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I inherited a couple of Colt 1911's and bought a couple more but I never have taken the time to learn much about them. I hope to get some help here.
I am trying to learn the date of my Colts. I have a website that has been helpful but I have not found anything yet about one of them. The serial number is: SH161xx.

Any takers?
 

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Maybe it's SM161xx (e.g. a late 70's Service Model Ace)?
Yes sir. On closer inspection it is SM and it is a Service Model Ace. Thank you. You mentioned late 70's model. The website I have for dating Colts does not cover late production. Can you please give me a reference to nail down the production date?
 

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Thanks again. Good info.
Allow me to introduce Tom Welch. He's a good man and a long time Randall knife guy. He was instrumental in the Randall Knife Society's "Special Fighter" program that sent care packages to our warriors in Iraq. Welcome Tom!
Now, is your Colt a .22 or .45? There were a group of Government Model.45 frames numbered with a SM (service model) prefix serial numbers.
 

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"Now, is your Colt a .22 or .45? There were a group of Government Model.45 frames numbered with a SM (service model) prefix serial numbers."


"Yes sir. On closer inspection it is SM and it is a Service Model Ace."
 

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You missed my point. The O.P. had already stated the pistol is a SMA with a SM serial# prefix.
I was aware, but probably many are not aware that Colt assembled SMA serial#d frames with .45ACP Government Model uppers and vice-vesa. Nice pic of the box end label.
 

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We both missed! I didn't see him say Service Model Ace until you did and of course it's rolled on the slide big as day. There were about 3,000 of these in the late 1970's. We had several come into the shop from the distributor. I noticed the SM as I was logging them in. In that same shipment we also had a Series 70 Government Model SMOOTHBORE! Quality control?
 

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We both missed! I didn't see him say Service Model Ace until you did and of course it's rolled on the slide big as day. There were about 3,000 of these in the late 1970's. We had several come into the shop from the distributor. I noticed the SM as I was logging them in. In that same shipment we also had a Series 70 Government Model SMOOTHBORE! Quality control?
Years ago a gun shop in Ft. Lauderdale had a Commemorative Colt Single Action Army with a .357 barrel and a .45 cylinder.
 

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Nice representative group of model O Colts. Your "two tone" slide is supposed to be like that. It's where the slide was hardened. You should see the same darkened area on the left side of the slide around the slide notch.
 

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Yes, it is as you say. There was a firearms dealer in Waco, TX that had a WWII Marine friend that taught me about Colt 1911's about 15 years ago. They have both passed on now and I appreciate knowing them and what they taught me.
 

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Does anyone know the date range of the two-tone slide? The serial number on my Model 1911A1 Military indicates 1945.
 

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Tom,
I'm not near my books so others will have to elaborate. The partially hardened slides first appeared in (I think) 1924 with the other 1911A1 changes. This continued until after the war around 1947-1950 when Colt began hardening the entire slide.
 

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Thanks Rick. This would mean that all 1911's produced during WWII had the two tone slide. I thought maybe my 1945 was somewhat rare but I guess not.
 

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Thanks Rick. This would mean that all 1911's produced during WWII had the two tone slide. I thought maybe my 1945 was somewhat rare but I guess not.
Tom,
The lexicon is important to keep us all on the same page. If someone said they have a Randall "fighter" you wouldn't know if they had a model #1, #2, #4, 14, 15, 18 etc. What you show in your image is four model "O" Colt pistols. A post war (perhaps 1970s) Service Model Ace, a pre-Series 70 Government Model, a post war Super .38. The pistol is a Super .38 while the ammo is .38 Super (nobody knows why!) Last but certainly not least you have a late 1911A1. 1911 has become a generic term but technically only refers to military pistols from 1912 to the "A1" changes of 1924. Again this is a generalization, (no books here) there are some collectable overlap "transition" pistols in 1924 and the military designation of 1911A1 didn't happen until the 1930's.
We'll need better images but if your 1911A1 is correct and unmolested it should be worth considerably more than any of the other pistols.
PS. All WWII 1911A1s had hardened areas on the slide. Most pre war magazines are referred to as "two tone" but hardened slides are not.
 
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