A 1918 RAF Colt Government Model....

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John Holbrook

Mar 25, 2006
Missoula, Montana
An absolutely correct and original 1918 Colt Government Model .455 RAF Eley/Webley!!!! I don't usually collect this type of Colt, however I could not let this one get away!! It is hard to find one with the original Colt blue finish.. Most were refinished...... This one may have been used by a senior officer or purchased by an officer.. It has a MINT bore....





Where did you ever come across that one?

It's a unique one for sure!

(Trade you a couple of eye teeth for it?????)
wasn't .455 Eley a rimmed cartridge?
I mean, I know there have been semi-autos chambered in rimmed cartirdges before (the Coonan 1911, and the Desert Eagle come to mind) but seems odd to make a pistol for combat using a platform that would seemingly have an inherent reliability problem.

Of course, I suppose the brits didn't really have an autoloading round in WW1, did they? So logistics would fall in favor of the 455 eley.... very interesting.
I never knew about this gun before.

Anyone care to drop some knowledge on me? I'd be thrilled to learn about this.
Here is a photo of both rounds.. The .45 ACP headspaced on the mouth of the cartridge and the Webley was crimped so Colt had to machine a groove in the barrel to effect headsspace..


I found it on a table at the Great Fall, MT gunshow!!! As soon as I spotted it, I pounced it fastern a chicken on a June bug!!!

I paid $2,500.00 for it!!!! The Blue Book says that it is worth $4,500.00++++++ RAF .455 Colts in this condition just don't exist!!!!
I don't mean to rain on your parade, but I'm almost certain that pistol's got the shorter, 1911A1 hammer spur. Everything else looks original though.
Billy, if you have a copy of Clawsons Government Models in the British section, you will see examples of RAF pistols with BOTH hammers. I am positive that this example has the original hammer... It matches both in color and wear... Check page 37 and this short hammer is in the serial number range for this pistol......

BTW, here is another angle showing the front grip strap...


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That's the coolest thing I've seen today!

What's with the lanyard ring on the magazine? Brits like to tie things to themselves eh?
All firearms brought into the UK that were not made in England had to be "Proofed" under the English proof laws. As long as they were owned by the British Government they were exempt. Before they could be released for sale, they had to go through the proof process. At the time this example was released the "Not English Make" stamp was required. Also there are proof stamps on the frame, barrel and slide. There were two Proof Houses, one in London and the other in Birmingham... Later the not English Make stamp was dropped..

BTW, I was raised in Sinton and during WW II my father was the sheriff of San Patricio County. When he died in 1946, my mother was appointed sheriff to serve out his term, so both my mother and father were sheriffs of San Pat County!!!!

Here is my fathers Colt Government Model...

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Some Englishman left an idiot mark on the slide as well as the frame.

Still, that is one fancy fancy piece. I'd bet you could double your money in a few years on that.
Dr. Rob, I have already been offered double my money for it, however I am not ready to part with it just yet.. I want to display it in my gunshown displays.

This is how it will be displayed...

That is beautiful. I don't blame you for not selling it, it would take quite a pretty penny to convince me to give that up. This may be a dumb question, given its value as a collector's piece, but have you shot it? How hard is .455 ammo to come by? Maybe I'm just not looking but I don't think I've seen in my local stores.
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