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Old July 19, 2012, 11:58 PM   #1
freebird72
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Frankenstein 1911s

I have heard many stories of 1911 pistols issued during WWII and Vietnam being made up of several different parts from different brands.

So...I was wondering if anyone had pictures of Frankenstein 1911 type pistols? I would really love to see such pistols and I would also love hear any stories that involve such 1911s. Thanks in advanced.
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Old July 20, 2012, 12:24 AM   #2
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I had a 1945 Ithaca with a Colt WWII slide, that had reportedly been rebuilt by an old Army Marksmanship Unit gunsmith. It had the works- tightened slide/lowered frame rails, 7-digit NM barrel, Micro sights, adjustable trigger, etc. It was exceptionally accurate, but had been shot just enough to loosen it to the point of being reliable. I put high fixed sights on it and replaced the match trigger with GI components... carried it on duty for a number of years.

I also used it during a week-long NRA LE Instructor school in 1991, where it digested 800 rounds of 200 grain SWC--in 100 degree heat--without choking even once. I have no idea how many rounds went through that gun before I got it, but during the time I owned it it burned at least 7-8 pounds of powder. The only thing I ever had to replace on it was an extractor.
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Old July 20, 2012, 12:27 AM   #3
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Pardon, but what is a 7 digit barrel?
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Old July 20, 2012, 12:35 AM   #4
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Quote:
Pardon, but what is a 7 digit barrel?
As you gain experience as a collector, you will learn what all of these things are. Its all pretty confusing for anyone new to this stuff. You will get there

I think he meant to say:

Quote:
7 digit, NM barrel
Meaning that the gun's SN was in the millions AND it had a NM barrel. This is just my speculation on his post.

On second thought, I think I misread his post. Now I have the same question!
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Old July 20, 2012, 12:38 AM   #5
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If you search union switch and signal (a WWII 1911a1 producer from PA) on gunbroker, you will find a Colt 1911 (WWI) frame with the US&S slide. What a shame. US&S 1911s are scarce toda.y IIRC a bunch of US&S slides came out into the market some time ago. US&S was 2nd to Singer for lowest production of the 1911a1.
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Old July 20, 2012, 12:43 AM   #6
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Ed,

Like this one.



Link
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Old July 20, 2012, 01:48 AM   #7
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So they made almost 8 million NM barrels, or barrels period, and this just happens to be a NM barrel?

Back on topic, no, I've never come across any old frankenguns. I made one. Does absolutely destroying a perfectly good Series 70 NM Gold Cup count? I bought one of those crappy 13 +1 frame conversions from Para-Ord when they first came out. I let the original frame go too fast. It was horrible. I hang my head in shame.
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Old July 20, 2012, 09:44 AM   #8
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That is the part number for that barrel. The number for a slide will be different. I have a magazine with, 19200- ASSY 5508694 MFR. 1M291 on the floorplate.


There is also a military replacement slide on either ebay or gunbroker with the seven digit part number.
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Old July 20, 2012, 12:45 PM   #9
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If anyone has pictures of such guns, please, do feel free to post them here.
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Old July 20, 2012, 12:55 PM   #10
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There are numerous replacement parts with blueprint numbers beginning "779". About anything big enough to stamp a seven digit number on, to include barrels, slides (standard and match) and match bushings. Some of them will also have another cryptic number that is the CAGE code. You can use it to track down the actual manufacturer. There were companies I had never heard of making barrels and slides, in addition to Colt, Drake, and S&W. Yes, S&W had a contract for replacement 1911 barrels.

The government was procuring 1911 parts up into the 1980s even as the Berettas were coming in.
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Old July 20, 2012, 01:37 PM   #11
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Quote:
So...I was wondering if anyone had pictures of Frankenstein 1911 type pistols?
All you have to do to see all you want is to go to Gunbroker, look in the auto pistols section, and search for "property". You'll find lots of US property marked 1911s - most of which (unless specifically marked as matching) will contain mismatched parts. Most of those will have come that way from the military itself and the GI that brought it home would have never known the difference.
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Old July 20, 2012, 01:58 PM   #12
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In the 'Fifties I was a young soldier and my company commander heard that I had experience with "firearms" (the term "gun" was not used in the Army except for crew served weapons.) and he offered me the job of company armorer. Did I ever jump at that! Earned a strip for that as well.

As armorer, I was in charge of 250 M1 rifles, 30 M1 and M2 carbines, two dozen .45s M1911A1s, 24 Browning Automatic Rifles, M1918A2, assorted Browning macnine guns, two 106mm recoiless rifles, four 81mm Mortars, and one .50 Browning M2. (The term MaDuece is relatively new, maybe Viet Nam or later.) There were maybe twelve Ruger Mk 1 .22 Pistols, and maybe thirty or forty M3 submachine guns.

Having said this, every .45 I had in my charge was pieced up. The company commander getting the best looking one, of course. I had the most accurate, as did the rest of the pistol team. It was nothing for armorers to switch parts around as required.

