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I just bought a 1909 at a gunshow and would like advice on what to check before trying to shoot it. It locks up well and has no barrel bulges or obstructions, although the bore looks worn.

Overall the gun was refinished and looks nice. It was in a block of serial numbers that Springfield Research says went to the Post Office in 1926.
 

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Dr. J; Are you positive that this is a 1909 and not a 1917?? If it says, "U.S. Army Model of 1909" on the butt then fine,but I have never heard of any going to the Post Office;plenty of 1917s though. One confusing thing that I noticed on "Springfield Research",is that the Army Serial Numbers for the 1909 and the 1917 are not differentated. You probably know that the Colts had a Different Army serial # than the actual Colt serial #. Both 1909s & 1917s started at #1 and the 1909s stop at #49,503. There are also 1917s in this range,then all the way up to 154,800. Your 1909 should be fine to shoot with the "Cowboy Action Loads",that have 250 gr. bullets,and are fairly mild. I would try both .452 and .454. diameter lead bulletsto see which is most accurate. If you are a reloader,all the better! Good Luck & let us know what you find out. Bud
 

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Bud,

Thanks for the response. This is definitely a 1909, as that is stamped on the butt. The serial number is 30580. As I understand it, the 1909's atarted at 30001. I did not realize that they shared the same serial numbers as the 1917's so the SRS response could have been for a 1917.

I do not reload, but I will look for some .45 long Colts with the Cowboy Action loads. Thanks for the tip.
 

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Dr. J. Pardon my bad manners,as I forgot to welcome you to the Forum! Glad that it is a 1909! These are beautiful guns,like the S&W and Colt .455s made for the Brits in W.W. One;almost too highly polished & crafted for the rigors of war. What is confusing,is that Colt's serial numbers,as stamped inside the frame under bbl. are NOT the same as the Army Butt number! No 1917 would be close to the Colt serial number,as they started around #149,000, way after the 1909s. Interestingly,the S&W 1917s have the same Army Serial # on the butt as the S&W serial number(but S&W started the 1917s at #1,as they considered it a different model from their regular N frame hand ejectors-confusing!!). Those newer Cowboy Loads have been a real plus to "non Cowboy" shooters" of fine old guns in many calibers. My guess would be that the .454 bullets will work the best,and Remington still makes a lead 255 gr. lead bullet load,but it seems more expensive(and powerful) vs. the Cowboy Loads,like Black Hills. Some 1909s, were recylindered with the .45 auto cylinder,and arsenal refinished, but many,including a lot of the rare Marine Corps 1909(with a rounded butt),were left in the Phillipines around 1912. Navy marked 1909s,were probably the longest lived in the service,especially those in the small arms lockers of "fleet auxillaries" just as oilers, tenders, repair ships,etc. Rumors are that some of these ships,commissioned before 1917,or so,still had these (and 1898 Krag rifles!)in their lockers during W.W. Two! Enjoy; Bud
 

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I have a 1909. It's one of my favorite revolvers. It has the smoothest double-action trigger of all of my New Services. One of the best guns Colt ever made, IMHO.

You do know that the model 1909 is not chambered for .45 Colt? It is chambered for the Government 1909 Cartridge. This round has the same bullet and case diameter as the .45 Colt but the rim diameter is bigger, sufficiently larger to the extent that you can only chamber 3 of these rounds in a Colt SAA. The .45 Colt round will load and fire in the 1909 just fine, but when you extract the empty cases, make sure you have the muzzle pointed straight up so that gravity can assist with the extraction. Otherwise, the extractor will tend to override the smaller .45 Colt rims and you need something like 3 hands to straigten out the mess (every time). It's also good to extract over a coffee can or small box to avoid scattering the empties on the ground when using the muzzle-up extraction technique.

Because I reload for so many different calibers, I try and keep my component logistics simple. I use the Ranier .452" 230 gr copper washed bullet in all my .45 guns. You get to take advantage of the soft bullet in the old barrel, and leading is considerably reduced. Accuracy with this bullet in the .45 Colt cartridge is quite adequate. 8.3 grains of Unique is a nice plinking load for this old punkin roller.
 

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I took my 1909 to the range today and bought a box of .45 Colt cowboy action loads. I was very pleasantly surprised. Not only did it function flawlessly, but it was more accurate than I expected, given the unimpressive sights. I have a 1917 as well, and the 1909 shoots better for some reason.
 

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Great to hear,Dr. J! It's not only the shooting pleasure,but at least in my case,"a trip back in time"). What did you use in your 1917? Some people say they have shallower rifling(plus a .452 bore vs. a .454 usually for those guns made for ,45 Colt) and work best with full metal jacket bullets,like .45 auto govt. issue. I get best accuracy out of Colt(and S&W 1917s) by using very hard cast lead bullets,not the swaged or softer lead as is usually found in Cowboy or Remington factory loads. Bud
 

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Hi Lonewolf,

It was a trip back in time for me too, in a special way. My grandfather, Jacob Brody, worked at Colts in 1909, and although he died before I was born, I feel a connection to him.

If you have the book "The Colt Armory" by Ellsworth P. Grant, you can see him in the bottom photo on page 75. He is the foreman with the bow tie in the front row standing right behind the machine gun.

I specifically wanted a gun that was made when he worked there, and I felt lucky to find a first year production 1909 Army.

As to your question about the ammo I shot, I don't remember the brand, but it was commercially loaded cowboy action, and appeared to be lead round nose.
 

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Lonewolf,

I realize I did not answer your question about what I shot in my 1917. In that, I used Federal FMJ round nose .45 ACP's.
 

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I have a Colt 1909 too that I only shoot mild lead loads through because I want this old gun to last. As for the Colt 1917, I have found that hard cast .452" sized bullets do even better than the jacketed .451" bullets since the bore is .452" on this gun. What puzzled me about my Colt 1909 was it shot great with .452" sized hard cast bullets eventhough the bore is .454". Very strange, but I'm not complaining.
 
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