Refinishing 1911 for Father's Day [Archive] - Glock Talk

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ADagenhart
01-20-2011, 07:21
I want to get my father's 1911 refinished for father's day. I'm checking out the links here in the FAQ and I'm wondering if anyone has had any good/bad experiences with any of these guys. I wish I could post pictures of it, but it's halfway across the country right now. I'd estimate that it's around 50 years old and it was my grandfather's. I believe it's a Colt (been years since I've seen it).

Quack
01-20-2011, 07:38
which guys?

if anything, see if Colt can refinish it for you.

Nickpisp
01-20-2011, 07:47
If it's a Colt, have Colt do it.

bac1023
01-20-2011, 08:50
Absolutely.

If you're rebluing it, Colt needs to get the work.

ADagenhart
01-20-2011, 09:19
Sounds good. My mother will have to sneak a peak inside the gun cabinet for me because I live in another state. I believe that it is a Colt, and if so, Ill take that advice. If not, I will bump this for further discussion...

MajorD
01-20-2011, 09:54
if it is a classic old colt over 50 years old- do NOT refinish-it will kill any collector value it may have-especially if it is a U.S. Military issue gun. What model is it and what condition is it in? a USGI with no original finish is worth more than one refinished. If the gun is a commercial model with a lot of wear it might not matter so much.

youngAR
01-20-2011, 09:56
If it has no value, refinish with Ion Bond. It can be high polished to look nice and will last longer than any blueing.

Vanman2004b
01-20-2011, 10:43
Might want to ask Dad first. He might not want it refinished.

stukibuilt
01-20-2011, 11:47
That's what I was thinking... He might appreciate it, but
I know how "connected" I get with my pistols... I would have a heart attack if my lady had one that was special to me refinished unless it was something she had heard me specifically say, including the type of finish. It also comes down to how much you want to invest.

ArmoryDoc
01-21-2011, 09:10
Might want to ask Dad first. He might not want it refinished.

Definitely do this. It may have great sentimental value in its current state and while new-looking is nice, erasing memories can be really bad. :wavey:

ADagenhart
01-21-2011, 12:38
The reason I had originally planned to do it as a surprise was that he literally never shoots this gun. It's just stored in a cabinet and is never taken out. After some consideration, I do think it's probably a better idea to ask him first. I'm going to get some pics up as soon as I can and let some of you that are much more familiar with 1911s give me some pointers...

Hokie1911
01-21-2011, 13:23
Good thinking. :thumbsup:

Jim S.
01-21-2011, 18:03
You have made a wise decision. Older 1911's may be very valuable and collectable until you refinish them.
Especially military models.

ADagenhart
01-23-2011, 19:33
Update: It turns out the gun was my father's great grandfather's gun. It has a united states postal service mark on it, and he carried it when he worked. I'm guessing it was probably purchased sometime around 1915-1920, as he would have been around 35 or 40 years old at this time. My dad is going to take some pictures for me and I will post them here, and also call Colt to get an idea of how old the gun is and what it might be worth...

rsxr22
01-23-2011, 19:42
very cool. glad to hear you didnt refinish that gem

ADagenhart
01-23-2011, 19:54
Any idea what it might be worth? I'm sure it's hard to say without pics, but what would a 1911 go for that was made in the early 1900's?

Folsom_Prison
01-23-2011, 20:00
Any idea what it might be worth? I'm sure it's hard to say without pics, but what would a 1911 go for that was made in the early 1900's?

I have no idea what it's worth, but I sure wouldn't refinish it that's for sure.

jrs93accord
01-23-2011, 20:08
Any idea what it might be worth? I'm sure it's hard to say without pics, but what would a 1911 go for that was made in the early 1900's?

It is hard to place a value on one that is unseen. The model, age, and condition are three of the main factors that are taken into account when determining value. Once we see some good pics, along with a serial number, a rough value can assessed then.

