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CO2 Colt WWII Commemorative CO2 BB pistol: Part 2

Colt WWII Commemorative CO2 BB pistol: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord, The Godfather of Airguns™
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Colt Limited Edition NRA 1911 BB Pistol right
Colt WWII Commemorative looks like it went through the war.

This report covers:

• Everything is in the drop-free magazine
• Loading
• Velocity
• Shot count
• The trigger
• Blowback is very realistic
• Both safeties work
• So far, so good

There was a of of interest in Part 1 of this report. Several of you were pleased to learn the differences between the 1911 and the 1911A1. I neglected to mention that the A1 has a larger ejection port on top of the slide, but it does. And 1911 custom builders have always enlarged that port even more, so the port size is important. It doesn’t show up in photos very well, though, which is why I didn’t mention it.

Today, we’ll look at the velocity of the Colt WWII Commemorative CO2 pistol, and you know that the Colt Limited Edition NRA 1911 BB Pistol is a version you can purchase right now. The gun in this report was made in a limited edition of 500, and sold out at the 2014 SHOT Show. Pyramyd AIR was able to purchase several of them and some lucky folks did manage to get one for themselves; but if you want one now, you’ll have to get the NRA version.

Everything is in the drop-free magazine
As one reader pointed out, this pistol puts both the BBs and the CO2 cartridge in the magazine, with a drop-free design that removes exactly like the firearm mag.

Colt Limited Edition NRA 1911 BB Pistol left
When the magazine is in the gun, the floorplate is flush!

Colt Limited Edition NRA 1911 BB Pistol left
The large Allen wrench tightens the CO2 cartridge screw in the magazine floorplate so it’s flush. The BBs are loaded in this image.

The pistol is loaded one BB at a time through the top of the magazine. Pull the spring-loaded follower all the way down, and it automatically catches. That makes loading easier. Once I got the knack of loading, I found the job went smoothly, but it isn’t fast. I contacted Umarex USA Marketing Manager Justin Biddle and was told that their Universal Speedloader will work, but you don’t use one of the adapters for this gun. You simply hold the speedloader in place as you press the plunger. If you don’t want to use the speedloader, you could buy several extra magazines and have them pre-loaded. Each magazine you use will need its own CO2 cartridge installed.

Let’s test the pistol for velocity. I installed a fresh CO2 cartridge in the gun, and of course there was some Crosman Pellgunoil on the tip to keep the internal seals fresh and tight.

With the magazine loaded, I commenced firing. The first 10 shots averaged 299 f.p.s., with a spread from 291 to 309 f.p.s. I waited a minimum of 10 seconds (and sometimes longer) between shots.

Then, I conducted an experiment by firing 3 shots fast outside the skyscreens and the fourth shot through them. It went 288 f.p.s. Then 2 more quick shots outside, and another one through the screens at 282 f.p.s.

So, this pistol is no magnum, that’s for sure. But that may be good, because when a BB pistol shoots too fast it can start spraying the BBs like an airsoft gun without Hop-up.

Shot count
To get the total number of shots per CO2 cartridge, I installed a fresh cartridge and shot the gun faster than one round per second — not counting the time to reload. I got a total of 68 shots on that cartridge. However, on shot 65, the slide started coming back much slower. It was obvious the gas was running out. After shot 68, there wasn’t enough gas to blow back the slide far enough to hold it open, so I kept on shooting blanks for 5-10 more shots. Then, I stopped and manually lowered the hammer, exhausting the remaining gas.

The trigger
The first shot was through the skyscreens, so I had no idea what to expect from the trigger. I’m happy to report that it’s delightfully light. I was actually surprised when the first shot fired.

This is a 1911A1 pistol, so naturally the trigger is single-action only. The hammer must be cocked for the gun to fire. Because this pistol has blowback, the slide cocks the hammer for every shot after the first, so all you have to do is cock the hammer the first time. After that, you just pull the trigger.

