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View Full Version : 1943 Colt USGI Makeover...



Jason Burton
09-16-09, 23:39
Nothing quite like an old Colt... they all tell a story, some are shorter than others and some more interesting than others but in any case all of these guns seem to have a bit of a story. I’m sure if this gun could talk it would have a story too and being “born” in 1943 it had the potential to have been lively one. Yet no matter how good, it seems all stories must come to an end but when this gun came across my bench I knew it was time for a new chapter.

http://www.louderthanwords.us/mediumfoto/picts/ulfls/16092009/20743299391.jpg (www.hp1911.com)

Some would say that it’s a sin to build a custom on a base gun like this, especially considering that aside from a few dents and dings it was in excellent shape when the customer sent it to the shop... judging from its pre-build condition it appeared that this gun may not have had an interesting story after all. Were it the last ‘living‘ example of a USGI Colt I may have hesitated for a second before I put the file and Foredom to work but in the end the customer had a vision for what he wanted and this somewhat unique base gun played a major part. Still others would have you believe that a USGI gun of this vintage makes for a ’poor candidate’ or is a horrible base gun altogether. I suppose that can be true depending on the specific gun but like most Colts, whether it be from 1943 or 2003, they all require a little bit extra effort and a bit more work here and there. Truth is that’s the fun part of building on Colts and since this gun seemed like it had yet to get its fill of adventure I was happy to accommodate and hopefully add a bit to its story.

This gun is also a “twin” or more like a sequel to a hard chromed gun I built for the customer back in 2007. The hard chromed gun rides in his duty holster and he thought it would be neat to make this one a back-up of sorts. As is typical with builds from our shop I started with a weld-up frame and slide fit and from there fit up a Kart barrel and EGW barrel bushing. All lines were straightened and the gun was detailed, the front strap and mainspring housing were hand-checkered at 30lpi, the mag-well was beveled, the slide was bordered, and the slide top was flattened and serrated in our curved arrow pattern featuring two points. The slide is topped with our Professional Grade sights with 3-dot tritium inserts and the slide rear is serrated at 50lpi to match the rear sight. An S&A grip safety pivots on an EGW machined thumb safety, the mag-catch is slightly extended and angled back, and best quality internals are used throughout such as a Wilson Bulletproof extractor and ejector, Wilson hammer, and tool steel sear and disconnect. Rounding out the gun is a polished the blue finish and Spegel Cocobolo stocks. I'll let the pictures tell the rest of the story, enjoy... ;)

http://www.louderthanwords.us/mediumfoto/picts/ulfls/16092009/20743299482.jpg (www.hp1911.com)

http://www.louderthanwords.us/mediumfoto/picts/ulfls/16092009/20743299493.jpg (www.hp1911.com)

http://www.louderthanwords.us/mediumfoto/picts/ulfls/16092009/20743299504.jpg (www.hp1911.com)

http://www.louderthanwords.us/mediumfoto/picts/ulfls/16092009/20743299515.jpg (www.hp1911.com)

http://www.louderthanwords.us/mediumfoto/picts/ulfls/16092009/21264982301.jpg (www.hp1911.com)

http://www.louderthanwords.us/mediumfoto/picts/ulfls/16092009/21264982312.jpg (www.hp1911.com)

http://www.louderthanwords.us/mediumfoto/picts/ulfls/16092009/21264982243.jpg (www.hp1911.com)

http://www.louderthanwords.us/mediumfoto/picts/ulfls/16092009/21264982254.jpg (www.hp1911.com)

http://www.louderthanwords.us/mediumfoto/picts/ulfls/16092009/21264982265.jpg (www.hp1911.com)

JonInWA
09-17-09, 07:49
Jason, that is exceptionally well done, and to my eye, very tasteful. I don't think that there's anything particularly heretical about work like this to give an old gun a renewed purpose and mission viability for its owner. Thanks for sharing-and for the excellent pictures.

Best, Jon

Paulinski
09-17-09, 08:15
Why :(

jtb0311
09-17-09, 11:34
Why :(

I suspect the customer paid a tidy sum for that work, and building beautiful 1911s is what Heirloom Precision is in business for.

Well done Jason.

Bowser
09-17-09, 12:58
Looks good.

dirksterg30
09-17-09, 15:26
Fine work as usual, Jason. Do you have any pictures of its "twin"?

Greg Bell
09-17-09, 15:50
Very nice. It isn't like this was a rare gun and it isn't like the guy used a dremel to install a beavertail and drilled ports in the top.

scottryan
09-17-09, 16:27
Why :(


Wondering the same thing...

spamsammich
09-17-09, 16:36
He states why in the first post. Something tells me the owner of this gun could probably find another such base gun to serve as a safe queen.

