View Full Version : Clements gun?

May 31, 2009, 12:51 AM
Hi, my great-grandfather had a few guns he carried in the Alaskan gold rush. Two of them are S&W revolvers, but I'm not entirely sure about this one. I've done a little research, and it looks like it's a Clement 25 caliber or 5mm, not sure if those are exactly the same gun or not. There doesn't seem to be much information on this gun, though, and what I have found is often conflicting. It looks like it's still in good condition, but the trigger doesn't spring back so it needs some replacement parts. It's also a little stiff. I assume that the only way to field-strip it is to remove the two screws at the top of the back, but I haven't taken it apart yet. Any idea what exactly it is/ if it can still be used/ what it's worth? Thank you.

June 1, 2009, 07:59 PM
It looks like the Clement 5mm IMHO, and if it is, AFAIK there's no ammo available for it.

Clement designed this pistol to chamber the 5mm Charola Anitua round, but, since his pistol outlived the Spanish gun of that name, the 5mm round was eventually given Clement's name.

I'm sure a value could be found by doing a search of various auction sites like guns america, gun broker, auction arms, etc - for closed/sold auctions of one.


June 1, 2009, 08:42 PM
This is a Clement 1903 and, judging from the late serial number, is probably chambered in .25 ACP (6.35mm) instead of the earlier 5mm Charola y Anitua caliber. The caliber transition occurred when the FN 1905 vest pocket pistol, using the newly designed .25 ACP cartridge, entered the market c. 1905/06. Given the popularity of the FN 1905, Clement saw the writing on the wall and realized that the .25 was the future. Thereafter, all Clements were .25s (well, the smallest ones, at least - there were .32 ACP Clements as well).

In excellent condition, this gun has considerable collector appeal. The bad news is that your specimen, given the photos and description, seems to leave a bit to be desired regarding condition. It's certainly not bad, though - especially since the original grips are not cracked or chipped! That's impressive for a gun that's over 100 years old and one that, from your story, saw some use in your grandfather's hands.

It also looks as though it has a very decent amount of the original blue remaining. That's always a good thing.

Depending on what parts are missing, whether the gun is basically functional and the condition of whatever internals remain, value could range considerably. If forced to guess, I would estimate perhaps $200.00 to $400.00.

ATTENTION: If you do decide to disassemble it, show this venerable old gun some love by using the PROPER TOOLS FOR THE JOB! Those screws should only be loosened using gunsmithing screwdrivers with parallel-ground bits - NOT regular screwdrivers. There's nothing more saddening and exasperating than seeing stripped screw heads on old guns simply because the owner couldn't be bothered to do it right. The screw heads on your Clement are in very decent shape - please keep them that way!!!

James K
June 3, 2009, 12:00 AM
Just to add a bit of info. That design, using a light bolt and heavy spring had a further life. Wanting to produce an auto pistol, and frustrated by the fact that a fellow named Browning had patented all the best ideas, one Mr. Joseph Wesson took himself to Belgium, where he bought the rights to Clement's pistol. Shortly thereafter, S&W produced their first auto pistol, the .35 S&W Auto caliber gun sometimes called the Model 1913. It was a clear descendant of the Clement but was, to put it charitably, less than a smashing success. A redesign in 1924 to use the standard .32 ACP cartridge didn't help and there were even fewer sales of the newer model.

But S&W didn't entirely forget. You can see traces of the Clement design in the S&W Model 41/46 .22 pistol and even in their current .22 autos.


June 4, 2009, 10:39 AM
Thank you everyone for the replies! I assume, then, that the .25 caliber cartridges that are commonly available won't fit in this gun? I'll make sure to get the correct screwdrivers, then, thank you for warning me before I damaged the gun. It doesn't look like the gun is listed on any of those sites, but that's a very useful resource. I'm sure I'll be using it when the certificates come back from the S&W for the other two guns.

James K
June 4, 2009, 06:03 PM
As j-framer says, they were made in both 5mm and 6.35mm (.25 ACP). The simple test is that if a .25 fits, it should be OK since a .25 round will not go into the 5mm magazine or chamber.


June 4, 2009, 07:27 PM
Tsujigiri, good to have you back! I hope I didn't sound overly pushy about the screwdriver issue; I was simply gratified to see the good screw heads on your gun and I guess I get rather protective (even when the gun doesn't belong to me :o).

(By the way, if you are ever in the market for a basic and not-too-expensive gunsmithing screwdriver set, try the Pachmayr one available from MidwayUSA:


It's the one I have and it takes care of most common screws.)

