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Question about a Colt 1903

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Tony50ae, Aug 28, 2007.

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  1. Tony50ae

    Tony50ae Member

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    Hello all,

    Well was at the local gun shop and was browsing around and in their used display case I noticed a few older type guns. One caught my eye and I asked to see it. It was a Colt in 32ACP and noticed the patent date 1903. Came home and looked it up on the internet. Cool little pocket pistol. I was amazed on just how thin it was.

    The condition of the finish seemed to me roughly 85 to 90% No rust. Forgot the price but are these guns collectible? Can you still get replacement parts if something were to break? None of my guns are safe queens so if I got it, it will be shot on occasion. Thinking about if I should pick it up. Anyone have any knowledge on these guns?
     
  2. 2RCO

    2RCO Member

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    It's a colt so yup it's collectable and it's also designed by John Browning that helps to. I've got one that I shoot I love it--not much for accuracy or stopping power but a fun little gun. Parts are available but it's a pretty hearty design. Also check out the 1908's basically the same in a .25 a pocket full of fun.
     
  3. Tony50ae

    Tony50ae Member

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    Thanks 2RCo,

    I just might have to seriuosly think about getting it. Like you said not much for stopping power but that is not why I would get it. Like you said a fun little gun with history behind it. Thanks
     
  4. Hoppy590

    Hoppy590 Member

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    the 1903 is a neat gun. its the grandfather to many prolific pistols. like the M1911 and the Russian TT33.
     
  5. Diamondback6

    Diamondback6 Member

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    Not quite, 2RCO. The 1903 .32 evolved into the up-bored 1908 .380 Pocket--the 1908 .25 Vest Pocket is a whole 'nother design lineage, although The Great One probably applied ideas from older projects to newer ones...
     
  6. Tony50ae

    Tony50ae Member

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    Thanks Hoppy. Yeah it caught my eye and I was impressed on how it felt in my hand and I just like the look overall.
     
  7. Snake Eyes

    Snake Eyes Member

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    These are great little pistols and a lot of fun. I always found mine to be adequately accurate and never felt naked carrying one. That slim, slim profile works really well in hot weather clothes.

    There ARE actually replacement parts available. Old Fuff posted a link to a parts house some time back that had all sorts of goodies, including replacement barrels. I'm too lazy to go search for it, so maybe Fuff will drop by and remind us.

    (Or, you could search THR for 'Old Fuff' and 'Colt 1903')
     
  8. Tony50ae

    Tony50ae Member

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    Thanks Snake Eyes,

    I will do the search. You know, when I held the gun in my hand it made me smile. I guess that in of itself is good enough to get it....lol! And your not kidding about slim. I was like wow!
     
  9. 2RCO

    2RCO Member

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    Diamondback--

    Pull them apart and look at them and if you can't see the similarities you might be on something. I said basically I didn't say exactly. I left out a detail or two given. Either way I love my 1903 and it's little buddies the 1908 .25's I happen to have quite a few of the little guys. They all keep my 1911's happy all in the same lineage.
     
  10. 2RCO

    2RCO Member

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  11. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Parts are available at www.e-gunparts.com (Numrich). But most of them are salvage, and used. They may or may not work in your gun. If you order parts be sure to specify your serial number (use xx for the last 2 numbers).

    From the point of view of shooting, the big problem is that good magazines are hard to find. Original ones when available can be very expensive, and aftermarket ones often aren't very good.

    Depending on condition they are collectable. They are in all ways, a classic.

    I have found that most are very accurate, provided the shooter does his/her part. Part of the problem is that most of these pistols have very small sights that some find hard to see.
     
  12. Onmilo

    Onmilo Member

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    I have had very good luck with this shop for obsolete parts:
    http://www.jackfirstgun.com
    They have both used parts and they also make some of the more common and hard to get parts for out of production firearms.

    The most common replacement items needed for 1903 and 1908 Colt pocket pistols are springs and firing pins.
    These pistols were very well made of good quality steel and the cartridges they fire are of fairly low pressure so most parts don't generally and completely wear out.

    As Old Fluff said, magazines are the biggest issue with the guns.
    Colt made magazines are far and away the best option.
    They were well made, tailored to the guns, and short of replacing the occasional easy to obtain magazine springs and maybe having to fix the occasional bent feed lips, they don't wear out that easy.
    There were hundreds of thousands if not millions, made but they are becoming increasingly hard to find as collectors snap up available magazines at every opportunity.
    Avoid aftermarket magazines. Plain and simple, they are junk.
     
  13. golden

    golden Member

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    Colt 1903 Downside

    I have shot the COLT 1903 and it has good and bad points. It is a brilliant design as far as slimness, reliability and handling. The bad points are the sights and you need a holster.

    The sights are just too small to allow accurate combat/defensive shooting. Even plinking will be hard if you do not have good eyesight. I am hitting fifty and the small pre-1980 sights on many older guns really are a handicap when shooting.

