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For what I spent I’m less than thrilled so far. I had a ton of FTF’s and FTE’s when I first got it. Sent it back to Wilson under warranty and just got it back. She went a full magazine just fine and then I got another failure to feed on the next (2nd) magazine. I videoed that and sent it to Wilson. For the money AND the reputation, I ought to get ZERO malfunctions. I’m going to call tomorrow.
I would be furious! Good luck getting it right.
 

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Could this one be the last 1911 acquisition for me?



In a sort of delayed reaction, I'm posting this one, gathered in last fall. Family events and the resulting responsibilities put it on the back burner. Well, that and a sore shoulder.

Anyway, it's a Colt Government Model British contract pistol chambered for .455 Auto, Webley Auto, Self Loading, Eley, or whatever it's referred to in various references. Serial number indicates a 1916 production date. These .455 Colts used to be fairly cheap and occasionally seen, but have become both pricey and scarce in recent years. Adds a caliber to cartridges for which Colt supplied their 1911s/Government Models, a collecting tangent I determined to pursue. This is about all the condition I wanted to afford in the acquisition of a .455 Colt Government Model

This one is a mixed bag. Was carried a little at one point, fired even less, carefully cleaned, then put away to be neglected for a period. Surface finish is somewhat impaired, but mechanics are very tight and pleasing and the bore condition is flawlessly sparkling bright.

It's neato for several reasons. The British contract Colt Government Models were assigned their own serial number prefix of "W". Chambers a cartridge only negligibly larger than the .45 ACP. The .455 Colt magazines will not fit in a .45 ACP pistol's magazine well however. Most of the .455 Colt Automatic contract were repurposed to the RAF and so marked. This one never was. Most were refinished, seeing some use as substitute standard in World War II. This one has a measure of its original Colt blue finish. Mustered out of service, some were converted to shoot .45 ACP (a practical conversion of the day). This one still retains its correct .455 barrel with its characteristic groove cut in the underside of the barrel hood as an aid in chambering the cartridge.

It's a stinker of a pistol for finding original magazines or ammunition. .455 Auto is a dead duck, has been a dead duck since right after World War II with no additional production to speak of. Perhaps some small runs of custom stuff is out there, but it doesn't turn up. Especially in this climate of the dearth of ammunition. Nobody's going to fool with making up supplies of an obsolete cartridge when there's demand for current calibers. Nonetheless, a custom case maker was found and a couple hundred cases are to arrive soon. A die set and shell holder is on order as well. I'm gonna shoot it.

Actually I have shot it with a mixture of World War I and World War II military ball, some loose rounds I've scrounged up. This was a perfunctory effort. It churned through the seven rounds with no misfires and no hang ups. Then I scurried home to thoroughly clean the corrosive residue out of the gun. I was function testing it, mostly because I yearned to fire it, but the sore shoulder kept me from doing a good job with it. Couldn't tell the difference between shooting the .455 Colt and a garden variety 1911 gun chambered for .45 ACP.

Standard velocity of .455 auto round is variously quoted at between 700 and 750 fps for its very blunt 224 grain cupro-nickel jacketed bullet. I'll chronograph test another magazine full to see if velocities hold true to published standards. Also to see if the rounds "got tired" over the years.

General Hatcher, among others offered that one can fire .45 ACP through these with perfect satisfaction and many probably have been used in that manner. We're going to have more fun doing it the hard way and providing proper ammunition for the pistol. There are some small dimensional differences in case diameter, case rim, case length as well as operating pressures and I don't want to break an extractor.







Military contract cartridges: 1918 dated .45 ACP with a 1917 dated .455 round (left). Need to retake this photo with a better example of the World War I .45 ACP cartridge. I have an entire box of 'em. Don't know why I chose one with crud on it. Perhaps its genuine, original, heirloom World War I crud.
Looks like a whole lot of hurt!
 

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Wow, nice Bryan, congratulations!
You've gotten yourself a rare bird there, very low production numbers.
 

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And here is a unicorn: a Gunsite 2000 built at their Smithy around the turn of the last century. It is built using a Springfield Armory parts-kit along w/ 3rd-party parts (ex: I think the trigger is a Videki). Although not a tack-driver (never a requirement for guns the Colonel sold), it is every reliable.

 
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