A Nurse with a Gun

Monday, February 02, 2009

Shooting Collectibles

I happen to be the proud owner of a Colt M1911 and a Remington Rand M1911A1. I believe each pistol is 100% original. Click to enlargeUp until this point, I only owned one handgun that I have never shot, a 1910 Imperial Luger. It, too, is all original and all matching, although I swapped out the grips to preserve them.

It has been a hard decision not to shoot the Colt "Black Army" M1911 that I recently acquired, but I've come to the conclusion that not shooting it will be the best decision for me. It has taken me almost seven years to find this pistol at an all original price I would pay. If I do not shoot it, I can always install a new recoil spring and a shock buffer and take it to the range at any given time in the future.

I am fortunate to have found an original M1911 that I could afford. I'm also fortunate to own a Remington Rand in excellent original condition. While still scouring gun shows and pawn shops for these pistols, I built a M1911A1 copy from a Springfield GI45, and I purchased a Colt WWI Reproduction. Click to enlargeScott Gahimer says they all basically shoot the same. As a collector and enthusiast, Scott has shot a lot of M1911s. More than myself. I trust his advice.

It is an odd thing how some humans acquire objects of desire simply to possess them. But possession is not the goal. Learning about the things and showing others is a large part of the pastime. I have several 1911 pistols that get regular workouts as well as the ones I keep in my carry rotation. I have no driving need to shoot the old grey veteran I have found.

There may come a time when I will shoot the Colt "Black Army." I suspect that when the thrill of simply owning the genuine article wears thin, I will put a few rounds down range to confirm function if nothing else. That time is not now, however. I still have not shot the Colt M1911 reproduction. I suppose the Springfield M1911A1 copy will keep me going for a while longer.

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Blogger AJ187 said...

I am glad that you found your colt. I'm also glad I don't have any obsessions with a particular firearm model no matter how beautiful the thing is. I couldn't imagine how strenuous the wait was during the hunt for the colt.

9:17 PM  
Anonymous OrangeNeckInNY said...

Question: In my 1911 magazine, I have alternating bullets - hollow point/FMJ ball. Is this a good idea? I figure if a hollow point round won't penetrate, a ball round will. What do you think?

10:16 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

I have known people to do that, but I don't myself. If the pistol shoots reliably with alternating loads, and you feel more secure, why not do it?

11:01 PM  
Blogger Ed Rasimus said...

I've only had one gun that I've not shot: a Winchester 1886 commemorative done by Browning in 1988. A 45-70 lever Montana Centennial, 1 of 2000. Nicely engraved with great wood. NIB.

Felt really good when I learned that the gun I paid $1000 for was worth $1995 about a year ago in the Blue Book. Decided to sell it. Went to Cabela's and the generous folks offered me $1000 for it. Declined.

Put it on consignment at the local gun dealer for the BB value. No takers.

Now it's back in the safe. Collectibles are neat to own, fondle and show to folks, but I'm not sure they are easily fungible. Finding the right guy at the right time with the money in his pocket is very difficult, particularly if you don't frequent major gun shows.

Your guns aren't NIB, so I'd say shoot them and enjoy. When the time comes trade for something else that strikes your fancy. You'll gain more in non-monetary profit.

8:57 AM  
Blogger coolcol said...

Mr. X, I wrote awhile back about my 1902 Colt Auto that I will never shoot. She is my pride and joy and I will tell you the story of how she found her own way back to me someday. First is the fact that I would have to find very light loads, 38 Super would probably ruin the pistol. The old 38 Auto was not that powerful. More important is the possibility that I could damage the weapon. This I will not do for the pleasure of shooting it. Also on my do not fire list is a 1905 Colt 45acp. I am sure it could handle it but why take the chance? One moment’s elation, no matter how sweet, does not justify ruining a valuable artifact. We do have a responsibility to protect our heritage, as I am sure you agree. They are still lovely to hold though, I must say. I fancy the early Colt Autos for their elegance and art deco styling. Compare a 1902 Colt Military to a Broomhandle some time. It is like sculpture to a farm implement. Stay safe, my friend.

9:03 AM  
Blogger Vote For David said...

It's interesting to see different types of collectors out there. Your collector's piece that you don't shoot much, is the same type and vintage as a utility tool that my co-worker lent to me to shoot on the condition that I clean it for him.

9:20 AM  
Anonymous Wally said...

No harm in collecting to collect, enjoying the research, or the thrill of the hunt.

I have a few that I've never shot, an IJ revolver with serial number 2xx, a minty frsh, all-correct DCM garand, and even a new glock.

And there are guns that dont get shot often - like those inherited from my dad and grandfather - but those DO get shot, even if it's only 5 rounds per year.

12:16 PM  
Blogger tom said...

Only firearms I own I've never shot are ones that are truly wall-hangers, mechanically speaking and there were safety issues. Even if some of them I only have shot once or twice.

I've bought N.I.B guns with the intention to shoot them as well as modify them. It's your gun, shoot it if you want to. If you want to keep it exactly as you bought it, the elements will still age it a bit anyway.

Reasonable loadings and I can't see a reason in the world not to shoot it.

This week I'm receiving #5 in a new series by a well known smith who decided to put his hand back in the game just for grins as much as anything else as to building some 1911s besides his other businesses that are his bread and butter. What are the odds it won't see 150 rounds before the end of the day I take posession? I'd say not good, even if it "ruins" the collector value to some.

Toys are only fun to me if I can play with them. Fondling only goes so far and I get bored.

Shoot it if you want.

Don't shoot it if you decide not to.

It's yours and you are KING as to all questions regarding things that are yours. If it's mechanically sound, I can't see how you'd hurt it unless you double charged a load.

Semi-on topic:
I had a 1957 Fender Steel Guitar with original tweed red velvet lined case.

I never played it because it was in "the collection" and I wasn't going to gig with it.

Forgot about it for a while and some metal parts had gone green and the celluloid tuning buttons had been attacked by celluloid eating mold. If I'd gotten it out to play once in a while I wouldn't have had to restore it, dime to a dollar, in my reckoning. I didn't use it and in spite of that it still is now non-original in order to be usable.

2:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I happen to have two Colt 1911A1s whose serial numbers are only eight numbers apart. Before I purchased them for a song twenty years ago they had been stored in their Hoyt GI holsters since WWII. One still had cosmoline under the grips. I wouldn't dream of shooting these either.

3:16 PM  

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