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View Full Version : Colt pre-war M1911 in .38 Super -- need info


SickofSoCal
04-28-2010, 8:43 PM
There may be a buying opportunity in the near future for a friend of mine. After a few hours looking online, information is fairly scant.

I understand that it was produced from 1929 to around the end of WWII? Also, manufactured during the war by Ithaca, Remington-Rand, etc.

However, I am looking to ascertain age and value. Any helpful links would be greatly appreciated.


http://seekblue.com/pics/507.rob1.jpg


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I myself do not care much for the larger-caliber handguns, nor would I be interested in owning one, this is why the .38 Super appeals to me so much (Note: also 38 Colt Super .38 Super Auto .38 Super ACP .38 Super +P; Super 38, etc). I understand the the .38 Super actually delivers more kinetic energy than a .45 round, and is preferred around the world by professional marksman.

In fact, at the time of it's introduction, the .38 Super was the most powerful auto pistol cartridge in the world. Ever today, it is one of the most powerful and flat-shooting cartridges available for auto-loading pistols.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e3/.38_Super.jpg


I feel that this pre-war handgun and cartridge, much like the pre-war Colt 1902 .38 caliber and Colt 1903 .38 caliber, has been somewhat overlooked by present-day American firearm owners.

gunrun45
04-29-2010, 1:24 AM
Looks like a great find to me. I have no idea as to value, but I'm sure they are harder to find. Good luck sir with your investment. Is it the one pictured in the photo??

para38super
04-29-2010, 5:19 AM
with that serial number and it the condition it seems to be in I would say well over $5000. Just my opinion. Ofcourse, remember a collectible might be worth to someone $10,000 and to others it might not be worth more than $500. Pay what its worth to you. I am not a collector so I wouldnt pay more than $2000 for any gun.

M. D. Van Norman
04-29-2010, 7:02 AM
I would snap that baby up, .38-super hype notwithstanding. Nice find. :cool:

45DAVID1
04-29-2010, 7:48 AM
http://www.vincelewis.net/38super.html

That gun was made in 1929. Based on the condition of the gun in that one photo expect to pay anywhere from 5K-10K like para said earlier

Hunter158
04-29-2010, 8:00 AM
Nice find... Buy it if you can.

Looks like it could be in great condition.

dfletcher
04-29-2010, 8:15 AM
I happen to be a great fan of the 38 Super and it is quite the hot little cartridge. Others have spoken to value, the combination of that gun in that condition and that caliber is just terrific. I would not expect wonderful things with respect to accuracy, the 38 Super is not known for accuracy and many of today's shooters who use what could be described as a "38 Super" actually stuff them with the truly rimless 9X23. I don't think wonderful accuracy is the determining factor on a "buy, don't buy" decision on this type of gun though as "handled often, shot a little" probably applies, I'm guessing.

eaglemike
04-29-2010, 8:55 AM
I happen to be a great fan of the 38 Super and it is quite the hot little cartridge. Others have spoken to value, the combination of that gun in that condition and that caliber is just terrific. I would not expect wonderful things with respect to accuracy, the 38 Super is not known for accuracy and many of today's shooters who use what could be described as a "38 Super" actually stuff them with the truly rimless 9X23. I don't think wonderful accuracy is the determining factor on a "buy, don't buy" decision on this type of gun though as "handled often, shot a little" probably applies, I'm guessing.
The .38 super is capable of being extremely accurate. This requires the cartridge to headspace on the case mouth, though - instead of on the "semi-rim" on the .38 super case as originally set up. The gun above with the original barrel is likely a decent defense gun and fun shooter (how many people would shoot an original gun in this condition?). The original headspacing fit varies a bunch, resulting in limited accuracy. Proper bullet diameter can also make a difference.

Anyway, you can pretty easily set up a .38 super to shoot under 2" at 25 yards with a well fitted barrel - assuming the rest of the gun is in decent shape. Put a red dot sight on one and it can surprise you.

As noted above, a lot of people shoot 9 X 23, which is a rimless cartridge. This cartridge also has more taper than a .38 super, but will feed from the same magazines.

all the best,
Mike

SickofSoCal
04-29-2010, 3:32 PM
Hey guys, sorry I made a little goof. The above picture is NOT of the gun - I just found it online and posted it for reference. Also, I myself am not buying the gun, I am trying to help my friend buy it. Should have made this more clear. Oh well, you know how the internet is - people skim, we're in a hurry!