LockenLoad
09-17-09, 16:52
he can I have a usgi colt still parkerized and 2 usgi remington rands, one blued one still parkerized, and I saw 3 colt usgi's today, and that is one sexy 1911, I would not mind having my blued remington rand customed and then have it cerakoted

TMMT
09-17-09, 17:11
Beautiful! Well done.

ThirdWatcher
09-17-09, 17:19
Absolutely beautiful!:)

Jaeger
09-17-09, 17:23
Very nice!!!

VLODPG
09-17-09, 17:40
Why?

My old gunsmith once answered that question.
"Because if I don't, he will go somewhere else & have it done there."

He told me of a story of a guy who brought him a 1st year made NIB Colt Gold Cup in (IIRC 38 super) The owner wanted some type of pivoting trigger.

The gunsmith told him what he had was very valuable & would be ruined by the mods. Even offered to buy the pistol outright or replace with another. The owner wouldn't hear of it.

Well he did the work, If he didn't someone else would!

The gunsmith said it came out beautiful & the guy eventually lost interest in the pistol & eventually sold it at a loss.

SeriousStudent
09-17-09, 18:54
Good heavens, it's not like the man used a can of Krylon hot pink, and tied a pair of fuzzy dice to the mag well..... It's a sharp-looking pistol.

Jason, I think it looks great. It retains a lot of character, and will go bang every time the owner wants it to.

murphy j
09-17-09, 21:20
Every time I start to think I want to get away from 1911s, I see something like this and remember why I Love them so much. Beautiful work Jason. My hats off to you.

Terry
09-18-09, 12:05
Because it's a rebuilt and upgraded tool, ready to fullfil it's lifes mission.
On top of that, it's a gorgeous work of art.

Shane1
09-18-09, 12:19
Beautifully executed Sir!

BSHNT2015
09-18-09, 12:26
I think my wallet and eyes just melted. Very nice.

Pappabear
09-18-09, 19:50
Wicked Sweet!

maximus83
09-19-09, 17:11
Elegant simplicity. Nicest looking 1911 I've seen in a month!

Jason Burton
09-20-09, 21:21
Gents, I appreciate all the comments... thank you!



Why :(

Well mostly because it’s what the owner wanted. I would have happily built the same gun on a new Series 70 Colt and have done so in the past but the owner had a vision for this particular pistol.

I do understand your question and also that there is a certain amount of collector value for these older USGI guns... me, I’m just not a collector in the traditional sense. I’ve always valued these in the here and now more than in the “one day it will be worth $$$” or from the standpoint of “it’s a rare piece, it’s collectable”. We can’t take any of these with us when we’re gone so I’ve always felt we have to enjoy and use them while we still can. Make the gun everything you ever wanted it to be and then spend the rest of your life trying to wear it out... I think the owner of this gun agreed.



Fine work as usual, Jason. Do you have any pictures of its "twin"?

Here’s a picture of the sort of “twin“... click the photo for more.

http://www.louderthanwords.us/mediumfoto/picts/ulfls/25092007/10993870301.jpg (http://www.heirloomprecision.com/photos/Jason_Burton/Full-House_Hard_Chromed_Springfield_2007/)


Thanks again! :)

HPLLC
09-21-09, 07:30
Nice work. It's hard getting 1911 work done without finding yourself totally screwed.

The ratio of hacks to gunsmiths is like 10-1

Paulinski
09-21-09, 11:04
Jason

Its a beautiful 1911 and I understand the owner wanted to have it build.

Its just that those original USGI are not made anymore.

However its only my opinion and it does and should not matter to anyone.

The final outcome is amazing 1911 the fact that is was an original USGI is that is sad about the project.

My $0.02

Paul

HPLLC
09-21-09, 11:08
Jason

Its a beautiful 1911 and I understand the owner wanted to have it build.

Its just that those original USGI are not made anymore.

However its only my opinion and it does and should not matter to anyone.

The final outcome is amazing 1911 the fact that is was an original USGI is that is sad about the project.

My $0.02

Paul

Sad is altering a Pre war full patent date roll stamp non-A1 1911. Altering a 1911A1 is just a way to make something more useful out of something less useful.

In other words that recoil comming through the 1911A1 tang into the bones of the shooters hand is sad. The original 1911 is a better shooting gun than a 1911A1 IMO.

Jason Burton
09-22-09, 22:39
Jason

Its a beautiful 1911 and I understand the owner wanted to have it build.

Its just that those original USGI are not made anymore.

However its only my opinion and it does and should not matter to anyone.

The final outcome is amazing 1911 the fact that is was an original USGI is that is sad about the project.

My $0.02

Paul

I got cha’... ;) I guess for me the coolest part about these guns is exactly what they are and at the same time what they can become. Taking something special and making it into something even more special so that the owner can use and enjoy it for the rest of his days.



Sad is altering a Pre war full patent date roll stamp non-A1 1911...

Whoops... :eek:

The Gunslinger
09-22-09, 23:03
yeah, like everyone else said, very well done enhancements :D