1927 Colt Sistema Rebuild Project

Discussion in 'DIY Projects' started by CA357, Jan 25, 2009.

  1. CA357

    CA357 New Member Supporter

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    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.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. CA357

    CA357 New Member Supporter

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    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

    [​IMG]
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  3. CA357

    CA357 New Member Supporter

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

    [​IMG]
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  4. CA357

    CA357 New Member Supporter

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2009
  5. canebrake

    canebrake New Member

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    What's your plan for refinish of the slide and receiver?
     
  6. CA357

    CA357 New Member Supporter

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    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.
     
  7. CA357

    CA357 New Member Supporter

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    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.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    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.....

    JD
     
  9. CA357

    CA357 New Member Supporter

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    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.
     
  10. canebrake

    canebrake New Member

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    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
     
  11. CA357

    CA357 New Member Supporter

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  12. CA357

    CA357 New Member Supporter

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    I'll have time to clean all the parts as well as the frame and slide this weekend.

    On Tuesday, I'm taking it to a top notch 1911 gunsmith to have the barrel fitted. I checked the fit hoping to get lucky, but I didn't. I do not have the skill to fit a barrel yet. Since it's so critical, I'm going to an expert.

    I hate to admit this, but I may have him do all the work other than the simple replacement stuff. I'll get a quote and figure it out from there.
     
  13. canebrake

    canebrake New Member

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    Dude, don't under estimate yourself! Take a Zoloft and jump into the smithing stuff yourself!

    When you get to a point that you become uncertain, ASK THE QUESTION here!

    WE have some of the best/experienced 1911 technicians you can put your life in the hands of, and you can't beat the price!
     
  14. Franciscomv

    Franciscomv New Member

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    It's nice to see one of those great Argentine guns comming back to life, especially one from my family's home province (Santa Fe)! These were made in the army's small arms factory in Rosario if I'm not mistaken, which is also in the Santa Fe province.

    I can't help with any technical stuff, but I'm enjoying the process and pics a lot.
     
  15. CA357

    CA357 New Member Supporter

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    I guess I'll see how it goes. ;)
     
  16. CA357

    CA357 New Member Supporter

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    I apologize gents. I was cleaning up a Photobucket album and deleted a bunch of photos. I wound up destroying the linked pics. :eek:

    I just uploaded them again and they're back. :cool:

    Today I'm taking the pieces and parts to a gunsmith to have the barrel fitted and some other work done. Depending on cost, I'm going to have him do the most difficult work.

    I'll check back in later and let you know how it went.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2009
  17. AR1911

    AR1911 New Member

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    done that

    I bought two of these a couple years ago from the Gander Mountain batch.

    I disassembled, soaked in Evaporust, then polished out frame and slide with 400-grit sandpaper. I did not try to take it all down to a mirror finish, just leveled the flats and smoothed out the worst spots.
    I cold blued one with Wheeler cold blue. Turned out pretty good. My goal was similar to yours, I didn't want it to look new, just "good". I installed all new springs and pins. I got a new $40 barrel from Sarco. it fits fine with no additional fitting -- I got lucky. Shoots very well.

    The 2nd gun I polished a bit more, then left it in the white and waxed it. New springs etc. of course. Both guns got new full-checker walnut grips. I used the original barrel on this one, and it shoots pretty well too.

    Nice projects. The price has gone up on Sistemas a bunch in the last couple of years.
     
  18. CA357

    CA357 New Member Supporter

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    I took it to the gunsmiths this afternoon. I'll see it again in two or three months. This smith specializes in 1911's and he does awesome work.

    I guess this thread will be on hiatus until I get it back.
     
  19. Franciscomv

    Franciscomv New Member

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  20. CA357

    CA357 New Member Supporter

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    Thanks. I've already checked. My pistol was manufactured in early 1959. :cool: