A Nurse with a Gun

Thursday, June 12, 2008

History

Ah the agony and joy of having a gun still on one's short list to acquire....... Click to enlargeThis Colt M1911 was given to a friend of mine by her father. Luckily, she is a shooter and she values the pistol for all the right reasons. A correct World War 1 era M1911 is still a pistol that I hope to acquire someday.

The first rendition of John Moses Browning's most famous handgun is getting more and more difficult to find. The prices have risen such that they are essentially collector's pieces now. Once though to be surplus junk, the prices for usual specimens seem to hover around $2000. Chances are, like a gallon of gasoline, they will not be going down ever again.

The M1911 is history. All the imperfections in the finish, acquired over nearly an entire century add to the allure of the piece. Thus, when a perfect restoration such as this Turnbull restored M1911 appears for sale, I am less than eager to consider it. It's not the $2,999.00 price on the auction that leaves me cold, it's the fact that the gun's history has essentially been erased. Beautiful? Yes. Perfect? No doubt. Interesting? Only if you want to admire the work of a master restorationist instead of the firearm itself. An old gun that has been made to look new just doesn't excite me much. In fact, it kind of saddens me when I think that the owner failed to appreciate the history he held.

By contrast, Colt's reproduction M1911 is rather interesting to me. Because it's a reproduction, not a restoration, the historical aspect is a moot point. It's not a perfect reproduction......Clickto enlarge The slide cuts are not the ball cut of the M1911 (although some M1911s had the more gradual cut) and the rollmarks have edges raised above the level of the slide polish; but it is close enough.

When I acquired my a Colt WWI reproduction, I knew it might be a while before I decided to shoot it. To date, I still have not put any lead down range with it. When I finally stick it in my range bag and bring it along, it will begin it's history with me. It is my hope that when it is passed down to it's next owner, that they will value the history they hold as much as my friend values the history in her gun. I suppose I would rather have that than a gun with history erased.

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12 Comments:

Anonymous beth said...

there's history in everything. why do we need it in guns?

5:47 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

Would you say the same thing if it were a 1965 Mustang Fastback? Why would anyone repaint such history? Reupholster the interior? New tires? What about the vintage bikes? How much restoration is appropriate?

6:01 AM  
Anonymous Billy Sparks said...

When I got my WWI repo I ran exactly one box of Blaser through it. I along with my Eddystone 1917 make me think of my mother father who fought in the trenches of WWI.

8:43 AM  
Blogger Owen said...

Beth,
the reason we need history in guns is plentiful, we (gun owners) like guns and feel the need to keep them for many reasons. The history, the evolution of form and fucntion. If we ignore this one part of history we create an incomplete picture. And that is the worst thing for me as a history teacher to paint an incomplete picture of history. Please remember Beth that guns are tools, used however the wielder wishes, they are much a part of history as politics, nations, and individual people.

Owen

p.s. Xav I must say that 1911 is wonderful and Thanks i love reading your blog.

11:22 AM  
Blogger Brad said...

Some of us get it Xav.

I have worked for my current PD for 14 years. About 4 years ago we transitioned from 9mm Sig 226's to .40 Sig 226's (I would love to carry a 1911, but alas, our chief is not among the enlightened ones. It is against policy to carry one, even off duty. Single action only?? Cocked and locked?? VERY dangerous business according to those who patrol their desks on a daily basis).

They allowed us to purchase our old pistols, if we wished. $300 was a decent price I thought (the AWB was still in place and it came with 3 pre-ban 15 round mags), but the sentimental value was what closed the deal.

I bought it mainly as a museum piece. Never really intended on shooting it much (it is much easier on the wallet to shoot duty guns that taxpayers buy the ammo for).

The other day I pulled it out just to put a few rounds through it and give it a good cleaning. I enjoyed shooting it a lot (I had forgotten just how user friendly a 9mm can be), but I probably enjoyed cleaning it even more. It gave me a chance to look at the holster wear and accumulated nick and bumps I had put on it over those 10 years.

When I purchased it, I did so without thinking too deeply on it, figuring I could always get my money back out of it (or close to it anyways) a later date if I needed to. As I placed it back into the safe though, I kinda doubt I will ever want to part ways with it unless I am handing it down to one of my kids someday.

Some of us get it...

12:42 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

Actualy, Richard, I thought about comparing it to a car. After all, at any judged car show, an unrestored vintage automobile in fine to excellent shape will score much higher than an imaculately restored version of the same automobile. The paint is only original once. That includes 1965 Mustang fastbacks as well as other cars, regardless of who shot the paint. I just figured the comparison was invalid, kind of like onions and mangos, but the analogy still stands. Check out the scoring cards at Pebble Beach.

8:21 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

I have a Colt 1911 that by the serial number was manufactured in 1917. It's in pretty damned good shape for its age. You're telling me that it's worth multiple thou$ands?

10:14 PM  
Blogger nature223 said...

mostly to piss off gun hating liberals...that's why beth.

we like guns,deal with it
pass off your hoplaphobia where it earns more merit.
your speaking about a political viewpoint that shows your innate ignorance of what makes an item "art worthy".

3:24 AM  
Anonymous Captain Harley said...

I just purchased a Colt Combat Government Model 70 from an estate.
The price was very reasonable and a friend had told me about it. So basicly I bought it sight unseen.
Was I surprised to find it a "new"
version of the 1911 with wrap around grips. Beautiful gun and appears unfired. This is the same way I acquired my other
Colt 1911a1: sight unseen, very reasonable priced & a real jewel.
Now I need to find an old original
WWI (or WWII) Colt 45 auto too.

6:41 AM  
Blogger J.R.Shirley said...

I had no idea the old slabsides had become so valuable.

12:48 PM  
Blogger Assrot said...

I've been thinking about adding another modern 1911 to the collection. My dad has the real deal and he has a few of them. I can't afford an original.

I do have a WWII era Springfield Armory 1911A1 but I really want an original WWI era Colt Government model. I just can't afford the price of one in good condition. My dad had a guy at the range offer him $4000+ for one of his one day. Naturally dad turned him down. The ones my dad have are all original parts and in NRA very good condition. One is rated at NRA excellent condition. He never takes that one out the safe except to keep it cleaned and oiled. It's a sweet gun.

I think I'm going to go with a new Colt 1911 Government Model although I have had some guys trying to talk me into an S&W. I've always loved the Colts though so it's going to be a tough choice.

I think my mind might already be made up but who knows. I'm a spur of the moment kind of guy so I might wind up with a Colt and a S&W.

Joe

7:10 PM  
Blogger Assrot said...

Beth here's something for you to think about.

Beth I hear you calling
But I can't come home right now
Me and the boys are playing
And we just can't find the sound

Just a few more hours
And I'll be right home to you
I think I hear them calling
Oh Beth what can I do
Beth what can I do

You say you feel so empty
That our house just ain't our home
I'm always somewhere else
And you're always there alone

Just a few more hours
And I'll be right home to you
I think I hear them calling
Oh Beth what can I do
Beth what can I do

Beth I know you're lonely
And I hope you'll be alright
'Cause me and the boys will be playing all night

--KISS 1976

7:14 PM  

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