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Old December 27, 2016, 10:39   #1
Nathaniel01
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Inaccurate early M1911

I have a 1916 production M1911 that is shooting poorly. I couldn't even get a decent group in 14 rounds at 15 yards handheld. I'm thinking I may need a new barrel. Anything else I should check to improve accuracy?

I can do a lot better with a new production 1911, so it's not all operator error.
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Old December 27, 2016, 11:26   #2
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How is the bushing to barrel and the barrel lockup? The less movement the better. Sloppy fit can contribute to poor accuracy. If barrel needs replacement, buy one that requires fitting so you can hard-fit the barrel to close tolerance.

Last edited by pl521; December 27, 2016 at 19:42. Reason: mispelling
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Old December 27, 2016, 11:32   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nathaniel01 View Post
I'm thinking I may need a new barrel.
If it is an all original 1916, I would leave it alone. Go buy a NM Gold Cup or something along that line to shoot the center out of the X ring. My $.02
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Old December 27, 2016, 11:45   #4
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I barrel needs replacement, buy one that requires fitting so you can hard-fit the barrel to close tolerance.
Have you "hard-fit" a few of these yourself? Which did you find most tedious, the lugs, the link, the hood or the bushing?
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Old December 27, 2016, 11:46   #5
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At least, not many Filers will scold you for shooting the old warhorse.

Vintage USGI sights are not particularly conducive to shooting groups, particularly if eyes are older.
Young guys can do OK with them, but I'm not so young anymore.

So many things to look at but barrel to bushing to slide fit and lockup are a good place to start your diagnostics.

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Old December 27, 2016, 11:52   #6
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There is no way I would modify, in any way, an intact 1911 from production year 1916. But that's me.

GS
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Old December 27, 2016, 12:01   #7
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Unfortunately the finish on the frontstrap is gone and the slide is so-so. It may have been arsenal refinished- the safety is parked, but the rest was carbona black.
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Old December 27, 2016, 12:08   #8
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Unfortunately the finish on the frontstrap is gone and the slide is so-so. It may have been arsenal refinished- the safety is parked, but the rest was carbona black.
The finish is irrelevant to what GS and I are both saying. Do you want to sell it "as is"? PM me if you do please.
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Old December 27, 2016, 13:06   #9
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I understand, and value the opinions of fellow Filers. I'll be oiling it & putting it back in the safe then.
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Old December 27, 2016, 13:15   #10
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I understand, and value the opinions of fellow Filers. I'll be oiling it & putting it back in the safe then.

I'll write up the "Near Miss" report and see it gets filed. Thank you for your forbearance.
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Old December 27, 2016, 13:52   #11
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I understand, and value the opinions of fellow Filers. I'll be oiling it & putting it back in the safe then.
Just be glad you didn't mention shooting it on the 1911 forum.
*not that there's anything wrong with that

The howling and wailing would be heard throughout the land!

Nothing wrong with a close look-see to understand why it might be exhibiting sub-par accuracy on target.
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Old December 27, 2016, 17:28   #12
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I understand, and value the opinions of fellow Filers. I'll be oiling it & putting it back in the safe then.
Good man.

Food for thought if one just hast'a shoot'r. Remove and catalogue barrel, barrel link, barrel link pin and, barrel bushing for preservation and restoration to it's place when desired. Purchase and fit, install by professional a modern barrel, barrel link, barrel link pin and, barrel bushing having them fit to minimum production tolerances so as not to introduce stress to the remaining original parts and, stop there. Shoot light target loads to keep any battering from happening and enjoy shooting it that way.

At any time you can reverse the change by the restoration of the catalogued parts.


Why not?
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Old December 27, 2016, 19:01   #13
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A M1911 made in 1916 was most likely made by Colt but Springfield Armory tooled up and began producing the pistol in 1914 and ceased production in 1916. The War Department contract specified that the first 50,000 M1911's would be made by Colt. After these pistols were delivered to the US Army Ordnance Corps then Springfield Armory could begin production.

Production was halted in 1916 because the US military had all of the M1911's it needed at that time.

I owned a 1916 dated SA M1911 for a few years. Then a collector expressed an interest in it and waved a wad of Ben Franklins in front of me. So I let it go. No regrets on my part. The money I was paid for it was a bit over twice what I had invested.

And so it goes.


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Old December 27, 2016, 19:16   #14
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I understand, and value the opinions of fellow Filers. I'll be oiling it & putting it back in the safe then.
For clarification, I am not saying "don't shoot it". Unless you happen to find an old war horse that was preserved in someone's closet for the last 100 years and should be in a museum, shoot it....occasionally.

A couple of mags on the 4th of July.
A mag or two with friends or new shooters, "hey this gun is a 100 years old".

