20th century US military individually issued firearms (semi-auto) part 1
My 20th Century US Military Issued Gun Collection (SEMI AUTO ONLY)
M1903 Colt .38 Long Colt DA Revolver
This was the first US Army issued sidearm during the 20th century and used in WWI. There was a
M1901 and a M1905, but both were similar to the M1903. I bought it from the Gunbrokers.com
auction site in 2010 for $500.00.
Colt Model 1903 U.S. Army
"U.S. Army Model 1903"
Date: 1903 S/N 205097
This Model 1903 was actually manufactured in 1903 and the total delivered to the Army was reported by Springfield Armory at 12,500. This model was the last variation in the New Army/Navy Model family (Model 1892 series) and serial numbers for the Model 1903 ran from 200,000 to 212,500.
The Model 1901 and 1903 were the only New Model Army and & Navy revolvers shipped from Colt with the lanyard loop, earlier models found with the lanyard loop probably received upgrades at Colts or Springfield to bring them up to the Model 1901 specifications.
The Model 1903 had two major changes from its predecessors:
1) Bore diameter was decreased from .363 inch to .357 inch to increase accuracy. This was to accommodate the new more powerful S&W .38 Special Cartridge, though it could still shoot the .38 Long Colt cartridge.
2) Grips were narrowed to provide for a better grip
The example shown here is the Army marked model, there are also Navy and Marine Corp marked variations but these are much rarer and demand a premium price. This revolver is in roughly 70% condition and has not only survived with original parts and finish but the original serial numbered grips as well. This is a neat example of the last primary issue revolver in .38 caliber as it was replaced by the .45 caliber bullet which was re-introduced in the Model of 1909 (45 Long Colt). The cartouche information that appeared on the left side of the grip panels on previous military models was moved to the frame in 1902 by the Army and first began appearing on the Model 1901 Army model. You will find the Model 1903 revolvers with "1902", "1903" or "1904" on the frame depending on when they were received by the Army.
The Philippines Insurrection was a huge failure of performance for the .38 caliber revolvers and was the last conflict they participated in as the U.S. governments primary sidearm. In 1909 the Colts M1909 in .45 Long Colt was adopted as the primary sidearm of the U.S. Army and was subsequently replaced by the Colts M1911 semi automatic pistol in late 1911. The M1917 came to be as a interim revolver due to the needs of World War I not being met by M1911 manufacturers. The M1911 was updated in 1924 and became the M1911-A1 which was then produced through 1945.
R.A.C. = Rinaldo A. Carr who was a civilian employee of the War Department and was the sub-inspector on the revolvers. Mark is found on the Cylinder, left frame, and bottom of grips.
J.E.H = Captain Jay E. Hoffer - Inspector of Contract Arms, Colt revolvers and Colt Gatling guns. Oct. 31, 1903 to Mar. 6, 1906. Commanding Officer at Springfield Armory from Mar. 15, 1918 to Sept. 16th, 1918. Retired as a Colonel on Jan. 1919. There were other inspectors that accepted the Model 1903 as well.
Serial numbers are found on grips, butt, cylinder latch, crane recess and crane.
No serial numbers on the barrel or cylinder just as the Colt M1909 revolvers.
"K" mark on Latch release, grip frame, cylinder crane, and barrel match in size and font.
It has also been reported that these pistols saw use as late as World War II. Refer to documentation presented in Charles W. Pates "US Handguns of World War II, The secondary pistols and revolvers". However, this book does not address these revolvers on any detail.
M1903A3 cal. 30-06 bolt action Remington
This rifle was the issued rifle used by troops of the US Army during World War I. I received one of
These from DCM (Director of Civilian Marksmanship) at a cost of $300.00
The M1903 Springfield, formally the United States Rifle, Caliber .30, Model 1903, is an American magazine-fed, 5-shot, bolt-action service rifle used primarily during the first half of the 20th century.
It was officially adopted as a United States military bolt-action rifle on June 21 1905, and saw service in World War I. It was officially replaced as the standard infantry rifle by the faster-firing, semi-automatic 8 round M1 Garand, starting in 1937. However, the M1903 Springfield remained in service as a standard issue infantry rifle during World War II, since the U.S. entered the war without sufficient M1 rifles to arm all troops. It also remained in service as a sniper rifle during World War II, Korean War and even in the early stages of the Vietnam War. It remains popular as a civilian firearm, historical collector's piece and as a military drill rifle.
