Colt Forum banner

1 - 20 of 26 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have an M1917 Army DA revolver I would like to know more about. It was my fathers and is pretty beat up. All the part numbers match (5424) and the Colt serial # is 250778. The Army # is 95883, and it has an S20 stamp on the upper frame, the Colt stamp is light and the grips are not original, possibly mother of pearl and chipped. I'm not sure if I should have is refinished or not. My father was a retired Army Drill Sergeant who served in WWII and Korea. I don't think he carried this weapon while serving. most of the finish is is gone, as he cleaned his weapons frequently. Could anyone give me some history on this pistol? Manufacture date? Was it ever re-tooled? Thanks! IMG_7758.jpg IMG_7726.jpg IMG_7716.JPG IMG_7732.JPG IMG_7750.JPG
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,411 Posts
Welcome to the forum.

Your Colt M1917 was delivered to the Government during the week of August 3, 1918 as part of a weekly shipment of 2700 revolvers. The number "5424" is an arsenal rebuild number that was required on all revolvers disassembled at a government arsenal for refurbishment. These guns were hand fitted when new, so all the fitted parts had to be kept together and were stamped. The majority of guns were rebuilt by Springfield Arsenal, with a good number by Augusta Arsenal, and relatively few by Rock Island Arsenal. It was refinished with a parkerized finish. Most of this work was done between the two World Wars. The "G" on the grip frame signifies a government contract. "S20" was the Government acceptance stamp.

Buck
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,764 Posts
That Model 1917 Revolver appears to be in the original Colt oven blue. The finish of the Model 1917 Revolvers had a tendency to flake just like the Model 1911 pistols from the same time frame. The revolver may have been returned to a facility to have a repair made and didn't require refinishing at the time.

An overall picture of the revolver would help.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Would having it refinished ruin its value? I would like to find some original walnut grips, but they are too expensive for me right now. I haven't fired it since my Father passed away in 1987. He was on a 90mm AAA squad in No. Africa, Italy and Europe in WWII, would a pistol like this have been issued to him? He served from 1937 to 1958

IMG_1231.jpg IMG_7728.JPG IMG_7743.JPG IMG_7739.JPG
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
521 Posts
The decision to refinish is one that the owner has to make. Some will tell you that refinishing will ruin the value, but there are others who say that if you plan on keeping the revolver and want a new finish then go ahead and refinish. It's your gun.

Contary to popular belief the U.S. issued WWI weapons to troops during WW II. In particular troops who were in secondary theaters (Panama Canal Zone) or were support troops who while in combat were filling positions that were unlikely to see them fighting enemy ground troops on a daily basis - such as your father who was on an AA Gun and therefore not on the MLR. The infantry troops guarding the Panama Canal carried the 1903 Springfield rifle and I've seen more than a few photos of marines and solidiers carrying either the Colt or S&W Model 1917's.

I can't tell you if your father would have been actually issued a revolver. I don't know enough about the Anti-Aircraft soldiers in World War II. My guess is that they would have carried M1 Carbines and M1 Garands, but (sometimes) NCO's and officers carried handguns. So to answer your question maybe??

My grandfather flew B-17's and B-29's during WW II. When he got out the Army Air Corp sold him his Colt Model 1911A1 for $10.00. Anything is possible.

Hope this helps. I urge you to keep your dad's revolver. It's a great heirloom.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,764 Posts
The finish certainly appears to be original. As the previous poster stated, whether to refinish or not it is up to you. Since it was your father's, and the finish original I would suggest that you leave it just as it is. Has nothing to do with being collectible or not, but it is just as your father left it.

I have several guns that belonged to my late father, but one in particular is the Browning "Sweet Sixteen" that he hunted with for many years. He had it fitted with a Poly Choke, and the forearm is worn and scratched where he held wire fences down to let his bird dog jump over when he was quail hunting. He put every scratch and dent on it, and I wouldn't think of changing a thing on it.

Of course the MOP grips were added at a later date, but your father must have like them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,845 Posts
Would having it refinished ruin its value?

Yes...( having it re-finished would ruin it's value, and or would not be worth it on any basis, including, how it would ruin the honest use history the Revolver does have going ).


