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  #1  
Old 05-23-2019, 10:08 PM
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dsk dsk is offline
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Colt O1911C Classic: First Impressions

I just picked up my new O1911C Colt Government Model Classic today, and here I will share my initial impressions of it. A range trip will follow in the coming days. The pictures you see here are of the pistol fresh out of the oily bag prior to me giving it the usual teardown and complete cleaning and oiling. I apologize if the color/contrast isn't the greatest, but it's due to the evening light. Before I get into the details, let me sum this pistol up: it's basically a hybrid of the Series 80 O1991 and Series 70 O1970A1CS models, sharing features of both pistols. Most of the external features are like the O1991, while internally it lacks the firing pin safety and as thus is a Series 70 model.



First off, my example appears to be very well-made. There are no obvious cosmetic anomalies to be found, and no deep tooling marks anywhere which is good. The bluing is even, but very black in color (despite the bluish tint of these photos) and the flats have a very dull, low-glare finish. The rounds are of course sandblasted matte. The checkered wood grips actually look pretty decent to my eyes, and I will probably keep them on the pistol for the time being. I did replace the mainspring housing with an arched steel Colt unit after I took these pictures, but here you're looking at it as it came straight out of the box.





Going from top to bottom, here are the features I noticed:

1. Sights are standard high-profile but plain black, like on the Series 70 O1970A1CS.

2. The barrel is a stainless unit marked "COLT .45 AUTO NM" on top, meaning it's one of their National Match barrels. I *think* the only difference between a standard and NM Colt barrel is that the ones with the best accuracy when fired in fixtures during proof testing get selected as NM barrels. If anyone knows for sure or knows otherwise please comment.

3. The barrel hood extension is indeed the narrow Gold-Cup style, with a matching ejection port opening. The latter is lowered in the same style as a Series 80 O1991.

4. The slide and frame markings are all laser-engraved. The big news here of course is the LH slide marking, which closely matches that found on Colt Government Models made during the 1950s and 1960s. By engraving them Colt avoided the problem of unsightly "cratering" around the markings. However the laser-engraved markings are still very sharp and catch lint/grit easily, as the picture below shows:



The rest of the markings are typical of current-production O1991 and Series 70 pistols.

5. The hammer is fully blued in the same style as a O1991. The trigger is a short serrated unit, but interestingly has a black-anodized alloy trigger pad. This is the first time I've seen this trigger used on a new Colt pistol. The way mine is fitted there is a small amount of play, but nothing like the sloppiness common to the steel trigger used on the Series 70 models. The trigger pull on my example is very good. I don't have a scale but I'd estimate it to be at or below 5 pounds with only a hint of grittiness.

6. The thumb safety is pretty well-fitted, but a bit gritty. Fortunately it isn't full of mush and over-travel like a lot of thumb safeties are on many recent-production guns.

Continued...
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Avoid the temptation to replace everything on your brand-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 at least 500 rounds through it first, then decide what you don't like and want to improve. Regarding vintage 1911s, pre-1970 pistols are highly collectible in original, unaltered condition and should NEVER be refinished or modified as it completely ruins their monetary value.

Last edited by dsk; 05-23-2019 at 10:15 PM.
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Old 05-23-2019, 10:09 PM
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7. The slide stop cutout is completely milled away like on all Series 80 models, making this a hybrid O1991 frame but minus the firing pin safety. Interestingly the slide also has the disassembly notch in the same position as a Series 80 O1991, making the slide a hybrid as well. The magazine well is not beveled, and oddly the lower grip screw bushings are staked in place while the two top ones are not. The mainspring housing is a typical flat, serrated nylon or Delrin unit as seen on many other Colt models. While functional, my preference is for steel housings and I definitely don't care for the short trigger/flat housing combination so I quickly swapped the housing out for an arched steel housing as I already mentioned.



Internally there were no surprises. There is a slight finish anomaly inside the dust cover (shown below) but it's a non-issue to me. The internals are clean and well-machined, although in typical Colt fashion there are sharp edges everywhere.





If there is an odd duck in all of this it's the magazine. It's a Checkmate 7-rounder as indicated by the spring and witness holes, except it has an 8-round follower in it! As a result I can almost get 8 rounds into it, but not quite. I have absolutely no idea why Checkmate would make a 7-round magazine if they're going to use the 8-round follower in it! Now I will have to hunt around and see if I have an 8-round magazine spring that will work in it.



The pistol ships with just the one magazine, and the blue plastic box and cable lock is something you've all seen so I didn't waste time taking pictures. The manual is the same as for a Series 70 O1970A1CS.

Overall I am very pleased with it, although once again I'm still a bit disappointed Colt didn't go all the way and make a true pre-Series 70 reproduction since with this pistol they were nearly there. However it looks like it'd make a great base gun for a custom build, although I am leaving mine mostly bone-stock. Soon I'll hit the range with it and see if the NM barrel makes it shoot any better than my other Colts with their standard barrels.
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Avoid the temptation to replace everything on your brand-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 at least 500 rounds through it first, then decide what you don't like and want to improve. Regarding vintage 1911s, pre-1970 pistols are highly collectible in original, unaltered condition and should NEVER be refinished or modified as it completely ruins their monetary value.

