Colt 1911

history of the Colt 1911

The History of the Colt 1911 and How Turnbull Has Modernized the Classic

At Turnbull Restoration and Manufacturing Co., our services center around both the manufacturing and restoration of guns. One of the foremost handguns that our manufacturing efforts focus on is the Colt 1911. These guns are still popular today due to their fine craftsmanship and amazing quality. The restoration that we do on these handguns is aimed (no pun intended) at maintaining historical accuracy while improving the quality with our unique manufacturing process. The following will provide an in-depth look at the history of the colt 1911, as well as how Turnbull has modernized the classic.

History of The Colt 1911

Colt 1911 in combat

photo credit: demons.swallowthesky.org

As the name of the gun implies, the Colt 1911 was first crafted in 1911. This pistol was designed by John Moses Browning. However, its history began around the year of 1906. During this time, the United States military started to look at a wide range of possible pistol designs, which included the new .45 Automatic Colt Pistol. Over the next few years, the number of designs was whittled down until the Colt pistol remained as the last one standing. Read Story

The 2014 Show Season is Underway

The first show of the New Year took us to the Dallas Safari Club Convention in Dallas, Texas. This gathering brought an international organization of hunters, conservationalists and wildlife enthusiasts together. We brought a number of restored originals as well as a handful of our newly manufactured firearms which included the Turnbull Model 1886, Turnbull Model 1911, Turnbull Commander, and the Turnbull TAR-15. Although we were located in a different section of the show this year, many people sought us out to admire our restored firearms and to view our Turnbull firearms in person. There was a considerable amount of interest in our restored firearms, particularly the Winchester lever actions and the Colt 1911. Turnbull Manufacturing Company’s craftsman have a great reputation for restoring vintage firearms back to their original condition using the same techniques that were perfected over 100 years ago. As always, we enjoy visiting with our customers, meeting potential new ones and simply meeting the people that appreciate our work.

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Next stop – SHOT SHOW! To view our current show schedule: http://www.turnbullmfg.com/store.asp?pid=20025&catid=19872

Turnbull Manufacturing’s New Catalog

Turnbull Manufacturing is pleased to announce the arrival of their latest catalog. Our new catalog features 38 pages of restored firearms – including Winchester, Marlin, Parker, L. C. Smith, Fox, Colt, and Ithaca just to name a few. Our new catalog also features many pages of our custom work, upgrades and newly manufactured firearms including the Turnbull Model 1886.  To view the catalog or request one of your own, please go to our Publications page.

Turnbull’s Metal Engraving Work

Scroll design engraved by Tom McArdle

Tom McArdle is Turnbull Mfg. Co.’s in house metal engraver. Tom has been engraving for 17 years and has been doing the engraving work at Turnbull for 6 years. He learned the craft at Montgomery Community College in North Carolina on the GI Bill while taking night classes. He was originally enrolled in their gunsmithing program but switched to engraving after seeing the beautiful engraving work the students were able to produce after only one year of training.

Turnbull Mfg. Co. Metal Engraving Tools

Turnbull Mfg. Co. Metal Engraving Tools

 Tom uses a traditional hammer and chisel or other hand pushed tool along with a magnifying glass to do a lot of the engraving. This is the same technique that has been used for hundreds of years. At times he uses  air powered tools, which have become popular in the industry in the last 30 years. When using the air powered tool he must still direct it by hand. The pneumatic tool provides a very clean cut and is most often used on modern pieces. When restoring older firearms it is important that they have an authentic look. In these cases he would use the traditional hammer and chisel method. None of the engraving work at Turnbull is done by computer programming.  The engraving work done at Turnbull is meant to last for several hundred years. The amount of wear on the engraving depends on a few factors. First is the delicacy of the engraving, finer more intricate designs will wear away quicker than simpler designs. The placement of the design on the firearm also determines how long the engraving will last. Finally how often the firearm is used and handled will play a factor into how well the piece will age.

Example of Tom's lettering work

Tom’s favorite projects to work on are on the opposite ends of the spectrum. He enjoys doing lettering work which is a relatively short project and he also likes to experiment with new designs and use his creativity however it is rare that he has the opportunity to do experimental work. Tom likes to work on lettering because it is extremely difficult to engrave letters that are high quality. People see perfect lettering every day and any mistake in the engraving is easily detected.

Tulsa Wannamaker Gun Show (in Review)

The Tulsa Wanamaker Gun Show in April was a big success. It was a strong show for those really wanting to sell some firearms – money was changing hands. We came back with a few new restoration projects including a Winchester Model 90 and a Winchester 1886 for some restoration and prep work.

While there, we also sold a few Turnbull Restored Early Colt 1911 (pictured here).

This show is one of the largest in the US (if not the biggest) – covering 12 acres indoors of exhibitor space. The “in” thing this year was sporting arms.