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Colt Challenger: Yes or No?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by searcher451, Dec 23, 2008.

  1. searcher451

    searcher451 Well-Known Member

    The local shop has a Colt Challenger in fine condition; the asking price is $450 and is likely a bit negotiable. This one was made in 1952 and comes with the original box and instruction booklet. Anyone have any experience with this model? A good buy? A decent range plinker? Worth the time? Pass it by? Any and all thoughts are welcome -- thanks in advance.
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

  3. krs

    krs Well-Known Member

    I love Challengers and consequently have three of them. Although they were sold as 'economy' versions of the Woodsman series and gave away the adjustable sight, last round holdopen, and side mag release they never gave away one bit of the Colt quality of the time.

    I've always liked them as a lefthanded shooter because they also gave away the left side thumbrest of the other models.

    They are superbly accurate in either barrel and make fine field guns for carrying in an open holster when out and about.

    My two 4 1/2"ers live on our kitchen table now for both my wife and I to shoot at one of those flip targets about 20 yds. from the door. We bet on things like who has to take the garbage or who has to unload the dishwasher...[​IMG]


    I bought all of these a few years ago for less than $200. each. For a while the collector interest had passed them by but that's no longer the case.
  4. Johnny Guest

    Johnny Guest Moderator Emeritus

    What a great find!

    The Challenger was one of the outstanding plinker handguns ever offered. My Dad gave me one of the six-inch version in about 1958, when I was 15. It was made in the old style with forged steel parts. By that time, though, the handwriting was on the wall. Pieces like the Ruger Standard .22 and the less-expensive High Standards were being built with stampings and castings. The new breed of field .22s were perfectly serviceable, though, and the fine Colt .22s just couldn't compete in that price range.

    The Challenger was like a slightly downgraded Woodsman - - Same high quality of the second series Woodsman, but with plastic stocks, fixed sights and a simplified heel clip magazine catch. The thumb safety engages a notch on the slide as a hold-open, where the concurrent Woodsman had a separate slide catch. Production began in 1955, with serial number 1-C, and ran through number 77143-C in 1955. Then, for some reason, the Challenger was discontinued. The successor was at first named the Camper, but the name was immediately changed to Huntsman and the numbers jumped to 90001-C. This pistol was identical to the Challenger but for very slight changes in trigger guard and trigger profile.

    Most of above is from Sutherland and Wilson's Book of Colt Firearms.

    The price sounds good, especially for one with original box and papers. I really hate to buy a gun in such great shape, because the inclination is to keep it pristine, a “safe queen.” Such a fine field pistol deserves to be shot and appreciated. I hope you can see your way clear to buy it, and enjoy it fully.

    Best of luck
  5. searcher451

    searcher451 Well-Known Member

    Thanks, guys, for the great advice and additional background. It sounds like a good deal to me; looks like it will be following me home for sure.

    Additional thoughts are greatly appreciated as well. Thanks again.
  6. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

  7. dreamer56

    dreamer56 Well-Known Member

    Second to all who love theirs - one of my favorite range plinkers - post pics when you get it home!
  8. RB98SS

    RB98SS Well-Known Member

    I don't want to hijack this thread, but being that there seems to be some Colt Challenger knowledge here, if I could ask a question regarding jamming on my pistol I'd appreciate it. I get stovepipe jams quite frequently on my Challenger, do you think that there may be an issue with the magazine? I just inherited it from my father and it hasn't been fired in quite some time.

  9. JeffDilla

    JeffDilla Well-Known Member

    This challenger was passed on to me by my grandfather, it's a great shooter, more accurate than I am. It also dates to 1952.

  10. Johnny Guest

    Johnny Guest Moderator Emeritus

    Trying to avoid thread veer - - -

    Let's try to stick with the original topic of the thread. Please go to the Gunsmithing and Repairs area and make a new post concerning your Challenger's malfunctioning. Several highly qualified gunsmiths frequent that forum and they'd probably have some good suggestions for you. ;)

  11. Dienekes

    Dienekes Well-Known Member

    Nice little guns. My father, not a gun person, once obseerved in his old age that that a Woodsman was the only gun he ever really wanted to buy. Being a "Greatest Generation" type guy, he took care of family first and the Woodsman never happened. I finally did get one and offered it to him but by then he was in his mid-80s and of course the time for it had pretty well passed. I keep it and it reminds me of how different things were then.

    I like my Rugers but the Woodsman (and Challengers, etc.) are lovely, elegant little guns. Real keepers.

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