Last edited by dsk; 05-23-2019 at 10:15 PM.
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Old 05-23-2019, 10:55 PM
bovw bovw is offline
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Iím curious, how is the slide to frame fit at the rear? Blended nicely?


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  #4  
Old 05-23-2019, 11:06 PM
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It's flush. It's too late right now to take pictures but it looks just fine to me. The slide to frame fit is average for a Colt, not snug but not sloppy either.
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Avoid the temptation to replace everything on your brand-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 at least 500 rounds through it first, then decide what you don't like and want to improve. Regarding vintage 1911s, pre-1970 pistols are highly collectible in original, unaltered condition and should NEVER be refinished or modified as it completely ruins their monetary value.
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Old 05-24-2019, 12:17 AM
9mm Colt 9mm Colt is offline
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Thanks DSK!
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Old 05-24-2019, 05:14 AM
Bert Bryan Bert Bryan is online now
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Thank you, sir.
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Old 05-24-2019, 06:32 AM
rod727 rod727 is offline
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Nice review and thanks for sharing first impressions
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  #8  
Old 05-24-2019, 06:46 AM
Cranky Yankee Cranky Yankee is offline
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Nice gun and nice review, thanks for sharing!
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  #9  
Old 05-24-2019, 07:56 AM
CLASSIC12 CLASSIC12 is online now
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Colt O1911C Classic: First Impressions

Nice pistol and great review, thanks.

If I may make a few comparisons with my June 2017 O1991, with a few pics to illustrate :

First thing that I noticed is the serial number with GV prefix, but yours has GV0038xx whereas mine has GV 200612, so I assume they kept the lower numbers for the Classic ? Or just a random coincidence?



The sights you mentioned plain black as opposed to the 3 white dots, correct ?



The MSH is the same, and I replaced it with a flat non serrated steel one, consistent with the long trigger.

Narrow hood and black hammer are the same.

How is the slide disassembly notch position different from other 1911 pistols ?

Mine had a few scratches under the slide stop and safety, looks like it was a bit manhandled during assembly, however they donít show when the gun is assembled





Finish is very dark indeed, blackish more than blue. Grips are the same, I like them a lot, more than the reddish one on the series 70 re-issue.

The flats on mine are fairly shiny, you can see the brushing lines but it does reflect light quite a bit (hard to photograph obviously). Is yours similar ?





Came with one 8 round magazine



And itís a good shooter too, Iím sure yours will be too


Last edited by CLASSIC12; 05-24-2019 at 08:00 AM.
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Old 05-24-2019, 09:02 AM
dakota1911 dakota1911 is online now
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The GV prefix on the serial number is interesting. I bought a Gold Cup Trophy Lite in 38 Super in Nov. 2018 and it has a serial number of GV002xxx. Below comparing it to a Gold Cup Trophy in 45ACP from 2015. The GCT Lite is a "series 70" pistol by the way.



By the way, I took these pictures before I cleaned the shipping goo off the pistol. At least I got two mags with it. Sort of off thread but here it is just after I got it field stripped. Very happy with the fit and finish of the pistol.

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Old 05-24-2019, 09:03 AM
Independance Independance is offline
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I don't think you mentioned above, are those laminate grips or real slabs?
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Old 05-24-2019, 09:15 AM
Texagun Texagun is offline
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Excellent review and good photos. Thanks for the post. Looking forward to the range report.
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Old 05-24-2019, 12:41 PM
Gunsmith03 Gunsmith03 is offline
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National Match Barrel

DSK, Thank you for an excellent review.
I reached out to someone very familiar with Colt's manufacturing processes. The National Match barrels are actually made with a different process than the standard normally associated with models such as the O1991. They are not hand selected through the test firing process. For those of us that may have both styles of barrels and proper measuring equipment, you may find slight differences in chamber and/or bore dimensions.
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Old 05-24-2019, 02:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CLASSIC12 View Post
First thing that I noticed is the serial number with GV prefix, but yours has GV0038xx whereas mine has GV 200612, so I assume they kept the lower numbers for the Classic ? Or just a random coincidence?
It appears Colt is simply using the same SN sequence for multiple models. How they manage to keep track of it is unknown but I guess that's their business.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CLASSIC12 View Post
How is the slide disassembly notch position different from other 1911 pistols ?
Prior to 1988 the notch was located about 1/2" behind the slide stop notch. On all Series 80s since then it's been located at least a full inch or so back to make it easier to disassemble when the recoil spring plug isn't removed first.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CLASSIC12 View Post
Mine had a few scratches under the slide stop and safety, looks like it was a bit manhandled during assembly, however they don’t show when the gun is assembled
That is normal. The slide stop scratches the frame during operation, as does the thumb safety.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Independance View Post
I don't think you mentioned above, are those laminate grips or real slabs?
They appear to be laminate. I believe they're still the same grips Colt has been using for a number of years on the O1991/Series 70 but these look a bit nicer.
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Avoid the temptation to replace everything on your brand-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 at least 500 rounds through it first, then decide what you don't like and want to improve. Regarding vintage 1911s, pre-1970 pistols are highly collectible in original, unaltered condition and should NEVER be refinished or modified as it completely ruins their monetary value.

