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Old April 17, 2009, 02:48 AM   #1
coltoriginal
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Colt series 70 vs 80 firing pin safety question

the series 80 has a firing pin safety and that is the main difference, i get that.

what are the pros and cons of the firing pin safety? (i know the cons are trigger pull, so what are the pros?)

it is still a cocked&locked carry setup correct?

hypothetically, If i drop my series 70 it is more likely to AD shoot me than an equally dropped series 80. (True or False?)

Last edited by coltoriginal; April 17, 2009 at 12:10 PM.
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Old April 17, 2009, 06:12 AM   #2
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Unless it was correctly fitted when built a Ser. 80 system can fail and not allow the gun to fire. This is not an internet myth, I have seen this happen on a good number of these guns. Given a choice of a gun that may not fire when dropped or a gun that WILL fire when I need it I'll take a Ser. 70. Years ago I read a interview with a former Colt employee who said that Colt did tests to see how likely a 1911 was to fire when dropped and they had to drop one straight down on the muzzle from almost 60 feet up to make it fire from inertia.
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Old April 17, 2009, 04:58 PM   #3
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Quote:
what are the pros and cons of the firing pin safety? (i know the cons are trigger pull, so what are the pros?)
Um, in my opinion none. Makes the Lawyers happy and provides peace of mind to some shooters/buyers I assume.

Quote:
it is still a cocked&locked carry setup correct?
Correct.

Quote:
hypothetically, If i drop my series 70 it is more likely to AD shoot me than an equally dropped series 80. (True or False?)
Hypothetically true I guess since there is a pin to keep the firing pin itself from moving forward.
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Old April 17, 2009, 05:29 PM   #4
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I don't know how common it is for the firing pin block to fail. Probably no more so than any other auto that uses the same thing, like all your modern DA service pistols. Make a list of all the autos that use something to block the firing pin till the trigger is pulled and then figure out how many of them have a bad rap for that feature. It is sorta like the firing pin block on postwar Smith revolvers. I suppose it is possible for that part to somehow malfunction as compared to one without such a device but I don't see people taking their revolvers apart to toss it out.
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Old April 17, 2009, 05:34 PM   #5
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I still like my Series 80 Colts
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Old April 17, 2009, 06:05 PM   #6
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I prefer a 70 series because I think the 80 series was largely unnecessary. However the series 80 is almost always cheaper, easier to find, and is probably the best way to incorporate a firing pin safety in the 1911. It has proven quite reliable and excellent triggers can be had with a functional series 80 system in place.
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Old April 17, 2009, 06:42 PM   #7
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I'll take a gun with the firing pin safety over one without if its a choice. I've owned a number of both, and never had an issue with either. I have dropped a freshly loaded Series 70 before I got the thumb safety on. It didnt go off, but it was a LONG second or two while it fell.

I never understood the resistance to the later design. I think the trigger excuse is a pretty lame one, and unlike drail, I've yet to see one that failed. I used to shoot one (the same gun and the one I carried) three or four times a month for about 10 years without issue, and I still shoot it on a regular basis. At this point, I couldnt tell you how many thousands of rounds its got through it. I've also disassembled it (the frame portion of the safety) on a number of occasions, and it was simple enough to take down and get back together. If its the nightmare I've seen some claim, it would make you wonder if they shouldnt be using something else.

With all the crap people hang on the 1911's these days, and the other dubious modifications, this seems to be the one that draws the most ire, and its a factory design.

The answer to your question by the way is... True. But... and theres always that but.... the Series 70 "probably" wont go off either. I choose the one without the "probably".
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Old April 17, 2009, 07:11 PM   #8
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What is the price difference between comparable guns of both series? Obviously you may pay more for a pristine 70 as compared to a NIB 80. IF the difference in that feature is worth the diff. in price, go for it.
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Old April 17, 2009, 07:50 PM   #9
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I've sold nice 70's for $1000 and bought nice 80's for $450.

I sold all my 70's and kept three of my 80's.
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Old April 17, 2009, 07:58 PM   #10
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The majority answer seems to be that model 70 is more likely to AD when dropped. And since trigger pull is debunked i'm leaning towards the 80.

Now I am curious, why have the fugly grip safety? if it is not there to prevent this problem

Last edited by coltoriginal; April 17, 2009 at 08:04 PM.
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Old April 17, 2009, 08:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom2
What is the price difference between comparable guns of both series? Obviously you may pay more for a pristine 70 as compared to a NIB 80. IF the difference in that feature is worth the diff. in price, go for it.
Colt now has a line of Series 70 reproduction guns that use the original Series 70 system. Their price is usually $100 - $200 over what a standard Series 80 1991 will sell for.

