Colt Model 1911 “WW1 Commemorative” .45 ACP

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eagle71
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Colt Model 1911 “WW1 Commemorative” .45 ACP

Post by eagle71 » September 7th, 2009, 11:31 pm

This is one of four pistols that Colt produced in the late sixties to commemorate four WW1 battles - Chateau Thierry, Meuse-Argonne, Belleau Wood, and (pictured here) the 2nd Battle of the Marne.

I purchased this pistol about a year ago while visiting a pawn shop. It was not the kind of pistol you usually find in a pawn shop, but I got lucky. Normally, this type of pistol was purchased new and hung on a wall or put in a safe. When I bought it, it didn’t have the original maple grips, and the previous owner had parkerized the entire slide and frame. This was a shame, as all these four pistols had been inscribed with a scene on the left side of the slide with the battle for which they were named for. The silver lining is that the parkerized coating had kept the pistol from rusting, and this 1911 was waiting for someone to bring it back to life.

The pictures show a work in progress, but this is what I’ve done to date. I stripped the parkerized finish off the slide and allowed the battle scene (left side) and the WW1 Commemorative inscription (right side, same on all four pistols) to be seen again. I then blued the slide and rubbed some gold leaf into the etchings on both sides. I also replaced the grips with a set of original white maple grips I was able to obtain on GunBroker. The only non-original hardware on the pistol is the Millet sights; these sights were on the pistol when I purchased it.

The bottom line is this – I have a pistol that honors our grandfathers, and is also a great pistol to shoot! Thanks for looking-

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eagle71
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Colt Model 1911 “WW1 Commemorative” .45 ACP

Post by eagle71 » September 7th, 2009, 11:40 pm

To clarify, the last picture in my post (closeup of the left side of the slide) depicts some US infantry advancing against a German position. The Germans are in the upper left of the etching.
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papabear
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Colt Model 1911 “WW1 Commemorative” .45 ACP

Post by papabear » September 8th, 2009, 7:44 am

Eagle71,

Well thanks for sharing with us, and for bringing this Colt back to life, nice work.
POINT SHOOTER

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Colt Model 1911 “WW1 Commemorative” .45 ACP

Post by fritzhund » September 8th, 2009, 8:15 pm

:P

WOW Steve!

That is very cool!

I wonder more about the history of the your particular gun as opposed to the history of The War To End All Wars.

What would posses someone to bugger up a piece like that and have it eventually wind up in a pawn shop is beyond me.

I first thought that it would be cool to send it back to Colt for refurb, but first, you did a really nice job on it, and second, I would probably be embarrassed to send it back in that condition!

Would you mind if I asked what it went for in the pawn shop?

Fritzhund
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eagle71
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Colt Model 1911 “WW1 Commemorative” .45 ACP

Post by eagle71 » September 9th, 2009, 11:17 pm

Thanks gents for your complements!

Mark, I had the same thoughts as you regarding this pistol – why in the heck would someone do this? I was in the market for a Colt 1911 Government model, as it was the first pistol I fired in the military and it was always my favorite. Anyway, I spotted the .45 when I was in a pawn shop, and I noticed (even with the parkerized coating) the unusual etchings on the slide. I did some research and figured out what it was. The dealer was asking $750, but after several visits was able to get him down to $570. When I asked the shop owner about its history, he had no clue.

Mechanically the pistol shoots great, and the only issue was an occasional stovepipe; this was remedied after I replaced the extractor. The original grips were gone, and were replaced with some rubber grips with an inscribed eagle. I was able to get a set of the original wooden grips from GunBroker, and decided to go one step further and redo the slide. Next step will be to re-blue the frame.

I never thought about sending it back to the Colt factory to have the pistol restored. A local gunsmith offered to strip the pistol down and hot blue it for about $300, but I declined. It may have come out better, but I wanted to give it a shot myself.

Steve
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victorcreed
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Colt Model 1911 “WW1 Commemorative” .45 ACP

Post by victorcreed » October 20th, 2009, 11:20 am

beautiful colt, i find myself wanting a colt 1911 more and more each day.

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Colt Model 1911 “WW1 Commemorative” .45 ACP

Post by jglass4763 » February 22nd, 2010, 10:32 pm

Very nice!!!!! Glad you put it back to honor them.

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eagle71
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Colt Model 1911 “WW1 Commemorative” .45 ACP

Post by eagle71 » February 23rd, 2010, 10:40 pm

Thanks jglass - and welcome to the forum!

Fritzhund, I've finally did what you suggested in an earlier post - I sent it back to Colt for a total restoration. The frame is what I was having the most problems with, so I decided to send the whole thing back to the experts to have it done right. Colt will also re-do the slide in the correct shade of bluing, then they're going to re-etch and re-gold the engravings on the slide. They will also replace the front/rear sights with the correct ones that the pistol originally came with.

Colt said it will take several months to complete, but I'll be sure to post pictures when I get it back.
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