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Old August 19, 2007, 10:09 AM   #1
KDM
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Series 70 / Series 80 differences?

What's the difference between a 1911 Series 70 and Series 80? From what I remember it's got to do with the trigger and safety configurations, but not sure. Which is "better", and why? (Sounds like a high school essay question, no???)

On second thought, mods, please delete. I have a bad habit of posting questions first, then searching for answers elsewhere. I found the info I needed...sorry.
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Old August 19, 2007, 11:17 AM   #2
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KDM,

Well, at least you DO research, even if not in the correct order. Lots of people here are too lazy to do that -- and the enablers/co-dependents also here assist them -- so congrats to you for not being one of them.

But yes, it's a safety difference only between the two gun versions.

IMO, the Series 80s are the "ultimate" in safety when carrying them cocked-and-locked...for those who are a bit squeamsih about carrying a Series 70 -- or any GI type 1911 for that matter -- cocked-and-locked. It's one more safety on top of the others. Solid.

As for trigger-pull, I notice no difference with my Series 80 nor do I care if there is one: I still can put the lead where it needs to go...but then, all I want out of ANY of my guns is "combat accuracy," not target accuracy. Target shooters may notice/care.

-- John D.
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Old August 19, 2007, 01:30 PM   #3
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Bullseye shooters tend to prefer the Series 70, which is why you'll see them using any 1911 platform that does not have the Series 80 firing pin block configuration. I suppose from a gunsmithing standpoint, the Series 70 style is easier to work on; fewer parts and easier to perform a trigger job.

I have two Series 70 Colts that I had Clark Custom Guns convert to their Heavy Slide model; one in .38 Special, the other a .45 ACP.

The "safety aspect" is not a deal breaker for Bullseye shooters, since you never use the thumb safety and no one goes around cocked and locked on a Bullseye range.
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Old August 19, 2007, 01:39 PM   #4
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To be historically correct, Series 70 introduced the collet barrel bushing, and the barrel to accommodate it, in the Colt Government Model and Gold Cup. That's why there are no Series 70 Commanders; they didn't have collet barrel bushings. Series 80 heralded the introduction of the firing pin block. So, a gun without a firing pin block is not Series 70, it's pre-Series 80.
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Old August 19, 2007, 06:36 PM   #5
KDM
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Cool...thanks, guys. Additional info is always good, and some you gave wasn't in the other stuff I've read. Now I'm glad the mods left this post up.
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Old August 19, 2007, 11:35 PM   #6
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RickB,

Thanks for the correction...I forgot about the collet bushing on the Series 70 vs. the solid bushing on the Series 80.

I recall now that some people said the collet bushing cracked/broke occasionally, but I never had any problems with my Series 70 bushing nor did I ever see one that failed.

-- John D.
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Old August 19, 2007, 11:39 PM   #7
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The collet bushing actually lingered a few years into S80 production, but I think it was gone by about 1985.
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Old August 20, 2007, 12:55 AM   #8
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I personally don't care for series 80 guns and the first thing I do with one is remove the firing pin safety. There are several other differences. The hammers differ in that there is no half cock safety on the series 80. The extractors are also different. The biggest problem with the series 80 guns is that they are such a pain to put back together after a detail stripping of the pistol.
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Old August 20, 2007, 10:43 AM   #9
TANGO44
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Ok I hate to ask this but my Colt Defender says Series 90?
So what's the difference now with a Series 90?
Thanks

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Old August 20, 2007, 01:53 PM   #10
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I've never heard an explanation of what distinguishes a Series 90 from a Series 80, except that it perhaps just means a new model that was introduced during the 1990s? I think the Double Eagle was the first Colt marked Series 90, and I think the .380 pistols (Mustang, etc.) may have been, as well. The Defender may have been the last gun so marked.
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Old August 20, 2007, 03:07 PM   #11
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Quote:
The biggest problem with the series 80 guns is that they are such a pain to put back together after a detail stripping of the pistol.
They arent that bad. A lot easier than getting a Ruger .22 back together.

I prefer the 80 series for a carry gun. I once dropped a freshly loaded, safety yet to be set, 70 series to the kitchen floor. It was the longest two seconds of my life. I just wish I had the little dance I did on tape.
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Old August 20, 2007, 03:30 PM   #12
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Sort of like the S&W 'lock', except...

...not as ugly, but a damnedable abomination still.

The firing pin safety in the Series 80 Colt is another solution in search of a problem. They are simply more clockwork that may go wrong at some juncture.

See if you can determine how many inopportune discharges the firing pin safety may have prevented.

I've carried too many Colts cocked and locked over too many miles to be bothered by professional nannies who just don't get it. None for me, thanks.
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Old August 23, 2007, 01:48 AM   #13
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I've got a Pre-Series 80 Combat Commander and a Series 80 1991A1 Commander. (Neither have the collet type bushings.)

There is one other slight difference. The Series 80 has a hammer notch at around 90% travel to the at rest position, unlike the Pre-Series 80 that has a half cock notch. If you pull the trigger, the hammer falls the last 10%, which is supposed to not have enough energy to fire a round.

Both have pretty crisp triggers at around 4 lbs, and I agree that the additional Series-80 clockwork isn't all that hard to reassemble.

Last edited by dmazur; August 23, 2007 at 01:49 AM. Reason: Incorrectly called Combat Commander "Series 70"
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Old August 23, 2007, 09:04 PM   #14
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series 80

I recently bought a series 80 Gold Cup. It has a firing pin safety and a collet. Colt says s/n is 1985. Also has the best trigger of any pistol I own. I don't believe it has ever been worked on.
It has been fired very little.
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