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Thread: I Think I Have a Colt Addiction

  1. #1
    Senior Veteran Combloc's Avatar
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    I Think I Have a Colt Addiction

    AR's aren't my thing. They never have been and they never will be. They are fun enough at the range but they will never be my first pick. BUT.....I have to admit, there is something special to me about a Colt rifle. Maybe it's because they are American made or maybe it's the Colt mystique....I don't know. What I do know is that, every time I pick one up, I get the exact same feeling I get when I pick up an M1, M1 Carbine, Johnson 1941 or when I get in my 46 Jeep to go for a spin. I guess it's a sense of American History and Nostalgia. To me, these things represent everything right about American and being an American. They give me a sense of Pride.
    Anywho, I was doing a little reorganizing and had some of my Colts out for a look see so I thought I'd take some pictures. The following is nothing scholarly or comprehensive but rather just a look at some differences and similarities between a small selection of Colt AR 15 rifles and carbines that I own. Let's get started.


    Here are a few laid out with an FN thrown in for good measure:

    I like collecting these things for several reasons. Number 1 I've already explained above. Second, they are relatively cheap at the moment; so cheap that I can afford to buy them as I see them if I like what I'm looking at. My criteria is simple. I want it original and generally unmessed with. There is some slight deviance in this point but whatever has been done has to make sense to me. If it has ANY aftermarket parts on it, I don't want it unless I can easily put it back into factory trim. Third, it's fun. Isn't that what all this is supposed to be about anyways? I think it is.


    Let's get a closer look. We'll start with the carbines:

    All three of these are police trade in jobbers. I've become smitten with these for some reason. Monetarily speaking, I think these are sleepers and will really increase in value over time. I also like the general wear they show; it's like History frozen in time. Somebody carried this around in their patrol unit and trusted their life to it. That means something to a sentimental fool like me. I buy every police trade in I can find if I have the cash available at the time. My only criteria for these is that they have the "Restricted" roll mark on the magazine well and that they be in the same configuration as when they were traded in.

    We'll start with the newest one, shown at the bottom in the picture above:



    This particular carbine was has a barrel date of April 2009 and it's the only one shown with the magazine it came with. That's because it's also the only one I have that has a magazine that has been marked by the department it was issued to. In this case, Pittsburg Pennsylvania:




    Here's the left side of the receiver:

    I love the fact that it's marked "COLT DEFENSE". Note that the magazine is dated May of 2009. Of course I know that this is most likely NOT the magazine that came with it from Colt but it IS a magazine that was used by the Pittsburgh PD so I will keep them together. While I have not shot some of the rifles I'll cover in this thread, I have had this one to the range and it was both accurate and fun! But then, aren't they all FUN?? Notice that the front take down pin is actually a pin. That is 100% normal for you younger guys but us older guy remember when thus front pin was not a pin at all but rather a screw. We'll see that in a bit. Also notice the various scratches. Yeah....that gets me going. I LOvE wear. Pristine is for pretty boys!


    The upper is marked "M4":



    Barrel marking:

    As we look at these six rifles/carbines, notice that, while the format is the same on each one, the font and size changes. Things like this are why I just keep buying more. The variations absolutely fascinate me!


    It has the standard M4 seven hole handguard with double heat shields:

    Personally, I prefer the six hole that we'll see on the next carbine but then I'm not in combat either. Of course, neither was the officer this was issued to. But ultimately, it doesn't matter. This is how Colt built it so I love it for what it is!


    The flash hider uses a crush washer as was standard when this carbine was made:

  2. #2
    Senior Veteran Combloc's Avatar
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    This next one has a barrel date of December 1998:



    I do not know what department this one was issued to but it came from a local dealer who had bought a number of ex police carbines and this was on of them. The stock is most definitely NOT the one it left the factory with but it is the one that it came from the PD with so it will stay that way. Judging by the contours, it's still a stock supplied by Colt. Originally it would have has on of the "1N" marked "Fiberlite" stocks. We'll see that on the next one.


    The left side of the receiver:


    Notice that this one has a screw instead of a captive take down pin at the front of the lower receiver. That's how they were made back then. Also notice the different manufacturer's mark and the slightly different safety lever design. It still has some nice scratches in the finish!


    Here is a close-up of the rear of the receiver showing the reinforcement done where the buffer tube threads in:

    Compare this with the reinforcement done in that area on the previous carbine:

    Very interesting...…


    A detail shot showing the staking of the buffer tube:

    I've never seen a Colt staked like this. We'll see a standard Colt stake mark on the next carbine. I can only assume that the PD this was issued to not only replaced the stock but also the buffer tube. That's just a guess though.


    Barrel marking:



    This one has a peel washer instead of a crush washer. This is consistent with a Colt from 1998:

    While the flash hider flat shows some wear, I think this is due more to handling than removal.


