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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've mentioned my 1911 Colt .45 online several times and I've referred to it as a "Franken-45" that I had thought my Dad had put together out of parts. Although it most certainly has been modified somewhat, I now believe that the slide and frame belong to the same gun, and are not random parts like I had thought, although I'm still not positive about the identification and I'd like some help from you guys out there who are really knowledgeable about 1911 collecting.

I was fiddling around reading through "Hallock's .45 Auto Handbook" (published 1980) and I started digging through the chapter on identification. Based on the serial number and markings, it would appear that mine was made by Colt in 1941. The serial number is 740XXX, and it's marked 'R.S.' on the frame on the left side underneath the slide stop. While the book has a disclaimer regarding the accuracy/inaccuracy of the serial numbers list, it jibes with some of the other things I have found online:

http://www.olive-drab.com/od_other_f...tol_m1911.php3

(lists serial numbers from 1941)
1941 -- 721978-756733 -- Colt -- 34756 (total produced)

Here's a reference to Colonel Robert Sears and the serial number range of guns he inspected.
http://www.coolgunsite.com/pistols/Frame and Slide Markings.htm

RS: Robert Sears Colt S/N 723,000 to 750,500

And this one that shows two Colts inside of that serial number range with the 'R.S.' (Colonel Robert Sears) inspector's mark.
http://www.model1911a1.com/Colts.htm

If you look in this picture, the writing on the gun says "United States Property" to the left of the slide stop pin, and "M1911A1 U S Army" to the right of it.
http://www.model1911a1.com/images/Colt/0744446R.jpg

On mine, the "United States Property" sadly has been ground off, but curiously, there is nothing to the right of the slide stop pin, where according to the literature I have read, it should say "M1911A1 U S Army". On mine it's smooth there with no indication that anything has ever been filed or sanded off, unlike the other part which is actually slightly dished out thanks to the nincompoop who decided to grind it out. I should be thankful that they at least left the serial number.

Otherwise, everything else jibes with the research I have done - the slide markings are correct for that one as well, but I'd like to know if there is a reason that mine is lacking the "M1911A1 U S Army" marking considering everything else lines up with the research. I suppose it doesn't matter but I want to know as near as I can what this gun is.

The only frame reference I have been able to find where there is "United States Property" without the rest of it is from a small batch of .45s that were produced in 1924, but the serial number range doesn't jibe, nor does the 'R.S.' inspection stamping, so I'm pretty sure it isn't one of those.

Considering the disfigurement of the gun, would it be a good idea to try to put that gun back to original and to stop using it? Right now it has fixed Wilson Combat sights, a lightweight skeletonized trigger, pearl grips, and a flat, rather than rounded, Mainspring Housing, but I would gladly put forth the time, effort and money if I thought that putting it back original would make it collectible. It would also give me another excuse to get another one!

Thanks in advance and sorry for the long post.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Not one post? No one here collects the 1911? If anyone knows anything on the subject, please post it because I'm just throwing darts with the stuff that I have read.
 

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With the US markings ground off I doubt it will ever have much value other than as a shooter. I would simply enjoy it as is or if you want, return it to original condition as much as possible and enjoy that way but don't expect the "restoration" to add much value.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
With the US markings ground off I doubt it will ever have much value other than as a shooter. I would simply enjoy it as is or if you want, return it to original condition as much as possible and enjoy that way but don't expect the "restoration" to add much value.
That's about what I had figured. I'm mostly curious simply to identify it for what it is and I want to know why it was missing the "M1911A1 U.S. Army" marking on the frame. I suppose that it's possible given the fact that the other part was ground off that if the marking was really light that it was sanded off, but it just doesn't appear to have been modified at all in that area. If the gun is a one-off fluke, that would be pretty interesting, even if it didn't make it valuable other than as a shooter.

As a shooter, I'd like to replace the fixed rear sight with something adjustible because for me, that gun always shoots low and to the right, although it consistently groups as long as I'm aiming consistently, and it would be nice to be able to pull those groups up to the point of aim.
 

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Might as well enjoy it and not worry too much. The fact that it is a Colt adds some value to a standard 1911, but it doesn't sound like its been in collector condition for quite some time. Restoring it doesn't add any value, although a good gunsmith can easily add the markings to the metal if you want.

I highly recommend Dawson Precision sights, I use them on my competition pistols, they are very sturdy and well priced.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I don't think it would take much to turn this gun back to original spec - it's mainly parts, and if I had the sights restored by someone who knows what they are doing, it could possibly pass muster as being unaltered.

The parts I'd need would be stocks, sights, trigger and mainspring housing, and it would be very near to original. Again, we aren't talking a high degree of collectibility, and the truth is, I'd never sell it. There are guys out there using new guns that cost way more than this would be worth, even if it was original, and nothing is going to bring back the marking that was ground off.

I'll look into those Dawson Precision sights - thanks for the recommendation.
 

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451 is spot on with his suggestion

I have inherited an Ithaca 1911 from my father in law. He had better sights installed and had it reblued. Either would have ruined the collectors value, but it feeds and fires any .45 load I can find. It even rattles when I hold it with two fingers and shake it like most of the old ones do, but it always works and has enough accuracy to hit center mass from across a normal sized room.

enjoy

th' fish
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Fish, the rebluing would have ruined the collectors' value, but I don't see how the sights would have provided that the slide was not altered to do so, and provided that original spec sights can be found to replace the ones that had been installed. But, I'm with you - a good .45 ACP is meant for shooting and unless you've really got a collectible firearm of exceptional value ($5,000+) I don't see why it shouldn't be used.

I think that part of there reason my Dad did modifications to this one is that all other things being equal, it was a well made gun and he knew that as a collectible it really didn't have it because of the fact that the "United States Property" stamping had been ground off.

In regard to workmanship, this .45 really is well made and there is no comparison between this one and say a Springfield GI model - mine is MUCH better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I wanted to update this thread and ask the question about what is probably the best and most current reference book for collecting the Colt 1911/1911A1? One of the books I have seen is a book by a guy named Charles W. Clawson called:

Collector's Guide to Colt .45 Service Pistols:
Models of 1911 and 1911a1:
From 1911 to the End of Production in 1945:
Complete Military Identification

However, I read a review that stated that while at the time the book was written it was the most authoritative resource, but that it has since been shown to contain a number of errors and that newer, better information is available on the subject.

Thoughts?
 
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