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Very Rare Colt Model 1905 .45 Automatic Pistol

Product Description

Very Rare & Fine Colt Model 1905 .45 Automatic Pistol

Please check out my website at newmarketarms.com for this and other antique military firearms.

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This is a very rare and fine condition Colt Model 1905 .45 Automatic Pistol that was manufactured in 1909.

This pistol is a very rare and significant step in the evolution of the semi-automatic pistol developed by John Browning and manufactured by Colt that ultimately led to the Model 1911 .45 ACP Pistol.

The concept of semi-automatic handguns, then known as self-loading pistols, began in Europe in the late 19th century. These concepts led to such famous designs as the Borchardt Model of 1893 (a forerunner of the Luger), the C96 Mauser (also known as the “Broom Handle”) and the famous Luger itself. These designs all had great success on the commercial market but the militaries of the world were not as enthusiastic. This lack of enthusiasm was driven in part by the hide bound nature of military procurement throughout history as well as the cost and reliability of what was then very new technology.

In the United States, firearms manufacturers were not enthusiastic about developing and trying to market semi-automatic handguns for either commercial or military sales. As a result, John M. Browning, one of the greatest firearms designers in history, went to Europe to try and generate interest in one of his blow-back pistol designs. Browning ultimately reached an agreement with Fabrique Nationale d’ Arms de Guerre in Belgium to develop his firearm patents. Browning and Fabrique Nationale quickly produced one of Browning’s blow-back pistol designs firing a Browning 7.65 mm pistol cartridge and this pistol was adopted by the Belgian and Swedish armies.

By this time, the United States military was showing some interest in a semi-automatic pistol and when Browning designed a locked breach design pistol in .38 caliber, Colt expressed interest thinking this could be the design that might generate military sales.

Browning’s design was unique in that it used a barrel mounted to the frame on two swiveling links. The top of the barrel had machined grooves that locked into corresponding grooves on the underside of the slide to lock when the pistol was in battery. When the pistol was fired, both the barrel and slide moved rearwards to a point where the barrel then pivoted downwards, unlocking the firearm from the slide, which continued rearward under recoil to eject the fired round. Browning’s first design using this locked breech was the Colt Model 1900. Colt manufactured 3,500, of which the U.S. Government purchased 250 for trials.

Colt followed this up with the Model 1902 Pistol that incorporated several design improvements as well as a larger magazine capacity of eight .38 caliber rimless rounds. Ultimately, the U.S. Government did not find either the Model 1900 or Model 1902 adequate, principally because of the small caliber.

The United States Army has a long history of going back and forth between large and small caliber handguns. The first self-contained cartridge firearm in general issue to the U.S. Army was the Colt Model 1873 Single Action Army Revolver, which fired the substantial .45 Long Colt round. In the early 1890s, the U.S. Army followed the lead of European armies favoring smaller caliber pistol rounds and developed several revolvers that fired the .38 caliber round. Combat experience in Cuba and the Philippines proved that the smaller .38 caliber rounds did not have the combat effectiveness of larger rounds so the Ordnance Department conducted numerous tests. The results of the tests were conclusive: a larger caliber pistol round firing a round nose bullet had much more knock down power than a smaller caliber round.

As a result, Colt and John Browning redesigned the Model 1902 Pistol in .45 caliber and it entered production in 1905 as the “Military Model, 45 Automatic Pistol,” which also became known as the “Model 1905” Pistol. Initially, Colt manufactured the Model 1905 for commercial sales and they did so for two reasons. First, there was a commercial demand for a larger caliber handgun given the unsatisfactory performance of the .38 caliber revolvers then predominating on the commercial market. Second, Colt wanted to be ready to quickly satisfy any government orders should the U.S. Ordnance Department select the Model 1905 for tests. Commercial manufacturing began in the fall of 1905 at serial number 1 with only 39 pistols manufactured. Colt production of the Model 1905 in 1906 began at serial number 40 and ran through 1499. 1907 production began at serial number 1500 and ran through 2599. 1908 production began at serial number 2600 and ran to 3499. 1909 production began at serial number 3500 and ran to 4199. 1910 production began at serial number 4200 and ran to 4999. And 1911, the final year of Model 1905 production, began at serial number 5000 and ending at serial number 6100. In 1909, when this particular pistol was manufactured, Colt only produced 700 pistols and this pistol, serial number 4161, was one of the last produced that year.

The Army began tests with the Model 1905 in 1907 and those pistols manufactured for the trials were separately serial numbered from 1 to 200.

As designed, the Colt Model 1905 fired a .45 caliber rimless round using smokeless powder with a muzzle velocity of 900 feet per second. The pistol used a 7-round magazine and had a 5” barrel. The initial weight of the Model 1905 was 32 ½ ounces, which was increased by one ounce to 33 ½ ounces at about serial number 3600 due to changes in machining methods.

