Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1517: U.S. Test Trial Savage Model 1907 Pistol

Auction Date: May 15, 2021

Very Scarce and Desirable U.S. Test Trial Savage Model 1907 Semi-Automatic Pistol

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $14,000 - $22,500

Very Scarce and Desirable U.S. Test Trial Savage Model 1907 Semi-Automatic Pistol

Manufacturer: Savage Arms Corporation
Model: 1907
Type: Pistol
Gauge: 45 ACP
Barrel: 5 1/4 inch round
Finish: blue
Grip: checkered walnut
Item Views: 1062
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 352
Class: Curio & Relic Handgun

This is a very scarce example of a U.S. Savage .45 Auto semi-automatic pistol that was manufactured for the U.S. 1907 military test trials. Based on the poor performance of the Army's .38 caliber revolvers during the Philippine Insurrection, in January 1906 U.S. Army Ordnance Chief BG Crozier issued a letter of invitation to the gun manufacturing industry to develop and submit new semi-automatic handguns utilizing the then-new 45 ACP cartridge. Eighteen companies initially responded with only eight actually submitting a test sample pistol. Of the competitors, only the offerings of Savage, Colt, and Luger were found to merit additional trials, though Luger would voluntarily withdraw; at this point, the firm was concerned that the Americans wouldn't pick a European offering regardless of virtue and had enough military clients wanting their famous pistol as-is, and they didn't feel the need to scramble for another buyer. The final result, which involved a few rounds of revisions and corrections for each pistol, was the adoption of Colt's Government Model pistol as the Model of 1911, which in turn would be America's sidearm from WWI to the closing days of the Cold War. While the Savage design had some advantages, and neither offering was truly ready to be America's handgun as originally submitted, Browning's design showed the accuracy and reliability that the evaluators were looking for, and the rest is history. Estimates on the total number of Model 1907 pistols varies in the 288-290 range, and many of those were destroyed or misplaced during the course of testing, and aside for a small handful earmarked for retention by museums, all the Savage pistols in government stores were released for commercial sale. Between the number destroyed from the stress of government testing, the number "lost" in transit, and additional wear and tear from civilian buyers, good surviving examples are rare in any condition. This example is marked with the correct two-line Savage alide address and "CAL 45" ahead of the ejection port, and the "FIRE" and "SAFE" markings on the side of the frame. These markings were an addition requested by the Army partway through testing and was added to the pistols already made and put on from the start on a new batch of 72 pistols made to replace a group of 1907s "lost" when the government returned them to the factory for the safety markings. The slide shows the signature heavy serrations towards the rear. It has a ribbed hammer and smooth trigger. This example still retains the thin/narrow grip safety that is not integral to the rear of the frame, and it has the factory improved Model 1909 markings of "FIRE" and "SAFE" at the rear of the frame along with the wider checkered walnut grip panels. The pistol is numbered on the underside of the slide and on the inside of the hold-open device. A swiveling lanyard loop is present, which can be folded into the magazine well if not needed, and the magazine is nickel finished and has "220" marked on the spine.

Rating Definition:

Very fine, with 70% of the factory refurbished blue finish, showing some mild spotting, edge wear, and the balance brown and gray patina. A few small patches of pitting are present, concentrated around the muzzle and the hammer. 60% of the bright case colors are present on the trigger, and the chamber shows some light spotting and a mixed gray patina. The grips are also very fine, with a few scattered light dings. The hold-open needs adjustment, otherwise mechanically fine.

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