Pre-War Colt Service Model Ace .22 LR 1911 Semi-Auto Target Pistol 1939 C&R

SOLD FOR: $4618

LSB#: 230105TA004

Make: Colt

Model: Service Model Ace

Serial Number: SM 882

Year of Manufacture: 1939 (

Caliber: .22 Long Rifle

Action Type: Single Action Semi-Auto with Removable Magazine

Markings: The left side of the slide is marked COLT’S PT. F.A. MFG. CO. HARTFORD, CT. U.S.A. / PATENT NUMBERS [] 2.090.656 [] 2.090.657? and with a rampant colt. The right side of the slide is marked “COLT”, “SERVICE / MODEL”, “ACE” in diamond, “.22” and “LONG / RIFLE”. The bottom of the slide at the rear under the extractor is marked “J” and “N”. The rear face of the slide under the firing pin retainer is marked “882”. The front-left of the trigger guard has the “VP” in triangle proof and “P”, the front-right is marked “60”. The right side of the frame is marked “SM 882”. The top of the frame is marked “G”. The floorplate of the two-tone magazine is marked “COLT / 22 ACE (in diamond) L.R.”.

Barrel Length: 5”

Sights / Optics: The front sight is a serrated ramped blade fixed to the front of the slide. The rear sight is a flat-topped square-notched adjustable rear sight dovetailed to the rear of the slide.

Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are fully checkered walnut panels. The grips show some handling wear with a few patches of smoothed checkers and tool marks around the screw heads. There are a few nicks and scratches, most notable is a scratch in the bottom of the left panel. The checkering is generally well defined. There are no chips or cracks. The grips rate in Very Good condition.

Type of Finish: Blued

Finish Originality: Original

Bore Condition: The bore is bright and the rifling is sharp. There is no erosion in the bore. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates a 10 out of 10.

Overall Condition: This pistol retains about 87% of its metal finish. The finish is thinning at most edges. Most of the balance is handling wear in the grip areas. There is some finish wear on the dust cover. There are scattered minor nicks and scratches with infrequent minor surface oxidation. There is a light “idiot mark” on the left of the frame under the slide stop. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with strong slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this pistol rates in Very Good condition.

Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The trigger pull is crisp. There is barely perceptible play between the slide and frame. We have not fired this pistol. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.

Box, Paperwork & Accessories: This pistol comes with one two-tone magazine left unfinished on the top with the bottom blued. The magazine has operational wear with some scattered light freckling, intact feed lips and a strong spring. Also included is a Colt Archives letter which notes that this pistol shipped November 27, 1939 to California Hardware Company in Los Angeles as the only gun of its type in the shipment.

Our Assessment: The 1911 and 1911-A1 pistols served the military of the United States from 1911 to 1985, through two World Wars and the Korean and Vietnam wars. They gained a reputation as a reliable handgun with plenty of stopping power, and are held in high regard by those who have used them. Yet it could be expensive to train thousands of soldiers to use the 1911 while feeding it .45 ACP, moreso at the outset of WWII when the US Military would see the greatest expansion in its history. The Colt Ace had been introduced in 1931 as a .22 Long Rifle version of their Government Model, but it was dimensionally different and had significantly less recoil than the real thing. David “Carbine” Williams adapted his floating-chamber design to intentionally increase the recoil of the .22 LR cartridge to the point that it was similar to that of .45 ACP, even allowing the use of the same recoil spring. This became the Service Model Ace and allowed for drastically reduced practice costs when training GIs to use their 1911s.

This is a commercial example produced in 1939, making it a pretty scarce find. In the early years of production, nearly all of the Service Model Ace pistols, as their name would suggest, were sold to the United States military. Commercial pistols from this era are rare and this one was shipped to California Hardware Company in Los Angeles. The pistol is in Very Good condition with about 87% of its finish remaining. It is a nice specimen of a Service Model Ace, retaining a great bore and strong mechanics. It is sure to take a prized place in a Colt or rimfire handgun collection, but should also make for a great plinker. Please see our photos and good luck!

Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California. -Bud

Pre-War Colt Service Model Ace .22 LR 1911 Semi-Auto Target Pistol 1939 C&R
Pre-War Colt Service Model Ace .22 LR 1911 Semi-Auto Target Pistol 1939 C&R