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Old 04-01-2021, 04:15 PM
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Default The rarest Model 1911 pistols ever made...

No, although the Singer Sewing Machine Company made only 500 M1911A1 pistols during WWII (and they are incredibly expensive when found today), they are still not the rarest.

During the World War I period, the U.S. government placed a contract with North American Arms Co. Ltd. in Quebec, Canada to produce Model 1911 pistols. None were apparently delivered, and it's believed only about 100 were produced. This is perhaps the rarest 1911 pistol of all the variations.

Thought you'd like to see one - and you'd be very lucky indeed to actually find one for sale. Of course, you'd hope that the owner would not know that he had a gold mine!

John


(click for larger picture)
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Old 04-01-2021, 04:26 PM
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Very interesting, I was not aware of that.
I wonder how many were chromed or turned into Bullseye guns?
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Old 04-01-2021, 04:32 PM
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I've only seen one North American and it was at a Dallas gun show at least thirty years ago. Asking price was $10,000; don't know whether it sold or not. I can't imagine what these guns would bring now.
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Old 04-01-2021, 05:19 PM
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There is a gentleman that shows one at OGCA. I have seen it. He doesn’t have a price on it, it really is there to be shown and talked about. I’m sure that he would sell it, but I have no idea what kind of money it would require to get it.

I should add that it’s been more than a year since I have seen it — but this isn’t to say that it won’t be there at the next show or that it hasn’t been there at every show, I’m simply saying that I haven’t looked for it or noticed. I tend to keep moving past tables loaded with guns of this vintage. Sure, I like them, but these are not what I’m chasing, so I tend to keep moving.

If I see it again, I think I’ll ask him a bit about it so I can share it here.

PALLADIN85020... is the one you show in your picture in your collection?
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Old 04-01-2021, 05:19 PM
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Interesting pistol and I have one question! In looking closely at its finish does yours have the appearance of being “copper clad” at some point prior to its being blued? On the two I’ve examined they seem to give off that appearance.

My buddy has a numbered pistol really close to yours. Yours appears to be “84, can’t really tell .... the photo isn’t the best.

Nice firearm and enjoyed your write up.

/K

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Old 04-01-2021, 05:30 PM
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Default Singer

i came that close to getting one made by Singer. my friend's wife whose father had passed. i couldn't do it. they had no idea. couldn't help myself so i told her. her brother decided to keep it. krs/kenny
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Old 04-01-2021, 05:37 PM
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I've seen 4 go on GB and RIA. Low was $15,025, high was $74,750, and median is $41,250.
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Old 04-01-2021, 05:39 PM
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Aren’t the Singer’s way higher than that?
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Old 04-01-2021, 05:53 PM
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To answer some questions -

First, this gun is NOT in my collection. I definitely could not afford it!

The number on the left rear of the slide is 34.

It's the same pistol as shown here with other views. On closer examination, it appears to have conventional bluing.

I don't have a clue what these would be worth today. I think "A lot" would cover the ground, though!

John

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Old 04-01-2021, 06:54 PM
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Quote:
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Aren’t the Singer’s way higher than that?
The Singer is indeed worth more... based on the numbers posted, significantly more.

The difference is that this one was never Govt Issued and the Singer was.
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Old 04-01-2021, 06:59 PM
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Sevens—Thanks. I did not think had imagined that. I was thinking a Singer had bumped up to 7 figures, but I may be thinking of a Colt Walker that sold recently.
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Old 04-01-2021, 07:06 PM
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Thanks for your reply. Interesting pistol!
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Old 04-01-2021, 07:07 PM
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IIRC the US Army Air Force got the Singer manufactured M1911A1's

I also remember reading that there are more fake Singers out there than the genuine article.
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Old 04-01-2021, 07:54 PM
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Quote:
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Aren’t the Singer’s way higher than that?
I've recorded 3 Singers with a low of $14,976, high of $95,393, and median of $55,186.
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Old 04-01-2021, 08:12 PM
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These are pretty rare...

https://www.armoryblog.com/firearms/...e-barrel-1911/
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Old 04-01-2021, 08:19 PM
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OK - I'm saddling the steed, sharpening the lance, and venturing out on the quest. Will let the bank know later

Wow!
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Old 04-01-2021, 08:21 PM
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Quote:
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Sevens—Thanks. I did not think had imagined that. I was thinking a Singer had bumped up to 7 figures, but I may be thinking of a Colt Walker that sold recently.
https://www.rockislandauction.com/de...uring-co-model
December 2017, $414,000!

