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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got this 1911 Navy yesterday and I'm tickled! It was shipped August 8, 1913 to Brooklyn Navy Yard. It appears to be authentic and all there with the exception of the magazine and the early checkered, arched mainspring housing. I can find a flat MSH but it makes me wonder why only the MSH was changed. I'm guessing someone may have simply preferred the arched MSH when they showed up in 1924.... or not. Sam Lisker once told me he likes to leave the pistol the way he found it.



 

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Rick you could pick up a correct mainspring housing just to have on hand.
 

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Looks like it just came out of the holster. Just me, but I would remove the verdigris and the arched mainspring housing.
 

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A real prize! Rick, I am like you in that I would want to leave the arched MSH in the gun and buy an original flat MSH to keep with the gun.
 

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That's a sweet gun, I love it! Congrats! I almost scored a 1913 today... almost.
 

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I remember when I started reading Mickey Spillane's paperbacks in high school, and all of the current editions usually had a .45 on the cover.
"I the Jury" had a 1911 on it.
 

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If you've ever seen the movie "I...the Jury" with Armand Assante as Mike Hammer (which is a decent movie)...he carries a Browning Hi-Power...or whatever clone or prop he was given. That's an unforgivable deviation from Mickey Spillane's books.
 
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Rick, SCORE !!!!!!!!! I would definitely restore the pistol to original configuration. No doubt it's like a guy with a broken leg that is still wearing the cast and walking with crutches long after he's healed. Keep the parts that came with it should the next owner have that fascination . It's not refinishing, it's correcting the wrong parts with the CORRECT parts. Give them the wrong parts with it if they believe in that crazy idea. You did good. Nice pistol. Keep my email. gordon
 

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I can find a flat MSH but it makes me wonder why only the MSH was changed. I'm guessing someone may have simply preferred the arched MSH when they showed up in 1924.... or not.
Nice find.

Before you change anything, consider this scenario. The arched mainspring housing is introduced, and some Naval Officer likes the way they feel, so, being of sufficient rank to do so, has one installed on the pistol he was issued during the Great War. He carries it like that on interwar assignments on the Yangtze. He had it one Sunday morning in Hawaii and then throughout the second World War until he retired, and now, somehow, you have acquired it.

Or . . . somebody changed it last month in their garage!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Nice find.

Before you change anything, consider this scenario. The arched mainspring housing is introduced, and some Naval Officer likes the way they feel, so, being of sufficient rank to do so, has one installed on the pistol he was issued during the Great War. He carries it like that on interwar assignments on the Yangtze. He had it one Sunday morning in Hawaii and then throughout the second World War until he retired, and now, somehow, you have acquired it.

Or . . . somebody changed it last month in their garage!
Now THAT'S funny!;) I thought the same thing but I agree with most, it's very easy to change back to make it original.... or at least period. As we're fond of saying " it's only original once" but "original" may be a distinction without a difference when it comes to military handguns. Regardless, I'm going to a show tomorrow to look for a flat MSH and a period correct magazine. Funny thing is, I have a keyhole magazine but I think it's too early for August 1913.
 

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I'm going to a show tomorrow to look for a flat MSH and a period correct magazine. Funny thing is, I have a keyhole magazine but I think it's too early for August 1913.
Rick,

Nice find! Congratulations!!

Clawson has the keyhole: "These magazines were issued through mid-1913 at around serial number 40000."

Best Regards,
 

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Nice Colt, I would not recognize the correct parts as you and others have, but it does not take away from being a beautiful gun.
 

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My Rand & Navy model both have the serrated arched MSH. Wilson has the steel arched MSH....fwiw Nice!
 

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Unlike the last serial number of 1915 which was the last 1911 shipped with the lanyard loop magazine, the 40000 serial number given by Clawson for the last of the keyhole magazines is a guesstimate. Your Colt is in the 40000 serial number range.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Unlike the last serial number of 1915 which was the last 1911 shipped with the lanyard loop magazine, the 40000 serial number given by Clawson for the last of the keyhole magazines is a guesstimate. Your Colt is in the 40000 serial number range.
Well, I bought an appropriate two tone LL mag at the show (and cleaned the verdigris off the stocks). This Navy may have shipped with a keyhole mag but I still think August of 1913 is a little late. As you know the keyhole was a quick fix to get usable magazines so the pistols could be shipped. I'm guessing (and it's just a guess) that as soon as Colt had a serviceable replacement magazine they used them. At any rate I now have one of each.
I did "find" a Colt letter for my Navy! Clawson lists that 1300 pistols, 40501 to 41800, were shipped on Aug. 8th. 1913. This saved me $75.00!
 

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I got to thinking about the 40000 serial number range on the Keyhole magazines and began doubting myself. Looked in Clawson's Collector's Guide and sure enough it indicates that the magazines were issued thru mid-1913 at around serial number 40000. In his big book it indicates the last order for the keyhole magazines was dated December 5, 1912. Before the contract was completed a new type of steel for the magazines was adopted which eliminated the need for the punch and saw cut.

Meadows indicates that the first pistol to use the keyhole magazine was serial number 4501 on August 30, 1912, and the last keyhole magazine was April 1913 at approximately serial number 25000.
 

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The "wabi" on those old 1911s is perfectly imperfect. Congrats!
 
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