Old Colt vs new Colt...

Discussion in 'General 1911 talk' started by Flight Medic, Nov 11, 2018.

  1. Flight Medic

    Flight Medic Well-Known Member

    Aug 5, 2018
    I've read that there has been a recent decline in quality of Colt 1911 pistols. Can anyone confirm (or deny) this? I ask because I would like to purchase my first Colt, and I wasn't sure if I should get one of the new models...or try to find a gently used model manufactured back when they were making them better (??). I came across a seller with a brand new 70 SERIES Colt Competition 1911 for $800 and wondered if it would be a good choice, or if I should spend more and get a nicer model? There is NO purpose for this gun...just want to add a Colt to my collection.

    Any assistance is greatly appreciated.
    xerts1191 and wcanterbury like this.
  2. Dr.Lou

    Dr.Lou Well-Known Member

    Nov 15, 2015
    I can only speak from my experience with current production Colts. EVERYONE I’ve owned (3) or handled has a thumb safety with over travel, to me this inexcusable. I asked Colt reps at the last 2 SHOT Shows and was told that’s the way they are. 2 of the Colts I had were blued competition models - the finish was easily worn/scratched. Sold all of them and won’t own another current production Colt.

  3. Regalsc

    Regalsc Member

    Jun 23, 2018
    I have a WC stainless Commander & IMO it’s a very nice gun. Fit & finish is good but above all it’s been 100% reliable even with HP ammo no breakin like some others on here. I have shot the competition colt you’re considering it shot nice but was a little looser than my WC Commander. I also have a Commander Elite from 2014 that’s fit tight slide to frame & it’s also been 100%. I have the Colts because I had 2 DW’s that weren’t reliable.
    UBOATDOC likes this.
  4. 41 Charlie

    41 Charlie Get off my lawn...

    Feb 4, 2014
    I think you'd be pleased either way, but I'm a little biased. I tend to be a Colt fan boy. I personally prefer the finish (Bluing) and roll marks of the older Ponies, but I have some newer Colts too. It's hard to beat their Wiley Clapp line. These come with a lot of very nice features for the money. I also like the Colt Competition 1911s. I'd check Bud's for the best pricing! Everyone needs at least one Pony in their stable! Best of luck!
  5. ZoidMeister

    ZoidMeister Consider my signature line before replying . . . .

    Dec 4, 2014
    All you need to do is get a Series 70 from before 1978 next to a current production Series 70. That should answer all questions.
    KTXdm9 likes this.
  6. Old Sea Dragon

    Old Sea Dragon Well-Known Member

    Feb 10, 2018
    I've bought five in the past 15 years. My Special Combat Government is fabulous. Several of the sub $1000 guns had slight blemishes that I call birthmarks but all run great out of the box which is something I cannot say about several pistols I have bought in the past few years that cost twice as much. Love them. I think the Wiley Clapp series are very nice but have also wanted a blued Commander. Colt and I are not done yet:)
    UBOATDOC likes this.
  7. WC145

    WC145 Every day is Saturday and every night's a party!

    Jan 1, 2013
    I've got a new two tone S70 Competition and I am very pleased with it. It is well fit and finished, it is accurate, has a surprisingly nice trigger, and runs like a champ, I used to win single stack in a local action pistol match right out of the box. I paid $800 for mine and consider it money well spent. And, even though I have a habit of having guns worked over, this is one that will probably stay mostly original, it does what I need it to do just the way it is.
    ETA: Even the safety clicks on and off like it should, with no over travel.

    Over the last couple of years I've also bought a new S70 repro, a LW Wiley Clapp Commander, and a regular Commander, they have all been very well put together and nicely finished. The two Commanders were used for custom builds and they were great donor guns for the work done, everything is manufactured to specs, all the dimensions are correct, holes in the right spots, etc., and they both came out great.

    I also have a King's Gun works custom '48 Commercial Gov't Model, and a few custom ORM 1991A1s. Certainly the '48 has an elegance to it that the others don't, and the 1991A1s have been turned into much nicer guns than they were originally, but, IMO, the newer Colts are at least competitive with the old ones as far as build and component quality aside from the few MIM parts they use. I wouldn't hesitate to buy another, especially with the great prices you can find these days.

    1L26, 41 Charlie, xerts1191 and 2 others like this.
  8. hks1911

    hks1911 Well-Known Member

    Oct 7, 2018
    While I am certainly a Colt fan boy, I have to say that if you are not looking for a base gun for a custom build or a home builder, I would probably look at some other brands for an out of the box shooter.

