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Old 02-01-2007, 11:22 PM   #1
 
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Colt 1903

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one on this site who's lucky enoungh to have a fine pocket pistol made by Colt Mine is a 1903 CALIBRE 32 RIMLESS SMOKELESS I've had it about a year or two was using it as a backup to my 45. I had it restored a couple of months ago if anybody where I could find out more information about it like date it was made Ser# 322xxx I'll try and get some pics.
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Old 02-02-2007, 02:25 AM   #2
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Colt 1903

bobjr59,



Howdy sir, and welcome to the site. There are several members who possess quite abit of knowledge about your pistol. Unfortunately, I am not one of them. But I am sure you will get some helpful information from those who do.



Hope you enjoy your time here.



twoguns
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Old 02-02-2007, 03:51 AM   #3
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Colt 1903

Hello bobjr59,



Here is a link that will provide you with everything from historical info to disassembly instructions to your new aquisition:



http://www.coltautos.com/default.asp



One of our members, Larry, just purchased one and as he is a friend of mine I sent him parts that I ordered from Numrich Arms to include the ejector pin, extractor pin and spring. I sent him a new set of grips for his as well.



I still owe him a Colt 1903 magazine and hopefully he will come along to comment about this fabulous handgun from the "Golden Years of Semi-Autos".



Welcome to the forum.



Chris

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Old 02-02-2007, 08:24 AM   #4
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Colt 1903

Chris gave you an excellent site for Colt info on your pistol. Your gun was made in 1919. The hammerless Colts are popular & famous for good reasons. Enjoy! :) Regards, G>M>F>
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Old 02-02-2007, 08:37 AM   #5
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Colt 1903

Being the one who benefited of the kindly attention of Chris - and other members on other occasions - I owe you all a short report on my 1903.



My interest in the Colt 1903 was first born in Paris a few years ago when I saw an exemplary in a gun shop. It was desactivated as usual in that gun hell so I passed. More recently I could buy a FN 1903 in 9 mm Browning long which is the exact big brother of the small Colt (see my posts about it). My interest was renewed by a picture posted here by Mr. John Holbrook so the chase really began.



I found mine at a gun show here in Switzerland for 250 francs. Sound mecanic but sorry finish and cracked stocks - others in good shape went for 900 francs. At home, I completly stripped it, in vain as the interiors were very clean. The mounting of the hammer, thumb safety, mainspring and gripsafety was really bitchy. It was impossible to end with the gripsafety and mainspring as told in the instructions. I ended by the hammer and thumb safety. For fitting them against spring pressure, I finally took a nail, turned it to the diameter of the safety shaft and tapered one end. With this conical shaft I managed to get the hammer in place and pushed then the safety, chasing the nail through the right frame hole. Lot of grease, both mecanical and elbow, sweat and time. And some spicy words... So, admire the fine machining on the slide only and left the frame as it is.



A week ago, I shot a few magazines of Magtech .32 FMJ and experienced some FTEs, due to a cleaned out extractor spring. Then I received Chris' parts, which were immediatly put on. Second session yesterday without any malfunction! The gun shoots very gently, the trigger reach is small for my long fingers, the reset slighly spongy in comparison with my 1911s (both guns shares the same action). Accuracy is present but very difficult to obtain with the shiny front blade and narrow rear.



I forgot to mention that number is 14435x, placing it in the 1913 range. In resumee, the Colt 1903 is a fine tribute to John M. Browning genius and gun manufacture.



And I'll post some pics.



L.
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Old 02-02-2007, 10:28 AM   #6
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I picked mine up in a local gunstore. The exterior of the pistol is pitted and rough in places and the blue is almost worn out...a tribute to the willingness of the previous owners to carry this gun. You can still see the rampant colt at the rear of the slide and the Colt medallion on the wood grips is still bright. There is no rust. The interior of the pistol is clean and tight.



The piece is carried Condition 3 (chamber empty, full mag). As Larry said, it is a soft shooter and is capable of pinpoint accuracy. Mine shoots exactly to point of aim and shredding the center out of a bullseye target is easily accomplished. As a matter of academic interest, mine feeds MagTech 71-grain JHPs without fault, but I never carry HPs due to concerns about adequate penetration and potential for rimlock....I always carry ball ammo in this caliber.



