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Handguns of the early 20th century "adventurers"?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by MP-44, Apr 20, 2019.

  1. MP-44

    MP-44 Member

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    Has anyone read in actual accounts of early 20th century ( 1900-1914 ) archaeologists, geologists, surveyors...etc.. who went into hostile places or middle of nowhere the make and model handguns they personally carried?
     
  2. Sistema1927

    Sistema1927 Member

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    Just a SWAG on my part, but I imagine that Colt SAAs and S&W Hand Ejectors outnumbered semi-autos by a wide margin during that period.
     
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  3. Texas10mm

    Texas10mm member

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    If not the Webley's since so many of them were from England.
     
  4. AZAndy
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    AZAndy Contributing Member

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    Yes, and a lot of top-breaks around in those days too. I think S&W kept making them clear into the thirties.
     
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  5. Sistema1927

    Sistema1927 Member

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    I realize that I was a bit jingoistic with my first response. Probably as many Brits engaged in world wide exploration during that period at the height of the British Empire
     
  6. John Joseph

    John Joseph Member

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    Just check out the photos in old National Geographic magazines.
     
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  7. LRDGCO

    LRDGCO member

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    Great topic! If Hollywood were to be believed, the Broomhandle Mauser was by far the most popular handgun prior to WWII.

    This is worth reseach. I too would bet heavily on Webley and Colt SAA. I read the book about Roosevelt's crazy Amazon expedition after he lost his Bull Moose bid and there was definitely mention of the Brazilians with Mauser rifles, but I can't recall anything about hand guns.
     
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  8. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Member

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    I read one account of an American naturalist hunting dinosaur bones in Asia sitting alone in a tent at night listening and wondering if the nearby local bandits were going to be able to get up the courage to try to rob and kill him.
    As he was considering this he was holding a pair of 4 1/2" inch Colt New Service .45 Colt revolvers.

    A favorite of explorers, hunters and others in wild places was the Colt Super .38, favored for it's penetration abilities.

    I read another account about a German in Africa standing off hostile natives with a S&W .44 double action in the early 1900's when Germany was obtaining colonies in Africa.

    Reportedly, newsman and explorer Morton Stanley carried a Colt Singe Action when he found Doctor Livingstone.
    He'd learned about the power and durability of the .45 Colt SAA when in the American West.

    With the closing of the American West a lot of Americans went to Africa, just in time for the Boer War.
    These men were the inspiration for the founding of the Boy Scouts by British 1st Baron Baden Powell.
    He based the Scout hat on the "Montana Peak" hats many of the Americans wore.
    These Americans were always armed with S&W and Colt revolvers of various types, but always in large calibers.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2019
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  9. jar

    jar Member

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    Once you get into the 20th century there were quite a few major players like Harrington & Richardson, Hopkins & Allen, Webley, Enfield. The Colt New Police and New Service and Official Police and Police Positive were also available. S&W had their self-ejectors as well as their Hand Ejectors and the Model 10 was already in the lineup. Remington was still making several revolvers.

    In fact several of my current revolvers are from the period of the early 20th century and still tight and accurate today although I have to admit they are even older than me.

    AbE: How could I have forgotten Iver Johnson.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2019
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  10. JONWILL

    JONWILL Member

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    Here are some pages of guns for sale from the early 20th century sears gun.jpg sears 1908.jpg krag.jpg sears cheap guns.jpg
     
  11. milemaker13

    milemaker13 Member

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  12. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    .32 s&w Forehand &Wadsworth (just like in the ad^^)
    20180323_133637.jpg
     
  13. roscoe

    roscoe Member

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    Check out Roy Chapman Andrews. He was the real deal. I believe he carried a Colt New Service in the field.
     
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  14. dodo bird

    dodo bird Member

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    Good question. I would have carried a SAA if out in the field in that time frame. I am guessing discretion in your coming and going around trains and towns so a pocket revolver or baby browning as well. And a good machete and hopefully a even better financial backer! Sounds like a good movie I would want to watch.
     
