A Nurse with a Gun

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Why Colt?

I'm a Colt aficionado, but I do not always recommend Colts to 1911 buyers.

People buy 1911s for a lot of reasons. When a person is new to 1911s, they have a lot of questions and very little understanding of what they, themselves really want in a pistol. The 1911 is a pistol that demands that you shoot it and find out for yourself what features are important to you. For some folks, the "Kimber" type package of beavertails, swoopy sights, holy triggers and slick finishes is extremely important. These people will likely not be happy with a Colt, at least not yet. There are a lot of brands and variations for them to chose from, but I usually recommend a Springfield Mil-Spec and some range time. Most decline and go buy a Kimber. That's OK, many shoot that Kimber and are happy never knowing anything else. A few will someday move to a Colt, but most never feel the need. Kimber is a good gun, as are Springfields and the SW1911.

Then you run into a person who says "I want a Colt 45. Which one should I get?" or "Are they still made?" This person will not be satisfied with anything but a Colt. Even if they try to get in cheap with a Springfield Mil-Spec, they will buy a Colt within six months. Nothing else will satisfy them. These are the people I steer towards a Colt. You can almost sense it when you first talk to them, they care more about substance than fashion. Some people call it brand blindness, but to many of us it is more than that. It is something you feel, something that emanates from that pistol when you pick it up, something that travels through your bones, something a Colt gives you that no other 1911 does. Either you feel it, or you don't. These are the people who will buy a Colt and build it into what they want. I am one of them. I cannot explain why another brand does not do the same thing. All I know is that it does.

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Blogger Jeffro said...

The first 1911 I bought was a Colt 1991A1 in matte stainless. It wouldn't feed UMC hardball, no matter the magazine. The feed ramp was heavily scratched. The slide was pretty loose on the rails, too - it should have fed anything had the ramp been right from the factory.

I picked up an old Remington 1911 that worked flawlessly, and have two Kimbers that run great as well. I understand Colt has improved since I got that 1991 about seven or eight years ago, but I'm burned on Colts. I do, however, have a Colt AR that runs good - so I'm not afraid of buying one. I'd buy an older Colt in a heartbeat - just none of the new 1911 variants.

2:26 PM  
Anonymous mike100 said...

My gunsmith told me back in '94 when I discovered 1911's to just get the basic all steel colt or springfield and bring it to him.

I ended up with a 1991A1 matte blue for $459 and I love it, but I wish I would have considered an XSE or something, but I think he was just trying to make sure I got an all forged gun that wouldn't need much other than throating and a trigger job.

Since then I found another 1991 just like it and have a fancy Dan Wesson on 10-day wait as well (my first stainless 1911). On my Colt, the matte finish has been redone to something nicer, but it's nice to have on the range because few people have even a '91a1 anymore even though they aren't anything special.

4:03 PM  
Anonymous freddyboomboom said...

My first 1911 was an AMT Hardballer my Dad gave me.

Then in 1997 I got a Colt M1991A1 Commander.

I love it and I gave the AMT back to my Dad.

The Colt is the only 1911 I have, and it runs flawlessly, even with the $5 Army surplus magazines I got...

6:00 PM  
Blogger rimshot said...

Good Deals on Colt 45's

Many moons ago I was at a “gallery” bullseye match when one of the other clubs members said he was selling a friends Luger and wanted $175 for it. The group looked at each other and one fellow piped up and said “I’ll give you $150 if it has all matching numbers. The gent selling said no it doesn’t have all matching” so he said I don’t want it then and everyone seemed to lose interest.

I walked over and told him all matching doesn’t matter much to me as long as it’s a decent shooter. I had been looking for a Luger just to posses because of its history and looks . Well I bought it for $125 and the only number that didn’t match was the magazine and it fired flawlessly and looked in excellent shape, bright bore & 90% blue no scrapes or dings.

He said (when I bought that one) his friend had a couple more pistols left that he hasn’t sold yet for about the same price, would I be interested?

