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War Relic 1911

Discussion in 'Maintenance & Gunsmithing' started by cascadianliberty2012, Dec 18, 2015.

  1. cascadianliberty2012

    cascadianliberty2012 DPR Portland Well-Known Member

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    Hey everyone,

    So after a long time my grandfather has finally decided to give me his sidearm from his time serving in WWII as a Marine Infantry Officer. He used it in battles including Peleliu and Okinawa. He continued to keep it as his sidearm throughout the next 10 years as he continued serving in the reserves. Anyways, it's pretty much sat in a drawer for the last 60 years, attached are some pictures of it. The main issue I'm seeing is a missing firing pin (and assembly), so I'll need some advice on where to procure one and if that's something that should be purchased new or if it needs to be period-correct. Also, what would be a wise way to go about having it safety-checked, cleaned, or anything, if at all? I really love the history and family value of it, but seeing as how it was used post-war, it isn't quite as "battlefield" as it could be.

    Seeing as how I'm new to the 1911 world, what would any of you with more knowledge and experience do? My ultimate goal is to have it be functional, but for the most part be something of a display piece along with the other weapon he brought back from the war, a Type 94 Nambu.

    Thanks!

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  2. jrprich

    jrprich PNW Well-Known Member

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    I am but a rookie in the collector field, but the one thing I learned fast was: Keep it as original as possible. Any changes will lower the gun's value and that decrease in value will increase over time if modified. Colt collectors highly value originality and any documented history of the gun's use in war will also increase the value. Clean it, but don't polish it or have it refinished.
    For some really expert opinions, I suggest you post uo high quality photos on http://www.coltforum.com/. There you will find expert and friendly collectors who have vast knowledge in all things Colt. :)
     
    cascadianliberty2012 likes this.
  3. Velzey

    Velzey Estacada, Oregon Gunsmith Gunsmith Bronze Vendor Bronze Supporter

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    Do not let just anyone handle this firearm! The slide release doesn't have the big take down mark! And we don't want it marked up..

    I have an original parts here that will fit it perfect!
    Frame looks to be 1943, and a WW1 slide.
     
  4. cascadianliberty2012

    cascadianliberty2012 DPR Portland Well-Known Member

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    I figured keeping as original as possible is a good idea, and I'd want nothing less. Of course, it's somewhat priceless to me, but monetary value just increases its value to me. I haven't cleaned it, but just put oil on it for protection.
     
  5. cascadianliberty2012

    cascadianliberty2012 DPR Portland Well-Known Member

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    Naturally I'll be quite protective of it. It's not even something I'd want to mess with myself for obvious reasons. What parts are you referring to? Do you sell parts?
     
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  6. Bigbaddude

    Bigbaddude West linn Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I highly recommend Velzey he has done work on 2 of my 1911 and they turned out great.
    He really takes pride in his work.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2015
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  7. Stomper

    Stomper Oceania Rising White Is The New Brown Silver Supporter

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    Velzey DA MAN! He did stellar work on a gun barrel for me.


    So, your Marine Corp granddad wasn't torqued about the frame being stamped U.S. Army? LOL


    BTW- I carried the Remington and Ithaca made 1911A1 in the Army (just before the M9 transition), and wow the memories and heart rate go up (in a good way) when I see a USGI 1911A1 like that!
     
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  8. cascadianliberty2012

    cascadianliberty2012 DPR Portland Well-Known Member

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    He actually speaks fairly highly of the Army as most of his time on Okinawa embedded with an Army unit serving as a liaison. He's told me that he used this 1911 more than his M1 Carbine for the most part as his unit tended to do a lot of "clearing caves" on the islands.
     
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  9. rick benjamin

    rick benjamin USA, Or, Damascus Secure the drama Silver Supporter 2016 Volunteer

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    Colt says your gun was made in 1943 MODEL 1911 MILITARY
    missing firing pin (and assembly)
    By your photos, the gun has a hammer.
    Underneath the hammer should be:
    Firing pin stop
    Firing pin
    Firing pin spring
    Extractor
    Manual FM 23-35
     
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  10. jrprich

    jrprich PNW Well-Known Member

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    Don't do anything to it that your uncomfortable with. But that said, it should have a good detail strip down and cleaning of all the parts and applying new lube. I would only replace missing or broken parts with the exception of springs. If the 1911 is going to be shot, all the springs should be replaced as the springs do have a shorter lifespan than the other parts.
    Replacing the firing pin and spring is very easy to do. Not really something that requires a GS. No special tools required. Take a look on youtube or Google 1911 firing pin replacement.
    lots of good vids on the same page.
    Also in text http://how-i-did-it.org/detail-1911/index.html
     
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  11. rick benjamin

    rick benjamin USA, Or, Damascus Secure the drama Silver Supporter 2016 Volunteer

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    upload_2015-12-18_21-12-51.jpeg
     
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  12. rick benjamin

    rick benjamin USA, Or, Damascus Secure the drama Silver Supporter 2016 Volunteer

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    Extractor.jpg
     
  13. rick benjamin

    rick benjamin USA, Or, Damascus Secure the drama Silver Supporter 2016 Volunteer

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    Stomper likes this.
  14. rick benjamin

    rick benjamin USA, Or, Damascus Secure the drama Silver Supporter 2016 Volunteer

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    upload_2015-12-18_21-49-31.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2015
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  15. Stomper

    Stomper Oceania Rising White Is The New Brown Silver Supporter

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  16. cascadianliberty2012

    cascadianliberty2012 DPR Portland Well-Known Member

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  17. jbett98

    jbett98 NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    It sounds like someone wanted this pistol to be child proof.
    Maybe you should ask your Grandfather if the parts were stashed away in a drawer.

    Velsey re parked my WW-ll Remington Rand and I couldn't be more happier with his work.
    Depending on where you live, it's worth the drive to have him look it over.
     
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  18. Medic!

    Medic! What just happened? Has eagle eyes. But cant remember what he saw. Bronze Supporter

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    It's a 1943 all right.
    The serial number range 856405-916404 was used by both Ithaca and Colt.
    And often times slides and frames don't match. So even if you have a colt marked slide. The gun may be another Mfg.

    You gun is a Colt. I can tell by the shape of the frame and Font used on the frame.
    And the GHD markings. It would be FJA if it were a Ithaca.

    I have and Ithaca in this number block. SN# 8758xx.

    Your gun slide should have a matching SN# under the firing pin retaining plate.

    This was done from about 710001-1140000

    I may have the parts you need [Correct WWII]. But I bet Velzey has you covered.;)

    Don't alter it and don't scratch it!
    That is a fantastic condition 1911A1
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2015
  19. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    It sounds like the firing pin retaining plate broke (very common) and the spring and firing pin were then laid aside and lost or they were all lost in the event.
    I'd "clean" it so it doesn't rust, replace the parts, perhaps to include a recoil spring, load it up and shoot it, clean it again and keep it loaded for the house gun.. with a few spare loaded magazines.
    You'll never sell it so it doesn't matter if the new parts are "period correct" so they'll increase the value or whatever.
    It's amazing how well that weapon has stood the years and there's many more to come.. time is like that. lol
    Oh and add.. don't store it in that very nice holster.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2015
  20. 66PonyCar

    66PonyCar Tigard, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Aside from trying to restore the pistol you should have your grandfather recount the history of the pistol and record it for posterity. I collect pistols and it would be fascinating to know who owned them and how they were used.