Information on my 1903, first production run
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Thread: Information on my 1903, first production run

  1. #1
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    Information on my 1903, first production run

    Hello guys,

    I have recently inherited a 1903 from my father, its serial number is under 1000 and is part of the first run made in 1903. I would love some information on it as far as production, distribution, history and even value.

    Thank you in advance
    Attached Images Attached Images
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    Your best bet is to get a Colt historical letter for the information as to when it was made, shipped, and to whom it was shipped. They just won't give you a value.

    http://www.colt.com/Portals/0/misc/A...ice%20List.pdf
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    I agree with JohnnyP, a letter is essential to establish when it was made/ shipped and to who. That said first models are very desirable although appears to be in less than sterling condition there will still be a market for it. Posting the serial will help in the folks on the forum providing any other information. Best of luck and welcome to the forum. if you decide to sell I would encourage you to give the fellows around here first go.
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    Welcome Caprica to the forum. Hammerless spoken here.

    The 3 digit 1903 hammerless are always interesting.

    It is hard to tell from your picture but I would say it
    has been refinished at one time, that hurts value some
    but a 3 digit serial number (or less) is a strong point.

    Can you post a picture of the left side too?

    A colt Factory letter is a great beginning as has been mentioned.
    Most of us will get a letter on our more interesting hammerless.

    Here is a picture of a 3 digit I have.

    Serial Number 418

    M1903 418 6.JPGM1903 418 9.JPG

    No finish left at all. The early Colt high luster
    blue finish was very delicate, it did not take
    much effort to lose it. Those that still have it
    are very expensive.
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    ei8ht of 9ine
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    -------------------------------------Wanted Police or Agency Marked Colt Hammerless

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    ei8ht, would removing the grips and close up pictures be a tell-tale trail of whether or not it's been re-blued?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sportsdad60 View Post
    ei8ht, would removing the grips and close up pictures be a tell-tale trail of whether or not it's been re-blued?
    Close-up pictures, and the grips removed, could help some, but usually just looking at the "sheen" -- or lack there of (such as with the OP's pistol) -- is enough to indicate an early pistol has been refinished. The high-gloss blue is very distinctive; if it's not there, it usually indicates a reblue.

    I'm also not convinced the high-gloss finish was really that "delicate" (as ei8ht mentions above, and as I've heard others mention). Even with significant friction, such as on the barrel of the early guns with the independent bushings, one can still see significant amounts of original high-gloss bluing remain. I think the losses are from handling and (often poor) storage over the 100-odd years life of most of the early high-gloss pistols.

    The early guns with the high-gloss finish all saw the use of corrosively-primed ammunition. Even when the barrels were cleaned (and many were not cleaned properly, which is why pitting is common) the rest of the gun received slight contamination of the salts from the primer. Just like with barrels, wiping with oil alone won't remove the salts from corrosive primers.

    I suspect a lot of the early high-gloss blue losses are the result of accelerated corrosion due to the salts from the corrosive primers being spread generally over the whole pistol. If clean primers had been developed and were widely used in 1903, I think we'd see a lot more examples of early high-gloss finished 1903s with a lot more original finish remaining.

    I have no science to back that up, but that's just my speculation.
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    Wow guys the response has been great. I will post some much higher quality pictures soon.

    Thank you so much for all the info.
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    I saw this the other day, and had to take off, so it slipped away before I got to donate my $0.02.
    So... First year production ones are always desireable. That one looks somewhat soft and flat.
    Better pix would be nice. The pistol still bears a lot of charm & mystique, even if it has been 'molested'.
    Years ago, folks were more prone to have a pistol re-done rather than buy a new one. New lookin' was good enough.
    The 1903s were the real deal, and were carried and used and beat up and carried and used and traded and sold and beat up some more. No wonder guys would get 'em overhauled. It is still a decent, desireable pistol.
    I have a 2nd year 4 digit with very little blue left, but the metal surface is still smooth and shiney. No corrosion, no pits; just a nice old appearence. Like they went to considerable trouble to make 'em hard & smooth before the hard charcoal blue was applied.
    I like 1903joe's theory on how hard bluing can be lost over time without wrecking the metal.
    Makes sense to me, but what do I know?
    Regardless of the refinish, that thing is one helluva pistol and it is family.
    We like family guns.
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    Here are two of my early Type I's; Top one was refinished by Colt around 1913 +/- and does not have the early high polish blue, but was given later slide markings as well as the "K" stamp on the Triggerquard. It was given a brand new barrel which remains in like new condition. Jackson


 

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