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Old 02-13-2020, 06:50 PM
stonebuster stonebuster is offline
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I saw a Colt New Service model 1917 4" 45 ACP today at my LGS. It's got the older black hard rubber grips with the Colt name up top. It's finish is dull blue but in very nice condition. Judging by what I've read, it appears to possibly be a US Army model(WW1). The serial number is 294764. Tomorrow I'll ask to take a close look at it for any other markings or numbers on the butt, barrel or crane area. I read a lot of these were stored away and later sold as surplus guns in the 60's. This may be one. Assuming it's what I think it is what might it be worth in excellent condition? Any info appreciated.

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Old 02-13-2020, 08:46 PM
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I'm no expert on Colt 1917s but I have one. I believe the government issue had 5.5 inch barrels and wooden stocks. At least mine does. Check the bottom of the grip frame. If it's a 1917, it should say "U.S. Army Model 1917" in four lines on the trigger side of the lanyard swivel. On the other side of the swivel should be a number that is not the same as the serial number on the crane.

I also have New Service made in 1906 in .45 Colt. It has a 5.5 inch barrel, but they were made in 4", and the hard rubber grips you describe.

So I suspect you may have a commercial model, not a 1917.

If it is in fact a 1917 that has been altered and the grips replaced, ball part value as a shooter in my area would bd $450-500.

If it is commercial New Service in the condition you describe, $1200-1500.

The 1917 would be chambered in .45 ACP with room for moon clips. I believe the 1917 was the first Colt chambered in .45 ACP. The New Service was available in several different calibers; .38-40, .45 Colt, .38 Special, etc.
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Old 02-13-2020, 08:52 PM
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If it doesn't look this one, it could be a commercial variation or modified gun. The one on the left (obviously) is a military Colt 1917. All original. Made in 1918. 5 1/2" barrel.
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Old 02-13-2020, 10:58 PM
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The SN isn't right for a Colt 1917 Army model. and the barrel is too short. The WW1 military revolvers had wooden grips. The revolver you're looking at looks like a civilian model, but I don't know if civilian models post WW1 were produced in .45 ACP. I think it's worth some study before investing money in it.

As said, the Army models were marked as such. If it is, it's almost certainly to have been cut down.
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Old 02-13-2020, 11:25 PM
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The only M1917 Commercial in .45 ACP was this one (from Coltfever):

The New Service Commercial Model 1917
These guns had checkered walnut grips with silver medallions, and with the barrel marked "Colt Model 1917 Auto Ctge".
There were about 1,000 made during 1932.
These had 5 1/2" barrels and were in .45ACP.
The last patent date on the barrels was October 5, 1926


There were also some target model New Service revolvers made in .45 ACP:

New Service Target
This was a target version of the New Service, available from 1900 to 1940.It had a flat top frame and adjustable front and rear target sights.
It was available with a 6" (rare) or 7 1/2" barrel.
It was made in bright blue or (rare) bright nickel.
A round butt version was available after 1930.
Grips were black hard rubber until 1913 and checkered walnut with silver medallions after that.
The trigger and back strap were checkered.
Calibers offered were .44 Special, .44 Russian, .45 Long Colt, and .45ACP.

New Service Shooting Master
The Shooting Master was a high grade Target version of the New Service. It was fitted with a flat top frame, adjustable target front and rear sights, a checkered trigger, and back strap.
It was available with a rounded butt or a square butt after 1933.
Barrel length was 6" and the grips were checkered walnut with silver medallions.
Calibers available were .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .44 Special, .45 Colt, and .45ACP.
It was made from 1932 to about 1940.


I have a feeling yours was a M1917 military model probably shipped after WWI. These shipments of miltary M1917s from Colt continued into the very low 3xxxxx SN range. And it has a chopped barrel. Colt's SN data base says that SN dates to 1920. Might be an OK buy if you can get it cheap.

