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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone, I'm new here and was hoping you could tell me what this pistol is worth. I handled it and wanted it immediately, so I've asked the owner to hold onto it for me. It's a ~44xxx serial number, placing it as a 1906 production. It has one magazine with it, and I don't know if the mag is original or not. The finish is what you'd expect for a hundred year old pistol. The slide has very little bluing left, it seems it was carried every day by someone. The frame has quite a bit more finish left on it, but I'll let the pictures do the talking. My goal here is to find a fair price for this piece, as the owner is a friend and I want to give them a fair deal.

The first three pictures give a better idea of the overall condition, for some reason the last two pictures make it look like it has a lot more bluing left on the slide than it really does.









 

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Appears to be missing the small machine screw that retains the safety. (Hole on the right side near the back of the frame.) Later Model M types did not have that retention screw, but the Type I guns did. Might be trouble finding that part so I'd factor that into what you'd be willing to pay.

Bill
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
~$350 if the magazine is original Colt. Seems to be about the going rate for finish challenged yet quite excellent mechanics in the M1903.
If the magazine is not original, what would you estimate it at then?

Appears to be missing the small machine screw that retains the safety. (Hole on the right side near the back of the frame.) Later Model M types did not have that retention screw, but the Type I guns did. Might be trouble finding that part so I'd factor that into what you'd be willing to pay.

Bill
Thanks for the heads up, I do remember thinking that hole looked funny, but it completely skipped my mind something might be missing. Do you happen to know the thread pitch, or where I could find out?

Another question: I would be buying this as a shooter/possible carry gun. Is it safe to shoot modern .32ACP loads through it? I would obviously avoid anything overpressure.
 

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I'll check the screw size and let you know. Give me a few days. I've fired modern 32 ACP in my Model M's without problems. The same gun was later produced in .380 with some small changes in the frame. Don't think I'd run +P - if you can even find 32 ACP in +P? It will be a good idea to change the recoil spring. Relatively inexpensive and easy to change.

The Type I 1903 magazine came with a plain, pinned base. There was no need to mark the caliber on the base until the 380 version was produced and by then the Type I had been replaced by the Type II.

If you want the lowdown on these guns, check www.coltautos.com Lots of good info there, including magazine types and variations.

Bill
 

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That thing will be as right as it's gonna get after you replace the safety retainig screw.
It has the appearance of an old workhorse, and should give another lifetime of use as long as you don't hammer it to death.
I like to know that my old iron still has a few hot suppers left in it if need be.
$350 is a sizeable chunk for an old pistol like that, but there are way worse ones that go for even more $.
I think $350 would be more than fair to you friend.
 

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If the magazine is not original, what would you estimate it at then?
I believe $300, for the simple reason that an original M1903 .32 Colt magazine fetches between $75-$125. Some folks have no issues with aftermarket magazines while others experience feed issues. I think that's dependent on the brand though I have all Colt magazines and can't comment on what aftermarket to avoid. As stated above the baseplate might not be marked if Type I original. If marked it could be from a later Type.
 

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I learned something here today! I have a 1903 just like the one above, but a little nicer thanthis one, and the mag is unmarked. The mag must be original. I bought it because I liked the looks of the old-timey grips.
 
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