Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Dating a dead horse.

I own a few self-loaders that bear the mark of the prancing pony, but they're not really my first love. When you cut me, I bleed blue and white, not blue and gold, so I was completely unaware that Colt's has added a serial number lookup service at their website.

For instance, I plug in the number on my older 1908 Vest Pocket, and it tells me that it was made in 1909, whereas the newer one dates to 1916. This saves looking for that tiny little blue booklet that always goes missing.

A factory letter including data on to whom the gun was shipped is still $75-$100, though. A factory letter from Smith is still $50. This is because Colt collectors are Fancy Dan rich dudes and Smiths are the workingman's collectibles. (If the workingman in question is a $75/hr union employee.)


(The post title comes from the time a guy brought in a Colt for repairs that looked like it had come up off a U-boat wreck. The gunsmith expressed doubts that it was worth the time. "But Shannon!" I said "It's got a prancing pony on it!"
"That's not a prancing pony," retorted Shannon, "That's a dead horse.")

19 comments:

Boat Guy said...

Not much for marques, but I always fall back on the 1911 as my first "real" pistol. My hand naturally flows into them.
Thanks for the link; I've been too cheap for the provenance letter. Turns out my GrandDad's pistol was made in 1917, so he bought it to go to France rather than when he was commissioned as I'd previously believed.

armedlaughing said...

It's like the .45 vs. 9mm or revolver vs. semi or Chevy vs. Ford thing...
Having said that, I owned many Smiths, fewer Colts.
Primarily because of cost.
(And I'm partial to Smiths!)

gfa

Keads said...

And you will WAIT for that letter from the Colt Historian! 4-6 months last time around for a friend of mine =).

Stretch said...

The Colt site does not recognize the SN on my 1911 Gold Cup.
But I know know my Official Police was made in 1942.
That matches the Commonwealth stamps found elsewhere on the weapon.
Thank you for the link.

Murphy's Law said...

Now don't pick on the Colt lovers. They're already burdened with revolvers that turn backwards so they've got enough trouble.

Hee.

mikee said...

My pair of Colt 1903 .32ACPs are reporting 1925 & 1928, where previous online lists said 1927 & 1929.

So they are in even better shape than I thought for guns of their actual ages.

But yeah, Colts are too expensive.

Robin said...

Hmmm, previous reference said my M1908 Pocket was 1922 but that link says 1916.

Micki Mahoney said...

I've dated a dead horse before. Or so you'd think from the scintillating conversation.

Davidwhitewolf said...

Oh yay, the S&W letter still is signed by Roy Jinks? At least it is in the linked sample….

I had assumed that was no longer the case. I have wanted a Jinks letter for years, time to get one.

Windy Wilson said...

Micki, me, too, and what's worse, earlier she danced like one, too.

Steve Skubinna said...

I already know where my grandfather's 1908 vest pocket was shipped to, because it still has the box from the Chicago gun store be bought it in 1927.

Now I do wish the receipt were still extent. Knowing my grandfather it probably was, up to his death and was just tossed out with the old paperwork and files.

Keads said...

Ok, Murphy's Law! Wait. I will be back up there!

Keads said...

Yes the S&W Letters are still signed by Mr. Jinks. The typos I could do without though.

Greg Tag said...

I own more than 10 S & W Model 10's, all pinned, fat 4 inch barrel guns. The are trainers, loaners,car guns, "practical revolver class a la Grant Cunningham" guns. The manual of arms is simple,they dont break, they handle plus P, their actions are smooth, DA pulls easily mastered, and every one shoots Speer 135 grain +P Short Barrel to point of aim at 20 yards.

When I carry a revolver, though, I carry a Cunningham tuned Colt Dick Special - accurate , slick, comfortable, easy to control - and it has that horse on it. They are beautiful guns, the lines are perfect, the epitome of mid -20th century industrial design. A true Cadillac. I loan my Colts only to my brother the lawyer or my best friend. Every other person in need gets a Model 10.

I dont always carry a revolver, but when I do, I usually carry a Colt. Stay accurate, my friends.

Regards
GKT

Ken O said...

Chuy, the South Texas variant of "Cletus", always wants a prancing pony. It is astonishing to watch them from behind the table at shows: they flock to the shinier looking 1911's, look for the pony, and not finding it, toss it on the table like a dirt clod.

Geodkyt said...

I like my late model, stainless, Colt Commander. I also like my neaarly bone stock Rock Island Arsenal "GI" model (swapped the grips for pre-WWII GI style checkered walnut and the MSH for one with a WWI style lanyard ring). Used to carry a Norinco many moons ago (reliable as Hell, shot fine)

Don't give a CRAP about the prancing pony -- one of the few logos I do logos on a 1911 I care about is "Kimber", as in "Do Not Want". ;-)

Khornet said...

Yeah, doesn't recognize my Gold Cup either.

Windy Wilson said...

But it's ok to want the prancing stallion if it's red, Italian, and makes all the right noises.
:)

Cargosquid said...

I'd love to know who got my 1860 Army.
But $300 for a letter that will probably say: US Army, is too much.