Military Issue M1911 -- .44 cal. ???

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by Dave on the Farm, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. Dave on the Farm

    Dave on the Farm New Member

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    Jim: Thanks for the .22-Rimefire info. That is just what I was looking for.

    I have a new question for the Pros.
    I Recently sold a nice U.S. Govt. issue sidearm that looked identical to the standard M1911 issue. It was issued to an officer in the Army Corps of Engineers in about 1942 for his protection during construction of airfields on various islands in the Pacific. It had ".44 cal." stamped on the side of the barrel along with the Company name. Since the end of WWII, it had been wrapped in a Military issue sock along with two boxes of .44 cal ammunition. It had no serial number on it that I could tell.

    I decided I didn't need it and took it to a gun shop to see if they might be interested. "Interested" was putting it mildly -- they could not get out their check book fast enough and said they'd buy it - IF it fired. I agreed and they took the gun and the bullets into the back room and I heard one shot. I filled out the forms and the deal was done in less than 10 minutes.

    To this day I have not been able to find out anything about a military issue M1911 pistol using .44 cal rounds. I do not recall the maker but it was a well known company that the gun shop owner recognized.

    IF it really was a .44 cal. then I probably should not have sold it?
    Are you able to shed some light on this? Thanks again, Dave on he Farm
  2. Lanrezac

    Lanrezac Active Member

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    Let me try and get this straight in my own mind:

    The US armed forces have never issued any kind of 44 caliber automatic pistol.

    I don't know of any standard Colt 1911-style pistols that used any kind of 44 caliber ammuntion. However, there have been a variety of "wildcat" cartridges developed for 1911 type pistols in the past - "wildcat" meaning that some individual dreamed up a cartridge, fabricated brass for it, and got a barrel made for it. The barrel maker would have marked it with the desired caliber. None of these were commercial successes in the sense that factory ammo was ever made for them, and all the ones I can think of were for calibers smaller that 44. They usually involved necking down 45 caliber brass to take a smaller bullet, typically 41 or 38 caliber. Still, someone could have made a 44 wildcat, with the idea being to use the many hunting type bullets available for 44 Magnum revolvers.

    Really the only 44 caliber automatics that come to my mind are the 44 Desert Eagle and the 44 Auto Mag. Both of these look like the 1911 about as much as Woody Allen looks like Harrison Ford. There have been some overgrown 1911-style pistols, like the LAR Grizzly, that might have used the 44 Auto Mag round, but that is a real long shot.

    Frankly, I don't know what you had. I will be fascinated to see if someone else has a good answer. I suppose a picture is out of the question?

    PS - you might want to re-post this in the 1911 sub-forum here.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2012
  3. Dave on the Farm

    Dave on the Farm New Member

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    Lanrezac: Thanks. Not sure how to re-post to the 1911 sub-forum. Perhaps an administrator can do this. Sorry.

    The two boxes of ammunition were very old and of a fragile cardboard type of material. They were a factory type of ammo. in that they had the logo, maker and other data on each box. One box was full and the other was about 1/2.

    I may be mistaken and it seems that I am -- as I can find NOTHING regarding a .44 1911 type of U.S. Military issue sidearm. Thus, it must have been a .45. and I'm sorry for taking your time. I do know that the gun shop was beyond excited to write me a check for $450 -- They took a look at the old boxes of bullets and the old gun and mentioned that they had not seen a .44, but since I had the ammo. they asked if it would be OK to test fire it. They explained that a test shot may damage the gun or that the bullets would not fire. Like I stated, they fired it and they bought it --- and that was about 15 years ago.

