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Need some help identifying a US Property marked 1911

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by bryanZ06, Sep 16, 2008.

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  1. bryanZ06

    bryanZ06 Member

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    I've got a friend who works with the guy who has this pistol. I heard about it and was interested and finally saw it tonight. The finish is in great condition, but I know next to nothing about older 1911's.

    Here's what I've got:

    stamped on the barrel:
    SP on the left side
    C on right side

    stamped on left hand side of slide:
    REMINGTON RAND INC.
    SYRACUSE, N.Y. U.S.A.

    stamped on right hand side of frame:
    UNITED STATES PROPERTY
    S M 4104
    springfield armory logo behind grip at top

    stamped on front right hand side of trigger guard:
    73

    stamped on left side of frame in front of the grip, just beneath the slide release:
    GHD

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    What's the deal with the Remington Rand slide and the Springfield logo on the frame? Is it a parts gun? What would the value of something like this be? Any help and information is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    This one is going to be hard... :banghead:

    The Springfield "crossed cannons" mark is correct, and denotes U.S. Army inspection and acceptance.

    G.H.D. is Col. (later General) Guy H. Drewry, who was in charge of Army Inspection at the Colt factory from Jan. 1942 to Jul. 1945.

    The barrel markings indicate possible Springfield Armory manufacture during WW-2 until mid 1943.

    The serial number doesn't match anything I can find that's associated with Remington-Rand.

    More research is call for, as I did not make a "in-depth" search for information; but at this point I think you have a pistol with a Colt frame, R-R slide, and possibly a Springfield barrel. The pistol appears to have been refinished, and it could be an armory referbish job that included renumbering the frame - or something made up by someone using surplus parts.

    Disassemble the pistol, and see if there are any alpha or number markings around the disconector hole in the frame. Also remove the firing pin stop and see if any numbers or letters are stamped on the slide behind the F.P. stop.
     
  3. ljnowell

    ljnowell Member

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    I would guess the mismatched parts came courtesy of the federal govt. When the pistols were turned in and made ready to reissue they would readily take parts from one and put on another during the refurb process. I have seen lots of them like that.
     
  4. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    It's true that a lot of pistols were referbished, and since they were being compleatly rebuilt, with new parts where necessary, mixing parts - even frames, slides and barrels was of no particular consequence.

    The problem I have at the moment (and subject to change) is that I can't find anything on an "SM" number prefix that was used by Uncle Sam. Right now I'm looking for other markings that might confirm that it does indeed have a Colt frame.
     
  5. gb6491

    gb6491 Member

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    I found this on the SM prefix:

    "4) Colt Service Model "ACE" : Caliber .22 Long Rifle S/N SM 1 to SM 3,836 = Feb.1936 to Jan. 1943 (Between 1935 and Sept. 1945, 11,961 Colt Service Model "ACE" pistols were made and their parts were fully interchangable with the .45 caliber M1911A1.

    5) Colt Service Model "ACE" : S/N SM 3846 to SM 13,803 = April 1945 to Sept. 1945 ( Between 1938 and Oct. 1946, a total of 2149 .22-.45 conversion units were made to convert .45 caliber pistols to .22 caliber. They were: S/N U1 to U2670. From 1938 to 1940, .45-.22 conversion units were made to convert Service Model "ACE" .22 caliber pistols to .45 ACP. They were: S/N U1 to U112.) - info from here.

    Regards,
    Greg
     
  6. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Yes, Colt used the SM serial number prefix on Service Model .22 Ace pistols, but not on .45's. All of the Colt 1911 and 1911A1 pistols that were sold to Uncle Sam had serial numbers with no prefix of any kind.

    It is also clear that the "S" and "M" letters were hand stamped, and that they, and the serial number itself are more deeply stamped then the other markings. I am reasonably sure the original serial number was removed (probably during refinishing) and the new number replaced it. The big question is, "by whom - a military service or someone else?"
     
  7. bryanZ06

    bryanZ06 Member

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    Thanks for all the help. I'm still trying to decide if I should get this or not.
     
