In this study, twelve full-scale column specimens designed for pure flexure were tested under repetitive displacement cycles with high amplitude. Two typical column designs were employed in the production of samples representing sub-standard and code-conforming columns, respectively. The main variable in the experiments was the histories of the imposed displacement amplitudes. The deformation-based performance limits proposed by Eurocode 8, ASCE/SEI 41 and Turkish Seismic Code (TDY-2007) for sub-standard columns were found conservative in view of the test results, which may lead to misleading results in seismic risk assessment of existing concrete structures. On the other hand, according to the test results of code-conforming columns, the performance limits predicted by Eurocode and TDY 2007 are found to be reasonable. However, ASCE/SEI 41 performance limits appear to be somewhat conservative especially in predicting the experimental performance of column plastic hinges under moderate axial load levels.