Colt dumping old series 80 new in the box guns on market?

Discussion in 'The 1911 Forum' started by glocknut, May 22, 2009.

  1. glocknut

    glocknut Active Member

    I was at the gunshop today. They had several new Colt Series 80 commander 45acp 1911s for sale. Its not the lightweight model. It looks much better built than the series 90 lightweight commander i allready have.
    Trigger is fact better i think. The extra weight is nice.
    I dry fired it... there was actually dust that flew off the pistol when the hammer dropped. Its been in Colts storage for quite a while....
    I can't figure out why they would keep old series 80 guns for so long and just now let them go. I guess that supposed sale of the company to a Chinese company has something to do with them letting them go...but why did they hold these back for so long?

    I think i'm gonna buy one. The finish on them is good and it even seems like more time was put into it...corners on the slide were rounded and polished which is more time consuming i'm sure? Front of slide..upper and lower part of slide was angled.

    3 dot sights...basic 3 dot sights, not weaver? type...or is that novak type rear sight? i don't remember.

    Dang it! This 1911 BS is really growing on me bigtime. I also have a Kimber on order... a 4" tactical model. I don't know if i'll ever get a Wilson or not but i won't rule it out....

  2. glocknut

    glocknut Active Member


    I wonder if they put new springs on these guns before they put them on the market? Series 80 has to be at least 19 years old, right?

    They're not used guns though. Waaaay to clean cut to be used...


  3. I doubt that they replaced the springs, but if you have the specs. you can ck them.
    It is interesting that there showing up on the market after all this time.
  4. mrkirker

    mrkirker New Member

    Jul 13, 2007
    Colt has offered several 're-issues'; could these be another?
  5. Shooter45

    Shooter45 *Administrator* Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2001
    Here at TFF
    I took a few years but I knew Mike would finally come around.

    ( Ducking for cover) ;)
  6. RunningOnMT

    RunningOnMT New Member

    Nov 19, 2008
    Akron, Ohio

    Does each successive series offer marked improvements over the previous one?

    Can anyone tell me what features were unique to each series?

    In the early 70's I bought a Mk IV Series 70. It was quite a disappointment to me. Not nearly as accurate as the old beaters I was issued in the service. Then i found that for some reason the accurizer bushings three prongs were really digging into the barrel, scraping off a fair amount of metal. Didn't seem like desirable thing to me. I ended up selling it for $100.00

    Did subsequent series' have this type bushing?
  7. Huh? Colt is going to be bought out by the Chicoms? First I've heard of it. Well, that's great. The rifles our troops use will then be made by commies. Oh yeah, that gives me a warm fuzzy fealing:rolleyes:
  8. glocknut

    glocknut Active Member

    According to their website they have reissued the series 70 but i saw nothing about the series 80 so i don't know? I dry fired one of them and dust actually poofed off the pistol when the hammer came down.... i dunno?

    Yeah, i've got the bug at the moment. I went back this morning at took another look. I took my "lightweight" commander along for comparison. The scale we used to weight them said mine was 1lb 12.5 oz and the series 80 topped the 2lb max on the scale but it looked like 2lbs 3oz. A nice addition of weight that i wouldn't mind and the finish on the gun was excellent. HOWEVER... i just can't see spening $800 to get another one. I allready have a Kimber 4" tactical on order....
    Oh and another thing the ejection port was not cut out the same as mine. What do they call it "flaring" the ejection port? I forget the terminology but the one i looked at does not have the same cutout as the one i allready have.
    I dunno... i may not have ruled it out 100% but i am still thinking... :rolleyes:
    I think it would make a GREAT stock gun to ship off to Wilsons to be customized.... that's what i am thinking... i dunno....

    decisions decisions

  9. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA
    The big difference between the Series 70 and 80 is the firing pin safety. In the final stages of the trigger pull, a small lever reaches up out of the frame and pushes on a button on the bottom of the slide that normally blocks the forward travel of the firing pin. Some seem to think it effects the feel of the trigger pull but I can not seem to feel the difference after a good trigger job.

    At some point Colt changed from a solid barrel bushing to a finger style bushing and then back to a solid bushing. It may depend on the caliber as my 10 mm Delta Elite Series 80 came with a solid bushing while other Series 80 calibers still had finger bushings (??).

    The common extra features most of todays manufacturers do to the basic 1911 include flaring the ejection port in the rear to minimize the denting of ejecting case as the cases extract and eject out of the gun. The latest Colts have a relieved area where the trigger guard meets the grip frame to allow a higher grip on the gun. Some models have a trigger over travel stop in the trigger. Some have a larger Beaver tail grip safety lever with a small hump in it to help make sure almost any grip style by the shooter de-activates the grip safety. Some add a bigger safety lever. The Gold Cup has extra parts in the trigger system to make the trigger pull on that target competition model better.