Here is what I do know: the gun was manufactured by Ithaca and is marked "UNITED STATES PROPERTY / U.S. ARMY / M1911A1". Now, I cannot see the gun yet because.......how should I put this? Well, someone has to pass away first.

At that point I can obtain a serial number. I did finally find a site with serial numbers, however, I have not found anything online that will help me determine value. This is very important, as the whole sale hinges on this. I think it is going to have to be taken in for appraisal. Does anyone know of a good place?

CombatMP
04-29-2010, 4:30 PM
Hey guys, sorry I made a little goof. The above picture is NOT of the gun - I just found it online and posted it for reference. Also, I myself am not buying the gun, I am trying to help my friend buy it. Should have made this more clear. Oh well, you know how the internet is - people skim, we're in a hurry!

Here is what I do know: the gun was manufactured by Ithaca and is marked "UNITED STATES PROPERTY / U.S. ARMY / M1911A1". Now, I cannot see the gun yet because.......how should I put this? Well, someone has to pass away first.
At that point I can obtain a serial number. I did finally find a site with serial numbers, however, I have not found anything online that will help me determine value. This is very important, as the whole sale hinges on this. I think it is going to have to be taken in for appraisal. Does anyone know of a good place?

Natural death?

Rooftop Voter
04-29-2010, 7:06 PM
My dad has 1 just like the picture with a 4-digit serial number. It has a few nicks/scratches on it and his dad must have had really sweaty & salty hands because the bluing is rubbed off where your finger wrap around the grip!!! lol
Its got 2 bi-tone mags too! I remember something about that being important regarding value...

SickofSoCal
04-29-2010, 8:03 PM
Natural death?

It is kind of an inter-family matter that I do not want to discuss here, but yes, a natural death of very old age.

SickofSoCal
04-29-2010, 8:06 PM
My dad has 1 just like the picture with a 4-digit serial number. It has a few nicks/scratches on it and his dad must have had really sweaty & salty hands because the bluing is rubbed off where your finger wrap around the grip!!! lol
Its got 2 bi-tone mags too! I remember something about that being important regarding value...

Yes! I love those bi-tone magazines too!

A friend of mine has a Colt 1903 from 1917 with the original one in EXCELLENT condition, I will have to get some pictures of it the next time I see it.

BTW, I envy your dad!

eaglemike
04-30-2010, 7:20 AM
There is a chance it is not a complete original .38 super with those markings. I did a teeny bit of research, but someone might have more info. I'm fairly sure Ithica didn't mark any as 1911A1 in .38 super - but again, someone might have better or more information than I do. IT would still be a neat gun, but worth money only as a shooter - unless a "name" gunsmith built it.
all the best,
Mike

tileguy
04-30-2010, 11:01 AM
if the price is right have your friend buy it. dont hesitate. 38 super ammo is a little pricey but if the price is good it can always be sold to purchase something different down the road. i have a colt 1911 in 38 super that came from the colt custom shop only 500 made. its from the late 80s and i still have not shot it or racked the slide. to pretty to shot

SickofSoCal
04-30-2010, 4:08 PM
There is a chance it is not a complete original .38 super with those markings. I did a teeny bit of research, but someone might have more info. I'm fairly sure Ithica didn't mark any as 1911A1 in .38 super - but again, someone might have better or more information than I do. IT would still be a neat gun, but worth money only as a shooter - unless a "name" gunsmith built it.
all the best,
Mike

Yes, condition and price will have a lot to do with whether it is even bought at all. If it is post-war, I don't think it will be bought.

SickofSoCal
04-30-2010, 4:10 PM
if the price is right have your friend buy it. dont hesitate. 38 super ammo is a little pricey but if the price is good it can always be sold to purchase something different down the road. i have a colt 1911 in 38 super that came from the colt custom shop only 500 made. its from the late 80s and i still have not shot it or racked the slide. to pretty to shot

I saw the prices online for .38 Super, and it's really not that bad because it will only be shot once or twice a year. I am sure that it is a great pistol to shoot and own.