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  1. #1
    Really Senior Member emmagee1917's Avatar
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    Talking Strange US&S markings

    Hi all. Got left behind when you all moved. Finally found my way back. I guess the old posts are lost , so a little update would prob'ly be good.
    A year or two ago I posted about a US&S I picked up. Out of town gunshow , bad light , no books ( left at home) , etc. I found when I got home it looked to be a 95% plus orig finished gun , mid range ser # , but with two odd features. No inspectors stamp and every part was stamped with the gun's last three digits of the ser.#.
    Knowing of the large theft problem US&S had , the lack of the inspectors mark was not suprising , but why the numbering? I thought this might have been an inspection trial pistol ( people here said no) , others here thought it could have been a faker ( but why would a faker do such good work but not know we don't stamp every part?) , others that it was captured and stamped ( never heard of that being done) , and other theories , but none seem to answer all the questions.
    Well , I think I found the answer. Reading Dolf's new 50cal BMG book , he talks about a standard manufactoring procedure of the time. They would , at set up , make three guns. One at min. dimentions , one at maximum , and one dead center. They would then mix the parts up between them to make sure that any part made " in spec" would work with any other part made " in spec ". Now , because we are dealing with parts from one mfg. , and the only difference is a few thousandths , it would be wise to mark each part as to which gun it came from. These guns remained at the mfg. , as fitting test beds during production. Also to test parts when they are changed to make sure they will work with all other guns already made. Therefore , because they never left the factory , they were never stamped with the insp. stamp.
    So this would explain the lack of an insp mark and the marking of all the parts under what appears to be the orig. exc. finish. Also in the Aug. issue of "Man at Arms" on the back cover is a M1922 rifle just like this ( can't find it now to quote what they call it). The only thing not explained is the mid-production ser # rather than an early one , unless this was made to replace one that had been "lunchboxed". Of course , too , US&S had only a single ser# block issued , so they might have picked early-mid-late numbers (for min-mid-max specs) to stamp these with.
    You answer one question , only to find two more. Anyway , it looks like I fell into somethig they only made three of ( or four , or ?) Chris

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    Really Senior Member Duane Hansen's Avatar
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    I suppose your theory is possible but I think highly unlikely. If this were true, someone, somewhere would have seen another one like this and wrote or spoke of it on this or other similar sites. You could get out your handy-dandy micrometer and compare parts with another US&S just for kicks. I think maybe we are grasping at straws here, IMO Please show us some close up pictures.

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    Really Senior Member Duane Hansen's Avatar
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    Another point to consider. I don't believe that US&S or any other maker would tool up just to make a pistol a few thousandth over and then retool again for the under variation. Way too costly especially during war time.

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    Really Senior Member emmagee1917's Avatar
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    Talking Well....

    Some points to consider :

    1) people do know about these things. The auction I listed had a .22 rifle with " all parts stamped with the ser # ". Dolf's book talks about them in the 50BMG book , and says it was the standard practice of the time. Note he makes no mention of this in his previous three books on the .30 cals.

    2) expensive ? Yep , you bet. Look at the prices for the first Garandicon prototypes and the 80 shop models. But , you need to realize that EVERY part made , in gun or as a spare , had to fit EVERY gun they produced AND every every gun anyone else was producing. They did not want to repeat the WW1 fiasco on 1917 Winchester Enfields , when the first ones did not interchange parts with Reminton or Eddystone. Getting them out quick seemed good at the time , but being out of spec ( which had not been finalised at the time ) prooved different.

    3) They took samples of the production run and tested them for endurance and interchangeabillity. It was very important. This gave them three known points of referance to ensure nothing got out of spec in the maching , the tooling , and checking of new gauges , as these wore out and were replaced. Any new changes in material , design , etc. could be quickly checked to be sure it would work in every gun made or at least make them aware it wouldn't and the problems that would lead to. What would happen if several days/weeks/months production had to be recalled/trashed because of this ? There is expence and time wasted.

    4) As to being uncommon---well , yes. If they only made three , then only made others when needed , well , that's rare. They were more like the tooling than the production. Most gun books do not go into the machinery , bits , gauges , production steps , etc. Also , the authors may not write about something so rare they haven't seen or even have a photo of , and they sure can't write about something they don't know about.

