ID'ing NM 1911 45's

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ID'ing NM 1911 45's

Post by sharpshooter1911 on Tue Mar 03, 2015 6:48 pm

First, I'm new here, so be kind until I learn the system.

I'm a long time shooter, but not competitive for many years.  I love 45 ACP and have numerous from various manufacturers. I like most everything about 1911's and have several.  

Recently I went to an estate auction in Caldwell, ID where they had about 15 NM Bullseye 45's.  The deceased owner was Harry Huffer, a long time ago major player in Bullseye and NRA competition.  After serving many years in the Army, he continued his military affiliation with membership in the Idaho Army National Guard spanning almost 42 years of service until his retirement in 1982. Throughout his military career, Harry distinguished himself as a National Senior and Super Senior National Hunter Silhouette Pistol Grand Champion. He earned countless awards and commendations for his pistol and rifle marksmanship by establishing several national individual and team records. - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/idahopress/obituary.aspx?pid=172776965#sthash.TCT7UnEd.dpuf


I was able to purchase 2 1911 45's, both in excellent condition.  I have spent a couple of days doing online research about these pistols, which led me to this forum.


In the 15 1911's two were on Colt frames, the other 13 are all ESSEX frames.  He must have acquired them during his competition days, perhaps built by the Guard armorer?


My questions are to clarify what I have?


Pistol #1 is ESSEX frame serial **440- it has stippled front and rear on the grip, aluminum trigger with machined shoe; H&R match barrel; machined barrel bushing; slide is marked NM7791435 on left, 7F067 on right side; frame serial # is etched on under side of slide.  Slide is tight and smooth on frame.  Sights are the high front and adjustable KENSIGHT rear. There are no other markings on slide or frame.


Pistol #2 is ESSEX frame serial **443- it has stippled front and rear on the grip, aluminum trigger with machined shoe; COLT NM Barrel marked NM7791414; machined barrel bushing; slide is marked NM7791435 on left, 7F067 on right side; frame serial # is etched on under side of slide.  Slide is tight and smooth on frame.  Sights are the high front and adjustable KENSIGHT rear. There are no other markings on slide or frame.


Finish on both is deep blued- very nice; grips appear standard checkered walnut military style.


I'm hoping some of you knowlegable experts can shed some further light on these.  I'm particularly interested in what manufacture are the slides- could be COLT, DRAKE or NORTH COUNTRY ENGINEERING INC. 

If you need, I can do photos for you.


Thanks for helping an old geezer with this!

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Re: ID'ing NM 1911 45's

Post by Wobbley on Tue Mar 03, 2015 7:13 pm

7F067 is the CAGE code for North Country Engineering.

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Re: ID'ing NM 1911 45's

Post by dstates on Tue Mar 03, 2015 7:45 pm

I'm not going to be any help, but would still be interested in pictures...

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Re: ID'ing NM 1911 45's

Post by james r chapman on Wed Mar 04, 2015 6:12 am

dstates wrote:I'm not going to be any help, but would still be interested in pictures...

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Re: ID'ing NM 1911 45's

Post by DavidR on Wed Mar 04, 2015 12:41 pm

Sounds like what you have are like you thought Armory built guns used to compete on a team, army, navy, marine, national guard units or air force all had big teams back in the day most still have teams today. I bet they shoot well but doubt they have any collector value, you can buy guns like this on gunbroker all the time from 600.00-1000.00 normally. If you could document they were built by a well known gunsmith then the value would increase some what.

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Re: ID'ing NM 1911 45's

Post by spursnguns on Thu Mar 05, 2015 9:36 am

Hello sharpshooter1911,
 
In the collectors world….unless documented otherwise; one must always “believe the gun and not the story”.
 
What you have are two pistols, built on commercial frames, using some surplus military replacement parts and possibly by a talented pistol smith (you will have to shoot them to find that out).  What we do know for sure; they are not “National Match” pistols (even though they have many of the characteristics of such); during that time frame, there are no documented cases of the armed services using anything other than surplus frames for their “official” teams; Colt, Drake and NCE all made slides for the military, post-war, to replace their aging non-heat treated slides, the numbers found on some of your parts are CAGE/specification/drawer numbers (many manufacturers stamped their parts intended for the civilian market with these numbers as a marketing ploy).
 
It sounds like you may have a couple of good shooters there but, as DavidR writes, they have minimal collector value.
 
Let us know how they shoot.  Good luck.
 

Jim

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Re: ID'ing NM 1911 45's

Post by james r chapman on Thu Mar 05, 2015 12:22 pm

That being said, if you could prove they were works from some famous smith, or owned by Elmer Keith, or shot record scores for Hershel Anderson, then you have Provenance that's worth more.

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Re: ID'ing NM 1911 45's

Post by spursnguns on Thu Mar 05, 2015 12:25 pm

james r chapman wrote:That being said, if you could prove they were works from some famous smith, or owned by Elmer Keith, or shot record scores for Hershel Anderson, then you have Provenance that's worth more.

Yep!

