Colt New Army 1909. Safe for the range?


February 9, 2011, 09:03 PM
I'm not a collector; but I'm from a military family and as a result I've inherited a small arsenal.

And amongst that arsenal is a 1909 army issue Colt Revolver (plain walnut stocks, army markings, etc.). The double action on it works perfectly and aside from a little tarnish the thing seems to be in great shape. I'm really tempted to take this sucker out to the firing range and give it a go with some .45 rounds; but I don't want to risk damaging the gun and since I'm not a collector I'm not entirely certain how careful I need to be with an old and rather rare gun like this.

So considering the gun's rarity I'm wondering if you guys think its safe to take it out to the range or not?

I'd appreciate any advise you can give me.

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Jesse Heywood
February 9, 2011, 10:34 PM
Most of the damage done to guns is from handling. Shooting with correct ammo and proper cleaning will not damage your gun, unless it is in pristine condition. If there is a ring around the cylinder from the bolt, I consider the gun as one that can be fired. If there is no ring, you don't want to turn the cylinder.

February 9, 2011, 10:46 PM
I take it you mean a Colt New Service, U.S. Army Model of 1909, chambered for .45 Colt. I would have the timing checked, restrict my ammo selection to cowboy loads and have fun.

Jim Watson
February 9, 2011, 10:46 PM
I got so caught up in history in the other thread that I didn't get into it; but the New Service ought to handle any standard factory loaded .45 Colt (255 @ 850 fps, not the Ruger only magnumized stuff) without a hitch.

Ken Waters put the New Service in the same category as Gen 2-3 SAAs and S&W M25-26.

February 9, 2011, 10:47 PM
The Colt Army M1909 revolver is a New Service. It's fine with standard-pressure .45 Colt rounds. I own one, and it's as shootable as any other New Service revolver. A box of 250 grain "Cowboy Action" loads will shoot to point-of-aim, since the service load was a 250 grain bullet at around 725 ft/sec.

February 9, 2011, 10:55 PM
Well the gun is in good condition; but certainly not pristine, so I'm thinking it should be safe to fire.

My only slight concern is that the 1909 apparently used a special round made just for the gun which is no longer manufactured and very rare. But; after a little more research I've now read a few posts where people have said that a 1909 can fire a .45 long colt perfectly well though.

From what I've been reading the only difference between the discontinued M1909 ammo and a standard .45 long colt round is that the ring around the base of the cartridge is a little larger in diameter. This modification to the round was apparently done to make emptying the spent shell casings quicker and easier since the spent casings on normal .45 rounds apparently had a tendency to get stuck in the cylinders which would clearly be a problem in a combat scenario; but not really an issue for recreational use.

At the moment I don't have any .45 long colt rounds only .45 ACP rounds which clearly don't fit the gun, so I can't check to see if the round makes a proper seal between the bolt and the cylinder; but once I get my hands on some I'll be sure to check before I try firing it. Aside from that I think I'll run it by a gunsmith and get it checked out, thoroughly serviced and cleaned since its been sitting around for a few decades then I'll give it a go.

I'm looking forward to seeing how much kick it has compared to the .38 special colt commando revolver and model 1911 Colt pistol I've been shooting.

Thanks for the help everyone.

Old Fuff
February 10, 2011, 12:08 AM
Model 1909 .45 revolvers were all assembled using regular New Service commercial parts. That included the cylinders that were chambered in .45 Colt. What was supposedly modified was the ammunition, and the case rim. However I have found that at least some of the Frankford Arsenal 1909 cases have rims that are identical to current .45 Colt.

Jim Watson
February 10, 2011, 12:12 AM
I had a .455 S&W that had been reamed out to .45 Colt.
Let me tell you, the skinny barrel and big holes in the cylinder kept the weight down well below what we now consider normal for a .44 or .45 and the grips were narrow.
I thought it a considerably hard kicker.

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