M1909 Colt .45 Long Colt Revolver
This gun was the issued sidearm for the US Army preceding the M1911. It was designed and adopted
due to the perceived inefficient knockdown of the current 38 Long Colt issued sidearm used in the
Philippine conflict which it replaced. I bought it from the Gunbrokers.com online auction site in 2008
for $350.00. The front sight has been modified.
The Colt New Service was a double-action revolver made by Colt from 1898 until c.1946. It was adopted by the U.S. Armed Forces in .45 Colt as the Model 1909 U.S. Army, Marine Corps Model 1909, Model 1909 U.S. Navy and in .45 ACP as the Model 1917 U.S. Army. The Model 1917 was created to supplement inadequate stocks of M1911 pistols during World War One.
In 1899 Canada acquired a number of New Service revolvers (chambered in .45 Colt) for Boer War service, to supplement its existing Model 1878 Colt Double Action revolvers in the same caliber. In 1904/5 the North-West Mounted Police in Canada also adopted the Colt New Service to replace the less-than satisfactory Enfield Mk II revolver in service since 1882.
New Service revolvers, designated as Pistol, Colt, .455-inch 5.5-inch barrel Mk. I, chambered for the .455 Webley cartridge were acquired for issue as "substitute standard" by the British War Department during World War One. British Empire Colt New Service Revolvers were stamped "NEW SERVICE .455 ELEY" on the barrel, to differentiate them from the .45 Colt versions used by the US (and Canada).
The Colt New Service was a popular revolver with British Officers, and many of them had privately purchased their own Colt New Service revolvers in the years prior to World War I as an alternative to the standard-issue Webley Revolver. 60,000 Colt New Service revolvers were supplied to British Empire and Canadian forces during WW I, and they continued to see service until the end of World War II.
M1911 cal .45 Auto
This was the issued sidearm for the latter WWI soldiers which replaced the M1909 revolver. I built mine from new and used GI parts and assembled it on a Safari Arms receiver.
The M1911 is a single-action, semi-automatic, magazine-fed, and recoil-operated handgun chambered for the .45 ACP cartridge. It was designed by John M. Browning, and was the standard-issue side arm for the United States armed forces from 1911 to 1985, and is still carried by some U.S. forces. It was widely used in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Its formal designation as of 1940 was Automatic Pistol, Caliber .45, M1911 for the original Model of 1911 or Automatic Pistol, Caliber .45, M1911A1 for the M1911A1, adopted in 1924. The designation changed to Pistol, Caliber .45, Automatic, M1911A1 in the Vietnam era. In total, the United States procured around 2.7 million M1911 and M1911A1 pistols in military contracts during its service life.
The M1911 is the most well-known of John Browning's designs to use the short recoil principle in its basic design. Besides the pistol being widely copied itself, this operating system rose to become the pre-eminent type of the 20th century and of nearly all modern centerfire pistols. It is popular with civilian shooters in competitive events such as IDPA, International Practical Shooting Confederation, and Bullseye shooting. It is also a popular civilian concealed carry option due to its slim width.
M1917 Colt Revolver was modified by the US Army from the 45 Long Colt to chamber the newly adopted 45 Auto cartridge created to supplement inadequate stocks of M1911 pistols during World War One.
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Place of origin United States
In service 1917–c. 1954
Used by United States, Brazil
Wars World War I, World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War (reportedly)
Number built c. 300,000 total (c. 150,000 per manufacturer)
Variants Slightly differing versions of the M1917 were made by Colt (shown above) and Smith & Wesson
Weight 2.5 lb (1.1 kg) (Colt)
2.25 lb (1 kg) (S&W)
Length 10.8 in (274 mm)
5.5 in (140 mm)
.45 ACP, .45 Auto Rim
double action, solid frame with swing-out cylinder
760 ft/s ( 231.7 m/s)
Feed system six-round cylinder, loaded singly or with two three-round half-moon clips
Sights blade front sight, notched rear sight
The M1917 Revolver (formally United States Revolver, Caliber .45, M1917) was a U.S. six-shot revolver of .45 ACP caliber. It was adopted by the U.S. Army in 1917 to supplement the standard M1911 .45 ACP semi-automatic pistol during World War I. Afterwards, it was primarily used by secondary and non-deployed troops. There were two variations of the M1917, one from Colt and one from S&W.
• 1 Background
o 1.1 Smith & Wesson M1917 revolver
• 2 Later Use
• 3 Users
• 4 See also
• 5 References
U.S. civilians arms companies of Colt and Remington as well as other companies were producing M1911 pistols under contract for the U.S. Army, but even with the additional production there existed a shortage of M1911s. The interim solution was to ask the two major American producers of revolvers to adapt their heavy-frame civilian revolvers to the standard .45 ACP pistol cartridge.