Using the electronic trigger-pull gauge, I measured the trigger’s release at 2 lbs., 10 oz. That’s lighter than the trigger on my Wilson Combat CQB, and it feels lighter, too! Stage 1 is less than a pound and stage 2, while having some feeling of movement, is reasonably crisp. It is not creepy at all.

Blowback is very realistic
Both this pistol and the NRA pistol have blowback action: When the gun fires, the slide comes back in recoil, just as it would on a 1911 firearm. As it comes back, it cocks the hammer, so all you have to do is keep squeezing the trigger for each shot. The slide has some mass; so when it comes back, it imparts a realistic recoil to the pistol, not unlike that of a .22 rimfire firearm. It’s pleasant and also great for training, because a 1911 firearm does have some recoil.

Both safeties work
As I was shooting, I put the pistol on safe when reloading, and the gun could not be fired. I also attempted to fire the pistol with the grip safety not depressed, and it would not fire. So, both safeties work as they should.

So far, so good
This BB pistol is not just realistic-looking. It’s also very realistic to shoot. I hope it turns of to be accurate, as well, because this would be a wonderful trainer for the 1911.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

37 thoughts on “Colt WWII Commemorative CO2 BB pistol: Part 2”

  1. It sounds like somebody in marketeering is really starting to pay attention with these replicas. They are finding that it needs to more than vaguely look like the real thing. If they can build it to look, feel AND operate like the real thing, they will have a winner. I know someone who just might enjoy owning something like this.

    Now if I could just get them to build my air rifle.

    • Yes, does it come from the factory with that worn look? That’s nice attention to detail. The only disadvantage that I see to this pistol as a training tool is that it does not have extended thumb safety that you can hook your thumb on for more control. But in keeping with the gun’s realistic design, I believe that may have been a liability for a combat situation as the thumb safety causes your hand to release some pressure on the grip safety. Try as a might, with instinct shooting practice while holding the thumb safety, I will inevitably get a failure to fire because I’ve lost pressure on the grip safety. This is unacceptable as I read about in one case where a soldier in the Korean War woke up in his sleeping bag with an enemy soldier standing over him in the course of a nighttime action. The soldier slept with a 1911 in hand and emptied the gun right through the sleeping bag. No time for hand adjustments there.

      Still this gun would be great for combat type shooting which I’m enjoying very much with my rediscovered airsoft gun.


  2. GF1,

    BB and DQ have already played with the twist rates and written about it for us. As far as low powered air rifles shooting diabolos go, 1:16 is the optimum. Now when you get into high power slug slingers, it is indeed a different matter. It seems that they are using 1:14 mostly, but some are playing with 1:10.

    Upon a bit of too deep reflection, your idea may actually have some merit, most especially with R and D. Different lengths, masses and velocities would prefer different twists. I have noticed that most high velocity .22 rimfire ammo does not shoot all that well. Perhaps a different twist rate would help?

    The cost would be prohibitive though. It would likely cost as much to make each “choke” as to make another barrel. Most of these guys communicate quite freely with each other and just stick a new barrel on. You would have a VERY limited market for it. Just like the Rogue, once you found the best twist, you would leave it like it was.

    I do however see a possible market for this idea. Hmmm…

    • RR
      All in the name of air gunning. They are just thoughts that I have.

      What if me and you designed a new shape of a pellet and designed a fixed barrel that had the changeable tips that had different twist rates. A couple different tips could come with the gun or barrel and you had the option to buy more.

      Then we wanted to make sure our new pellet design took off and advertised that we have came up with this revolutionary barrel design that will help when finding the right pellet for your gun made easier. And we have a new designed pellet that works well with that barrel design.

      Then we introduce a new big bore bullpup or something. Do you see where I’m going.

      • LOL! You would not want to be in business with me. I would insist on a quality level that would be cost prohibitive. Our air rifles would have Daystate price tags on them.