I personally don't care either way. I would own both if I could afford to. Colt's system has proven itself reliable, being one of the better system out in the 1911 market. Just because a gun doesn't have the extra safeties of another does not mean it's fail proof.
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Old April 17, 2009, 08:11 PM   #12
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The majority answer seems to be that model 70 is more likely to AD when dropped.

Now I am curious, why have the fugly grip safety? if it is not there to prevent this problem
The grip safety on a Series 70 1911 only prevents the trigger from being pulled if it is not depressed. It does not block the firing pin.

Series 70 1911's may fire when dropped because of the inertia of the floating firing pin. The firing pin is retained by a spring, but if the gun is dropped hard enough, the firing pin's momentum will be greater than what the spring can resist and it will have enough energy to fire a chambered round.
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Old April 17, 2009, 09:08 PM   #13
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Unless it was correctly fitted when built a Ser. 80 system can fail and not allow the gun to fire. This is not an internet myth, I have seen this happen on a good number of these guns.
If the Series 80 system is messed with after manufacture it also might not work, and that's a much more likely scenario than one being improperly built. I'm no great fan of Series 80, but it does exactly what it's supposed to do, and is a much more time-tested system than the Swartz firing pin block used by Kimber and S&W.
The new Colt Series 70 has a somewhat better finish than the Series 80 guns, but other than the lack of a cut in the frame for the S80 parts, they are otherwise identical. I have a half-dozen Series 80 Colts, all but one with the bits removed. I'm more concerned by the difficulty in reassembly of S80, than whatever negative effects it has on the trigger pull or reliability.
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Old April 18, 2009, 08:30 AM   #14
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80 verses 70

I have both and my opinion is the 80 is much safer in fact I carry at half cock because the firing pin can't release till the trigger is pulled. Dan
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Old April 18, 2009, 08:43 AM   #15
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I have always been of the opinion that the series 70 has a much better trigger pull than the series 80. While they may be out there, I have yet to find a series 80 that was able to match a series 70 trigger.

Quote:
Criticism of the Series 80 safety was based largely on the fact that the trigger action included lifting the firing-pin lock installed in the slide. In other words, the trigger had to compress a spring and move a small part, adding to the poundage of the trigger pull. While this complaint has some merit, the fault lay more with the execution than the design.

Unless the Series 80 parts worked together smoothly, the shooter could feel a definite lurch in the trigger pull when the safety disengaged. It was not unusual to find rough parts or crooked holes that complicated things.

Some critics proclaimed it was "impossible" to obtain a match trigger on a Series 80 pistol. Of course that wasn't really true, but there was a certain learning curve for pistolsmiths to master the skills. A Series 80 trigger often took longer to hone than a standard trigger; gunsmiths consequently charged more.

But the Series 80 doesn't get as much criticism these days because of Colt's shrunken presence in the market. Hardly anyone buys a Colt right now, so hardly anyone complains. People are buying Springfield Armory and Kimber 1911s, both of which lack Series 80 parts
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m...6/ai_92585769/
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Old April 18, 2009, 12:00 PM   #16
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I think the trigger issue is more worry over nothing than anything else. All my Series 80's guns have or had very good triggers, right out of the box, just like my Series 70's.

None of them were "target" type triggers, which really have no place on a "working" gun anyway, but they were very good all the same.

As far as I'm concerned, if there is an issue with a stock Colt trigger, its a shooter issue, and not an issue with the gun.
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Old April 18, 2009, 02:26 PM   #17
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legal issue

Quote:
Series 70 1911's may fire when dropped because of the inertia of the floating firing pin. The firing pin is retained by a spring, but if the gun is dropped hard enough, the firing pin's momentum will be greater than what the spring can resist and it will have enough energy to fire a chambered round.
This is true, however, tests have shown that with parts in spec (and out of spec parts are unsafe, no matter what) that the old design Colts (pre series 80) have to be dropped from considerable height (more than 30 feet), and land muzzle down (highly unlikely) on a hard, unyielding surface for the inertia of the firing pin to overcome the spring tension and fire the gun.

If the gun lands in any other position than straight muzzle down, it will not fire. HP White Labs did extensive tests back in the 1970s as part of the California drop test requirements, and those were the results. They had to build a special fixture to hold the 1911, so it would land muzzle down.

CA had some very rigid standards to pass to get on their new "approved handgun" list, and the 1911 did pass. As long as the parts were in spec. Colt took the lawyer approved safe bet, so as to ensure continued sales, and redesigned the gun, producing the series 80 with a firing pin block, to ensure that even the ridiculous CA standards could easily be met.

Outside of carefully controlled laboratory conditions, a properly working 1911A1 is as safe as it gets, and safer than many other designs.
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Old April 18, 2009, 04:01 PM   #18
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I've used both and liked both. I prefer the 70 series since it was the top dog in gov't models when I got into handgunning. A nostalgic sap and all....

