1903 Colt Pocket Hammerless


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JohnnyCremains
November 26, 2012, 05:54 PM
Since this page is always lousy with modern plastic autoloaders and guns that are pure function with no beauty...here's something from 100 years ago.

Yes they made .380s 100 years ago. This one was made in 1911:

http://i687.photobucket.com/albums/vv236/twaits/Colt%20Automatics/IMG_3456.jpg

http://i687.photobucket.com/albums/vv236/twaits/Colt%20Automatics/IMG_3458.jpg

http://i687.photobucket.com/albums/vv236/twaits/Colt%20Automatics/IMG_3463.jpg

http://i687.photobucket.com/albums/vv236/twaits/Colt%20Automatics/IMG_3464.jpg

http://i687.photobucket.com/albums/vv236/twaits/Colt%20Automatics/IMG_3465.jpg

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tarosean
November 26, 2012, 07:14 PM
Very nice... I went to a gun show this past weekend with the sole intention of finding one. Unfortunately, the few that were there the owners were off their rockers. So now I have three on gunbroker on my watch list. It's one of those guns that just speaks "engrave me".

JohnnyCremains
November 26, 2012, 07:59 PM
I bought this one a couple of years ago from Cabelas for $465.
They thought it was refinished. I know better when it comes to these early Colts..so I win :)

DesertVet
November 26, 2012, 08:09 PM
I have a .32 caliber version.
Neat historic pistol.

Dmath
November 26, 2012, 08:18 PM
These guns hold a special place in my heart. My dad had two that were issued to him as an Air Force officer -- one in .380, the other in .32 ACP. I don't know what became of them after he passed on, but a few years ago I found a Model M .380 at a gun show, bought it for $400, and these days it's one of my favorites.

At one point I had a link to a site that would let me track down the date of manufacture by serial number for it, but that was two computers and two ISPs ago. Where can I find out, do you know?

The serial number is 106XXX, has an integrated barrel bushing, 3 inch barrel, and magazine safety. According to Wikipedia, that would mean it was made in 1911, but I somehow doubt it's quite that old.

tarosean
November 26, 2012, 08:24 PM
Math, www.proofhouse.com puts it at 1911

hso
November 26, 2012, 08:27 PM
I have a handful of these including an M and a US Military issue.

56hawk
November 26, 2012, 08:31 PM
Technically isn't it a Colt 1908 Pocket Hammerless if it's in .380? I have one in 32 and one in 380. They are fun little guns.

Dmath
November 26, 2012, 08:47 PM
Thanks, Tarosean.

But my reading of that site puts it at at 1931 -- or am I missing something?

tarosean
November 26, 2012, 08:57 PM
-- or am I missing something?

My reading skills? Lol.. I was thinking you said you had a 32. My bad.

TimboKhan
November 26, 2012, 09:23 PM
Very nice guns, still. Among my favorites to shoot, in fact.

cfullgraf
November 26, 2012, 09:41 PM
Technically isn't it a Colt 1908 Pocket Hammerless if it's in .380? I have one in 32 and one in 380. They are fun little guns.

Yes, I think the 380 ACP version was called a 1908 and the 32 ACP version was a 1903. Essentially the same pistol except for caliber.

I have one of each and shoot them on occasions. They are wonderful to shoot.

I wish current manufacture pistols were made as good.

Jim K
November 26, 2012, 11:26 PM
Collectors call the .32 the Model 1903 and the .380 the Model 1908; the .25 Vest Pocket is also called the Model 1908.

But Colt didn't use those model dates; the .32 and .380 were both called just the Hammerless Pocket Automatic. They are not quite the same; the early .380's had a larger mag well than the .32 and .380 mags won't fit .32 pistols. (The Model 1903 Pocket Model is a dual link gun in .38 ACP.)

Jim

JohnnyCremains
November 26, 2012, 11:34 PM
(The Model 1903 Pocket Model is a dual link gun in .38 ACP.)

Jim,

I have a couple of those as well. 1903 Pocket Hammers. Great pistols:

http://i687.photobucket.com/albums/vv236/twaits/Colt%20Automatics/IMG_1434-1.jpg

JohnnyCremains
November 26, 2012, 11:37 PM
Oh heck while we're at it here is my 1908 Vest Pocket in .25 ACP

http://i687.photobucket.com/albums/vv236/twaits/Colt%20Automatics/IMG_2637.jpg

This was another great Cabelas deal for about $700. Original box with the fairly rare one year only pamplet (1917) on the tansley magazine safety. And 4 extra Colt factory magazines which are worth about $100 each:

Dmath
November 27, 2012, 12:14 AM
I have the impression that the 1908 .380 was about the first "pocket" auto that was also a decent self-defense caliber. In other words, just about the first true CCW auto -- pocketable, anyway.

Heavy, though, compared to present-day pocket autos in .380.

Cocked & Locked
November 27, 2012, 08:29 AM
Nice little Colts!