You definitely did not imagine it.

I’ve seen two others go on Gunbroker, both over $75k if I recall.
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Old 04-01-2021, 08:26 PM
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Ain't many Remington UMC 1911's either. I've no idea how many were produced.
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Old 04-01-2021, 08:27 PM
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The last Singer I saw at RIA went for $414K, plus the buyers premium, in 2017.
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Old 04-01-2021, 08:33 PM
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Firearms News did an article about some 1911s that were sold to China in the 1920s or 1930s during the warlord years. IIRC none have ever been recovered or sold back into the American market. Perhaps there's a few in boxes tucked away in quiet Chinese villages...

EDIT: Not the Shanghai Police ones, these are pretty well documented.
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Old 04-01-2021, 08:34 PM
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So, PALADIN85020, I take it for granted those pics didn't come with a range report?
Of the 100, does anybody know are they all accounted for, or would that be almost impossible to know?
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Old 04-01-2021, 08:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregintenn View Post
Ain't many Remington UMC 1911's either. I've no idea how many were produced.
Rem-UMC delivered 21,677 1911s through May 1919.

I was lucky enough to have found one of those many years ago. As a matter of fact, it's the only one I've ever encountered - found in Albuquerque NM in the 1970s.

This Model 1911 pistol was made by the Remington Arms - Union Metallic Cartridge Company in Bridgeport Connecticut. It was one of 1,353 pistols shipped to the Ordnance Corps, U.S. Army, on October 10, 1918, about a month before WWI ended.

John

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Old 04-01-2021, 08:47 PM
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So, PALADIN85020, I take it for granted those pics didn't come with a range report?
Of the 100, does anybody know are they all accounted for, or would that be almost impossible to know?
Yep, almost impossible to know -

John
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Old 04-01-2021, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by jeffrefrig View Post
So, PALADIN85020, I take it for granted those pics didn't come with a range report?
Of the 100, does anybody know are they all accounted for, or would that be almost impossible to know?
Understand we are talking Unicorns here. Having been in discussions with a buddy who owns one not far from what I thought you were displaying “84” there was discussion by him that he had seen pistols numbering in the 200 & 300 range.

Incidentally, I passed on the NAA he owns because so little back when was known. I also believe it was he who displayed his at the OGCA
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Old 04-01-2021, 08:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PALADIN85020 View Post
I was lucky enough to have found one of those many years ago. As a matter of fact, it's the only one I've ever encountered - found in Albuquerque NM in the 1970s.

This Model 1911 pistol was made by the Remington Arms - Union Metallic Cartridge Company in Bridgeport Connecticut. It was one of 1,353 pistols shipped to the Ordnance Corps, U.S. Army, on October 10, 1918, about a month before WWI ended.

John

Color me green with envy. That is a grail gun for me and you have what appears to be a very nice example.


I have a pretty nice Remington Rand which is common, but no Remington UMC. For some reason, I would walk right past a Singer for a chance at one of these.

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Old 04-01-2021, 09:08 PM
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Quote:
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Yep, almost impossible to know -

John
I've documented 55 of them in the last 25+ years. It is the rarest of the M1911 manufacturers but there are lots of ways to describe M1911 and M1911A1 variations and some are more rare. As collectors, we're quirky like that. :-)
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Old 04-02-2021, 06:34 AM
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I’m happy with my AO US Army 1911a1 $389 nib years ago. I seen higher crazy prices on 1911’s by different manufacturers I never heard of.
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Old 04-02-2021, 06:59 AM
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Default May OGCA meeting

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Originally Posted by Sevens View Post
There is a gentleman that shows one at OGCA. I have seen it. He doesn’t have a price on it, it really is there to be shown and talked about. I’m sure that he would sell it, but I have no idea what kind of money it would require to get it.