        The market idea I had was for shotguns. A rifled screw in choke for a shotgun to allow them to use the diabolo slugs that are used in rifled barreled slug guns. I talked with a buddy of mine today and it turns out that they already have such.

        • RR
          I didn’t know they had rifled screw on chokes for shot guns now.

          I wonder how long they have been making them with the rifling. Its been quite sometime since I have done shotguns.

        • That’s cool, essentially turning your shotgun barrel into a smooth twist. Hopefully the rifling comes in slow or I imagine just smacking into full rifling would through it for a loop. But chokes are only like 4 inches right? Not much room for subtlety.

        • RR
          It has been years since I have took apart a shotgun slug shell to get the powder out for other purposes or shot one and recovered the slug for the lead, but do the current day slugs not have the rifling cast into the slug like they did back in the 70s and 80s.

          I know that the slug shells I had took apart all had rifling on the slug so that they would impart some what of a spin to the slug in a smoothbore shogun barrel. Is that still not the case or have they changed slugs to be smooth on there outer surface,


  3. I have a been a collector of 1911 model firearms for many years. I had to buy the Tanfoglio Witness.
    These action replicas are actually very accurate and fun to shoot. They are also every bit as much fun to play with. Polishing or what ever mods you feel like. The only waiting period is the delivery in the mail

  4. B.B.

    I really like these 1911 replicas. I’ve got the WWII Commemorative, the NRA Limited Edition, the Blackwater 1911, and the Colt Government 1911A1 pellet pistol. The only thing I would like now is the Umarex Colt Government 1911A1 pellet pistol with blowback.

  5. What I would like to know is if I bought 3 of these guns at one time and I opened them up and set them on a table.

    Would all 3 guns have the weather marks in the same place or did they weather them different for each gun? You know to make each a unique production replica.

      • BB
        That’s nice then.

        That was something we did to the scale Radio Control war birds when we made them. You could have the same 2 planes sitting side by side that somebody built but were definitely set apart by how they detailed and weathered the plane.

        That is a detail that makes or breaks the difference of a good replica of a in action type reproduction. To me anyway.

        • Ah, a fellow RC airplane enthusiast! My pride and joy is a replica Corsair. To bad I haven’t had the time or place to fly it for some time. It’s definitely a unique thrill.


          • Matt61
            I thought you knew I fly R/C airplanes.

            And there ain’t nothing like a tail dragger.

            My favorite when I was kid was the tiger teeth P40 Warhawks. Then as I got older it was the P51 Mustang’s.

            One of the planes that I had was the Dago Red P51 pylon racer.

            But just because I say those are my favorite I do have to say that I like all the warbirds.

  6. Ridgerunner, when the battery on your electronic trigger wears out, I guess you hope to have a replacement handy. With the proliferation of battery operated accessories on guns now, I would be surprised if that was the only problem.

    Ricka, we once had an aeronautical engineer on the blog who told us that the teardrop/domed shape was aerodynamically most efficient. That would explain why pointed pellets are less effective. But it doesn’t quite explain other successful designs like hollow-point target ammo which must call on different principles.

    Baron Wulfraed, yes, I did indeed skim over the part about the French slug gun. But I thought the point of yesterday’s post was that the dumbbell designed allowed you to spin a long bullet faster by reducing the frictional surface with the rifling and thus improve accuracy. The success of the French design does argue for some kind of aerodynamic value that I don’t understand, but it wouldn’t negate the value of the rifling effect.

    Also, it sounds like your argument against rifling applies to all rifling which cannot be true given the transformative effect of this innovation on both firearms and airguns. It plays a critical role in the very dynamic you describe with the tension between aerodynamic stabilization and gyroscopic precession as the nose drops down in the course of the bullet’s arc. Excessive stabilization results from overspinning the projectile which resists the gyroscopic precession and causes the nose to become misaligned with the flight path. On the other hand, underspinning the projectile leaves it to be buffeted by the air as it flies along at 2000 miles an hour in the case of 30-06 bullet. Even a pellet can move at almost 500 mph which is plenty turbulent enough and these forces can misalign the bullet just badly as overspinning. So, it’s not a case of whether to have rifling but of how much you need to strike the right balance to keep the bullet stabilized and pointed.

