Re: Please re-introduce the .380 Hammerless of 1908!
The Colt machinery was worn out in 1945. That's why they never made any 1903/1908s after the war, except for a few assembled from parts. In the immediate postwar glut of 32 automatics, it made no sense to retool.
Some guns are such classics they never go out of production. This is true of the Colt 1911, the Walther PP/PPK, the S&W K-frame, and is pretty much true of the Colt SAA. One could argue it is true of the FN 1910 as well, although the modern versions (the legions of Jimenez/Jennings/Bryco/Lorcin cast zinc blowbacks) copy its extremely simple design without being look-alikes.
The successful guns in this respect all combine a wonderful look and feel with a functionality that remains pretty much first-class. What is a better heavy caliber revolver than an SAA, if speed of reloading is not a consideration? What is a better 45 automatic than a 1911, if cocked-and-locked carry is accepted?
That is is where the Colt 1903 falls down, and the reason is one of the other guns mentioned above: the Walther PP. I admire the Colt unreservedly, but the Walther does everything it does, only better.
And remaking guns strictly on their nostalgia value does not seem to be profitable. The S&W Schofield replicas do not seem to enjoy anything like the sale of the SAA types, and the Luger replicas (the Interarms Mausers and the Mitchell/Stoeger guns) do not seem to have been profitable, even though Mitchell got the costs down with modern precision casting techniques.
Unless it is desirable as a shooter, replica sales just don't seem to work. To be commercially viable just on collector appeal, I think the gun needs to be roughly as rare as the S&W Schofield, and the pocket Colt is abundant in comparison.
I would not be surprised if the ocean of Walther PP clones starts to dry up, now that 380 can be had in pistols as small as the KelTech and the Ruger LCR, and pistols the size of the the Walther can now be had in 9mm and 40 S&W (like the Kahr and the other KelTec). Similarly, the K-frame is fading away because it does not make a good 357 Magnum.
This all just thinking out loud on my part, and is more a theory than a statement of fact. I would love to see historic guns reproduced so that I could own one (that would be the only way I could ever own a Bergman Simplex), I just think that if Mitchell could not make money making Lugers - the most heavily collected pistol in the world - what hope is there for anything else?
PS - the Colt 1908 was a finicky gun. The Shanghai Municipal Police modified all theirs to make them reliable, and the Army had Colt rework all theirs (the so-called "M-Series Colts".)
Last edited by Lanrezac; 02-06-2012 at 11:26 PM..