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Discussion Starter · #1 ·


My grandfather Walter (seated), his brother Gabe on the left with the revolver, and their cousin Custer on the right.

This photograph was made in 1918 on my grandfather's return from WW1. I'm sure they were terrors in Middle Tennessee as they all liked drinking, gambling, and fighting.

Can anyone tell me what handguns they're holding? I'm guessing a Colt .45 SA in Uncle Gabe's hand, but I'm not sure of what Granddad was packing (semi-automatic).

Steve
 

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Hello:

Great Photo! I'm guessing your Grandpaw has a Colt-Browning Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless.
 

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Great picture Steve!

There was something about the revolver that looked odd and I couldn't put my finger on it until I saved the picture and zoomed up on the revolver. I think the hammer is cocked.
 

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Agree on a Colt Pocket Model, but it could be a 1908 .380 -- like the one my wife has. Incidentally, her father, on his discharge as first sergeant in 1919, bought his 1911 .45 for twenty five dollars and carried it for years as a federal peace officer. When he died, she insisted on selling it. I cry at night sometimes.
Cordially, Jack
 

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Agree with most everybody else that it's a 1903 Hammerless, in .32 ACP. There were about half a million of these guns made, and according to Flayderman's, some of them are marked U.S. PROPERTY. I don't disagree that it might be the 1908 .380, but if it's military issue, my money's on the earlier gun.

First question, for collectors: was the .32 standard military issue, WWI? And second question: is there any chance this pistol's still in your family? It would make for one hell of a keepsake.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yes, I glad someone looked close and found that Uncle Gabe had the hammer back. Custer on the other side also has a gun drawn, but it doesn't show in the photograph (actual it's a standard photo postcard of the era). Custer was often called "Crazy" Custer and I'm sure the photographer didn't want to tell him his gun wasn't showing in order not to set him off.

All were known for packing guns and using them. My family has taken to calling this our own "Wild Bunch".

As to the gun being around still, I only wish. I'm sure it was lost and won in many a poker or crap game.

Looks like Grandpa might have had his finger inside the trigger guard as well. Thanks for all the comments and help. I have another with him somewhere in Hawaii pre-war playing with a gun. I'll see if I can find it.

Steve
 
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That revolver isnt a SAA .45.... Its either a cap and ball, or a converted cap and ball, or a Pre SAA open top 72 Colt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
That revolver isnt a SAA .45.... Its either a cap and ball, or a converted cap and ball, or a Pre SAA open top 72 Colt.
Good eye, sir. On closer look it's does look like a cap and ball or conversion. Since this was in Middle Tennessee where guns from the Civil War were still in use until the 1920s, a conversion makes sense. There are large cartridge loops on his gunbelt. Certainly not positive proof of a conversion, just pointing it out.

Now that would be a gun to have! Either one would be nice.



I found another one with my Granddad (left) pre-WWI, 1917 Hawaii where he was stationed prior to the AEF. I can see range officers didn't stress safety (not that it would have mattered to some anyway).

Glad you enjoy the photos. It's nice to see the guns in our own history. When you look back to just a hundred years ago you can see the role that guns played in all our pasts. I bet many of you could find your ancestors displaying, hunting, shooting, and using guns in your family photo archives (old photographs in shoe boxes in the closets). See what you can find in your family. Guns were important to all our ancestors as protection and tools. It was often the only choice between life or death.

Steve
 
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Actually the conversions arnt as rare as you would think, Lots of originals and copies out there. Despite what Hollywood would have you believe the Colt SAA was pretty dang rare on the frontier. Gazillions of left over civil war revolvers were around and for a nominal fee compared to a new gun could be converted to Cartridges, Colt even did this at the factory for some time with both customer supplied guns and left over parts, these were the open top transition models, once the 1873 came out and won the Army contracts max production was going to the Government. By the time Colt caught up and could put some on the civilian market the double actions were starting to apear.
 
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