I would feel comfortable with either. I know my officers mod. and 1991s have not given me any grief.

But, who wouldn't just love this cute little face!!!!!
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Old April 18, 2009, 04:10 PM   #19
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What part to remove?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom2
I don't know how common it is for the firing pin block to fail. Probably no more so than any other auto that uses the same thing, like all your modern DA service pistols. Make a list of all the autos that use something to block the firing pin till the trigger is pulled and then figure out how many of them have a bad rap for that feature. It is sorta like the firing pin block on postwar Smith revolvers. I suppose it is possible for that part to somehow malfunction as compared to one without such a device but I don't see people taking their revolvers apart to toss it out.
I wonder, what part is it that you would take out of the Post-War S&W Revolver?

(The ones with the firing pin mounted on the hammer, the so called "rebounding hammer" revolvers where, as the ads stated, you could "hammer on the hammer") It these are not the guns you refer to, then ignore this whole post.

(Hint: This is a trick question. I will tell you the secret later.)

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Old April 18, 2009, 04:42 PM   #20
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No safety is perfect.

Some safeties are more perfect than others.

I know of one instance where a Series '80 Colt 1991 model was made to fire with the Thumb Safety on and the firing pin block intact.

It happened in Brighton, New York on September 13, 2000.

A cocked and locked Model 1991 (series '80) Colt .45 ACP pistol was pulled from the hand of a Rochester N.Y. Police Officer and the round in the chamber was accidentally discharged. Immediately after the accident, the pistol was still cocked and locked with the spent round's empty cartridge still in the chamber.

The story was reported in the Sept 14th and Sept 15 issues of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. It was also investigated and reported in The American Journal of Roentgenology in their Volume 178, Issue 5 in May of 2002.

The gun was pulled from the officer's hand by and into a Magnetic Resonance Imaging machine and discharged when it made contact with the bore of the machine. A pretty much classic case of "slam-fire" typical of the pre-'80s series guns, but which was supposed to have been cured in the series '80 pistols by the firing pin block. Thus is proved the adage that no system can be made 100% effective.

I pulled these two partial articles from the web site of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

1. DAILY DIGEST
September 15, 2000 •• 406 words •• ID: roc2000091510092197
Test too risky for magnet-pulled gun It would be too risky to test the gun yanked out of an off-duty city police officer's hand by a heavy-duty magnet this week, a firearms expert said yesterday. The magnet, used for magnetic resonance imaging tests, might have changed the molecular structure of the .45-caliber handgun, said Sgt. William Benwitz, who runs the firearms training unit at the Scottsville Road training academy. "Until we send this gun back to the...


2. DAILY DIGEST
September 14, 2000 •• 347 words •• ID: roc2000091410192034
MRI `disarms' police officer Just call it a really magnetic attraction. An off-duty Rochester police officer went to Borg Imaging at 200 White Spruce Blvd., Brighton, yesterday for a magnetic resonance imaging test. The officer asked an office worker about his handgun ...

I did not purchase the full text of the articles because they wanted money.
Find them through http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives


See also:

http://forums.accuratereloading.com/.../332107195/p/1
or it the link does not work, paste this into your web browser
accuratereloading.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/7611043/m/332107195/p/1

http://www.ajronline.org/cgi/content/full/178/5/1092
or it the link does not work, paste this into your web browser
ajronline.org/cgi/content/full/178/5/1092

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Old April 18, 2009, 08:08 PM   #21
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I wonder, what part is it that you would take out of the Post-War S&W Revolver?

(The ones with the firing pin mounted on the hammer, the so called "rebounding hammer" revolvers where, as the ads stated, you could "hammer on the hammer") It these are not the guns you refer to, then ignore this whole post.

(Hint: This is a trick question. I will tell you the secret later.)

Lost Sheep
S&W double action revolvers have redundant hamer block safeties. Originally this was not the case, and the only hammer block was the rebound slide locking the hammer from forward movement unless the trigger was pulled. This generally worked OK but the hammer could be forced if too much impact force was applied; there was a documented Navy incident of this around WW2.

Post war S&W's incorporated an additional small bar that positively kept the hammer from falling until the trigger was pulled, regardless of the amount of impact. This is likely what Tom2 is referring to.

All S&W double action revolvers incorporate this feature to this day, regardless of whether the firing pin is hammer or frame mounted. Incidentally, all S&W double action revolvers that I'm aware of incorporate a rebounding hammer.

I don't understand why this would be a trick question
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Old April 19, 2009, 09:26 PM   #22
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The series 70 having to fall 60 feet to discharge is a myth. I read a report by the US Navy, written in the 70s about this very issue. They tested 1911s and found they would readily discharge when dropped from about 12 feet onto decking. I wish I could point you to the article, but it has been years since I read it.
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