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Thread: Colt 1914 Government Model .45 ACP WWI British/Canadian Markings

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  1. #1
    Legacy Member varifleman's Avatar
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    Colt 1914 Government Model .45 ACP WWI British/Canadian Markings

    Here for your perusal is Colt .45 ACP 1914 Government Model Pistol serial number C9591 which was 1 of 20 shipped to Remington Arms-UMC Company Bridgeport CT on October 5 1914. The Canadianicon C broad arrow property mark is stamped on the magazine floor plate and Britishicon Birmingham commercial proofing on the slide and barrel. Looks like it saw British and Canadian service in WWI and WWII. The BNP proofs seem to be added when pistol is sold off as redundant. From what I can determine from Birmingham Proof Mark Chart below the mark going clockwise looks like B (3 o'clock)-4(6 o'clock)-J(9 o'clock) which would indicate it was proofed in 1958. Also it seems the 1914 Canadian Government Model pistols were shipped with just one unmarked two-toned blue lanyard loop magazine normally supplied with Colt Government Model pistols due to necessity to get the pistols supplied quickly to the Canadian Expeditionary Force and later in 1915 spare magazines were ordered and marked with the C-Broad Arrow mark. According to a reply received from the Imperial War Museum in London: "During the autumn of 1914, the Canadian Government purchased 5,000 Colt M1911 pistols to equip its military forces. These were issued to officers, NCOs and cavalry troopers, but could also be purchased by officers wishing to acquire their sidearm permanently. Unfortunately, apart from a few pistols that received unit marks on the grip-strap, or were inscribed with the name of the officer who purchased them, there is no way of ascertaining which unit or formation they were issued to.I can’t see very clearly from your photos, but it appears that the proof mark on it post-dates the First World War. This would imply that the pistol was put through proof at Birmingham at some point after its First World War military career – and prior to it re-crossing the Atlantic." The barrel markings on my 1914 Canadian Colt; looks like it's a military-marked WWII barrel with the Birmingham proofs; I've seen many of the WWI 1911s updated with WWII military marked barrels. Colts from serial #710001 to serial #712349 (1937 production) will have barrels with a Gothic “COLT .45 AUTO” marking on the chamber area, along the axis of the barrel, at about 7:30 O’clock, when the barrel is viewed from the rear, with the lug down. A “P” mark will be applied to the left lug. These barrels are blued with a semi-matte semi-reflective finish. Clawson mentions “Top of barrel chamber bright unfinished, the same as commercial barrels. Full bluing in the military style began at or near the end of 1937 production.” At this point, insufficient pistols have been examined to determine the point when full bluing occurred and the chamber area was no longer in the white. However it is likely that barrels started in the white. The "G" stamp started to appear on the bottom of the barrel forward of the lugs at serial 711,000 and represented it is a "Government" contract barrel this stamp was was present until around May 1943. At about s/n 935,000, the G mark was eliminated due to the suspension of commercial sales on January 23, 1942 by order of the United Statesicon Government thus removing the requirement to differentiate if the barrel was for government contract or commercial sales. The are three different G variant barrels; A large G, a small G, and a large G in combination (over the top of) with either an N, F or 7. Those marked with the N, F or 7 were the last ones before the G was omitted. Colts from serial #712350 to somewhere in the 2 million range number range, (1945 production,) will have barrels with a Gothic “COLT .45 AUTO” marking on the chamber area, along the axis of the barrel, at about 7:30 O’clock, when the barrel is viewed from the rear, with the lug down. A “P” mark will be applied to the left lug. These barrels are fully blued with a semi-matte semi-reflective finish. Forward of the lugs on the bottom of the barrel the "F" or "7" stamping has been observed starting at Colts produced around serial number 930,000 until the end of production.
    Last edited by varifleman; 10-10-2021 at 12:26 PM.

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    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    What a nice looking pistol, those are like artwork...
    Regards, Jim

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  5. #3
    Legacy Member varifleman's Avatar
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    Took a look at the inside of grips and looks like there are some initials/numbers "1 WV" on top grip and "15" on the lower grip. Any ideas about these initials/number?
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    Looks like personalized markings.
    Regards, Jim

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    Could you put the pics back up?
    Would love to see it.

    Thx.
    Charlie-Painter777

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    Legacy Member varifleman's Avatar
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    Legacy Member varifleman's Avatar
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    Here's an interesting reply re this pistol from Bruce Canfield at the NRA:
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  12. #8
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    After being at 2 gun shops yesterday that were full of plastic guns, it's a treat to see this.

    Thx,
    Charlie-Painter777

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    Legacy Member Daan Kemp's Avatar
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    Looks just about unfired.

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