Colt had until recently produced a revolver for the U.S. Army called the M1909, a version of their heavy-frame, .45-caliber, New Service model in .45 Long Colt to supplement and replace a range of 1890s-era .38 caliber Colt and Smith & Wesson revolvers that had demonstrated inadequate stopping power during the Philippine-American War. The Colt M1917 Revolver was essentially the same as the M1909 with a cylinder bored to take the .45 ACP cartridge and the half-moon clips to hold the rimless cartridges in position. In early Colt production revolvers, attempting to fire the .45 ACP without the half-moon clips was unreliable at best, as the cartridge could slip forward into the cylinder and away from the firing pin. Later production Colt M1917 revolvers had headspacing machined into the cylinder chambers, just as the Smith & Wesson M1917 revolvers had from the start. Newer Colt production could be fired without the half-moon clips, but the empty cartridge cases had to be ejected with a device such as a cleaning rod or pencil, as the cylinder extractor and ejector would pass over the rims of the rimless cartridges.
M1917 Eddystone (Made by Remington) is a Bolt Action (P17) Enfield type rifle that were made in .30-
06 Caliber for US Army. The P14 was a similar rifle used by the British Army, chambered for the .303
cartridge. I bought mine from Gunbrokers.com online auction in 2009 for $300.00.
The Eddystone Story
By Walter J. Kuleck, Ph.D.
Eddystone Rifle Plant
The war activities of the Baldwin Locomotive Works also included the construction of two large plants on their property at Eddystone for the manufacture of rifles and ammunition, and accomplishments in this connection constitute a series of achievements worthy of record.
On April 30, 1915, the British Government placed a contract with the Remington Arms Company of Delaware for 1,500,000 rifles to be manufactured in one of the plants mentioned above, under the general direction of Mr. S. M. Vauclain. The work of constructing equipping and organizing this enormous plant was fully accomplished, and production established by December 31, 1915, continuing until the close of 1918. Mr. Charles H. Schlacks was engaged as General Manager on May 1, 1915, and to him great credit is due for the completion of the organization and the remarkable manufacturing results obtained.
The main building of the Rifle Plant covered 14 acres of ground, and had a length of 1,040 feet and a maximum width of 816 feet. Great difficulty was experienced in obtaining delivery of equipment and machinery in time to meet the terms of the British contract, and some idea of the extent of the installation may be had from the fact that 10,000 machines, 40,200 feet of shafting, and 424,000 feet of belting were required.
The first British contract, mentioned above, was followed by another, signed August 2, 1915, calling for 500,000 rifles, and necessitating additional equipment. Because of the complexity of rifle manufacture, it was impossible to obtain experienced workmen; hence it was some time after the completion of the Plant before it could be operated at capacity. In consequence, an extension of time was granted for the completion of these contracts.
Soon after the United States entered the war, April 6, 1917, and in view of its prospective rifle requirements, cancellation of the British contracts, after the completion of 600,000 rifles, was arranged. Later, the British-owned machinery and equipment passed by agreement to the United States Government who continued the British arrangement with the Remington Arms Company for its operation in the manufacture of rifles for the United States Army.
The first contract for rifles for the United States Government was signed on July 12, 1917; and during the twelve months beginning September, 1917, 1,000,000 rifles were completed, the greatest known achievement in rifle production. These rifles differed slightly from those manufactured for the British Government, in that they fired a .300 calibre rimless cartridge; whereas the British rifle, which was an Enfield (model of 1914) fired a .303 calibre rim cartridge.
On January 2, 1918, the Remington Arms Company of Delaware was absorbed by the Midvale Steel and Ordnance Company (Eddystone Rifle Plant). The latter Company operated the plant until after the close of the war.
The completion of rifle number 1,000,000 for the United States Government was celebrated by a mass meeting held on September 12, 1918. the meeting was attended by a number of notable army, navy and industrial officials, and by more than 14,000 employees of the Plant.
Operations at the Plant ceased on January 11, 1919, at which time nearly 300,000 rifles were in process of manufacture. The Government then leased the premises for a storage plant.
The total number of rifles manufactured in this Plant was 1,959,954, in addition to spare parts equivalent to 200,000 rifles. The greatest production exceeded 6,000 rifles per day, and the maximum number of employees was 15,294. When it is remembered that nearly two-thirds of all the rifles used in combat by the American Army in France were manufactured at Eddystone, the value of the wrok done can, to some extent, be appreciated; and the achievement was the more remarkable in view of the exceptional difficulties encountered in equipping the plant and securing labor and material.
