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Old August 13, 2013, 12:27 PM   #1
Skans
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What ammo to use in Pre-WWI 1911?

My understanding is that the very early 1911's may not withstand the higher pressure of full power .45acp. What ammo should be used in the very early 1911's?
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Old August 13, 2013, 12:39 PM   #2
ripnbst
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What ammo to use in Pre-WWI 1911?

Any of the bulk target ammo like federal champion or Winchester white box should be fine. I wouldn't shoot it a lot anyway. That is a collector.
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Old August 13, 2013, 12:45 PM   #3
James K
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The specs for the standard .45 ACP in 1911 were the same as they are today. Just avoid some of the new ammo called ".45 Super" or ".45 +P".

I see no problem shooting that gun, but if it is of 1912 vintage (none were actually made in 1911), and in good condition, it might be valuable enough that firing it would detract from the value.

Jim
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Old August 13, 2013, 02:12 PM   #4
Skans
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I haven't decided whether or not to purchase the gun yet. If I purchase it, I would want to put at least a couple of rounds through it, but I wouldn't want to damage the gun in any way. I read somewhere that the steel in the early guns was not heat treated? Is there any validity to this?
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Old August 13, 2013, 04:10 PM   #5
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True, in a way. Some parts of the early guns were not hardened, like the slide stop notch in the slide, and wore rapidly. In WWII guns that area was hardened. But none of those areas are of real significance unless you plan to fire thousands of rounds.

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Old August 14, 2013, 07:31 AM   #6
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Just a passing thought and I'm not an expert on 1911s by any means . . . I read this thread and am curious . . . .

If a person wanted to shoot it (the 1911 the OP is referring to) but was worried about such things as the barrel, etc. . . . since parts are interchangeable . . . could you not purchase a newer barrel, etc. - switch them out for shooting and preserve the original parts? Or is that a problem on a 1911 as opposed to say a 1911A1?
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Old August 14, 2013, 10:43 AM   #7
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Along with what bedbugbilly said, I was also wondering if you could just replace the slidestop with a cheap aftermarket one modified so that it won't stop the slide from moving forward on the last round. Probably not necessary, I wouldn't be putting a significant number of rounds through it.
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Old August 14, 2013, 08:34 PM   #8
James K
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Parts should interchange with any modern 1911 type that follows original GI specs. (Alas, some don't.)

I probably gave a false idea the slide stop notch will wear out after a dozen lockbacks. Maybe after 1000. But yes, you could modify a slide stop to not lock the slide back - just grind off the tip of the inner lug that is engaged by the magazine follower. Then you can still use the slide stop if you want to lock the slide back manually.

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Old August 15, 2013, 05:16 AM   #9
mag1911
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A true original equipment 1911 has wear patterns from the original parts. If you replace parts for shooting the new parts start to change those original wear patterns. Eventually it will appear the pistol was put together from parts even when all original parts are in place.
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Old August 15, 2013, 09:42 AM   #10
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"A couple of rounds" is not going to hurt anything unless you are pretty unlucky.
What the collectors who warn against shooting the old mild steel guns are concerned about is cracking the slide. It is utterly irreplaceable and irrepairable, you will have converted a $2000 collectors item into a paperweight.
It is not a death warrant, I have only seen one cracked slide in person and pictures of a few more, but if it happens to yours, you will be sorry.

As one of the collectors points out, slides were considered wear parts and bought in quantity as spares. There are a lot of guns around here that a friend assembled with surplus slides on Essex frames back in the 1970s and the Marines got a lot of use out of WWII frames with new upper assemblies in making up MEU-SOC pistols.

Standards were different in those days.
The 6000 rounds the prototype 1911 fired without breakage was astounding.
The 600 rounds of .44 Magnum that Elmer Keith fired the first year after the gun came out was a lot of shooting.
Hardly good break in these days.
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Old August 15, 2013, 10:39 PM   #11
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Feed that old warhorse standard 230gr FMJ GI ball, and nothing else. Just don't feed it a lot.

Both the steel and the heat treating have been improved a lot since that guns day, but the ammo spec is still the same, which means that guns made later will last longer, not that there is anything bad or deficient about the early production guns.

Remember that in those days, 5,000 rnds was considered the service life of the gun. So if you put a couple thousand rounds through that pre WWI gun, expect something to wear, or even break. As long as the frame doesn't fail, the gun can run nearly forever with replacement parts.

During the mid 1970s, I saw two 1911 frame guns in my Army shop (both for the same thing, they had been dropped and the rear sight was mashed). One of them was other all original, except for the grips, and the other had a couple of 1911A1 parts.

From the introduction of the 1911A1, Army policy was that 1911s were to be maintained with 1911A1 parts are needed. Those guns were still in service a half century after they were bought, no idea how many rounds that they had fired.

Shoot a couple boxes of ball through it, once or twice a year, and I'd be surprised if you had any problems. Do that every weekend, and after a couple years, I'd be surprised if you didn't have any problems.
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Old August 15, 2013, 10:53 PM   #12
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In 1957 I had nine pistols in the arms room; one was a M1911, all original, and in good condition. I have no idea how many rounds had been through that 40-year old gun, but it was probably a lot. As far as I could tell, all the parts were original, no cracks anywhere or defects except a little battering at the slide stop notch.

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