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"Coltwood" was what Colt called the injection-molded plastic grips they used on 1911s between WWII and the introduction of the MK IV Series 70. For some reason I find these attractive and would like to have a set to put on one of my classic old-school 1911s. They look sorta like the brown plastic WWII grips but have the Colt Pony molded in a circle on them.

But do these things have a reputation for shrinking? I've only ever seen two sets of them for sale at gun shows, and I bought both pair. The problem is that neither set will fit any of the numerous 1911s in the house. The grip screw holes are too close together. And not by just a little, either, as could be jiggered with some clever filing and sanding. They're too close together by A LOT, maybe close to 1/8".

Why have they shrunk? I have molded plastic model airplanes that are older than these grips that haven't shrunk at all.

I've seen modern reproductions of the Coltwood grips molded in a black rubbery material. I have a set of these and like them, but they're black. If I could find a set of them in brown, I'd be one happy camper.
 

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Colt use an early type of plastic for these.
They started in WWII with the 1911 and the Colt Commando revolver.
They called it "Coltwood".
After the war they continued using it on revolvers up until about 1953 or so.

This early plastic does tend to shrink, which seems to be a problem with whatever plastic Colt used. As above, these were made in the very early days of plastics before the shrinkage problem was fully understood.

You can often find these on Ebay and the gun auctions and you can buy replicas made of modern plastic here:

Colt® Pistol & Revolver Grips
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Colt use an early type of plastic for these.
They started in WWII with the 1911 and the Colt Commando revolver.
They called it "Coltwood".
After the war they continued using it on revolvers up until about 1953 or so.

This early plastic does tend to shrink, which seems to be a problem with whatever plastic Colt used. As above, these were made in the very early days of plastics before the shrinkage problem was fully understood.

You can often find these on Ebay and the gun auctions and you can buy replicas made of modern plastic here:

Colt® Pistol & Revolver Grips
Thanks!

Interesting that I've never seen a pair of the brown plastic WWII grips shrink like this, and I have several sets of those.

Thanks for the link. Well now I know where I can get some brown ones, if I want to pony up almost 50 frogs. :eek: I think I paid $15 for the black ones.
 

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Snake45,

fwiw, my duckie's early '50s Colt's Police Positive (WHITE) plastic grips have the same problem. - NOT really stable plastic in those long ago days at Colt?????

yours, sw
 

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Colt wasn't union back then.
The problem was that plastics had just been invented and what they had tended to shrink with age and was brittle.
 

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The WWII plastic ones don't shrink. I have several sets of those and they all fit all my guns just fine.

I have plastic model airplanes that were made in the early '50s and they're not shrunken.

I HAVE seen some early "promo" model cars that were made of some kind of acetate plastic that warp horribly over time and there's nothing that can be done about it. But they don't shrink, they just twist and warp.

And these "Coltwood" grips aren't twisted or warped in the slightest, they're dead flat. Just too damned small. :confused:
 

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And these "Coltwood" grips aren't twisted or warped in the slightest, they're dead flat. Just too damned small. :confused:
I suspect they may have been from a production lot that was just out of spec, or a portion was and they were surplus disposed of and have drifted around the markets ever since.

Years back a parts seller at gun shows bought a lot of short M-16 firing pins, cranked up his old grinding wheel and flattened the ends, then sold them for punches. Rumor was he stopped because some Brilliant Super-Tactical Operators complained they didn't work in their home assembled ARs.

Geoff
Who notes there are folks that dumb assembling ARs. Kinda makes you wanna go to the range weekdays and shoot alone, doesn't it?
:rolleyes:
 

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personally, i never thought i'd see the day the "shooting community" ie the guys at the range ) would be impressed by a garand or m-14- i guess that comes if all you have is the mousegun
 

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I suspect they may have been from a production lot that was just out of spec, or a portion was and they were surplus disposed of and have drifted around the markets ever since.
Interesting theory. And here I was just expecting a humorous or witty comment from you. Well done! ;)
 

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personally, i never thought i'd see the day the "shooting community" ie the guys at the range ) would be impressed by a garand or m-14- i guess that comes if all you have is the mousegun
What? Somebody's gonna have to 'splain to me what this has to do with the topic at hand, to wit, plastic Colt 1911 grips. :confused::confused::confused:
 

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The shrinking Coltwood grips are well know among Colt collectors.
Both 1911 and revolver grips from this era are known to shrink, with 1911 grips no longer fitting over the grip screw bushings, and revolver grips shrinking enough the frame under the grips is exposed.

This was not a problem with a single batch of grips, it happened with the plastic Colt grips for years.
Among the shrunken revolver grips are grips that are original to the gun.
The automatic grips usually can't shrink as long as they're on a gun, and some collectors make up blocks with studs or even real grip screw bushings to hold the grips so they won't shrink while off a gun.
 
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