Jim

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Here's some pictures

Post by sharpshooter1911 on Thu Mar 05, 2015 1:57 pm

dstates wrote:I'm not going to be any help, but would still be interested in pictures...
Hope the picture upload works?
Attachments
IMG_2398.JPG You don't have permission to download attachments.(110 Kb) Downloaded 42 times
IMG_2400.JPG You don't have permission to download attachments.(99 Kb) Downloaded 24 times

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Re: ID'ing NM 1911 45's

Post by Jon Eulette on Thu Mar 05, 2015 2:28 pm

I hate to be critical, but I base this on my experience as a gunsmith. 99% of the NM pistols I have seen that were not 100% Colt 1911 pistols were not very well put together. They all had the NM parts, but very poorly fitted. The gunsmithing has always been substandard. Granted I'm sure there are some really nice ones out there, but I've yet to see one. I've never seen a slide marked the way your slides are marked on the left hand side. It looks like they were added by someone, not the factory markings. Could be my computer monitor resolution is throwing it off? NM slide markings were smaller and forward of the take down slot on the side of the slide. Essex frames of old typically weren't the best quality. Both of your pistols have Kensight's; those are both of new design (Kensight has only been around for a couple of years) so not original Bo-Mar's. In my opinion these are bottom of the line NM pistols. Doesn't matter who built them; it's the parts. I've been gunsmithing BE 1911's since 1989. In my opinion these pistols are someones desperate attempt to make a NM 1911. Nothing wrong with that, just my honest opinion about the pistols. They might shoot great, but I don't place much value on them other than that they are 1911's that might have been built well.
Jon

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Re: ID'ing NM 1911 45's

Post by Jon Eulette on Thu Mar 05, 2015 3:06 pm

I did just find a site showing a Kensight on NM pistols back in 1968. Hmmmm. Wonder why the sights weren't more prevalent until the owners of Bo-Mar died?
Jon

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Re: ID'ing NM 1911 45's

Post by sharpshooter1911 on Thu Mar 05, 2015 4:32 pm

Jon-

Thanks for your thoughtful comments!  

Regarding the NM numbers on the left side of the slides- ALL 12 of the 1911's had the same slide markings- NM # on left and 7F067 on the right.  


ALL of the 1911's at the estate auction had provenance to Harry Huffer.  I believe he was a heavy-hitter in the NRA bullseye competition world in the '60's and '70's.  He retired from the ANG in 1982.  I don't know if he did the gunsmithing himself, or if it was another.  Maybe some of the "old-timers" on this site know more about Huffer.  I did find one reference to Huffer on a NRA Bullseye Shooting site that listed him as Chairman of the Committee (not sure of date).


I agree with your comment that they are well-built.  Slide to frame fit is tight and silky smooth, trigger is very good- much nicer than Factory Colts in my safe.


I plan to take both to the range tomorrow and give them a try.  Unlike most of the east coast our Idaho weather is sunny and 60 degrees.


I will let you know how they shoot.


Again, thanks for sharing your knowledge- that's what these forums are good for!


Matt

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Re: ID'ing NM 1911 45's

Post by Brian Mason on Thu Mar 05, 2015 5:02 pm

Jon Eulette wrote:I did just find a site showing a Kensight on NM pistols back in 1968. Hmmmm. Wonder why the sights weren't more prevalent until the owners of Bo-Mar died?
Jon

Didn't Keng's Firearm Specialties (KFS) buy the old Kensight name?

About them:

http://kfsindustries.com/?page_id=81

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Re: ID'ing NM 1911 45's

Post by sharpshooter1911 on Thu Mar 05, 2015 5:22 pm

Did a Kensight search and came up with: http://stores.kensight.com/pistol-sights/

They list some as BOMAR Kensight?  So maybe BOMAR bought the name?

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Re: ID'ing NM 1911 45's

Post by DavidR on Thu Mar 05, 2015 5:44 pm

Never heard of Harry Huffer, anybody know his history, never seen that name in the pistol shooters treasury and it had most all the top shots of the 50s and 60s.

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Re: ID'ing NM 1911 45's

Post by spursnguns on Thu Mar 05, 2015 5:45 pm

Greetings,

Jon's comments are spot on with regards to what may be expected as to these pistol's quality.  My experience matches his.

For a few years in the 60's (I don't have my records handy); Army armorers did use Kensight sights, from the "original" Kensight company, for their National Match pistols albeit they were of a different configuration.

I believe today's Kensight Bomars should best be called Bomar clones.

Jim

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Re: ID'ing NM 1911 45's

Post by Axehandle on Thu Mar 05, 2015 6:29 pm

Started shooting with the ANG in '78.  The ANG got all the AF match guns when the AF got out of the shooting business.  Our base team had 6 or 8 complete sets of match guns.   Every 1911 was built on a Colt and was marked AFPG.   We got the Kensight through the military supply system.  The Kensight was used as a replacement for the Triangle originally on the AFPG 1911s.  The Kensight looked exactly like the Bomar of the day with the exception that it did not require the slide be tapped for the elevation screw.   Back then the word from the old heads was to stay away from the Essex frame for a match gun.  The hammer and sear holes were routinely NOT parallel..

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Re: ID'ing NM 1911 45's

Post by sharpshooter1911 on Thu Mar 05, 2015 7:15 pm

Thanks for adding to the info!

I appreciate it!

Matt

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Re: ID'ing NM 1911 45's

Post by Wobbley on Thu Mar 05, 2015 7:24 pm

All the comments about components and quality aside.  The real worth of these pistols is how well they shoot. Nothing else matters.  So take some quality ammo and test them.

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Re: ID'ing NM 1911 45's

Post by sharpshooter1911 on Thu Mar 05, 2015 7:36 pm

Thanks!

Plan to do that tomorrow!  Supposed to be mid-60's and sunny at the range!

Matt

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Re: ID'ing NM 1911 45's

Post by Axehandle on Thu Mar 05, 2015 8:13 pm

Meant to add a comment about a book on the 1911 by a man named Hallock.  Hallock's .45 Auto Handbook   It talks about all the various markings that we see on the old match guns.  I've got a copy somewhere.

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Re: ID'ing NM 1911 45's

Post by Wobbley on Fri Mar 06, 2015 7:16 pm

So, how'd it go?  Inquiring minds want to know!

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Re: ID'ing NM 1911 45's

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