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I'd be interested to know when it was manufactured and shipped, but I can't read the serial number in your photos. Looks to have been rearsenaled at the Springfield Armory. I (briefly) tried translating the Cyrillic mark on the left side, but gave up on it. Don't have the patience. Do you know what it says? Did the pistol come to you with the rollmarks filled in in white? Just curious. Are you saying the pistol was used in the Finnish army? Again, just curious. I wouldn't mind seeing better photographs.

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Hi Jimmy, I don't have the pistol but am considering buying it. The Cyrillic writing translates to "English Order" and was stamped on many of the WWI Russian Government Model pistols obtained from England which acted as a middle man. The boxed SA is abbreviation for Soumen Armeija (Finnish Army) and is used as a property mark on Finnish Army weapons. Serial number looks like 1916-1917 production range (1916 starts with C27600 and 1917 with C7500 so probably 1916 production).
 

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Translation: English Order.
Some 51,100 shipped to Russia from Feb 19, 1916 to Jan 18, 1917.
I've never seen one w the SA arsenal mark, so I might be a little cautious w/o further info/provenance.
 

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I have never seem one marked that way before. I will certainly follow this post to see what our experts say. I do recall the boxed SA being a Finnish marking, but I did not know how it translated.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks Scott for your comments. I think we have a few forum members from Finland so perhaps they can say if they've ever seen one of these with Finnish Army property mark. I'd assume that the Finns probably captured some of these WWI Russian Colts during the Soviet-Finnish Conflict of 1921-22 and the Soviet-Finnish War 1939-49.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
I found this one similarly marked which was found stored in a barn in Finland:
722879
This will show a larger photo of the SA Property Mark.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
enlarged photo: maybe someone with better eyesight or computer skills can do a comparison of the two photos to show similarities/differences.

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Translation: English Order.
Some 51,100 shipped to Russia from Feb 19, 1916 to Jan 18, 1917.
I've never seen one w the SA arsenal mark, so I might be a little cautious w/o further info/provenance.
For me, arsenal marks have always been sort of confusing. For the simple reason that there's really no way of knowing just what the arsenal did to the pistol, unless there's an easily visible refinish to it. But say you have a 1911A1 from WWII that's been reworked at Rock Island Arsenal. Maybe it only needed a couple of new springs. And maybe some new pins. And everything else remains as it came from the factory. Would lessen its "originality"? Would that detract from its value to a collector?

What about this? It's a known fact that Remington Rand used leftover Colt slide stops from WWI. Does that mean it isn't an original Remington Rand? Does that make it a Frankengun? For me, it's just a big gray area that's never been fully explained to me.
 

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Very low resolution pictures and white paint in the markings makes it impossible to know much of anything. But, the slide markings look like a different font than authentic Colt.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The markings of the pistol in post #9 look fine to me. The ones in post #1 look fake. BTW, the top of the left stock in the O.P. pistol looks wrong, too.
Scott think you're correct. Found this interesting Youtube video from MrColt which states that 3000 of the Russian WWI Contract ColtGM pistols were offloaded in Finland; interesting.

 

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The SA in the box stands for SUOMEN ARMEJA which translates to “Finnish Army”
 

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What about this? It's a known fact that Remington Rand used leftover Colt slide stops from WWI. Does that mean it isn't an original Remington Rand? Does that make it a Frankengun? For me, it's just a big gray area that's never been fully explained to me.
Remington Rand also used Colt barrels in early production, and their prime supplier of barrels throughout production was High Standard. They also used other small parts from the other manufacturers. It's not who made the parts, but who originally assembled them into a complete pistol.

You won't find anyone rejecting a 1942 manufactured Remington Rand because it has a Colt barrel or 1911 slide stop original to the pistol.
 

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Agreeing something looks "off" about the markings. Would need more and better pics. Is the serial C4xxxx or am I seeing things? I would not buy the pistol based on only these pics unless reallyreally cheap.
I've owned a number of these Russian Colts (none with SA mark but genuine ones do exist) and something just seems wrong on this one. Could be the pics and colored markings...

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You might want to ask the question in the appropriate section over in the Gunboards Forums. There are a lot of very knowledgeable collectors there that specialize in Finnish marked and used firearms and they may have some insight.
 

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It is important to note the fact that in WWI Finland as a country didn't exist... it was part of Czarist Russia. That a shipment of military guns was delivered to Finland designated for seems pretty unlikely given the geography of the time given the fact Finland has no port outside the Baltic which was closed to shipping for Russia by the German navy.

I've noticed several "Russian Government Models" advertised for sale of late... most is not very good condition... something which makes sense.

It seems more likely these guns came to Finland and were captured by the Finns in the 'Winter War' in 1940 along with considerable quantities of other weapons ranging from the latest Russian tanks down to Nagant pistols. Being very short of weapons the Finns took these weapons into Finnish service. Most commonly seen are Moisen-Nagant rifles, but there was a lot of other stuff too... Russian uniforms with only one bullet hole in them, KV-1 tanks, lots and lots of Russian T-26 tanks along with lots and lots of ammunition.

Delivery of weapons to Russia was a challenge, with the majority of it coming via Arcangle the port of which was open for shipping part of the year.

The Finn property mark being stamped through the finish suggests as with captured rifles suggests these guns were captures rather than original issue.

FWIW


Chuck



Scott think you're correct. Found this interesting Youtube video from MrColt which states that 3000 of the Russian WWI Contract ColtGM pistols were offloaded in Finland; interesting.

 

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I wish we could see this with macro pics in good lighting and focus. So, based on the blurry pics, incomplete views and sloppy paint in the markings, I would pass until it had a complete appraisal. You are talking about a $4-5,000 gun at the minimum, correct?

I own around 60-70 guns with the [SA] marking, mostly rifles and no Russian Contract Colt M1911 pistols. But I am with Scott Gahimer, here. The English Order looks like a possible font discrepancy.

And the shape of the S in the SA does not have a large enough open loop curve at the top. But that may be from being struck at an angle?. The size of the boxed SA does not bother me, as there were commonly several different sized stamps used on Finnish Army property pistols, from very small to quite large.
 

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Charles Clawson has a section on the Russian Colts in his Government Model book. In it there is information that 3000 of the Colts were possibly off-loaded in Finland, and bear the SA marking.
 
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