help with an ithica 1911

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help with an ithica 1911

Postby kanata67 » Sat, 16 Jul 2016 19:19:32

recently acquired an ithica 1911. The widows story goes that it was her husbands favorite. He was a wwII pilot and he brought it home piece by piece. When he passed she sold it to a friend of mine who sold it to me at a minimal profit. I am mostly curious if there is a way to get an exact date on it based on its serial number. [UNITED STATES PROPERTY No 2114438]. other markings include [M1911 A1 U.S.ARMY] on same side as serial number and [ITHICA GUN CO. INC. ITHICA.N.Y.] on the other side.

besides a more specific date besides "WWII" I am also curious about the "sweetheart" grips. Supposedly there so you could put a picture of a sweetheart in the handle... but being able to see how many rounds remaining in the clip seems a lot more logical. Are they original? I am not sure when plastics first became prevalent in the us. They seem to fit the gun perfectly so I am doubtful the were a improvised addition.

Is the lack of bluing original as well? Someone suggested that it was rubbed hard and long but the condition of the barrel and the action on the pistol show almost no wear what so ever. Were pilot pistols intentionally left unblued to reduce "shine" in case a pilot was shot down behind enemy lines? Heck, were army pilots actually issued 1911's? in the first place?

Should I be concerned about it being stamped "US PROPERTY"? I would be more than slightly annoyed if the government tried to repossess it for some reason... maybe I shouldn't be posting pictures of it lol.

Any other insights or things I should be aware of about this piece? It's my 1st 1911 as well as my first WWII handgun. My WWII rifle collection is only missing a few. All help and information appreciated as always.

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Re: help with an ithica 1911

Postby Snakester » Sat, 16 Jul 2016 19:58:21

I'll give you $50 right now !!! What a great piece !

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Re: help with an ithica 1911

Postby grumpyMSG » Sat, 16 Jul 2016 22:53:38

First site I tried: http://www.coolgunsite.com/pistols/colt%20production.htm
By their numbers, it is a 1945 pistol. By my own knowledge the vast majority of gov't issue 1911s were manufactured prior to the end of 1945. Most of the pistols with 6 digit serial numbers and marked 1911s were manufactured 1918 or earlier. Only those early pistols were blued. The vast majority of 1911A1s were manufactured just prior to or during WWII and had parkerized finish which can be anything from dark grey, a blue-grey to a greenish grey. No matter which color they are always a flat finish.

The clear plexiglass grips are probably some homemade or aftermarket grips. I wonder if they were made from a piece from a damaged turret glass. Bored Soldiers can be both creative and dangerous. As built at that point in WWII it probably rolled out of the factory with brown checkered plastic grips, possibly bakelite, but I seriously doubt wood. I wouldn't worry about the gov't markings, there are plenty out there that were sold by the Civilian Marksmanship Program. I'd suggest looking the pistol over for other dates stamped into it with initials that would indicate it had been rebuilt by a an arsenal.

As far as aircrew being issued 1911A1s, it is possible or the individual could have traded to get a hold of it. Back then accountability was a whole lot different than it is now.
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Re: help with an ithica 1911

Postby SHMIV » Sun, 17 Jul 2016 03:52:19

I wish that my Grandfather was still living. He'd probably have some insight.

He wasn't a pilot; he was a tailgunner. As Grumpy points out, the grips probably were made during some down time, to relieve some boredom. My Grandfather made the grips for the 1911 that he carried. I seem to recall him saying that carving out custom grips was standard practice.

I would imagine that the flat finish probably had just as much to do with cost, as it did with being non-reflective.

My Grandfathers pistol was kept in a holster with a flap over it (although, I don't know if that was standard issue for Army Airforce, or if that was just a Flying Tiger thing), so it wouldn't have mattered if it was shiny or not. The only time he needed it, he had already been seen, and being a white guy in Burma was the giveaway.

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Re: help with an ithica 1911

Postby kanata67 » Sun, 17 Jul 2016 12:47:35

grumpyMSG wrote:First site I tried: http://www.coolgunsite.com/pistols/colt%20production.htm
By their numbers, it is a 1945 pistol. By my own knowledge the vast majority of gov't issue 1911s were manufactured prior to the end of 1945. Most of the pistols with 6 digit serial numbers and marked 1911s were manufactured 1918 or earlier. Only those early pistols were blued. The vast majority of 1911A1s were manufactured just prior to or during WWII and had parkerized finish which can be anything from dark grey, a blue-grey to a greenish grey. No matter which color they are always a flat finish.

The clear plexiglass grips are probably some homemade or aftermarket grips. I wonder if they were made from a piece from a damaged turret glass. Bored Soldiers can be both creative and dangerous. As built at that point in WWII it probably rolled out of the factory with brown checkered plastic grips, possibly bakelite, but I seriously doubt wood. I wouldn't worry about the gov't markings, there are plenty out there that were sold by the Civilian Marksmanship Program. I'd suggest looking the pistol over for other dates stamped into it with initials that would indicate it had been rebuilt by a an arsenal.

As far as aircrew being issued 1911A1s, it is possible or the individual could have traded to get a hold of it. Back then accountability was a whole lot different than it is now.


There is a very faint "FJA" above the magazine release on the left side behind the trigger. Ill have to find a disassembly walkthrough before I can check for any internal markings.
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Re: help with an ithica 1911

Postby Ironbear » Sun, 17 Jul 2016 21:31:52

FWIW I remember some custom gunsmith, in the 80's, building up S&W pistols with clear grips. The name ASP seems to ring a bell.
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Re: help with an ithica 1911

Postby dorminWS » Mon, 18 Jul 2016 09:32:04

Ironbear wrote:FWIW I remember some custom gunsmith, in the 80's, building up S&W pistols with clear grips. The name ASP seems to ring a bell.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Reeder Custom Guns builds 1911s with a clear grip on one side so you can see the mag content. Their builds are supposed to be super reliable and they do them under the label "1*", which is a visual pun (ONE ASTERISK/ASS TO RISK) that they engrave on the slide. I had them do a Colt Commander for me.

For the OP:
You might want to check out

http://www.m1911.org/m1911dt.htm

It's a good source of information on 1911 pistols.
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