I should add that it’s been more than a year since I have seen it — but this isn’t to say that it won’t be there at the next show or that it hasn’t been there at every show, I’m simply saying that I haven’t looked for it or noticed. I tend to keep moving past tables loaded with guns of this vintage. Sure, I like them, but these are not what I’m chasing, so I tend to keep moving.

If I see it again, I think I’ll ask him a bit about it so I can share it here.

PALLADIN85020... is the one you show in your picture in your collection?

Hi Sevens...I will be at the May OGCA meeting...I would like to look at this pistol as my son-in-law will be attending with me and he really likes 1911's (not that I can afford to buy it)...can you please PM me the dealer's name and location (if possible) at OGCA that has this...I would appreciate this...I will have a table there, but as of yet do not know my location...Thanks...Roger
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Old 04-02-2021, 07:17 AM
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Quite interesting - I was unaware of this variant. Thanks for posting John!
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Old 04-02-2021, 09:02 AM
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Of course, with the internet they'd never figure out how much it was worth today? lol
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Old 04-02-2021, 10:11 AM
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A word of caution regarding the M-1911's produced in small quantities. There are forgeries floating around in the 1911 collector world, some can look very convincing.
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Old 04-02-2021, 02:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwill1911 View Post
I've documented 55 of them in the last 25+ years. It is the rarest of the M1911 manufacturers but there are lots of ways to describe M1911 and M1911A1 variations and some are more rare. As collectors, we're quirky like that. :-)
Kevin, I have a question! As I replied to the OP In examining my buddy’s. NAA, and then another I detected a copper undertone to the blued finish. Now this is unlike the natural “browning” of the finish you come to expect on old pistols.

Curious as to your opinion.
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Old 04-02-2021, 02:58 PM
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I've checked the standard references (Clawson, Meadows, et al) and did not find any indication that these had some kind of unusual bluing. So many of these have little to no finish, or have been refinished, or have been nickel plated and then stripped that I'm not sure there is much consistency to the finishes any more.

BTW, SN 34 sold in 2002 for $15,000. It was sold again in 2014 for $34,500. The high water mark for a NAA pistol is $218,500 for SN 73 sold in 2018.
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Old 04-03-2021, 05:02 PM
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@ the Op, John, I submit this primarily for your enjoyment and interest:

When I first started to get into handguns at 21, from a purchasing perspective, old Cowboy movies and stuff always had my interest from an earlier age, I bought an old Colt 1911.

I didn't fully realize what I had at the time. I bought one o the first QTY 12, purchased by the Navy if I recall correctly in 1911-1912. It was not perfect, had some condition issues (expected)...and I sold it to an older gentlemen whom I had known through another hobby. At the time, I only knew it was old, cleaned it, non-invasively and hung on to it for a few years, eventually adding ivory grips. This was many years ago now...

Sold the gun with the grips for $1K or approx. what I had into it.

Last time I saw it for sale, locally (as I have no idea what happened to it), it sold for north of $8K. No regrets here, just wish that I knew what I know now, when I was younger.
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Old 04-03-2021, 05:12 PM
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I believe the small batch of 1911s H&R made as a test are rarer.. 20 pieces maybe
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Old 04-03-2021, 05:21 PM
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@ the Op, John, I submit this primarily for your enjoyment and interest:

When I first started to get into handguns at 21, from a purchasing perspective, old Cowboy movies and stuff always had my interest from an earlier age, I bought an old Colt 1911.

I didn't fully realize what I had at the time. I bought one o the first QTY 12, purchased by the Navy if I recall correctly in 1911-1912. It was not perfect, had some condition issues (expected)...and I sold it to an older gentlemen whom I had known through another hobby. At the time, I only knew it was old, cleaned it, non-invasively and hung on to it for a few years, eventually adding ivory grips. This was many years ago now...

Sold the gun with the grips for $1K or approx. what I had into it.

