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From Bob Rayburn's site.

  1. Can I shoot modern ammo in it?
    Short answer: Yes. BUT: Woodsmans made prior to 1933 were designed for standard velocity .22 LR. Those made after 1933 were all designed for high velocity .22 LR, with a stronger recoil spring and a case hardened mainspring housing, which is the part that takes the brunt of the recoil. The transition took place in the early part of 1933. They all will handle standard velocity ammo, which is what all target .22 LR is to this day. I do not recommend firing high velocity ammo in one of the early guns (before 1933).Just buy target ammo and use that. It is more accurate, and less noisy besides.
    If your Woodsman is pre-WWII it will have a pattern on the mainspring housing, where the web between the thumb and forefinger touches when holding the pistol in firing position. If that pattern is checkered (left), it was made for standard velocity ammo. If the pattern is horizontal parallel lines (right), it was designed for high velocity ammo. If it is a post WWII gun it will have no such pattern, because all were designed for high velocity ammo.
 

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22 109148 a.JPG
22 109148 d.JPG
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22 109148 b.JPG
Kind of interesting that this 109148 Woodsman target came in a box with instructions on changing to the high speed housing, yet probably mfg'd about 1937. Also note test target signature by Fitz.
 

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No, high velocity is NOT OK. These Colts and the High Standards of the same era were designed for Standard Velocity ( below about 1100 FPS ) since high velocity did not exist at the time they were manufactured. Research on the internet ( Bob Rayburn and Sam Lisker for Colt Autos and John Stimson for High Standard. ) Also as stated above, the grip is marked with a checkerboard or a straight line pattern, Regardless of the pattern, the experts in the know strongly recommend only standard velocity. The return spring and the slide tend to fail with use of high velocity. Nice Woodsman. I have all series of the Woodsman pistols, including the Match Targets, and the PreWoodsman.
This one as someone mentioned earlier will shoot HV and it has the horizontal lines. Thank you.
  • Can I shoot modern ammo in it?
    Short answer: Yes. BUT: Woodsmans made prior to 1933 were designed for standard velocity .22 LR. Those made after 1933 were all designed for high velocity .22 LR, with a stronger recoil spring and a case hardened mainspring housing, which is the part that takes the brunt of the recoil. The transition took place in the early part of 1933. They all will handle standard velocity ammo, which is what all target .22 LR is to this day. I do not recommend firing high velocity ammo in one of the early guns (before 1933).Just buy target ammo and use that. It is more accurate, and less noisy besides.
    If your Woodsman is pre-WWII it will have a pattern on the mainspring housing, where the web between the thumb and forefinger touches when holding the pistol in firing position. If that pattern is checkered (left), it was made for standard velocity ammo. If the pattern is horizontal parallel lines (right), it was designed for high velocity ammo. If it is a post WWII gun it will have no such pattern, because all were designed for high velocity ammo.

Source: https:// colt22.com/faq.html


OP has a 1936 built Woodsman...with the horizontal lines...and asked a simple question: "Safe to shoot hv 22lr?"
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The simple truth ...as shown in the Woodsman FAQ linked above...and going by the build date...is simply YES


Thanks

.
 

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Looks like a few other members also quoted the FAQ...sorry for the redundancy, but I did check the FAQ before my original post (#2) to the OP...and...before being challenged by Wally.
 

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A little more info that you may find interesting (or not!).

The pre-war Woodsman you are contemplating purchasing is a "First Series" (manufactured 1915-1947 and built on what's known as the S-frame design), and it is the Sport model which was introduced in 1933. Sport models have a 4 1/2" barrel. Your Sport has the "standard weight" barrel and ramp style front sight, both different from the Target model shown on the Colt "user manual" shown in your photo. Interestingly, the first two or three hundred Sports have half-moon front sights. That's the thing with vintage Colts, lots of small engineering/user manual changes during a "series", and there are exceptions to every rule.

I also have a first series Sport model from 1939 (#134,xxx) with the parallel lines on the mainspring housing. However, on mine the front sight is adjustable for elevation and the rear sight is adjustable for windage (identical to the one in your user manual photo). The adjustable front sight was usually found only on the Target model, but it was an option for the Sport model after 1937-38. My granny saved her small change in a jar and bought the one below for grandpa for Christmas right before the war.

Too much information? Probably. Mine groups more tightly with standard velocity CCI / Green Tag ammunition. Another great design by John M. Browning. Yours is a fine example, hope you get it!

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