Just remember it was manufactured with 100 year old technology and was designed at that time to be loose and functional. It was not designed as a target pistol or manufactured to be one.

It sounds like you have a great 1911 bro. Be proud of it and enjoy. Shoot it sometimes for what it is.

I will say again, buy a Gold Cup as well to knock out the X ring. 1911s are awesome!

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Old December 27, 2016, 19:38   #15
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Have you "hard-fit" a few of these yourself? Which did you find most tedious, the lugs, the link, the hood or the bushing?
Not an expert by any means but I've done a few. Hard fitting a 1911 in general is very time consuming, it takes me around 35-50 hours. I start with slide to frame then work on the barrel hood, top lugs, barrel bushing (to save time, will usually order barrel bushing from EGW), then work on link and lower lugs. In my experience, most time consuming is slide to frame hard-fit.
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Old December 27, 2016, 19:56   #16
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Thanks!
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Old December 27, 2016, 21:39   #17
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Originally Posted by Retired Bum View Post
A M1911 made in 1916 was most likely made by Colt but Springfield Armory tooled up and began producing the pistol in 1914 and ceased production in 1916. The War Department contract specified that the first 50,000 M1911's would be made by Colt. After these pistols were delivered to the US Army Ordnance Corps then Springfield Armory could begin production.

Production was halted in 1916 because the US military had all of the M1911's it needed at that time.

I owned a 1916 dated SA M1911 for a few years. Then a collector expressed an interest in it and waved a wad of Ben Franklins in front of me. So I let it go. No regrets on my part. The money I was paid for it was a bit over twice what I had invested.

And so it goes.


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Colt made 1911's until 1918 under Govt contract. I have a black army, so I'm calling bullshit on your story.

So it goes.
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Old December 27, 2016, 21:54   #18
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SAFN49,

So you are telling me and anyone else who has read this thread that my "story" on Springfield Armory produced M1911's is "bullshit".....

You should read an in depth history of pre World War One M1911 production. You just might learn something although that might not be possible in your case. I have no idea what a "black army" is or what you are referring to. Do you? Please explain because I always am eager to expand my base of knowledge when it comes to US military issue firearms.

Google US Springfield Armory M1911 production.

And so it goes.


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Last edited by Retired Bum; December 27, 2016 at 22:16.
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Old December 28, 2016, 10:42   #19
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Own several 1911's (and other guns) that purists would blow a gasket if mentioned shooting them. A few years ago sold my Winchester 1886 collection just because shooting them or even a handling mark from moving around the safe would take significant value away. That said, have several classic old "U.S. Government" 1911's that on occasion get pulled out for inspection and cleaning. If out of the box, going to be cleaned, already treated like a Singapore whore near a Navy port then I see no problem putting a few rounds of light target loads downrange with it before cleaning and putting back. Even the nicer ones.

Have a consequtive serial number set of Randall 1911 "Curtis E. LeMay's" purchased in college with my book money as a downpayment that even when arrived at the gun shop and made my final payment before Thanksgiving (two top line 1911's was tough on college kid, had to work weekends as a waiter to make it work) they went home and we're not fired as didn't want parents asking too many questions. By time summer rolled around they had already filed bankruptcy so turned the generic units purchased winter and spring quarter into shooters and left unfired. Thus one of four sets of left hand/right hand consequtive serial number varients made unless another undocumented set is loose.

Since 1983 they have been sitting in a safety deposit box at my bank. Once a year go liberate them for an inspection and nice coat of oil but am very gentile at even moving the slide nor do magazines get inserted and removed. Randall records show inly three consequtive left hand/right hand LeMay sets made and they are accounted for, my pair is genuine and may have not been properly documented as ordered within a few weeks of LeMay production models shipping and they were making lots of changes plus additional models quickly. N.I.B. condition Randall magazines are over $100 each and the short ones with tabs for the compact models even more. Have more Randall's than original magazines as most of the used ones found were missing originals. Some day this pair of pistols will be a good chunk of retirement money as don't see leaving to heirs unless die unexpectedly and friend has orders to sell immediately to get wife some extra money to buy her a young stud to push her wheelchair wherever wants to go.

Some of my Randalls is result of finding a 1980's vintage IPSC limited gun built on Randall frame and a Colt framed pistol found with a Randall top end. While most are the real deal, whenever find half a Randall used in a custom build at fair price pick it up and start hunting rest of the parts to make it all original OEM parts again. The bastards are documented as such with paperwork in box plus any Randall collector worth his salt can verify originality as they kept decent records except in few circumstances.

