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CA357 01-25-2009 09:21 PM

1927 Colt Sistema Rebuild Project
Here is the very beginning of my rebuild project on a very worn 1927 Colt Sistema. This pistol dates to 1959 and is stamped Policia, Santa Fe on the slide in an oval. It is also wearing an import mark on the left front side of the slide.

A buddy offered to Parkerize it for me when I'm done, but depending on what it looks like, I may just leave it as is.

The donor parts are from an as-new 70 Series 1971 Colt Government.

I have done the best I am capable of with the photos, so please bear with me. Hopefully the dialogue will be clear enough to overcome poor focus.

The first photo shows the pistol itself. I have used clickable thumbnails to save bandwith, just click on the thumbnail and click a second time for an even larger view.

CA357 01-25-2009 09:31 PM

The grips were hopeless and one side only came loose when it took a grip screw bushing with it.

These photos show the original parts in two groups, slide parts and frame parts. I also had to break out an actual hammer and nail punch to push out the thumb safety. All of the pins needed to be punched out.

The attraction of this particular pistol was the excellent slide to frame fit and the fact that it didn't rattle. Well, the frame to slide fit should still be excellent, but once it's degreased, cleaned, polished and parts are fitted, it very well may rattle a bit. I guess, I'll just have to wait and see.

I intentionally let a bit of the hammer show in one photo. :D

CA357 01-25-2009 09:33 PM

These are the new parts also separated into slide and frame parts.

CA357 01-25-2009 09:41 PM

My next step will be to remove the grip screw bushings and clean and smooth the frame and slide. The frame has quite a few nicks and rough spots that will need work. Overall, the slide is in pretty good shape.

The rear sight is so rounded from wear, that it's almost like it's been carry beveled. Which reminds me, in the process of cleaning and smoothing the pistol, I'm going to give it a bit of a carry bevel. There really aren't any sharp edges left on it other than dings, so I figure it will be a nice touch.

canebrake 01-26-2009 01:57 AM

What's your plan for refinish of the slide and receiver?

CA357 01-26-2009 05:27 AM

I'm not sure about the finish yet. Like I said, a friend offered to Parkerize it for me, but depending on how it looks when I'm finished, I may leave it as is. I kind of like the idea of it being a nasty looking thing that shoots well. I won't know until the work is done which way I'll go.
I am not considering Duracoat or the like. It will be Parkerized or raw.

CA357 01-27-2009 12:26 AM

Today I started to clean up the frame and slide. I used half a can of Gunscrubber cleaning out the firing pin and extractor holes, the plunger tube and other assorted nooks and crannies. There is still buildup and rust in pretty much every void and hollow. I will have to get into it with some cleaner and picks and brushes.

I took some very fine files to the frame and slide to knock down various nicks, gouges and scrapes. I cleaned up the edges of the slide a bit heavier, to soften them even more, to obtain more of a carry bevel. I smoothed things up with some #320 wet/dry paper.
I was amazed at the amount of surface rust that originally didn't appear evident.

I think today's effort has made my decision for me about it's new finish. It will go to my friend for beadblasting and Parkerizing when it's completed.

Another small, but important item was to clean up the rear sight. It's quite rounded from wear, so I evened out the curves and deepened the sight aperture. I'm keeping this a basic shooter, so it will retain the original combat sights.

Here's a pic showing a more cleaned up frame and slide and another, hopefully showing the rear sight.

Dillinger 01-27-2009 12:35 AM

CA - This is an ambitious undertaking and I will be following the entire process with interest. :)

Are you concerned with taking anything away from the sights in order to clean them up? Won't that cause a dip in point of aim unless you take the same amount off the front sight? And since you are doing that by hand, and not using conventional machining, wouldn't that lead to a bit of low shooting?

Of course, in a close quarter weapon, a low first shot would allow for the follow up double, or triple, tap to be well within the optimum kill zone, which is a good plan on your part actually.

Considering the initial question, and following the line of thought, I have to say:

Well Played Sir - Well Played.....


CA357 01-27-2009 12:56 AM

I don't know J.D. I cleaned it up, but the aperture isn't greatly deepened. I made it wider more than deeper. I wasn't as clear as I should've been. I don't think it will matter much, it should shoot minute of bad guy pretty well.

In fact, I still may want to go with three dot sights, but that's a decision that can wait until things progress quite a bit further.

I plan to reassemble it with its original parts and shoot it this weekend to evaluate what's good and bad about it. That will give me considerably more direction in what it needs and how I'll go about this project.

canebrake 01-27-2009 08:11 AM

I'd stay away from hot loads. Those old warriors were only spot heat treated.
Don't want you to put a lot of work into something then have it go KB. Probably would be less dramatic and just go crack. :p

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