Old 1911 Question

Discussion in 'General 1911 talk' started by Adam76, Dec 30, 2011.

  1. Adam76

    Adam76 New Member

    Dec 28, 2011
    Hi I'm new to the forum and by reading over the posts here it seems to be an awesome forum, I was just given through tthe family a 1918,1911 Colt 45, with it came the Colt 22 conversion kit. Overall the gun is in good shape for its age, the finish isn't to beat up and seems to have been well cared for. It's been my Grandfathers since 1946, and he said he only shot one 45 round, and maybe a dozen 22 rounds, I'm not sure how much it was fired before that but not to much since 1946. I think its probably lost some of its collectors worth since the original owner had his name engraved on the slide so I would like to make this gun a shooter. Is that possible considering it's age and if so what parts should be replaced to bring it back to the times.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2011
  2. Chris

    Chris YOU ****!!!! Supporting Addict

    Aug 17, 2011
    With it engraved, it is no longer a collector item, but has good sentimental value and you should keep it in the family. It could be a shooter depending on the condition of it. I say keep it as it as is IMO.

    Wecome to the site :wave:

  3. Mechanized

    Mechanized He's a large "member" Supporting Addict

    Sep 24, 2011
    Welcome to the site. I'm sure there willl be plenty of people to ring in on your question.
  4. Lordofbarbeque

    Lordofbarbeque New Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    Find the safety tests and go thru them for the pistol and take pistol apart according to tutorials. Both of these can be found on this forum as well as others. After you have gone thru the safety tests and given her a good/complete detailed clean & lube job. Pick you order of either testing or cleaning/inspection since both need to be done. If all goes well, I would then fire one round then go up from there. The springs may be suspect, but who knows, and that is an easy fix. Congrats on a great christmas gift!
  5. 50GI-Jess

    50GI-Jess Member

    Aug 24, 2011
    Also if shooting the blaster, make sure you have good quality springs and preferably a shok buff. Steel from back the was not really hardened that well, and considered extremely soft by today's standard.
    Shooting softer loads like reloading you own to a level thats 10 to 12 % lighter, will serve your older gun well, and extend it's service life.
  6. Glock2740

    Glock2740 1911 addict Staff Member Moderator

    Aug 16, 2011
    I don't like shok-buffs. Sell me on them Jess. What do you think are their virtues?
  7. 50GI-Jess

    50GI-Jess Member

    Aug 24, 2011
    Well, like and like....

    I try to seperate emotions with facts ha ha.

    In theory any 1911, and especially compact, are more reliable without shok-buffs. However, with todays quality mags, and the correct selection of main/recoils springs, any quality 1911, will not suffer in reliability at all. I have used shok-buffs for 30 yrs. now, and never had any malfunctions related to this use of shok-buff's.

    A combination of f.ie. too powerfull springs, a crappy and weak magazine, and a weird grip on the pistol may result in short stroking effect af the slide, and cause a feed jam. Usually the type where tho nose of the bullet comes to a dead stop, somewhere between the mag and chamber.

    One way to fool proff the use of shok-buff's, is to shoot the gun with softer loads and with a weak grip on the gun. If it goes to slide lock every time, proves the slide has sufficient movement to the rear, and then has "enough" time to strip a cartridge positively from the mag.

    On the other hand, if someone doesn't shoot that much, shok-buff's are not really needed. Today's quality steel in firearms would be able to withstand a lot of rounds before battering effects show up to the point of damaging the gun.
  8. billiardcue

    billiardcue Cue Connoisseur

    Sep 9, 2011
    I would completely disassemble the pistol, clean and lube it well, clean up any surface rust that may be on a moving part i.e. slide or frame rails, inside mainspring housing, whatever.

    Check the ejector and plunger tube for tightness.

    Contact Wolff Springs - gunsprings.com - order a 1911 Government service pak and replace all of the springs.

    Buy a quality magazine or two - Wilson Combat, Chip McCormick, etc.

    Sight replacement would probably be the next move, good sights will make the gun much easier to shoot accurately. You can use replacement sights that fit into the existing post hole and rear slot so you don't have to permanently alter the slide.

    If the "I can't leave well enough alone" bugs bites you, as it did me, I would install a high quality ignition set, Cylinder & Slide has been my choice, and maybe a nice trigger.

    The thumb safety on your pistol is rather small, an upgrade here would probably be a good idea when you replace the ignition set as you can fit the new safety to the new sear.

    A Wilson Combat drop-in beaver tail grip safety is a nice addition for comfort and recoil control.

    The slide is probably a little loose on the frame, forget about it and know the gun will run in any nasty conditions.

    If you want to tighten up your groups a little, measure the barrel o.d. and the slide i.d., EGW can supply you with tight fitting bushing to your dimensions.

    Save every original piece, you can return the pistol to its original condition if need be. None of the above additions require any alteration that can't be easily reversed. Remember don't alter the gun to fit the part, alter the part to fit the gun.

