1st Series Colt Woodsman Match Target .22 LR Semi-Automatic Pistol 1938 C&R
SOLD FOR: $1469.44
Model: First Model Match Target Woodsman
Serial Number: MT2881
Year of Manufacture: 1938
Caliber: .22 Long Rifle
Action Type: Single Action Semi-Automatic Pistol with Removable Magazine
Markings: The left side of the slide is marked “COLT”, “AUTOMATIC / CAL. .22 LONG RIFLE” and with a Rampant Colt logo. The left side of the frame is marked “THE WOODSMAN” and the left barrel flat is marked with a “MATCH / TARGET” with a large bullseye in the center. The top of the barrel is marked “COLT’S MFG. CO. HARTFORD, CT. U.S.A. / PAT. DES. 110,887”. The left front of the trigger guard is marked with “P” and a “VP” inside a triangle. The right front of the trigger guard is marked “30” and the bottom of the grip frame on the left side is marked “MT2881”. The interior of the slide is serial-matching, marked “2881”. The bottom of the magazine floorplate is marked “COLT WOODSMAN / CAL .22 L.R. / MATCH TARGET MOD.”.
Barrel Length: 6 5/8”.
Sights/Optics: The front sight is a Patridge style blade that is pinned into a slotted base fixed to the top of the barrel. This pistol is mounted with a flat topped square notch rear sight adjustable for windage and elevation and dovetailed into the slide.
Stock Configuration and Condition: The grip is a one-piece checkered walnut that wraps around the front strap and has “elephant ears” which obscures the frontstrap completely and extends below the bottom of the grip frame on each side. There are Rampant Colt medallions inset at the top of the grip on each side. There are nicks on the bottom-front edge, likely from magazine insertion and a few other scattered minor marks. There are no chips or cracks. The checkering is well defined. Overall, the grip rates in Fine condition.
Type of Finish: The pistol is blued with a matte finish on the top of the barrel and slide.
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is mostly bright and the rifling is sharp. There is infrequent minor erosion in the bore, mostly at the muzzle-end.
Overall Condition: This pistol retains about 92% of its metal finish. The finish is thinning lightly at most edges. Most of the balance is in finish wear and discoloration at the bottom-front corners of the frame on each side and handling wear in the backstrap. There is some scattered minor surface oxidation and a few light nicks and scratches. The action shows operational wear. The grip screw heads range from sharp to lightly tool marked with strong slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this pistol rates in Very Good-plus condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The slide does not lock back on an empty magazine but the manual safety can be used to lock the slide back for cleaning. We did not fire this pistol. As with all used firearms, thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork, and Accessories: This pistol comes with one 10 round magazine with the top portion in the white, the remainder blued. The magazine has light operational wear with intact feed lips and a strong spring.
Our Assessment: This is a Colt Woodsman 1st Series Match Target “Bullseye” Model pistol, made in the first year this model was produced, 1938. It has a flat sided barrel that tapers towards the muzzle, adjustable sights and the bottom of the grip frame-mounted magazine release, which is characteristic of the 1st Series (Colt Woodsman pistols changed the location of the magazine release from the butt to the left side of the frame and then back to the butt for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Series—we surmise they were going to keep changing it until they got it right.) John M. Browning designed “Colt’s Automatic Pistol, Caliber .22”, later to become the Woodsman, with the design refined slightly by Colt employees George Tansley and F.C. Chadwick before it was released in 1915. The Woodsman stayed in production until 1977. Sportsmen often favored the 4 1/2” Sport Model, but the Match Target was the king, and a favorite of bullseye target competitors. The pistol rates in Very Good-plus overall condition with about 92% of its original finish remaining. Finish wear present stems largely from normal use, not from a lack of care. The previous owner doubtlessly loved to shoot this pistol, and it shows. The bore is mostly bright with sharp rifling and just a hint of minor erosion. Target pistols of this quality are no longer made in the United States and will command a premium over most “new” currently manufactured pistols except those used for truly high-end competition. If you are looking for a rimfire target pistol, this is still a better choice than most “new” pistols on the market today, but since this is one of the more rare pre-WWII competition models, Colt collectors are sure to make securing this example a competition all its own. Good luck and happy bidding!