ADagenhart
01-23-2011, 20:48
http://i1217.photobucket.com/albums/dd389/lheaxhuns/MISC010.jpg

ADagenhart
01-23-2011, 20:51
http://i1217.photobucket.com/albums/dd389/lheaxhuns/MISC013.jpg

ADagenhart
01-23-2011, 20:53
http://i1217.photobucket.com/albums/dd389/lheaxhuns/MISC011-1.jpg

kirgi08
01-23-2011, 21:43
tagged.

Hokie1911
01-23-2011, 21:55
Wow, what an old hunk of junk. It's basically worthless. You should, uhhhhh, send it to me. :whistling:

paul45
01-24-2011, 05:29
M1911 made in 1918. If you refinish it, you will turn a 1800 dollar Colt into a 600 dollar Colt.

Where are these Postal Service marks you speak of?

jrs93accord
01-24-2011, 05:58
M1911 made in 1918. If you refinish it, you will turn a 1800 dollar Colt into a 600 dollar Colt.

Where are these Postal Service marks you speak of?

You hit the nail on the head. It is a late 1918 USGI Colt 1911. DO NOT refinish it. Currently is it worth between $1800 - $2000. The petina is absolutely wonderful. Most every 1918 USGI Colt 1911 that came back from the war looks this way.

ADagenhart
01-24-2011, 06:27
Thanks guys. As far as the postal marks, he must have meant to say U.S. Army. He only looks at this gun probably once or twice a year.

m2hmghb
01-24-2011, 06:44
Beautiful pistol. If you refinish it I'd say you'd be a surprise guest of honor at a beating.

ADagenhart
01-24-2011, 07:01
Would this be considered "fair" condition? How are firearms usually graded, I'm assuming there isn't a specific scale such as the one used to grade baseball cards?

deadite
01-24-2011, 09:12
Awesome Colt! Yeah, it was made in 1918. Looks like it even has a cool magazine with a lanyard ring. Here's a picture of its brother that was also made in 1918 and is in the same range of serial numbers:

http://i429.photobucket.com/albums/qq15/deadite_photos/guns%20with%20new%20camera/DSCN0454.jpg

http://i429.photobucket.com/albums/qq15/deadite_photos/guns%20with%20new%20camera/DSCN0443.jpg

http://i429.photobucket.com/albums/qq15/deadite_photos/guns%20with%20new%20camera/DSCN1993.jpg

http://i429.photobucket.com/albums/qq15/deadite_photos/guns%20with%20new%20camera/DSCN0447.jpg

http://i429.photobucket.com/albums/qq15/deadite_photos/guns%20with%20new%20camera/DSCN0455.jpg

Glad you asked first. I would have been pissed if someone refinished my mentor's Colt 1911 from WW1. What a great piece of history you have there.

deadite

deadite
01-24-2011, 09:18
Update: It turns out the gun was my father's great grandfather's gun. I'm guessing it was probably purchased sometime around 1915-1920, as he would have been around 35 or 40 years old at this time. ...

Do you realize that this was an armed services issued weapon? That's what the stamp UNITED STATES PROPERTY meant. Are you sure this wasn't a take home pistol from when your Grandfather was in the service? That happened alot. My 1911 was a take home. My mentor was in WW2 and brought this WW1-era Colt home with him after the war. He could have bought it used, too. There were zillions for sale to civilians after the war.

M1911 made in 1918. If you refinish it, you will turn a 1800 dollar Colt into a 600 dollar Colt.

I was told by some USGI 1911-nerds over at the 1911forum that mine was worth about $900.00 in its current condition. The OP's pics look like a very similar condition to mine. Anyway, things are worth what people are willing to pay for them, but I doubt that the OP will ever sell this gem considering its history.

OP, does your dad's 1911 have the two-toned mags? Tell him to install a Wilson Combat Shock-Buffer on the guide rod if he decides to shoot it more and that will protect the pistol from cracking.

deadite

Hokie1911
01-24-2011, 09:19
That was an AWESOME score Deadite. Love seeing that old blaster. Oh, the stories it could tell.

Do you EDC it in your man-purse? :rofl:

http://i429.photobucket.com/albums/qq15/deadite_photos/deadite.jpg

deadite
01-24-2011, 09:31
You hit the nail on the head. It is a late 1918 USGI Colt 1911. DO NOT refinish it. Currently is it worth between $1800 - $2000. The petina is absolutely wonderful. Most every 1918 USGI Colt 1911 that came back from the war looks this way.

