Colt/Walther 1911 Gold Cup .22 LR Review

You don’t see many reviews for this gun so I figured I would share some of my experiences with the .22 LR Colt/Walther Gold Cup 1911. The gun was purchased at Top Guns of Terre Haute (www.indianatopguns.com) and I must admit I was very pleased with the price and service. This was my second firearm from Top Guns (Bersa was first) and both times have been great experiences.

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Agenda
This review will be broken down into eleven sections:
-About the Firearm
-Controls and Features
-Tech Specs
-Internals
-Externals
-Sights
-Magazines
-Range Report
-Plus-Minus
-Conclusion
-Ammunition Tested

About the Firearm
Ever since my grandfather told me he carried a 1911 in World War II, I have always wanted one of my own. The clean lines and classic styling of the Browning-designed handgun make it one of the best looking pistols out there and the fact that shooters still widely use the century-old design says a great deal about its longevity. Today however, we are going to talk about the Colt-branded, Walther-made .22 LR Gold Cup 1911, a slightly different beast than its bigger brothers.

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Controls and Features
The Gold Cup is a hammer-fired, single-action only pistol just like any traditional 1911. The frame mounted safety on the Gold Cup can be found on the left side of the grip area and is actuated with relative ease using the right thumb, but will only activate if the hammer is in the cocked position. It should be noted that the Rail Gun version of this .22 LR pistol does include an ambidextrous safety, while the Gold Cup and the Government models do not. When the manual safety is engaged, the slide is locked in place and the trigger cannot be pulled. Like any standard 1911, the Gold Cup features a grip safety that must be depressed in order for the gun to fire. The slide release is like any other non-extended 1911 slide release.

The barrel features P22 style threading. The Gold Cup has very similar heft to a full caliber 1911, but has a very lightweight aluminum slide, much like the Smith and Wesson M&P-22. From my perspective, the aluminum is likely to last longer and be less prone to breakage than what we have seen with the P22 series handguns. The handgun includes a single 12 round magazine and a plastic case.

Tech Specs

Caliber: .22 Long Rifle
Mag Capacity: 12 rnds
Weight w/out Mag: 2.25 lbs
Overall Length: 8.6 in
Barrel Length: 5 in
Barrel Twist: 1 in 13-3/4 in
Grooves: 6
Operation: Blowback
Trigger: Single Action 5.5   lbs
Rear Sight: Fully Adjustable   Target Sight
Front Sight: Removable, Drift   Adjustable
Safety: Manual Thumb Safety,   Grip Safety, Disconnector
Extractor: Internal + Pinned   Ejector
Muzzle Thread: M8x.75mm

Internals
Disassembly of the Gold Cup should be partially familiar to those who have handled full caliber 1911s. First, the magazine must be removed and the safety deactivated. Then, the recoil spring plug at the muzzle of the handgun is depressed and the bushing turned counter clockwise. After these parts have been removed, the recoil spring should slide out with ease. You will notice that the recoil spring looks fairly ugly and is untreated. ZTRS does produce a nicer recoil spring, but I do not have any experience with it as of yet.

At this point, the similarities in disassembly start to end. The slide must be pulled back to the point where it locks. Then, using a small punch the slide release may be punched out. Be sure that the slide notch and the release lever are properly aligned. After the lever has been removed, the slide can be pulled back and up off the rails of the frame. The slide can then be pushed to the front of the frame and past the barrel for removal.

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The Gold Cup features a fixed barrel that is pinned in place. This differs from the GSG 1911 substantially in this area. Unlike the GSG barrel which can be removed from the frame by loosening a screw, the Gold Cup has a pinned barrel. This proven design should be familiar for anyone who has used a P22 or M&P-22. The straight blowback system used by the Gold Cup is not much different than that found in the PP/PPK or Bersa Thunder handguns. There is some minute play between the slide in the frame that may affect accuracy in relation to the fixed barrel, but based on range experience, this seems negligible.

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The manual safety, grips and screws, grip safety, disconnector, hammer and strut, sear, mainspring housing and internals, sear spring, and magazine catch can all be exchanged with centerfire 1911 parts. All the lock work on the gun is steel and parts can be tuned like any 1911.