Field stripping the piece for cleaning is rather a bear the first time you do it, but after awhile, it becomes much easier...sort of like learning to field strip a Ruger Mark I...makes you want to tear your hair out in chunks until you realize that the piece is finely machined and will go together with a little finesse rather than curse words and blunt objects...



I love my 1903 and will never sell it. I have considered refinishing the outside of the pistol, but I kind of like that it's a little rough on the exterior...it bespeaks volumes of its history and its role protecting its past owners. I wouldn't mind getting another one, but I obtained this one for not much $$$ (it had resided in the case for awhile at the gunstore and, because of its outward appearance, couldn't compete against the new Glocks and other toys nearby). I think I paid $200 for it and I consider that a square deal for everyone involved. I have yet to find another, rough or not, priced like that....



You will, I am sure, love yours....



Bob
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Old 02-02-2007, 01:10 PM   #7
 
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Colt 1903

Try Sportsman Guide That's where I got My spare mags I was looking for a leather Holster to carry in a more comf. location like on my belt instead of stuffed in my boot or in my back pocket the guy say that it was a collectable and to nice to carry and I should keep it locked up in my safe I told him I had it restored But his right it is a pretty piece of history. BobJr
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Old 02-04-2007, 04:51 AM   #8
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I have three of these little autos. (Why three? 'Cause they're such neat, high quality little handguns that I never could pass by a really nice one at a good price.)



As recently as 6-8 years ago you could pick up a 98% one for $300; now the same M1903's are up in the $500-600 range.



They are the most common of pre-war autos on the used market in this country, and probably JB's most successful commercial (as opposed to military) handgun design, including commercially-marketed pre-war M1911's, and probably even pre-war military production M1911's as not many were made between the world wars.



I believe that they are probably scarce in Europe because there was some kind of agreement between Colt, JB and FN during the period that JB was designing autopistols for both companies that Colt would stay out of the Euopean market and FN would stay out of the U.S. market with respect to JB's autopistol designs for those companies.







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Old 02-04-2007, 07:50 AM   #9
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Colt 1903

Yes Alan, they are pretty rare here, because of the agreement and of the other excellent Brownings FN made



In 1900, FN had already begun with the Browning 1900 (another one) which was a huge and immediate success. And in 1910, FN striked again with the Browning 1910 (!) offering some refinements and simplifications (no hammer) over the 1903. In the 1922 type (longer slide and grip), the design was manufactured by FN till the beginning of the 80s. And I don't mention clones and copies...



L.
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Old 02-05-2007, 12:58 AM   #10
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The FN M1900's and M1922's are fairly common over here, all having been surplused from foreign police and militaries because FN never directly marketed their handguns over here (until a few years ago when FN-USA was established here.) Browning-imported M1910's are also fairly common as Browning started bringing in Browning-marked M1910's (along with HP's) in 1954, but FN-marked M1910's are very rare, having only been brought into the country from elsewhere by private parties (primarily, I think, by our military servicemen stationed in Europe).



I've accumulated three (yes, 3) of the little M1900's in about 95-97% condition, for the same reason I've got three Colt M1903's: They're one of JB's absolute first autopistol designs, are made to a standard of fit, finish and machining tolerances rarely seen anymore, don't cost much on the used market because there's very little collector interest in them ---- and because I just really like'em.



And also three M1922's, one about 95% I picked up years ago, and then a Nazi-marked one in the same or a little better condition, and lastly: A a couple of years ago I ran across a mint-condition one for a reasonable price. At the time my impression was that they hadn't been made since the end of WWII and, gee whiz, how lucky I was to find a mint one, generations old, at a good price. Come to find out later that FN made them until 1983. ( . . . . always learnin') This is, to me, amazing that such an old auto design in such a small caliber would still be in demand in the marketplace into the 1980's (probably by police agencies somewhere), making the FN M1922 one of the longest-lived handgun designs. Also, the M1922's don't cost much here either --- even the Nazi ones --- because there's very little collector interest in them. Too bad, 'cause that leaves them cheap for the rest of us that really appreciate them.







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