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Motor
05-26-2011, 06:23 PM
Don't know if this should be here or on the "Modern Handgun Forum" but saw other related questions here so:
I have a 45 Combat Commander sr# starting with "70" I always thought it was a light weight frame model but recently I gave it the "magnet test" and a magnet "WILL" stick to the frame anywhere you try. Does anybody know if the "alloy" frames will attract a magnet? And is there a sure fire way like serial # or other method to tell if it is a light weight or standard frame. Thanks,
Motor

32 Magnum
05-26-2011, 06:28 PM
Magnet will not stick to a non-ferrous metal (iron, nickel, cobalt are "ferrous series" metals and in pure state are magnetic). Your Commander is a series '70' and Colt made this one in all steel. The original Commander had an alloy (aluminum and zinc) frame - but when the all steel pieces were introduced, the name was changed to "Light Weight Commander" for the alloy pieces.

dfariswheel
05-26-2011, 08:31 PM
Like most gun makers, Colt has varied the stamps on gun models.

Originally, the Commander Model had an aluminum frame.
In 1969 they introduced a Commander type gun with a steel frame as the Combat Commander.

Later they started varying the names, calling aluminum models Lightweight Commanders, and sometimes steel models just Commanders.
It's gotten to the point where it's best to go by the guns features as much as the stamps.

A magnet will not react with an aluminum part.
Aluminum Commanders have aluminum frames, mainspring housing, and grip safeties.

jjk308
05-27-2011, 08:20 AM
Just to make it more complicated: My 1953 "Commander Model" 38 Super has a serial number 24XXX - L.W. for "Light Weight". Its the original alloy frame.
After 1968 the L.W. suffix switched to a CLW prefix, the indication of an alloy frame. Prior to 1969 the Lightweight "Coltalloy" frame was standard on all Commanders.
Frequently the terms "Commander", "Combat Commander", and "Lightweight Commander are mixed up, and even Proofhouse.com does this. Colt caused this confusion by introducing an all steel "Combat Commander" in the 1970's but then also using just plain "Commander" for some all steel models in some years and by having Commander and Lightweight Commander models of its Gold Cup, MKIV Series 80, M1991A1, and XSE.

There are both magnetic and non-magnetic stainless steels. I have an induction cooktop that requires magnetic cookware and when buying pots and pans I have to take a magnet with me. It sticks to some, but not all, stainless cookware.

Motor
05-27-2011, 12:26 PM
Very interesting. Thanks for the replies. As a career machinist I am familiar many kinds of metal and the fact that some alloys have enough iron in them to attract a magnet. That is why I asked if the LW frame would. I would venture to say most stainless steel used for gun making will attract a magnet. Every one I've had did.
It's good news to me that my Combat Commander is steel framed because now that my sons are getting interested in shooting handguns it will be seeing a lot more action.
My Colt does have 2 letters after the "70" I can't remember what they are but know they are not C,L or W. I saw where another member on the forum said the Combat Commanders that are called 70 series are not really 70 series but he didn't say why.
Motor

cwo4uscgret
05-27-2011, 04:27 PM
My pre-series 70 Colt Combat Commander's serial number begins with 70BS...... and my pre-series 70 Combat Commander Lightweight's serial number is CLW......

It is my understanding that the BS stands for "blued steel" and the CLW means "Commander Light Weight."

Motor
05-27-2011, 05:13 PM
My pre-series 70 Colt Combat Commander's serial number begins with 70BS...... and my pre-series 70 Combat Commander Lightweight's serial number is CLW......

It is my understanding that the BS stands for "blued steel" and the CLW means "Commander Light Weight."

Yes. Mine starts with 70BS. Why do you say "pre-series 70"? How is the series 70 different?
Motor
BTW: Thanks for the info. Great stuff!!

DK PHILLIPS
05-27-2011, 05:36 PM
firing pin safety added in 80 modles......then in recent times taken away!

sigshr
05-27-2011, 05:44 PM
I can tell the difference between an aluminum and steel frame just by picking them up, aluminum is lighter of course.
AFAIK-and Dfraiswheel will know more about this-there is no "Series 70" Commmander/Combat Commander. The collet bushing that is the distinguishing feature of the Mark IV does not work with the Combat Commander. I know-I have both and I've tried them.
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cwo4uscgret
05-28-2011, 11:04 PM
Series 70 Colts have a collet barrel bushing and the "pre-series 70s do not. Here's my field stripped Series 70 MKIV Government .38 Super; notice how the barrel bushing has 3 tines and the barrel has a larger muzzle end.

http://iwantthatknife.com/Gallery/albums/EBR/colt_fieldstrip.jpg

Motor
05-29-2011, 07:02 AM
Series 70 Colts have a collet barrel bushing and the "pre-series 70s do not. Here's my field stripped Series 70 MK IV Government .38 Super; notice how the barrel bushing has 3 tines and the barrel has a larger muzzle end.

http://iwantthatknife.com/Gallery/albums/EBR/colt_fieldstrip.jpg

cwo4uscgret, I've had this pistol since the 1980's and have learned more about in the last 2 or 3 days than in the last 25 or so years. Thanks for the info, again. My CC is not completely "stock". It has a regular spur style hammer and had some trigger tuning done. I've been told that the sights are not stock either. They are 3 dot, nothing fancy like they have today (glow in the dark) in fact I repainted the dots a while back, but they are nice to use.
Motor

BigBoy99
05-29-2011, 07:44 AM
Just to make it more complicated: My 1953 "Commander Model" 38 Super has a serial number 24XXX - L.W. for "Light Weight". Its the original alloy frame.

Where did you find the production year for your "Commander Model" 38 Super? I have the exact same gun with serial number 25XXX - L.W. I guess then my was made in 1954 or 1955? Thanks.

jjk308
05-29-2011, 09:10 AM
url]http://proofhouse.com/index.htm[/url]

They have almost all Colt serial numbers/years but of course mislabeled the Commander as "Combat Commander"

Sorry, but I misread the table. Except for the 1st year range it gives the serial number of the 1st pistol produced that year. I'm used to listing the last of the year. The correct year of production for both of ours is 1952.

Below is a picture of my LW 38 Super Commander. It had extensive corrosion and I had the slide and frame refinished in 2 tone nickel plate, and a Barsto barrel installed, the original had been lagged out and the accuracy ruined. The birdseye maple grips are an original Colt option I found in the Numrich catalog years ago.

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