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Original Colt 1911 or not? Pics included

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by D-Day, Mar 7, 2009.

  1. D-Day

    D-Day Well-Known Member

    So, I need the lowdown so I'm correctly informed on this pistol. Pics first.




    Serial number is in the 34,xxx range, which, according to that, puts it (at least the frame) made in 1913. However, it has to have been re-blued or re-finished, something repaired...it looks clean as a whistle, and the rifling is sharp. I thought it could be one of the reproductions, but it doesn't seem like it.

    I don't care if it's a WWI-era 1911 or not - it's a real Colt 1911 I got for a good price, and that's all I really cared about since I wanted an original style one. I just want to be correct when I tell people what I have.

    Also, that's not discoloring on the grip safety or hammer; it's my reflection.
  2. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Well-Known Member

    If it was refinished, it was done very well.

    It is an early type 1911, since it still has the early US Cavalry type rear sight.
    These early guns had a rear sight that was rounded off. This was to allow a cavalry trooper to cock the gun by shoving the hammer down his pants leg or saddle.
    The rounded rear sight made it easier.

    If it's an original 1911, not a new replica by Colt, and is in original condition, it's worth BIG bucks.
  3. Oro

    Oro Well-Known Member

    It looks original, but my first guess is that it also is probably refinished. If it is 1913, it should have a "Model of US Army" on the right side of the slide I think, or "Colt Automatic/Calibre 45." It looks like there may be polishing marks under the blue in the third photo (looking down the slide), but I can't be sure. It appears some of the pony is missing, too. The second photo makes the contour edge on the forward part of the slide look less than perfect - like it was polished and blended. But that could be the lighting. What does the magazine look like? That is also distinctive.

    I would vote original, but refinished based on just those photos. Handling it and examining marks closely yields a better answer.

    Regardless, it looks good and I'd be excited to own it and shoot it. The basic, pure 1911 design (low sights, flat msh, long trigger, tang grip safety) has slowly become my favorite over the years.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2009
  4. 2RCO

    2RCO Well-Known Member

    It should have UNITED STATES PROPERTY on the left side of the frame as well. As the missing Model of U.S. Army marking.

    This serial number goes to an Army issued Colt made in 1913. So that part is right.

    I'd have to go with a refinish since that is what they generally removed as gunsmiths redid them.
  5. DaveBeal

    DaveBeal Well-Known Member

    Post your pics here and you will get some expert advice.
  6. 2RCO

    2RCO Well-Known Member

    Also the blue doesn't look quite right in the pics. It also appears to have the short hammer which is correct as well.
  7. D-Day

    D-Day Well-Known Member

    The pics skewed the look of the bluing a lot. It was a combination of daylight and house light, which made for an unbalanced representation. I'll try to get some more natural looking pics soon.

    Also, the full pony is there, just the resized photos degrade the quality a bit. I have very large ones I could post, but I should probably save that until I get some proper lighting on them so people can see the bluing.

    Main thing that gets me about it is no markings on the ejection port side of the slide. Seems like it'd say something.
  8. Oro

    Oro Well-Known Member

    Yes, I noticed that, too. But I think the gun is correct, just had the markings removed and then blued. There is a restorer who can put them back if you wanted.

    DUH - 2RCo is right, that's a military S/N. I kept thinking it might be commercial and the markings different. That explains it all. Somewhere all the US markings were removed, and then later it got refinished to the nice shape it's in now, probably pretty recently.

    You still should be able to find proof markings under the slide, on the barrel (if it's original) and on the f.p. stop I think.

    So, to get back to your original question, if I were to describe this to someone I'd say (assuming barrel and magazine are correct):

    Last edited: Mar 7, 2009
  9. D-Day

    D-Day Well-Known Member

  10. Oro

    Oro Well-Known Member

    That's a beaut. I'd be proud to own that, despite the missing marks and re-blue. If I could find one like that affordably I'd jump on it, then go sell some other guns to pay for it.

    I saw one like that at a gun show last year, badly-refinished and the military markings off of it. It was $575 - I was really tempted to buy it and have it professionally refinished, but they had taken the S/N off, too. I was so torn, I wanted the gun! But a missing/altered S/N is a BIG problem with the ATF crowd.

    Let us know how she shoots when you get to it.
  11. bannockburn

    bannockburn Well-Known Member


    Even if it is refinished and some of the original markings are missing, it's still one very fine example of an early pre-W.W.I production piece by Colt for the U.S. Army. It would be an outstanding addition to anyones collection. Thanks for sharing.
  12. buttrap

    buttrap Well-Known Member

    you can tell its had some bubba work just looking at the rear sight as its been dehorned and rounded. First issue would be to check if the frame matches the slide.
  13. 2RCO

    2RCO Well-Known Member

    Buttrap--For a 1913 production that is how the sight is supposed to look they were rounded.
  14. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    The grip safety, thumb safety, and trigger appear to be correct. The grips are the correct style, but appear to be replica double diamond grips. The rear sight is likely correct.

    The hammer is a later style with a a more arched spur than would be correct on a 1913 Colt.

    Hard to tell because of the shadows, but the slide appears to be a later one.

    The slidestop is correct.

    The mag catch isn't correct.

    The mainspring housing is smooth, and appears to be either correct, or a blended Smith & Alexander replica.
    The angle of the lanyard loop makes me suspect that it's a real one. S&A didn't get that angle exactly right.

    It's not at all unusual for military and even commercial pistols to be wearing non-original, or even incorrect for the era parts. In fact, I'd be comfortable betting that there aren't many truly original
    military pistols around...becase if they were in service for any length of time, it's a cinch that something has been replaced along the line. Probably several somethings.

    See if you can raise Johnny Peppers. He can tell more from the pictures than I can.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2009
  15. D-Day

    D-Day Well-Known Member

    Much obliged for the help and comments. I've posted at the 1911 forums as well. Good to be getting the background on this one.

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