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  15. BlueHeelerFl

    BlueHeelerFl Member

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  16. Pat Riot
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    Pat Riot Contributing Member

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    I got a kick out of the write ups in those Colt Auto ads that JONWILL posted. :D

    Thanks for posting those, JONWILL.
     
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  17. dodo bird

    dodo bird Member

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    I just used the inflation calculator for the Colt 32acp. $15 in 1913 is $380 today. The .90 cent magazine is $22. Still not bad prices.
     
  18. Random 8

    Random 8 Member

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    My friends great grandfather lived an interesting life. I've read his unpublished biography compiled by a descendant. Going off memory here, so some details are foggy, but I've seen the guns. From around 1898 to 1918 he worked the logging camps of Northern MN on the Canadian border, starting as a timber faller, and working up to foremen, surveyor and cruiser. A few old pictures and accounts from the biography show him from likely the pre-war period with a Colt single action or knock-off in .38-40 and a Win 92 also in .38-40 (the pistol was lost, supposedly beaver trapping, more likely running hooch across the border, but the rifle is still in the family). There is also a picture with him and a very large bull moose from the local paper in 1914 and a cutoff or true carbine trapdoor rifle that may have been borrowed for the hunt or as photo prop as the family history makes no mention of this rifle. After serving in WWI and returning home, he resumed survey work for a large timber and mining company and also served as a constable for some of the very rough remote mining and logging camps. For this service, he was issued or purchased a Colt made M1911 commercial in .45, which the family still has, and still carried his trusty M92 .38-40 according to pictures. Both of these were used in a wilderness shootout (possibly on the Canadian side of the border) with "bootleggers" who had killed a camp foreman in the early 20's where one local member of a posse and 3 "criminals" were killed. It's interesting he knew exactly where to find them. Likely he was involved in the flow of Canadian whiskey himself, but no specific mention of this is made in the family history, only local rumors. At this time, he also shows up with a Mannlicher Schoenauer in 6.5, likely brought or sent back from Europe, but this one only shows up in hunting pictures. This rifle still hangs above the large stone fireplace in the family cabin. Also in his collection is a Mauser made Luger, and an obscure European pinfire revolver I can't identify, but these show little sign of use, and were likely also brought back from Europe as trophies and put away.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019
  19. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    The Colt New Service was THE gun in those days, and if Colt still made it, would probably be popular today.
     
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  20. 40-82

    40-82 Member

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    The Colt New Service outsold the comparably sized Smith & Wesson hand ejectors by a wide margin. One advantage of the New Service was that after the 1908 improvements it was safe to carry a round under the hammer in the Colt and it wasn't in the Smith, although my impression is that most people who used the Smith & Wessons of that period didn't understand the danger of that sixth round under the hammer.

    No one has mentioned the Merwin, Hulbert, and Co. revolvers. They weren't that common, but they were there.

    And British influence on American caliber choice was real. I have a New Service manufactured in 1900 in .455 Eley that lacks the British proof marks, which suggests that it was made for the American market. I'm not sure why an American of that period would choose the .455 Eley over the .45 Colt in a revolver that would handle either. I suppose then as now, people want what they want.
     
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  21. oss117

    oss117 Member

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    FWIW, Winston Churchill carried a C96 Mauser in the Boer war. T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia) also carried one.
     
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  22. roscoe

    roscoe Member

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    Supposedly, Gertude Bell gave T.E Lawrence two 1911s in 1914. If you had one of those pistols you would be set for life. If you could document all that, of course.

    Gertrude Bell was the more accomplished explorer, but Lawrence had the advantage of dying young and handsome (on a motorcycle, no less).
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2019
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  23. Random 8

    Random 8 Member

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  24. Armybrat

    Armybrat Member

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    When my dad was a high school kid in the 1920s, he bought from the Missouri National Guard a surplus .30-40 Kraig (excellent condition) for $5 and two very good condition 1873 Springfield .45-70 Trapdoors for $1.25 each. I still have one of the Trapdoors, with bayonet.
     
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  25. kBob

    kBob Member

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    "You know I'm always careful, Marcus."

    -kBob
     
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