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Thread: Colt 1911 in .455 Webley Auto

  1. #1
    Expert Member Jibz's Avatar
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    Colt 1911 in .455 Webley Auto

    Yes, that’s correct; it’s not a Typo. The title does say Colt 1911 in .455 Webley Auto.

    So here is how the story begins. Around 2 weeks back I was enjoying Kahwa at a friend’s shop when a guy entered and produced a 1911 from under his clothes. Generally it would seem like a matter of concern if an unknown person enters a shop and draws a handgun from under his clothes BUT we were not worried because the shop was a gun store. So as it happens, he was looking to find a buyer for it. My friend didn’t show any interest in it however, I wanted to see what it was. The markings said Colt 1911 blah blah blah and on the right hand side of the slide, it read “COLT AUTOMATIC CALIBRE 45$”. Yes, the last digit after 5 looked as if it has been messed around with.

    After getting due permission from the guy, I disassembled the handgun. Unlike its outer condition, the insides were in excellent state. The barrel grooves had worn out a little bit but still they were there. The guy joined us for a cup of Kahwa and there it was; we reached a deal and the old shabby Colt found a new owner.

    Brought it back home and disassembled it once again. Now all this time, I was absolutely clueless to the historic background of the handgun which I had acquired. So there I was, trying to insert a .45 ACP round in the chamber and getting frustrated and surprised that the darn round was rattling inside the chamber big time. I placed the same round in my US&S 1911 barrel’s chamber and it seated snugly. Fortunately, instead of panicking (which I normally do), I Googled the markings of the handgun and Voila, it was a totally different beast altogether. One such link which gave a pretty good idea of what this 1911 was, http://www.icollector.com/Early-WWI-...stol_i11003911

    A much heightened level of reverence embedded in my heart for this handgun, which was no ordinary 1911 but an extraordinary piece from history. It turned out that it was a Colt 1911 Chambered in .455 Webley Auto. The Wikipedia had the following to say about it. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.455_Webley)

    “The Webley & Scott pistol was sold to the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Navy during World War I. There were also some Colt M1911 pistols chambered in .455 Auto purchased by the Royal Navy. Although not a standard sidearm or a standard service cartridge, a few Colt M1911 "British Service Models" chambered in .455 Auto were sold commercially to British Navy and Army officers through outfitters. The service ammunition came packed in 7-round boxes stamped "Not For Revolvers" to prevent confusion.”

    Now coming to the grips; they were transparent and awful looking and that was because someone had drilled small decorative holes in the insides of the grips to make them aesthetically acceptable and instead ruined them in the process. When I shared the pics of the grips with a friend, his keen observation immediately identified them as the 1911 Sweetheart Grips. https://www.thevintagenews.com/2016/...s-pistols-2-2/. So what I had was a historic 1911 with grips which in our woods are rare as a Hen’s Teeth.

    Here are some pics of how it looked when I got it.












    And hence I had another restoration project at hand. Details in next posts. InshAllah
    Stay Tuned.
    “Bottom Line; If We’re Gonna Have Fun, There Better Be A Lot Of Ammo!”


  2. #2
    Expert Member Jibz's Avatar
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    The next step in line was to get it complete disassembled. In my excitement, spent almost 3 hours on it, inspecting each and every part, visualizing how it would look when I am done with it. As I mentioned earlier, the internals were in pretty good condition as there was no metal wear anywhere.








    By the way here is how the Sweetheart Grips from WW1 looked like.





    For the restoration, all parts were first Sand Blasted. Here is how they turned out.




    The checkering on the Mag Release, Slide Release and safety lever were in immaculate condition. Before the sandblast, I was thinking that these parts may require re-checkering; I was glad that they didn't.










    The markings on the frame were also clearly visible after the sandblasting

    The Inspectors Marking "y" on the trigger guard



    Marking of a "CROWN and letter V under it". This marking is right under the Safety Lever on the frame.




    Few more Inspector Marks.


    Rest of the details in next post. Stay Tuned.
    Last edited by Jibz; 14-11-2018 at 09:58 AM.

  3. #3
    Expert Member Jibz's Avatar
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    I wanted few of its parts to be shiny and bling bling. The Magazine, Grip Safety Lever, Trigger, Round Follower and the Main Spring Housing were treated with a wire buff first and then with a cloth buff. The result was as following however the pictured parts were later blued.










    I wanted to surface grind the slide to give it an even finish but the problem was that the machine wheel had a little play in it and that almost cost me the whole project. Anyways, the alternative was adopted to file it manually with a 400 grit cloth backed abrasive/sand paper. The result was something like this.