My .32 is cosmetically challenged but it is a reliable shooter. The holster in the picture is an A.E. Nelson (since 1938) cross draw specific to the .32 & .380 Pocket Auto pistols. It is marked "Colt 32" on the back.

http://pic90.picturetrail.com/VOL2169/3082611/6259764/381649867.jpg

My one and only 1908 Vest Pocket .25 looks better and also functions great.

http://pic90.picturetrail.com/VOL2169/3082611/6259764/317273115.jpg

http://pic90.picturetrail.com/VOL2169/3082611/6259764/381416353.jpg

JohnnyCremains
November 27, 2012, 09:17 AM
I've also got this 1903 from 1917. Although it is shiny it isn't nickel. I think it might just be bare steel. There are traces of blue in certain areas so I think someone removed the finish. Perhaps when someone engraved the monograms they intended to have it plated but never did:

http://i687.photobucket.com/albums/vv236/twaits/Colt%20Automatics/IMG_0776.jpg

http://i687.photobucket.com/albums/vv236/twaits/Colt%20Automatics/IMG_0777.jpg

iLikeOldgunsIlikeNewGuns
November 27, 2012, 06:40 PM
GORGEOUS photos all around! My screensaver says thank you :D

I can not wait to own both the .32 and .380 versions, they are so sweet, I know a few different guys who always have one on them

Stevie-Ray
November 28, 2012, 03:10 AM
Here's Old Toasty. My Grandpa carried it for many years in the old days and passed it down to my father. It's been mine for 25 years. From 1919.

http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s66/GitchiManitou/100_0630.jpg?t=1242015051

7thGenAustinite
November 28, 2012, 10:14 PM
I've got one of those. mine is a custom order nickel with mother of pearl grips. This thing shoots like a DREAM!

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8197/8227966115_935fb3c092_z.jpg

Kramer Krazy
November 29, 2012, 12:20 PM
Where can I find out how to date these older guns? I picked up a refinished 1908 Vestpocket that has a satin nickle slide and gloss nickel frame a few years ago, and this weekend just picked up a 1903 in 32 (type III with wood grips?).

charlie fox
November 29, 2012, 12:41 PM
Absolutely classic pistol lines! I want a .32 in the worst way:) I would probably even carry it occassionally!

Cocked & Locked
November 29, 2012, 01:23 PM
Where can I find out how to date these older guns? I picked up a refinished 1908 Vestpocket that has a satin nickle slide and gloss nickel frame a few years ago, and this weekend just picked up a 1903 in 32 (type III with wood grips?).

Look Here http://proofhouse.com/

Kramer Krazy
November 29, 2012, 01:52 PM
Thanks, Cocked & Locked!

I used to have that link saved on my old computer.... Looks like my Vestpocket 25 acp was made in 1924 and the model 1903 in 32 acp was made in 1938.

MagnumDweeb
November 29, 2012, 03:11 PM
I want to get a 1903 in .32 but everytime I have the cash something "more practical" comes around at the same price.

I know it will never happen but it would be awesome if the 1908 and 1903 were reproduced in heat-treated receivers (making them last a lot longer or at least durable enough for today's ammo and then some) and sold to the public.

I've shot 1903s in .32 and I'm scarey accurate with them up to twelve yards. It's a trade off between shot placement and inherent stopping potential.

To reproduce these guns, would be to truly produce a classic line.

JohnnyCremains
November 29, 2012, 06:32 PM
These guns are plenty strong enough to handle todays .32 ACP and .380s
They are quite large for the caliber and a very strong design.

Tennessee Jed
November 29, 2012, 07:36 PM
Here's a picture of my 1903 32 acp. I won it in a sweepstakes from the no-longer-existing Handgun Podcast. It was originally beat up pretty badly, but was refinished in 2-tone by Robar. I love it, and my kids love shooting something a little bigger than a 22, but not as hard kicking as a 9mm. Great little gun, and I'm thrilled to have it. It's also great for introducing people to semi-autos.

Cocked & Locked
November 29, 2012, 07:40 PM
I like it!

Rubber_Duck
November 29, 2012, 10:33 PM
At the last few gun shows here there's been a table with a Colt 1903 in .32 ACP going for $400. It seems like a great deal at first but cosmetically the pistol is in poor shape and without being able to fire it to check function before buying it's hard to decide whether to pick it up or not if I see it at the next show. That said, I've always coveted a Colt 1908 .380 and the .32 caliber sibling would fill the same role as a collector piece and occasional shooter.

JohnnyCremains
November 30, 2012, 02:14 PM
Rubber Duck,

You can get a decent 1903 for $400. One in well worn condition shouldn't sell for much more than $250-$300
Be patient and you can find a good one. Colt made hundreds of thousands of them.

Dr_B
November 30, 2012, 03:05 PM
I used to have one in .32 made in 1919. It was a fun shooter but I sold it to fund something else I just had to have. Wish I still had it.

Kramer Krazy
November 30, 2012, 07:32 PM
As for prices, there doesn't usually tend to be a high demand for these guns. The 32 I just bought was advertised locally for over a month and I picked it up for $370 in about 85% condition with a minty/shiney bore and the original two-tone magazine. ;)

Onmilo
November 30, 2012, 11:21 PM
My 1903 is of the first years production run.
Even in its well used condition, the markings and original finish and magazine put this pistols value in the $650-$700 range.
The original Heiser pocket holster with sheepskin protector adds another $200 to the overall value.

http://www.fototime.com/B1A8C945A5704D9/standard.jpg

JohnnyCremains
December 1, 2012, 11:04 AM
My 1903 is of the first years production run.

Actually with that serial number it was made in 1905. Also the very earliest 1903s had plunge milled serrations instead of the sharper cut serrations yours has. Nice old gun though.

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