View Full Version : Colt Ace slide but what is the frame?
I recently inherited what I believed to be a complete Colt Ace. After closer inspection, I realized the the frame doesn't appear to be a Colt frame. There is a strange marking after the serial number in the shape of a diamond on its side. The serial number starts with a C and then six numbers. There are no proof marks anywhere on the outside of the frame but there are 3 letters stamped in the frame on the topside directly under the slide on the very back. I read somewhere that the Ace slides may be numbered but I don't know for sure. I pulled the firing pin cover off and found no serial numbers anywhere on the slide. I was told that conversion units didn't have numbers on the slide but a complete government ace would have matching serial numbers. The horse without a circle is located on the left side rear behind the serrations. The slide is stamped "United States Property." I don't understand why it would say "United States Property" and have a "C" prefix on the serial number. Any ideas?
I do not think slides were numbered, only the frame. I have a conversion kit mounted on a steel frame with only a 7 degit serial number, no other markings. The slide has no numbers but has Colt stampings, Name, address, conversion unit, cal. 22 L.R. etc.
Civilian market Colt 1911's had a serial with a 'C' prefix while military contract pistols had a 'No.' prefix.
(Dave, I added to my initial description based on your response in order to provide a more complete description for the next reader)...I also can't figure out why the frame would be stamped "United States Property" if it weren't an issue frame by a known contractor (other than Colt). I also don't understand why it would say "United States Property" and have a "C" prefix on the serial number.
The receiver is from a Model 1911, and the slide assembly is from a Colt ACE. The serial number on the receiver has been altered, putting it in the illegal to own category. The serial number of the ACE that the slide came from will be under the firing pin stop plate. It is a little tricky to remove on an ACE, but unless the serial number was removed, it should be there.
That's not good news. What's up with the diamond at the end of the serial number? Thanks Johnny.
The original serial number has been removed, and the C11 7 added. The diamond on the end is probably suppose to be related to the diamond around the ACE on the slide. Maybe the serial number under the firing pin stop plate is 117.
There isn't a serial number under the stop plate. It doesn't look like there ever was. How would one remove the original serial number without changing the lines of the gun? There are six numbers after the "C". Would they have used weld and then buffed it down? You say it is a 1911 frame but what about the scalloped area behind the trigger that is like the A1?
Where did the pictures go?
There were no ACE conversion units. All the conversion units were Service Model Ace type.
The ACE slides were serial numbered to the pistol. Maybe that number has been removed also.
As Dave explained, The Government Model (civilian) Colt had a C serial number prefix. The Model 1911 (military) had a No. prefix. The Colt ACE had no prefix, but the Service Model Ace had an SM prefix.
Section 902i forbids the shipping, transporting, or knowingly receiving, in interstate or foreign commerce, of any firearm from which the manufacturer's serial number has been removed, obliterated or altered, "and the possession of any such firearm shall be presumptive evidence that such firearm was transported, shipped, or received, as the case may be, by the possessor in violation of this Act." It is clear that the presumption applies only to the instant subdivision for only under this section is there any ban against such firearm.
First of all, I removed the photos, because I figured there would be others out there who may assume the serial number altered and make accusations as you have done as well as quote the law. I'm not sure you realize the photos were photoshopped to remove part of the serial number. I wanted to investigate it further and have some people look at it here locally. I have put them back for now. I am law abiding and if the serial number has been altered I will deal with it as needed. I am former law enforcement and have never broken any law dealing with a firearm. I don't know your background in weapons but I have known dozens of people in the gun trade who have accredited themselves as experts. You have made an analysis based on photos. I have read information that is in conflict with what you say about there not being any ACE conversion units. You can buy ACE conversion kits, old and older, now. Around the end of WWII, they were making such units with whatever spare parts they could source including frames of which were sometimes made by various companies other than Colt. I think if the frame was altered, it was the stamping of UNITED STATES PROPERTY. The serial number (I altered with software) is stamped deeply into the metal of the frame. I think that there have been many versions out there and if there was any hard fast truth, I'd like to know it.
No where did I indicate that I am an expert. I do know the law as it relates to firearms with altered serial numbers, as should anyone else who occasionally buys and sells them. If the C11 7 with the diamond are not the actual numbers, but were photoshopped, show us the original first three digits with the last numbers photoshopped out.
If there is nothing wrong with the pistol, put the pictures back up. Maybe with better pictures the top is a Service Model Ace type unit rather than an ACE. There is a difference in the Service Model Ace. and ACE. The SMA has a floating chamber and the ACE does not.
I did put them back up. I didn't alter the C117 but did alter (with photoshop) the last three digits. You say you know the law. My feeling on this is that someone put this gun together from some frame with the appropriate parts and I don't know, which is why I posted to begin with, the make of the frame. As far as I know, it is not illegal to change slides on frames ,since in this case, the serial number is required to be on the frame and the frame is what is controlled by federal laws. Correct me if I'm wrong, but could I not take that Ace slide and put it on any aftermarket frame? Another thing to consider is that the ATF actually can issue corrective or replacement serial numbers for firearms.
What others are trying to tell you is that the serial number that is on this frame is NOT The serial number it was 'born' with. If this frame does have a re-applied serial number approved by the BATF, I would assume the BATF would have generated some documentation stating such. Without this documentation, anyone has to assume the number on this frame is illegal.
Is it possible that someone added the USP to a commercial frame? (The spacing on the numbering does not look right to me.) There should be some stampings on the top of the receiver that may shed a little more light on the origin of the frame.
Please do not take any of the feedback personally... you posted a few pictures trying to learn what you have. Much of the feedback you have received is from some of the most knowledgeable 1911 people out there. These people are stating facts about what they are seeing.
Bottom line... the USP and "C" prefix serial number do not belong on the same frame.
I cannot see a floating chamber on the barrel in your pistol. If there is no floating chamber you have the top end off a Colt ACE, and it originally had a serial number. A closer examination does show that the receiver is a 1911A1, but all the USP marked 1911A1 pistols had either a No. or NO. suffix to the serial number.
The UNITED STATES PROPERTY on your frame is original, but the serial number is not.
You are correct that it is not illegal to change the slide on a receiver, whether the slide is serial numbered or not. It is illegal to change the serial number on a receiver.
The BATF will correct a serial number on a pistol if the pistol was stolen, the serial number defaced, and the pistol was recovered. The original owner can have a new serial number put on the pistol to again make it illegal.
The picture is of a military Service Model Ace with the floating chamber barrel.
ACE slides were not sold as conversion units partly because installation on a .45 frame would require removal of the ejector, something not normally done by the user. ACE frames never had the frame mounted ejector installed. SM ACE slides are cut for the ejector and can be installed on .45 frames, though the .45 ejector is not used in SM ACE operation.
FWIW, there is actually a lot of difference between an ACE slide and an SM ACE slide, other than markings. The ACE slide is shorter, narrower, and lower and has no cut for the frame mounted ejector. The front sight is higher and the rear is adjustable. The dimensional differences are not always obvious in photographs, which is why some people who have not actually seen an ACE will say that the slides are outwardly identical to the standard .45 slide. The ACE frame has no external markings other than the serial number on the right side above the trigger. There is no serial number prefix or suffix.
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