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Old July 20, 2012, 02:22 PM   #13
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I absolutely agree with Bob Wright. Army unit armorers had to keep everything working, often with few parts coming in through the supply system. We never referred to a 45 as a 1911. When you went to the arms room you asked to be issued a 45 or 38. Each armorer had his own "price" to tighten up your 45, and it was well worth the price. Flap holsters were the usual issue. If you wanted a shoulder holster you either had someone ship you one from home or you traded for one. Pieced together 45s was the norm. And yes, the ol' man got the best looking one, the armorer usually had the most accurate, and if you paid the armorers price, you got one that didn't rattle.
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Old July 20, 2012, 02:48 PM   #14
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Carsinc, what was the going rate back then?
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Old July 20, 2012, 02:56 PM   #15
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The term "M1911" is a fairly new term, coined by the internet usage, and applies to any .45 Auto pistol that any way resembles the Colt Government Model Pistol. As pointed out, most just said "Forty-five" and the commercial was the "Government Model" which was Colt's trade name for the pistol, regardless of caliber.

But the term "M1911" continues in use even though the pistol looks more like a M1911A1 or even a Gold Cup. In old movie usage it was "Forty-Five Automatic."

The times, they do change.

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Old July 20, 2012, 04:19 PM   #16
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My Colt M1911A1 has a frame number and slide number that vary by three digits, and to collectors that's a "mis-match", even though the slide and frame are from the same maker. Go over 1911forum, and check out the pics of G.I. pistols posted there; many more of them are mis-matched than are "original".
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Old July 20, 2012, 04:21 PM   #17
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Wow, Bob you gave me just what I was wanting. I love stories like that. If you have more keep them coming. How hard would it have been to bring one the of ".45s" home with you? Did they keep good track of those guns?

And if anyone else has similar stories please do tell. I have spent hours looking for stories just like these on the web.
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Old July 20, 2012, 04:22 PM   #18
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Quote:
The term "M1911" is a fairly new term, coined by the internet usage
M1911 has been around since, well, 1911. Using "1911" to describe just about any gun with a single action trigger and a grip safety is fairly recent.
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Old July 22, 2012, 07:31 AM   #19
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A story my father told me. He landed in France on D day with the only ordnance group that landed in the first couple of weeks. Luckily his experience with the landing was an easy one.
The story is in repairing and cleaning guns.
Piles of guns would come in from the field some in pieces some with blood on them. He told me about one M1 Grand that came back that bothered him so much that he could never get the memory out of his mind even after 50 years.
They would take the guns apart and throw the parts in a piles made up of each part. These would be dumped into a 55 gallon drum of boiling water with a screen wire basket.
They would then remove the basket from the water let them dry and quickly dump them in a barrel that was full of motor oil. Then dumped in a pile on a clean tarp. Barrels in one pile slides in another and on and on.
They would then set in a circle and put them back together picking up parts as needed. If the part was damaged it was discarded.
This might be why there are so many Frankenstein 1911’s and Grand’s out there.
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Old July 22, 2012, 01:40 PM   #20
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I lived in a town not far from the US&S plant in SWISSVALE PA. There are RUMORS that there are LUNCH BOX PISTOLS in the area .But you know how RUMORS ARE.
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Old July 22, 2012, 09:03 PM   #21
freebird72
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I am sorry, but I do not know what a lunch box pistol is. Could you inform me?
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Old July 22, 2012, 10:42 PM   #22
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accidentally fell into the lunch box on the way out of the factory
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Old July 22, 2012, 11:36 PM   #23
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The usgi pistols cobbles together from parts don't really look any different from a usgi pistol with all of it's original parts. Back then all guns were built using the same set of government specs, and all of them were inspected to make sure they conformed to those specs. You could freely swap parts between guns, and it happened often. The vast majority of guns were parkerized and the only real way to tell them apart were the markings on the slides and the serial numbers on the frame.
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Last edited by Auto426; July 23, 2012 at 01:34 AM.
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Old July 23, 2012, 01:30 AM   #24
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The slide was the only component marked with the manufacturer's name, and virtually nobody at the time had any clue how to decipher the GHD, FJA, or other acceptance marks on the frame. When pistols were torn down and cleaned en masse (like how Ozzieman described) they went back together however the assembler selected the parts. An interesting study for collectors are those pistols that were made with slides serial numbered to match the frames (Colts made from #710,001-~1138000), yet which have slides just a few numbers off from the frames. The line of thinking is that the pistols were disassembled at the factory by Ordnance inspectors and their parts switched on purpose to gauge interchangeability, with nobody bothering to try mating the original parts back together once they were done. Unfortunately, regardless of history or reason a mismatched pistol is just that, and its value to a collector is severely diminished. I think they're still an interesting case study on the US .45 service pistol, just not nearly as valuable as one that's still all-correct.
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Old July 23, 2012, 09:23 AM   #25
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Quote:
That is the part number for that barrel.
To be a little more specific, it's a Federal Stock #.

And, BTW, to me, a "Frankenstein 1911" is one that has such features as beavertail grip safeties, added sights (Bomar, Micro, Millett, etc., etc.), beveled magazine wells (particularly the add-ons), and other "useful" features. It's right up there with putting fender skirts on your pickup truck.
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