"...to make sure I don't screw up the throat..." Brass wire will never do anything to even the softest steel.
"...Aha, says me, it needs a new set of springs..." You should have given it a really good bath, especially the innards of the slide, then tried as many brands of ammo as you can to find the ammo that both shoots well and cycles the action, first. Springs do not lose temper through use.
"...Colt never made anything decent..." You mean Colt can't make a revolver and Smith can't make a cf pistol?
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