    The answer to better accuracy for a 1911 lies in a better trigger but most importantly the fit of the barrel to the slide. The lockup must be tight. That normally means a tight fit of the barrel to the barrel bushing and the barrel bushing to the slide. The barrel must have a tight fit to the slide at the locking lugs as well, and not have a loose breech (the barrel hood must fit closely into the slide and not be able to be moved forward and back when the barrel is locked up into the slide. Consistent barrel lockup is the key to accuracy. The cheap way is to use the Group Gripper (special recoil spring guide and link) that pushes the barrel up into the locking lugs the same with every shot using a small leaf spring in the spring guide. My Delta Elite had the group size cut by 30% with just the Group Gripper, a fitted bushing, and a trigger job.

  10. What price were they asking Mike ?
  11. glocknut

    glocknut Active Member

    $799 plus tax

  12. magnumhuff

    magnumhuff New Member

    Dec 29, 2009
    Nor CAl.
    Do you have any pictures?, I have a MK IV Series 80, 45acp, Combat Commander Model with a number of FC02xx, I can not seem to find any others like it. The "Combat Commander Model" is on the right side, maybe yours is too.
  13. hogger129

    hogger129 Well-Known Member

    Nov 29, 2009
    Colt is the original manufacturer of 1911 pattern pistols, having made versions for both the military as well as commercial market since regular production began in January 1912. The commercial versions were nearly identical to the military ones, differing only in markings and finish. Following World War Two military production ended, but the commercial guns remained in production with only minor changes such as deletion of the lanyard loop and a larger thumb safety shelf. These pistols are known to collectors as "pre-Series 70" guns, as they pre-dated the Series 70 guns introduced in 1971. It was during this year that Colt introduced the first major design change to the Government Model in nearly 50 years. In an attempt to improve the accuracy of production guns the barrel bushing was redesigned, along with the barrel. In this system the bushing utilized four spring-steel "fingers" that gripped the enlarged diameter of the muzzle end of the barrel as the gun returned to battery. By tightening the fit of barrel and bushing in this manner Colt was able to improve the accuracy of the average production gun, without going through the expense of hand fitting the older solid barrel bushing to the barrel and slide. Models using the new barrel/bushing setup were the Government Model and Gold Cup, which were designated the "Mark IV Series 70" or simply Series 70 pistols. It should be noted that the shorter 4 1/4" barreled Commander pistols retained the use of the older solid bushing design and thus were never designated Series 70 pistols, although one hears the term erroneously applied to Commanders from time to time.

    The new "collet" bushing (as it came to be known) worked quite well, however it was prone to breakage if the inside diameter of the slide was too small as it caused the fingers to buckle, then later break from the stress of being wedged between the barrel and slide. On pistols with oversized slides the bushing didn't grip well enough, and accuracy suffered. Because of this the collet bushing was eventually phased out sometime around 1988, with the older solid barrel bushing design being reinstated for use in production guns.

    The single biggest change to the 1911 design came about in 1983, when Colt introduced the "MK IV Series 80" pistols. These guns incorporated a new firing pin block safety system, where a series of internal levers and a plunger positively blocked the firing pin from moving until the trigger was pressed, thus eliminating the possibility of the gun discharging if dropped onto a hard surface or struck hard. In this instance however, ALL of Colt's 1911-pattern pistols incorporated the new design change so even the Commander and Officer's ACP pistols became known as Series 80 guns. With the previous paragraph in mind, it is important to know that from 1983 until 1988 the early Government Model and Gold Cup Series 80 pistols used the Series 70-type barrel and bushing as well, although they were known only as Series 80 guns.

    There was one other design change made to the Series 80 guns as well, and that was a re-designed half-cock notch. On all models the notch was changed to a flat shelf instead of a hook, and it is located where half-cock is engaged just as the hammer begins to be pulled back. This way the half-cock notch will still perform its job of arresting the hammer fall should your thumb slip while manually cocking the pistol, yet there is no longer a hook to possibly break and allow the hammer to fall anyway. With the notch now located near the at-rest position, you can pull the trigger on a Series 80 while at half-cock and the hammer WILL fall. However, since it was already near the at-rest position the hammer movement isn't sufficient to impact the firing pin with any amount of force.

