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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I realize that this is the revolver side of the forum, but it sees more action than the semi auto side so thought I would start here with my question...

I have acquired one of the Colt Woodsman .22 pistols from the 950 purchased by the Air Force in August 1949. It is said that they were for an Arctic Survival Kit. Can any of you Air Force types give me any more details on how they were carried/used? ... I have reference material on WW II period survival Kits/Vests/Equipment, but the post war information is sketchy. I think they may have been carried in the E-1 or E-2 kits but have not been able to confirm this. I have information from an RB-47 pilot that they used to pack a metal container into the plane each time they flew that supposedly had a Woodsman packed inside??? Any information would be greatly appreciated! Thanks! Bob Best
 

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I saw one of these kits while in the ANG(and active)61'-67.Living in Maine,and going to Dow and Loring AFBs,they were prevalent that far "Nawth".

Idea was for "small game",and a helluva lot more accurate than the issued .38s(especially the snubs!).

Pretty sure that the .22 Hornet/.410 survival "rifle" is what caused these Woodsmen to vanish!

Bud /forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Bud,
Thanks for relating the information! I agree that the .22/410 had probably replaced the Woodsman early on... In fact I believe the AF Woodsman was released by the DCM in 1960/61... I do find it interesting that I have been unable to find any Air Force TM or FM that covers the Woodsman or any reference to it in any of the Arctic survival kits used by the Air Force... I would think there should be some written documentation on them somewhere... a stock number or something??? Anyway, THANKS MUCH for the information! Bob
 

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You are welcome,Bob. But as far as documentation,the Air Force tended to be "lax" on sidearms.

For about 20+ years,I have been trying to find out info on some "cut down" to 4 or 5" S&W M-25-2s that I saw at an open house at Pease AFB in N.H.(before it was deactivated). Being formerly in Air Force Security,I always made it a point to visit their display,especially the weapons and dogs!(As I sit here typing 2 Rottweilers,1 only an 8 month old male,and a German Pinscher-25 lbs of muscle and best of 3 for watch/alarm dog, are resting on the floor).

They had 2 of these,that Msgt. said were cut down from the Air Force Target Teams' revolvers,which were 25-2s(earlier,they were the 1950 S&W,or lighter bbl. pre M-26).

I would have killed for something like that in 'Nam!,but made do with an S&W 1917,that dumb Lt. thought was a Victory.

By 1980,M-1911s were totally dominating the Team Target Matches,certainly in the .45 stage,so the M-25-2s were "reworked.

Never have seen a mention of this anywhere,except a personal story in "Soldier of Fortune" magazine. Have asked on S&W Forum several times,and people thought I was seeing things. As far as Roy Jinks,@ S&W,since these guns were "redone" at a Govt. facility,from what the Msgt. told me,they would have NO record.

So for the long "rant",but many Air Force weapons were not "well cataloged"-like my M-1917,that I got from an armorer at Kelly AFB,on the "sly" before my dog and I shipped out.

Good chance the Navy small arms lockers on older "fleet auxillaries",were loaded with "hidden treasures" from days gone by-but thats a different thread!

Now,if you could just find one of those CIA issued silenced .22 auto pistols(I think Hi Standard?) that were issued to U-2 pilots like Francis Gary Powers in the Cold War!

Bud /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
 

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Hi Bob:

Glad you posted this here as I don't check the Auto section very often. The USAF Woodsman pistols are indeed very interesting guns.

Have you seen the article on them that appeared in the Rampant Colt some time back? If not, let me know and I will send you a copy. Brink's book on the Woodsman mentions it, but the data is mostly incorrect. Of course, I think Bob Rayburn is fully conversant on these pistols and can probably supply you with additional info if necessary.

I have copies of Colt factory letters on 3 of these USAF Woodsmans. All reflect 8/24/49 shipment to the Transportation Officer, Ogden Air Material Area, Ogden, Utah for use in Arctic Survival Kits. Although there were to be 950 guns purchased under the Contract the letters show 925 being shipped on that date. Maybe the balance of 25 were shipped earlier for testing or other purposes.

My archives show that these guns were shipped under Colt factory Order #6525, under Contract #W19-058-ORD-5234. They were shipped in 37 cases. The Contract price was $31.65 per pistol. They were procured under US Army Specification 52-0-1B. The Contract specified further that the pistols would be furnished without:

Lanyard Loop
Slide Stop
Magazine Safety
Grip Adapters
Screw Driver
Test Target

I am not aware of a Tech Manual or Field Manual for these pistols. My copy of Mike Breuninger's first book on US Military Survival Equipment does not mention the Woodsman, although his second book entitled "United States Combat Aircrew Survival Equipment World War II to the Present" may do so. I have not bothered to buy a copy of it yet.

