Colt’s Manufacturing Company has in the
past few months re-introduced some legendary firearms from their
past; the New Frontier revolver and
the Mustang PocketLite 380
auto pistol. Both are welcome additions to the market, and
both firearms have proven to be superior to their namesake
predecessors. Now, Colt has just introduced the latest in the
celebrated Gold Cup line of match-grade target pistols with
their Gold Cup National Match.
The Gold Cup pistols have for decades been
the standard to which other match pistols were compared. I
remember back in the late 1970s when I was having a 1911 pistol
built for me. Being newly married and finishing up building a
house that I had been working on for over a year, I was wanting
my first 45 Auto, but the Gold Cup was out of reach for me
financially. I had a gunsmith who obtained for me a National
Match slide, barrel, and bushing. Looking back, he probably
obtained it by less than honorable means, but I did not know
that at the time. Anyway, he built it up on an Essex frame, and
I ordered a good adjustable sight for it. I would have liked to
have had a Bo-Mar, but could not afford that extravagance at the
time, and settled upon a good Micro rear sight. Anyway, my only
directive to the ‘smith was to “Make it shoot as good as a
Gold Cup”. He did a fine job with the accuracy, carefully
fitting the slide, barrel, bushing, and frame. It had some
reliability issues, but I corrected those myself. Anyway, it was
a poor man’s Gold Cup, but the Colt Gold Cup was still the
standard at that time.
The Gold Cup National Match has a few design
changes from earlier renditions of the Gold Cup, most
prominently a round-top slide with a new Bo-Mar style
fully-adjustable rear sight. The new Gold Cup National Match
retains the Series 80 style firing pin safety, which prevents
the weapon from firing if dropped, and has a lightweight
aluminum trigger with an overtravel stop adjustment. The Gold
Cup National Match ships with both one seven-round magazine and
one eight-round magazine, and they each slip easily into the
beveled magazine well. Set up from the factory to shoot light
target loads, the lightweight spring is color-coded green, and a
full-power spring is included for shooting high-performance
hollowpoint and hardball ammunition. The five-inch forged CNC-machined
match-grade stainless steel barrel is throated to efficiently
and reliably feed target semi-wadcutter ammunition, which is the
preferred choice of many target shooting competitors.
The carbon steel slide and frame on the Gold
Cup National Match pistol shown here are beautifully fitted and
finished. The grip panels are a wraparound black synthetic
rubber with molded-in checkering, which is not my personal
favorite for beauty, but provide an excellent hold on the pistol
under adverse conditions, and grips are easily changed to suit
individual tastes and preferences. The grip does feel very good
in the hand, and is reminiscent of the Pachmayr grips which were
so popular on 1911 pistols in my younger days.
The Gold Cup National Match arrived here a
few days ago, and upon opening the box, I was impressed. With a
large assortment of 1911 pistols now on the market from which to
choose, this Colt still stands out with its polished blued
finish and tightly-fitted construction.
Critical dimensions are listed in the chart
below. Weight is listed in ounces. Linear measurements are
listed in inches. Trigger pull is listed as pounds of
resistance. Height includes the sights and magazine base, with
the rear sight set at its intermediate position.
|Weight with Empty Magazine
||7 rounds / 8 rounds
The Gold Cup National Match pistol was fired
for accuracy and reliability with several brands and types of
ammunition. Velocities were recorded at a distance of ten feet,
at an altitude of 541 feet above sea level, and an air
temperature hovering around forty-three degrees Fahrenheit with
sixty-seven percent humidity. Velocities are recorded in the
chart below, and are listed in feet-per-second. JHP is a
jacketed hollowpoint bullet. EPR and AF are specialty premium
bullets as loaded by Extreme Shock
Ammunition. DPX is a homogenous copper hollowpoint. FMJ is a
full metal jacket bullet. WCC is Winchester military hardball
ammo. PB is Cor-Bon Pow’RBall.
|Buffalo Bore JHP
|Buffalo Bore FMJ
|Extreme Shock EPR
|Extreme Shock AF
Reliability was one hundred percent. There
were no failures or stoppages of any kind. Every cartridge fed,
fired, and ejected perfectly. The Colt performed very well with
my standard target handload; this load consists of a Rim Rock
200 grain lead SWC atop 5.5 grains of Hodgdon Titegroup powder
in a new primed S&W 45 ACP case. This is a moderate load,
and a very good general working load for a 1911 pistol. I used
the standard-power recoil spring for all loads tested. I do not
shoot light loads in my 1911 pistols, so had no need to use the
lighter weight spring. It is a good practice to always use the
heaviest spring that allows one-hundred percent reliability.
Accuracy was very good, with all ammo tested grouping in the
just under one inch up to the two and one-half inches range at
twenty-five yards from my Ransom Rest.
Brass ejected cleanly to the right, and the empty cartridge
cases were not damaged nor dented, leaving them in very good
condition to be reloaded.
The Gold Cup National Match performed as I
have come to expect a Colt Gold Cup to perform, which is very
well. With a couple of different loads, accuracy was superb, and
pretty good with even the worst-performing ammunition tested.
Functioning was perfect. The pistol handled exceptionally well,
and was very easy to shoot precisely with either a one-handed
hold or using a Weaver stance. The new Gold Cup National Match
pistol from Colt is perhaps the best in the Gold Cup line to
date. I certainly like the Bo-Mar-style rear sight, which
combined with the black post front, gives an excellent sight
picture for target work. The trigger is crisp; about one pound
heavier than I prefer on a 1911 pistol, but still very good. The
magazine well is beveled. I tried each type of ammo tested with
both of the magazines, and again, functioning was perfect.
The Colt Gold Cup National Match 1911 pistol
is a pistol that would be equally well-suited to punching paper
on the range, hunting game, or in filling a much more serious
role as a combat handgun. Check out the line of Colt firearms
and accessories online at www.coltsmfg.com.
For the location of a Colt dealer near you,
click on the DEALER LOCATOR at www.lipseys.com.
To order the Gold Cup National Match pistol
online, go to www.galleryofguns.com.
To order quality pistol ammunition, go to www.buffalobore.com,
NOTE: All load data posted on this
web site are for educational purposes only. Neither the author nor
GunBlast.com assume any responsibility for the use or misuse of this data.
The data indicated were arrived at using specialized equipment under
conditions not necessarily comparable to those encountered by the
potential user of this data. Always use data from respected loading
manuals and begin working up loads at least 10% below the loads indicated
in the source manual.