1918 British Contract Colt Government Model

Discussion in 'The 1911 Forum' started by varifleman, Oct 29, 2012.

  1. varifleman

    varifleman New Member

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    Here for your viewing pleasure are photos of my WWI RAF British military proofed Colt 1911. It was one of 400 pistols shipped to Captain Sir Connop Guthrie, Pier 60, North River NY NY on March 12, 1918. Guthrie was the Special Representative for the British Ministry of Shipping in the U.S. and a member of the U.S. Shipping Commission in 1918. It has the view mark for G.W.R. Steadman, British Inspector at the Colt New Haven Factory and the British Broad Arrow and Crossed Pennant military acceptance marks. Serial number is W 100744.

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    Last edited: Oct 29, 2012
  2. varifleman

    varifleman New Member

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    A few more photos.

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  3. Double D

    Double D Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Who refinished it?
  4. varifleman

    varifleman New Member

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    DoubleD: My understanding is that the British refinished these RAF pistols during their service life probably before WWII.
  5. Double D

    Double D Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Looks nice, have you shot it? The finish appears to be newer.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2012
  6. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

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    A very nice piece of history, thank you for sharing.
  7. varifleman

    varifleman New Member

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    Double D: I haven't shot it yet but will do so soon as all this Sandy bad weather passes. The pistol looks like other British contract .455 Webley Gov't Model pistols I've seen which have been refinished for the RAF for WWII service. Doesn't look like it's been used much; barrel is pristine with mirror bore. Took it down and the interior parts show just the hardly any signs of wear so can't wait to see it perform!
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2012
  8. Double D

    Double D Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    It may be a good shooter. Its a good looker. Enjoy it!
  9. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    What ammo will you use? If it is still in .455 Webley Auto caliber, .45 ACP will fire in it, but will not chamber properly as the .455 barrel does not have a chamber shoulder and the .45 ACP round has to be held back by the extractor to fire.

    The magazine is not marked for .455 so it is most likely a .455 won't fit even if you could find some. If the barrel and magazine have been replaced with .45 ACP ones, the value will be considerably reduced.

    Jim
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2012
  10. varifleman

    varifleman New Member

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    JIm K: Thanks for comments; I have two .455 Eley magazines in addition to the .45 ACP magazine pictured with the pistol. I'm looking for a .455 Eley barrel for this pistol so any leads would be appreciated.
  11. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    Good luck! AFAIK, they made no spare or replacement barrels, so they are unobtainable today. They could be made easily enough from .45 ACP barrels, but there is no .455 Webley Auto ammo available either except at collectors' prices. So if you want to shoot the gun, the only reasonable way is to use a .45 ACP barrel and magazine. The .45 ACP will work OK with the .455 magazine, but not the reverse as the semi-rimmed .455 is too wide to fit the .45 magazine. (The .455 frame has a larger magazine well for that reason.)

    Jim
  12. Double D

    Double D Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I guess I assumed it was set up to shoot 45s.
  13. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    Not originally, though many brought back to the U.S. were changed over, either by the importer or by owners later when .45 Webley Auto was found to be unavailable.

    Jim
  14. PanhandlePop

    PanhandlePop Member

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    A nice little piece of history. Congrats.
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