RESOURCES FOR THE COLT OWNER
This is a list of resources a Colt owner may find useful for further research on Colt firearms, the Colt Company, and on gunsmithing the Colt handgun.
COLT FIREARMS GUNSMITHING SERVICES
Colt Firearms is still the prefered source of gunsmithing for Colt firearms and should be the first contact if you need repairs. They don't work on many old models, but check anyway.
A second very good source is Frank Glenn. He offers a full range of Colt work including older models.
Cylinder & Slide Shop are a world class full custom shop offereing Colt work. As a top custom shop prices are higher and turnaround may be slow, but the quality of work is first class.
Grant Cunningham is a top rated custom gunsmith who offers top level work on Colt's. Since he also offers firearms training and maintains a blog, he only opens his gunsmithing waiting list every few years. He also has some very interesting reading on his site.
Among the books available on Colt's, those by R.L. Wilson are some of the very best and are considered to be standard references.
Wilson wrote these books with the full cooperation of Colt Firearms and some of the largest collectors of Colt firearms in America.
These can be bought direct from Wilson's web site, and can often be found on Ebay and some online booksellers.
Some of the more useful titles are:
"Colt: An American Legend"
This is considered by Colt to be the official history of Colt firearms. The book pictures every model of Colt firearm made from 1836 to 1985. The guns shown are profusely engraved presentation and show models.
In the back of the book is a complete listing of all Colt serial numbers by model and year from 1836 to the publishing date in 1985. Colt serial numbers tended to be very confusing at various times and there appear to be at least some small errors in these listings. However, it's still the most complete available.
"The Book of Colt Firearms".
This is considered to be a standard reference on Colt firearms and contains the latest (1993) information available. Price is high but well worth it for the 648 pages of data.
"The Blue Book of Colt Dates".
This is a pocket size booklet containing all the serial number data.
Other reference books for the Colt owner are:
"A History of the Colt Revolver From 1836 to 1940" by Charles T. Haven and Frank A. Belden.
This is probably the best reference on the actual history of the Colt Company and the early development of Colt firearms. The book contains a massive amount of Colt's early patents and design information. This is the best reference on the pre-World War Two Colt firearms and has a very interesting chapter on a tour of the Colt factory in the late 1930's. It includes 1920's and 1940's reproduction Colt catalog pages showing the pre-war Colt pistols.
This is an older book but has been reprinted several times and is still available.
"The Blue Book of Gun Values" by S.P. Fjestad.
This is a massively thick paperback published each year showing values of firearms. The values are listed by the percentage of original finish remaining. The front of the book has the best information available on how to actually judge the condition of a firearm.
The Colt section is excellent, but like so many references there are some errors the reader must be wary of. However, this is "the bible" for valuing Colt firearms.
The reader needs to understand that these are simply estimates of the value of a Colt based on gun show market values, and that the book is always out of date because of publishing delays.
The values shown are very often on the low end.
"The Standard Catalog of Colt Firearms" by Rick Sapp. (Not recommended)
This is a Gun Digest Books title that covers the Colt's. However, it seems to be nothing much more than the Colt section taken verbatim from the Gun Digest Book of Gun Values. Details are very lacking, and there are too many errors to recommend it as a good reference.
For gunsmithing of the Colt pistols, there are no better references then the shop manuals written by Master gunsmith Jerry Kuhnhausen. Kuhnhausen was not only a gunsmith, he trained gunsmiths for the industry. Since many of his students went to work for the gun companies, his training was directed toward doing factory level repairs to restore guns to factory condition. You will not find the usual old expedient techniques on making parts, silver soldering, and heating and bending of parts to try to get a gun working. The Kuhnhausen manual techniques are how the factory does it.
"The Colt Double Action Revolvers : A Shop Manual Volume One". This covers the older Colt action revolvers like the Detective Special, Diamondback, Official Police, Trooper, and Python series.
"The Colt Double Action Revolvers: A Shop Manual Volume Two". Covers the later Colt's like the Mark III, Mark V, and King Cobra.
"The Colt .45 Automatic: A Shop Manual Volume One". Covers the Colt 1911 type automatic pistols on actual gunsmithing, full disassembly, trouble shooting, and installation of new parts.
"The Colt .45 Automatic: A Shop Manual Volume Two". Covers the actual blueprints and design drawings of each part of the Colt automatic and contains some advanced gunsmithing info.
"The Colt Single Action Revolvers: A Shop Manual". Covers single action revolvers including replicas. Many of the techniques are also usable on the percussion Colt's and replicas.
