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 Exceptionally Rare and Historic Colt Semi-Automatic Pistol Instrumental to the Adoption of the Iconic Colt Model 1911
 Extremely Rare and Historic Documented Colt Model 1910 Semi-Automatic Pistol Serial Number 7 - Serial no. 7, 45 ACP cal., 5 inch round bbl., blue finish, checkered walnut grips. Originally manufactured in 1910, this is an example of the extremely rare Colt Model 1910 pistol, an extremely important evolutionary piece in the story of the eventual adoption of the Model 1911 by the U.S. military. There were reportedly 12 Model 1910 pistols manufactured, making them incredibly rare and often a missing piece in U.S. military Colt automatic pistol collections. These pistols were initially manufactured to be an improvement upon the “straight-gripped” Model 1909. They were initially submitted for testing on 9 February 1910, when Captain Walter G. Penfield described the “improved model” as having a more simple mainspring cap, smaller, and attached to the spring, extractor inside the breech, ejector made square, angle of the grip changed, the sear, trigger, and grip safety springs made in one piece, butt of the grip sharply angled instead of rounded, barrel slightly lowered, and the ejection port slightly enlarged. Even with all of these “improvements”, the pistol failed it’s initial test fairly miserably, jamming seven times in the first 157 shots, and John Browning withdrawing it from the test to try to improve the design. The second test occurred five days later, with the pistol operating much better this time, only having one misfire in 1,000 shots. It still wasn’t perfect however, as Browning had to straighten the recoil spring retaining piece multiple times, and it eventually broke completely. Browning believed this was due to the piece being made too thin and of inferior steel, an issue that could easily be remedied. In July of 1910, a special grip was requested by the ordnance department, the main feature of which being a smooth right panel which slightly swelled into the palm. The special grip was tested by the School of Musketry, who did not favor the “improved” grip over the original checkered grips. In August of 1910, a few Model 1910 pistols were fitted with thumb safeties, this example being one of them, which the Ordnance Department found favorable, especially for use with mounted troops. On 10 November 1910, the Ordnance Board met to pit the Model 1910 Colt and Savage pistols against each other for the second to last time, with the main feature of this trial being an endurance test, with 6,000 rounds fired through each. After this trial the Board’s assessment was “That neither automatic pistol in its present design is believed to be satisfactory for adoption in the service because of insufficient strength of parts...The Colt automatic pistol is believed to be much the more satisfactory of the two.” One of the issues with the Colt pistol which was found during this specific trial, was that the grip screws continually worked themselves loose when subjected to sustained fire. After the issues with both of these pistols in the final test of 1910, the Chief of Ordnance decreed that another series of tests would be held on 15 March 1911. To this test, Colt submitted the Model 1911 Special Army, a design which was approved for adoption by the U.S. military on 29 March 1911. These pistols are discussed on p. 114-115 of “The Government Models: The Development of the Colt Model of 1911” by Goddard and this specific example is pictured on p. 108 of “U.S. Military Automatic Pistols 1894-1920” by Meadows.
LOT 558
  General William Crozier

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