newb 1911 questions

Discussion in 'Handgun Discussion' started by bwells, Apr 13, 2009.

  1. bwells


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    I've got a colt model '91 series 80 that I'd like to fix up. The finish is thin in spots, and I'm not a huge fan of the sights that are on it. Here's a list of what I'd like to do to it:

    Refinish with a more durable finish, like cerama-coat or duracoat.
    Replace sights with something better for low-light
    And since I'm a lefty, I'd like to add an ambi. safety and mag. release.

    But here's my questions:

    I'm assuming this gun isn't rare, since it didn't cost me too much when I
    got it, but would refinishing horribly detract from the value?

    What are my options for sights? The rear is a standard dovetail, but the
    front is different. I can't tell how it's attached. Do I need to have a
    front dovetail cut?

    How difficult is it to install the safety and mag. release? Is it the kind of
    thing I could do myself, or would I need to take it in to a gunsmith?

    How difficult is it to completely disassemble this gun for refinishing? I've
    taken the slide off the frame for cleaning, but that's as far as I've gotten.

    And lastly, Is there anything else I should consider replacing, or
    something that is prone to failure on the series 80's?

    I'm happy with the accuracy, just not when I'm shooting it. I've seen my brother consistently hit an 8" bull at 50 yards, but he's an Army Ranger, so he gets to play with guns all the time. Thanks in advance for any help. And here's a couple pics, because everybody like pics.


    And this one's kind of fuzzy, but it kind of shows the front sight.
  2. Spad

    Kennewick,WA, the desert side
    Active Member

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    There are various 1911 sites on the internet that will answer your questions. I'm a 1911 owner. Why refinish it? Looks are not that important especially if it shoots good. You can get parts to change things on a 1911.Lot's of ways to customise for a lefty, no problem. Various books out there and learn to field strip it, very easy, in fact there are more then one sites on the internet showing how. Go on Google and type in 1911 forum or just Colt 1911. The pistol look good in the pics. Bill
  3. wichaka

    Wa State
    Well-Known Member

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    Your options are many, from a simple replacement rear sight that will slide into the current dovetail, to many others that will need to have the slide machined.

    Your current front sight is staked in. Take the barrel bushing out and look inside, and you'll see the stake coming thru.

    You don't need a dovetail cut, but you'd have more choices if you did.

    If you're not familiar with the safety system, and how the parts fit together to make everything work, I'd suggest a good 'smith to do the work.

    You can also obtain good books like Kuhnhausen's Colt 45 Shop Manuals, and Ed Browns bench refernce manula among many other on the market. Study them, but be honest, if you're still not sure, take it to a 'smith.

    If you want to learn, I'd be glad to work with you and show you how the gun does, what it does. No charge.

    Check out, there's a tech section that will show you step by step the complete take down.

    Nope & Nope.
  4. bwells


    Likes Received:
    Thanks for all the info. Looks like I got some reading to do.

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