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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I am on the fence about buying a pistol. One is a 1944 Remington Rand 1911A1 in good original condition and the other is a 1943 US&S M1911A1 that has been re done in dark parkerizing. I know Remington pistols have a good reputation for quality but I know next to nothing about the reliability/quality of US&S. Are US&S pistols any better or worse that Remington's ? Thank you. Rob
 

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I am on the fence about buying a pistol. One is a 1944 Remington Rand 1911A1 in good original condition and the other is a 1943 US&S M1911A1 that has been re done in dark parkerizing. I know Remington pistols have a good reputation for quality but I know next to nothing about the reliability/quality of US&S. Are US&S pistols any better or worse that Remington's ? Thank you. Ron
You are about to buy a 70 year old collectors item..are you buying this as an investment or as a shooting gun? If you want a shooter, I BEG you to buy a modern gun. If its a collector, then dont worry about which gun is more reliable, go with the one that has the better resale value.
 

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US&S guns are less common = rarer. If the one you speak of has been refinished, its collector value is GREATLY reduced. A shooter.
If collecting, buy the best and scrap the rest. Anecdote; brother finally got a mint US&S and paid dearly. Had to sell it because he couldn't figure out how to keep it perfect. WWII pistols are hardly rare, just expensive. I'm with the above comment, if you want a slugger, go buy something new. J
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you guys, I also want to shoot it but not at competition levels. 3 or 4 times a year I will shoot it at most. But I need to know if they have a bad reputation for reliability. I am pretty sure they don't just need to hear it from people more knowledgeable than me.
 

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ALL WWII era M1911A1's are or were likely the most reliable pistol ever produced they satisfied the intent of the Ordnance Department and you do not want to be on the wrong end of any of them.

As for your situation any collectable M1911 should be unaltered which means original finish complete with dings. Like the above comment, if you want a shooter pick the best looking, if you want a collectable pick the most original.

There is something inherently satisfying about the feel of a 1911 I have thought often about this, maybe its the feel in the hand on the stocks, or the heft. Whatever.

US&S is Union Switch & Signal Co. Swissvale, PA
 

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...value vs. originality...

Better get into the weeds here. There was only a few K of the US&S guns made...a distinct and solid run of serial numbers. Check with collector's as to the exact range,check out the ser# on the frame and decide. It would be a great hedge against inflation...and if in reasonable condition...a good shooter. Don't have my books at home...will have to get the correct info in the AM....stay tuned.....
 

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US&S made 55,000 guns. The serial are 1041000-1096000. I can remember the last 3 digits exactly, off the top of my head. Colt did duplicate some numbers in that range also though. So you need to go by the inspectors marking. RCD is US&S. GHD is Colt. Give us more info and pics!
 

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Whichever you buy, if either, DO NOT shoot it. These are old guns, original parts are getting scarce, and metal fatigue is always a problem. You just never know. Keep it as you find it. If you want a shooter, as others have suggested, buy a $500 commercial pistol. Remington makes a very good one, as do others. I have a 1911 made in 1912 by Colt, delivered to San Antonio arsenal, issued to Texas National Guard unit, and I bought it from the grandson of the officer who was issued the gun. No way I'm going to shoot that one.

I also have three 1911A1 models, one refinished at Augusta Arsenal, and I bought that one because at one point I lived right across the street from the arsenal and as a kid I played around the main rebuild plant. The other two are Ithaca and Colt, both original. I don't shoot any of those. I do own a Remington R1 Talo that's a shooter, and a Norinco. a daily shooter. Great guns all.
 

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US&S made 55,000 guns. The serial are 1041000-1096000. I can remember the last 3 digits exactly, off the top of my head. Colt did duplicate some numbers in that range also though. So you need to go by the inspectors marking. RCD is US&S. GHD is Colt. Give us more info and pics!
WTG,Bob...!!! Hoped someone would do the leg-work...LOL. Many of the US&S slides found a home on a Colt frame...not original...but they work. That is why I always refer to the serial # section of the 'BLUE BOOK' for correct info. If the US&S slide matches the frame numbers...it would be quite valuable. Hope he buys it anyway...
 

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These forums are full of guys like us, who at one point or another in our gun collecting career, made foolish choices.

Years ago I....
I passed on a Izzy FAL and bought a Ruger Mini 14....
Tried to accurize a CMP Garand by brazing the handguard mount to the bbl.....
Drilled a very poor hole in a 'para' SKS to pin on a cheesy muzzle break.
Boogered up the rear sight on my then brand new Colt 1991 by using a steel punch and not brass....
Sporterized a perfectly good Turk Mauser.....


You are about to make one of these decisions. If you buy this old warhorse, you will shoot it. You may break an extractor or a BBL link. Some of the parts may be worn together and you may have to replace several of them.....Or maybe you want to just replace the trigger with a nicer unit, or just swap the sights.....What Im getting at is these old WWII guns are drying up. They have entered the 'collector' realm now and are worth more money sitting in a safe than they are on the range. If value doesnt matter to YOU...let someone buy it who DOES want a safe queen.

Buy yourself a Colt, a Kimber or one of the dozen other 1911's out there. Leave the old guns to the guys who want a safe queen.
 

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Back in the 60s my National Guard Company had two US&S M1911A1s in the arms room. I could not say for certain if they had the original frames however. We had about 45 M1911A1 and M1911 pistols because we were a headquarters unit. We also had one Springfield Armory M1911. I understand that Springfield made a trial run of those pistols to see how complicated making them would be and to establish an estimate of costs from commercial suppliers. As I recall it was pretty worn. As has been said all M1911A1 pistols were reliable. I have never seen anything to the contrary. Just like all M1 Rifles and Carbine and M1903A3 Springfields were reliable regardless of who made them. They were all made to the same specs. Sad to say most of those M1911A1 and M1911 pistols that were in service back then probably got melted down.
 

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WTG,Bob...!!! Hoped someone would do the leg-work...LOL. Many of the US&S slides found a home on a Colt frame...not original...but they work. That is why I always refer to the serial # section of the 'BLUE BOOK' for correct info. If the US&S slide matches the frame numbers...it would be quite valuable. Hope he buys it anyway...
I had meant to say that I can not remember the last 3 digits, exactly. Sorry for the typo. I used a Blue Book a long time ago to buy a US&S but they had bad info. Ihope they have gotten better. I am a disciple of Clawson now. His books were excellent! It's just too bad they are so expensive now.

I have a 1913 pistol that I shoot a couple times a year. It has a Navy slide but it's just a mixmaster blaster to me. I used to carry it but got lazy and bought something smaller. I'm not afraid to shoot JMB's guns at all!

Springfield Armory made more than just a trial run of pistols. Without a book, I can't supply any production numbers. North American and Singer were the only 2 companies to really do complete pistols as trial runs, so to speak.
 

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My old man had a gun shop for years and had a number of 1911s come through with paperwork stating they were one manufacturer - based on markings on the slide - when the frame was another manufacturer completely. I'm a 1911 guy as well - one minty WW1 safe queen and a series 70 Combat. Just love them!!!
 

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The RDC inspectors mark is LTCOL R. C. Downie who was likely the Chief of Inspections at the US&S plant. He did not inspect every production item himself he was just the responsible Ordnance officer. It is nice a looking pistol.
 
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