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Old August 14, 2012, 07:28 PM   #1
1929officialpolice
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how similar/different are the 1903 colt and 1922 fn?

im a sucker for a 1903 colt. every time i found one for a good price i just didnt have the money. i have been watching a lot of fn 1922's on gun broker and they seem very similar minus the slide but it seems you can buy a nicer one for relatively cheap. can these share parts/magazines? i know they are both browning designs. i will eventually get a colt but do you think this is the way to go for now? is one better then the other? i know on the fn the firing pin also ejects the shell, is the the case with the 1903? any advice would be appreciated, thank you
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Old August 14, 2012, 08:53 PM   #2
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There are three major differences. The Colt has its recoil spring underneath the barrel, the FN guns have it around the barrel. The Colt is hammer fired, while the FN guns are striker fired. The striker on the FN guns acts as the ejector while the Colt has a separate ejector.

Magazines are not interchangeable.

The Model 1922 is fairly common in this country as the Germans used a lot of them and they came back as GI souvenirs. But up to the 1950's Colt and FN had an agreement not to sell in the others' backyard, so FN guns never were imported commercially until Colt dropped production of the 1903 after WWII. It was only from around 1960 to 1968, when GCA '68 banned import of the 1910 that that gun was regularly imported.

The 1922's on the market are almost all military guns, many of which have seen much use or were made under German occupation and are of dubious quality. IMHO, I would save my pennies and wait until I could find a good Colt.

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Old August 14, 2012, 08:57 PM   #3
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The two guns are as different as day and night. They share no parts whatsoever.

Other than the fact that they are both blowback operated, there are no other similarities, except the way the barrels are attached.

The 1922, however, shares many components with its smaller, older brother, the 1910.
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Old August 15, 2012, 03:37 PM   #4
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I don't know about day and night. They are quite different in the technical sense, but are for the same general purpose, a medium size pocket pistol, which is what the OP seems to want.

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Old August 15, 2012, 06:50 PM   #5
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so is the bottom line save/spend on the colt then the fn? are mags as rare for the fn as the colt?
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Old August 15, 2012, 08:03 PM   #6
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Jim, what I meant by "day and night" is that they share no common components. Yes, in a general sense, they are both pocket autos, magazine fed, etc. (although the 1922 was designed to be used as a holstered sidearm). But otherwise they are two completely different entities.

To answer your magazine question Official Police, FN 1922 mags are still relatively common and reasonably priced than original Colt mags, and, as I stated, in general, more parts are still available for the 1922.

Personally, if it is a medium size pocket pistol that you want, I would check into a 1910 Browning; It is slightly smaller than the Colt, and has no sharp angular corners, external hammers or sights to snag.
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Old August 15, 2012, 09:32 PM   #7
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As mentioned above, 1910's are a lot less available in the U.S. than 1922's. True, the 1922 is larger and would be best carried in a holster. In fact, all three guns under discussion are outclassed today by more modern pistols of the same approximate size packing a 9mm Parabellum punch.

Of the three guns, the Colt is actually the easiest to get, and ones in less than top condition are not expensive.

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Old August 16, 2012, 08:37 AM   #8
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thank you guys for the input. i guess ill just wait around for the next shooter colt i see
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Old August 17, 2012, 08:55 AM   #9
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I would tend to disagree to a point that the 1910s are that much less common than an old Colt. Besides the orignal FN 1910s that were made to the tune of almost a million, Browning Arms Company marked 1910s show up with relative frequency.

Parts for old Colt's are getting fewer and farther between, while the interchangeability betwen a 1922 and a 1910 means a decent parts supply for a while. 1910s were made into the early 80s.

Either way, they're all great guns and a lot of fun to shoot.
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Old August 17, 2012, 09:54 AM   #10
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Regarding similarities, they both have SA triggers....um.....Both designed by John Browning!!! DING DING DING!

The solution is to buy em all. I never came across an affordable 1910, well ok I did once. I passed on it and have not found a good one since that was a fair price. I want one, but I want it for my price lol.

Quote:
Of the three guns, the Colt is actually the easiest to get, and ones in less than top condition are not expensive.
The Colt 1903 is quite easy to get, and of the 3, also the hardest to afford. You can get FN 1922s for $300 and they are common too. FN 1910s are elusive IMO. I know of a place in PA that has a nice colt 1903 that I found online, that I debate about buying. It would be $500 plus tax and shipping which is fair for about a 90 to 95% gun. On the other hand, I only saw photos.
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Old August 17, 2012, 12:16 PM   #11
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Hi, Gyvel,

Regarding the 1910, it is not the number made, but the number in the U.S. that is significant. The Colt-FN agreement kept the Model 1910 (and other FN handguns) out of the U.S. market until after WWII. The 1922 is common because the Germans kept production going and issued tens of thousands of them to their own forces, so they were taken in large quantities by GIs in WWII. But 1910 production almost stopped during the occupation and relatively few were captured from the Germans. They were imported in the 1950's and 1960's, but the 1910 was never very popular and was ultimately banned by GCA '68.

FWIW, I searched for a decent 1910 for many years before finding a LNIB specimen about ten years ago. They are not really rare, but are certainly not that common in the U.S.

