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These guns joined my collection in a package deal of Colts and Smiths late last year, and I'm finally getting around to putting them out for inspection. I already have a 1908 hammerless in the safe, but it's an almost unfired government GO model that I hesitate to take out for simple recreational shooting. I still need to find a somewhat beat up but functional .380 for that.

The following guns will be just fine for .32 and .25 range trips, however.

This is 357359, a .32 manufactured in 1920 according to the tables.






And here is 318634, a smaller gun in much better shape that was assembled in 1922. The case coloring on trigger and grip safety is absolutely luminous.







Despite its spotty exterior, the 1903 has a shiny bore and smooth action. There is no evidence of rust or pitting on the frame under the stocks or on the underside of the slide. The 1908 VP is even less troubled inside and has only a couple of minor spots on the left side of the frame below the slide. It took me hours to get this one clean, as a prior owner had hit it in every available aperture with a grease gun. The top of the magazine, the rod and spring pocket in the slide, and the hollow below the striker were packed with what looked like bearing grease. It's almost as though the owner was expecting to find a zerk fitting and just shot the grease in where he thought it might be expected to go when he couldn't locate one.

I've pretty much always been a revolver guy and still mostly am, but I am finding new appeal in the older semiautos produced by both Colt and S&W. At the same time I got these two I also picked up a S&W 1913 .35 auto in a condition that is intermediate between these two. What can I say? That gun shows supremely accomplished engineering and production in service to a deranged design. No wonder it was not a commercial success.
 

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Most Excellent Example of a M1903.
Thanks for shareing.
I think youll find it's hard not to
add another Hammerless to your collection.
 

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I have a few 1903's most of mine are mint or real nice shooters. Problem with them is the damn sites. I have one I thought about having better more modern sites put on and getting it reblued but it has pitting. I would like to find one in good shape with poor blue to do it to someday. Or maybe i'll just buy a Stainless .380 gov mod.
 

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You scored some of the nicer finds, IMO. A LOT of the N1908 and M1903 models were daily carried/used. Pocket carried the body sweat and environ were very hard on these and usually just thrown into a drawer or kept in a vest they exhibit the ravages of the time. Remember, back in the 20's and 30's pistol cleaning and care was a secondary act. The guns were tools and they showed wear and lots of it. I have 2 N1908's one was refinished but the price reflected that and was a no brainer, for me. The second, while finish worn, isn't pitted so the patina doesn't bother me. My best find for a M1903 came with 3 original magazines and was incorrectly identified so everyone passed on it. One bid wonder. My luckiest GB auction.

Firearm Gun Trigger Gun accessory Gun barrel
Button Hinge Hardware accessory Metal
 

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Welcome to the "slippery slope"! There's just something about these pocket hammerless models that attracts me like Humphrey Bogart was attracted to Lauren Bacall.
 

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These old Colt automatics are like potato chips, you cannot have just one. I bought a 1903 someone had sanded the heck out of, as soon as I can find a good barrel for it, it is off to the local smith for modern sights and cerakote. Other than the finish and a heavily pitted barrel, it operates flawlessly.
 

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I don't have a problem with the finish on 1903's. I've got them in cerakote, durakote, parker, silver, gold, nickel and everyones favorite...blue. You can only have so many originals. After that it gets pretty dull. The changes did them a world of good. Purists ask me why I've changed so many and my answer is ... 'Because I can'.
 

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Buddy of mine came by yesterday with "a gun he wanted me to look at". Turned out to be a 1908 Vest Pocket, not mint but quite nice, a few freckles but no significant blue wear. 1932 according to the tables. We shot it and it worked flawlessly, shot a little left for both of us but grouped nicely. Neither of us is a collector, but Bill has a 1903 that belonged to his grandfather and this little .25 will complete the set!
 
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