Here is an idea you may wish to consider. Over the decades I have purchased and been very happy with numerous used .45s. They were all Colts, but the prices were always just a few hundred bucks. I used to visit pawn shops and gun shops (pre-internet days) off the beaten path (i.e., small towns). Guns that had bounced around in tackle boxes or under the front seat of someone's pickup truck. One checks the safety in the store, Usually the store will let you field strip it for a quick inspection (or the clerk will do it for you). Presumably you will have by now handled enough 45s, and.or read Kuhnhausen's books so you have an idea what you are looking out for. Look for burrs and other problem signs in critical places. If the feed ramp has been gouged out by an amateur who failed at a polishing attempt, say no thank you. There should be no movement of a cocked hammer at all with the safety on and the trigger being pulled. Take the safety off leaving the hammer cocked and manipulate the trigger without touching the grip safety. Nothing is what should happen. If the hammer falls, say no thank you. Is the barrel in decent shape (not terribly important as new 1911a1 barrels are fairly easy to get, but a good bargaining point for haggling). What brand (and how many) of magazine comes with the gun? Check the wear pattern on the recoil and barrel lugs (the ones on the bottom of the slide too). To me, surface rust, slide pitting scratches and worn blue are really unimportant. [I usually polish, reblue or parkerize, and new sights the gun anyway.] Broken and worn springs lower prices, but are really easy to replace. If it passes your inspection and the price is good, buy it.
Dealers and pawnshops have (generally) become much more knowledgeable with the coming of the INet, but there are still many small shops whose owners don't do Internet, and even on the Internet places such as gunbroker. com very good buys do exist. What I am noting in these troubled times is some prices are falling. Sometimes a gun sits on a dealer's shelf or in the display case of a pawn shop for so long they lower the price just to move it out. Likewise a struggling shop on its last legs sometimes is only too happy to move the merchandise out.
Pictured here is a .45 that was covered with encrusted dirt sold 'as is' which I bought for $325 about 4 years ago in a rural gun shop (turns out it was about a month before their doors closed). It is a Colt 1911 made in 1915. It went to France that year, and came back into the country via Navy Arms in the 80s (they tell me they bought it in Argentina, so what has that gun seen?). Once the dirt was cleaned off the only thing found wrong was the missing front sight (not uncommon with the earlier thin round peg sights) and the fact someone had replaced the grips with Korean war vintage military grips. It now has high visibility sights, Wolff magazines and it shoots just fine.
I don't mind 'used' so in the past month I have acquired a Colt .32 auto for under $300 and last year a Shooting Master .45 New Service for just under $400. All now work just perfectly. Seriously, consider 'used' there are some good buys out there.
Last edited by superc; 03-14-2010 at 05:49 PM.
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