    After using 400 grit sandpaper, it took another 2 hours to make the surface perfectly even by using 800 grit paper; trust me it requires a lot of elbow grease.

    All the small parts, including the slide and the frame were blued. The following is the pic when I was getting ready to assemble all the parts.



    And the final assembled pics with my photography skills are in the next post. Stay Tuned.
    Last edited by Jibz; 14-11-2018 at 10:27 AM.

  4. #4
    Expert Member Jibz's Avatar
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    So after spending almost more than 20 man-hours on it, the old and shabby Colt had a new life to begin with. As I didnt have any other grips readily available, I had to install the grips from my US&S 1911A1 to give it a somewhat period correct look.

    Now before you all start asking THE question, "I suspended the handgun in the air with a thread and then erased the thread in the pics with Picasa". There you have it; now the pictures of the finished product.
























    Last edited by Jibz; 14-11-2018 at 10:40 AM.
    “Bottom Line; If We’re Gonna Have Fun, There Better Be A Lot Of Ammo!”


  5. #5
    Senior Member Kamranwali's Avatar
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    Salaam All,
    Jibz bhai..... WOW

    Awsome find.......and I can only imagine what the reserved posts are for.....
    Awaiting transformation pics....

    Many many congratulations for getting a very very rare gun. May it serve you well.

    Regards.
    Guns will make us powerful; butter will only make us fat. Hermann Wilhelm Goering.

  6. #6
    PakGuns Elite! AK47's Avatar
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    Why don't such "meteors" land in my lap? Lol!

    At times I wonder whether it is luck tracing you, or you tracing the luck! In either case, wow!

    Looking forward to the reserved posts!
    Last edited by AK47; 14-11-2018 at 01:21 AM.
    Laws that forbid the carrying of arms...disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes...Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage, than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.

    "Take your time and deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking, and go in. "

  7. #7
    Enthusiast mohsin.mashhadi's Avatar
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    Assalam o alaikum. Uffff...ma sha Allah...jibz lala...Lucky shd be ur alias��...ma sha Allah...a beauty indeed
    Jhapatna...Palatna...Palat kr jhaptna,
    Lahoo ko garmany ka hy ik bahana!!!

  8. #8
    Expert Member Jibz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamranwali View Post
    Salaam All,
    Jibz bhai..... WOW
    Awsome find.......and I can only imagine what the reserved posts are for.....
    Awaiting transformation pics....
    Many many congratulations for getting a very very rare gun. May it serve you well.
    Regards.
    Cheers Roor. I updated the thread with all the details.

    Quote Originally Posted by AK47 View Post
    Why don't such "meteors" land in my lap? Lol!
    At times I wonder whether it is luck tracing you, or you tracing the luck! In either case, wow!
    Looking forward to the reserved posts!
    hahaha Sir, I believe that Luck Tracing Me is a better explanation for what falls in my lap each time. Many thanks sir.

    Quote Originally Posted by mohsin.mashhadi View Post
    Assalam o alaikum. Uffff...ma sha Allah...jibz lala...Lucky shd be ur alias😄...ma sha Allah...a beauty indeed
    Manana Roor. Stay blessed.
    “Bottom Line; If We’re Gonna Have Fun, There Better Be A Lot Of Ammo!”


  9. #9
    Member Emeritus Enigmatic Desires's Avatar
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    I am absolutely speechless.. Some of the the world's first airmen went to war with these More then a hundred years ago.. Wow.. just just Wow.. I can imagine a Sopwith Camel pilot taking potshots at a Gotha Bomber with this. (and perhaps, he probably did too)
    "Keep a complete control over your Temper and Anger because I never found anything more beneficial at the end and producing more good results then such a control" Hazrat Ali (A.S) tz.enigmatic@gmail.com

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    Member Extraordinaire FA226's Avatar
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    MashaAllah,beautiful.
    restoration job done nicely as usual.

  11. #11
    Expert Member fezan's Avatar
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    What a find, restoration and equally well-written blog. Jibz you keep the thrill alive here. Stay blessed. Indeed it is a pride worth acquisition in your collection
    Two most important days in your life:
    The day you were BORN & The day you find out WHY

  12. #12
    Expert Member Jibz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enigmatic Desires View Post
    I am absolutely speechless.. Some of the the world's first airmen went to war with these More then a hundred years ago.. Wow.. just just Wow.. I can imagine a Sopwith Camel pilot taking potshots at a Gotha Bomber with this. (and perhaps, he probably did too)
    Thats correct ED, one's imagination does wander off to the skies thinking that YES may be a pilot in a Sopwith or Bristol may have shot with it at his enemy in a Fokker. What a scene that must have been!!!.

