what happened to the Russian 1911's ?
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Old 04-28-2011, 03:46 AM   #1
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Default what happened to the Russian 1911's ?

In reading about that perod in and around the end of czarist Russia I saw a note about Russia purchasing 50,000 US made 1911 .45 auto's.Of all the photo's I have seen of that period I never saw anyone brandishing a 45.Always nagants. This purchase supposedly occured in 1916/1918 time frame.With all the Mosin nagants and 1895 revolvers on the market wondered if these would crop up. If in fact they still [if ever] exist. Czarist Russia is another of my passions [artifacts] Anyhow,anyone know anything about these.

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Old 04-28-2011, 09:36 PM   #2
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You need to post some specific info on this. i.e. Facts. Never happened that I know of. Why would we ship in the middle of a war we were in, to a country in a Revolution?? The official Pistol was the 1895 for Czarist forces and they were out because of the revolution in 1917.

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Old 04-28-2011, 10:30 PM   #3
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I did some research and found this;
Colt M1911 Russian Contract: S/N C23000 to C89000 = Feb. 19, 1916 to Jan. 18, 1917 ( Russia purchased 51,000 M1911 .45 ACP pistols during WW I. from this serial number range.Straight from Colt's records. And this from another site;

Colt M1911 Russian Contract: S/N C23000 to C89000 = Feb. 19, 1916 to Jan. 18,
1917 ( Russia purchased 51,000 M1911 .45 ACP pistols during WW I. from this serial
number range. Russia purchased more M1911 pistols than any other country besides
the U.S.) Regular commercial model Colt except has "English Order" mark in
Russian on left side of frame.
Very interesting I think.Learn something new all the time.

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Old 04-28-2011, 11:16 PM   #4
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Here is your answer.

The meaning of this “English Contract” inscription has been the source of much misinformation: it was not placed there “to fool the Germans about where the rifles came from”, as I once heard a dealer at a gun show say; nor does it mean that the rifles were transshipped via England. The machinery at the Westinghouse factory in Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts on which the rifles were made was owned by the British government, which also acted as surety for payment for the first million rifles; that is why the rifles are marked “English Contract”.

During 1915-1917 Remington produced 840,310 M1891 rifles, of which 131,400 had arrived in Russia by January 1917. In the same period Westinghouse made 770,000 rifles; 225,260 were delivered to Russia by January 1917.

"As early as February 1916 Westinghouse tried to persuade the U. S. government to buy M1891s of its own. Although the War Dept. expressed some slight interest at the time the matter did not proceed further until after dramatic events occurred a year later.

In February 1917 revolution erupted in Russia and the monarchy was overthrown. This was not the Bolshevik Revolution; that took place later in the year, in November (October in the old-style Julian calendar Russia used at the time, hence “Red October”.) Late in 1917 the Russian government defaulted on its contracts with Remington and Westinghouse. The Russians refused to pay for the guns, claiming the rifles were of poor quality, but this was untrue: the American rifles were actually better-made than the Russian ones. The real reasons for default were simply the Russians’ shortage of ready cash and their unwillingness to pay."
They Never got them!!!

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Old 04-29-2011, 03:26 AM   #5
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One of our members, Reinhard, encounters the Russian contract 1911s from time to time. He is in Belgium.

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Old 04-29-2011, 06:21 PM   #6
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jpattersonnh, Maybe I'm a little slow but are you referring to rifles along with the 1911's. Are you saying the 1911's were never shipped to Russia.If they were in fact shipped were they issued?

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Old 05-04-2011, 02:47 AM   #7
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Clawson's book on the commercial variants speaks of them. Has a picture of a surviving speciment too. Acknowledges they are rare and why is a big mystery. Finland supposedly intercepted some, Rumania may have gotten some, and supposedly some were among the pistols used to execute the Czar and his family. It is worth noting WWI was the dawn of the U Boat and I would expect a few crates to have gone down to the bottom of the sea now and then with whatever boat they were in. [A similar thing happened to a big shipment of Tommy Guns to the Brits early in WW2, they went right to the bottom a few dozen miles off Montauck Pt. thanks to a U boat torpedo.] I have one 1911 whose serial # puts it in the middle of the 1915 shipment to France. It came back into the US via Argentina. Go figure. In the case of the Russian guns I would also suspect quite a few are either rotting in fields outside Stalingard and Moscow or Kursk, and I suspect others probably went to Mao and Ho Chi Minh in their start up days.

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Old 05-04-2011, 04:02 PM   #8
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I had always imagined the Czar and his family going down in a hail of bullets fired from nagants and mosin's.Like you,I think many may have gone to rebel groups that they supported. [veit nam era]But I can't help but think many could be pushed up against a wall in the dark recesses of Tula arsenel behind all those nagants and mosin nagants.I once read that captured weapons are often stored and given to groups supported by the country that captured them.The united states for instance may arm a rebel group that wants to over throw a regime not freindly to us.They give them AK47's not traceable to the U.S. Whether they may have been captured by an opposing force is yet to be determined.I love mysterys like this

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