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Old May 13, 2000, 07:29 PM   #1
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I'm looking at a LNIB Series 80 Colt Government Model, and could use some help.

First, price -- is it a good price? The dealer's at $600 firm. Considering the following, is it fair?

First, I'm wondering what to expect in a Series 80 (this is serial # FR18???E). I've heard that the Series 90s may be the best (in terms of quality) that Colt ever made. This is a Series 80...are these as consistently well built and reliable? Unlike models like the Combat Elite, I don't think that this has a lowered ejection port or other reliability mods that Colt applied to some of the higher priced models. In the spectrum of 1911s and clones, where does a Series 80 Government Model fit?

I'm also trying to figure out how many aftermarket parts have been added. It has a Brown bushing and a solid guide rod (unknown make, unscrews with a hex head wrench) -- both obviously aftermarket. It has a skeletonized hammer that looks alot like the ones Colt used on some models, but again I think only the higher priced models? It has an arched A1 mainspring housing, which I assume is stock.

This GM also has a beavertail grip safety that matches the finish of the receiver, but I am guessing (?) is aftermarket, again because this is a government model? I'm kinda curious, because the receiver has the undercut trigger guard -- I also thought that this was a feature of either the Series 90s and/or the higher-end models.

I'd be grateful for any info on reliability, quality, and how many of these parts are factory parts. My PDWs are all SIGs and I don't foresee using this as a carry pistol, but I'd like to know whether a Series 80 GM would be a decent candidate if I went that way -- or how about IDPA... or ... ? <g>

Finally, will this Series 80 GM be happy eating the Federal HS 230grs I feed my SIG 220?


I was surpris

[This message has been edited by JNewell (edited May 13, 2000).]
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Old May 13, 2000, 08:32 PM   #2
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The following is just my advice: It sounds like someone bought a standard Colt Gov and modified it to a limited race gun. In the 1980s into early 1990s; this was "in style". The problem is; you don't know who or whom did the gunsmithing. It could be a tinkerer or a professional gunsmith.
The first thing I look at is the slide to frame mating, is it tight (no noticable movement side to side), also look at the barrel, is it ramped and polished. Does it has a standard ejector of extended ejector? is the main spring housing made of plastic(series 80) or metal? Is it a match barrel fitted to a match bushing or just a match bushing to a standard barrel? All in all, you might be taking a chance because there is so much things that can go wrong. Just imagine, the cost to do these modification can go as high as $2500-$3000; sometimes not including the price of the gun. Considering it's a series 80, the modification to the trigger pull is very hard, many fine polishing has to be done to get a light smooth trigger. So I ask this question: Why would you sell a $2500 gun for $600. Do you need money or there is something wrong with the gun that cause it not to function properly and the seller needs to pour more money into it to make it work properly; either jamming or ejection problems. Something??? I recommend the Kimber Classic, all the custom features done on a CNC machine and function great. I think the Kimber cost about $600. I used to be into 1911s and had a nice assortment. I compared a Les Bear Premier II ($1200) and a Kimber Classic; it was very hard to tell the difference in performance; bought did 1.5"-2" at 25 yards. The only trick-out factory gun I would not recommend is the Springfied (the Quality seems lacking; No flames intended) and the Colt Enhance Model (same thing, the quality also seem lacking and again no flames intended). My bad experience is your gain, I spent thousands of dollars building a 1911 to race and the Kimbers and Les Bears of today, could had saved me a pretty penny. Good luck in your quest for 1911.
As far as a Sig 220; Excellent weapon!!!
[This message has been edited by Bongos (edited May 14, 2000).]

[This message has been edited by Bongos (edited May 14, 2000).]
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Old May 13, 2000, 08:41 PM   #3
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Colt made some of their 80 series 1911-A1's in an "Enhanced" version with skeletonized commander hammer, beavertail grip safety, under-cut trigger guard for high grip and lowered and faired ejection port. Nothing was stamped on the gun to indicate it was enhanced but the box label indicated it. Colt can tell you if it was made that way if you give them the serial number.

The bushing and guide rod are aftermarket. Is the barrel Colt?

The 90 series guns are only cosmetically different from the 80 series. They have some of the aftermarket type goodies already installed.

If the gun shoots well, the price is fair (not a huge bargain).

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Old May 14, 2000, 04:10 AM   #4
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Thanks, Mikey and Bongos. I managed to find a 1992 Colt catalog (shoulda looked first!) and I think this is a nearly box-stock "Enhanced" GM, which apparently were new that year -- came with the beavertail grip safety and skeleton hammer and undercut frame (my recollection that these were upper-end mods was obviously wrong!). The guide rod is probably Brown, as the bushing is.

I believe the barrel is factory. I'd actually be a little more comfortable with factory parts, since it reduces the chances that you've got something that a shadetree 'smith turned into a Frankengun.

The trigger pull is very good for any purpose other than higher-level bullseye shooting -- I guess that's a good thing, given the Series 80 safety?