    Quote Originally Posted by FA226 View Post
    MashaAllah,beautiful.
    restoration job done nicely as usual.
    Cheers roor. Manana

    Quote Originally Posted by fezan View Post
    What a find, restoration and equally well-written blog. Jibz you keep the thrill alive here. Stay blessed. Indeed it is a pride worth acquisition in your collection
    Thanks Roor. It has landed with my father now as he had always wanted a 1911. The Girsan MC1911 which I got him was NOT actually what he had expected so this definitely would do. Anything for my father.

    For the information of all, here is how a .455 Auto looks in comparison to a 45 ACP.




    The ammo is almost non existent so the way out is to Change the barrel to 45 ACP. That way it would be dual caliber compatible.
    “Bottom Line; If We’re Gonna Have Fun, There Better Be A Lot Of Ammo!”


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    PakGuns Elite! AK47's Avatar
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    Salams..

    You certainly shouldn't have alerted me for a re-visit here! Lol!

    Now this indeed is a masterpiece of dedicated works!

    Loved it! It is such projects which give meaning to a gunner's life-long enthusiastic span of collection !

    I don't wanna say more here, as words are inadequate.. Will personally check it out during my coming winter visits...

    I'd however suggest for viewer information, you highlight Webley. 455 ballistic qualities viz a viz. 45 Colt!

    Best luck with this priceless beauty and invaluable piece of collection...

    Regards..
    Laws that forbid the carrying of arms...disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes...Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage, than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.

    "Take your time and deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking, and go in. "

  14. #14
    Supreme Member shahroze's Avatar
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    Wow such dedication and detail is only expected from you.
    Mesmerized by the quality of photos and the lucky beast you got Sire.
    Congratulations.
    Communist until you get rich; Feminist until you get married; Atheist until the airplane starts falling.

  15. #15
    I have webely Pistol in same Cal.
    It was actually my grand father pistol .
    cal is 455 webely .
    I have about 500 old rounds .
    They are packed in soft metal foil box .

  16. #16
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    Well done. A marvellous job .

  17. #17
    Expert Member Jibz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AK47 View Post
    Salams..
    ,,,,,,
    Now this indeed is a masterpiece of dedicated works!
    ............
    I'd however suggest for viewer information, you highlight Webley. 455 ballistic qualities viz a viz. 45 Colt!
    ..........
    Regards..
    Many Thanks Sir
    If I understand you correctly, with comparison between the two you meant that the ballistics of .455 Webley Auto and .45 ACP should be stated, Right? Because .45 Colt is altogether a different cartridge.
    According to Wikipedia, .455 Webley Auto Mk 1 service round from 1913 was loaded with a 224 grain cupro-nickel-jacketed bullet with a muzzle velocity of 700 feet per second. On the other hand a 230 grain Winchester .45 ACP has a velocity of 835 FPS. Now if we also take in to comparison a .45 Colt, its velocities range at around 900 FPS. I hope this information helps somewhat.

    Quote Originally Posted by shahroze View Post
    Wow such dedication and detail is only expected from you.
    Mesmerized by the quality of photos and the lucky beast you got Sire.
    Congratulations.
    JazakAllah Khair Roor. Cheers

    Quote Originally Posted by MIRZA1988 View Post
    I have webely Pistol in same Cal.
    It was actually my grand father pistol .
    cal is 455 webely .
    I have about 500 old rounds .
    They are packed in soft metal foil box .
    Now this is very interesting. I plan to change the barrel of this M1911 to .45 ACP, however I have no intention to part with the original barrel. Thus it would be great if I could get my hands on its original ammo of .455 Auto. I would highly appreciate if you would help a fellow gunner find the ammo OR may be willing to sell some from your stock.
    My email is in my profile. Looking forward to hearing from you. Regards

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Zakir View Post
    Well done. A marvellous job .
    Many Thanks Sir. Regards and Salams
    “Bottom Line; If We’re Gonna Have Fun, There Better Be A Lot Of Ammo!”


  18. #18
    Expert Member Jibz's Avatar
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    Here are some more pics.























    “Bottom Line; If We’re Gonna Have Fun, There Better Be A Lot Of Ammo!”


  19. #19
    Lord of War MichaelZWilliamson's Avatar
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    Very nice. I didn't know those existed. It must have taken some mods.
    http://www.MichaelZWilliamson.com TIDE OF BATTLE, Jul 2018 from Baen Books//FORGED IN BLOOD, Sep 2017 from Baen Books

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