    Also, the 1903 is a large gun in length and height for a .32ACP. If you just want to own and play with it, great. As a carry gun, it will need work.

    Still, I liked shooting the 1903 and it will last your lifetime. If COLT would bring out a new version with good sights, an aluminum frame, half inch grip and barrel and double action only or GLOCK like safe action, they would have a winner.

    Jim
     
  14. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Well back when the pistol was being made the clothes folks wore were slightly different then now.... :eek: and the pistol was indeed pocket sized. But anyway... :D

    Many owners aren't aware of it, but the dovetail at the back, and the slot that holds the front sight were the same as those on the Government Model .45 being produced at the same time. If your pistol isn't collector-grade this opens up some interesting possibilities, because there are all kinds of sights offered for the 1911. I have seen examples where a large gold (brass) bead was mounted at the front, while a larger "U" notch was opened at the back. Both alterations were done during the 1930's by the way.

    "Fine" sights (thin blade/small notch) sights seem to have been a way of life during the 1920's and backwards on pocket pistols and revolvers. It tends to confirm my thought that users were more often likely to point rather then aim this class of handguns. It is not unusual to find 19th and early 20th century guns where the barrel was sawed off, and the front sight not replaced.
     
  15. Iggy

    Iggy Member

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    As the OP said.. You pick one up and just makes you smile.. I have 3 and I thoroughly enjoy them.. Colt knew how to make a pocket pistol with some class.
     
  16. Flame Red

    Flame Red Member

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    My brother-in-law has one that he shots on occassion. Very neat little gun with a lot a character. Very reliable, but not a great carry peice as more modern guns are better choices. Safety kind of hard to manipulate. A little bit different to field strip as you rotate the barrel to take it apart. Good mags are hard to find. He never had a problem with it which is a testimate to the craftsmanship of it given it's age.

    I have one too but it is a safe queen and never shot. No collector or Colt shooter should be without one.
     
  17. ulflyer

    ulflyer Member

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  18. Tony50ae

    Tony50ae Member

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    Thanks everyone for their replies and information. If I bought this gun it would not be a carry piece because in Hawaii while it is a may issue state, the chief of police has never issued a CCW permit in quite a few years. I am still undecided as if I will buy it because in the last month I already bought two rifles....lol. Though I could swing the cost of another purchase, I may decide to wait a bit and hope they still have it later. I am single so I only have to worry about me. Still sometime you gotta know when to say to yourself STOP!....lol.

    I must say I love this hobby of owning and shooting guns. So many to own, not enough money to buy them all.....lol. Still I really want that Colt so may be next month if is still there, I will just have to let it follow me home!
     
  19. Hoppy590

    Hoppy590 Member

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    i actualy just stumbled upon a 1903 today, in .32 not nearly 85-90% but not bad considering its probibly 100 years old. i tried to talk the guy down on price. only to find out its a consignment piece. well im 20$ short right now. but i think im gunna go get it tommorow

    anyway. anyone got a blue book and give me an estimate for about 65-70%
     
  20. Snake Eyes

    Snake Eyes Member

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    Ask and Ye Shall Receive!

    The current Blue Book of Gun Values lists the Colt Model 1903 as $225 @ 60% and $275 @ 70%, with notations to add 20% for a Type I (mfr 1903-1911) in this condition and add 10% for nickel finish.

    For what it's worth, I find the Blue Book prices for old Colts to be substantially below actual market. I'm usually ecstatic to buy at the prices they have listed.
     
  21. Hoppy590

    Hoppy590 Member

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    cool. the one im looking at is proibibly closer to 60% and is a few bucks cheaper than 225! ( 200$ is the price to be exact) is there any way to tell the type w/o serial number. iirc the first 3 of 6 digits in the serial were 279 or 272
     
  22. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    1918 = serial numbers 264,000 to 289,999 (.32, not .380's). ;)
     
  23. Mk VII

    Mk VII Member

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    These guns were the most popular pocket pistol here for actual shooting as they had the best sights (compare the hump-and-bump ones on the 1910 Browning for a more typical example of how bad they could be in those days)
     
  24. Snake Eyes

    Snake Eyes Member

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    272XXX or 279XXX would be manufactured in the year of 1919, squarely into the 2nd series. The easiest way to identify the Type I (or first series) is that they had a longer barrel that sticks out the front of the slide an extra 1/4".

    (ETA--I was really hoping to beat Old Fuff with this info, but one of my girlfriends called and distracted me. A problem Fuff doesn't have at the ripe old age of 147.)
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2007
  25. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    According to R.L. Wilson, they started the year 1919 at serial number 290,000. :confused:

    And I'll have you know that them 147 year-old kids don't know zip... :neener:

    And ya' deserve what ya' git... them wimmin are a distraction... :D
     
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