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  #1  
Old 12-29-2013, 02:45 PM
TTravis TTravis is offline
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What can you tell me about this old Colt 1911?




Hello there. This is my first post as I am new to 1911's in general. I normally hang out at http://ingunowners.com where I keep up on open and concealed carry issues in my home state of Indiana.

I received as a present, an old Colt 1911. I was told it was made in 1952 but I suspect it is actually older and want you Colt 1911 gurus to take a look.

So as not to duplicate too much, you can check out my thread at ingunowners.com http://ingunowners.com/forums/handgu...what-gift.html

Here are some pictures:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/ec0itwh8s67stwm/IMG_1373.JPG
https://www.dropbox.com/s/00p8zz0d29yg4mi/IMG_1374.JPG
https://www.dropbox.com/s/bp403n7ow41gtyz/IMG_1375.JPG

There is no serial number that I can find. It may be a "lunchbox" gun.

I suspect this gun is older than 1952 but would appreciate hearing from someone who knows about Colt 1911's.

Like I mentioned. This is my first 1911. I was an Army officer (many years ago) and got to qualify with 1911's there but that is about the extent of my experience with them. I do own and carry other firearms.

Any history or information to help me appreciate this 1911 would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

Tom
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  #2  
Old 12-29-2013, 02:49 PM
dsk's Avatar
dsk dsk is offline
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It is a late 1918 or early 1919 US Model of 1911 with the original serial number filed off and the piece refinished. Unfortunately such a pistol is illegal to possess. We seem to have a thread on pistols like this at least once a month.

It wouldn't be a lunchbox gun because it has the Springfield final acceptance stamp.
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Try not to fall into the common trap of wanting to replace everything on your new 1911 just to make it "better". Know what you're changing out, and why. You may spend a lot of money fixing things that weren't broken to begin with. Shoot it for at least 500 rounds, then decide what you don't like and want improved. Vintage 1911's should NEVER be refinished or modified because it ruins any value they had as a collectible firearm.
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  #3  
Old 12-29-2013, 03:08 PM
TTravis TTravis is offline
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If someone filed the serial number off, they did a really good job of it. Please tell me how you know it is 1918 or 1919.

If they went to such trouble to remove the serial number, why wouldn't they also remove the acceptance stamp?

Is there a procedure to make this gun legal again?
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Old 12-29-2013, 03:45 PM
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dsk dsk is offline
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You might want to take a look at post #5 from the reference materials thread: http://forums.1911forum.com/showthread.php?t=36281

Filing off the serial number on an early 1911 isn't difficult because they weren't stamped very deep, and it's difficult to detect the slight depression in the metal unless the sides have been brightly polished. Also if a person draw-files across the length of the frame he can make the surface flat enough that it's almost impossible to see where the number used to be. I can tell that it's a late WW1 frame by the "humped" shape of the rear frame tangs, also it was mentioned in the other forum that it has the heart-shaped cutouts underneath the grips. As for why the Springfield stamp wasn't touched, most people wouldn't know what that was for. But a "United States Property" mark (which was also removed) and a serial number that can be traced back to its legitimate owner (the government) was a problem.

As mentioned in the other thread these pistols are unfortunately very common. Untold thousands were smuggled home by returning servicemen after both world wars, during a time when when almost all M1911 and M1911A1 pistols remained US government property and could not legally be sold or transferred to civilians. Many of these new owners would get cold feet and remove the incriminating markings to avoid any trouble. The irony was that while possessing stolen government property was illegal, at that point in time removing serial numbers wasn't. By the time that GI pistols were legally being sold as surplus in the 1950s the damage had already been done to many of those pilfered .45s already in civilian hands. By the time we ended up with the Gun Control Act of 1968 removing, altering, or defacing factory-applied serial numbers became a crime, with no grandfather provision. Your best option is to contact your local ATF office and see what they will allow you to do, but odds are they won't let you keep it. Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings, but I think it's better that you know now rather than risk trouble further down the road.
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Try not to fall into the common trap of wanting to replace everything on your new 1911 just to make it "better". Know what you're changing out, and why. You may spend a lot of money fixing things that weren't broken to begin with. Shoot it for at least 500 rounds, then decide what you don't like and want improved. Vintage 1911's should NEVER be refinished or modified because it ruins any value they had as a collectible firearm.

Last edited by dsk; 12-29-2013 at 03:47 PM.
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  #5  
Old 12-30-2013, 08:22 PM
Che Che is offline
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My grandfather and my dad and uncles all still had the serial numbers and US Property on their handguns.

Almost every Vet had one or quite a few. Now without a serial number the typical private can not tell one 1911 from another one. It is interesting you mentioned the 1952 date. You have any verbal history on your pistol?
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  #6  
Old 12-31-2013, 12:09 PM
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Melter942 Melter942 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TTravis View Post
Please tell me how you know it is 1918 or 1919.
It's definitely an M1911 receiver not an M1911A1. That dates it to before 1924. Check post #3 in this thread for the differences.

http://forums.1911forum.com/showthread.php?t=36281

Your third photo shows the lightening cuts under the grips have scalloped top and bottom edges. This was done to save machining time during WWI on pistols between SN 375,001 and 629,500; July 1918 through January 1919 production. That's the only time this style cut was used.

No telling how someone came up with the 1952 date.
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...and there you have it.

Joe
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  #7  
Old 12-31-2013, 03:37 PM
TTravis TTravis is offline
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1952 was when the previous owner, before it came into my family,1 bought it. I was assuming that he was the original owner and he bought it new. I know know I was wrong.

The military did start auctioning off 1911's to the general public about that time. I think you could get one for about $25. They also sold them through the NRA and mail order adds in Popular Mechanics.... $25 plus S&H would get one delivered to your door.
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