Regardless of the date of production the finish (color and texture) of
the slide and receiver should be very close, at least on near new
pistols. Other parts such as the safety, hammer, slide stop, barrel,
Barrel bushing, extractor, grip safety, etc. were noticeably different
in color, at least through mid 1917.
Between serial #2400 and about serial #160000 the small parts had
a smoky blue finish that appeared lighter than the color of the slide
and receiver. The small parts were generally harder than the slide and
receiver, and their color was always a bit lighter as well as having a
1917, the color of the finish darkened a bit on the slides and receivers
and it darkened a lot on the small parts.
The result is that near new late 1917 pistols appear to have all
of the parts about the same color.
However as the pistol received more wear, the slide and receiver
appeared to get lighter faster than the small parts which were harder
and were somewhat more abrasion resistant. Many pistols that have had a
lot uf use show very little finish on the slide and receiver but the
small parts retain a lot of finish.
Many small parts where supplied from sub-contractors or where
blued in different batches, especially in wartime, and this may explain
some random variation between small parts.
bullet feed ramp finish:
Bullet feed ramps where blued in receivers to serial number 710,000,
then at SN 710,001 they where machined after the receiver was blued or
parkerized, leaving this area of the gun in the white and unfinished.
This area should show machine marks and not be polished. In mid-1944
Colts bullet feed ramps where parkerized, this began at approximately SN
of Finishes found on 1911/1911A1s:
(Serial number ranges are approximant)
Colt 1 to 2400: Bright furnace blued, Slide and receiver highly
polished. Certain small parts have a high polished bright Fire blued
(Cobalt Color) appearance. "Oil Finish" Yet some seemingly
original pistols within the serial range have the later duller finish.
These pistols might have been held back to perform some remedial
rework and by the time the rework was completed, the acceptable finish
had changed to the duller finish and they then got the later finish.
Colt serial #2401 to about serial
#160,000: Fine brushed looking Finish, furnace blued.
Small parts have a
smoky blue finish that appears lighter than the color of the slide and
Colt serial #160,000 to about serial #400,000: Colt brushed blue
finish, Coarser girt size on close inspection. small parts have a blued
finish that appears to match the slide and frame on near new pistols.
Colt serial #400,000 to end of
WWI: Very coarse blued finish causes pistols to almost appear black.
These pistols are referred to as the "Black Colt" or
"Black Armys". This was due to changes implemented to speed
production and reduce cost. Among
those was the elimination of the fine polishing step.
Colt Post WWI to 1941: Colt
brushed blue finish, Coarser girt size on close inspection. small parts
have a blued finish that closely match the slide and frame.
Colt 729,993 to780,000: First
parkerized pistol. Parkerizing
adopted as the standard finish. Pistols
in this range are observed to have a mixed assortment of blued and parkerized small parts..
Colt 780,000 to end of war
production: All pistols and small parts are parkerized.
Ithaca 856,405 to about 900,000: Du-Lite bluing over a sand blasted
surface. Small parts are blue
or sandblasted blued.
Ithaca 900,000 to end of production: Parkerized finish, some blued
small parts where observed in these parkerized pistols as well.
Singer S800001 to S800500: Bluing over moderate polishing, resulting
in a light colored non reflective finish.
All small parts appear to have the same color, texture and
Remington Rand 916,405 to
995,000: Du-Lite bluing over a very fine sand blasted surface. The
entire pistol appears to be flat blue gray in color. Small parts are
blue or sandblasted blued.
Remington Rand 995,000 end of
production: Parkerized, also some sand-blasted blued are intermixed
during the early production (1,015,000). All small parts parkerized.
Remington UMC: Very similar
to Colts Brushed Blue Finish, however the finish was neither as well
applied or was as durable. UMC
pistols are often seen with areas of finish flaked off.
UMC pistols are also often seen with little finish and no
significant wear to the metal, as if the finish dissolved. Coarse grit
on final polish. small parts have a blued finish that closely match the
slide and frame. The degree
of polishing and the quality of the finish seems to vary considerably
Springfield: Chemically blued
finish using the browning process, color was deep blue-black result.
small parts have a blued finish that closely match the slide and frame.
Union Switch & Signal:
Du-Lite bluing over a sand blasted surface. The pistol appears a dark
flat blue grey in color. Small parts are blue or blued over
Charles Clawsons “Colt .45 Service pistols”.