Last time I saw it for sale, locally (as I have no idea what happened to it), it sold for north of $8K. No regrets here, just wish that I knew what I know now, when I was younger.
Too fast we get old, and too late we get smart. I collect U.S. military small arms, and in the middle '60s, I had the opportunity to buy a Model 1865 trapdoor Springfield rifle for $150. It even had the "ESA" cartouche of Springfield Armory's Erskin Allin in the stock. That was a lot of money to me then, so I let it go. Now if you know, as I do now, that this was the very first trapdoor Springfield conversion rifle, chambered in .58 rimfire, you would have grabbed it at nearly any price. They are as scarce as frog hair, and I've not seen another one since. And I've been kicking myself ever since....

Here's what one of these looks like - if you ever run across one for $150 - well, let me know!

John

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Old 04-03-2021, 05:30 PM
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2 yrs ago at a gun show in Birmingham, I saw a Singer for $750. Naturally I was fresh broke from buying 2 S&W revolvers and I'm just not a 1911 guy anyhow(only have 3). On the last day of the show, it was still there and the man and his wife were packing up to leave. I have to remind myself that it is only a good deal if you need or want it. Prolly why I'll never be wealthy!
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Old 04-03-2021, 05:35 PM
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2 yrs ago at a gun show in Birmingham, I saw a Singer for $750. Naturally I was fresh broke from buying 2 S&W revolvers and I'm just not a 1911 guy anyhow(only have 3). On the last day of the show, it was still there and the man and his wife were packing up to leave. I have to remind myself that it is only a good deal if you need or want it. Prolly why I'll never be wealthy!
$750 sounds too good to be true - and it probably was. There are probably more fakes out there than the real deal Singers!

John
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Old 04-03-2021, 05:39 PM
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The North American arms pistols are interesting in that they never got beyond tool room prototype stage and the correct tolerances were never achieved. The frame rails are significantly wider than Colt so you can put a NAA slide on a Colt but not the other way round. The hammers , thumb safeties and slide releases were never checkered and the triggers were hand fitted and the serial numbers were stamped on the left flat of the trigger. Back in the 1970's a significant number of fakes were produced to facilitate illegal importation of real pistols into the US while returning fake pistols back to Canada. Some of the fakes have subsequently been imported back into the States with a veneer of originality and there are now a few pistols in circulation that that have duplicate serial numbers. Like everything else in life Caveat Emptor.
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Old 04-03-2021, 05:51 PM
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I believe the small batch of 1911s H&R made as a test are rarer.. 20 pieces maybe
Tell us more - when? Why? Government order? What happened to them?

Thanks -

John
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Old 04-03-2021, 06:06 PM
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H&R was awarded an Educational Order No. W-ORD-395 on April 23, 1940. Supposedly, they finished 10-15 pistols but none were ever accepted (Clawson, p. 288). I don't believe one has ever been seen.
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Old 04-03-2021, 06:42 PM
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H&R was awarded an Educational Order No. W-ORD-395 on April 23, 1940. Supposedly, they finished 10-15 pistols but none were ever accepted (Clawson, p. 288). I don't believe one has ever been seen.
I have seen one.. Slide frame and barrel in the white. It was at Numrich Gun Parts back in the late 80s when they bought out H&R inventory after they closed. It was marked HRA from what I can remember.

The reason they were out of spec was because old drawings were sent to them by Springfield Arsenal.
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Old 04-04-2021, 07:54 PM
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@ John, I will keep an eye out for you, friend, should I find one. My buddy, an older gent who was in my 'circle of friends' bought my gun. We enjoyed 50's hot rods and such and I had a couple at the time.

Years later, I told him I'd buy back that Colt 1911. Guess, what? Not for sale. That is OK. The car parts he sold me over the years, far exceeded that value. But it wasn't about cost...truly. We were just having fun. Still am and that's the most important thing.
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Old 04-04-2021, 11:44 PM
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Had a North American in my hands at the Louisville show back around 2002 and seller wanted $20k-ish for it.
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Old 04-05-2021, 12:37 AM
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Gun collectors are a funny lot

Almost 2 million M1911A1’s made for WW2 and the scarce one command very high prices.
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Old 04-05-2021, 12:42 PM
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Many years ago, maybe about 30 years ago, I saw a North American Arms slide on a Remington Rand frame. I had no idea that the slide was so rare.
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