Even my rarer models that usually command over 5k each when hit market get shot on occasion and my generics get carried but most original wear parts are in box and have aftermarket fire control parts, springs, barrels and magazines. Can be put back as lightly worn however quickly a man can disassemble and reassemble a 1911. Don't be afraid to take the ol gal out to the dance on occasion. If been through military arsenal then parts have been swapped and you say it has finish issues. If something were to break then a proper year replacement part is usually easy to find. Just don't run it hard, use full power defensive loads or ammo with steel cases or bimetal jacketed bullets. Some nice cushy cast semi wadcutters and a nice afternoon it would be the darling of the range when anyone who knew his 1911's realized an original war horse was on the line.

As recomended, don't butcher it. Have several did this to myself when we didn't know better and lament the modifications whenever pick them up but do make nice discussion pieces when carried on special occasions. Have one with a classic Quadralock bushingless barrel and proprietary spring guide that uses a washer set to adjust barrel link movement so get exacting lockup of barrel and slide lug recesses. Unique system that works well and can't understand why someone doesn't still make something similar. Have a NIB Quadralock kit that have been tempted to install many times but not tripped that trigger yet. Hoping to find a complete kit without box and original paperwork to put in some series 70 that's already partially butchered.
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Old December 29, 2016, 13:00   #20
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Colt made 1911's until 1918 under Govt contract. I have a black army, so I'm calling bullshit on your story.

So it goes.
Springfield Armory did indeed produce M1911s, from about 1914 to 1917. Production was ended early because the Armory needed the shop space for rifle production.

Besides some minor part differences, the SA pistols were notable for being finished in the same rust blue finish that early M1903 rifles were famous for.
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Old December 29, 2016, 14:22   #21
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Springfield Armory did indeed produce M1911s, from about 1914 to 1917. Production was ended early because the Armory needed the shop space for rifle production.

Besides some minor part differences, the SA pistols were notable for being finished in the same rust blue finish that early M1903 rifles were famous for.
I think the Springfield pistols also had an American eagle on the right side of the slide.
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Old December 29, 2016, 16:40   #22
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Yes, the SA produced M1911's did have the American Eagle stamped on the slide. Mine did anyway.....

And so it goes.


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Old December 30, 2016, 10:30   #23
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I think the Springfield pistols also had an American eagle on the right side of the slide.
Yes, they do. Nice touch, but always real faint...I've never seen one as deep as the lettering.
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Old December 31, 2016, 11:16   #24
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Supposedly the slides on WWII 1911s and ealier ones were somewhat soft. I had a mixmaster WWII Colt 1911 - replaced the slide with a USGI Colt replacement "hard slide" and a 80s era USGI barrel - shoots surprisingly well even with the teeny GI sights.

Replacement hard slides are pretty easy to come across in new condition. Before I found the Colt slide I used a TZZ marked Hard Slide.
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Old January 04, 2017, 09:16   #25
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I have a couple of WW1 contract two tone magazines stashed away if one of the 1911 guys needs 'em. From what I can tell one is a Colt and the other is Remington. Can send pics, PM me if interested. Not going to give them away but I'll make a fair deal on them.
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Old January 09, 2017, 06:37   #26
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1911s are delicious.

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Old January 09, 2017, 08:32   #27
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Colt did mfg 1911s in 1916 just not a hell of a lot (SN 108601-290000 between 1915-18). I believe many of them went to Britain as they needed anything they could get their hands on. Beautiful piece Art!
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Old January 09, 2017, 19:48   #28
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The British in World War One gave Colt a contract for 10,000 M1911's chambered for the .455 Webley Self Loading round. As I recall serial numbers on these pistols started with the letter W.

And so it goes.


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Old January 11, 2017, 17:07   #29
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Originally Posted by Nathaniel01 View Post
I have a 1916 production M1911 that is shooting poorly. I couldn't even get a decent group in 14 rounds at 15 yards handheld. I'm thinking I may need a new barrel. Anything else I should check to improve accuracy?

I can do a lot better with a new production 1911, so it's not all operator error.
When that 1911 was built, the parts tolerances were intentionally loose, so that the gun wouldn't jam from the dirt in the trenches in WW I. And at the risk of sounding like a gun snob, maybe some marksmanship training wouldn't hurt. I qualified Expert in the Navy with a 1911A1 that was loose enough that it rattled when you shook it. Admittedly I only made Expert by a couple of points, but I DID score high enough to get the rating and marksmanship medal/ribbon.

I'm sure that you're right, a current commercial 1911-type gun would shoot more accurately than a 100-year old 1911. By the way, what's your definition of "shooting poorly"? What size group does your 1911 shoot at 15 yards? Even with a 100 year old 1911, groups at 15 yards shouldn't be more than six to eight inches if you're doing everything right. What size group does your newer 1911 shoot at 15 yards?
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