The Colt Model 1905 was deemed a success during U.S. Army field trials and, with some modifications, it served as the basis of the new Colt Model 1911 Pistol, which was officially adopted in 1911.

The Frame on this Pistol is in fine condition. It retains 85% of the original and high quality Colt blue finish with normal scratches and wear on the sharp points. Most of the wear is on the front and back grip straps, which now generally exhibit a plum patina. The original Main Spring Screw retains the majority of its original blued finish and the slot is unmarred. All four of the original grip stock screw Bushings are present and all retain the majority of their original blued finish. The Magazine Catch Pin is still tight and retains all of its bright blue finish on both ends. The Sear and Safety Pin is tight and it exhibits wear on the left side but retains all of its original blued finish on the right side.

The original Hammer, which is the second “spur” type, is present and it still retains considerable original color case-hardened finish. The checkering on the thumb piece is still sharp. The Hammer Screw exhibits wear but the single slot is unmarred. The Hammer has the half- and full-cock function and still releases crisply. The Ejector remains in the white and is still secured tightly to the frame by the original Ejector Pin.

The original Sear, Safety and Trigger Spring is present and it retains the majority of its original blued finish. The Original Magazine Catch is present and retains the majority of its original bright blue finish with wear noted on the friction points. The Magazine Catch Spring still retains all of its original blued finish on both ends.

The original Trigger retains the majority of the original blued finish with wear at the friction point where it enters the frame. The bow portion of the trigger retains virtually all of its original blued finish.

The original Slide Stop is present and it retains 95% plus of the original bright blue finish. The top, checkered portion of the slide stop remains crisp. The left side of the Frame has the italicized serial number “4161.” On the top, left trigger guard is the Colt triangle “VP” verified proof stamp. On the bottom, left trigger guard is a serif “W” inspection stamp. The right, front of the Frame has a serif “E” inspection stamp.

The Take Down Plug retains considerable original finish in the depression portion, which is now a plum patina. The original Follower and Retractor Spring are both present and both remain in the white. The Retractor Spring remains strong.

The original Barrel is present and it is in fine condition, retaining 95% of its original blued finish with wear noted on the sharp edges and at the muzzle. The bore is very clean with strong rifling and frosting in the grooves. Both original barrel Links are present as are both original Short Link Pins. The Barrel tilts smoothly.

The original Slide is in fine condition and retains 90% of its original Colt bright blue finish with areas of scattered scratches and the finest of pinprick pitting in isolated spots. The majority of wear on the slide is at the front. The left side of the slide has the fourth and final patent and address mark, which appeared in 1908 between serial numbers 2600 and 3500, and reads in the first block, “PATENTED / APR.20.1897. SEPT.9.1902. DEC.19.1905.” and in the second block, “COLT’S PT. F.A. MFG. CO. / HARTFORD, CT. U.S.A.” To the rear of the slide serrations on the left side is the crisp Rampant Colt in a circle stamp. The right side of the slide has the crisply stamped “AUTOMATIC COLT / CALIBRE 45 RIMLESS SMOKELESS.” The original Front Sight Blade is present and retains the majority of its original blued finish on the sides with wear on the top. The original Rear Sight is present and has the rounded sides and it retains the majority of its original blued finish on the front and rear face with a plum patina on the top rail. Both the Front and Rear Sights are still very tight to the slide.

The interior of the Slide retains the majority of its original blued finish. The breech face is very clean and is free of corrosion or pitting. There is a serif “W” inspection stamp on the center line rail. The Shell Extractor retains 65% of the original blued finish and the extractor claw retains 95% of the original blued finish. The Firing Pin Lock Pin retains all of its original bright blue finish on both ends. The Firing Pin itself operates correctly with the Firing Pin Spring remaining strong. The original Slide Lock retains 75% of the original bright blue finish with wear on the friction points.

Both original Grip Panels or “Stocks” are present. The original steel bushings are present in each and all four remain in the white. The checkering on both panels exhibits normal wear, with slightly more wear and a ding on the forward portion of the right panel, but there are no cracks or chips noted. All four of the original Grip Screws are present and all retain virtually all of their original bright blue finish with unmarred slots. The grip panels are tight to the frame when installed.

The original Colt seven-round Magazine is present and it still retains the majority of its now faded but original blued finish. The Magazine Follower still retains the majority of its original bright blued finish with wear on the top center line. The Magazine Spring remains in the white and remains strong. The original Floor Plate is pinned at the bottom and it retains 50% of its original blued finish.

This is a beautiful and very rare example of Colt’s and John Browning’s development of the .45 caliber automatic pistol and this is the direct predecessor to the Colt Model 1911 Pistol. This pistol still functions perfectly.

This pistol is C&R eligible and will come shipped in a new Plano pistol hard case. This pistol will also come with a historic writeup and a CD containing all of the photos in the listing. I accept Visa and MasterCard and charge NO FEES. Please let me know if you have any questions or if you would like additional photos posted.

 

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