Externals
Externally, the firearm has a very nice matte black finish that seems to be much more durable than what is found on the GSG 1911s. After around 300 rounds, there is no discernible wear on the slide or frame. The provided grips are checkered wraparound Pachmayr-style and are made of rubber. For someone with larger hands, these grips should be very comfortable as they do increase grip circumference slightly. The trigger on the firearm is skeletonized with three holes and the slide has laser engravings which read, “COLT GOLD CUP TROPHY”. The diagonal slide serrations are limited to the rear of the slide, but are very tactile and easy to engage. As was mentioned before, the slide is very lightweight aluminum while the frame is a heavy zinc alloy. Overall, the feel of a centerfire 1911 is well replicated.

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Sights
Unlike other models in the Colt/Walther .22 LR line, the Gold Cup has a windage and elevation adjustable rear sight in addition to the dovetailed adjustable front sight. Tools are provided with the firearm to adjust the rear sight and a provided hex key may be used to adjust the front sight. The sights on the Gold Cup are plain black and feature no dots or illumination for quick acquisition. This is one area where I would have preferred a white dot on at least the front sight to aid with reacquisition while shooting. Otherwise, the sights work very well.

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Magazines
The magazine holds 12 rounds single stacked and appears to be constructed from stamped steel. On each side of the magazine there is a tab to assist in depressing the magazine spring in order to load rounds. I have found that loading in this manner can result in a situation where the top round’s rim gets caught behind the lower round’s rim. Such a scenario can lead to a magazine-caused failure to feed (FTF) if left uncorrected. The plastic baseplate can be removed by depressing a button on the bottom of the magazine. Magazines drop free easily when released. The Gold Cup comes with a loading tool to help depress the follower tab while loading. Though the magazine is very similar to that used in the P22, magazines are not interchangeable between the two firearms.

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Range Report
The Gold Cup’s first trip to the range was very impressive. CCI Mini-Mags (36 grain) and Remington Golden Bullets (40 grain) both functioned with 100% reliability. On the second trip out, I focused on making sure the Gold Cup worked well with the usually widely available Federal Champion bulk ammunition (36 grain). Unlike my Bersa, the Gold Cup ate the Federal with very few problems. The slide did occasionally short stroke and fail to feed the next round, but I think this was generally caused by my thumbs-forward grip putting pressure on the side of the slide. Because the malfunction was rather easily replicated, I would recommend using Federal bulk only in low stress, non-competitive situations.

Accuracy was very respectable. At 10 yards, 3-4 inch groups were easily managed. I am no pistol marksman by any stretch, but was able to shoot groups with the Gold Cup that were comparable to mine with my 9mm USP. The single action trigger does appear to break at right around 5.5 lbs. To me, this is pretty average, but as someone who is used to DA/SA it is not awful. Overall, for a 1911 trainer or fun plinker, the Gold Cup is certainly accurate enough.

Plus-Minus
+ Well finished
+ Weighs nearly as much as a centerfire 1911
+ Reliable with most common ammunition
+ Easily adjustable sights
+ Decent grips with aggressive checkering
+ Reasonably accurate
- Some play in slide/frame
- Only one magazine
- Average trigger

Conclusion
To wrap things up, the Gold Cup is an excellent .22 LR handgun. It faithfully replicates the feel and controls of a centerfire 1911 and serves as an excellent gun for shooters both new and experienced. Though the Colt/Walther 1911s do not receive the same sort of attention that the GSG guns enjoy, they are every bit as nice. The Walther design has been proven reliable and the materials used in the Colt branded offerings appear to be above those used in the P22. The Gold Cup and Rail Gun models tend to run just shy of $400 on a good day and the Government model comes in at around $350. Anyone looking to purchase a .22 LR 1911 would be wise to give the Colt/Walther handguns some serious consideration.

