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  1. #1
    CMfromIL is offline Junior Member
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    Original WW1 era 1911

    I might have a chance to get my Great-Great-Grandfathers WW1 1911 pistol from my father. I'm hoping he passes it down rather than sell it.

    1. Is it better to not ever consider firing it? (It has been oiled and in a gun sock, but probably not fired in years.) I'm sure it would need a good cleaning and oiling. But I don't want to damage it.

    2. I have the paperwork tying it to my Great-Great-Grandfather (old army paperwork etc). If I were to display it, what would be the safest way to do that? I don't want to plug the barrel or anything. But a cable lock through the magazine/slide wouldn't be very attractive either.

    3. The shells my dad has are OLD. I wouldn't even want to put them in the gun. Can a gun range dispose of them, or what is the best way to do that? I won't entertain trying to take them apart myself.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    rccola712's Avatar
    rccola712 is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by CMfromIL View Post
    I might have a chance to get my Great-Great-Grandfathers WW1 1911 pistol from my father. I'm hoping he passes it down rather than sell it.

    1. Is it better to not ever consider firing it? (It has been oiled and in a gun sock, but probably not fired in years.) I'm sure it would need a good cleaning and oiling. But I don't want to damage it.

    2. I have the paperwork tying it to my Great-Great-Grandfather (old army paperwork etc). If I were to display it, what would be the safest way to do that? I don't want to plug the barrel or anything. But a cable lock through the magazine/slide wouldn't be very attractive either.

    3. The shells my dad has are OLD. I wouldn't even want to put them in the gun. Can a gun range dispose of them, or what is the best way to do that? I won't entertain trying to take them apart myself.

    Thanks.
    1: It would depend on what you want it for, do you want it as a collectors piece or as something old and fun to shoot? If you want it to retain and accumulate value, I would say don't fire it, but if you want it have some fun with it, I would say fire away (within reason, don't want it getting messed up now)If it was me, i would probably not worry about firing it, as it is easily a 75+ year old gun. My dad has a 1943 Luger that we had the same debate with, and decided to shoot it on the rare occasion, but I have a feeling it will get retired eventually.

    2: I would consider having the paperwork matted and framed along with the gun if you want to display it.

    3: I have no idea, you might want to try calling the Sheriff's office, they would most likely have some suggestions. They're always very helpful in my county.


    Hope this helps

    If you get it, we'd better get to see some pictures, I bet it's a beautiful piece!


    and welcome to the forum from NC!
    Last edited by rccola712; 07-15-2009 at 04:18 PM. Reason: welcoming new member

  3. #3
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
    Steve M1911A1 is online now Senior Member
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    How old are those cartridges ("shells")? If they're old enough, and in the original box, they might be valuable to a collector. Best idea: Keep them to display with the pistol.

    Your pistol is a valuable collectors' item, particularly because of the accompanying papers. The best display would include those papers.
    You could shoot the gun. Old though it is, it's perfectly safe with modern ammunition. All you'd need to do is clean it very carefully and completely. (I'd suggest letting a good gunsmith inspect it, too, because you are obviously unfamiliar with its innards.)
    However, since it's a collectible pistol, if it were mine I would just carefully clean it and leave it unshot. Do not try to polish this gun, or remove scratches, or refurbish its finish. Leave it in as original a condition as you can, because that adds to its value. "Making it look good" will ruin its collectible status and price.

    If I were going to display just this one gun, I'd have a cabinetmaker create a thick-wall, sturdily constructed, locking case with a thick ("bulletproof") Plexiglas front that is made to be attached strongly to a wall.

  4. #4
    nUgZ is offline Member
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    How about an update? Did you ever end up getting the gun?

  5. #5
    dondavis3's Avatar
    dondavis3 is offline Senior Member
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    +1 rccola712

    If your Dad needs the money - buy the gun from him - don't lose that family history.

    My grand father was chief of police in Muskogee, OK and someway or another his gun was lost to me and I so wanted his duty gun.

    While it all happened before I was old enough to own a gun - you have the chance to get it .... so go do it.


  6. #6
    DevilsJohnson is offline Senior Member
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    Man I'd like to see that told weapon. Agreed that I wouldn't fire the old rounds but if you wanted to and the weapon is in good working order..No rust, sticking parts etc then a good cleaning and some fresh rounds and you can fire it all you want. Though it's collectors value would make it a display piece there should be no reason it would not perform just as it did back when.

  7. #7
    sixguncowboy's Avatar
    sixguncowboy is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by CMfromIL View Post
    I might have a chance to get my Great-Great-Grandfathers WW1 1911 pistol from my father. I'm hoping he passes it down rather than sell it.

    As Don Davis said below offer to buy it from your dad explaining that it should be kept in the family. If he needs the money he'll take you up on your offer. If not, he'll give it to you or tell you that he going to leave the gun to you.

    1. Is it better to not ever consider firing it? (It has been oiled and in a gun sock, but probably not fired in years.) I'm sure it would need a good cleaning and oiling. But I don't want to damage it.

    If your gg grandfather served in combat the 1911 most assuredly has been fired. If not, he certainly had to qualify on the range with it, or he would not have been allowed to carry it. So it's not going to hurt the value at all to fire it today. But have it inspected by a good gunsmith just to be sure it's still in good shape first.

    2. I have the paperwork tying it to my Great-Great-Grandfather (old army paperwork etc). If I were to display it, what would be the safest way to do that? I don't want to plug the barrel or anything. But a cable lock through the magazine/slide wouldn't be very attractive either.

