1909 Colt 45 DA

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by Brian D. Cowart, Apr 27, 2012.

  1. Brian D. Cowart

    Brian D. Cowart New Member

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    What year would a 1909 Colt 45 DA U.S. Army edition revolver with the serial number 13318 have been built?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated

    I own a Colt 1911 U.S.Army issue that was built in 1918. Just checking on a 1909.
  2. Jim Hauff

    Jim Hauff New Member

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    Brian,
    Welcome to the forum.
    Is that number the one stamped into the butt as the Army ID or is it the Colt number stamped into the crane recess and crane arm?
  3. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    One source indicates the same (serial) number was used for both the butt number and the crane/frame number (unlike the Model 1917). If so, that number is too low. I would like to see pictures of the butt marking and the number inside the crane.

    Model 1909s were made from 1909 to 1911. They were ordered at a time when no one knew for sure if or when a semi-auto pistol would be adopted, and the Army wanted a more modern .45 revolver to replace the .38 revolvers then in use.

    Jim
  4. Brian D. Cowart

    Brian D. Cowart New Member

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    Jim H.- the numbers are the same on the butt plate and the frame.
    Jim K. - I will see if I can post the pics soon. Very busy at work. If this helps the butt plate is marked like this:

    Line 1 U.S.
    line 2 Army
    Line 3 13
    Line 4 318

    Will post pics as soon as possible

    Thank you to both of you for helping. Beautiful gun. Can't wait to find out more about it!
  5. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    There is something odd about that gun if it is a Model 1909. First, it should say Model 1909 on the butt, right under "Army". And the serial number is too low for a Model 1909; they began with 30001, shipped May 28, 1909. (Yes, I know that conflicts with Wilson's figures for the New Service series, but I suspect Murphy is correct and Wilson in error.)

    A genuine Model 1909 (and this I know from my own experience) will have Carr's "RAC" all over, including on the bottom of the grips.

    I am looking forward to seeing pictures.

    Jim
  6. Brian D. Cowart

    Brian D. Cowart New Member

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    Jim K. My apologies to you. You are correct in your thought process. I was going from memory I had not yet picked the gun up from the store where I purchased it. I had the serial number wrong. Here is a description (gun in hand) of the markings on the gun.
    1. left side of barrel is marked COLT D. A. 45
    2. underside of barrel is marked UNITED STATES PROPERTY
    3. serial # is on frame, cylinder crane, and butt plate (all matching numbers)
    4. RAC is stamped on back of cylinder,right side of frame (above grip)and on bottom of both grips.
    5. FB is stamped on upper right side of frame between hammer and cylinder
    6.butt plate is marked as follows:
    U.S.
    ARMY
    MODEL
    1909
    (lanyard ring)
    No.
    31
    138

    I will post pics asap. Need to find a better camera.
  7. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    OK, that information sounds better; believe me, I know how memory can play tricks.

    FB is Maj. Frank Baker, a Springfield Armory inspector assigned to Colt, 1909-1917. RAC is Rinaldo A. Carr, an Army civilain inspector assigned to Colt 1889-1909. The overlap is normal.

    The 1909 was an interesting revolver. It was adopted at a time when the Army desperately wanted a modern, large caliber handgun and no one knew when, if ever, an automatic pistol would be available. So the Army contracted to Colt for New Service revolvers in .45 Colt caliber. But in fact, the Army never used the .45 Colt in those guns. They soon found out that the small rim of the .45 Colt caused it to jump the extractor (the old SAA had a rod ejector) and hang up the gun. So Frankford Arsenal made new ammunition, called the Revolver Cartridge, Caliber .45, Model 1909, with a larger rim. That was the only cartridge ever used in those guns by the Army.

    Incidentally, when the Colt and Savage pistols were being tested leading up to the adoption of the M1911, and both pistols were having problems, two M1909 revolvers were fired, round for round, with the pistols as controls. There were two failures, both the result of cartridges without powder. There were no breakages, no malfunctions, no worn out parts, no replaced parts, no gun related problems at all.

    Jim
  8. britrecko

    britrecko New Member

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    I have what i am told is a model 1909 colt revolver. On the butt plate is stamped:
    top line U S
    next line below M C
    next line just above the lanyard swivel 1
    next below the lanyard swivel No
    last line 644 This is the last three digits and matches the serial numbered 25644 on the frame just ahead of the swing out cylinder.
    It has colt D A 45 on the left side of the bareel but i do not see any inspector marks anywhere.
    Finally the grips are not wooden but rather the black checkered grips with the colt logo at the top of the grip.Comments as to authenticity please.
  9. Lanrezac

    Lanrezac Active Member

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    Hi, britrecko! I can't comment as to authenticity, but I can tell you that you will get better answers if you can put up some pictures of your gun.
  10. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    That gun sounds like the USMC Model 1909. They differ from the Army model in the shape of the grip and the grip material. Also, there are no Army inspectors' marks. For the first 600 guns, the 3-digit butt number (the service number) did not correspond to the serial; for the rest of the 1300 gun contract, the butt number was the last three (or four) of the serial. There is considerable confusion about the USMC Model 1909 serial/service numbering, but the description given seems consistent with what is known and has been published.

    A USMC Model 1909 is a very uncommon gun, but a determination of authenticity and an estimate of value will have to wait for good, clear pictures. There have been many fakes, made from standard civilian New Service or even Model 1917 revolvers.

    Jim
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