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Old December 11, 2011, 07:32 PM   #1
E&BC
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Question about a 1911 price

Hey guys hoping for some advice. I am looking at buying a 1911, but I am new to the 1911 scene so I figured I would ask for a little help. The owner has a Colt 1911 that took a trip to Wilson Combat back in the mid 90's. I was wondering what you guys think is a fair price, and your overall opinion of the gun. I generally compare like items for prices, but not having much luck with that. It also comes with 5 magazines. The owner said it received the protector package, and has spent most of its time in the safe since then.



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Old December 11, 2011, 07:54 PM   #2
Aguila Blanca
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The M1991A1 series was Colt's least expensive, entry-level series back in the 90s. It was a bare-bones, no-frills 1911 that wasn't especially "pretty" but which generally functioned and shot well. Unmodified, these guns typically sell today on the used market for around $500 in good condition.

The one in your photo has non-OEM front and rear sights, a replacement trigger, a replacement slide stop, a replacement (extended) thumb safety, and a non-OEM beavertail grip safety. It also appears to be wearing replacement grips. And I don't know whose magazine that is, but the OEM Colt magazines had flush floorplates.

With that all out of the way, back to your question: What's it worth? My answer would have to be: 'How much do you want to pay for it?" For me, the only one of the changes I even halfway like is the beavertail. If this pistol were given to me today, tomorrow Brownells would be sending me original-style replacements for the sights, the slide stop, and the thumb safety. And I'd be looking for OEM grips for it, as well.

If the "enhancements" ring your chimes, then start at $500 for a base M1991A1 and figure how much those aftermarket parts are worth to you. I wouldn't pay more than $600 for it, but my guess is the asking price is higher than that. I'm sure the owner spent some money sending it to Wilson Combat and, in his mind, he probably thinks the value of the pistol was increased by the amount he spent. In reality, that's usually not the case.
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Old December 11, 2011, 08:05 PM   #3
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It also has a high cut frontstrap, frontstrap checkering, lowered and dimpled ejection port. It would be instructive to see the work order to know what had been done inside the gun, as I do not know what comprised the Protector Package.

You could call Wilson and ask what was actually involved.

I would give more than $600 for it, a good bit more if with provenance that all work was really done by Wilson. The nicest Wilson I ever saw was a Colt.
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Old December 11, 2011, 08:14 PM   #4
Rugerismisticness
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I'd give 8 for it. Nicest 1991 I've ever seen. What's the WC finish? How tight is the fit? How many thousands of rounds?
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Old December 11, 2011, 08:24 PM   #5
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Never ceases to amaze me how much you guys can see in just a picture. Thanks for all your information so far. I havent had the gun in hand yet as I was unsure if I wanted to have a more serious look yet.

Owner said it received a match grade barrel and bushing, and full length guide rod. The 5 magazines are Wilson's. Not sure what else was done with the internals that is all that was posted.
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Old December 11, 2011, 08:36 PM   #6
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In the early 90s the 1991AI was often used as a base gun for custom builds. I would assume that the mainspring housing has also been replaced. The ORM guns came with a plastic mainspring and nylon trigger.

I agree with others that the following have been replaced or customized:

Sights
Hammer
Beavertail
trigger
Front strap checking
Mainspring housing (assumed)
Barrel & Bushing
Full Length Guide Rod
lowered & dimpled ejection port
slide stop
thumb safety

At todays prices this would cost $1250+ and the base Colt would cost you $700 so somewhere in the range of $2000 is what the gun would cost you today to build. I you like the look of the gun and can confirm the work done on the gun I would say $900 to $1100 is fair depending on round count and actual condition of the gun. The issue with custom guns and value is often what was done is not "exactly" what you would do so it diminishes its value. IMHO. Custom guns often will sell for 50% to 70% of what someone paid for the work.

The current Protector which is built on a Wilson Frame and slide is a $2800 gun.
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Old December 11, 2011, 08:42 PM   #7
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What your learning here is that everyone values things differently when it comes to a modified gun.