Good advice!

deadite

deadite
01-24-2011, 09:32
That was an AWESOME score Deadite. Love seeing that old blaster. Oh, the stories it could tell.

Do you EDC it in your man-purse? :rofl:

http://i429.photobucket.com/albums/qq15/deadite_photos/deadite.jpg



Dude, the murse is OD, isn't it? :rofl: :rofl:

deadite

Hokie1911
01-24-2011, 09:34
Dude, the murse is OD, isn't it? :rofl: :rofl:

deadite

:animlol: :laughing:

ADagenhart
01-24-2011, 09:35
Do you realize that this was an armed services issued weapon? That's what the stamp UNITED STATES PROPERTY meant. Are you sure this wasn't a take home pistol from when your Grandfather was in the service. That happened alot. My 1911 was a take home. My mentor was in WW2 and brought this WW1-era Colt home with him after the war. He could have bought it used, too. There were zillions for sale to civilians after the war.



I was told by some USGI 1911-nerds over at the 1911forum that mine was worth about $900.00 in its current condition. The OP's pics look like a very similar condition to mine. Anyway, things are worth what people are willing to pay for them, but I doubt that the OP will ever sell this gem considering its history.

OP, does your dad's 1911 have the two-toned mags? Tell him to install a Wilson Combat Shock-Buffer on the guide rod if he decides to shoot it more and that will protect the pistol from cracking.

deadite

I had no idea the gun was that old. I assumed it was my Grandfather's, not my great, great Grandfather's. My dad has probably never fired this gun. It probably hasn't even been touched in over a year. Knowing what I know now, I would NEVER sell it or refinish it when it becomes mine one day. Oh, and cool pics :)

deadite
01-24-2011, 09:41
I had no idea the gun was that old. I assumed it was my Grandfather's, not my great, great Grandfather's. My dad has probably never fired this gun. It probably hasn't even been touched in over a year. Knowing what I know now, I would NEVER sell it or refinish it when it becomes mine one day. Oh, and cool pics :)

Thanks for the compliments on the pics!

Not sure if your Grandfather was even in the war (WW2), but alot of the time, WW2 soldiers were issued WW1 Colts that were still in the armory. You never know, though, it could be a Great Grandfather's war trophy. :)

deadite

ADagenhart
01-24-2011, 09:54
Not sure if your Grandfather was even in the war (WW2), but alot of the time, WW2 soldiers were issued WW1 Colts that were still in the armory. You never know, though, it could be a Great Grandfather's war trophy. :)

deadite

I will find out today, my dad should know.

jrs93accord
01-24-2011, 10:52
It is a great pistol to have. I have a 1919 USGI 1911 "Black Army" model. It does not have the UNITED STATES PROPERTY on the frame. I would never think of refinishing it. Too much history with it.

http://i100.photobucket.com/albums/m8/jamesrea_2006/jamesrea2011/004-2.jpg

http://i100.photobucket.com/albums/m8/jamesrea_2006/jamesrea2011/005.jpg

http://i100.photobucket.com/albums/m8/jamesrea_2006/jamesrea2011/002-4.jpg

http://i100.photobucket.com/albums/m8/jamesrea_2006/jamesrea2011/003-2.jpg

http://i100.photobucket.com/albums/m8/jamesrea_2006/jamesrea2011/006.jpg

http://i100.photobucket.com/albums/m8/jamesrea_2006/jamesrea2011/001-4.jpg

deadite
01-24-2011, 13:41
It is a great pistol to have. I have a 1919 USGI 1911 "Black Army" model. It does not have the UNITED STATES PROPERTY on the frame. I would never think of refinishing it. Too much history with it.

http://i100.photobucket.com/albums/m8/jamesrea_2006/jamesrea2011/004-2.jpg

Awesome pix and a great gun!

Hey, just curious. Why is there no UNITED STATES PROPERTY on the frame? Was it ground off?

deadite

Nickpisp
01-24-2011, 13:46
Awesome pix and a great gun!