--from "History of The Baldwin Locomotive Works 1831-1923," company history reprinted in "The Locomotives that Baldwin Built" by Fred Westing, Bonanza Books, New York, 1966.
M1928 Thompson .45 caliber semi-auto clip fed rifle.
This was also issued to some WWII soldiers. Mine has a 30 round stick magazine (some 20 rounders
were common issue) and a 10 round drum magazine (original issue was 50 round). It has a finned
vertical hand grip. It’s a semi-auto version that I purchased new from Auto Ordinance in 2004 for
World War II
In 1938, the Thompson submachine gun was adopted by the U.S. military, serving during World War II and beyond.
There were two military types of Thompson SMG. The M1928A1 had provisions for box magazines and drums (the drums were disliked because of their tendency to rattle and jam). It had a Cutts compensator, cooling fins on the barrel, and its charging handle was on the top of the receiver. The M1 and M1A1 had a barrel without cooling fins, a simplified rear sight, provisions only for box magazines, and the charging handle was on the side of the receiver. Because the option to use drums was not included in the M1 and M1A1, the 30 round box magazine was designed for use with this model.
The Thompson was used in World War II in the hands of Allied troops as a weapon for scouts, non-commissioned officers (corporal, sergeant and higher ranking), and patrol leaders. In the European theater, the gun was widely utilized in British and Canadian Commando units, as well as the U.S. Army paratroopers and Ranger battalions who used it widely because of its high rate of fire, its stopping power and because it was very effective in close combat. A Swedish variant of the M1928A1, called Kulsprutepistol m/40 (meaning "submachine gun model 40"), served in the Swedish Army between 1940 and 1951. Through Lend-Lease, the Soviet Union also received the Thompson, but due to a shortage of appropriate ammunition in the Soviet Union, usage was not widespread.
In the Pacific Theater, Australian Army infantry and other Commonwealth forces initially used the Thompson extensively in jungle patrols and ambushes, where it was prized for its firepower, though its hefty weight of over 10 pounds and difficulties in supply eventually led to its replacement by other submachine guns such as the Owen and Austen. The U.S. Marines also used the Thompson as a limited-issue weapon, especially during their later island assaults. The Thompson was soon found to have limited effect in heavy jungle cover, where the low-velocity .45 bullet would not penetrate most small-diameter trees, or protective armor vests (in 1923, the Army had rejected the .45 Remington-Thompson, which had twice the energy of the .45ACP). In the U.S. Army, many Pacific War jungle patrols were originally equipped with Thompsons in the early phases of the New Guinea and Guadalcanal campaigns, but soon began employing the BAR in its place, especially at front (point) and rear (tail) positions, as a point defense weapon. The Argentine company Hafdasa and the Buenos Aires based firm Halcon manufactured the C-4 and M-1943 submachine guns which have a very similar layout and performance to the Thompson Gun, both weapons chambered in 9x19mm for the Argentine Army and .45 ACP for the Argentine Police forces. These weapons were a serious contender to the Thompson Gun but did not see much service outside Argentina.
Smith & Wesson “Victory” M10 Revolver in 6” barrel .38 S&W caliber. This gun was used in WWII
Mainly by aircraft pilots and for lend lease to our allies. Marked “US Property”
The S&W Model 10 military revolvers produced from 1940 to 1945 had serial numbers with a "V" prefix, and were known as the Smith & Wesson Victory Model. It is noteworthy that early Victory Models did not always have the V prefix. During World War II, huge numbers - over 570,000 - of these pistols, chambered in the British .38/200 caliber already in use in the Enfield No 2 Mk I Revolver and the Webley Mk IV Revolver, were supplied to the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa under the Lend-Lease program. Most Victory Models sent to Britain were fitted with 4" (102 mm) or 5" (127 mm) barrels, though a few early versions had 6" (150 mm) barrels. In general, most British and Commonwealth forces expressed a preference for the .38/200 Smith & Wesson over their standard Enfield revolver.
The Victory Model was also used by United States forces during WWII, being chambered in the well-known and popular .38 Special cartridge. The Victory Model was a standard-issue sidearm for US Navy and Marine aircrews, and was also used by guards at factories and defense installations throughout the United States during the war. Some of these revolvers remained in service well into the 1990s with units of the US Armed Forces, including the Coast Guard. Some Lend-Lease Victory Model revolvers originally chambered for the British .38/200 were returned to the U.S. and rechambered to fire the more popular and more powerful .38 Special ammunition, and such revolvers are usually so marked on their barrels. Rechambering of .38-200 cylinders to .38 Special results in oversized chambers which may cause problems.
