Two New Limited Edition Colt .45 Auto Pistols from TALO


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

May 5th, 2008




There was a time when “.45 Auto” meant “Colt”. Even years after more modern double action auto forty-fives were on the market, .45 Auto still referred to the Colt 1911 design. For decades, Colt was king of the 1911 style auto market. It is a market that Colt should still own. Colt makes some very fine auto pistols, but it seems that they just do not make enough. “1911 .45 Auto” has now become a generic term, as many different companies now produce and import 1911 copies, and there are some very good ones on the market. Colt still makes the 1911 in various forms. I would love to have one of their new Lightweight Commander .45 Autos that have the ambidextrous safety and Novak sights, but so far I can’t find one for sale.

Anyway, I was surprised to get word about a month ago that Colt was producing two limited versions of their .45 Auto for TALO, Inc. TALO has had produced some very nice guns for their wholesalers in the past, such as the excellent John Wayne Vaquero that I reviewed a few months ago. These two new Colts are a couple of the best that Colt has put out in many years. I was particularly glad to see the Gold Cup National Match return with its high polish finish and beautiful grips. It also comes with its own wood presentation case. The Gold Cup has the traditional seven-shot magazine, but the extra magazine supplied is the eight-shot version. The Sterling comes supplied with two of the eight-shot magazines. Both guns functioned perfectly with any of the magazines, and are throated to feed any type of .45 ACP ammunition. The Gold Cup has a lighter, or “softball” spring, as it is commonly referred to, but also comes with a full-power hardball spring, should the owner want to shoot high performance ammunition. The Sterling has a full-length guide rod spring system. The Gold Cup has the standard Colt right-hand thumb safety. The Sterling has an extended ambidextrous safety. The Gold Cup has a target adjustable rear sight, somewhat like their old Elliason sight, but made by Champion. The Sterling has a three-dot combat type sight, adjustable for windage. While the Gold Cup has a high polish deep blue finish, the Sterling has a matte blue finish, and is engraved with sterling silver highlights. The hammer and barrel bushing are nickel plated. This is basically a Government Model .45 XSE, that has been dressed up a bit into this special edition, which is limited to only 300 guns. The Gold Cup National Match is also limited to only 300 guns. Both pistols have special grips and serial numbers.

Both of these pistols shot very well, and were very accurate. I fired the Sterling with high performance ammunition, but limited the Gold Cup to a handloaded 200 grain lead semi-wadcutter load. To hopefully stop the huge influx of emails requesting my standard semi-wadcutter handload that always occurs after I use it in a review, here is the recipe: This load is not especially loaded to target grade specs, as I use this for my general .45 ACP practice load. It is loaded in mixed headstamp cases, with 5.7 grains of WW 231 powder and a Winchester WLP large pistol primer, seated to show just a bit of the front shoulder, and finished off with a taper crimp The pistols were fired at a paper target at a distance of twenty-five yards, and held in my Ransom Master Rest. The Sterling exhibited great accuracy, but the Gold Cup was the most accurate 1911 that I have ever tested. The Sterling grouped best with Cor-Bon PowRBall, and could hold these into five-shot groups of less than two inches all day long. The handloads in the Gold Cup just cut ragged holes in the target, with the five-eighths inch group shown typical of its performance. The trigger pulls on the Sterling and Gold Cup measured four pounds, five ounces on the Sterling and five pounds, nine ounces on the Gold Cup. Weights were 38.2 ounces for the Sterling and 39 ounces for the Cup.

There is not a lot more that I can say about these two fine limited edition pistols. They are beautiful, accurate, easy to shoot, and chambered for one of the best pistol cartridges ever invented. They are also authentic Colts, and are sure to appreciate in value. These pistols are built in the Colt Custom Shop, and come with a certificate of authenticity and packaged in a specially-labeled box. As noted above, the Gold Cup has a special fitted wood presentation box also.

Suggested retail price on the Sterling and the Gold Cup are $1399 and $1479 US, respectively, at the time of this writing. This is less expensive than some of the plain 1911 pistols on the market, and these TALO exclusives are genuine Colts.

These guns are distributed through TALO exclusive wholesalers. You can get more details at

For the location of a TALO dealer near you, click on the DEALER FINDER at

Most dealers will not have these in stock, as the numbers are limited. Have your dealer to call Lipsey’s at 1-800-666-1333 or Davidson’s at 928-776-8055 to get one for you.

Jeff Quinn


For a list of dealers where you can buy this gun, go to: To buy this gun online, go to:





Both pistols come with Certificates of Authenticity...



...and special box logos.



The Gold Cup National Match comes with a gorgeous presentation case.



Comparison of recoil systems: Sterling (top), Gold Cup National Match (bottom).



Both pistols feature Colt's Series 80 firing pin safety.



As befits premium Custom Shop pistols bearing the Colt pedigree, these limited-edition .45s can SHOOT!


NOTE: All load data posted on this web site are for educational purposes only. Neither the author nor 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.

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Click pictures for a larger version.


TALO's limited-edition Colt .45 ACP pistols: Gold Cup National Match (top) and Sterling (bottom).



Colt / TALO Gold Cup National Match.



Colt / TALO Sterling.