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Guns and stories...

Pictured below is a Colt Prewoodsman fitted with a 1923 Maxim Silencer. I remember quite clearly when this unique pistol came into the collection 25 years ago. It was purchased from an individual who was selling off his prized Colt collection. The gentleman it was purchased from said that he had bought it from the FBI Museum many years prior. His story was that had been used by one of Al Capone's henchmen to execute some of their competition in Chicago.

Is there anyone here in the Colt Forum knowledgeable enough in the history Al Capone and his circle of criminal associates willing to venture an educated guess as to who this might have been used by?

IMG_3773.JPG IMG_3772.JPG IMG_3774.JPG IMG_3769.JPG IMG_3768.JPG
 

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No, but it reminds me of another interesting story. Years ago I had a interesting Italian friend I worked with, with a unusual interesting background. He was raised in a mob family around San Francisco. He later became a cop! He said he had a picture of himself sitting on Al Capone's lap! Seems his father was a friend of Capone`s and when Capone got released out of Alcatraz his first stop was to visit his dad!
 

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From what I understand, Al Capone was more into Thompson's then gun's with silencer's, it did not seem to bother him who heard the gun shot's, [kinda like Chicago is today] and who was going to turn him in to the police ? esp. during that era.
One of his saying's was : "You can go a long with a smile. you can go a lot father with a smile and a gun."
 

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JMO...But I think a lot of this silencer thing was more Hollywood and James Bond 007 then real use in the Gangster era. I just cant see some one trying to conceal a hand gun as long as a walking cane.
Seem's like small hand gun's that Gangster's would have used in that era. would have been the .38 ca. rev. or the colt hammerless .32 / .380 for easy concealment, I know their was a silencer for the Colt Hammerless but I doubt most Gangster would have taking the trouble to use one during the 20's and 30's from what I have read and seen on documentary's that have been made of that era.
 

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Gary Powers had a Hi Standard HDM (heavy duty military) on him when he was shot down in a Lockheed U-2. The gun had a silencer.
Hi-Standard HDM silenced « Modern Firearms - Encyclopedia of Modern Fire Arms

The High Standard HD 22 Pistol: Dirty deeds (done dirt cheap) - Guns.com

I slightly knew Powers as I was a Lockheed guard when he was a test pilot after being traded out in the 1960`s. I own a nice HDM, no silencer. Once Gary came to my gate waiting for his wife to pick him up after he came down from a flight. I had my 1963 Harley parked by the shack. He asked to sit on it and we got talking. I recall telling him, Gary I will trade you the Harley for a U-2 ride. (I was a student pilot at the time). He said I wouldn't like it, it`s like sitting with your head in a gold fish bowl for twelve hours. I think the idea for the silencer was so he could pop some farmers chicken at night on the run if
need be. He didn't get the chance. Some peasant farmers caught him with pitch forks when he parachuted down.
I hired in with a retired CID agent on the same day. I asked him what he carried on that job. It surprised me when he also said a Hi Standard.
 

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I was a Lockheed guard from 1965 to 2000. A universal movie studio guard before that. Probably met most the top test pilots of that era. Actors before that. A dead head job but was around a lot of interesting people. When I hired in I was the youngest guard the chief ever hired he told me. There were no female guards. Right after I hired in was when the country AND company went to political correctness. Soon we had maybe 10 % women on the huge dept, maybe 250 guards or more when I first hired in. Almost every one of the ones before me were retired former cops, deputy's, even retired FBI and CIA agents working their "retirement job, also all branch's of retired military so I got to hear tons of war story's. It was a good job for me as I knew nothing else. I retired with the #1 badge. I would have starved to death had I not been a guard.
 

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Powers also carried a Randall 8-4". Regrettably it's in Moscow now. I imagine that pre-woodsman was pretty quiet with sub-sonic .22 ammo. At least it's reasonably long enough to work, not like the 2 inch TV revolver silencers!
 

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For a few years in the late 1920’s Mr. Capone was headquartered in a place called the Lexington Arms Hotel on the near south side of Chicago. My dad was a teenager and lived about three blocks away. He used to talk about seeing him around the neighborhood.

“He always was surrounded by body guards and they were all well-dressed. One car would pull up and the henchmen would get out and look around, then a car with Mr. Capone would pull up and he’d get out. It was like a movie star arriving. Everybody respected him and treated him with deference. It was always Mr. Capone this and Mr. Capone that. I remember he wore this big diamond ring, very flashy.” The area was an Italian immigrant neighborhood so I imagine he felt safe there.