The reason that I think your gun is probably a .25 ACP rather than a 5mm is that I have been compiling serial numbers of Clements (and many other pocket pistols) for some time. I note that on Gerhard Schoenbauer's vest pocket pistol website (http://www.vestpockets.bauli.at/archiv/archiv.htm), his Clement 1903 is listed as a "late model" - which, after reading his description, I take to mean that it is a .25 - and the serial number of Gerhard's gun is 9828. The serial number of yours appears to be 9981.

Out of 7 or 8 1903 Clements listed in my database, the highest serial number is 10194. So, even though I don't have all that many examples to judge from, I'd say yours is very much on the later end of things.

James K
June 5, 2009, 11:43 AM
FWIW, my 5mm is #8103.


June 5, 2009, 06:22 PM
Excellent, Jim - thank you! Another example added to the database!

As matters stand now in my 1903 data (some of which I said before, I know):

1) My lowest serial is 2306
2) My highest confirmed 5mm is 8466
3) The earliest .25 is Gerhard Schoenbauer's, 9828
4) Highest serial, 10194

July 9, 2009, 10:26 PM
Sorry for taking so long to reply. On jframer's recommendation, I'm adding a couple of photos in sunlight, which should show the condition a little better. On a side note, does anyone know what an original 1898 S&W M&P and a S&W double action revolver, second model in similar condition would be worth?

Mike Irwin
July 10, 2009, 12:02 AM
You have pictures of the Smith revolvers?

The first military and police hand ejector was the Model 1899, aka the Model 1899 Army-Navy Revolver.

The first several hundred were chambered only in .38 Long Colt in an attempt to grab the military's interest.

S&W was concurrently working on an improved cartridge, what would become the .38 Special, to hopefully address the shortcomings of the .38 Long Colt that were revealed in combat against the Moros in the Philippines. The first Model 1899s chambered in .38 S&W Special didn't hit the shelves until late 1900 or 1901.

July 10, 2009, 12:47 AM
Sorry, that's right, 1899. That one's a .38 Special, and the other is just a .38. Here are the photos that I sent in to S&W; they returned letters that confirmed which guns they are.

Mike Irwin
July 10, 2009, 09:16 AM
What's the serial number on your 1899?

Every time I encounter one in .38 Special I try to push the serial number back to see approximately at what point it was released in .38 Special. There's some confusion about that.

As for your particular gun, there's hardly any bluing left, but the hard rubber grips appear to be in fantastic shape and the metal is in very good shape.

If the barrel and chambers are in good condition, I'd not be surprised to see value at between $750 to $1000 to a collector.

I'll have to hit the books to figure out what the break top is. What's its serial number, as well? That will pin down the specific series. That one, though, is chambered in .38 Smith & Wesson, an earlier round that used a 146-gr. bullet at approximately 600 or so FPS. It was a very popular cartridge in its time.

July 10, 2009, 08:50 PM
Great photos of the Clement, Tsujigiri. It really doesn't look bad at all!

As a side note, I recently was fortunate to stumble across a photo of a very early Clement 1903, serial 382! The area towards the muzzle looked a little different from the later 1903s, but it was definitely a 1903. Sorry I can't post the photos here.

July 12, 2009, 10:58 PM
The 1899 is serial # 14920. What would be the criteria with which you would judge the barrel and chambers? They seem clean with no corrosion, but I'm not sure if there's anything else to look for...
Yes, the hard rubber grips are great on all three guns, except for a small crack on the breaktop.

Mike Irwin
July 14, 2009, 06:31 AM
That one was probably manufactured in middle to late 1901 or 1902 from the serial number. Not particularly early as far as that gun goes. VERY nice piece of family history!

These guns were shot with blackpowder ammunition with corrosive primers, so it's not uncommon to see them with pits in the barrel from corrosion.

It's as simple to determine as looking down the barrel while shining a bright light through the other end so you can look to see if there are any dark areas, if the rifling is nice and pronounced, or if there are actual pits in the bore.

March 27, 2011, 02:15 PM

Reviewing this thread, something caught my attention. You said above that your Clement 5mm is serial number 8103. Does your pistol by any chance have a Siamese chakra marking on the rear gripstrap above the magazine catch?

The reason I ask is that I have recorded Clement 1903 pistols with serial numbers of 7664, 8080 and 8466, and they all have this marking on the rear gripstrap. I have noted no intervening examples. (By the way, any information about this marking would be appreciated. Is it a proof, an acceptance marking of some sort??? Am I referring to it as a "Chakra" correctly?)

