SOLD FOR: $12025
Serial Number: 2332
Year of Manufacture: 1907 (https://colt.com/serial-lookup)
Caliber: .45 A.C.P.
Action Type: Single Action Semi-Auto Pistol with Removable Magazine
Markings: The left side of the slide is marked “PATENTED / APR. 20. 1897. SEPT. 9. 1902. DEC. 19. 1905.”, “COLT’S PATENT FIRE ARMS MFG. CO. / HARTFORD, CONN. U.S.A.”, and at the rear with a circled Rampant Colt logo. The left side of the frame is marked “2332”. The right side of the slide is marked “AUTOMATIC COLT / CALIBRE 45 RIMLESS SMOKELESS”. The left front of the trigger guard is marked with a “VP” in a triangle, the left-rear “6”. The right side of the frame rail at the muzzle is marked “K”.
Barrel Length: 5”
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a blade fixed to the front of the slide. The rear sight is a rounded-top “U” notch dovetailed into the rear of the slide.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are two-piece checkered wood with smooth diamonds around the grip screw escutcheons. The grips have minor handling wear, mostly at the bottom of the checkering on each panel. The left panel has a spot of compressed checkers in front of the bottom diamond and a line of compressed checkers behind. There are a few other scattered individual compressed checkers Otherwise, the checkering is well defined. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grips are in Fine-plus condition.
Type of Finish: Blue, Fire-Blue & Case Color
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is semi-bright with sharp rifling. There is some scattered light erosion in the grooves with infrequent minor erosion on the lands.
Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 90% of its metal finish. The finish is thinning at all edges. Most of the balance is in handling wear in the grip areas. There is some finish wear at the leading edges of the slide and dust cover and smaller spots of wear at the top-rear corners of the slide. There are some scattered minor nicks, scratches and scuffs with a few small spots of minor oxidation. There are light tool marks around the hammer screw. The action shows operational wear. The trigger has wear on the front face, but the sides have generally strong fire-blue. The magazine latch also has good fire-blue. The hammer has good case color where it does not show operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to lightly tool marked with strong slots. The pin heads have finish wear and minor tool marking, but are not peened. The markings are clear. Overall, this pistol is in Fine condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The slide wedge is present and its indexing stud is intact. The trigger pull is crisp. The slide shows no play to the frame, but slides smoothly. This pistol does not have a safety but does have a half-cock position on the hammer. The magazine release is on the bottom of the butt. We did not fire this handgun. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: This pistol comes with a single 7-round Colt 1905 magazine and a photocopy of a Colt Historian letter. The magazine has minor operational wear and some odd rippling on the spine, the feed lips are intact, the spring is strong. The letter confirms that this pistol shipped to M. Hartley Company in New York, New York on September 12, 1907 in a shipment of 10 of the same type guns.
Our Assessment: The Ordnance Department of the U.S. Army convened a board of two men, Capt. John t. Thompson and Maj. Louis A. La Garde to determine a minimum handgun caliber for use by the U.S. Military in 1903. In 1904, a month before the report was released, Union Metallic Cartridge Company (U.M.C.) received “figures for the proposed ctgs.”. UMC began work on cartridges, and shortly thereafter Colt set to work experimenting on a .45 caliber pistol based on their 1902 Military model.
U.M.C. came up with a rimless .45 cartridge that they were producing by April 1905. Meanwhile, Colt had John M. Browning try to figure out how to handle the stresses caused by higher powered cartridges using the M1902 pistol as a baseline. By May 1905, Browning had applied for a patent covering a new barrel design with locking lugs on the bottom to lock it to the frame. In 1907, Army tests began on guns from 8 different manufacturers, which was narrowed down to Colt’s Model 1905 and pistols from Savage and Luger. Changes were requested, and Colt came up with a prototype of the new Model 1907 by Sept.1907. Only about 207 of this new model were made, making them some of the most desired collector guns in the world. Further modifications resulted in the Model 1911, which was adopted by the Army and is still in use until this day as the M1911-A1.
Although the M1905 wasn’t adopted by the Army, they were made and sold commercially except for those used in government testing. The oil polished mirror finish Colt put on the pistols, with a fire blue or case-colored finish on the smaller parts, made them very desirable.This M1905 pistol was made in 1907, in early-mid production. It has about 90% of its original blue finish remaining, remarkably little wear in its stocks, and is in Fine condition. The pistol has proper features for its serial number including both the slide markings and the rounded hammer which would later be changed to a spur-type profile. The mechanics are still quite good with excellent slide-to-frame fit, a crisp trigger, and the indexing stud on the slide wedge is still intact, frequently these are broken from improper assembly/disassembly.
The pistol originally shipped to the M. Hartley company in New York City, the successor to Schuyler, Hartley & Graham, possibly the largest retailer of Colt firearms into the early 20th Century. This is interesting as Hartley was one of the founders of U.M.C. which had developed this pistol’s cartridge. This model, along with its M1900 and M1902 predecessors, is a must-have amongst Colt collectors as being the first of the large framed Colt semi-automatics. As only 6,210 of the M1905 pistols were made, they become even more desirable with every passing year. We expect the collectors of Colt autos are going to be interested in this pistol, especially given its high condition and shipment to Hartley. Please see our photos and good luck!