    Unless you live in the only burglar proof home known to mankind, the safest place for that gun & paperwork is in a fireproof gun safe that is in a closet and bolted to the floor. And I'm not talking about a sheet metal gun cabinet. Or put it in a safety deposit box in a bank. You can make copies of the paperwork and buy a non-firing replica of a 1911 and put it in a shadow box to hang on the wall. Then if your home is burglarized you're only out about $150 or less and your gg grandfather's gun doesn't end up being traded on the street to some gangbanger for drugs and maybe winding up destroyed by some police dept. because it was used in a crime.

    3. The shells my dad has are OLD. I wouldn't even want to put them in the gun. Can a gun range dispose of them, or what is the best way to do that? I won't entertain trying to take them apart myself.

    How old is old? I have shot 75 year old ammo without any problem. Ask around at work and at the range if you don't want to chance shooting the ammo. You'll find someone that reloads and can pull the bullet from the case, dispose of the powder and reload the bullets into the cases using fresh powder. You see powder in a sealed container such as a cartridge doesn't deteroriate. The only problem is that if the ammo is military issue from the Korean War or before it was made with a primer that is very corrosive and the gun will have to be thoroughly cleaned after firing it immediateoly after getting home or it will begin to rust.
    Thanks.
    Quote Originally Posted by dondavis3 View Post
    +1 rccola712

    If your Dad needs the money - buy the gun from him - don't lose that family history.

    My grand father was chief of police in Muskogee, OK and someway or another his gun was lost to me and I so wanted his duty gun.

    While it all happened before I was old enough to own a gun - you have the chance to get it .... so go do it.

    Ditto

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
    How old are those cartridges ("shells")? If they're old enough, and in the original box, they might be valuable to a collector. Best idea: Keep them to display with the pistol.

    Your pistol is a valuable collectors' item, particularly because of the accompanying papers. The best display would include those papers.
    You could shoot the gun. Old though it is, it's perfectly safe with modern ammunition. All you'd need to do is clean it very carefully and completely. (I'd suggest letting a good gunsmith inspect it, too, because you are obviously unfamiliar with its innards.)
    However, since it's a collectible pistol, if it were mine I would just carefully clean it and leave it unshot. Do not try to polish this gun, or remove scratches, or refurbish its finish. Leave it in as original a condition as you can, because that adds to its value. "Making it look good" will ruin its collectible status and price.

    Mega dittoes

    If I were going to display just this one gun, I'd have a cabinetmaker create a thick-wall, sturdily constructed, locking case with a thick ("bulletproof") Plexiglas front that is made to be attached strongly to a wall.
    I wouldn't display it like that. See above for explanation.

  8. #8
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
    Steve M1911A1 is online now Senior Member
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    Do you have to use all that large type and bright-red color? How 'bout just saving it for things that justify lots and lots of special emphasis, rather than using it for your entire discussion?
    Your post gives the visual impression of shouting, or even yelling. Is that what you really intended?
    Do you note that the rest of us don't use anywhere near that much special emphasis?
    Don't worry: we'll read your post even without all that large-size red type.

  9. #9
    sixguncowboy's Avatar
    sixguncowboy is offline Junior Member
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    Sorry Steve,was just trying to make something easier on old eyes, nothing more. The standard font size is too small for me.

  10. #10
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
    Steve M1911A1 is online now Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by sixguncowboy View Post
    Sorry Steve,was just trying to make something easier on old eyes, nothing more. The standard font size is too small for me.
    I apologize for my complaint, then.
    I suggest trying just slightly-larger-size type, without the color and without the bold-face, like one of these:
    I apologize for my complaint, then. (Size 2) or
    I apologize for my complaint, then. (Size 3)

  11. #11
    tony pasley's Avatar
    tony pasley is offline Senior Member
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    I have several family hierloom guns in my collection, I made sure they are in working condition, cleaned them and put them up. I had several shadow boxes made with locks and vibration transmitter for each box. Copy the paper work to matte and display keep the orginals in a secure place. The ammo can be displayed in the shadow box with the pistol which looks very nice.

  12. #12
    TennGunner1313 is offline Junior Member
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    This is my first post as I am new to the forum.
    Thanks for letting me join.
    I have a 1911 Colt, 1913 mfg date, US Navy Issue, (right of slide).
    I sent it back to Colt Mfg. They replaced a few 1911A1 parts with original Colt parts.
    They advised I not shoot it as the metal in the originals may not stand up to modern ammo.
    I had a gunsmith remove the firing pin so I could display if safely.
    If you have a gunsmith you trust, you may consider this step prior to displaying your Colt.
    Thanks again for the forum,
    TennGunner 1313

  13. #13
    rex
    rex is offline Senior Member
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    I would not display that gun unless it's a mixmaster pitted POS.You should have it appraised.I'm surprised Colt still has many parts left at all,and they may not be the exact "period correct" part even though it is the original type.I'm not good with the older stuff but Proofhouse has a lot of info and pics of parts to verify if the parts are correct for the brand and serial number range.

    You can shoot them,but with original spec ammo which isn't as "warm" as todays,or use light target loads.The part that sucks is you don't know the gun,I've seen some nice specimens break using only target loads-that sucks bigtime.The only thing that does is put some original parts back in circulation for those needing them for restoration to original.The problem is in the heat treating,or lack of,they are soft in some critical areas.In 1924 I believe (or somewhere near the A1 transition) heat treating was improved for longevity.I have a 1918 Army but it was converted to a bullseye gun before commercilly available adjustable triggers were made.Nice shooter but basically worthless.

    Welcome also.

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