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Rick1967 05-18-2011 02:14 AM

Colt 1917
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I recently picked up a Colt 1917 45 acp revolver. It is a Army issue gun. Or so it would seem. It says US government property on it. It also has us army on the butt. The thing that seems odd is the fact that the hole for the lanyard ring has never been punched out. I thought all issued handguns had a lanyard loop. Mine has a circle where you can see it should have been. But it is still solid metal. Anybody seen this before?

mesinge2 05-18-2011 02:34 AM

At the begining of World War One the Army - yet again - found itself short of handguns, and there was no way that Colt could produce enough 1911 .45 pistols to fill the gap. And it was thought that you could not shoot rimless .45ACP pistol cartridges in a revolver because the extractor needed a rim to push the cartridge or fired case out of the chamber. But some bright engineer at Colt's thought of using 1/2-moon clips to hold the cartridges, and the revolver's extractor could push on the clip, rather then the cartridge itself.

The Army quickly bought this idea, and created what became the Model 1917. This was nothing more then a regular New Service model as it was made at that time, but with plain walnut stocks rather the molded hard rubber ones, and a lanyard ring. Of course it was chambered in .45ACP and had a 5 1/2" barrel. The bottom of the butt was marked with Model 1917 markings as well as Uncle Sam's serial number - which might or might not be the same as the company's serial number, that was stamped on the frame benind the crane. You can't see it unless you swing out the cylinder. The frame was also marked with government inspectors' stamps. The bottom of the barrel was marked "U.S. Government Property," or something to that effect. All of these guns were made between 1917 and 1919. Previous to 1917, Colt didn't make any revolvers chambered in .45ACP.

If it has Model 1917 Army markings it would be one of those that was finished up after the war. Colt had a lot of left-over parts that Uncle Sam didn't want to buy, so they negotiated a deal. Most had the lanyard loop, but not all of them.

WDB 05-18-2011 04:36 AM

Well expressed Mesing, nothing more to add.

Bob Wright 05-18-2011 03:09 PM

My guess is that the lanyard loop swivel was simply cut flush and refinished with touch-up blue. Did mine that way on a commercial New Service.

Have you removed the grips and looked at the frame for the cross-pin?

Bob Wright

Bob Wright 05-18-2011 03:15 PM

Incidentally, the half-moon clip was Smith & Wesson's idea, not Colt's.

The first M1917 revolvers were Smiths. And the Smith could fire a .45 ACP round without half moon clips as they were chambered for the .45 ACP round with a shoulder for headspacing in the chamber. The first Colts could not, as they were bored straight through. Later M1917's could, however.

I have never seen a New Service nor an M1917 without a lanyard swivel, or a least a provision for one. I always removed them from my guns to permit target grips being used.

Oops! I did keep one M1917 stock! Just didn't keep the gun long.

Bob Wright

P.S. Be aware that some M1909 Colt's were arsenal rebuilt to M1917 configuration. The guns were identical except for calibe and finish.

Bob Wright 05-18-2011 03:19 PM

And further.....................

The ejector rod head is not stock from your photo. The correct one has a knurled head with a center groove.

Bob Wright

Rick1967 05-19-2011 11:45 AM

Thanks for the info. Interesting the way the chambers are on mine. They are not cut straight through. There is an obvious change in the bore. however, a .45 acp will drop in too far. I have not shot it yet, as I am waiting for my moon clip order to arrive. I am not worried about shooting it. it is still quite tight. The action is very nice too.

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