WEB SITES OF INTEREST:
http://coltfever.com/ A site dedicated to Colt.
http://www.coltforum.com/forums/ A discussion forum dedicated to Colt firearms. Includes a variety of discussion subjects related to guns-only with a strong emphasis on Colt firearms.
http://www.colt.com/ Colt's commercial and military web site. Full Colt catalogs of guns and information on the Colt Custom Shop, the Colt Archive Letters, and repair information.
http://forums.1911forum.com/ A discussion forum primarily for the Colt automatics, it includes areas for revolvers and other guns.
http://www.m1911.org/full_technic.htm An information site dedicated to all models of the Colt automatic pistols.
http://stevespages.com/page7b.htm A site that has Colt and other gun owner's manuals online.
http://www.stevespages.com/page7a.htm A site that has exploded parts views of Colt and other firearms.
http://proofhouse.com/colt/ Has all Colt firearm serial numbers from 1836 to 1979.
http://colt22.com/ A site that covers the Colt Woodsman .22 automatic pistols.
http://coltautos.com/ Another excellent site that covers all models of the Colt automatic pistols.
http://coltcollectors.com/ The official Colt collectors club site.
ONLINE STORES: WHERE TO BUY "GUN STUFF"
http://www.brownells.com/default.aspx The world's biggest supplier of gunsmithing equipment and gun related equipment
http://www.midwayusa.com/ Supplier of ammunition, reloading equipment and components, gunsmithing tools, and gun parts.
http://www.champchoice.com/ A source for Target shooting equipment.
http://www.vintagegungrips.net/ Replica Colt grips made of plastic that replicate the old hard rubber grips of the early 20th century, and replica wood grips.
http://gungripsupply.com/ Sell Colt grips including the late type Python Elite grips.
http://www.gungrip.com/index.php More replica Colt grips of wood and plastic. Included are very close replicas of later Colt target grips.
http://www.grips4guns.com/index.html Modern grips for Colt's.
http://www.eaglegrips.com/ Semi-custom grips.
http://www.pachmayr.com/home/ Rubber combat grips for guns. Colt used various Pachmayr grips with Colt medallions.
http://www.getgrip.com/ Very good rubber and fancy wood grips. A favorite of Colt owners.
http://www.badgercustomgrips.com/ Laminated wood grips.
http://www.herrett-stocks.com/ An old company who custom fit grips to your hand.
http://altamontco.com/ Wood and laminated grips.
http://www.boonetrading.com/Pg14.html Genuine and simulated Ivory grips.
http://www.nutmegsports.com/ Ivory grips.
http://www.truivory.com/default.htm Simulated Ivory grips.
http://www.collinscraftgrips.com/ Ivory and wood grips
http://www.elenhunting.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=SFNT&Store_Code=EHOS Very high end grips made of exotic materials.
http://www.tombstonegrips.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=SFNT&Store_Code=TGG Grips of various materials.
http://www.wickedgrips.com/ Exotic 1911 grips.
GUN REFINISHING SERVICES
http://www.coltsmfg.com/ The preferred source for refinishing of Colt firearms.
http://www.apwcogan.com/ Possibly the best refinisher, offer many gun finishes.
http://www.fordsguns.com/ Also offer many finishes, with an excellent reputation for quality work. Does a version of the Colt Royal Blue.
http://www.originalmetaloy.com/ Hard Chrome.
http://www.mahovskysmetalife.com/ Hard Chrome, nickel, and bluing.
http://www.gunbluing.com/ Bluing. Famouns in the industry for quality work.
http://techplate.com/index.htm Many finishes available.
http://www.elitecustomguns.com/index1.htm Offer many finishes.
http://www.robarguns.com/ Various finishes.
http://www.coalcreekarmory.com/ Offer various gun finishes including Isonite QPQ, a very durable gun finish that can also blacken stainless steel.
http://www.turnbullmfg.com/ A world class firearms restoration service who offer the finest color case hardening and old 19th and early 20th Century types of charcoal, rust, and chemical bluing. Often used by the Colt factory for special guns.
GUN AUCTION SITES
ONLINE GUN MAGAZINES
There are simply too many holster makers to list. The following offer special types that are of interest to Colt owners.
http://www.epsaddlery.com/ El Paso Saddlery traces it's linage back to the famed Samuel Myers saddle and holster maker of El Paso Texas. El Paso offer modern copies of the holsters they made in the 1890's through the 1930's for famed Western gunfighters as well as modern designs. Of special interest are the exact replicas of US military holsters including the finest replicas available of the US Model 1912 Mounted (Cavalry) and Model 1916 Dismounted (Infantry) holsters for the 1911 .45 Automatic. Also offered is the M3 "Tanker" shoulder holster.
http://pacificcanvasandleather.com/index.html PC&L import US military replica holsters from China. While not up to American standards in quality of leather or workmanship, they are serviceable replicas at a lower cost then the fine El Paso holsters. They offer the Model 1912 Mounted, the Model 1916 Dismounted, and the rare Model 1912 Dismounted holster as well as replicas of other military holsters. They also offer the M3 and M7 Tanker shoulder holsters.
http://www.cherrys.com/ Dealer in commemorative and other firearms and offer services like exporting guns to foreign countries.