Many members here would find your m1917 to be very appealing, just as it is. Installing correct and matching-condition Walnut Stocks, would be a 'Plus" though, definitely.

I would like to find some original walnut grips, but they are too expensive for me right now.

Tolerable enough condition ones, will tend to be like sixty or seventy bucks...and, up from there. You should be able to find a pair at a Gun Show, or, on ebay or gun broker...and, not all sellers would know what they fit, either...so, who knows what they may be listed as.


I haven't fired it since my Father passed away in 1987. He was on a 90mm AAA squad in No. Africa, Italy and Europe in WWII, would a pistol like this have been issued to him? He served from 1937 to 1958

As far as I know, this would not have been a likely 'Issue' Side Arm during that time period.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,351 Posts
Support elements like Artillery and Anti-Aircraft Artillery were often issued second-line sidearms - those being replaced when Suppy kept up with combat demands.

Since theirs wasn't frontline service, revolvers were issued, and are more than evident in period photos.

They do make walnut replacement grips - but originals aren't 'that' difficult to come by, so keep your eyes open, and look through those big cardboard boxes of grips you see at most decent-sized gun shows.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,396 Posts
He was on a 90mm AAA squad in No. Africa, Italy and Europe in WWII, would a pistol like this have been issued to him? He served from 1937 to 1958
It's quite possible, as others have noted, that he may have been issued a 1917 revolver during WWII. I have a friend who's father served as an MP in WWII and that is what he was issued and carried. I have a fellow Special Agent, now retired, who saw mine and commented that is what he was issued by the Army and carried as a combat infantryman in Viet Nam!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Grady78ss

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Thanks to everyone for the quick responses and awesome information! Most of my questions were answered!:cool:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,411 Posts
Grady,

Your revolver has been refinished. I base this first on observation. I've seen a lot of M1917's (more than most folks), and that's not the original sanding pattern. You can see glimpses of the pattern, but nowhere as much as on an un-refinished gun. Secondly, every M1917 I've seen with rebuild numbers has been refinished. The rebuild numbers occur on guns that were fully disassembled, and resurfacing was a major reason for doing this. I have a theory (not fully proven yet) that guns that did not require disassembly (and whose major parts were not numbered) were very likely to have not been refinished since only minor repairs were needed. I think those guns were the infrequent ones that have SA, AA, or RIA arsenal marks on them.

The gun is in its original refinished condition with its history from WWII intact. Change the grips to correct ones, and leave the rest alone. And think of your father when you take it shooting. I thank him for his service. They were the greatest generation.

Buck
 
  • Like
Reactions: Grady78ss

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,380 Posts
In this case the gun is a part of your family history, and the wear was thru honest use so I would leave it alone.The factor of value loss isn't a question here the preservation of family history is.I would get a set of correct grips for it if it were mine.Shoot it and enjoy it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,764 Posts
Grady,

Your revolver has been refinished. I base this first on observation. I've seen a lot of M1917's (more than most folks), and that's not the original sanding pattern. You can see glimpses of the pattern, but nowhere as much as on an un-refinished gun. Secondly, every M1917 I've seen with rebuild numbers has been refinished. The rebuild numbers occur on guns that were fully disassembled, and resurfacing was a major reason for doing this. I have a theory (not fully proven yet) that guns that did not require disassembly (and whose major parts were not numbered) were very likely to have not been refinished since only minor repairs were needed. I think those guns were the infrequent ones that have SA, AA, or RIA arsenal marks on them.

The gun is in its original refinished condition with its history from WWII intact. Change the grips to correct ones, and leave the rest alone. And think of your father when you take it shooting. I thank him for his service. They were the greatest generation.

Buck
Do you still say it was Parkerized? I have never seen phosphate flake off like oven blue.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Can anyone tell me if it's real mother-of-pearl or some type of plastic? It had chips missing and a few cracks that I fixed on the grips for stability.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,764 Posts
Thanks for the additional pictures. Your photo of the right side polishing perfectly illustrates the original polish and finish. The Colts were rough polished, and every one will show the circular polishing behind the right side recoil shield. It also shows where this polishing crossed the parallel polishing below the cylinder.

 
1 - 20 of 26 Posts
Top