    Thanks for the information. If I can find a picture of the gun, I will indeed post it.
    In the meantime, maybe someone has additional information. Dave on the Farm
  4. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

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    Depending on the maker, your 1911 could have been worth 2000 to 4000 dollars. If in new like condition, with original magazines, complete and it had not been rebuilt. I betcha they were excited.:D By the way, as posted it was not .44 caliber.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2012
  5. Lanrezac

    Lanrezac Active Member

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    Rjay, I am exceptionally dense today. What do you mean when you say "as posted it was not .44 caliber"?
  6. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

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    Well, as you posted in your reply, it could not have been a 44 caliber Military 1911 because none were ever made. I just reference to your posting rather than restate that " thee ain't no such animal:D
  7. crockett007

    crockett007 New Member

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    There were no "various islands" undergoing airfield construction by ARMY engineers in 1942. The only island in the Pacific that we were fighting over in '42 was Guadalcanal. Henderson field was built by the Japanese, we (marines) captured it. The provenance of the story of this .44 cal 1911 is flawed from the get go. If you let a WWII 1911 go for $450, I'm not suprised your story starts with total BS. So, you field stripped this pistol and found .44 cal stamped on both sides of the barrel? wha...???
    How do you know it was issued to an Army Engineer? Someone told you so? Where is a picture of this pistol? what was/is the serial number so we can look it up in the production records? Why didn't you do that?

    Unbelievable.......:confused:
  8. yetiman

    yetiman New Member

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    I think if somebody had grabbed their checkbook that fast I may have walked out.....but then again you may not watch "Pawn Stars".........:D
  9. Double D

    Double D Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Look, obviously this happened like 15 years ago and he is going by memory only and what he thinks was stamped on the gun. He has since admitted that he was probably wrong. We have all made mistakes and there is no reason to flame him for a past mistake from years past.

    After reading back thru, the first post says " I recently sold a nice gov. issue sidearm" and then in post #3 it says this took place 15 years ago. So now I am confused.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2012
  10. Lanrezac

    Lanrezac Active Member

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    Just a note to crockett007 - you have to remember that to many people, anyone in a miltary uniform is "an army man" - Air Force, Marines, Army, Navy, the Coast Guard, they have no clue about. I realize this is pure ignorance, but it does exist. Whatever story there was about this gun could have gotten pretty fuzzy over time.

    I forget - Wasn't MacArthur's theater in the Pacific pretty much an all-Army show? My father was in the Signal Corps near the airbase at Dobadura (sp?) in New Guinea, and I don't think it was built by the Marines or the Navy. He was in the Army at the time of Pearl Harbor, so I think he got to New Guinea by sometime in 1942.

    Just my $.02.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2012
  11. Jim Hauff

    Jim Hauff New Member

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    MacArthur was responsible for everything West of the Solomons including New Guinea, Borneo, Philippines, Java - the Navy under Halsey (including the Marines - after Guadalcanal) was given responsibility for the Island chains that run to the North North West to Okinawa.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2012
  12. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    Airfields were being built and expanded by the Army in the Pacific in that period, but not on islands, unless one considers Australia an island. The whole thing sounds like a combiantion of a family story and a faulty memory.

    The "44" may have a valid origin, possibly in the date of the ammunition, which could have been marked "44" as being made in 1944.

    Jim
  13. Dave on the Farm

    Dave on the Farm New Member

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    Final post: As I said before, I made a mistake, as it must have been a .45 instead of a .44. There is no fuzzy family history -- I got the gun from my father-in-law, he was in the Pacific with the Corps of Engineers, then about 15 years ago a .44 bullet was put into the gun and test fired at a gun shop. I sold the gun for $450. It was a .45 and it was worth far more than that.

    After all these years, I just wanted to find out a little more about it. I know that his Pacific construction consisted of temporary roads and temporary steel airfield runways. Don't really know where or the dates, but when his tour of duty was over after the war, he returned with the gun. Again, sorry for the posting in the first place. To keep from being flamed and from wasting time, I will resign as a member of this forum. Thanks Lanrezac, Jim and Ron. Respectfully, Dave
  14. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    Some folks are just plain rude. Even if there was a memory lapse and/or a story was wrong, nastiness is not justified and I regret that it happened.

    Jim
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