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Need info on Colt DA 45 in pawnshop

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by geojap, Aug 14, 2003.

  1. geojap

    geojap Well-Known Member

    They just opened a pawn shop in the little town I live in and I cruise by about once a month to see what they have.

    Today I was surprised by something pretty interesting. There is an old revolver there that looks just like the one in this ad:

    It has no blueing left, but has a silver-grey patina. The plastic grips are not broken. The action still seems decent, but the cylinder catch/lock is pretty loose and needs a new spring. The knob on the end of the cylinder spindle is missing so there are just threads on the end of it. It is not pitted at all and is marred very little. The bore looks to be in perfect shape. The Colt horse and an arsenal or gunsmiths stamp is on the upper left side of the body. It's one helluva pistol. Probably weighs 4 pounds.

    These are the markings:
    Top of barrel:
    PTD AUG 51884 JUNE 5 1900 JULY 4 1905
    Side of barrel:
    COLT DA 45
    Underside of barrel:

    It looks like the pistol Indiana Jones used.

    Do you have any idea what it's fair worth is or any info about this model? Someone told me it is a Colt 1909. Do you have any info on what ammo this shoots, if it is not 45 Long Colt? Are these good shooters?

    They said they would sell it for $400, but I'd rather get it at $300 or $250, so I'm gong to wait. Pawnshops in Texas are typically notoriously high because everyone in Texas has to have a gun.

    Thanks for your help.
  2. geojap

    geojap Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the info. How will I be able to tell exactly what caliber it is chambered to fire right now?
  3. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

    It's a 45 ACP. Few 45 cals are altered asit is an "American" cartridge, most cal conversions were done from British to American, ie 455 to 45 colt.
  4. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Well-Known Member

    I don't know that much about Colts, but given that the military did purchase quite a few thousand Model 1909s for interim use, I think it is possible that this gun is a Model 1909 chambered in .45 Long Colt and not .45 ACP.
  5. geojap

    geojap Well-Known Member

    It is in one of the 45 calibers, but how would I tell if it is in 45 long colt or 45 ACP?
  6. Tom C.

    Tom C. Well-Known Member

    .45 ACP or .45 Colt?

    Look in the chambers and see if it has a short, square edged chamber, .45 ACP. If it has a longer, sloped forward chamber edge, .45 Colt (probably).
  7. Mossyrock

    Mossyrock Well-Known Member

    Keep in mind that a lot of the Colt 1917 were straight chambered. In other words, they were intended to be used with half moon clips, so the chamber was not set up to head space off of the case mouth. Often times, a .45 ACP will drop straight into the chamber. They will also work well with .45 Auto Rim ammunition.

    BTW, Indiana Jones used a Smith and Wesson Hand Ejector, Second Model. Take a look here. Lots of neat infor for Indy Fans. :D

  8. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

    Dunno about others, but I think $400 is far too much for a gun that has no finish left.

    BTW Mossyrock, thanks for the link on Indy's guns.
  9. shootist2121

    shootist2121 Well-Known Member

    You'll have to look at the cylinder to frame gap against the recoil shield..A large gap will most likely be chambered for the 45 ACP with moon clips...If the pawn shop owner dosen't know the right round he should be trying to push it IMO

    Due to the guns current condition..$200-250..Tops...You'll be the one gamblin on what you get...Either caliber would make it a fun shooter..Parts are still floating around for you to fix the minor stuff easily..

    Remember..The pawn shop is trying to make as much as he can on any firearm..If you negotiate right (Willing to walk away) you likely can get him down to close to what the shop originally paid for the gun. This may take a few weeks of going over once a week.. Making the offer and than leaving when refused..A lot of the time, on the third or fourth visist(If he hasn't moved it by then) The shop might be more willing to give it to you ate your price.

    Just a thought.

    Be safe

  10. xtarheel

    xtarheel Well-Known Member

    Both Colt and S&W made the 1917 model. Here is a picture of mine. The lower one is the Colt.


    Also if it is a 1917 on the butt next to the lanyard ring it will say model 1917 and then the serial number
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2003
  11. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    If this revolver is a Colt, swing-out cylinder, and chambered to use a .45 caliber cartridge, it is a New Service model.

    If it was originally a U.S. military arm it is either a model 1909 (chambered in .45 Colt) or 1917 (chambered in .45 ACP and intended to be used with half-moon clips)

    The model 1909 will be marked on the bottom of the butt in front of a lanyard loop: U.S. Army/Model/1909 or U.S.N./45 DA or U.S/M.C. The government's serial number (not necessarily the same as Colt's) is stamped on the butt behind the Lanyard loop.

    A model 1917 will be marked on the butt forward of the lanyard loop: U.S./Army/Model/1917 with the serial number behind the Lanyard loop.

    If the frame is not marked on the butt, and does not have a lanyard loop it is probably a commercial gun that was rebarreled with a G.I. barrel.

    Guns chambered for both .45 cartridges were sometimes marked D.A. 45 on the barrel.
  12. BluesBear

    BluesBear member

    If it is a 1909 chambered in .45 Colt it will have the letters R.A.C. on the right side above the grips. Rinaldo A. Carr was the company ordinance sub-inspector for all of the 1909 models.
    If it was an Army model it will say U.S.Army MODEL 1909 on the butt. If it was a Navy or Marine Corps model it will a special serial number of USN 1 to USN 1000 or USMC 1 to USMC 1,300.

    All of the 1909 models I have seen have 2 grooves in the knurling on a slimmer ejector rod head while all of the 1917's I have seen only had 1 on a slightly fatter head. But since these are replaceable it would not be a sure fire indicator.

    The 1917 had several different inspectors marks due to the larger number produced. These were on the left rear of the frame near the rear sight.
    The 1917 will have the serial number on the butt with the markings U.S.Army Model 1917. As far as I know only the 1917 had the marking "UNITED STATES PROPERTY' (including the quotation marks) on the underside of the barrel. The earlier one had straight bored through cylinders.

    The 1917 had a much larger gap between the rear of the cylinder and the recoil plate.

    But by far the easiest way to tell between the two is that the 1909 had a straight barrel while the 1917 had a slight taper and flared to a larger diameter right before it reached the front of the frame.

    There were nearly 22,000 1909's produced wile there were nearly 155,000 1917's.

    Plenty of spare parts are available and either would be a fun shooter IF the crane is in good shape. I have seen more than a few of the older Colts with sprung cranes.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2003

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