As far as Al’s guns are concerned there are as many here in Chicago as there are Jesse James’ guns in Missouri.

However, since we are talking about gangsters I can show a picture of an actual Chicago gangster’s gun that was actually carried during Prohibition. Disappointedly, it is not a Colt, but a Harrington and Richardson. The guy that carried this got shot five times and survived. He carried one of the bullets in his leg for the rest of his life.

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I worked with two retired Chicago cops. One ended up our chief for awhile. A third guard was the son of a old time Chicago detective from that era. Had to laugh at one story of his dad`s. He said they would take a suspect down to the basement, sit him down on a stool, put on gloves and then calmly question him while they rolled around his "manhood". I suspect they got good results. One of the retired cops also once was a boxer and pretty rough character himself. He told me a story of getting a call from a bar where old time wrestler "Yukon Erick" was misbehaving in a bad way. He was throwing the cops around and finally my friend brought him down the same way, with a handfull of his manhood!
Personally, I had bad luck at least three times I went through that town. Once I was going home from Texas to Wisconsin for Christmas. Took the train to Chicago, got off to catch a bus to Wisconsin. I was young and inexperience. I was carrying some checks and money in my shirt pocket in a envelope. I recall slapping the envelope to make sure it was still there,- "It`s right here boys, come and get it!" I went to buy a ticket and it was gone! Went to a cop that was watching the place and he laughed at me and let me know it was "Chicago". I had only a couple bucks in my wallet, it was I think the night before Christmas eve and colder than hell. I missed my connection and ended up in a cheap flop house. What a Christmas! I also came down with the worst case of flu and strep throat! Another trip going home maybe the Christmas either before or after that one, again the day before Christmas eve, I stopped in some suberb of Chicago for supper and locked my keys in my 1956 chev. It was night, my folks lived a three or four hour drive north. I seen a motel close so went and got a room. The next morning I was trying to hook the keys out with a coat hanger with no luck. It was right in front of the door to that resturant and soon there were about four guys watching and giving me advice. One of them exclaimed, "Look at that big gun he`s got!" Sure nuff, my revolver had slid out from under the drivers seat and was in plane sight! This was Chicago! I just passed it off with, "Hell yes. Everything I own is in that car." The guy who first spotted it was a preacher and drove me to a chev dealer friend of his and we borrowed a large ring of keys and found one that fitted.
Another time again, for another Christmas visit I flew in to O`hare. And we got snowed in while I was waiting for my feeder flight to Oshkosh. Spent that night trying to sleep on a bench! If I never see Chicago again I will be happy!
I think Merle Haggard wrote that song just for me, "Lord if we can just make it through December, everything will be alright!" Most everything bad that ever happened to me has always been in December!
 

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Speaking of Capone, I did a display at this years CCA Show about the man who got Al Capone. He was Treasury Agent Mike Malone and worked under cover and actually got in with Capone's men and was at dinner with Capone. I own the gun that he carried while working the Capone case and it is a Colt Police Positive Special in .32-20.Hosted on FotkiHosted on FotkiHosted on FotkiHosted on FotkiHosted on Fotki
 

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For its worth, if any, when I was collecting old guns in France ca. 1949 I was offered a High Standard .22 pistol with a silencer on a 4" barrel, said to have been furnished by the U.S to the resistance during WW2. Its silencer I remember a little larger OD & shorter about 6", not as long & thin as pictured above. The would-be seller seemed to hold it in some esteem, historical, etc. which was lost on me. I wanted early pieces such as flintlocks & thought of it as just another Hi Standart after taking off the muffler & let it pass. ----->
 

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Guns and stories...

Pictured below is a Colt Prewoodsman fitted with a 1923 Maxim Silencer. I remember quite clearly when this unique pistol came into the collection 25 years ago. It was purchased from an individual who was selling off his prized Colt collection. The gentleman it was purchased from said that he had bought it from the FBI Museum many years prior. His story was that had been used by one of Al Capone's henchmen to execute some of their competition in Chicago.

Is there anyone here in the Colt Forum knowledgeable enough in the history Al Capone and his circle of criminal associates willing to venture an educated guess as to who this might have been used by?

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Great Thread! Let us know if you find out who?
 

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Cam, I remember the article and loved it, at the time I didn't connect it to you. Great article thanks for sharing. !

Craig
 
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