Gold Cup with AAC thread adapter

Gold Cup with AAC thread adapter

Ammunition Tested
CCI Mini-Mags: 36 grain, Hollow Point, 1260 fps (rated) (100% reliable)

Federal Champion Bulk Pack (load #745): 36 grain, Hollow Point, 1260 fps (rated) (75% reliable, user induced short strokes)

Remington Golden Bullets: 36 grain, Hollow Point, 1280 fps (rated) (100% reliable)

Gemtech Subsonic: 42 grain, Round Nose,  1020 fps (rated) (100% reliable)

CCI Standard Velocity:  40 grain, Round Nose, 1070 fps (rated) (100% reliable)

19 thoughts on “Colt/Walther 1911 Gold Cup .22 LR Review

  1. Thank you for this review. I just recently purchased the Walther 1911 A1 and have found it to be an excellent pistol for the price. I just ran about 50 rounds of SK lead round nose through it this weekend w/ no problems. I have added an inexpensive set of wooden grips from Midway USA > http://goo.gl/JCXji http://goo.gl/KN1fZ < Again, thank you for the review. Sparky

    • grips screws aren’t the same size as the bigger 1911s, grips fit but I bought a set of s/s hex head and too bit at the thread

  2. does this colt walther 1911 .22 have threads on the inside of the barrel which can accommodate a noise suppressor ? if so , which noise suppressor do you recommend ? thank you .

    • The barrel is threaded for a suppressor adapter (similar to the P22). As for suppressors, it is hard to pick one among all the fine rimfire options out there. If you are looking for something that is affordable, the Huntertown Arms Guardian 22 retails at $199 and reviews pretty well.

      • I bought an adapter for the suppressor for a cost of about 50 bucks. It changes the small threads to a standard suppressor size (don’t remember what that is). The only draw back is that the wrench included with the Colt is a tad too small but can be filed to open it up as it only takes about .008 inches AND you can’t disassemble the gun with the adaptor on. I have fired it and it shoots REALLY well.

      • That’s good to hear! I am awaiting approval on a SWR Octane 45. I will be sure to try it out with this handgun. From what I have seen, the Octane still performs pretty well with sub-caliber ammunition and hosts.

  3. I actually have one already…just haven’t shot it yet. One reason is it is VERY hard to find 22 ammo. The other, I just haven’t had the time.
    I have tried several searches for an additional magazine. Does anyone know where I can purchase one???
    Thanks and a good review. Can’t wait to try mine on the range…maybe this weekend.

    • Try cheaper than dirt i got 4 extra mags 2 at a time. Price shipped for 2 at a time was around 65 bucks. They are Colt branded as well.

    • Hi Ricardo. My apologies for the slow response. The part you describe is a loading tool for the magazine. Essentially, it helps to depress the follower while loading rounds. Thanks for asking.

      • I actually purchased another magazine from Walther/Colt. I contacted them by e-mail after finding them on line and ask the same question about an additional magazine. I told them they should include 2 with the gun…they said they didn’t and do not intend to do so in the future…but they will sell you one for about 40 bucks. It is worth it as you can’t find them any where…including gun shows, YET!!!

  4. You mentioned it was short stroking with federal ammo. Mine seems to be short stroking with the federal ammo also, but only on the first three shells of the magazine. Did you have similar problems?

    • Ryan,
      My issues seem to persist throughout the entire magazine. Many people believe these work better with 40 grain ammunition. Personally, this is why I rarely use Federal bulk ammunition in the 1911 anymore.

  5. To ensure that most 22 ammo functions correctly in the Colt Walther 1911, you have to keep it properly lubed. Aluminum/Zinc alloy don’t always work well together. Most of the bearing surface is on the back part of the zinc lower, and the firing pin steel housing in the slide. You have to keep these properly lubed to get consistent cycling.
    Also get the ZR Tactical recoil spring, world of difference, and use quality ammo, when you can find it.

  6. I don’t know guns, tech wise, just seemed to work and cycle better with the new spring. Was shooting American Eagle 40 grain solid H Velocity this week-end and cycled through the clips with only one jam/non discharge. The pistol was cleaned and oiled before this shoot also. I agree that when I do have jams/non discharges that it is always w/ the first one or two rounds so I have started loading my 12 round clips w/ only 10 rounds and that may also be helping.

    • Good to know. I may try the ZRTS spring at some point to see how it affects reliability. As I mentioned in the review, the gun really does not like Federal bulk pack ammunition. My goal is to get it to cycle more reliably.

      I think I understand what you mean by it cycling better. One of the first things I noticed about this 1911 is that racking the slide is far from a smooth process and resistance is variable throughout the motion. I would also be interested to see how the ZRTS spring affects this.

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