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Savage Arms M1907 and M1911 .45 acp trials pistols comparison and differences

3787 Views 16 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Scott Gahimer
A few months ago, I started a thread on the Savage M1907 .45 acp trials pistols and showed two examples. One was in the white and not numbered. The other was blue finish and #11. Both were sold by Savage Arms Corporation in 1977 from the Savage Arms Collection at the Savage Museum. Here is a link to that thread:

Then, just a couple days ago, I started another thread showing one of only four Savage Arms M1911 pistols ever produced for the final competitive test between Savage and Colt in March 1911. It, too, was from the Savage Arms Collection and museum and sold by Savage in 1977. Here is a link to that thread:

Ideally, all the pistols should have been shown together for readers to better understand the differences in the M1907 and M1911 Savage pistols. However, at the time I started the thread on the M1907 pistols, I had not yet acquired the M1911. Because some readers seemed to have trouble seeing the differences in the two models, I thought I'd try to simplify that with what I think are some helpful images.

Good photos really are worth a 1000 words, so I'll be brief. And by doing so, I hopefully won't show too much of my own ignorance about these pistols! This is, in fact, the first M1911 Savage I've ever had or examined firsthand. So I won't pretend to be a Savage expert. I'll just concentrate on showing some different views...and hopefully, that will make things a little clearer. These pistols truly are rare enough most people have never seen one up close and personal, and knowledge is generally pretty sparse.

Here are a couple images of all three pistols together. The M1907 prototype is on top, the M1911 prototype is in the middle and the regular production M1907 is on the bottom. All three have markings applied by Savage Arms showing they were in the museum and part of the Savage Arms Collection. You'll notice immediately, if you look closely, the M1911 is a totally different pistol than the other two.

The grip on the M1911 prototype is about 1/2" longer than the M1907. The M1907 stocks are held into place with a large grip screw on each side, whereas the M1911 has no visible grip screws.

The M1911 prototype

The M1907

The barrel ribs and front sights are completely different.

The M1911 prototype

The M1907

Continued in next post...

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The controls are different on the pistols. The M1907 had controls on each side, where the M1911 had the controls strictly on the left side.

The M1907

The M1911 prototype

Another view of the ribs and front sights, from the top. The M1907 is on top, the M1911 prototype on the bottom.

The lanyard loop was simplified on the M1911 prototype. The loop on the M1907 folded up inside the mag well when not in use. Really kinda cool, but not really necessary and just something else to break, IMO.

The M1907 (loop inside well, not visible)

The M1911 prototype...much simpler and probably stronger, too.
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Thanks Scott..!

These additional and comparative Images do make a world of difference, for me anyway, in trying to see some of the differences between the two Models.

The Slide 'grip' Serrations or 'Ribs' are different, also.

Do you have some of the SAVAGE .32s and .380s of the early kind, to compare them to these two .45s?
The magazine release mechanism in both the M1907 and the M1911 prototype were lacking. The M1911 might have been a slight improvement over the M1907, but neither impressed the Ordnance Dept. and proved difficult to operate.

The M1907 style

The M1911 prototype style mag release

Don't know if you caught it, or not, but the M1911 prototype grip is not as wide as the M1907. I suspect the M1907 proved to be too wide for the smaller hands 100 years ago, especially with the extra recoil of the Savage pistol as compared to the Colt.

Notice how much wider the M1907 is. It's on the bottom.

The ejection port was also enlarged and beveled somewhat on the M1911 prototype. The extractor is also slightly different; a little beefier, probably due to excessive breakage on the M1907 extractors. That was a real weakness on them.

M1907 on top

Whether you knew it or not, the rear sight and extractor are the same part on these pistols. This view shows the rear sight on the M1911 prototype is, again, beefier. Also, notice that the hammers are slightly different. The hammer on the M1907 has an extra rib and appears heavier than the one on the M1911 prototype.

M1911 prototype on top

I think I can finish up with one more post...
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Finally...the last two images. Magazines.

On top is a prototype magazine for the M1911 prototype pistol that came from the Savage factory with the pistol in 1977. It has never been fully finished and is in the white. Still pretty crude. is an extra mag and will only fit the M1911 prototype pistol.

In the middle is the fully finished M1911 prototype magazine. Notice these two mags are entirely different than the M1907 mag on the bottom.