The finish on Victory Models is typically a sandblasted and parkerized finish, which is noticeably different from the higher-quality blue or nickel/chrome finishes usually found on commercial M&P/Model 10 revolvers. Other distinguishing features of the Victory Model revolver are the lanyard loop at the bottom of the grip frame, and the use of smooth (rather than checkered) walnut grip panels. However some early models did use a checkered grip. Most notably the pre-1942 manufacture.
M1D Garand cal. 30-06 semi-automatic eight shot top loading clip fed Springfield Armory rifle. It was
designed and adopted by the US Army to replace the M1903 and M1917 rifles.
This rifle also came from DCM at a cost of $650.00. It was the designated “Sniper rifle” that was issued
During WWII and the Korean War. It has the scope, cheek piece, flash suppressor and bayonet that
Was issued with it. It is topped with a Libby-Owens-Ford manufactured M82 2.5 power scope. The
Rifle appears to be unfired or arsenal refinished. The scope, cheek pad and M2 flash hider were new in
Wrappers. I assembled it, zeroed it and fired about 10 rounds and that’s all it’s been used.
Most variants of the Garand, save the sniper variants, never saw active duty. The sniper versions were modified to accept scope mounts, and two versions (the M1C, formerly M1E7, and the M1D, formerly M1E8) were produced, although not in significant quantities during World War II. The only difference between the two versions is the mounting system for the telescopic sight. In June 1944, the M1C was adopted as a standard sniper rifle by the U.S. Army to supplement the venerable M1903A4.
The procedure required to install the M1C-type mounts through drilling/tapping the hardened receiver was inefficient in terms of tooling and time. This resulted in the development of the M1D, which utilized a simpler, single-ring Springfield Armory mount. The M1C and M1D first began to be widely used during the Korean War. The U.S. Marine Corps adopted the M1C as their official sniper rifle in 1951. The U.S. Navy has also used the Garand, rechambered for the 7.62x51mm NATO round.
The T20E2 selective fire prototype was designed to feed from 20-round BAR magazines.
Two interesting variants that never saw service were the M1E5 and T26 (popularly known as the Tanker Garand). The M1E5 is equipped with a folding buttstock, while the T26 uses the standard solid stock, and has a shorter, 18-inch barrel. The Tanker name was also used after the war as a marketing gimmick for commercially-modified Garands. Another variant that never saw duty was the T20E2. This variant is a Garand modified to accept Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) magazines, and has selective fire capability, with semi- and fully-automatic modes.
The T26 arose from requests by various Army combat commands for a shortened version of the standard M1 rifle for use in jungle or mobile warfare. In July 1945 Col. William Alexander, former staff officer for Gen. Simon Buckner and a new member of the Pacific Warfare Board, requested urgent production of 15,000 carbine-length M1 rifles for use in the Pacific theater. To emphasize the need for rapid action, he requested the Ordnance arm of the U.S. 6th Army in the Philippines to make up 150 18" barreled M1 rifles for service trials, sending another of the rifles by special courier to U.S. Army Ordnance officials at Aberdeen as a demonstration that the M1 could be easily modified to the new configuration. Although the T26 was never approved for production, at least one 18" barreled M1 rifle was used in action in the Philippines by troopers in the 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment (503rd PIR).
During the 1950s, Beretta produced Garands in Italy at the behest of NATO, by having the tooling used by Winchester during World War II shipped to them by the US government. These rifles were designated Model 1952 in Italy, and eventually led to variants of their own, the best known of these being the BM59 series.
The M1 Garand became the standard U.S. service rifle in 1936, but the former standard M1903 Springfield continued in use. The M1903A4 model Springfield was a bolt action sniper rifle that remained in use for years due to its superior performance. The U.S. rifle M1C or M1D (Sniper's) is the standard U.S. rifle M1 with telescope M81, M82, or M84 mounted on the receiver and a cheek pad laced to the stock. The cone shaped flash hider M2 or prong flash hider T37 is furnished as an accessory with the M1C and M1D models. The 1952 Marine version of the M1C had a different scope and flash hider. The M1C and M1D sniper versions of the M1 Garand were standardized in 1944. The M1C was used late in World War II and was the main sniper weapon for the U.S. Army in Korea. Few M1D models were produced before the end of World War II. Many standard M1s were converted to M1D during the Korean War, but few made it to that war. During the early years of the Vietnam War, the M1D was the official U.S. Army sniper rifle until it was replaced in the mid-1960s by the M-21 7.62mm Sniper Rifle.
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