The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > The Harley Nolden Memorial Institute for Firearms Research

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old February 5, 2012, 06:50 AM   #1
gyvel
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 30, 2009
Location: Northern AZ
Posts: 4,789
A question for the Colt 1911 experts

Does anyone know when Colt started making 9mm government models?

I was going through my junk and I came across a reblued slide marked: "COLT AUTOMATIC CAL. 9M/M" on the right side and all the patent dates + COLT'S PT.F.A.MFG.CO., etc., with the rampant Colt in the middle of the slide on the left.

It gets better: It's marked 903 806 under the firing pin retainer and also has a "P" just forward of the rear sight. The number puts it at 1943 production and the "P" says military gun ( I think), so, altogether, it doesn't make much sense.

The span of the breech face is .370".

I'm wondering if this is someone's super project or a one-off, as I don't think Colt ever made any 9mms in WWII (that I know of).

I have some pics, but my camera skills are limited.
gyvel is online now  
Old February 5, 2012, 06:59 AM   #2
gyvel
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 30, 2009
Location: Northern AZ
Posts: 4,789
Pics:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Colt 9mm 001.jpg (243.1 KB, 60 views)
File Type: jpg Colt 9mm 003.jpg (243.4 KB, 50 views)
File Type: jpg Colt 9mm 005.jpg (244.4 KB, 46 views)

Last edited by gyvel; February 5, 2012 at 07:17 AM.
gyvel is online now  
Old February 5, 2012, 07:20 AM   #3
gyvel
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 30, 2009
Location: Northern AZ
Posts: 4,789
One more:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Colt 9mm 009.jpg (242.7 KB, 46 views)
gyvel is online now  
Old February 5, 2012, 08:31 AM   #4
Chris_B
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 9, 2007
Posts: 2,841
That's an odd duck!

Colt commercial slides that were militarized received the "P" mark. However, it should be a parkerized slide to my knowledge.

The photos seem to show stipling of some kind on the top of the slide and the photo of the right hand side seems to have a gentle curve on the side flat forward of the ejection port, but that just may be a trick of the camera. This could be a refinished slide with a custom rollmark on the right side.

The 9m/m stamp is curious too; I've never seen the m-slash-m

Around 1935, a recoil plate was installed on the breechface. I'm not sure if I can see that or not in the photo. I think I do but it's hard to tell

The hand-stamp numbers under the pin retainer is likely normal for s/n range

My Clawson 'little book' (Service pistols, not commerical models) records that for military service, 856101-958100 were duplicate numbers manufactured by Colt, and that took place in 1941. However the reason for the duplication is not given, and I don't have the 'commercial' book to see if those duplicates were because of militarized commercial models. Colt did take commercial models and make them military models during the war but I do not know the s/n range

The guys at M1911.org would know more; I'm a knowledgeable amateur
Chris_B is offline  
Old February 5, 2012, 09:04 AM   #5
gyvel
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 30, 2009
Location: Northern AZ
Posts: 4,789
I'm pretty sure it's a reblue, and, yes, the top of the slide is stippled. Looking at the breech face, it does appear to have the hardened insert, and there appears to be a liitle "bleedout" of corrosion from around it.

It's definitely an oddity. The right side logo pretty much seems to be roll stamped. I suppose someone could get a hold of that stamp, especially if they worked at Colt.

Last edited by gyvel; February 5, 2012 at 09:11 AM.
gyvel is online now  
Old February 6, 2012, 04:28 PM   #6
James K
Staff
 
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 19,170
OK, here is my take, FWIW. First, check the slide number again; it looks like 803xxx which would be consistent with a Colt number; 903xxx would be Ithaca and they didn't number the slides.

The left side markings and the P are OK; the right side marking looks like a bad pantograph.

The breech face has been worked on, apparently to work with 9mm or at least look like it might, though the firing pin hole has not been bushed (as would be needed for the smaller 9mm firing pin) and the ejector and extractor holes look like standard .45.

I have no idea what the intent was, but I suspect someone was going to try to make a Colt "experimental" pistol and this is what remains. I can almost hear the spiel, "Super secret pistol made for the OSS...only two made...Patton was given the other one...blah...blah...ten thousand is cheap...blah...blah."

Jim
__________________
Jim K
James K is offline  
Old February 6, 2012, 07:32 PM   #7
Bill DeShivs
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 7, 2006
Posts: 7,017
James is correct-the right side lettering is not factory, it's very bad pantograph rotary engraving.
__________________
Bill DeShivs
www.billdeshivs.com
Bill DeShivs is offline  
Old February 7, 2012, 02:15 AM   #8
Scorch
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 13, 2006
Location: Washington state
Posts: 11,408
Quote:
I don't think Colt ever made any 9mms in WWII
Didn't Colt make pistols for the Norwegian or Swedish army right before WW2?
__________________
Never try to educate someone who resists knowledge at all costs.
But what do I know?
Summit Arms Services
Taylor Machine
Scorch is offline  
Old February 7, 2012, 04:50 AM   #9
gyvel
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 30, 2009
Location: Northern AZ
Posts: 4,789
OK. Took a look at the number with more magnification/light; The bad news is that it is definitely 903806.