Well a few days later I met with him and he brought in a Colt 45 (model of 1911) clean but it didn’t have any blueing on it whatsoever. It wasn’t rusted at all and I couldn’t figure why no blueing. After closer inspection I noticed very slight pitting in only two tiny areas, I needed double pair of glasses to see it. I didn’t ask but I figured someone was cleaning it up to reblue.

The third pistol was a High Standard, Supermatic Citation model 103, it was in just spectacular shape. I couldn’t believe my luck. I tried the High Standard and it fired perfectly and it came with two weights and extra magazine. I believe I paid $125 each, so I ended up with the three pistols for $375.

We didn’t have ammo for the 45 so it was quite a while before I had a chance to give it a wee-bit of a go. It functioned fairly well with only a few hang ups (shell caught in ejection port) but seemed to me to be “clanky” and rough. My buddy told me there are parts that can reduce that somewhat. I wanted to make it a “pin & plate” or “combat” shooter.

He told me to buy the parts I want and he would put it together for me. He’s not a trained smith but has worked his own guns for years and didn’t seem to have any problems. I ordered most of the parts from Gil Hebard and sent them to him. He was now living two states away but doing more gun repair with his own shop.

Well, to make a long story somewhat shorter he was taking such a long time and said he was having trouble with it. I wanted to use it while I was still young so I finally said send it back with the bill and whatever the trouble was I would have it fixed here by a smith.

He mailed the 45 back in pieces and with my “pristine” colt manufacture barrel-bushing wrench twisted and bent. He said on the phone “no charge” because he could never get it back together with the new parts. I was more than frustrated but…you get what you pay for I guess. I sent him some money for his time anyhow.

I took the 45 back apart more than he had and oiled and lubed the rubbing areas (they were absolutely dry as a bone) and I put it together. It was extremely tight but it functioned properly by hand. I worked the mechanism over and over and took it apart over and over till it seemed somewhat less tight. When I took it to the range it wouldn’t eject the shells and then I remembered that it had the heavier springs for the “plate and pen & combat” matches and I was using light loads. So, I reloaded some ammo up to about 90% of what is max. and it functioned excellent. The accuracy was so much better also with the new barrel and bushing that he did install.

I later purchased a Colt Gold Cup from a team member at a very decent price. He said it functioned excellent but he just couldn’t get real tight groups with it. Well, I bought it and sure enough it functioned well but I couldn’t get a real tight group so this time I brought it to a gunsmith with an excellent reputation. He said he now worked on rifles and shotgun almost exclusively but would look at it for me if I didn’t mind a long wait, I didn’t (it was coming on hunting season).

He gave me a call a few weeks later and said the pistol seems fine to him and the only item that could be causing the trouble may be the barrel and bushing. He said they both seem fine though to the eye and measurements. He told me the same as my buddy, buy the parts I want and he would fit them. That’s what I did but asked if he could install a longer (one inch) barrel on it.

He said he could but it would be sticking out that one inch when done. I must have thought that one inch would give a bit better accuracy at 50 yards. I have trouble at the longer distances. He was right as rain about the barrel and bushing…it was like new, or better. I shot great groups with it but still have some trouble with the long shots.

I too have bought about eight extra $5 to $7 Army surplus magazines and they work great in both 45’s.

GOOD LORD!!… I just checked back and saw all this drivel I pounded out here! And this is supposed to be a comment, not a book! Oh well it may just get tossed but what the hell!

I must say in closing that the 45 has taken me the longest of any pistol to be able to shoot with good accuracy, why, I don’t know.

11:40 PM  
Blogger Pawpaw said...

I went to the Texas Ranger museum in Waco, Texas today. You shoulda seen the barbeque pistols. 95% Colt 1911's with a smattering of Smith 19's and 28's. Two Pythons.

Oh, those were some beautiful pistols. You could tell that most of them had been carried. Carried a long time.

6:23 PM  
Anonymous Diamondback said...

I had an opportunity a year or so ago to purchase 2 used Colt 1911s for around $700 for the pair. I had even field stripped them and both appeared to be almost new. One was black the other brushed stainless. I often kick myself for not getting them when I had the chance.

6:50 AM  

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