Question for Tuner re his M1911 of 1919


December 8, 2006, 06:49 PM
Hi, Tuner -

A buddy recently picked up what appears to be an arsenal refinished (parked) M1911. I was wondering how close it might be to your M1911 of 1919 vintage. His s/n is 5008XX, is that anywhere near the s/n of yours? He'd love having any additional info. He's finally starting to relax a little now that I have him convinced that $300 wasn't too much for him to have paid.



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December 8, 2006, 07:06 PM
Your friend's pistol is a later 1918 production "Black Army" Colt. The value would depend on how original/correct it is, and the overall condition of the gun. Parkerizing suggests an arsenal refinish, which would be stamped on the receiver as:

SA (Springfield Armory)
RIA (Rock Island Arsenal)
AA (Augusta Arsenal)
BA (Benecia Arsenal)
RA (Raritan Arsenal)
SAA (San Antonio Arsenal)

Springfield usually stamped their mark on the right side of the frame, with others *usually* going to the left, but any of them could be on either side.

Many arsenal reworked pistols have been seen with pre-A1 frames and A1 slides, and vice-versa...though it's usually the former, as slides were replaced far more often than frames. Even so...A re-arsenaled USGI pistol in good mechanical order would be well worth the 300 dollars. Good, clean arsenal reworked pistols have been slowly but steadily gaining in desireability and collectable value in the last few years.

December 8, 2006, 09:34 PM
Many thanks for your rapid reply, Tuner! The pistol looks to be in very good shape (I have it in my hot grubbies as we speak). It does indeed have an "A A" stamped on the left side of the frame just in front of the slide release pivot point. It's two A's with a space between them as opposed to an "AA" stamp. There is also the number 36 stamped into the base of the trigger guard at about 8 O'Clock from the mag release. There's also a mark about a half-inch above the mag release that's all but impossible for me to decipher: it MAY be "S7" or even "S17". Or possibly something else entirely. :) There's something that appears to be some kind of symbol above the S7/S17 mark. Maybe I'll be better able to determine what is is in the daylight.

The whole thing appears to be in very nice shape - there's only a VERY faint idiot mark - more like a hint of one than an actual scratch through the parkerizing.

A local dealer who collects military 1911's told me he'd estimate a gun-show value at $600 to $650. Also said he'd be a buyer, but I suspect at a significantly lower price.:uhoh:

Thanks again for the info - I'll pass it along to my friend. He'll be tickled to learn more about his pistol.

Take care,


December 9, 2006, 07:53 AM
Short on time at the moment, but real quick...

It's S12, and that's an ordnance acceptance mark. If it has a VP inside an inscribed triangle on the front left side of the trigger guard, it was returned to Colt for repair. That's Colt's "Verified Proof" mark. I'll try to come back and list more of the markings later. The dogs are ready for their mornin' workout...:rolleyes:

December 10, 2006, 09:52 AM
Thanks once more, Tuner. I can't find any adittional markings, so guess it wasn't sent back for any repairs.

My buddy & I went to the local gun show yesterday and stumbled across his 1911's brother (sister?) which was in similar condition. The dealer's pistol was s/n 504XXX, so was only a tad younger my friend's 5008XX. Dealer wanted $975 for his example, so my buddy's aprehensions have now completely evaporated. :rolleyes:

Thanks again,


December 10, 2006, 10:04 AM
Rick...Take the slide off and look at the top of the frame around the disconnect tunnel. Look under the firing pin stop to see if there are any numbers there, and if they match the last three digits of the serial number, and for any other marks in the area. Look at the barrel, on the sides of the lower lug. There are marks all over those old warhorses that'll tell him a lot about his pistol.

I get all hitched up whenever somebody is thirsty for information on one of these old heirlooms. :cool:

December 11, 2006, 12:40 PM
Good morning, Tuner -

We didn't see anything on the frame around the dissconnect tunnel, but did find what looked to be an "M" stamped on the back of the slide just above the FP stop. Under the FP stop, just above the firing pin, is the letter "C" (kinda tilted), but no numbers. We did spot an "E" about an inch and a half in front of the disconnecter notch on the underside of the slide.

There were a few other marks that we couldn't make out - probably due to the beadblasting/parkerizing process.

Thanks for the helpful hints & additional info!


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