    5) Photos - yes , I'll do some this weekend. I'll need someone to post because I'm not good at this

    Gotta go , talk later Chris

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    Really Senior Member Johnny Peppers's Avatar
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    Prior to WWII the Ordnance Department decided to make a set of inspection gages for the 1911A1. The gages were made from ordnance drawings, but it was discovered that they were different from the Colt 1911A1 pistols that had been manufactured. With the number of Colt pistols already having been made, it was decided to make the gages conform to these Colts. The gages were the basis for all the 1911A1 pistols made. If the other manufacturers could not consistently build a pistol to ordnance standards, no amount of try pistols would help them.
    You mentioned that the pistol was serial numbered, but does it have the USP marking?

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    Really Senior Member emmagee1917's Avatar
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    Yep , it has all the markings it should except the circled RCD . If I had noticed that , I'd have passed on the pistol. It has a serial # of 10590XX , which is about 1,000 below where they started to mark the two " P "s , but this pistol has those "P"s. A collector here before said that was not unheard of , as several are known. It is belived to be pistols pulled from the assembly line for a problem , then fixed and returned to the line and got stamped. For what has been done to this pistol , that sounds resonable. Chris

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    Really Senior Member emmagee1917's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Ahhh...more info

    I pulled the book to check the serial # range refered in my last post , and just read about the EXP # pistol ( pg 64 ). Seems like enough parts were made pre-production to build appx 100 pistols that were given away. The orig. three shop sample pistols were prob'ly assembled from those parts.

    With the presence of the Ps , I'd say this was made mid-production , so I would guess ( and this IS a guess) that this was made to replace one of the orig. that was stolen , lost , worn out ( maybe no longer in the min-mid-max spec becauce of constant disassembly/reassembly ) or for some other reason no longer good.

    Again , you have to think of these more like master gauges. When a machine was reset up or added or adapted , a sample of it's production was installed in these to make sure in fact that the part was in spec and would fuction in any gun made or to be made. If a part did not work / fit , they knew a problem existed even if the other gauges said " pass".

    Oh , one more thing , with the pistol assembled , the extra numbers do not show . You could see one , and not know it.
    Chris
    Last edited by emmagee1917; 08-20-2009 at 05:23 PM. Reason: Oh , one more thing..

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    Really Senior Member Johnny Peppers's Avatar
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    The only problem is the the EXP pistols are made out of a mix of parts. Some show the P proof which was not added until about mid production, and others show defective forgings. The most plausible explanation for the EXP pistols is that they were made up after WWII from rejected and left over parts. Some show where the original markings were removed.
    As to the pistol having the serial number and USP, the pistol had to be accounted for once it was serial numbered, and they would not have duplicated the serial number.
    A production line pistol would not have taken the place of the gages made expressly for that purpose.

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    Really Senior Member emmagee1917's Avatar
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    I brought that up ( the EXP) because Clawson said they were pre-production parts and another had posted he did not think there was much waste during factory set-up , that's all.
    If they needed another one to replace the old one , where would they get it but off the assembly line? Someone would have had to pull it , then make sure every part was one of the three specs (ie all min , all mid , or all max , depending on which one was being replaced) , the parts would have to be tried in the other two , the numbers put on , then hand carried through the rest of the process to make sure it didn't get sidetracked or shiped. It was then pulled before the final inspection , therfore no final insp. mark.

    Rarely were all numbers used in a block. And yes , there were duplicate numbers made , but those are errors. As an aside , the .22 for auction also has a serial number ( of three digits or more). You've got to have a serial # if your going to use the last three digits of same.

    Chris

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    Really Senior Member Johnny Peppers's Avatar
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    1041405 to 1096404 equals exactly 55,000 US&S pistols, and the 55,000 pistols shipped is verified by US&S records. All the assigned block of serial numbers issued to US&S were used. The only time the complete block of 1911A1 serial numbers were not used was when the contracts were cancelled before the complete block was used.
    Since some of the receivers and slides on the EXP pistols were P proofed they were not from initial set up, nor would they have had complete markings as some of the EXP pistols do. No one knows for sure what they are, but many being made from rejected or incomplete parts strongly suggest they were made up from the scrap box.
    How another gun is serial numbered has nothing to do with how the 1911A1 was serial numbered. Colt serial numbered the slides for a brief period, but none of the other 1911A1 contractors did.

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