A glance at an original Ithaca 45

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 8:45 pm
-These are pictures of my personal WWII era Ithaca 45.
-This example is what is often referred to in military arms collecting circles as a "restored" piece.
-For those of you who are considering buying an original piece but do not know what to look for here are a few basic pointers. Most modern US military firearms models have been made by multiple manufactures some not even being previously in the firearms business. The 1911A1 for example was produced by Colt, Remington Rand (a type writer company), Ithaca, and Singer the sewing machine company during WWII. Part of fulfilling any government fire arms contract is that all parts must be interchangeable with any other gun of the same model no mater who produced it. Manufactures are also known to sub contract parts from other companies. To give you an idea Ithaca used a number of Colt made frames that where left in storage after WWI; barrels produced by High Standard and that is just for starters. After service most firearms are sent to one of several arsenals for inspection, repair, and re-finishing. The guns are then re-assembled often with little or no regard as to who produced the parts going back onto the gun. These guns are often referred to as an arsenal rebuild. They will bear an additional stamp of the arsenal that did the work, mine shows Springfield Armory.
-Because of this only a precious few guns of any vintage are still intact in the same condition as when they left the factory and command a premium price. In a nut shell just because the slide says Ithaca does not mean the gun is made up of all Ithaca parts. You have to look for inspector marks and check serial numbers on the frame. Most Ithaca 45's will bear FJA at an angle on the frame near the trigger and are known to have more tooling marks left behind than other manufactures.Image
-This gun was bought with a frame with mostly Ithaca parts on it however had a slide on it from another company. A proper Ithaca slide was located and the gun was then re-finished. This is why the gun could be considered "restored". Many collectors will consider this more valued than an arsenal rebuild with an unmatched slide and frame but no where near what an all original gun is valued at.
-Bottom line is do your home work and do not over pay for a gun. There are a number of well written books on military 45's you can consult before plunking down your hard earned money. Any dealer that you will want to do business with will allow a serious buyer to inspect a gun and carefully field strip if needed before plunking down top dollar money for an advertised all original gun. If you are not serious do not do this. These are serious investment guns and can not afford excess wear on the finish from being repeatedly dissembled. If you are not looking for an investment grade gun and are looking for a shooter like mine do your homework on going prices; be sure you are paying a fair price.
-If you notice there are darker areas on this slide near the slide stop notch and in the barrel bushing area. During the war only portions of the slide where heat treated in order to save time and cost. When refinished these areas show up darker than the rest of the gun.
-My understanding is that Ithaca had a number of problems during early production. They did however come up with an improved manufacturing process for the trigger assembly. The production did not reach expected volumes causing current prices to soar in today's market.
Happy Collecting!
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 8:31 am
Thanks for sharing your personal Ithaca WWII 1911; very informative! I appreciate you explaining the darker areas as I was wondering why that was in your pictures.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 3:30 pm
This is one of the guns on my to get someday list . I sure am glad I read this first .
that is a great looking gun you have there , and thanks for the information
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 6:46 pm
As they say 5 hours north of me: C'EST MAGNIFIQUE!

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 3:51 pm
I have an Ithaca ser # 1,15x,xxx. It has G.H.D. on the frame where yours shows FJA. There is a P next to the mag release. There are several the markings.

Any info would be appreciated
PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 4:33 pm
Welcome to the Ithaca Owners Forum kilolima !!

Pictures of this fine example of 1911 history would help us help you...

( All the markings should be shown... )

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2015 4:29 pm

Not sure how to add images

Copper BB
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2015 5:22 pm
Think I got it. Two or 3 more to come
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.270 WIN
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Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2012 8:50 am
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2015 5:51 pm
Do a Google search on serial number blocks for WWII 45 manufactures. At a glance my guess is that you have an Ithaca slide on another manufactures frame. Looks good though.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2015 6:04 pm
I'll do a Google search also, thank you
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2015 8:28 pm
Here's mine:
Serial# 1454xxx, shipped by Ithaca to the navy supply depot in Oakland, California on May 24, 1944. Ithaca made over 300,000 1911A1s for U. S. Government between 1943 and 1945.

The initials "FJA" on the left side of the frame stands for Col. Frank J. Atwood who was the inspector of 1911A1s made by Ithaca and Remington Rand. "G.H.D." on a 1911A1 frame means Gen. Guy H. Drewry who was in charge of inspection of guns made by Colt. Kilolima's 1911A1 has a Colt frame with an Ithaca slide.

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