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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here is what I have got. I may post pics later if I remember. I have a 1952 Colt Sistema Airforce. It has a matching slide and frame, but not a matching barrel or magazine. I know finding one with a matching magazine is rare, but without the matching barrel I dont think it has much collector value despite being the rarer "Argentine Aeronautica". The pistol has good lock up and has not been abused too bad. I am still researching this pistol a bit. The serial number puts it at 1952. I think it may be an arsenal rebuild, but again the barrel it has doesnt match that description either. It could be an import, but it doesnt have the typical import marks for a sistema. It has a tiny roll mark just behind the mag release along the grip panel. I keep forgeting to get a magnifying glass to read what it says. It has a grey finish with some wear. The metal has not been dinged up much either. It shoots, but not well. I get a lot of burnt powder thrown back on me, and the cases eject at the 6 o'clock position or just fall out of the chamber.

With all that being said, here are my thoughts. I have been wanting a custom 5" 1911. Should I customize this one from the blank canvas that it is? Or should I keep it in its origional state and fix only what is necessary to get it running like a top? I dont want a gun that I cant shoot or enjoy shooting. Whats the point if you cant shoot it?

Some of you guys are gonna hate me for this but here is what I am thinking. I want to refinish it, not sure on color or type of finish. I want to keep the origional manufacture marks so it is recognizable as a airforce sistema. I would have the slide cut for new sights. Possibly some milling on the top of the slide as well. Lowered ejection port. Would like some stippling on the front strap and trigger guard. Entertaining the idea of bobtailing it too. Of course rework the insides with new trigger, barrel, bushing, etc. It also needs a little slide to frame tightening. What do you think about converting it to 10mm?

If I dont customize it, then I will probably rework the internals and keep it looking like a war horse and customize something else.

Comments?
 

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I've been wanting a Sistema for a long while now, but haven't found a good enough deal to hop on one. How much did you get it for if I may ask? Anyways, like you said since the barrel doesn't match I'd go to town on the customization. Do what you like and I agree that you should keep the Sistema markings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I paid $375 for this one. I am glad that I got it. I was in my local fun store the other day, and well.......his inventory is nothing like what it was. He use to have hundreds of used pistols, and now he has maybe 100. Out of that, very few are 1911's. I want to go to town with this one.....just so many choices.
 

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I also have a 1952 made Argeintine Sistema 45. Mine has Buenes Aires Police markings - another rare marked pistol. Mine does have the matching barrel and although the bore looks more like a 410 shotgun than a rifled pistol barrel, the thing throws a 3" group all day long. Odd...you wouldn't guess that by looking at it!

Mine also has been refinished...probably several times and wears a flat blued/parkerized finish. The mag it came with was garbage and the grips were cracked dry checkered walnut that had seen better days.

I had to go through mine and replace the springs and the hammer, because the hammer hooks were worn off and the hammer would come foreward, when you hit the slide stop...not good!

Its up to you, but the Sistema HAS been made into a good custom gun by many people. Its very well made and of good steel. However, it will probably cost you tons more to mod the Sistema than it would to buy a pistol that already has mods done to it.

I bought my Sistema (in 1998...for 300 bucks) with that same idea, but decided against it, when I started adding up the cost of it all. I also knew that I could never get the money back out of it. In the end, I bought a Kimber TLE that had the beavertail, checkering and night sights and left the Sistema in its original condition. The only things I did to my Sistema was to make it safe and reliable with new springs, hammer and extractor. I also added a set of nice Mexican silver grips.

You might want to shoot it and see how it functions and keep it original and only mod it on the inside and buy another 1911 later that has the work done to it.

Have you shot it yet? Some Sistemas look really ratty (like mine) but they feed and group pretty well. Your barrel might be original...I don't think ALL Sistemas came with serial numbered barrels or it might have been swapped out during its service life. The Argentinains, like most South American militaries, used the crap out of their guns and its very possible that the barrel is a service replacement. If so...you MIGHT want to consider leaving it in as close to original shape as possible - change springs and slick up the trigger and make sure it feeds right and leave it as-is.

As you can probably tell...I love the Argeintine Sistema and have tons of trigger-time behind the one I own. They USED to be cheap and not very well thought of, but recently, they have started going up in value and gained the respect they deserve as collectables.

Remember, the Argentine Sistema was only one of two officially licensed copies of the Colt M1911. They are actually of very similar quality and made from steel that the Argentines bought from Sweden. Colt gunmakers oversaw the production of these pistols, so they were very well made guns.

Have fun with it and enjoy it...they're very good pistols, if you ask me.