I hope these 22 photos give you a little better idea of how these two rare model Savage pistols differ so much. There weren't very many of the .45 acp Savage pistols to begin with. Many think " seen one, seen 'em all", but that is not necessarily the case. They might look similar, but they are entirely different.
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That shows they were engineering it as they went along. Did the mag change from double to single column? What are the capacities of the mags you show? I know the 32s have a double stack 10 shot mag which was a good feature.
Scott, thanks for sharing. Are these pistols yours?

The M1911 prototypes hammer made me do a double take because it reminded me of Colts 1900 sight-safety mechanism.

Between the M1907 and all M1911, how many pistols are still in existence.
Scott, thanks for sharing. Are these pistols yours?
I always avoid answering this question because the next question always seems to be "How much did you pay?". Generally, the person(s) asking aren't the issue. There are simply a lot of nosey, inquiring folks who simply scan these boards for information. Always asking questions, but never really providing anything useful for advancing the knowledge of other collectors. Some even blot out their serial numbers, but ask for yours and want to know other details. Many even expect shipping and/or use information when they leave us guessing what their full serial numbers are.

I am not offended when folks ask such questions, so please don't be offended when I elect not to answer some questions. I try to provide accurate information and good images when I post. Normally, if I don't provide purchase details, I don't want to.

Keep in mind, when you ask questions on a board, you aren't the only one waiting for the answers. I like to know with whom I am discussing personal details and finances and don't blurt that stuff out for the sponges to absorb.

Regarding ownership, what's that got to do with subject topic on any discussion board? We're not discussing who owns what and how much they paid. That doesn't matter.

If you, or anyone, is interested in purchasing these pistols...I have opted to keep the M1911 prototype and sell the two M1907 pistols. I just recently listed them for sale elsewhere. Whoever ends up buying one or both of those pistols will deal with me and make payment to me. I hope that satisfies the inquiring minds.

None of this is a rant. It's simply offered to explain why I ignore some questions. :)
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I for one never ask anyone "what did you pay?" as it's none of my business. If someone offers they got a great deal and paid $"xxxx" then that is their option. As to the ownership, again, nobody's business but the owner and a potential buyer should they private message details between themselves. These are great examples of pistols that were designed for a purpose but fell short of the mark for whatever reason. The photography, as always Scott, is superb and thank you for sharing.
SAVAGE must have done an enormous amount of R&D and Engineering, to produce these.

Did the subsequent m1907 .32 ACP Pistol, derive most of it's design from the '07 .45 ACP?
The design was by Searl and the 32 model was a locked breech turning barrel autoloader. I never saw the 45 version but the 32 was seriously overbuilt for the power of the ammunition. JM Browning realized the small caliber autoloaders could be blowback operated and 99% of makers followed his example.
Very nice Scott. I noticed no mention that the grip safeties were different designs. Did I miss something there? Best to both, Nick
Well MtnSpt and Scott, it is none of my business what he (Scott) paid that's why I didn't ask and have never asked. As fas as why I asked if they we his is because I know very little of Savage arms and these 2 models. By my question I was trying to ascertain if these pistols were available to the buying public. Not Scott's pistols per se but any Savage pistol.

Again Scott, thanks for sharing the pictures
Very nice Scott. I noticed no mention that the grip safeties were different designs. Did I miss something there? Best to both, Nick
That had already been discussed in another thread, and was an oversight on my part for not mentioning it here. Thanks. Yes, they are indeed different.
... By my question I was trying to ascertain if these pistols were available to the buying public. Not Scott's pistols per se but any Savage pistol. Again Scott, thanks for sharing the pictures
Thanks. I do see them (Savage trials pistols) for sale every once in a while. However, I had never seen these particular pistols from the Savage Arms Collection for sale before.
Those pistols are incredible. I did not know savage made a line of .32 and 380 as well. I'm surprised they didn't make a 45 for commercial sales since they put money into the design. Well at least that's what I'm reading online.
I think Colt pretty well cornered the market on .45 acp auto sales for decades after having their pistol awarded the contract with the military. Colt clearly won and that labeled the .45 acp Savage as a runner-up. Nobody wants second best as a self defense pistol.

Today, the real value, desirability and interest in the .45 acp Savage is due to its historical provenance and the role it played. They are a neat addition to any USGI pistol collection.
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