AJ Savage 1911 RIA Opinion/Value
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    AJ Savage 1911 RIA Opinion/Value

    Picked this up at a gun show as one of those guns you see and just can't pass up. 1960's RIA rework. AJ Savage Slide, Colt frame 1919, SN 594353. As unfired as they come, fully Blued barrel has no signs of a round being even loaded. 50 years of handling has left a few signs as the slide has been racked. Well tumbled and Parkerized. Original Numbered RIA Box with wax paper, other than the box label no other paperwork. R marked Mag. Clawsons says Savage never delivered pistols but slides were used as replacements for arsenal rebuilds. I have another Savage slide I put on a Colt frame as I have seen similar others, but this came from the RIA arsenal as a rebuild so in my mind, as original AJ Savage Government Rework as there is. Personally I think it spend 60 years in the box, in a closet and came out every so often to be showed and put back away. I know normal arsenal rebuilds halve the price of the original, but what about a rebuild as intended? Not to mention almost a pristine rebuild. Value?
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    While it is a best guess, if you read far enough in Clawson he indicates that there is no documentation that the slides actually came from Savage. Production was not far enough along at the time the contract was cancelled to have a government inspector present at Savage to inspect the parts, and it was a requirement that the slide have the name and address of the manufacturer on it.

    The slides look more like a Remington-UMC slide with the name and address panel removed.
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    The slide is definitely marked with the flaming bomb with the S in the bomb that has been attributed to AJ Savage's contract for pistols. While there are a number of theories, Sidgley, Springfield, etc. Savage is considered the most probable. Savage produced no complete guns in the 6 months they had a contract and it known that parts were made and were accepted to be used as replacements. While Savage was never paid for a complete pistol, they were paid approx $13,000 for the parts they produced but no documents exist to identify exactly what parts other than springs. While the then Ordinance requirement called for the manufacturers name and address to be on the slide, no similar marked slide has surfaced with this information on the slide, just the flaming bomb with S. As this pistol came from RIA with WW I slide, this fits the most probable theory of a replacement Savage slide mated at an arsenal. Clawson neither confirms or denies because no written records exist that positively identifies who made the slides. Savage did attempt to file suit against the Government to recoup costs above what they were paid for but again without specifics and they were unsuccessful.
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    Savage is considered the most probable.
    While this used to be a true statement, based primarily on Clawson's research and conjecture, I think it is more accurate to say that we just don't know. I think that at least as good a case can be made for these being reclaimed Remington UMC slides used by R.F. Sedgley to rebuild M1911 pistols, perhaps for the USMC.
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    The last sentence in the last paragraph on the "Savage" slides in Clawson:

    "Until more information is found, the military status of Savage slides remains questionable."

    Both Clawson and Meadows agree that there is no evidence connecting the slides to the A.J. Savage Munitions Co. Meadows also notes that Savage was not present at the meeting of all pistol contractors on November 1, 1918, just ten days before the war ended.

    My post in no way is intended at demeaning your pistol, but that there are questions as to where the slides originated.

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    I know there are a few who disagree with this but I can only go on those who I believe have studied this far more than I have. That said, the following is what I have found in my own limited investigation of respected authority/authors and from the Forum.

    From the Forum: In Clawson's small book 3rd edition, pg. 29 he writes, "Blueprints were shipped to A. J. Savage in August 1918, therefore, because of the time limit involved, it is not likely that slides could have been delivered before the end of the war. Furthermore, a chief inspector was only being considered for assignment to A. J. Savage at war's end, as manufacture had not reached a state that required government inspection. Nevertheless, it is known that some of these slides were eventually accepted into the military supply system as spare parts and assembled on arsenal-rebuilt pistols."

    Clawson adds that the for an arsenal rebuild to be authentic the pistol "must retain the old arsenal blackened or parkerized refinish".... "The remaining Savage slides in Ordnance inventory were sold to commercial interests at a later date .... These slides were in original blued condition, so be aware that a pistol with a blued Savage slide may not be a legitimate military pistol.

    Not sure why he altered his Big Book representation but possibly it was to clarify as a result differences of opinions like these.

    Also from the Forum, "I also found a book on military trademarks that shows the Bomb S trademark was assigned to A.J. Savage Munitions Company, San Diego C.1918. "Official Guide To Gumarks The Ultimate Gun Identification Guide by David Byron, First Edition, pg 121."

    I know there are others authors that have their own theories but the arguments are akin to arguing with an atheist. So until someone somewhere finds some documents to disprove the Savage theory, it is questionable. We will have to wait till we die to find out the other.
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    Here's one of only a few original finish slides I've ever seen used on post-WWI rebuilds. This one is believed to have been assembled by R.F. Sedgley for the Marine Corps.




    Here's one with a Colt factory letter showing the "Frames Only" receiver was a part shipped to the USMC; also with an original finish slide.




    I've got 3 or 4 more of the rebuilds with the same slides, but Parkerized. One is shown in Clawson's book. Another is in the 616xxx range...any many late Colt M1911s are known to have gone to the Marine Corps.

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    The USMC had to scale from less than 20,000 personnel in 1939 to nearly half a million by 1944 and it was always last in line for small arms and other ordnance. I have a two page paper written by a friend and fellow collector that tries to connect a lot of interesting dots about the USMC and R.F. Sedgley. We know Sedgley rebuilt a lot of M1903 rifles for the Marines and sold them lots of parts, signal pistols and flame throwers. We know Remington UMC had quite a few unfinished pistols and parts, especially slides, at the end of WWI. It is all pretty plausible, but has no more documentary support than the A.J. Savage story. However, I have a copy of a huge book of the significant war supply contracts from WWII. Sedgley sold over $8M of flame throwers and over $300K of signal pistols to the military. They also sold lots of rifle barrels, sights and other parts, as mentioned. But one line item in particular may be relevant to this discussion: "Pistols, $217,000." Given that the only pistols Sedgley sold under its own brand was a pitiful little .22 revolver I think it might be safe to assume that the $217K of pistols might represent about 8,000 rebuilt M1911s.

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    Quote Originally Posted by andy3921 View Post

    Also from the Forum, "I also found a book on military trademarks that shows the Bomb S trademark was assigned to A.J. Savage Munitions Company, San Diego C.1918. "Official Guide To Gumarks The Ultimate Gun Identification Guide by David Byron, First Edition, pg 121."

    I know there are others authors that have their own theories but the arguments are akin to arguing with an atheist. So until someone somewhere finds some documents to disprove the Savage theory, it is questionable. We will have to wait till we die to find out the other.
    It appears that David Byron used the flawed logic that since the Bomb S trademark is found on slides attributed by some to the A.J. Savage Munitions Co. that it must stand to reason that the Bomb S was assigned to Savage. Is there another precedent where a trademark was assigned to any of the other companies issued contracts to built the Model 1911?

    On page 210 of Meadows book he shows the slide marking proposed by Remington-UMC which was submitted to the Ordnance Department. The marking was changed slightly by Ordnance, indicating that Ordnance didn't assign but did approve contractor submitted pistol markings. That, and the slides lack the required contractor markings.

    The original belief that the slides originated at Savage was based on nothing more than "they must be Savage" rather than any existing proof. Until, and if ever, proof is uncovered the slides will remain a mystery.

    Personally I believe that Sedgley purchased the remaining slides from Remington-UMC when their contract was cancelled, and used the spare slide on rebuilds.
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    Concur.
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