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Old August 22, 2012, 12:46 AM   #26
gyvel
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Jim is right. I don't think I have seen more than a half dozen or so 1903s in 40 years. I once owned one that had a magazine with the three Cyrillic characters "O K Zhe" on the floorplate. (Don't have a Cyrillic keyboard, so I did a phonetic representation. "Zhe" in Cyrillic looks like two "K"s back to back, one reversed and the other normal.)

Apparently, Russia was the prime customer for the shoulder stocked 1903s.

Also, I think the inspiration for the 9mm Browning Long was the original .38 auto, as the dimensions are virtually identical with the exception of the length.
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Old August 22, 2012, 07:08 AM   #27
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I'm not a cartridge collector nor am I particularly technical oriented but the relationship of all of these early Browning cartridges has always been interesting to me, given that there were so many different ones. I don't recall if Barnes addresses the geneology, as it were, of them. I don't even know who actually designed them but it wasn't necessarily Browning.

The story goes that the M1907 Husqvarna pistol (the Swedish army model number) was purchased in some quantity, then manufactured by Husqvarna up until about the time the war started, then replaced. The replacement was a 9mm but without looking it up, I don't remember the name and model. It had a Luger look but totally unrelated design. It was also used by a couple of other countries. The new design, while heavy and well made apparently, didn't hold up like it looked like it would because of extra hot 9mm ammunition and eventually the older guns were brought back into service until they were replaced by Glocks. I believe the first two pistols probably had some use at the same time and the last two were probably in service at the same time, too, at least for a while. Somewhere on the internet there's an excellent website about Swedish guns. It is Swedish but it is in English. Lots of good photos of pistol accessories.

Another curiosity along the same lines is that Norway, as you probably know, used .45 automatics. When they fell to the Germans, the Germans took their pistols for their own use. Then after the war, when the Germans had to leave, the Norwegians took the German's guns, including their pistols, mostly Lugers, I understand, and used them until replaced many years later, resulting in the only instance I know of when .45 automatics were replaced by 9mm Lugers. Even the issue German army holsters were retained and altered with the addition of those typical wire devices for attaching to the holes in a US style pistol belt.

This comment really belongs in that other thread about shoulder stocked pistols. Elmer Keith made a couple of comments about shoulder stocked pistols, mentioning that the Luger made a halfway decent, flat shooting carbine, with the limitations of the cartridge not withstanding. But he apparently also had a pre-1911 .45 automatic, some of which apparently were made for shoulder stocks. His description was that "it was something else." The recoiling slide was a problem. It is hard to imagine a time when a Luger was a relatively common surplus handgun.
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Old August 22, 2012, 08:17 AM   #28
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what books do i have to read to learn all of these things that have been posted? or is it just acquired knowledge over time?
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Old August 22, 2012, 10:05 AM   #29
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Blue Train:

The Swedes first planned to replace the Model 1907 with the Walther HP, which they called the Pistole 39, but manufacture of the P.38 for the German army took precedence with Walther and they could't fill the Swedish orders. So Sweden adopted a slightly modified version of the Finnish Lahti and had it also made by Husqvarna.

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Old August 22, 2012, 10:44 AM   #30
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http://www.gotavapen.se/gota/m07/pist07_1.htm

Here is a link, if I've done it properly, to a website about Swedish weapons, that particular link is to the page with M1907 pistol. There are also photos of the first model FN Browning automatic in .32 ACP.

I don't think "overly powerful pistols" were "socially unacceptable." I can't imagine where that idea came from, unless you think a 9mm is overly powerful. The old Smith and Smith Small Arms of the World refers to any cartridge more powerful than a .45 auto as a "freak load." Maybe they are. It is true, however, that the police in Europe generally carried only a .32 and as someone else here already pointed out, American police also generally carried a .32 revolver. When they went to a bigger gun, they then considered the .38 Special to be a powerful cartridge, if not overly powerful.

Both the .32 ACP and .380 ACP chambered Colt pocket autos were US issue service pistols, though hardly widely issued. They were general officer pistols until replaced, oh, I suppose in the 1970s or 1980s by real "Officer's ACP" pistols. The company I was in during my time overseas had two and although I was friendly with the armorer (I had personally owned guns at the time), I was not allowed to touch them. I don't know which caliber they were.
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Old August 22, 2012, 03:16 PM   #31
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I am not sure by what standard those Colts could be called "service pistols", a term which usually applies to a general issue combat pistol. Most armies, at least in the WWII era either issued or allowed purchase of handguns for personal defense or special purposes, such as military investigators. It is not widely known, but many of those small Colts were issued to doctors and nurses at field hospitals; international agreements allowed medical staff to carry "defensive" weapons to protect themselves and their patients.

Up until this thread, I had never heard the term "socially unacceptable" in regard to handgun caliber, although the concept has been around; it probably prevented most American police from going to the .357 Magnum, and led to the use of .38 Special +P+, a .357 Magnum wolf in .38 Special sheep's clothing.