- brickboy240
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It does not shoot well at all. It barely ejects the brass, and I get a lot of burnt powder on me. The barrel has no markings of any kind. I have asked on other forums, and supposedly if it was a rebuild barrel, it would have an H stamped on it. (I think thats right) None the less it has no markings. I am heavily leaning towards gutting it and leaving it looking like the war horse that it is. I plan on putting a match barrel in it, rework the trigger, the mag release needs work. I probably wont refinish it, it doesnt need it. I will replace internals and keep the origionals. I am going to make it a fine shooter no matter which way I go.
 

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Get a match barrel from Springfield. Then...drop in a Wilson "custom tune" spring kit and maybe one of their sears. You'll be amazed at how well it shoots. The ejection issue might be a worn ejector or weak extractor.

All in all...thats not alot of cabbage spent and you will be amazed at how that improves its shootability.

I kept the original finish on my Sistema, too. Its like a faded pair of jeans...theres something comforting in that worn finish that just looks right.

There was an article in one of the "Model 1911" G&A magazines where Richard Venola re-furbed a worn old Sistema on the cheap and it was an amazing shooter, when he got done with it.

Good luck...they're worth modding lightly, if you ask me.

- brickboy240
 

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1. New springs
2. S&A Beavertail
3. S&A magwell
4. Storm Lake or Kart EZ Fit barrel
5. Sights of your choice
6. Replace entire trigger unit, trigger, sear, disconector.
7. Replacement grips
8. Safety of your choice
9. Checker front strap
10. finish of your choice

Brownells is your friend. Most of these things can be done at home depending on your mechanical aptitude. I would leave the sights, trigger and checkering to a professional.
 

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Bigun has a great idea there.

You could do a little of this at a time. A Wilson Custom Tune Spring Kit runs maybe 13 bucks. Chip McCormick has a great trigger/sear kit that is not pricey. Do both of those things first. (the trigger will probably amaze you)

Then, shop for a barrel. Call Springfield and price one of their Custom Shop match barrels. They will sell you one...but its not on the website. It will probably be cheaper than a Kart, Wilson or other barrel. Then, buy a Wilson bushing and have a smith fit the barrel and bushing.

When you have saved a few more pennies...shop for sights and grips and add a few Wilson mags along the way and a Cerakote finish and you'll have one hell of a pistol.

Done in stages...this can give you the custom pistol without the all-at-once high price.

- brickboy240
 

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1. New springs
2. S&A Beavertail
3. S&A magwell
4. Storm Lake or Kart EZ Fit barrel
5. Sights of your choice
6. Replace entire trigger unit, trigger, sear, disconector.
7. Replacement grips
8. Safety of your choice
9. Checker front strap
10. finish of your choice

Brownells is your friend. Most of these things can be done at home depending on your mechanical aptitude. I would leave the sights, trigger and checkering to a professional.
I wish I had a Sistema that I could build up. If you want to go real cheap you can get a replacement barrel and link for cheap and throw in a mag and you're done, but I like Biggun's idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Bigun has a great idea there.

You could do a little of this at a time. A Wilson Custom Tune Spring Kit runs maybe 13 bucks. Chip McCormick has a great trigger/sear kit that is not pricey. Do both of those things first. (the trigger will probably amaze you)

Then, shop for a barrel. Call Springfield and price one of their Custom Shop match barrels. They will sell you one...but its not on the website. It will probably be cheaper than a Kart, Wilson or other barrel. Then, buy a Wilson bushing and have a smith fit the barrel and bushing.

When you have saved a few more pennies...shop for sights and grips and add a few Wilson mags along the way and a Cerakote finish and you'll have one hell of a pistol.

Done in stages...this can give you the custom pistol without the all-at-once high price.

- brickboy240
Thats an excellent Idea. After New Years I may get to work on this. I think the most expensive part will be getting the slide dove tailed for sights. Like you said, springs, trigger, and barrel is first. I think I may have the slide tightened to the frame a bit too. I will post before, during, and after pics of this project.
 

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1. New springs
2. S&a beavertail
3. S&a magwell
4. Storm lake or kart ez fit barrel
5. Sights of your choice
6. Replace entire trigger unit, trigger, sear, disconector.
7. Replacement grips
8. Safety of your choice
9. Checker front strap
10. Finish of your choice

brownells is your friend. Most of these things can be done at home depending on your mechanical aptitude. I would leave the sights, trigger and checkering to a professional.
s&a?

~j~
 

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I'd bet that the 13 dollar Wilson spring kit and the McCormick trigger/sear replacement will shrink your groups by half.

In fact, you might feel that this improvement (which is not very expensive) is almost enough and you end up swapping the dinky sights, adding nice grips and a refinish and calling it good!

been there....

- brickboy240
 
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