March 27, 2011, 04:20 PM
If this is the same "chakra" seen on Siamese Mausers, it was added as a "property of the Imperial Siamese crown" mark, in basically the same way as the British broad arrow.

James K
March 27, 2011, 07:08 PM
Hi, J-framer,

Your question sure threw me for a loop. I had no idea that mark would be there, but I looked and sure enough, it is, on the front strap about 4mm from the bottom. It is like the one on the "Siamese Mauser" except that it is smaller, about 6mm diameter.

I doubt a Clement was used by any military service, but maybe Siamese police?

Good luck in your research and glad to have been of help.

BTW, I have understood that the 5mm pistol was called the Model 1903 and the 6.35mm was called the Model 1908, though they were otherwise identical, and numbered in the same series. Does anyone know for sure?


March 28, 2011, 07:29 PM
SCD - thank you for the information about the Siamese marking. I Googled the terms "Chakra" and "Mauser" and came up with several photos of these markings on rifles, as you mentioned. There are some differences in design and size between the markings on the rifles and the ones I have seen on Clements, but they are similar in a general sense.

Jim - Bingo! I thought it more than likely that the marking would be there, given where your pistol's serial number falls in the examples I have recorded. Like you, I wonder who the users of these Clements were, because, while it is difficult to narrow down the serial number range in which the Siamese-marked examples occurr - the best I can do is confirm that No. 5377 is not Siamese marked on the front or back strap, and No. 10075 isn't either - it seems safe to say that the contract, or purchase order, must have been quite small.

Regarding nomenclature: The overwhelming majority of sources I have read seem to consider the Model 1903 to include both the 5mm and 6.35mm pistols, numbered, as you said, in the same series. This numbering appears to have continued up to the point when the design change took place that resulted in the Model 1907 (the chunky, odd-looking little one with the stubby grip). When the 1907 was introduced, the numbering series appears to have been reset, beginning once more at number 1 (this is a guess based on my lowest recorded Model 1907 serial - see serial number tables below) after which the numbering continued in the same series for the rest of the 6.35mm models (1908, 1909 and 1912).

I think you may be interested to see the serial numbers that I have recorded for all 5mm and 6.35mm Clement pistols, models 1903 - 1912. Here they are:

Model 1903

Early variation - The earliest observed 1903s have a very distinctive, deeply relieved portion on the sides of the front portion of the upper receiver. These pistols have the early French legend, "FABRIQUE D'ARMES C. CLEMENT LIEGE BREVET S.D.G.D." Safety markings are in French ("Feu" and "Sur"). Triggers and breechblocks are in the white. Safety lever, mag catch and other control & screws are fire blued. Caliber is 5mm.

No. 382
No. 1140

Forward portion of upper receiver changed to "conventional" pattern that is observed on most 1903 pistols. Legend still in French.

No. 1677 (shows no legend, although proofs, serial numbers and safety markings are clearly visible. Does not appear to have been refinished/buffed, etc.)
No. 2131
No. 2306
No. 3604 (badly refinished, heavily buffed so that most markings are difficult to read. Legend impossible to discern.)


No. 4256
No. 4287
No. 4616

Safety lever and trigger now blued like the rest of the gun. Breechblocks remain in the white.

No. 5377
No. 7600
No. 7664 (Marked with Siamese "Chakra" on backstrap)
No. 8080 (Marked with Siamese "Chakra" on backstrap)
No. 8103 (Marked with Siamese "Chakra" on frontstrap)
No. 8466 (Marked with Siamese "Chakra" on backstrap)

It is unclear exactly where in the serial number range the transition from 5mm to 6.35mm caliber occurred. Since No. 8466 is the last confirmed 5mm pistol, the transition is tentatively considered to take place at about this point.

No. 9749 (caliber unconfirmed)
No. 9828 (caliber unconfirmed)
No. 9981 (caliber not positively confirmed, but evidence strongly suggests 6.35mm)
No. 10075 (earliest confirmed 6.35mm pistol)
No. 10144
No. 10194
No. 10250
No. 11134

This concludes data gathered for the 1903 model. Presentation will continue with the 1907 model.

March 29, 2011, 06:57 PM
Continued from previous post:

Model 1907

With the introduction of the Clement model 1907 6.35mm/.25ACP pistol, the numbering series appears to have begun once more at number 1.