    Gunfun1, perhaps this answers your specific question about the sweet spot for spinning bullets. As to the more general question of why sweet spots are such a common feature of physical systems, that is a much tougher one. I saw a math professor once asked the question of why Euler’s number e with a value of something like 2.14…. appears so often in mathematical formula that seem to have nothing to do with each other. The same is true of Pi. The professor just said that it was a “fundamental number” which seemed evasive and begged the question of why it is fundamental. The fact is that nobody knows. I guess the phenomenon of sweet spots is part of the reality that there is always a better and a worse. 🙂


    • Airguns with electronic triggers are still alive.

      The Daystate MCT being the latest that I’m aware of. The batteries have a long life and are rechargable. Charger comes with the gun. The gun beeps at you when the battery is low. The MCT evolved from the CDT and MVT which also had onboard chronographs built into the guns along with numerous power settings.

      The onboard chronograph went away on the MCT and numerous power settings are now two, high and low. I didn’t like the electronic trigger on my MCT and didn’t like the stock. The trigger was like clicking a mouse connected to your computer and the swoopy, typical daystate stock doesn’t bench well. Accuracy was limited in my .22 cal to baracuda match pellets in 5.53 head size. Shot count was incredible though.


      • Kevin
        That’s what I thought about the trigger on the Evanix Speed. Plus the action sound was annoying since it was a semi- auto.

        To me it was like shooting a over priced AEG air soft gun that shoots pellets.

        I will say the quality of the gun was pretty good. But no way came close to the FX Monsoon as far as quality and performance is concerned.

    • Matt61
      It seems to me that the sweet spot is in a lot of things. You wouldn’t believe all the sweet spots that need to be found in the different components of a race car. Even our R/C planes.

      But it sure is wonderful when its found.

    • Baron Wulfraed, yes, I did indeed skim over the part about the French slug gun. But I thought the point of yesterday’s post was that the dumbbell designed allowed you to spin a long bullet faster by reducing the frictional surface with the rifling and thus improve accuracy. The success of the French design does argue for some kind of aerodynamic value that I don’t understand, but it wouldn’t negate the value of the rifling effect.

      While it may not, directly, negate the effects of rifling (which I can’t verify), UNLESS the shotgun had a “rifled choke tube” (presumes a barrel with replaceable choke tubes) the shotgun IS a smoothbore — so the behavior of that slug design is totally aerodynamic, with no spin stabilization.

      My comment is that spin might actually impart a negative effect — in that the gyroscopic forces from spin may counter the aerodynamic corrections. Ever play with a toy gyroscope? Your finger is the aerodynamic correction — with the gyroscope spinning on a table, push the top end with your finger, and note what the gyroscope does.

      “Rifled slugs” are slugs with diagonal grooves in the bearing surface — implication is that friction /may/ induce a bit of rotation (spin) on the slug as it passes down the smooth barrel.

      Also, it sounds like your argument against rifling applies to all rifling which cannot be true given the transformative effect of this innovation on both firearms and airguns.

      Not really… For “normal” bullets, it is the aerodynamic (and inertial) forces that are the detriment. They are designed to MINIMIZE the effects of air moving over them. A spitzer bullet is, in a way, the opposite of a pellet or these particular slugs — small at the tip and base, widest at the midpoint to engrave the rifling. What affects slow bullets at long range is that the spin stabilization keeps them pointing upwards while gravity is pulling them downwards — meaning aerodynamic forces are impacting on the /side/ of the bullet.