In any case, I doubt it played a major role in selecting the FN 1903 by any of the nations that used it. One big factor, especially for a smaller nation, is cost, and FN provided well-made weapons at very reasonable cost and was willing to agree to reasonable license agreements, important then as today.

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Old August 23, 2012, 07:45 AM   #32
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No, the Colt pocket pistols were hardly general issue combat pistols but combat is what they were for. Their issue was limited to general officers. They had some popularity before WWII in this country and numbers were exported as well, though I have no idea in what quantities. I suspect many of the issue pistols were Parkerized. At any rate, they were actually in the supply system and not private purchase or privately owned. Our arms room also had revolvers.

It is well to remember that up until after WWI, roughly speaking, practically every army used a different caliber handgun and hadn't changed much until after the next war. Even then some "odd" calibers remained in use for the next 20 years, such as 9mm Largo and .30 Luger. But as of 1914, only the Germans used 9mm Parabellum, few if any besides us used a .45 auto, the British had their .455 revolvers, also used in other Commonwealth countries, the Russians their 7.62 Nagant that you can buy right now, and so on. And the automatic were all still teenagers as far as how long they had been in use. Curiously though, virtually all small automatics at that time were in either .25, .32 or .380, all "ACP" cartridges. Anything else that was later introduced here or abroad just went nowhere.
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Old August 23, 2012, 10:42 AM   #33
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The 1907 isn't so bad. It really was a milestone in handgun development and brought John Moses one step closer to the 1911, a major breakthrough in the world of handgunning.

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Old August 23, 2012, 11:37 AM   #34
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I'm not so sure I agree with that statement. But I will quickly add that it's particularly difficult to know what was going through an inventor's head over the space of a decade, in this case, between the time his first automatic came out and when his most successful design came out, which actually is twelve years.

Browning's locked breech automatics work differently from the blowbacks, which you know. Chances are, and I can't prove this, the 1909, 1910 and 1911 models of the .45 automatic owe more to the Model 1900 .38 ACP, which was a Colt, than to either of the 1903 models. In fact, the .45s are even quite different from the .38 ACP models, which remained in production for several years. It's rather surprising given how FN introduced more models during that period than did Colt. But FN may have been the bigger company.
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Old August 23, 2012, 01:19 PM   #35
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I doubt very much that there was any intention of U.S. soldiers using those pocket pistols in fighting. In theory, I suppose some general officer could have shot it out with a German Feldmarschal, Colt 1903 vs. Walther PPK, western movie style, but it didn't happen. Those guns were primarily issued to people who needed a concealable handgun or as purely defensive handguns. I know of no evidence or pictures of their use in actual combat on any front at any time.

As to the locked breech pistols, the locked breech was/is necessary with more powerful cartridges unless the slide is made very heavy. Browning's first dual link recoil operated pistols, the so called "parallel ruler" guns in .38ACP, had a serious defect. If the gun was assembled without the slide stop (which is the term used for the part sometimes called a "wedge") the slide would come straight back in the shooter's face, causing some degree of unhappiness. Not all guns made that way were .38's; the Model 1905 .45 caliber was a two link pistol.

The Model 1911 is a fine gun, but it did not suddenly come into existence by some miracle. And some of its better features were the result of a mililtary demand, over the resistance of Browning. (Browning opposed the manual safety, for example, contending that the half cock, combined with the inertia firing pin, was sufficient for safe carry. He was overridden by the cavalry, who wanted to be able to make the gun safe while controlling an unruly horse.)

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Old August 23, 2012, 01:32 PM   #36
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In theory, that general would have been Patton. In practice, he usually carried something bigger but he was certainly willing to do his part. Of course, he was a lot younger then me.

Generals still carry pistols, you know, though I doubt many expect to use them in combat. Just the same, I was a member of the division in the army that last lost a general to the enemy.

Any guesses who and where?
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Old August 23, 2012, 01:47 PM   #37
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Unless you are talking about the Civil War era, you have to mean General Dean, who was captured in Korea in 1950. There is an interesting followup to that case.

After Dean was freed, it was learned that he had been given LSD, apparently as a "truth serum". While a few years later, any college student could have recounted the effects of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", at that time the drug was little known. So the scientists at the Army's biological warfare center at Ft. Detrick, MD, were tasked with finding out what it would do and whether Dean could have revealed classified information under its influence.

And that led to a tragedy when one of the scientists, who had volunteered to be a "guinea pig", suffered serious brain damage and committed suicide, or was murdered by the evil CIA, depending on who is recounting the story.

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Old August 23, 2012, 02:13 PM   #38
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That's correct. I was in the 24th Division.
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Old August 23, 2012, 03:29 PM   #39
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I think this thread has gotten so far off track that the moderators should close it. I am not going to post any further on this one.

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