The following early 1907s have breechblocks with rounded, or convex, sides (on which the grasping grooves are cut). Legend is "-AUTOMATIC PISTOL CLEMENT'S PATENT-". Safety markings are in French ("Feu" and "Sur"). Magazine catch is located on backstrap in the manner of the 1903 model.

No. 810
No. 1134
No. 1144
No. 1616
No. 1935

Somewhere after No. 1935, the sides of the breechblock became straight.

No. 2047
No. 3910

Somewhere after No. 3910, the magazine catch was relocated to the lower rear corner of the left grip.

No. 5739
No. 6297

End of data for the Model 1907. To be continued with the Model 1908.

March 30, 2011, 06:13 PM
Continued from previous post:

Model 1908

The Clement model 1908 appears to continue the same numbering series as the 1907. Legend remains "-AUTOMATIC PISTOL CLEMENT'S PATENT-".

It is noteworthy that the earliest production 1908 pistols still had safety markings in French ("FEU" and "SUR"). Following is the lowest serial numbered model 1908 I have recorded, and the only one observed with French safety markings:

No. 7189

Soon after production began on this model, the safety markings changed to English ("FIRE" and "SAFE"):

No. 8841 (marked "BELGIUM" on the right side)
No. 8918 (marked "BELGIUM" on the right side)
No. 9020 (cannot confirm presence or absence of "BELGIUM" marking - no photo of pistol's right side)
No. 9148 (marked "BELGIUM" on the right side)

At this point in production, a transverse pin appears at the extreme point of the grip tang (where the web of one's hand would be when grasping the gun). Judging from the excellent pictures of a disassembled late 1908 (No. 10775) on Gerhard Schoenbauer's "Vest Pocket Pistol Collector" website (see link to site in post #7), it looks like this pin secures the upper end of a self-contained unit incorporating the mainspring and other components related to driving the hammer. This unit appears fitted into the backstrap of the pistol and looks quite similar to the one found in 1909 pistols, though lacking the quick release lever of that model. Whether earlier 1908 pistols had such a unit, though secured in the frame differently, or whether the design of the earlier varation differed more substantially, is not known to me.

No. 10775
No. 11154

End of data for Model 1908. To be continued with the Model 1909.

April 9, 2011, 04:07 PM
Continued from previous post:

Model 1909

The Clement Model 1909 appears to continue the same numbering series as the Model 1908. Legend remains "-AUTOMATIC PISTOL CLEMENT'S PATENT-", and legend is located on the sighting rib along the top of the receiver.

It is interesting to note that the sides of the breechblock now have cross checkering rather than straight serrations. Safety markings are in English ("FIRE" and "SAFE").

No. 21117 (This pistol is fully engraved in a fanciful dragon and scroll motif and appears nickel-plated. Unsure if engraving is period work. Screws and levers are fire blued).

No. 21570 (marked "MADE IN BELGIUM" on right side)
No. 21905 (photo blurry but believed to be marked "MADE IN BELGIUM" on right side)
No. 22316 (marked "MADE IN BELGIUM" on right side)
No. 22434 (marked "MADE IN BELGIUM" on right side)
No. 22504
No. 26516 (marked "MADE IN BELGIUM" on right side)
No. 27004 (marked "MADE IN BELGIUM" on right side)
No. 27464
No. 28649

Sometime after No. 28649, the sides of the breechblock received straight serrations rather than checkering, and the "-AUTOMATIC PISTOL CLEMENT'S PATENT-" legend was discontinued, to be replaced with a simple "C.P.C" marking on the left side of the pistol near the muzzle.

No. 36956

It is possible that this late pistol was assembled from leftover parts before the transition to the much different Model 1912. Perhaps the straight-serrated breechblock was a leftover part from Model 1908 production (I don't know if breechblocks are interchangeable between the 1908 and 1909 models). What does seem certain is that this pistol is original with respect to its parts and finish, with matching serial numbers stamped in the usual locations on the same pieces as "normal" 1909 production (upper receiver, lower receiver, breechblock). Does not appear "messed with" at all, aside from someone's having installed a dovetailed front sight on it.

End of data for Model 1909. To be continued with the Model 1912.

June 13, 2011, 08:03 PM
I bought a Clements a while back. It's number is 1174. By J-framers description it is a model 1907. Where can I get more information? The truly only thing wrong with this is it is missing the safety.

June 14, 2011, 06:15 PM
Khawk72, thanks for reporting your Clement. Have you visited the Austrian website mentioned in post #7? There are pictures and a short description of each model.

