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Old October 7, 2012, 06:25 PM   #1
baddarryl
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Colt Govt Series 70 or 80?

Hi all. I understand that the 80 has the firing pin block and longer trigger. Sounds like I would prefer a 70. Is there any reason not to and what are other differences between them? I will be looking for a used Govt Model in 70 or 80 series. Also what is meant by MK IV? Are there other MK? Sorry, just learning about Colts. Thanks.
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Old October 7, 2012, 06:53 PM   #2
Dfariswheel
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The trigger pull lengths are exactly the same on the Series 70 and the 80.

In the early days of the Series 80, some people thought that you couldn't get a good trigger pull with the firing pin lock system.
After good gunsmiths proved that you could, most of the anti-Series 80 complaints stopped.

In fact, VERY few people can positively identify a 70 or 80 Series trigger pull in blind tests.
There's more variation in individual guns then in the difference between a 70 or 80 model.

Other then the extra parts in the Series 80, there's no legitimate downside as long as you don't botch it up when reassembling the gun after a 100% strip.
If you fail to assemble it correctly the firing pin might not unlock, the gun won't fire, and the firing pin and firing pin lock will be damaged.
The assembly is simple. Unless you're a total incompetent and not only reassemble it incorrectly, but also fail to CHECK it to insure it's right, there's no problem.

If you just don't like the Series 80 firing pin lock safety feature, it can be removed. To do so you'd need a special spacer to fill in the spaces the frame parts are in and you'd need to remove the safety lock plunger from the slide.

There are no other Colt autos that use "Mark" as part of the model identification.
The Mark IV is seen as the fourth revision of the Colt Government Model design and the first time Colt used the Mark identification.
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Old October 7, 2012, 07:13 PM   #3
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Dfariswheel said pretty much all that's needed to be said there... stick a fork in it.

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Old October 7, 2012, 08:41 PM   #4
Aguila Blanca
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What dfariswheel didn't mention is that the view regarding "necessity" of the Series 80 firing pin safety has shifted. For a long time, whenever the topic arose people (myself included) referred to an article that I think originated on The Sight web site, describing an experiment in which a barrel and slide were loaded up with a primed cartridge and dropped down a length of pipe from various heights onto the muzzle to see if it would fire. The author got to 12 feet with no "Bang," and he quit there because the slide was getting too beat up.

That was then. Fast forward to a year or a year and a half ago and a respected firearms guy, Walt Kuleck (formerly of Fulton Armory) and an associate decided to run the same test ... using a complete pistol rather than just a slide and barrel. They found it WOULD fire when dropped from heights of around three feet (in other words, waist height).

I respect Walt's integrity and motives enough that, as a direct result of his testing, I have pretty much retired any non-Series 80 pistols from my carry rotation. I mostly alternate between a Colt M1991A1 and a couple of Paras ... all of which have the firing pin safety.
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Old October 7, 2012, 08:58 PM   #5
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Well damn... now stick a fork in it.
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Old October 7, 2012, 11:08 PM   #6
KyJim
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Regarding 1911s without a firing pin block -- many manufacturers have managed to pass California's drop test without using a firing pin block. This is usually done by using a titanium firing pin and a heavier firing pin spring. I have never based my decision on whether to buy a 1911 on whether it had the firing pin block or not. However, none of my favorite 1911s have FP blocks. They also happen to have excellent triggers.
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Old October 8, 2012, 05:17 AM   #7
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If you plan on keeping the pistol in stock condition, it probably doesn't matter much.

If you plan on having it modified by a gunsmith, and if you have a gunsmith in mind, ask your gunsmith which system he or she prefers for modification.

Mine prefers to work on 70 series, and does not like to work on 80 series, so that biases my preference.
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Old October 8, 2012, 11:11 AM   #8
g.willikers
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Anyone ever dropped their pistol?
If we don't get in the habit of dropping our guns, does it really matter which version 1911 we have?
Maybe we should add one more rule to the four safety rules:
Don't drop your shootin' iron, especially directly on the muzzle.
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Old October 8, 2012, 11:54 AM   #9
Fishbed77
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Quote:
Anyone ever dropped their pistol?
If we don't get in the habit of dropping our guns, does it really matter which version 1911 we have?
Maybe we should add one more rule to the four safety rules:
Don't drop your shootin' iron, especially directly on the muzzle.
I don't think that's something anyone ever intends on doing.

But no one ever intends to use their firearm for self-defense either.

It's just something we prepare for, and it never hurts to be prepared.
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Old October 8, 2012, 12:11 PM   #10
RickB
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I agree with just about everything said above, except this:

Quote:
There are no other Colt autos that use "Mark" as part of the model identification.
Colt made a .38 Special pistol, along the lines of a Gold Cup, called the Mk. III. It was kind of a weird gun, with a delayed-blowback action, even though there were lots of .38 Special conversions around that still used the swinging link, and I don't think it was ever very popular. Of course, one has to wonder which guns were considered Mks. I and II?
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Old October 8, 2012, 01:14 PM   #11
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MLeake
Quote:
Mine prefers to work on 70 series, and does not like to work on 80 series, so that biases my preference.

We have the same gunsmith. he has my 70 series now actually.
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Old October 9, 2012, 01:23 AM   #12
10mmAuto
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Some firing pin safety types for 1911 are activated by the grip safety, which admittedly would no longer be a true series 80. In any case, any weapon without a firing pin safety is an accident waiting to happen. A low order probability of an accident, but that's unacceptable when you consider the consequences of that low probability event.
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Old October 9, 2012, 04:10 AM   #13
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10mmAuto, tell that to the companies that use titanium (lightweight, low inertia) pins and high strength firing pin springs.

(They pass drop safety requirements in states that require such, too.)
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