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Discussion Starter #1
Have a 1917 and I'm not sure if it's the military or civilian version. Has aftermarket grips on it, so smooth/checkerd is no help.
"COLT D.A. .45" on the left side of the bbl and
"U.S. Army Model 1917" on the bottom of the grip frame with a lanyard swivel.
Ser # 581xx
Thanks for any help.
 

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As far as I know, if it's marked "US ARMY Model of 1917" and has a serial number on the butt, it's a military issue gun. I don't believe a civilian 1917 was ever marked "US Army".

You may note TWO serial numbers on the gun. One number on the butt, and a different number on the frame under the crane, and on the crane itself.

Colt considered this to be a continuation of the New Service line, so they marked the frame with a New Service range number and marked the butt with the official US Army serial number.

Most experts consider the Army number on the butt to be the "real" serial number, and that's the one that should be used for any permits or official ID's of the gun.
 

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I'm not trying to be argumentative or a know-it-all . I can say from a dealer stand point that the recognized serial number on a Colt 1917 is on the frame and visible only with the cylinder open . These numbers are a continuation of the New Service serial number range . The 1917's ran approximately in the 150,000 - 301,000 range .
Being a buyer in a gun shop ,I buy from other dealers and take note of dealer ads in the Gun List .
The butt number as far as I can tell , was used as a military rack number for individual ID when passing out weapons . I assume they used them so they wouldn't have to open the cylinder every time a weapon was passed out . S&W 1917's had their actual serial number on the butt , so they didn't need another number .
 

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I have to aggree,
The butt number was a Govt. number NOT the Colt factory serial number. I always booked them in with the "offical" Colt serial number. IP

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by guy sajer:
I'm not trying to be argumentative or a know-it-all . I can say from a dealer stand point that the recognized serial number on a Colt 1917 is on the frame and visible only with the cylinder open . These numbers are a continuation of the New Service serial number range . The 1917's ran approximately in the 150,000 - 301,000 range .
Being a buyer in a gun shop ,I buy from other dealers and take note of dealer ads in the Gun List .
The butt number as far as I can tell , was used as a military rack number for individual ID when passing out weapons . I assume they used them so they wouldn't have to open the cylinder every time a weapon was passed out . S&W 1917's had their actual serial number on the butt , so they didn't need another number .
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
 

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No not at all . We can all learn from each other .
Possibly the Dope Bag was referring to the S&W 1917 ? In which case they would be correct .
 

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Dfariswheel,
If your area of knowledge is in Post War Colts that's fine. My area of knowledge is in Colt Pre War Target Revolvers, between all of us we can learn from each other.

It would be interesting to see what kind of Colt letter one would get if the Govt. number was sent, if they did not cost so much I would give it a try. IP


( Quote by Dfariswheel )
I probably should shut up about pre-war Colt's since my area of interest and knowledge is in post-war Colt DA revolvers.[/B][/QUOTE]
 

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Ira ,
I don't specialize in pre-war target Colts , but I do like the New Service . I have two Shooting Master's . A .38spl & .357 mag .

Mitch
 

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On this one, I'm going by a question to the NRA Dope Bag, many years ago.
Somebody wrote in asking which was the
"real" serial, and the NRA staff said "the one on the butt" was considered the serial number. They said that the butt number was the one recognized as the serial number by the then ATF.

As long as you use the same number consistently, I don't think it's a problem. It's just that after I read that Dope Bag answer, I always went with the number on the butt.

I probably should shut up about pre-war Colt's since my area of interest and knowledge is in post-war Colt DA revolvers.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for all of the information.
So, if the number on the frame/crane is the serial number, anyone give me an idea about mfg date with 2114xx. There's a very small "H" above the number and a larger "O" or "zero" below it.
Thanks again.
 

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I guess I don't realy just specialize in Pre War Target Colts but do specialize in Pre War Target HandGuns, mostly revolvers made by Colt, S&W, and some Single Shots such as the Colt Camp Perry and the S&W's, Stevens, and the USRA H&R's. I've been at it for about 40 years and am an old worn out Target Shooter, guess that's why I've always collected the Target Guns, don't have much use for the tipical Military or Police guns as they never seem to hit where I'm pointing and I'm sure the workmanship is much better in the hand fitted Target Guns. I do like those Shooting Masters. I'm waiting to find one in something bigger than 38 but I should just break down and buy the next nice one that comes my way, there not getting any easier to find in my part of the world. IP

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by guy sajer:
Ira ,
I don't specialize in pre-war target Colts , but I do like the New Service . I have two Shooting Master's . A .38spl & .357 mag .

Mitch
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
 

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I would guess about 1919, the "H" and the "O" are useally inspectors marks, I could be wrong on the date as I'm not into M&P's that much but I think the numbers run about the same as the Target Guns. IP

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by PlumberjimC:
Thanks for all of the information.
So, if the number on the frame/crane is the serial number, anyone give me an idea about mfg date with 2114xx. There's a very small "H" above the number and a larger "O" or "zero" below it.
Thanks again.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
 

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BTW, If you use the butt number of 581XX to date the gun it would come out around 1913, that's a few years before the 1917 came out. You can see how you can get into a problem by using the wrong number when looking for info. IP

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Ira Paine:

I would guess about 1919, the "H" and the "O" are useally inspectors marks, I could be wrong on the date as I'm not into M&P's that much but I think the numbers run about the same as the Target Guns. IP

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The numbers vs. dates makes sense. Thanks. The guy I bought it from said 1919, but thought I'd check.

Ira, you mentioned the "Colt Letter." I've done factory history letters with S&W. What's the cost and who/where.

Thanks again.
 

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I don't think a Colt letter would tell you much about a 1917 M&P other than the year it was shipped and where, it was most likely sent to Springfield Armory in MA, Check the Colt web site, I think they have a price list of what a letter cost, last time I checked I belive it was $ 100. I don't think Colt wants to do these and set the price high to discourage collectors, you sure don't get much for $ 100.

S&W letters are much more reasonable at $ 30. and will give you three times the history of the gun in the letter. Of course you cant get the History of a Colt from S&W. IP

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by PlumberjimC:
The numbers vs. dates makes sense. Thanks. The guy I bought it from said 1919, but thought I'd check.

Ira, you mentioned the "Colt Letter." I've done factory history letters with S&W. What's the cost and who/where.

Thanks again.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
 
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