PDA

View Full Version : Closest To Original Specs?



George757
1st May 2007, 10:12
So, it seems that older 1911's, built to "original" specs, have high functional reliability, while the "tightened up" guns are accurate range-queens, but often have reliability issues with self defense loads. Which of the guns being manufactured today are truest to the "original" 1911 specs? And, just what constitutes "original" specs?

cliff731
1st May 2007, 23:47
I believe you're gonna see a lot of response saying there's only one... Colt's M1911 WWI "reproduction" pistol.

RickB
2nd May 2007, 11:02
When the M1911 was adopted, there were specifications adopted. Materials, heat treatments, dimensions, etc. Some of those have changed over the years, but there are specs. Commercial manufacturers have the option of adopting those specs, or not. Kuhnhausen makes a compelling argument for "improved" M1911 specs, that create a more accurate and consistent gun, but still within the original specs; for instance, a hole would be spec'd to the small end of the allowable tolerances, and the pin that goes in it would be spec'd toward the large end of its tolerances, so the parts would have an excellent fit, but still be within the original government tolerance range. Modern manufacturers may "improve" the gun to the extent that it is no longer within spec, and that's probably about the time things start going downhill. There are not many people who would tolerate an expensive gun that didn't work all the time, especially for self-defense use, so even the "tight" guns on the market today SHOULD run with any reasonable ammo. The Colt M1911 repro certainly looks the most like an original, but I don't know that it is actually built to the original military specs, or some substitute specs that Colt has developed for its commercial production.

Hawkmoon
2nd May 2007, 12:59
I don't know if they build them closer to original specs than Colt, but I do know that Para-Ordnance maintains a set of original Colt or Ordnance Department blueprints as their quality control reference "bible." Their goal is to produce pistols that are within spec. Whether or not they try to maintain a tighter tolerance than what John Browning originally called for I wouldn't know.

cliff731
4th May 2007, 17:47
...The Colt M1911 repro certainly looks the most like an original, but I don't know that it is actually built to the original military specs, or some substitute specs that Colt has developed for its commercial production.

Right you are, Rick... and while Colt's M1911 reproduction is certainly the current closest offering to the original 1911, if by no other measure than external appearance, I have no doubt that in all these years as have passed between then and now, Colt hasn't changed a thing or two dimensionally or in regards to metal specs or tolerances.

Granted the M1911 "reproduction" is the only current "copy" of an issued Colt 1911 on the outside, but internally it is a Series "70" re-issue, right? So, it couldn't match original M1911 specs, or could it?

Were there any specification changes internally on the 1911-A1 from original M1911 specs when it was adopted?

Hawkmoon's reply indicating Para-Ordnance having "a set of original Colt or Ordnance Department blueprints..." just might indicate our Canadian neighbors are making what George757 is looking for.

Maybe a phone call to Colt's and Para-Ordnance's customer service might provide some enlightenment?

pa_guns
4th May 2007, 18:39
Hi

I think that just about any factory production 1911 will do pretty well for you. I happen to like RIA, Springfield Mil Spec's, and Colt's depending on the price range. None of them make a pistol that is tight to the point of being unreliable.

I agree that the WWI's are good pistols. I have two of them and they both are good shooters.

Bob

George757
4th May 2007, 19:15
Kimber, on the other hand, seems to make a lot of guns that don't function reliably initially and have to be returned for warranty work. Not exactly confidence inspiring if you plan on carrying the gun.

Hawkmoon
4th May 2007, 19:19
Granted the M1911 "reproduction" is the only current "copy" of an issued Colt 1911 on the outside, but internally it is a Series "70" re-issue, right? So, it couldn't match original M1911 specs, or could it?
Technically, a Series 70 has a collet barrel bushing, which the WW1 reissue does not use. So it is not a Series 70 internally. Colt is still making their pistols using tool steel for things like sears and hammers, so that's probably also pretty close to original specs.

Perhaps the original poster could clarify what he meant by "specs," though. When I mentioned Para-Ordnance, I was thinking in terms of tolerances. It's well-known that Para-Ord uses some MIM parts, and that their frames and slides are investment castings rather than forgings. So in that snese, they are not true to original specifications. But they do use the original drawings for controlling part dimensions and tolerances.

If the criteria are to include both dimensions AND materials, I'd have to vote for Colt as being the closest to the original, even if their current models aren't 100 percent to original specs. I'm sure the metallurgy in the current pistols from Colt (and most other manufacturers, for that matter) is well above that found in the original WW1 pistols.

George757
4th May 2007, 20:45
Hawkmoon, I appreciate all the info. I was referring to "tolerances". Using Kimber again as an example: the factory recommends firing several hundred rounds just to break in the gun, and even then reliability is problematical. Colts, RIAs and others work well right out of the box, so it seems like guns that mimick the original tolerances fair better in the functioning department.

