Colt Early Model 1905 The First .45 ACP Pre-1911 Semi-Auto Pistol, 1906 C&R

SOLD FOR: $3,776

LSB#: 231030LJ104

Make: Colt

Model: 1905

Serial Number: 1286

Year of Manufacture: 1906 (

Caliber: .45 A.C.P.

Action Type: Single Action Semi-Auto Pistol with Removable Magazine

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 hand-checkered walnut with smooth diamond patterns around the grip screws. The grips have light handling wear with a few scattered nicks, compressions and scratches. The most notable mark is on the right panel just below the top screw. There are no chips or cracks. The checkering is well defined. Overall, the grips are in Very Good condition.

Type of Finish: Blue

Finish OriginalityRefinished

Bore Condition: The bore is semi-bright with sharp rifling. There is some scattered light erosion and minor pitting in the bore. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates 6 out of 10.

Many military and C&R-eligible weapons have bores that will show erosion. This is not only due to age but to the fact that corrosive primers were commonly used in ammunition worldwide.

Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 96% of its current metal finish. The new finish is generally strong throughout. There is some minor erosion under the finish with a few scattered small marks. There is infrequent minor surface oxidation. The action shows light operational wear. The markings are generally well preserved with the slide markings having soft edges. The screw heads range from sharp to lightly tool marked with strong slots. The wedge still has its indexing stud. The firing pin is still the original bronze. Overall, this pistol is in Very Good condition as refinished.

Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The trigger pull is crisp. The slide has barely perceptible play to the frame. 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 magazine. Included is a Colt Archives letter which indicates that this pistol was sold to the Winchester Repeating Arms Company and shipped to Strevell-Patersen [sic] Hardware Company in Salt Lake City, Utah on September 17, 1906 as one of five guns of the same type in the shipment.

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 September, 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 1906, the second year of production. It has been refinished, so it looks great for its age. 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.

This specific example is also documented as having shipped to the Strevell-Paterson Hardware Company in Salt Lake City, Utah. Now, Colt shipped a lot of guns to a lot of hardware stores, but the Colt Archives letter also indicates that this one was purchased by Winchester Repeating Arms Company, which is not altogether common. We expect the collectors of Colt autos are going to be very interested in this pistol, especially if they can track down the reason behind Winchester purchasing it to be shipped to a Salt Lake City hardware store. Please see our photos and good luck!

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

Colt Early Model 1905 The First .45 ACP Pre-1911 Semi-Auto Pistol, 1906 C&R
Colt Early Model 1905 The First .45 ACP Pre-1911 Semi-Auto Pistol, 1906 C&R