Hey, just curious. Why is there no UNITED STATES PROPERTY on the frame? Was it ground off?

deadite



And what's up with the serial number? Proofhouse doesn't show them going that high in 1919.

jrs93accord
01-24-2011, 14:38
And what's up with the serial number? Proofhouse doesn't show them going that high in 1919.

That is the one thing that has me puzzled. Everything else correct except for the serial number (there appears to be an extra "2") and the UNITED STATES PROPERTY is gone from the right side where the serial number is.



"The Colt "Black Army" M1911
In May of 1918, to meet the demands of the US Army in the war to end all wars, Colt changed the way it finished the Model of 1911 pistol. The Army wanted production increased, and requested that Colt eliminate the final polishing process prior to bluing the M1911. As a result, the surface of the pistols would be left with a rougher appearance, unlike previous Colts. In addition, Colt began using a gas fired oven blued process. Between these two factors, the appearance of the M1911 changed from a lustrous blue to almost black. Collectors have since coined the term "Black Army" to denote the last of the M1911 pistols, with the finish phased in after serial number 312000.

To be sure, Hartford was cutting corners to produce as many pistols as possible. Many of the small parts such as the slide stops and thumb safeties were outsourced or previously manufactured, and were still polished and blued in the previous manner. Over time, the weaker "Black Army" finish wore off many of the slides and frames while the small parts remained blued. After ninety years, the uneven appearance from different rates of wear often gives the impression that all original pistols were put together from scavenged parts. Because of the mix master appearance when weathered and a greater chance of wear on these wartime pistols, many collectors are still seeking the elusive Colt "Black Army" pistols with a high amount of finish. When such a pistol appears on the market, it can command high prices.


All "Black Army" pistols will have the rampant Colt in the center of the slide. The prancing pony moved there sometime between serial number 275000 and 290000. They will also have the typical characteristics of a M1911, a smooth flat mainspring housing with a lanyard loop, an early M1911 slide stop, and a wide spur hammer with an itty bitty spur on the grip safety. Walnut double diamond grips are de rigueur."

Nickpisp
01-24-2011, 14:48
That is the one thing that has me puzzled. Everything else correct except for the serial number (there appears to be an extra "2") and the UNITED STATES PROPERTY is gone from the right side where the serial number is.


Also I thought USGI's had the "No" before the serial numbers. Interesting....

jrs93accord
01-24-2011, 14:59
I just sent pics to Joe in Colt Archives to see what he could come up with.

deadite
01-24-2011, 15:34
I just sent pics to Joe in Colt Archives to see what he could come up with.

I'm wondering if all the identifying markings were ground off, the frame refinished and then it was restamped? Alot of these guns were hastily remarked or had the serial numbers obscured to hide the fact that they were stolen from the service.

Keep us informed on what you hear. Very interesting.

deadite

jrs93accord
01-24-2011, 15:59
I'm wondering if all the identifying markings were ground off, the frame refinished and then it was restamped? Alot of these guns were hastily remarked or had the serial numbers obscured to hide the fact that they were stolen from the service.

Keep us informed on what you hear. Very interesting.

deadite

I took it apart and looked a bit closer at everything. The inspector mark was obscured and the UNITED STATES PROPERTY and serial number from the right side of the frame were almost completely ground down. I suspect that an armorer did this in the mid-40's. The new serial number coincides with 1945 production models. I would just like to know the reason this was done.

ADagenhart
01-24-2011, 15:59
How rare are these pistols?

Nickpisp
01-24-2011, 16:35
I took it apart and looked a bit closer at everything. The inspector mark was obscured and the UNITED STATES PROPERTY and serial number from the right side of the frame were almost completely ground down. I suspect that an armorer did this in the mid-40's. The new serial number coincides with 1945 production models. I would just like to know the reason this was done.

Have you tried the USGI section at 1911 forums? I've seen at least one over there that looked like it had an extra number stamped.




How rare are these pistols?


