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Old November 11, 2013, 10:40 PM   #1
turps
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Nice 1909 Colt

A decent 1909 Long Colt I picked up a few years ago.It came with a nice holster and a box of 1909 Long Colt. They were not made in great numbers for army use and even fewer numbers went to the marines.
Thanks for looking,
Joe
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Old November 12, 2013, 07:14 PM   #2
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That is a nice one. I finally got one a couple of years ago but it was refinished and Parkerized. Still an uncommon gun and an almost unknown link between the .38 Colt revolvers of the 1892-1909 period and the .45 M1911 pistol. The cartridge is a unique also, never having been made commercially. They were made only by Frankford Arsenal and have larger rims than the .45 Colt to prevent the extractor from jumping the rim.

Jim
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Old November 13, 2013, 07:47 AM   #3
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1909 Colt

These 1909 Colts work fine with standard velocity modern 45 Colt ammunition. From what I have read the thicker rimmed 45 Colt ammunition made specifically for the 1909 Colt will chamber in the Colt Single Action, but because of the thicker rims it is necessary to skip a chamber to keep the rims from overlapping, effectively reducing the single action to a three-shooter, but I have never personally had the chance to examine any of this thick rimmed 45 Colt made for the 1909 New Service. Modern Colt 45 brass has a thicker rim than the cartridge came out with originally.

If you do run across any of this original Frankfort Arsenal ammunition loaded for the 1909 Colt don't shoot it. Aside from the collector value of the ammunition, Frankfort Arsenal had a run of ammunition that double charged the original 7 grain loads of Bullseye and they blew up a number of guns before they corrected the problem with a new powder aptly named RSQ which came to the rescue because it was too bulky to double load.

The best sources to learn more about your new acquisition are The Colt New Service Revolvers by Bob Murphy and Colt's New Service Revolver by Timothy J. Mullin. Both of these books are very good the only criticism I have of Mullins's book is his statement that nobody he ever knew still carried the old Colt New Service for defense, and that's not really a criticism. He just didn't know me. I often carry a heavily worn 1909 model New Service. When something goes bump in the night, I know its nothing compared to what that old Colt has seen.
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Old November 14, 2013, 08:51 PM   #4
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There has been some discussion on that RSQ powder, but IMHO, the most likely story is that the letters actually stood for "Revolver, Special Quality", and that the "rescue" was a joke by Major K.K.V. Casey when he wrote DuPont that their powder had "rescued" the revolver project.

Jim
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Old November 14, 2013, 09:41 PM   #5
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Nice! Is the holster that came with it the same vintage? I'd love to see a photo of it. Thanks for sharing!
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Old November 15, 2013, 08:09 AM   #6
turps
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I added some pictures of the holster and unopened box of ammo.
Thanks for the comments on my thread,
Joe (U.S. imprinted on the front of the holster)
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Old November 15, 2013, 10:24 AM   #7
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Cool revovler and nice holster.

Is that the military issue holster?
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Old November 15, 2013, 01:23 PM   #8
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Jim K,
You have a collection of period information, including a slightly different take on the naming of RSQ.

So, do you also know why the 1909 is a New Service in .45 Long Colt for which FA produced large rim cartridges instead of the official 1906 Revolver round, companion to the official 1906 Pistol spec set out by Frankford?

The only thing I can think of is that it let them buy guns pretty much off the shelf instead of fooling with a new set of specifications and chamber reamers.
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Old November 15, 2013, 03:10 PM   #9
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JamesK,

Fascinating information about RSQ. I hadn't heard or read that. Thank you.

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Old November 17, 2013, 11:25 PM   #10
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The info on the "RSQ" powder came from several sources, and I honestly don't know which is correct. But I am inclined to believe the story as I told it, partly because it has the ring of truth. The story that Maj. Casey named the powder seems unlikely, as DuPont named its own powders. But the idea that Casey produced a pun on the word "rescue" seems quite likely; contacts of the military and contractors in those days were less stiff and formal than today.

The cartridge problem is a bit murky. The Model 1909 revolver was adopted simply because the old .38s were not powerful enough and the Model 1878 Colt DA was both obsolete and not really suitable for military service. And no one knew when (if ever) the "pie in the sky" auto pistol would be good enough for adoption.

So, adopting the New Service in .45 Colt was a quite reasonable measure. Some experts believe it was intended as a stop-gap for a few years and only purchased, not adopted. But it was given a government Model number (which the Colt 1878 never was) and holsters were made for it. The Army might have intended to use the 1906 cartridge, but it had the same rim diameter as the .45 Colt, and trials of the new revolver showed that the extractor jumped the rims of the .45 Colt; the Model 1906, with a shorter case, would have been worse.

The intention at first was to design a cartridge that could be used in both the M1909 revolver and the SAA and DAA. That round was first loaded with 4.5 grains of Bullseye but any attempt to increase the powder charge resulted in high pressures. That cartridge was called the Model 1909 but was loaded only until April of that year. In March, a new drawing was produced increasing the rim diameter to .536"-.540", which meant that the extraction problem was solved but the new round (still called the Model 1909 cartridge) could be loaded in the SAA and 1878 only in every other chamber. That is the cartridge usually called the Model 1909 cartridge loaded with RSQ powder; it was loaded by FA at least until 1913 and some Model 1909 revolvers were in service until well after WWI, though it is likely none were send to combat areas because supplying ammunition would have meant another .45 cartridge in the overseas supply system. (The Model 1909 cartridge was never loaded commercially or on contract, only by Frankford Arsenal.)

Jim
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Old November 18, 2013, 07:31 AM   #11
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Rarely do you find one these with a decent finish.This one looks awesome. Good find!
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Old November 18, 2013, 07:59 AM   #12
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James, A very detailed explanation of the cartridge use for the 1909 long Colt.I've read a lot of explanation for the "why"but yours was the best!
Joe
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Old November 18, 2013, 08:19 AM   #13
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Phil Sharpe said that a double charge of Bullseye, unfortunately possible with the loading equipment of the day, would demolish the gun. He said that a sound revolver would stand one double dose of RSQ but not another. That sounds awful precise to me, but they did make the change in powder. He gives a few reloads with it, it must have been somewhat available.

Colt sold a lot of New Services in .45 Colt, including some to the RCMP.
I guess they were accustomed to getting things done in 6 shots and did not worry about the reload.

I have read that current production .45 Colt has a somewhat larger rim than frontier era ammo. I wonder how that works in a New Service or the recent production S&Ws.
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Old November 20, 2013, 03:39 PM   #14
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Another confusing thing is that the Model 1909 was MADE for the .45 Colt, and as far as Colt was concerned, that was its caliber. It was the Army that came up with the .45 Model 1909 cartridge for the reason mentioned. But .45 Colt (and .45 Schofield) will work just fine, but with the latter especially, point the gun upward when ejecting the empties.

(I once tried to get the .45 Colt to jump the extractor on a Model 1909 and succeeded; I spent 10 minutes clearing the jam. I can see why they wanted a cartridge with a bigger rim.)

Jim
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