Hawkmoon
4th May 2007, 22:33
Hawkmoon, I appreciate all the info. I was referring to "tolerances". Using Kimber again as an example: the factory recommends firing several hundred rounds just to break in the gun, and even then reliability is problematical. Colts, RIAs and others work well right out of the box, so it seems like guns that mimick the original tolerances fair better in the functioning department.
I agree completely.

cliff731
5th May 2007, 02:21
Technically, a Series 70 has a collet barrel bushing, which the WW1 reissue does not use. So it is not a Series 70 internally. Colt is still making their pistols using tool steel for things like sears and hammers, so that's probably also pretty close to original specs.

Hawkmoon, does the Series "70" re-issue (or reproduction as it's sometimes called here) use the collet barrel bushing? I honestly didn't think it did, rather having the older regular style bushing (like the WWI you mentioned)... :confused:



Colts, RIAs and others work well right out of the box, so it seems like guns that mimick the original tolerances fair better in the functioning department.

That sounds almost like a recommendation to buy a Colt!!! I'll suggest their superb Series "70" re-issue... or if you can find one, their M1911 WWI "reproduction" pistol... and don't overlook Springfield Armory's excellent Mil-Spec model while you're shopping around... :)

pa_guns
5th May 2007, 08:16
Hi

The series 70 re-issue does not use the collet style bushing.

Bob

dakota1911
8th May 2007, 01:48
Every Colt I have bought in the last few years has been 100% out of the box, although I would have a hard time believing a real WWI pistol was as tight and as nicely finished as my WWI repro, but not having a time machine, maybe. I carry an XSE LW Colt Commander, which has been great (accurate and reliable) after 4K rounds and a couple years. I am a "righty" so I lost the ambi safety. Next I got rid of the flgr and put on some cheaper grips with regular screws. Ignore the holster unfriendly front slide serrations and it has been a great pistol.

MLee
8th May 2007, 08:31
Every Colt I have bought in the last few years has been 100% out of the box, although I would have a hard time believing a real WWI pistol was as tight and as nicely finished as my WWI repro, but not having a time machine, maybe. I carry an XSE LW Colt Commander, which has been great (accurate and reliable) after 4K rounds and a couple years. I am a "righty" so I lost the ambi safety. Next I got rid of the flgr and put on some cheaper grips with regular screws. Ignore the holster unfriendly front slide serrations and it has been a great pistol.

My daily carry is also an XSE LW Colt Commander, and your modifications are very similar to mine. I lost the ambi as well when I found the safety off while carrying one day. :scared: I also lost the "duck-tailed" grip safety for a Wilson and added an Ed Brown extended mag release. I replaced the front sight with a Trijicon. I called Colt, and they will get rid of the sharp edges on the cheese-grater slide serrations for $60 and 35 days turn-around. I haven't been able to convince myself that I can be without my Commander for 35 days yet, so I'm still dusting off leather fuzz from the slide on a daily basis. I have also been toying with the idea of sending it off to Yo-Bo for an Ed Brown bob job and have them take the edges off the slide as well.
I picked up an SA GI model a few months ago on one of those "I need to have one like I qualified on" urges. I checked out a number of the other "GI" repro models, and the SA seemed to be closer to the military model that I remember than the rest. Probably one of those deluded senior moments. The SA GI had a much tighter slide to frame fit than the one I carried. The groups that I obtained were about on par with the Army issued one, which were very good. I was one of the lucky ones - that got one of the issue 1911's that rattled like it was going to fall apart after the next round and could put them all in the 10 ring at 25 yards all day long.

Mike

Chesster
8th May 2007, 09:21
I can only attest to what I have that works as JMB intended:

Colt WWII Issue
Colt original 70 Series
Colt 1991A1
Springfield Armory GI
Springfield Armory Loaded
Rock Island Armory GI
Rock Island Armory Tactical
Remington Rand WWII Issue

irq23
8th May 2007, 23:19
Colt is still making their pistols using tool steel for things like sears and hammers, so
Colt now uses a MIM sear. Their hammer is still tool steel. Another one to look at is STI. Their higher priced guns (Lawman, Legacy, etc.) are built on a forged frame that is supposed to be held to <.005 tolerances. The hammer and sear are also S7 tool steel.

cliff731
10th May 2007, 05:00
Hi

The series 70 re-issue does not use the collet style bushing.

Bob

Thanks, Bob... that's what I thought too, but wasn't sure if something had changed recently. I do know my Series 70 "reissue" doesn't have the collet style bushing.

pa_guns
10th May 2007, 05:59
Thanks, Bob... that's what I thought too, but wasn't sure if something had changed recently. I do know my Series 70 "reissue" doesn't have the collet style bushing.

Hi

There were some odd failures of the collet style bushing "back in the old days". That's one explanation of why they stopped using it. I doubt they would go though the tooling expense on something that has issues.

Bob