    Again, the upper is marked "M4":



    This one has a six hole handguard with only one heat shield:

    This is consistent with a non-military Colt of this era. It's round instead of the diamond shape of the M4 handguard and it also has only one heat shield. Also notice that it's a little more shiny than the M4 handguard of today.

  3. #3
    Senior Veteran Combloc's Avatar
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    This next one has a barrel date of December 1998:



    I do not know what department this one was issued to but it came from a local dealer who had bought a number of ex police carbines and this was on of them. The stock is most definitely NOT the one it left the factory with but it is the one that it came from the PD with so it will stay that way. Judging by the contours, it's still a stock supplied by Colt. Originally it would have had one of the "1N" marked "Fiberlite" stocks. We'll see that on the next one.


    The left side of the receiver:


    Notice that this one has a screw instead of a captive take down pin at the front of the lower receiver. That's how they were made back then. Also notice the different manufacturer's mark and the slightly different safety lever design. It still has some nice scratches in the finish!


    Here is a close-up of the rear of the receiver showing the reinforcement done where the buffer tube threads in:

    Compare this with the reinforcement done in that area on the previous carbine:

    Very interesting...…


    A detail shot showing the staking of the buffer tube:

    I've never seen a Colt staked like this. We'll see a standard Colt stake mark on the next carbine. I can only assume that the PD this was issued to not only replaced the stock but also the buffer tube. That's just a guess though.


    Barrel marking:



    This one has a peel washer instead of a crush washer. This is consistent with a Colt from 1998:

    While the flash hider flat shows some wear, I think this is due more to handling than removal.


    Again, the upper is marked "M4":



    This one has a six hole handguard with only one heat shield:

    This is consistent with a non-military Colt of this era. It's round instead of the diamond shape of the M4 handguard and it also has only one heat shield. Also notice that it's a little more shiny than the M4 handguard of today.
    Last edited by Combloc; 07-04-2019 at 11:21 PM.

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    Senior Veteran Silvera's Avatar
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    i can tell you hate AR's

    "Listen With Your Eyes"
    Wit, Grit, Courage and Determination

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    Senior Veteran The War Wagon's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by Combloc View Post
    This next one has a barrel date of December 1998:
    This particular carbine was has a barrel date of April 2009 and it's the only one shown with the magazine it came with. That's because it's also the only one I have that has a magazine that has been marked by the department it was issued to. In this case, Pittsburg Pennsylvania:
    KANSAS. Pittsburg is in KS.

    PittsburgH... is in PA.

    And I'm glad you don't like AR's. This hobby could get REALLY expensive if you did...
    We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other. - John Adams, 2nd U.S. President -

  6. #6
    Senior Veteran Combloc's Avatar
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    OOPS! Sorry about that. That's what I get for drinking bourbon while writing!

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    Excellent tutorial!!!

    Tony

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    Senior Veteran Combloc's Avatar
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    Thanks Tony!

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    Awesome as always!!! Thanks for another great post, keep them coming!
    14EH AIT Instructor-PATRIOT Fire Control Enhanced Operator/Maintainer

  10. #10
    Senior Veteran Combloc's Avatar
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    Thanks buddy!

    Picking up where I left off, we'll look at the third carbine in this post:




    I bought this from a Colt distributor who originally sold it to the Philadelphia PD and then took it back years later with a batch of others on trade for newer models. They let me look through them and pick the one I wanted. This one has a barrel date of May, 2000 which is just under a year and a half later than the last one we looked at. For all intents and purposes it's exactly the same as the previous carbine only the stock was never switched out. As far as I can tell, it's exactly as it left Colt.


    Left side of the receiver:

    So, assuming the barrel date is indicative of when the carbine was built, we can figure that Colt made about 2528 A3 Tactical Carbines from December of 1998 to May of 2000. That's not many when you think about it.


    I didn't show it on the other two but here is a shot of the "Restricted" roll mark on the right ide of the magazine well:

    The roll mark on the other two carbines is identical to my eyes.


    It's interesting to note that this upper, although manufactured later than the last one we looked at, in not marked "M4":

    It does have the M4 feed ramp cuts though. Maybe they just forgot to mark it. I don't know but this is just another example of why I keep buying these things.


    Barrel marking:



    The stock is correctly marked "1 N":



    To my knowledge, ONLY Colt fiberlite stocks are marked this way and it has not been faked so far. Apparently Colt also used unmarked stocks too though so the waters are muddied when trying to verify whether or not the stock you are looking at is genuine. Absent the 1 N mark, experience is your only guide.


    Proper stake mark on buffer tube nut:



    Web in the rear of the receiver preventing the use of full auto parts:

    The previous two carbines look identical.

    That's it for this one. In the next post, we'll begin looking at the rifles. Thanks for your time!
    Last edited by Combloc; 07-05-2019 at 08:31 PM.

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