Colt 1911 MkIV Series 70 - Western Arms
I've been very fortunate to get my hands on a lot of Western Arm's excellent Gas Blow Back pistols over the last few months, thanks to Elite Airsoft, but I was very pleasantly surprised recently, when a couple of Shibuya Custom Works limited editions arrived in a big box (Christmas HAD come early!).
These guns are made in limited numbers and are not, officially, available outside Japan. Both were Colt 1911 based guns, the Wilson based Vreaker V12 and, this one, the Colt 1911 MkIV Series 70 Government.
Although not a big 1911 fan, I was very interested to see this gun as Western Arms have made much of the new features present on it, which include a system to allow the hammer to be dropped without firing the gun (At last you can decock a 1911!) and a hop-up which doesn't require disassembly to adjust.
In the Box
The SCW guns come in smart Grey boxes, with "SCW" in white on the top and a sticker on one end to indicate the contents. Businesslike, but a bit more finished than the normal uncoloured cardboard.
Inside, however, it's WA business as usual, with the gun, a bag of paper work, including the manual and a target, a small bag of 6mm BBs, a couple of Allen keys and the gun. Unusual to the pukka 1911s (rather than the Infinities and the like) is a barrel bushing wrench - more on that later.
First impressions are very favourable.
This is one of the most attractive airsoft pistols I have ever seen, despite being very plain. The quality shines out of it, from the bright chamber cover to the excellent wood effect grips (undoubtedly the best plastic wood I have ever seen) to the flawless finish of the heavyweight material.
The gun has a nice balance in the hand and being a single stacker (just 15 rounds in the slim magazine) is pleasantly slim, which I like, but that will vary from person to person.
There are few markings, but the ones present are quite shallow and thin, a bit like a KSC. They are, however, sharply engraved.
The 1911 is made mainly of Heavyweight ABS and has a cold feel to the touch. Overall finish is flawless, with no seams and none of the pitting on the metal parts seen on some of the more recent Infinities.
At 860g, the gun is not a real heavyweight, but it feels very solid and well balanced in the hand. Being much slimmer than a double stack Infinity or Para-Ordnance, the difference in weight certainly doesn't lend an air of fragility to the 1911.
The simple, button magazine releases the magazine smoothly to reveal a plain (like the rest of the gun) black 15 BB capacity single row magazine.
The outer barrel is metal, although quite thin and features the slight swelling at the end, typical of the 1911 design. It's quite different to the cone-shaped barrel of the Infinities and the, otherwise similar, Vreaker.
There aren't a lot of markings on the gun and the ones that are present are a little shallow, by comparison with WA's usual finish.
On the left of the slide the markings read "COLT MKIV SERIES 70" with, below, "GOVERNMENT MODEL" and ".45 AUTOMATIC CALIBER" at the bottom. A Colt rampant logo is aligned with all three lines of text.
On the right of the slide the text reads "COLT GOVERNMENT MODEL". The chamber cover is engraved with " COLT .45 AUTO", MKIV/SERIES '70" in two rows. On the frame, just above the grip, in small font, is the text "COLT'S PT. F.A. MFG. CO. HARTFORD, CONN. U.S.A.".
On the grips are small gold medallions bearing the word "Colt" and the rampant horse logo. It's worth repeating just how good these plastic grips look, although I'm sure some real wood grips would improve the tactile aspects and look even better - Reports suggest real steel grips are a straight swap.
There are grooved serrations on the rear of the slide which make it very easy to rack, helped by the very smooth action of the slide itself.
The grip safety is quite discrete compared to the wild Beaver tails on some of the 1911s derivatives and the trigger is minimalism personified, being JUST enough to work. The trigger feel is very good, too.
There's a single (left mounted for right handed operation) thumb operated hammer safety, which works with the hammer cocked, much like any other 1911 derived gun, or any other single action automatic, in fact.
The sights are extremely simple, with no adjustment or dots or serrations, with just a square notched blade and the back and a single, quite broad, blade at the front.
The 'transfer hammer' mechanism (first seen on the Beretta 1934) works well, letting you decock the single action 1911, simply by pulling the trigger and letting the hammer down gently. However, I could not work this single handed, having to use one hand to pull the trigger, whilst engaging the grip safety and the other to lower the hammer.
Much is made of this being WA's first gun where you can adjust the Hop-Up without stripping the gun down and it is true. Like KSCs, you simply open the slide and adjust the hop over the barrel. In this case, there's a allen bolt which needs adjusting with an Allen key. I didn't fiddle, but I've read other reports which suggest it's still quite tricky to get the Hop-Up set just as you want.
Gassing the magazine was easy, as was loading the 15 or so BBs (in a single stack) and the gun gives off a very satisfying crack and a sharp, snappy recoil when fired.
I was slightly stunned by the accuracy of the very simple sights.
The groupings were good, but they were grouped exactly around the point where I aimed, rather than high or low or left or right. I popped off a few more groups on a target with some small roundels and was able to place tight groupings around the centres of the small targets as easily as around the bull on the bigger targets.
Click on image for bigger version in separate window.
Carrying out my standard 5m/6 round, off hand test, the grouping was 1.5 inches (3.5 CMs) in diameter and this was repeated or bettered on every occasion that I fired the gun.
Update July 2005 I received a second Series 70 in a batch of guns for review in July 2005 and was able to carry out my velocity and trigger pull tests.
Over 10 shots, the 1911 Series 70 averaged 301 fps (using Abbey Ultra gas and Excel .2g BBs) indoors (at 21C).
I also achieved a best 5 grouping of .7 inch (1.7CM) with this example of the 1911 Series 70.
Trigger pull was 670g (24 Oz), which is a lightish weight pull for a GBB.
Take down is a faithful replication of the real steel process.
After removing the magazine, move to the front of the slide and depress the chequered button, under the barrel. With this depressed, use the bushing spanner to open the bushing with a quarter turn anti-clockwise.
Slide the slide back until it locks and unscrew the outer barrel. Then remove the slide lock (push it through the frame from the side opposite where it locks the slide) and let the slide and inner barrel slide off the frame. Once off, the inner barrel/chamber can be removed from the slide.
I'm not a big 1911 enthusiast, but this gun is one of the very best airsoft pistols I have ever handled.
Visually, it's excellent, it feels solid in the hand and shoots with exceptional accuracy despite its simple sights.
If you're looking for a 1911 or just a good, solid, no-nonsense gas blowback pistol, you can do no better than this gun.
The only negatives are the price (a Ltd Infinity is cheaper) and the fact that it's probably already sold out by the time you read this review...
Weight : 860g
Realism : *****
Quality : *****
Power : ****
Accuracy : *****
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