    This link is a thread where I did the above to a Colt 1991A1 - http://www.1911addicts.com/showthread.php?2480-Do-it-yourself-1991A1. Your 1918 pistol is probably made to more exacting standards than my 1991.

    You can have a gun that is fun to shoot, dependable to carry and has sentimental value, pretty cool combination.
  9. DAT85

    DAT85 BIG OL' BALD HAID ! Supporting Addict

    Aug 26, 2011


  10. Kokopelli

    Kokopelli Schütze

    Aug 17, 2011
  11. Bender

    Bender Supporting Addict Supporting Addict

    Aug 15, 2011
    Op,.........we REALLY need/want pics!

    If you need help posting some, pm me, I can help.


  12. Adam76

    Adam76 New Member

    Dec 28, 2011
    Thanks for all the feedback guys, I appreciate it. Is it best to order new parts online or would local gun shops carry parts too. I've taken the gun apart and cleaned it up prior to my post and besides it being dirty theres really no rust on it. I want to make this a shooter and one that I can carry. Here is a pic I just took of it let me know what you think. The grips on it now are a set that my grandfather made, I also have the original one that were on it, but the grips he made feel great. Any other info is much appreciated. Thanks
    1911 011.jpg
  13. flea

    flea Member

    Dec 30, 2011
    Great picture. It looks like a very nice Colt. Problem is when trying to bring this back to life is. Most of the parts, like the sear, hammer and disconnect just had heat treatment on the surface of the metal. Once you stone of file down these parts to fit better. They become soft, because you have stone or filed through the heat treated surface and now the metal is soft.

    The trigger seems to be the first place most folks go to right off. If that's the course your headed I'd replace them with good ignition parts from Dave Berryhill custom. Go read a little about his parts and you will see why.

    Best of luck, flea
  14. Bender

    Bender Supporting Addict Supporting Addict

    Aug 15, 2011
    Replace springs and enjoy that wonderful 1911.
    Also, do NOT shoot +p ammunition!
  15. Lordofbarbeque

    Lordofbarbeque New Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    Well then do your safety tests and shoot it. You can worry about springs, ejectors, etc. if you come across issues. I just ran across an old 1920's Argentine 1911 and it shot great because it had never been fired that much. Thus, I would shoot it before spending money on things that don't need fixing.
  16. deadite

    deadite #15 to Register! Supporting Addict

    Aug 17, 2011
    If it were mine, I would just clean it up, replace the springs, install a Shok-Buff, get some double diamond grip panels or try for some old ones on Gun Broker, and call it a day.

    Nothing sadder than a guy tuning a piece of American history into a Bubba'ed shooter.

    Another option would be to sell it to someone who would appreciate it's history and buy yourself a shooter.

  17. Kokopelli

    Kokopelli Schütze

    Aug 17, 2011
    Nice old pistol either way.. Me, I'd put it up.. Ron
  18. Adam76

    Adam76 New Member

    Dec 28, 2011
    I'm not sure to many collectors would be into buying it since the original owners name is engraved on the slide, I assume that takes away from it being a collectors piece. I guess I'll start by replacing the spring and then go from there. Is it better to get parts online or would local gun shops carry some of these parts. Also any suggestions on sights, I would like to change them. Thanks Adam
  19. billiardcue

    billiardcue Cue Connoisseur

    Sep 9, 2011
    Show us a photo of the engraved name.

    If it is tastefully done it may not hurt the collector's value at all. I've sold a lot of very high dollar collectible cues and custom cue cases with the original owner's name on them, it bothers some people but others consider it as adding character and provenance to the item.

    Get a 1911 catalog from Brownell's, it will give you more than enough options of quality parts, their service is great, I've spent many $$ with them.

    Most of the parts I've purchased have been from the manufacturer, go directly to the source, they have the best knowledge of their own product if you need assistance.

    Wilson Combat, Novak sights, EGW, Cylinder and Slide, Kimber, Wolff springs, Ed Brown, Fusion, 10-8 and Crimson Trace are manufacturers I've bought from and have not been disappointed with any of them.

    Read what members of this forum and other forums have experienced, there is a ton of experience and knowledge to be had with the click of a mouse.

    Beyond sights and springs, learn how your pistol works. Buy and read a couple of good books and understand the function of a 1911 before haphazardly delving further.

    Choose a sight that is direct replacement for your pistol, don't re-cut the slide.

    There are several good sights available to direct fit your gun, look at the different styles to see what may be your preference.

    Wayne Novak replaced the sights on one of my pistols, excellent product, service, turn around time and price.
  20. Adam76

    Adam76 New Member

    Dec 28, 2011
    Thanks again for the help, I'm a noob to the 1911 so I appreciate the advice. Here is a pic of the engraved name.
    Thanks again,
    1911 017.jpg
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2012

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