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COLT 1911 refinishing

tone59tone59 Member Posts: 673 ✭✭
edited December 2014 in Ask the Experts
The nickel plating is flaking off the commercial WWII era(1941)1911 Colt my father left me.(SER#C220xxx).
Otherwise it is pristine inside and out.
After buying a letter from Colt which I expect will confirm the gun did not originally come nickeled I may send it to Doug Turnbulls to be restored according to the letter.
It looks like $1800-1900 for the restoration.
I would like to hear comments from anyone in regards to dealing with Turnbulls.
Also about what the value would be after the restoration?
I think Ill go ahead with it if the value would be at least equal to the cost of the restoration.
Thank You.


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    charliemeyer007charliemeyer007 Member Posts: 6,579 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I don't think spending money on restoring it will ever payoff. Having it re-nickeled, perhaps put back to the way dad had it fixed up, I could see that, maybe.
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    rufe-snowrufe-snow Member Posts: 18,650 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    If the Colt was originally blued? No matter how nice a job Turnbull does. I don't see it being worth $1800/$1900, after he restores it. It would still have the stigma, of not being Colt factory original.

    Can't tell though, if you and your heirs hold on to it long enough. Might be able to get that kind of coin, out of it?
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    perry shooterperry shooter Member Posts: 17,390
    edited November -1
    I would wait for the letter BEFORE doing to Turnbull They Does great work and you may get the price that you spend on the restoration $1800.00 for the pistol so you would be in the same Place if you just give the pistolaway now with the condition it is now in. On the other hand if it was shipped Nickel I would not touch it as it would have collector value. and there are people that can strip original nickel & RE nickle the pistol
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    nmyersnmyers Member Posts: 16,881 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Well, here's one from the completed listing with a close SN:

    Note that it is all original, in excellent condition, & it barely brought a winning bid of $2,500. So, your guess is as good as mine when it comes to estimating what someone would pay for a similar gun that was refinished.

    I hate to pic nits, but, your gun cannot really be "restored", it can only be "refinished". I know several folks who have had dealings with Turnbull, & they have an outstanding reputation. One friend stopped by their place unannounced, & they graciously showed him around. Many experts could be fooled into believing their work is original, but they mark every gun they completely refinish to prevent that from happening.

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    slumlord44slumlord44 Member Posts: 3,702 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    My thought would be to leave it as it was when my father had it and shoot it and enjoy it for the family heirloom that it is. Flaking nickel and all.
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    tone59tone59 Member Posts: 673 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Since it was my fathers it will stay in the family and later belong to my son.

    Dad left a nice collection of guns that I remember as a kid(1960s&70s).All are treasured as ones he mostly bought new and for many years cared for and kept in original condition.
    This 1911 is not one of them.

    I am guessing he picked it up at a gun show in the 90s.
    Maybe he thought it might have the factory finish and took a chance on it.
    Until I get a letter from Colt saying so a factory blued finish isn't 100%.

    Of course if it was born nickeled Ill leave it as it is.
    Otherwise there is no room in the collection for an unoriginal flaking pistol.
    Got Glocks,Sigs,Rugers for shooters.

    Does Colt refinish guns?
    If so is the cost through the roof?

    nmyers...the one you give as an example is suspect to me.
    Seller admits the box is wrong.
    The wood grips look too modern(maybe not)for a 1947 model.
    The manual has a pic of a pistol with grips similar to the black rubber grips I see on some model 1991s.(logo moulded in?)
    Pistol covers viewing the entire manual.
    Smells fishy.
    There is only 1 bid.
    Looks to me like a put together package with a nicely done reblue.
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    oldWinchesterfanoldWinchesterfan Member Posts: 1,052 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Certainly up to you if you want to make your dad's gun look better. Me, personally, I'd leave it as it is rather than removing it's history. I wish I had a gun that belonged to my dad.

    The economics really should not be part of the decision. First, do you really expect to sell that gun rather than pass it down to others in your family? If you plan to sell it, to whom? as what? shooter or collectable?

    I'm a shooter, love 1911s, have a bunch. Right now we can get some really nice 1911s under $1000, and if you shop carefully well under $1000. Some awsome custom shop Kimbers are aroun $1200. All would shoot better, have modern features and hold up better than one from the 1940s.

    But I'm a collector at heart and refinished guns don't interest me at all. I made that mistake, never again.

    So it just comes down to what do you want to do with that gun. I hope this helps.

    Edit: we were typing at the same time. Your last post answered some of my questions but the basic economics of refinishing remain.
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    tone59tone59 Member Posts: 673 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    oldWinchesterfan...Sorry I was so slow putting my reply together that your comments came while I was writing it.
    As a Winchester fan you can appreciate a few WINCHESTER long guns dad left:
    1892 38-40cal(1904)
    30cal carbine(1944)
    94 pre-64 30-30(1955)

    The 1911 will go to my son when I am gone.

    If Turnbulls cost exceed the guns value after its done then I wont have it done.
    If its an even trade off then Im okay with eating the $500-600 value it now has as a shooter.
    The flaking is only going to get worse with time.

    Like my father before me I also have little interest in refinished
    Seems dads main interest and thus knowledge was in S&W revolvers.
    I suspect this nickeled 1911 was a live and learn lesson for him.
    I doubt he paid alot for it.
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    Hawk CarseHawk Carse Member Posts: 4,374 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I know how you feel. I have bought a couple of guns in flawed nickel and then had second thoughts. I sold them rather than get caught up in a big "change of finish" as S&W used to say, or a replating process.

    If it turns out to be factory nickel of the immediate postwar period, it is worth a nice redo, no matter how the speculators look down their noses.
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    tone59tone59 Member Posts: 673 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Cant ever part with this one.
    Dad slept with it loaded.
    I found it ready to fire within a pillow in his bed the day after he passed away.
    His neighborhood was turning and he believed in being prepared.
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    oldWinchesterfanoldWinchesterfan Member Posts: 1,052 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    You couldn't have been typing slower than me, I was typing on my phone.

    Great story. Sounds like he did leave a nice collection and I understand having somethingin a collection that doesn't fit. But you make my point. If it is never to be sold, what does its value after the refinish matter? Assuming it was not born nickle, if you want to refinish it do it. Personally, I'd keep it as he had it when he held it in his hands.
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