    • I think hollowpoints can be as affective because when they are manned to the tolerances they are today the additional angles about the nose aren’t throwing them off as they might’ve used to, I guess the cup in the front will cause a little bit of drag, but holds air that will deflect almost as if the cup weren’t there. As long as the bevel and outer shape around the cup are good aerodynamically I think they can be as ballistic ly efficient as a round nose, but I could be wrong, just my feeling on the cup holding air that will deflect.

    • Matt61 that is true that the hollow point technology seems to be advancing with pellets like the hunter extremes being the new rage. Everyone is saying they have power and accuracy and seem to be accurate at longer ranges. Do to the new more domed and crosscut head design maybe hmm… As for powder burner hollow points I have no experience I will listen to you and the others.

      • I’m about to try the extremes in the blaze, the Blackhawk didn’t like them then I had the .22 so they’ve been sitting. They expand awesome, the cross cut opens and flattens into a wavy mushroom that will definitely do its job as a hollowpoint. Maybe the gun or the batch but they were all over the place at 20 yards, like inch and a half, where the pellet the gun liked was closing in on 3/8ths of an inch. Hopefully they group good in this one cause I’d love to use em, also, I think the cphp should come in heavy…. As far as the French slug shape, check out the new “ruger” hollowpoints, pretty close, they basically explode though.

        • RDNA exploding is no good ! Lol. I know you mentioned you had them or were going to try them and thanks for the heads up but I’m steering clear of hollow points for now. Most of my guns don’t like any that I have tried including the cphp in .177 and .22 . I do shoot the RWS .25 grain hollow points out of the SynRod .25 but they group poorly for the most part. If I keep them inside 30 yards to hunt I feel more confident in the accuracy. They seem to have a loose fit and shoot hot? sounds weird but it’s the only description I can give with no chrony data.

  7. BB, I’ve never had a C02 gun where the cartridge came out with the bbs. Does the gun lose some gas every time the magazine is taken out and loaded with bbs? Just wondering. Thanks, Bradly

    • Bradley,

      I have the Colt WWII Commemorative. The CO2 is completely contained within the magazine including the shot valve which is located at the top of the magazine. No CO2 is lost when the magazine is removed.

    • Many “green gas” AirSoft guns use this scheme…

      The air valve is part of the magazine — the hammer fall bounces off the valve to release the gas.

      So… No loss of gas when dropping the magazine.

  8. Hi BB,
    I guess this is the first time you have tempted me with a replica pistol. I would only be interested in it as a trainer. How noisy is it? I was wondering if you could shoot it in the backyard? I just read that there is now a Luger replica with a moving toggle. My dad would like that one.

    David Enoch

  9. I have a question regarding yesterday’s big bore article, specifically twist rates. We know air guns or more commonly the air rifles, have a 1:16 twist rate, I believe, right? So wwhere is the chart that says at this velocity you should have this length pellet/bullet/projectile? It seems a good bunch of math and you could know the twist rate of any available pellet at what velocity based by starting with its length, if I understand correctly. So if gun A shoots a velocity V, with a twist rate of 1:16, then factoring the length of pellet A -pL, we can find the twist rate, pTr, of pellet A as V x 1:16, aka 75%,…… yeah, I’m losing it…. Yup it’s gone… can’t think of how pL is inserted. Anyone know if this is possible?

    • RDNA
      The thing I see about where you are going is there are way to many difference’s in the design of a pellet from manufacturer to manufacturer. You would need to know the waist diameter, were it’s located. The angle that gets bigger to the head diameter. If there is ribs on the skirt or if its smooth. Then throw in the weight of pellet and were the (cg) center of gravity is on the pellet.

      It would be much easier to have a pellet with a given design and a gun that can move a set amount of air. Take the smooth twist barrel that has a set length and then just swap out the screw on adapter that has different twist rates of rifling. And maybe more or less progressive twist rates. You could have multiple adapters with different setups.

      Then you could even have the choice of leaving the adapter with the rifling in it off. Then you could shoot your air gun as a smoothbore even.

      Just throwing ideas out there again.

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