Looked in Clawson's book and Colt had numbers assigned between 856101-958100, but Ithaca also was assigned a block within that range at 856405-916404. A little confusing, but he also states that Colt made ca. 60,000 duplicate numbers in that range. That might explain the 903806.

Under high magnification/lighting, I tend to agree, now that I see it, that the right side logo is a rotary pantograph. When seen under 10x, the marks become obvious. Thanks for that observation, Bill deShivs.

Whoever did the welding to build up the breech face did a fantastic job. I can't see any pits or inclusions.

So, mystery solved. Someone wanted a 1911A1 in 9mm, and did a bang up job of modifying a garden variety 1943 Colt production slide to suit their purpose. I seriously doubt that someone was working on some special project; Just something a talented gunsmith did.

I had never really paid much attention to it as it was in a junk box of parts that I have had kicking around for along time.

I was a bit nonplussed when I saw it, as I was under that assumption that Colt had not made anything in 9mm until the 1950s at the earliest. At least now I know that it isn't some super-duper secret Colt project from WWII. LOL!

I'm with you about "rare & valuable," JimK. The one other time I posted (in another forum) something that I thought was odd and interesting (NOT rare or exotic), I got all kinds of rude and accusatory posts in reply, implying that I was trying to pull a fast one. I haven't been back to that forum since.

Basically, that one was a gun built up by a base armorer for a Navy lieutenant in .22 cal. It was a Parkerized Service Ace on a Remington Rand frame that had what was one of the very last serials in the R-R 1945 range.

What made it interesting was that the letters "SM" had been very neatly stamped as a prefix to the s/n. There was no evidence that the "NO" prefix had ever been applied to it and certainly no evidence that it had been welded over. One so-called expert flat out said it was an altered number, and none of the frames came out of the factory without that "NO". Another said I was trying to perpetrate a fake, etc.

I made it as clear as I could that I thought the gun was neither rare, special or particularly valuable, only odd and interesting, hence my posts.

I was vindicated when I came across another very late Remington Rand on an R-R collector's website that clearly did NOT have a "NO" prefix for the s/n. So much for experts.

At any rate, I really appreciate the insights into these things. That's how we learn. Thanks, guys for all your observations.
gyvel is online now  
Old February 7, 2012, 04:56 AM   #10
gyvel
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 30, 2009
Location: Northern AZ
Posts: 4,789
Quote:
Didn't Colt make pistols for the Norwegian or Swedish army right before WW2?
Colt made a run of 700 1911 pistols for the Norwegians ca. 1915-1917, then the Norwegians started making their own .45s at Kongsberg Arsenal from about 1917 to 1945, then again did a run of 20 in the 80s as a feasibility study. (I saw one example at a gun show in Florida in the mid 80s, and boy was it crude.)
gyvel is online now  
Old February 7, 2012, 05:00 AM   #11
gyvel
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 30, 2009
Location: Northern AZ
Posts: 4,789
Lord! The more I look at that 9mm logo, the worse it gets. Magnifying lenses are your friend. LOL!
gyvel is online now  
Old February 7, 2012, 08:59 PM   #12
James K
Staff
 
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 19,170
Right on the duplicate numbers in that range, so the slide is evidently a genuine Colt.

The reason I have nasty suspicions of the person who marked that slide with the "Colt 9m/m" is that (IMHO) it was done for the purpose of deception. If a gunsmith simply wanted to convert a M1911A1 to 9mm, he would not (or at least should not) have marked it "Colt" and tried to make it look like a factory job. Lots of stuff like that turns up in junk boxes at gun shows, and sells for a few bucks. Who knows but that that slide was the reject and a better one is on some advanced Colt collector's pride and joy pistol, a "rare" wartime 9mm "made for the OSS" or whatever.

Jim
__________________
Jim K
James K is offline  
Old February 7, 2012, 10:57 PM   #13
gyvel
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 30, 2009
Location: Northern AZ
Posts: 4,789
Quote:
The reason I have nasty suspicions of the person who marked that slide with the "Colt 9m/m" is that (IMHO) it was done for the purpose of deception.
That's usually the case. I'm (very) ashamed to say I got burned once on a very clever faked pistol that I got from a supposedly very reputable collector.

Anyway, I really appreciate all you guys' insghts into this item. At least now I don't have to sit here and scratch my head and wonder. LOL!
gyvel is online now  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:30 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.09731 seconds with 10 queries