    Most Colt's do have over travel on the thumb safeties and it does drive me nuts.
  9. tarosean

    tarosean Well-Known Member

    Apr 7, 2013
    Personally, I really like the under cut trigger guard of the ones made in the last few years.
  10. Greenrunner

    Greenrunner Well-Known Member

    Dec 11, 2017
    A lot of buying these guns brand new is hit or miss, even among the pricier brands. I have 3 Colts (Gunsite LW Commander, Special Combat Gov't, and Officer) and have had no mlafunctions. 3 Wilsons and no malfunctions. On the other hand, I had a DW that would not feed reliably, even after all manner of tuning. That does not mean DWs are bad or Colts are perfect, it just reflects my personal experience, and for someone else it could be the opposite. I think that you almost are better off buying a used gun off this website from a reliable seller who has shot the gun some and will tell you if it has had issues.
  11. jfrey

    jfrey Supporting Addict Supporting Addict

    Oct 10, 2012
    I sent my Combat Commander back to the custom shop several years ago and the safety was one of the issues I wanted corrected. I talked to Brent, when he was still in charge of the shop, and he told me he had been complaining to the engineering staff about the issue for three years and they had apparently just ignored him. He had some term for the issue that I don't remember but apparently they haven't changed anything so far on the safeties. He replaced my safety lever with one from Novak and solved the issue.
  12. tgoldie00

    tgoldie00 Well-Known Member

    Jan 9, 2018
    I think the quality of parts is there but at times the craftsmanship and fitting can be less than desirable.

    Of the two new-production Colts I had over the past year, both were fine from a QA perspective. Both had safety overtravel.

    I had a Delta Elite (sold it locally as I got an offer I couldn’t refuse for it) and still have an M45A1 CQBP (ion bond). I love it and won’t be parting with it any time soon.

    My recommendation for a current Colt:
    Buy what you can put your hands on, break down, and inspect. If you don’t, you may run the risk of a bad build, some errant tool marks, or even some inconsistent fit.
  13. Mike A

    Mike A Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Mar 19, 2017
    Sitting in my 1969 Chevy pickup, I was reading where the new Chevy trucks are not built as well as the older C/10s were.
    Not trying to be a smart A I was just thinking about this old verses new debate started.
    Is it true? Is everything built better in the oldin days? I have Colt 1911s from 1916 up to 2015 & I just dig um all to Hail :).

    So how does one answer your question? OK look at some Colt 1911s & buy the one that gives you a Zing LOL. That's what I try to do. I have only Colt 1911s, must be sompin I like about Colts,
  14. xerts1191

    xerts1191 Well-Known Member

    Aug 12, 2017
    Old Colts rule!
    Ingramite likes this.
  15. pistolwretch

    pistolwretch Dremel jockey Supporting Addict

    Aug 26, 2011
    As a gunsmith, I GREATLY prefer recent production Colts.
    dogman, MDP, Hound1 and 6 others like this.
  16. BR549er

    BR549er Well-Known Member

    Jul 6, 2018
    Flight Medic,
    I own a stainless Colt Competition and have 3000 rounds through it without a hiccup. Honestly I hit the lottery on the parts bin, no overtravel on the TS and it shoots really well. My intention was to send it to EA for a bunch of work but I decided not to, it is excellent as is. Also have a Colt SCG, Colt SCG Rail Gun Commander, Colt Combat Unit 9MM. The SCGs both hard fit barrels and the best of Colt. I have a Wiley Clapp LW Commander that had some timing problems and needed an extractor tune but runs fine now. The Colt CU 9MM needed the extractor tensioned a bit more from the box but it runs great too.

    Every time I save up for a custom, either I have to pay a lawyer or I pull out the Competition and shoot it and forget what I was thinking.

    Last edited: Nov 11, 2018
    Old Sea Dragon likes this.
  17. Au Jus in Bello

    Au Jus in Bello Well-Known Member

    May 19, 2017
    That's good to know. Any specific reasons?
    Longbow likes this.
  18. pistolwretch

    pistolwretch Dremel jockey Supporting Addict

    Aug 26, 2011
    Superior to the older ones in both metallurgy and geometry.
  19. C_Hallbert

    C_Hallbert Well-Known Member

    Oct 11, 2017
    I used to have a Satin Nickel Colt Series70 Commander which I used for duty carry. It was slightly modified by a OHP Trooper whom is one of the best Gunsmiths I’ve ever seen. He reduced the trigger pull to just over service threshold, added low profile sites, slightly polished and modified the feed ramp, honed moving surfaces, and fitted it with a Heavy Duty Wilson Combat Extractor (the original failed on the range during my semi- auto qualifications ordeal). This weapon functioned impeccably and never failed during the three years I carried it. I gave this weapon to one of my sons years ago.

    Some time >5 years ago, I obtained a new production Stainless Steel Colt Series70 Government. I prefer the 1911 configuration absent the Firing Pin Block added in the Series 80 weapons. I found some sharp edges on some of the milled surfaces, but found the piece to function reliably. I sent the pistol off to Karl Lippard in Colorado Springs for modifications that included a 75,000 psi NCO Barrel, Trigger Group Retrofit, Slide Spring and.... I don’t remember. But this modified Colt has the best trigger pull I’ve ever felt on a 1911 and it will safely handle P+ Ammo. If I had the money, I’d obtain a Lippard Combat NCO 1911 over anything else out there.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    simonp likes this.
  20. pistolwretch

    pistolwretch Dremel jockey Supporting Addict

    Aug 26, 2011
    You may be the first and ONLY feller to report first-hand experiences with a Lippard build?
    Are you possibly a blood related family member?

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