For ME, I'd try for $600 but wouldn't pay more than $800, maybe $850 if I really liked it. Once you get passed $800 I'd rather buy a new gun and spend money on the modifications I want instead of what someone else did. If the guy is asking more than $800 just buy an used unmodified version for $500 and spend the difference to make it YOUR gun. You may only want the trigger done, or maybe new sights, or have it refinished.

Up to you though.
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Old December 11, 2011, 08:52 PM   #8
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The grips appear to have a Wilson medallion and I think the front strap is not checkered, but covered by a rubber wrap-around piece. If the front strap itself has been checkered, that for me would be a deal-breaker. I have no use whatsoever for front strap checkering. All it does is shred my skin and make long range sessions uncomfortable or impossible.

The barrel and bushing probably cost him $250 to $300 and IMHO added exactly zero to the value of the pistol. There was nothing wrong with the OEM Colt barrel. The full-length guide rod likewise adds nothing to the value of the pistol. Read some discussions on this "feature" on the forum at http://forum.m1911.org/forums.php and you'll see that the prevailing opinion is heavily in favor of NOT using them. I have a drawer full of full-length guide rods I've removed from pre-owned 1911s that have come into my care.

By the way -- the proportions seem to indicate that's a Commander, not a 5" Government model. Are you aware that it's not a full-size 1911?

Here's a full-size:



And here's a Comander:


Last edited by Aguila Blanca; December 11, 2011 at 09:03 PM.
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Old December 11, 2011, 09:45 PM   #9
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It's one of those situations where the original owner will never get out of the gun what he put into it. Many of the changes would be the ones I'd want for a carry 1911 like this Commander, but I'm sure I'd never pay what this guy did. How reliable is it? How does it feel in your hand as you shoot it? As others have asked, how tight is the slide/frame & barrel/bushing fit? Has a gunsmith checked it out yet? That would be important with all of the work that has been done on it. I'd give no more than $700 if everything checked out, but that's just me...
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Old December 12, 2011, 08:54 AM   #10
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Agreed. 1911's seem to be so personal that it's hard to say sometimes what one's worth. I rather like the gun that's been described (except the FLGR), but I probably wouldn't have paid full price for one. I'd offer around $750ish and see where it goes. You can get a brand-new 1991 Commander for around $850 or so right now. The only reason I'd pay more than that is if the pistol had EXACTLY what I wanted and it had very few rounds fired.
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Old December 12, 2011, 09:52 AM   #11
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Quote:
Agreed. 1911's seem to be so personal that it's hard to say sometimes what one's worth. I rather like the gun that's been described (except the FLGR), but I probably wouldn't have paid full price for one. I'd offer around $750ish and see where it goes. You can get a brand-new 1991 Commander for around $850 or so right now. The only reason I'd pay more than that is if the pistol had EXACTLY what I wanted and it had very few rounds fired
Comparing a custom Wilson to a NIB production Colt is not an apples to apples comparision. I love production Colts but they are not Wilsons. This is a huge step above what comes off of Colts production lines. Also a Colt Commander NIB should be less than $850. The trigger work alone would put this gun a cut above a standard Colt.

I agree with others that the beauty of the 1911 platform is the ability to build a custom gun exactly as you want it but as I said if the OP likes the setup $900 is more than fair because it would cost him well over $1800 to get the same work done. The gun is clearly engraved with the Wilson Combat logo and looks like a proper vintage Protector build. Again the current protector is a $2800 gun. If it has not been abused or monkeyed with since going to Wilson it should be slick....

I agree with Agulia about the front strap after looking at it again. It looks like one of the Wilson slip on front strap checkering grips which can be removed.
http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=1...ED-FRONT-STRAP

I am not a fan of FLGR but that is a quick and easy fix. Again when it comes to "custom 1911s" I think the sweet spot is 50% of what it cost the orginal buyers assuming it works and functions properly.
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Last edited by WVsig; December 12, 2011 at 09:59 AM.
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