Serial Number: 708354
Year of Manufacture: 1924 (Pg. 402 of Clawson’s “Colt .45 Service Pistols”)
Caliber: .45 A.C.P.
Action Type: Single Action Semi-Auto with Removable Magazine
Markings: The left side of the slide is marked “PATENTED APR.20,1897. SEPT.9,1902 / DEC.19,1905. FEB.14,1911. AUG.19,1913” and “COLT’S PT. F.A. MFG. CO. / HARTFORD, CT. U.S.A.” and with a Rampant Colt logo in the center. The right side of the slide is marked “MODEL OF 1911. U.S. ARMY”. The right front of the trigger guard is marked “51”. The left side of the frame is marked with a circled “WTG” below the slide release (Capt. Walter T. Gorton, Chief of the Experimental Department at Springfield Armory, assigned to Colt in 1921 as the Inspector of Ordnance). The right side of the frame is marked “UNITED STATES PROPERTY / No 708354”. The top of the frame in front of the hammer is marked “G” and “H”. The top of the barrel is marked “HP” with the right side of the “H” and the left side of the “P” joined together. The rear of the slide just above the firing pin retainer is marked “H” and the flat on the underside of the slide is marked “0”.
Barrel Length: 5”
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a short rounded blade with flat, not tapered sides. The rear sight is a “U” notch dovetailed into the slide.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are checkered walnut that show oil staining and moderate wear in the checkering. The left grip has a narrow mar near its front edge. The right grip shows a large round mar with a few smaller mars, and heavy wear towards its bottom edge. The grips rate in about Very Good overall condition.
Type of Finish: This pistol is blued, and has a knurled mainspring housing and trigger.
Finish Originality: The finish is original.
Bore Condition: The bore is gray and the rifling is sharp. There is light erosion the length of the bore, primarily in the grooves.
Overall Condition: This pistol retains about 75% of its metal finish. There is extremely light pinprick surface erosion on the right side of the slide at the port. There is thinning on the front strap, mainspring housing, grip safety and the edges of the frame with surface loss on the edges of the slide and the front edge of the frame. There are light scratches, small dings and scrapes in the finish on the front strap, a scratch through the finish on the left front side of the slide and several light scratches and tiny marks scattered over the slide, with a few light marks in the frame. The knurling on the mainspring housing and recoil spring plug show light wear but the knurling on the hammer, magazine release, safety and slide release are relatively sharp. The serrations on the slide are sharp. The grip screws are relatively sharp, but all show marks of a screwdriver. The markings are clear. Overall, this pistol rates in about Very Good condition.
Mechanics: The trigger pull is crisp and the slide is tight on the frame. The action functions correctly. We have not fired this pistol.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: This pistol comes with one blued “two tone” magazine with the top third of the magazine left “In The White”. The magazine is unmarked. The magazine shows minimal wear and is in about Excellent condition. There is also a lanyard ring on the bottom of the mainspring housing.
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. This is a Colt Model 1911 “Transitional Model” made in 1924. It is slightly different than the 1911 pistols made during WWII and incorporates many of the changes Colt put into their commercial pistols as well as changes suggested by the government, almost all of which are found on the 1911A1 models, but the slide is still marked “1911” (These pistols were retroactively given the 1911A1 designation in 1926) . There were 10,000 made, in serial number sequence between 700001 and 710000, with a thousand at the end of the sequence designated National Match pistols. The transition models retained their rounded front sight, but the sides are straight, not tapered, for better visibility, and the “U” notch rear sight was made slightly larger. The recoil spring and mainspring were made slightly weaker to make it easier to rack the slide and the grips were changed to eliminate the smooth diamonds around the grip screw. The pistol is in about Very Good condition with 75% of its finish remaining. There is surface loss on the edges of the slide and the front edges of the frame, with thinning on the front strap, grip safety and mainspring housing. There is extremely light pinprick surface erosion scattered over the left side of the slide at the port, small dings, scratches and scrapes in the front strap, several light handling marks in the slide and a few more in the frame. The checkered walnut grips show moderate wear in the checkering, a thin mar in the left grip and a larger mar and a few small mars in the right grip, which also shows heavy wear in the checkering towards the bottom of the grip. The bore is gray with sharp rifling, but there is erosion the length of the bore, primarily in the grooves. The parts are correctly marked for the “Transition Model” and the magazine is the correct World War I type that was supplied by Springfield Armory for these pistols. This is an extremely nice find for collectors of WWI and WWII 1911 and 1911A1 pistols. The transition pistols are rare – we just don’t see very many of them. With its original finish and correct markings, this is going to be a big hit with the collectors.