Last edited by dsk; 02-24-2020 at 09:50 PM.
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Old 05-24-2019, 07:46 PM
haldir haldir is offline
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Thanks for the good write up.
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Old 05-24-2019, 10:32 PM
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Guys, I just figured out how to fix the white balance in the photos and re-uploaded them which are now much closer to true color. I apologize for the assault on your eyes! You'll have to clear out your browser cache to reload them however.
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Avoid the temptation to replace everything on your brand-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 at least 500 rounds through it first, then decide what you don't like and want to improve. Regarding vintage 1911s, pre-1970 pistols are highly collectible in original, unaltered condition and should NEVER be refinished or modified as it completely ruins their monetary value.
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Old 05-25-2019, 01:17 AM
CyberDyneSystems CyberDyneSystems is offline
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Looks like a dandy new Government model... Thanks for the write up!
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Old 05-25-2019, 10:18 AM
Retired AF CE Retired AF CE is offline
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What is the reason for Colt to not use a finer grit or a better polish on the flats?

Is it a cost issue or a cosmetic fad with a new generation of gun enthusiasts?
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Old 05-25-2019, 10:45 AM
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You can't simply use a finer grit from the onset. You have to start with rough polishing then work your way to the finer grits one at a time to get where you want. By ending the finishing process at a rougher polishing stage you're saving a boatload of money on manufacturing costs. Also, gunsmiths prefer it because they can finish the polishing process on their own without having to fix the mess caused by a gun that was over-zealously polished by someone at the factory.

While I wish it was polished like my Series 70 repros I do have to admit that it's very functional and business-like. And if I ever decide I want a better polish I can do it myself and then send the pistol off to Glenrock Blue.
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Avoid the temptation to replace everything on your brand-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 at least 500 rounds through it first, then decide what you don't like and want to improve. Regarding vintage 1911s, pre-1970 pistols are highly collectible in original, unaltered condition and should NEVER be refinished or modified as it completely ruins their monetary value.

Last edited by dsk; 05-25-2019 at 10:47 AM.
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  #20  
Old 05-25-2019, 11:09 AM
US1911 US1911 is offline
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Nice review!

While it may in fact make for a great base gun, I think it makes for an equally great stand alone pistol.

Itís not a retro, itís not a WWI/II tribute pistol, its not a commemorative, itís just a representation of a classic Colt 1911, with a few classic attributes. I think the pistol captures itís intended design very well.

Itís a very nice, no non-sense Colt 1911.
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Old 05-25-2019, 11:38 AM
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I need to research Glenrock Blue. My first thought was a Turnbull finish.

I will probably purchase one of these and then decide about upgrading the finish.

I really like the clean look of this pistol. The price isn't bad either.
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  #22  
Old 05-25-2019, 12:11 PM
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Okay, more pics...

First here are some comparison pics between it and an older Series 70 reproduction. Note that I have an arched housing on the 1911 Classic now.



Note the huge difference in the finish. While both are blued the dull finish of the 1911 Classic almost makes it look like a WW1-era Black Army M1911.



Now a comparison of the finish and rollmarks between the 1911 Classic and a 1966-vintage Government Model:



Note that they came very close to the original markings. Not identical, but a good job in my opinion. Note however that they are applied further forward on the slide. Note also the difference in the location of the disassembly notch:

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Avoid the temptation to replace everything on your brand-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 at least 500 rounds through it first, then decide what you don't like and want to improve. Regarding vintage 1911s, pre-1970 pistols are highly collectible in original, unaltered condition and should NEVER be refinished or modified as it completely ruins their monetary value.
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Old 05-25-2019, 01:04 PM
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Great pics!
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Old 05-25-2019, 10:25 PM
tbirdsc tbirdsc is offline
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Hi All
I have not seen the classic edition in the flesh yet but from the pics, the finish looks equivalent to the later run of 70 series with the 73B0500 plus serial number. Is that a correct observation?
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Old 05-25-2019, 10:42 PM
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Yes it is. It's also similar to the current O1991 models as well.

BTW here is something that baffles me. On Gunbroker there is an auction for one that started at a penny with no reserve. As of right now with one day to go it's received 47 bids and is up to $980.00. And yet there are other ones on GB right now set at $849 or less. What on Earth are some people thinking???

https://www.gunbroker.com/item/813632981
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