valuable. Keep it and shoot it.

  3. Shooting it will damage it.

Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Paul Francis

    Paul Francis New Member

    Feb 9, 2017
    I joined this site when I got my first 1911 and have learned much more than I knew but much less than I would like. I need to reduce my overall collection of guns. I want to end up with shootable classics and moderns in above average shape and sell off about 50 others. Please give me your thoughts about keeping this one as a shooter. I have read various threads about the lack of hardening of the parts making it unwise to shoot some older colts much and need to see if that would apply here. I would probably run 500 to 1000 rounds a year through each gun I end up keeping. I reload and usually load 20% below max pressures.

    Please look at the photos and ask me any questions you need. I bought the gun on auction and don’t know any history on it. I got it about a month ago. No family connection. It was nicer than I expected it to be.

    1. How close to original does it appear to be? Reblue, Grips, Sights, etc.
    2. Is this what is referred to as a Black Army?
    3. In your learned opinion would this be "OK" to shoot. I don't want to hurt the gun or it's value. If it needs to stay a safe queen, I'll let it be someone else’s safe queen. My safe queens have to go.
    4. I would also appreciate your opinions on a range of value.
    5. If I decide to sell it, what are the best sites to list older Colts on?

      Thanks in advance for your help and knowledge!
      IMG_8380.jpg IMG_8387.jpg IMG_8388.jpg IMG_8389.jpg IMG_8391.jpg IMG_8392.jpg IMG_8402.jpg IMG_8407.jpg IMG_8409.jpg IMG_8412.jpg
  2. flotter390

    flotter390 Supporting Addict Supporting Addict

    Apr 24, 2012
    shoot it and take care of it! It will not loosw any value.

    Mike A and KS95B40 like this.

  3. Mike A

    Mike A Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Mar 19, 2017
    I have 3 & shoot them with enjoyment often. I would sell them otherwise.
    Sights not stock. I have no idea what it is worth.
    KS95B40 likes this.
  4. KS95B40

    KS95B40 Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Aug 16, 2017
    No idea either on value. I agree with keep and shoot. With what looks like a refinish and after market sights its real value is probably as a shooter. Enjoy it, I know that I would.
    Mike A likes this.
  5. 41 Charlie

    41 Charlie Get off my lawn...

    Feb 4, 2014
    Someone has converted this ol' WarHorse into a shooter. Blast away, and enjoy it! If you're a reloader, some soft (bunny fart) loads would be ideal and fun!
    KS95B40 and william adams like this.
  6. 45FMJoe

    45FMJoe Member

    Jan 10, 2018
    Just remember though, metallurgy wasn't that great when that particular pistol was made. It wasn't until 1925 that Colt started heat treating parts of the slide. The problem with shooting the older ones is the slide can crack. That's why I don't shoot my all original 1913 Colt M1911.

    ETA - I would say it's been reblued and the grips replaced. The rollmarks and edges are too "soft" to be original.
  7. Mike A

    Mike A Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Mar 19, 2017
    It is a good search on how safe it is to shoot the 1911. The more I read about the more than
    6000 rounds fired in two days through the first 1911 got me thinking. I included one URL
    about this 107 year old pistol that tells a good story. Other searches tell me that the 1911
    is safe to shoot & is still a very strong pistol. The ammo we use today the 230 gr. Ball
    is the same ammo they used 107 years ago. I have a 20 round box of this ammo. This was
    loaded in 1912 for the 1911 & the powder was Bullseye using a Cupro nickel bullet.

    As far back as I can see there were no reports of slide failures other than rare minor cracks around the slide stop hole. I did not see major slide failures as in the US MilitaryM9 Pistol 9mm made in Italy. Do a search on ( How safe is it to shoot the original 1911 Pistol? )
    All in all I feel safe shooting my 1911 pistols with the 230gr ball ammo that it was designed
    to shoot.
    However please do your own searches & prove it to yourself for your own safety.

    Last edited: Jan 19, 2018
    41 Charlie likes this.
  8. 45FMJoe

    45FMJoe Member

    Jan 10, 2018
    I have seen pictures of slides cracked from the ejection port down. In 1925 Colt started heat treating the first 2 inches of the slide, that is why some parkerized M1911A1 slides are darker at the muzzle. Also, the slide stop notch will wear, hence why they started heat treating that area. I don't remember that date off the top of my head and will have to dig out my copy of Clawson's book. Fully heat treated slides didn't come out until 1947. The failures are documented, so there is more research than that guns.com article. I'm not saying it will fail within X number of rounds, I'm saying the possibility is there.
  9. Jim w.

    Jim w. Well-Known Member

    Jul 27, 2016
    Buffed hard and reblued, Micro sights installed with the corners ground off the adjustable rear. Magazines are cheap copies.

    Collector value is approximately zip point nil. Shoot and enjoy. If the mild steel slide eventually cracks like the collectors and speculators warn, you can put a new upper on the old frame and motor on.
  10. switchback

    switchback Well-Known Member

    Jun 2, 2014
    Charlie nailed it. This pistol, like many, has been modified. Except as parts, it has value as a shooter. I would heed char lies' advise. Nice, old Colt
    41 Charlie likes this.
  11. Mike A

    Mike A Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Mar 19, 2017
    I believe that this is an old gun & anything can happen. If it were a pristine example of a
    1911 I would advise to sell it to a collector. However this is not that, so you may want to
    shoot it & keep an eye out for cracks then replace the slide if that is the case.
    All in all Joe makes an important point about heat treatment & the possibility of a crack.
    Always educate yourself about any firearm for your safety.
    I shoot my 1911s as I do my M1 Garand knowing they are old & not built like todays modern
    guns. They are just a lot of fun to shoot with the same ammo they shot in their time.
  12. Jim w.

    Jim w. Well-Known Member

    Jul 27, 2016
    Also, light loads will extend its service life.
    The old target load of 3.5-3.8 gr Bullseye and a 185-200 gr SWC will be easy on the old gun. You will likely have to go down in recoil spring; I use a 12 lb but it might run a 14.
  13. Mike A

    Mike A Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Mar 19, 2017
    How do the SWCs feed in your 1911? I have had problems with feeding in the 1911s.
    Also I use AA#2 powder because it is so much cleaner than Bullseye.
  14. fallenangelhim

    fallenangelhim chicken wings

    Jan 18, 2018
    You have to shoot it once. The ghost of its previous 1911 owners will cone out and shoot with you.
  15. Jim w.

    Jim w. Well-Known Member

    Jul 27, 2016
    Beats me, I have not set up my old USGI for midrange.

    No matter, there are 200 gr roundnose if a SWC doesn't feed. Or just load a 230 way down low, I have done that, too.

    There are lots of powders you can use. I found Bullseye to be more consistent than most when loaded VERY light.

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