Last edited by DWalt; 02-14-2020 at 01:55 AM.
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Old 02-13-2020, 11:25 PM
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Thanks , I'll take a closer look tomorrow and see what I can find out. I knew nothing about this gun other than what I read today.
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Old 02-14-2020, 01:26 AM
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Standard barrel lengths for the commercial New Service revolvers were 4 1/2", 5 1/2" and 7 1/2".
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Old 02-14-2020, 01:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muley Gil View Post
Standard barrel lengths for the commercial New Service revolvers were 4 1/2", 5 1/2" and 7 1/2".
When giving the Colt a quick look in the display case yesterday it looked like a 3" barrel. After researching at home and finding no reference to a 3" I thought I may have been mistaken and may have been a 4". I went back and measured it today and it's a chopped 3". The top of the barrel is marked Colt A45 and the bottom was marked "United States Property." It has the screw hole for a lanyard on the bottom of the grip frame but no numbers there. Inside the yoke showed the serial number. The dull blue is in great shape and looks original. It locks up as tight as my 5 year old GP100s and tighter than a couple of my well worn model 10s. Since it's been chopped, doesn't have much collector value and priced at $695, I think I'll leave it for someone else. Thanks for the education.
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Old 02-14-2020, 02:29 PM
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The good thing is that the Colt serial number is stamped on the frame, behind the crane. Removing the 1917 markings on the butt of a Colt doesn't remove the SN, like it does on an S&W 1917.

I agree that $695 is too high for that one. BTW, the lanyard loop hole isn't threaded. The LL is placed in the hole and is pinned in place through a hole in the lower grip frame.
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Old 02-14-2020, 06:21 PM
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Don't believe I would go anywhere near $695. Maybe half that, or less, might be attractive.
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Old 02-14-2020, 08:05 PM
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This website seems to have good information that may help your research on many firearms models & makers. Good luck

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Old 02-14-2020, 08:07 PM
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This website seems to have good information that may help your research on many firearms models & makers: Gun Values Board Good luck
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Old 02-14-2020, 08:20 PM
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The OP needs badly, like many here, to buy a copy of the late Geoffrey Boothroyd's, The Handgun, Crown Publishers, 1970.

He will learn the Colt info that any real handgunner needs to know and about most other pistols. I think this may be the most complete, well illustrated, book on handguns, from earliest times to ca. 1970. It's a big, thick book on good paper and worth the usually modest cost, and more. I've seen prices well under $20. You'd maybe expect more like $100!

Also of immense value is Haven & Belden's, A History of the Colt Revolver, 1836-1940. It includes Colt autos, too!

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Old 02-14-2020, 09:16 PM
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RE: serial numbers on Colt US M1917 revolvers.

Much confusion over this, but pretty easily understood when you hear the history.

Colt considered the M1917 revolvers to be New Service models and serial numbered them within that range of production. That serial number is stamped into the frame under the cylinder yoke.

The US military wanted (1) a serial number easily seen on the butt of the revolvers, and (2) all Model 1917 revolvers were serial numbered within the same range, whether made by Colt or S&W. That is the number marked on the butt of the grip frame.

Every Colt Model 1917 Army revolver produced on military contract will have two serial numbers, the Colt factory serial number on the frame yoke and the Army serial number on the butt.

Armchair experts love to argue over this simple point, and gun shows will invariably produce at least one guy who will argue until the cows come home that the Colt M1917 revolver in question is "mismatched".

Beyond that all I will offer is that all Colt M1917 military contract revolvers were originally finished in a non-reflective, rather rough, blued finish, and all were fitted with smooth walnut service stocks (grips). Many were arsenal-refinished during WW2 with a Parkerized finish. No military contract M1917 revolvers, to my knowledge, were fitted with the hard rubber grips (but some post-WW1 production may have been completed using parts on hand and civilian-style New Service grips).

When researching the revolver in question, and particularly when seeking a Colt historian's letter, the serial number stamped on the frame yoke is the number that should be referenced, as that is the official Colt serial number. The number stamped on the butt of the grip frame is the official military serial number, and military records are most likely to be found using that number rather than the Colt's number.

Interesting period of Colt production!
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Old 02-14-2020, 09:35 PM
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"The US military wanted (1) a serial number easily seen on the butt of the revolvers, and (2) all Model 1917 revolvers were serial numbered within the same range, whether made by Colt or S&W. That is the number marked on the butt of the grip frame."

That statement is a bit confusing. Military S&W 1917 serial numbers start at SN 1 and go into the 167K range, more or less. IIRC, the Colt 1917 butt numbers, required by the military, also start a SN 1 and go into 150K or so range.
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Old 02-14-2020, 09:42 PM
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Oldguns.net has all military Win/Colt SNs and years produced as recorded by the Army. According to what I've read, the Army kept accurate records whereas the companies didn't necessarily do. You just look up the manufacture, input the SN, and it'll give you the date of MFG.
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