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Old August 18, 2012, 01:02 AM   #12
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All bad aside, the FN 1922 is still an important cornerstone in a WWII pistol collection. Mine has late grips and seen some touch ups but shoots still nicely.



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Old August 18, 2012, 01:20 AM   #13
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The 1922 is an interesting example of designers making a major modification on the cheap. After the 1910 came out, it was very successful on the civilian market* but military and police wanted a larger gun for holster use, preferably one with a longer barrel and greater magazine capacity. So the FN engineers (I don't know how much if any influence Browning had) came up with a neat solution. They lengthened the slide by fitting an extension, and made the grip frame longer without changing the basic tooling. The 1922 became one of the most common police and military pistols in Europe in the pre-WWII period.

*Maybe it didn't count as a success, but four 1910 pistols in .380 were used in the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which touched off WWI.

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Old August 18, 2012, 02:22 AM   #14
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It was also still extensively used in post-war Europe, namely in the Netherlands and Germany.
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Old August 19, 2012, 01:22 AM   #15
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The prime influence in the engineering changes which resluted in the 1922 was the fledgling government of what was to become Yugoslavia; They required a larger pistol for holstered sidearm use.
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Old August 19, 2012, 06:56 PM   #16
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so if the .32 was used for military and police forces how come so many people say it is an inferior caliber?
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Old August 19, 2012, 08:23 PM   #17
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The answer has more to do with what was considered socially acceptable at the time in Europe. Cartridges more powerful than .380acp were deemed overly powerful and were generally considered socially unacceptable. The FN 1903 in 9mm Browning Long was largely a failure partly due to it being too powerful to be socially acceptable. Technology at the time did not allow for construction of a pistol able to handle the more powerful cartridge in a small enough frame to appeal to the civilian market. Things have certainly changed since then.
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Old August 20, 2012, 04:14 AM   #18
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Quote:
so if the .32 was used for military and police forces how come so many people say it is an inferior caliber?
The original 1922s as requested by Yugoslavia were .380s.

All the Netherlands military issue 1922s were also .380

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Old August 20, 2012, 11:03 PM   #19
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In the first half of the 20th century a very large number of the American police still carried revolvers in .32 S&W Long.
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Old August 21, 2012, 10:44 AM   #20
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There was also an FN model of 1903 that is almost identical to a Colt model of 1903. It was chambered in 9mm Browning Long, the Colt (with a different model number) being chambered in 9mm Browning, also called .380, among other things. Almost but not quite: it is actually bigger in most dimensions but it otherwise functions the same and takes down the same way. They were being sold here for what now seems to be a song back in the 1950s and 1960s but they were often rechambered to .380. Some continued to be used in some armies until replaced by Glocks, so they had a remarkably long service life, if not exactly continuous.
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Old August 21, 2012, 03:31 PM   #21
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The FN Model 1903 was adopted by Sweden as the Model 1907 and surplus Swedish guns were sold here. Since 9mm Browning long is generally unavailble in the U.S. the importers had them converted to .380 ACP by putting in a chamber bushing and cutting the recoil spring.

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Old August 21, 2012, 09:04 PM   #22
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Putting a chamber bushing into a 9mm Browning long is not the worst idea, I have to cut .38 S&W Special cartidges and remove part of the rim to come up with brass for my Husqvarna 1907.
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Old August 21, 2012, 09:36 PM   #23
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Quote:
Putting a chamber bushing into a 9mm Browning long is not the worst idea, I have to cut .38 S&W Special cartidges and remove part of the rim to come up with brass for my Husqvarna 1907.
You know that you can just trim back .38 Auto and .38 Super brass to make 9mm Browning long, don't you?
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Old August 21, 2012, 09:45 PM   #24
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The 1903 Browning auto was also adopted by Turkey, Serbia, Estonia, Paraguay, El Salvador and Russia.

It was initially designed to be a sidearm that fired a reasonably powerful cartridge, but still had the simplicity of a blowback arm. The probable reason for its demise was that more powerful sidearms became available that were roughly the same size as the 1903, rather than "social acceptability."

As a side note, some 1903s were made to accept a shoulder stock.
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Old August 21, 2012, 10:27 PM   #25
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The FN 1903 was an attempt to produce a military pistol that would be more powerful than the 1900. Browning developed it and the Colt 1903 at about the same time (1901), and they are almost identical except for size. While the Colt pistol was never even considered as a military pistol, the FN 1903 was intended as a more powerful alternative to the Model 1900 for military purposes. It was offered with a stock slot and a wooden holster stock, as well as with a tangent rear sight; those features were later employed on the High Power pistol.

It has been written that the FN 1903 and its 9mm Browning Long cartridge was an attempt to compete against the German 9mm Luger, but the 9mm BL was developed before the German cartridge, and was of the old Browning semi-rimmed type. It has also been written that the 9mm BL was a lengthened version of the 9mm Browning Short (.380 ACP), but again the time line is reversed; the 9mm BL predated the 9mm BS by several years. The latter seems to have been developed as a more powerful alternative to the .32 ACP while being able to fit the Colt 1903 platform with only minor modifications.

While I restricted a previous post to the Swedish adoption and subsequent sale of Swedish surplus pistols in the U.S. Gyvel is correct that other nations adopted it, but AFAIK few, if any, of those have turned up on the U.S. surplus market.

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