  8. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    I found a picture of a later military Service Model Ace with the S and M spaced out like that.

    This may well be a legitimate arsenal or depot rebuild on a trashed .22 receiver.
    Or it might be a Bubba Werke special.
    The only home renumbered guns I have seen (not many) normally include removal of the US Property stamp, but this one is still there, a little light under the reparkerize, but clear enough.

    I'd show it on http://forum.m1911.org/ and see what Scott Gahamer says.
     
  9. nj.piney

    nj.piney Member

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    shouldnt there be a lanyard loop on the pistol butt if this is original military ?
     
  10. bryanZ06

    bryanZ06 Member

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    The seller and I couldn't agree on a price. I liked it, but being unsure about the history of the gun (with the Colt SM frame and Remington Rand slide) I wasn't willing to pay what he wanted.
     
  11. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    This post will contain some (O.K., a lot) of speculation, because speculation is what you have left when there is little or no hard evidence. :uhoh:

    There is a good chance that this pistol has a Colt Service Model ACE lower, matched with an upper assembled using 1911A1 .45 parts.

    If we accept that the lower did indeed come from a S.M. ACE, then it would seem likely that it was shipped from the Colt factory in one of two shipments, one consisting of 1000 pistols made on May 8, 1945; or a second one with 935 pistols made on May 29, 1945. Only Colt knows for sure, but in the first case the shipment went to:

    Officer in Charge.
    Naval Supply Depot
    Norfolk, VA.

    And in the second, to:

    Officer in Charge
    Naval Supply Depot
    Oakland, Calif.

    These were presumably all Service Model ACE .22 pistols, with a Parkerized finish, and stamped with Col. Drewry’s G.H.D. Inspection stamp. At least some, if not all, had mainspring housings with no lanyard loop.

    It should be noted that the war ended on August 14, 1945, so it is unlikely that any of them were used, at least to any degree, but more likely went into storage.

    Now I would speculate that with the war over, the Navy found that it had a much smaller need for .22 pistols. They did use some 1911A1 pistols, but it should be remembered that the aviation branch was largely armed with .38 S&W revolvers, so training recruits with .22 ACE pistols must have dropped off considerably.

    To further speculate, under these conditions I would expect that after the passage of time, some if not all would have been declared surplus and sold.

    I suspect that at some time, someone decided to remove the .22 upper, and perhaps use it on another gun. Then in turn the .22 lower was fitted up with .45 surplus parts and the entire pistol refinished.

    It is possible that the pistol was converted in a Naval facility, but given that they didn’t have a great need for .45 pistols, and that what need they did have could be obtained from the Army, it seems more likely that the .22 ACE would have been scrapped or sold, if it became unserviceable.

    Maybe the present owner can enlighten you more about the pistol’s past history, but I will say with certainty that it has no relationship to or with Remington-Rand, other then it happens to have one of their wartime slides on it. I doubt that it would have any special collector’s value unless it could be proven that it is a genuine Navy conversion, and I have no idea how that might be accomplished.

    On the other hand if someone happened to have the correct upper laying around they might return the pistol to its original configuration, after which it might be worth some money.

    But again this is speculation… ;)
     
  12. Trebor

    Trebor Member

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    How much did the seller want?
     
  13. COK

    COK Member

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    Curious too, what were they asking for it ?
     
  14. bryanZ06

    bryanZ06 Member

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    He wanted $750. I was working on a trade and cash until I decided to pass.
     
  15. Gator

    Gator Member

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    Hmmm.....for $750 I would have bought it.
     
  16. wditto

    wditto Member

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    closer to a $550, and that only if you like historical shooters.....
     
  17. Kruzr

    Kruzr Member

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    [​IMG]

    "Indicates an Ithaca Springfield barrel also found on WWII arsenal rebuilds."

    coolgunsite.com (ID pages) is a good place to check proof marks.
     
  18. DEKOTA

    DEKOTA Member

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    Is the pistol still available?
     
  19. Jon Coppenbarger

    Jon Coppenbarger Member

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    I would of broke my fingers trying to get the money out of my wallet!
     
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