Not all that rare. Gunbroker has all kinds for sale.

deadite
01-24-2011, 17:41
I took it apart and looked a bit closer at everything. The inspector mark was obscured and the UNITED STATES PROPERTY and serial number from the right side of the frame were almost completely ground down. I suspect that an armorer did this in the mid-40's. The new serial number coincides with 1945 production models. I would just like to know the reason this was done.

Looks like there was an attempt to ground out the Springfield Armory eagle head inspection mark, too.

Maybe, it was rearsenaled after the frame cracked or something. They just patched up that war horse and sent her back off to battle!

Mine has a WW2-era barrel and the left grip panel is a wartime replacement, also. No biggie. Btw, thanks for the info on the Black 1911s. Very informative.

Great mysteries lie in the stampings on these guns. :)

deadite

gemeinschaft
01-24-2011, 17:46
You hit the nail on the head. It is a late 1918 USGI Colt 1911. DO NOT refinish it. Currently is it worth between $1800 - $2000. The petina is absolutely wonderful. Most every 1918 USGI Colt 1911 that came back from the war looks this way.

Just in case you didn't see this post before, here it is again. :whistling:

I would suggest buying your father a cool presentation case for the pistol to showcase it.

This thread kind of reminds me of how one of my buddies almost ended up beig murdered by his wife. She left town for a couple of days and he thought he would do her a favor as a surprise. He took the Iron cookware that had been in her family for over 100 years and cleaned them until they were all nice and shiny.

I thought everyone knew that Iron skillets get better with time because they get seasoned over time. Apparently, my buddy missed the memo.

It was bad.

deadite
01-24-2011, 17:50
This thread kind of reminds me of how one of my buddies almost ended up beig murdered by his wife. She left town for a couple of days and he thought he would do her a favor as a surprise. He took the Iron cookware that had been in her family for over 100 years and cleaned them until they were all nice and shiny.

I thought everyone knew that Iron skillets get better with time because they get seasoned over time. Apparently, my buddy missed the memo.

It was bad.

Ha! My old roommate did the same to my Iron Skillets! Ruined them and they rusted. Broke this KY boy's fried chicken lovin' heart.

deadite

MajorD
01-27-2011, 11:01
a 1911 in the condition yours is in I'd say a 850-1100 gun. it would SIGNIFICANTLY lower the value if refinished. If Shot make sure a fresh recoil spring and non plus p loads are used or light target loads even better. Keep the old magazine on the side as these tend to age crack easily- use a modern magazine.
regarding some other poster's remarks it seems to have been very common after WW1 (?2) to grind off the U.S. Property mark from 1911's (not seen it too much on A1's) I've seen it so frequently it makes me wonder if some company in the 1920's or 30's obtained a large number of 1911's from the government and were required to remove the property mark prior to resale. The old belief was that this was done by soldiers who brought home guns in duffle bags and were worried about getting in trouble- but most of the time the grind off is pretty clean and the slide us army marking is not removed so I am not sure I buy this story.

ADagenhart
01-27-2011, 16:43
a 1911 in the condition yours is in I'd say a 850-1100 gun. it would SIGNIFICANTLY lower the value if refinished. If Shot make sure a fresh recoil spring and non plus p loads are used or light target loads even better. Keep the old magazine on the side as these tend to age crack easily- use a modern magazine.
regarding some other poster's remarks it seems to have been very common after WW1 (?2) to grind off the U.S. Property mark from 1911's (not seen it too much on A1's) I've seen it so frequently it makes me wonder if some company in the 1920's or 30's obtained a large number of 1911's from the government and were required to remove the property mark prior to resale. The old belief was that this was done by soldiers who brought home guns in duffle bags and were worried about getting in trouble- but most of the time the grind off is pretty clean and the slide us army marking is not removed so I am not sure I buy this story.

Thanks MajorD.

jrs93accord
01-27-2011, 16:55
Heard back from Joe Canali at Colt's Archives Deptartment. His suspicion is the same as mine. Whenever the stampings were ground down, it was done a long time ago. Since the pistol originally came from the gentlemen who carried it back from WWII, I suspect a little foul play may have been involved. Regardless, it is unique and is a definite conversation piece. It is still a great piece of history.