View Full Version : Value of a Colt Model 1917, Help Please

September 21, 2004, 11:20 PM
I'm trying to help out with valuing a gun for someone. I have notes taken by the owner which states:
"Colt US Army Model 1917"
"Cal .45ACP"
"Barrel 5 1/2"
"Colt D.A. 45 on side of barrel"
"US Army Model 1917 No 42930 on bottom of grip"

I have the latest Blue Book of Gun Values. I can't positively ID the gun in the book. The closest to anything I can come is in the serial number listings in the back of the book. The serial number 42930 is listed under "model 1911 and 1911A1 military production". According to that list the gun was manufactured in 1913 by "Colt USN". This doesn't seem right but it's the closest to any match I can find.

I have attached a picture. Web searches have turned up similar guns although higher serial numbers, they seem to retail in the $600 range.

Appreciate some help.

September 22, 2004, 12:50 AM
Go back to the Blue Book and look around the New Service area.
There will be a listing for the Model 1917 Colt revolvers somewhere.

The Model 1917 revolvers were made by both S&W and Colt during WWI.

During WWI, pistols were in heavy demand for trench warfare and we just couldn't make enough 1911 autos.
So, Colt and S&W built war-time versions of their large frame revolvers, chambered in the standard .45 ACP auto cartridge as used in the 1911 auto.
Colt's version was base on their large New Service revolver.

These guns used a unique "half-moon" clip that held 3 rounds of ammo. To load, two of these clips were dropped in the gun.

Early guns could not be used without the clips, later guns had "steps" in the chambers to hold a loose round in proper condition so ammo without the clips could be fired.
However, the cases couldn't be ejected, and a pencil or stick was used to punch them out.

Later, after the war, commercial ammo called .45 Auto Rim was made. This is .45ACP ammo made with a rim, that allows the cases to be ejected. I think this ammo is still available.

These Colt's were made during 1917 and 1918 only.

Uniquely, the Colt 1917 revolvers have TWO serial numbers. A Colt factory number inside the cylinder crane and on the frame in the same area, AND a US Government issue number stamped on the butt.
To find the actual year of make, go by the factory number.
Again, these were only made in 1917 and '18.

Value can be fairly high, depending on condition.

September 22, 2004, 06:56 PM
Welcome,. rinoman! The condition of the revolver is important to the value, the guidebook should have a description of the different ratings.

September 23, 2004, 12:04 AM
Thanks for the help, I found it. I was looking in the wrong part of the book, I was stuck on the single action revolvers. I thought I knew stuff about guns before taking on this project, I thought wrong.

I have several pieces to work on, I'll be asking more questions.

Intrestingly another one of the pieces is a S&W Model 1917.

October 21, 2004, 01:30 PM
I know of a Model 1917 marked US Army that is either chrome or nickel. Were any of the Army models originally nickel plated? If not, how much, in general, would the gun having been chromed hurt its value?