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Last one I had was an 80. Had some stuff done to it & loved it.
So what is different between a 1911 Classic (45ACP) and their upgraded models as far as dependability, accuracy etc.
Not cosmetics.
Thanks.
 

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The "70 Series" Colts utilized a unique collet-style barrel bushing that was intended to provide improved consistency in barrel positioning for accuracy. The "80 Series" Colts incorporated a safety device that blocked the travel of the firing pin unless the trigger was fully pulled and held in place during hammer fall; probably an engineer's response to a lawyer's criticism and perceived liability exposure.

In my opinion, the most useful improvements from the late 1970's to date have been the general use of high visibility sights, enlarged ejection ports, and more positive ejectors. Lots of other cosmetic changes have occurred, but these functional changes were very positive improvements. Of course, these innovations grew from the work of Armand D. Swenson and others, starting in the 1960's to produce 1911 pistols specifically intended for combat use rather than bullseye competition, and with the expiration of patent rights such innovations became commonplace on production guns from Kimber, Springfield Armory, and a dozen other makers (not to mention the high-end custom shops). Over the past few decades Colt found themselves having to compete for market share in a niche that was filled only by Colt for 3/4 of a century or so.
 

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The 1911s we used in the Navy were relics. All of the medern Colts I have shot seem more accurate than the relics. I don't think blueing, preparations for blueing has gotten better. Don't be surprised if a new Colt rattles. I am not talking about when you shake it, but just from walking. I think the machines used on old Colts was is as good as it is today, but was made up for with hand fitting/finishing. Better steel/aluminum available to.
 

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The 1911s we used in the Navy were relics. All of the medern Colts I have shot seem more accurate than the relics. I don't think blueing, preparations for blueing has gotten better. Don't be surprised if a new Colt rattles. I am not talking about when you shake it, but just from walking. I think the machines used on old Colts was is as good as it is today, but was made up for with hand fitting/finishing. Better steel/aluminum available to.
One of the basic military contract requirements for the 1911 and 1911A1 series of pistols was that every part in every pistol must interchange with every other pistol regardless of manufacturer. This necessarily led to some fairly broad ranges in manufacturing tolerances, one of the resulting benefits being a century-long reputation for reliability in operation.

M1911 pistols were manufactured by Colt, Springfield Armory (the original government armory), Remington-UMC, and North American Arms.

M1911A1 pistols were manufactured by Colt, Remington-Rand, Ithaca, Union Switch & Signal, and Singer.

Subcontractors producing various parts over the years have included Savage, Smith & Wesson, High Standard, Little, Risdon, General Shaver, and a dozen others.

A pretty impressive record of performance!

Today's production pistols feature many upgrades to enhance accuracy and performance, most of which came about from the work of Armand Swenson and others involved in producing high-end pistols for competition or defensive use. Today's makers are no longer concerned with military contract requirements, only in producing what today's buyers want to own.
 
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