Finally, for those who may be wondering what this Air Force Cold War Woodsman is all about below is a pic of an example owned by a pal of mine.

Bob, hope this data helps you out. I'd like to find one of those Woodsmans for my collection one of these days, so keep me in mind if you ever decide to dispose of yours.

Best regards,
Charlie Flick

 

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What was the pistol gary powers had on him? I remember it was a 22 auto, but cant remember if it was a HDM, or a woodsmen. By the way I met him a few times after he got out of prison and lockheed hired him as a test pilot. I worked security then.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi Charlie,
Great to hear from you and thanks for posting all of the GREAT information! The Woodsman in your Photo appears to be in better condition than the one that I am getting. Mine is still enroute so haven't seen it "in the flesh" yet... Photos make mine to be about 85-90%...

I don't have Breuninger's book on postwar survival equipment either, but I think I will pick up a copy of it. I have C. G. Sweeting's books and they discuss different survival kits but nothing on the Woodsman...I have "feelers" out to some USAF personnel to see if I can get some AF TM or FM references... we'll see how that goes...

Eric Archer has given me some information on it too and he would like to display it in Reno with his survival stuff at the next show in August... If I remember correctly, you and he are displaying AF Stuff somewhere too???

I don't have a copy of the CCA article either... I would certainly appreciate a copy if you don't mind sending me one! Do you still have my address???

I will certainly keep you in mind if I decide to sell it... Thanks for all the Good Information! Take care, Bob
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hi Bud,

Thanks for the interesting conversation! I always enjoy hearing and talking about all different kinds of guns used by our military forces... The Model 25-2's sound interesting... I have asked a couple of friends about the procurement of them by the AF... If I get any kind of response, I'll pass it along! I used to carry one for awhile as a duty gun ... had a six inch barrel but was really fun to shoot! Department issued the Federal hi-speed hollow pointed ammo and boy did you get a kick when you fired it! Let me tell you, it was really impressive looking at the business end too... you could see the HUGH hole in the muzzle and the equally large hollow pointed bullets in the cylinder. It sure made a couple guys stop doing what they were doing when I pointed it at them! It was a great gun, but we changed Chiefs and he changed what we could carry, so that was the end of that... :-( Oh well....
Thanks Again for the great observations! Take care, Bob
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi Bogusbill & Raimundo,

A friend of mine was discussing the gun carried by Powers in the U-2... He said it was a silenced High Standard. Here is what he said about it:

"I have a copy of THE U-2 AFFAIR by David Wise and Thomas B. Ross, Random House, May 1962. In the photo section there's an excellent Sovfoto shot of items Powers supposedly carried, including what appears to be a suppressed H-D with a very long tan leather breakfront shoulder holster, and four boxes of Remington high velocity 22 LR. The photo is small, about 3 x 3., but the resolution and reporoduction are great. If you pull out your copy of Charlie Pate's U.S. HANDGUNS OF WORLD WAR II, there's a section on the silenced H-Ds at pp 248 to 254. The commie pic seems to show the very long barrel seen at the top of page 251. Charlie comments on high speed jacketed ammo on page 252. You may know John Brunner, shown in the photo on p 248."

Thanks for the comments! Bob Best
 

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[ QUOTE ]
Hi Charlie,
Eric Archer has given me some information on it too and he would like to display it in Reno with his survival stuff at the next show in August... If I remember correctly, you and he are displaying AF Stuff somewhere too???

I don't have a copy of the CCA article either... I would certainly appreciate a copy if you don't mind sending me one! Do you still have my address???



[/ QUOTE ]

Hi Bob:

Yes, Eric Archer and I are planning a joint Smith & Wesson/US Air Force display at next year's S&W Collectors Association show in Richmond. The show theme will be military Smiths, so that will work out great.

The CCA Rampant Colt article I mentioned is scanned and on my computer at home. I will dig it up and email a copy of it to you this weekend.

Regards,
Charlie
 

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Just a footnote to my prior post. Powers was a real low key guy, not quite like a lot of hot shot pilots we had! First time I met him, he was waiting for his wife to pick him by my post, I had a 63 harley dresser parked near-by. He politey asked me if he could sit on it. He enjoyed it. I mentioned I would trade it for a ride in a U-2, as I was in flight training, I remember he said it was like sitting with your head in a gold fish bowl. Poor guy got killed flying a helicopter reporting a fire years later!
 
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