    Regarding the "clone" guns (1911-pattern pistols made by manufacturers other than Colt), so far Para-Ordinance, SIG, Auto Ordnance, and Taurus have adopted Colt's Series 80 or a similar firing pin block system as well. Kimber's Series II pistols and the new S&W 1911s have a FP safety also, but it is a different system than Colt's and is disabled by depressing the grip safety. No manufacturers aside from Colt ever adopted the Series 70 barrel/bushing arrangement, so technically there are no "Series 70" clone guns. What this means is that design-wise most of them share commonality with the pre-Series 70 guns, using neither the firing pin block NOR the collet bushing. Because of this it is important to remember that only Colt Series 80 models, and a couple of "clone" 1911 makers use a firing pin block. Older Colts and most other clone guns lack a firing pin safety and can possibly discharge if there is a round in the chamber and the gun is dropped on a hard surface, or if struck a blow hard enough to allow the firing pin to jump forward and impact the primer of the loaded round. By the way, for the past few years Colt has been producing new pistols out of their Custom Shop that lack the S80 firing pin safety. These are the Gunsite and CCO models, WW1 and WW2 GI replicas, and a reintroduced original-style Series 70 in both blued and stainless steel that should appeal to 1911 purists. Interestingly, all of these use a solid barrel bushing, so mechanically they are more similar to the original pre-Series 70 models despite being advertised by Colt as having a "Series 70 firing system".

    Regarding the controversy involving getting a decent trigger pull on a Series 80 gun, it is only of importance if the gunsmith attempts to create a super-light pull (under four pounds) for target or competition use. In defense/carry guns where a four-pound or heavier pull is necessary, the added friction of the Series 80 parts adds little or nothing to the pull weight or feel. A good gunsmith can do an excellent trigger job on a Series 80 and still leave all the safety parts in place, although he will probably charge a little more than if the gun were a Series 70 since there are more parts to work with. But any gunsmith who tells you that you can't get a good trigger on a Series 80 without removing the safety parts is likely either lazy or incompetent.

    1991 vs. 1911

    For those wondering what the difference is between these pistols, the fact is there really is none. Back in 1991 Colt decided to market an economy version of their basic Series 80 Government Model. The polished blue was changed to an all-matte parkerized (later matte blue) finish, checkered rubber grip panels were used, and the serial number sequence was a resumption of the ones originally given to US military M1911A1 pistols. The resulting pistol was cleverly named "M1991A1", after the year of introduction. Mechanically however they are the same as any other Colt Series 80, 1911-type pistol. Around 2001 or so Colt upgraded these pistols with polished slide and frame flats, nicer-looking slide rollmarks, stainless barrels, and wood grips (blued models only). The newer ones are commonly called "New Rollmark (NRM)" pistols by Colt enthusiasts, to differentiate them from the "Old Rollmark (ORM)" 1991 pistols. The earlier guns are easily identified by having "COLT M1991A1" in large block letters across the left face of the slide. The NRM Colts will have three smaller lines of text saying "COLT'S-GOVERNMENT MODEL-.45 AUTOMATIC CALIBER", along with Colt's rampant horse logo.

    This should give you a good idea about it. I think the most notable thing is that the Series 70 have no firing pin block, while the Series 80's do. The Rock Island I have I know closely resembles a Series 70 because it has no firing pin block.
  14. DCOhio

    DCOhio New Member

    Dec 6, 2009
    Hartville, Ohio
    You know your colt .45's!!!
    I have a '70's Gold Cup I bought when I got out of the Navy in 1974 for $240 new. I've never had a problem with the 'finger' type collet. (I always THOUGHT that was one of the changes that improved accuracy??) But, if I ever do, can you replace it with any of the newer solid types without any mods?
  15. hogger129

    hogger129 Well-Known Member

    Nov 29, 2009
    Not sure. I'm really a newb to guns. I just got the Rock Island because I didn't want to have to spend a ton of money on a real Colt Series 70 and the Rock Island pretty much supposed to be a pre-Series 70 clone. It's a GI-spec 1911 basically. I don't know if all GI spec models are pre-70 or series 70 style though. There are probably a couple of people on here who are gunsmiths and can give you a MUCH better response. I would post a new thread on it though so it gets attention. Sorry I can't be of more help. BTW, I just looked up "differences between Series 70 and 80" and copied and pasted all that stuff. The only difference I really knew of was the 80s have the firing pin block system.

    How do you rate that Gold Cup in terms of being able to carry it, how it shoots, fit & finish has to be darn good? That has to be a pretty valuable gun. The only ones I can find around here are MKIV Series 80 Gold Cups, never any Series 70. (At the gun shops because I'm sure you can find them online somewhere). I always wanted to get one, but all the ones I see are up there around $2,000. If I'm going to spend that much I might as well get like a Les Baer or a Nighthawk. Or an HK USP which will group just as well as a Gold Cup in my opinion. I don't know though. I'd think I could find a quality Springfield 1911 that I could shoot just fine with. I always thought the Gold Cup was more of a competition shooting gun too, kind of on a different level than like a Mil-Spec or your standard 1911.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2009
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