Is there any chance you could post a photo or two of your Clement?

March 11, 2012, 09:31 PM
I have a:
Automatic Pistol Clement Patent
Charles PH Clement

Grips damaged (badly)
Looking for help to confirm caliber (e.g. 5mm or .25 cal)
Looking for a clip.
Appreciate any help.

James K
March 12, 2012, 01:20 AM
Check www.gunpartscorp.com for the magazine. They list four, all in .25 caliber. (There wouldn't be much point in making 5mm magazines as the ammo is unobtainable.)

I have no source suggestion on the grips. You could probably make them or have them made but of course wouldn't look original (unless you can do a real good job of carving plastic).

You should be able to tell .25 from 5mm just by looking at the muzzle, or use a ruler. If the hole is about 1/4 inch (.25") it is .25 caliber. If it looks a lot smaller, it is 5mm (.18 caliber), or about 3/16th on your ruler.


March 12, 2012, 07:43 PM
Thanks for the reply....appears to measure 3/16 (5mm)
Found grips, but looks like not much need to rehab the gun without ammo/clip.
Appreciate the input.

March 13, 2012, 06:14 AM
FWIW, Mathews has the following Clements listed and illustrated in his book:

Model 1903 s/n 10148
Model 1907 s/n 1975
Model 1907 s/n 6168
Model 1908 s/n 9157
Model 1909 s/n 16410
Model 1909 (4 5/8" barrel) s/n 36571
Model 1909 (4 5/8" barrel) s/n 37057
Model 1912 s/n 37078
Model 1912 s/n 36402

All of them were listed as "6.35mm" and none were listed as 5mm.

March 13, 2012, 06:19 AM
Found grips, but looks like not much need to rehab the gun without ammo/clip.
Appreciate the input.

Clement grips: http://vintagegungrips.net/clpigr.html

March 14, 2012, 06:16 PM
I've already purchased the grips and will continue to research the serial number. I would agree from everything I can find, the 6.35mm is about all that is out there...........I'm probably stuck with a clip-less, "ammunition-less" unique 5mm gun.

May 7, 2012, 05:42 PM
Some update on 1903 ser# 7600 It marked with Siamese "Chakra" on backstrap. Also on the top strap it marked "Manufacture Francaise d'Armes et Cycles de St.Etienne"

James K
May 7, 2012, 10:16 PM
FWIW, mine is #8103, 5mm. Neither the magazine nor the breech face will accept .25 ACP.

The gun is marked on the left side "Automatic Pistol Clement's Patent" and in a semi-circle above "Liege" the words "Charles P.H. Clement". There is a Chakra on the front (not the back) strap. There are no right side markings except the serial number on frame and bolt and the normal Liege proof marks.

The recoil spring is very strong and the pistol is quite hard to cock, even for a moderately strong man; it would be impossible for most women.


May 8, 2012, 05:22 PM
"Neither the magazine nor the breech face will accept .25 ACP"
It is VERY strange... Magazine should accept .25 just fine...
25ACP in Clement mag.

5mm in Clement mag.

James K
May 8, 2012, 09:41 PM
Hi, GrozaB,

Magazines might differ, but White & Munhall give the 5mm Clement rim diameter as .279" -.284", and the 6.35mm Browning (.25 ACP) rim diameter as .297" - .302". The .25 ACP will fit into my 5mm magazine, but can't be pushed all the way back.

Is it possible that the magazine shown is a .25 ACP magazine or that later magazines were made to work with either caliber?


May 10, 2012, 03:36 AM
If anybody needs a Clement mag, let me know. (But it ain't gonna be cheap.:D)

May 17, 2012, 05:26 PM
Another one for the record. Ser# 8192 5mm. No Chakra anywhere.

October 23, 2012, 01:34 PM
I purchased it from a local guy for $125
SN 8869 good condition grips are great
Belgium on right side of gun and automatic pistol clements patent on the left side

Anyone know if it was a good find? Thanks Dave

July 8, 2013, 10:19 AM
A while ago I purchased s/n 9626 in 5mm. I can supply photos to show it is definately 5mm, I have several inert rounds and the heads just start to engage on the rifling from the muzzle end. It is missing the knob on the base of the mag and the trigger is reluctant to return to battery, but otherwise in good condition. I think this puts back the timeline for the introduction of the 1903 in .25ACP?


May 30, 2015, 12:09 AM
Just picked up 9997, which is in 6.35/.25.