Bongos made a comment about bad quality in the Colt Enhanced models -- do you mean all models or are you referring to the newer "XS" series or what? I had a Python made during the mid-80s that turned out to be a very nice revolver but it didn't come that way out of the box (argh) and made a few trips to Hartford to get there. This is obviously a newer (post-92) pistol -- any comments on Colt quality in that period?

Thanks again, as always.
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Old May 14, 2000, 05:44 AM   #5
Bob C
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I believe that the "E" at the end of the seriel number identifies this as an Enhanced model.
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Old May 14, 2000, 08:56 AM   #6
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I've got a Series 80 1991A1 Government .45, with no extras. No problems yet; it's had everything from very cheap American ammunition and better PMC hollow-points to Hydra-Shocks through it. I was expecting to have to break it in or have a little gunsmithing work done to it ... nope. Out of the box it shot as good or better groups than my Kimber Classic Royal.

However, I paid $500 for mine about a month ago. For $600, I would at least compare it to a Kimber, and see which you like better. Fortunately, my two 1911's are at different ends of the 1911 spectrum, so the choice was easy. I wanted a classic GI-type Colt.
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Old May 14, 2000, 02:35 PM   #7
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The time I had the Colt Enhanced was when it first came out; I cant remember correctly, but it was probably early 1990's. Maybe mine was a dud, it was a blued series 80. The round ejected staight back, hitting the shooter on the forehead. At the time, Colt's customer service was horrible(not very helpful, Colt said if the gun function; there was nothing wrong with it) and I didn't want to spend more money on it; I sold it. I can't remember if this was the time when Colt laid off 400 employees and in retaliation; some employees ruined gun parts. One incident I heard (worked at a gunstore at the time), was 4,000 AR15 barrels was drilled wrongly at the gas ports, which inturned, Colt had to cut the barrels short and now thinking about it; is why Colt supplies the gov. M4. I don't know for sure... But my Colt experience was terrible. I do own a Colt AR15 and it is great; I guess they have gotten better.
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Old May 15, 2000, 12:41 PM   #8
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I was able to pick up a NIB Colt Series 80 Enhanced Gov Model last Christmas that was made in 1993-4. It has proven to be a very well made gun. No malfunctions yet. The trigger is not too good, I guess I'll have to spend some money on that . Other than the trigger, this gun is pretty nice.
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Old May 15, 2000, 02:53 PM   #9
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I just had the worst customer service experience of my life with Colt and a gun that is now "discontinued," like the Series 80 Gov. Model may be. Do not count on them fixing any problems for you.
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Old May 15, 2000, 03:37 PM   #10
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I have a Colt Series 80 Enhanced and its a fine firearm. I shot it box-stock for about a year, and then sent it to Novak's for some light customization. Joe Bonar worked on it and now it's a work of art! I prefer the "flat top" style of the 80 series and the Enhanced had some nice features stock. At $600 it's a good buy, but not a bargain. However, it's a good gun. On the other hand, as Bongos says, you can get a new Kimber for about the same price. Your call. Good luck!

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Old May 15, 2000, 04:34 PM   #11
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I built my gov model for 300.00 and it puts them through the same hole almost every time. Just as long as I not shooting it.
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Old May 15, 2000, 04:59 PM   #12
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Colt 90 Series is
Colt Double Eagle gov,Officers and Combat Elite. Discontinued I think???

Colt Pony is a 90 Series I think they still make them.

All 90 Series are Double Action
All 70 and 80 Series are Single Action

If I'm wrong will someone let me know.
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Old May 15, 2000, 07:27 PM   #13
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Gino -- the trigger on this one is extremely good, almost as good as a Gold Cup they have for sale. A good thing, since I understand the Series 80/90 triggers alot harder to improve.

Prof, Ledbetter -- I hear what you are both saying. When Colt is bad, it's r-e-a-l-l-y bad. But when it's good, often it's sweet. I'm surprised at how well polished and deeply blued this pistol is.

On the Kimber, maybe *you* can get one. I live in Massachusetts, and I can't. Dealer sales of post-1997 handguns has been outlawed by the Attorney General (except for Smith & Wesson) because they are "unsafe." So, my choices are extremely limited. If the AG tried to do the same with cars or lawnmowers or ladders, what do you think would happen...? The legislature would ban his regs...but we are the lepers of today's society.
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Old May 15, 2000, 08:17 PM   #14
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I've been victimized by Colt as late as '98 with both my Python & Gold Cup. The only reliable model I had from them was an enhanced SS GM.

My Python froze the ejector rod, had 3 cylinders replaced, the barrel gap was huge, and the trigger pull was worse than a stock S&W. My Gold Cup had the rear corner of the slide rounded off and the flats were uneven widths. Okay, the gun wasn't CNC'd, but I've never seen such crap, until I saw a Colt Delta that had wavy flats -- my commie milsurp makarov has extraordinary quality in comparison, and it was hand finished like the Colt.
Additionally, the trigger sucked and the throating that came from the factory was dogsh_t.
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