The two-toned magazines are earlier magazines that were first blued when made. Then the tops of the magazines went through a process to harden the the magazine lips. The hardening process removed the bluing from the tops of the magazine.
By the time World War II came about, they had figured out a different manufacturing method to make the magazine tops harder without destroying the blue finish. That's why your US Property and OSS mags are fully blued.
This is summarized from Brunner's book. There were five variations of magazines. The first had pinned bases and were all blue and were caliber unmarked until about 1913. The second variation was top hardened two-toned, pinned base, with caliber. The third variation was the same but with crimped base until about 1926. The fourth variation had the top extended upwards and the follower shortened for the new magazine safety, two-toned, crimped base. The fifth variation after about 1938 were no longer top hardened and were all blue crimped base. There were also a few variations in the caliber markings.
In regards to the 1903 Colt and John Brunner's book, "The Colt Pocket Hammerless Automatic Pistols".......it seems that finding and purchasing a copy of that book is beyond my means at the present time. I have a NIB, never fired, "US Property" model. If provided with a serial number, is there anyone out there with a copy that would be willing to look it up and see if there is any information on issuance to any particular officer?
I'm in Mason, just a few miles north of Cincinnati.
I am at work and don't have the serial number with me, but I'll try to remember to get it tonight.
The pistol is in it's original box with kraft paper, instruction pamphlet, cleaning brush, and one or two extra magazines. It has never been fired, and has an interesting acquisition story (if you are interested).
My father was an aeronautical engineer (officer) in WWII, stationed stateside working on secret rocket projects. At the end of the war, GI's were transitioning back from overseas through his base. He said that the government opened up an aresenal out west someplace, selling surplus weapons for pennies on the dollar. He an another officer pooled their money, took a base plane, and flew to the arsenal and bought a plane load of guns to sell to the transitioning GI's as souveniers. They took their profits and made a second run, too.
He kept this 1903 for himself, and never fired it. (I also have a Colt 38 revolver in it's original box, too, but it has been fired a few times.) I'm kind of interested to see if this pistol would be listed as issued to him personally, or whether they even bothered given the circumstances.
When I get the serial number, should I reply here on this thread tomorrow, or contact you personally somehow?
By the way, I noticed your forum name is "taudelt". When I was in college, I was a member of Delta Tau chapter of Delta Tau Delta at BGSU. What does your "taudelt" stand for?
Thanks again, and please let me know how to get the serial number to you.
Your model 1903 U S Property sounds very interesting and is probably worth getting a Colt letter. According to their website a 1903 letter is only $75.00. Go to: http://www.coltsmfg.com/cmci/historical.asp (click researchable models on the right side of the page).
By the way, I am also originally a buckeye. Grew up in Cleveland and went to Ohio University in Athens.
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