I know that the gun does not have the last patent date that was added and has type 1 rubber grips (the original design before it changed). The sample in Combat Handgun had type 2 grips with serial number of 295***. My Pistol is 102***. It was my grandads but I dont know where he got it from and has been deceased since 1995. Unfortunately it was not taken care of very well and has some significant rust but nothing that interferes with the function of the pistol. I have been thinking about calling Colt and seeing if they would restore it for me, but am afraid to affect what value it may have and also dont want anyone knowing that I actually have it (know what im sayin??). Got any opinions on what I should do?
Assuming the serial number is still legible, you should be able to figure out a date of manufacture at Serial Number Data.
When I was chief flight instructor at Indiantown airstrip, we had a handyman mowing the grass and keeping up the buildings.
He was a big guy; he could climb a ladder carrying 2 sheets of plywood (4' x 8'). A steady diet of beer had given him extra padding !
His nickname was T-bone.
He liked to hang out at the local watering hole after work (he had no family).
One evening, he got in a argument with a little guy at the bar; the little guy draws a .25 and shoot T-bone 3 times in the belly at bad breath range.
T-bone was discharged from the hospital one hour later and was back to work the next morning; the little guy was in the hospital over 3 weeks with multiple fractures including a jaw-bone broken in 3 places.
If he hadn't have a gun, the little guy would not have been injured that bad, but taking 3 bullets in the belly really got T-bone mad.
A good used .38 revolver or a 9 mm semi-auto can be purchased around $200, I wouldn't think of carrying a .25.
GunnyBunny's link agrees with my Wilson Colt reference book. Your pistol looks like a 1914 gun so will be celebrating its 100th birthday in a few years. It is a quality John Browning design, quite modern in appearance despite being over a century old, and pretty substantial, being of all-steel construction. The only detrimental thing about the design is that it was more labor intensive to produce than modern handguns and would likely be cost prohibitive to manufacture these days. In some instances with firearms, newer gives no superior function but is only cheaper to produce. Your little Colt harks back to an era when New England craftsmen proudly labored over fine firearms for no more than .75 cents a day.
I'd be tempted to leave it alone unless it is really unsightly. Its surface finish is its history. I know that I'd look right past a slick, shiny refinished Colt Model 1908 to admire a time-worn original. My first Model 1908 was mostly brown "patina" (a charitable term for years of neglect) but had smooth exterior surfaces. It wasn't unattractive at all and function certainly wasn't affected. I was later able to trade it for an attractive specimen that still featured most of its blue finish with case hardened highlights.
Rather than harshly clean it with scary stuff like steel wool or sand paper you might try removing its grips and soaking it in something like Kroil or Liquid Wrench for a few days. Then, while still wet with the penetrate, gently scrub it with a bronze brush (never steel). It might take on a nice, soft, "antique-y" sheen. After cleaning just keep its exterior surfaces covered with your favorite preservative. My favorite is RIG.
Never attempt to take away the color down to bright metal. Just be certain to stop any active rust. The soaking and gentle scrubbing will do that. Really bad scaly rust may require alternate soaking and scrubbing for several days and can be guaranteed to show pitting beneath. Nothing can be done about deep pitting.
Colt won't touch it with a 10 foot pole this far out from the discontinuance of the Model 1908. It is only one of several really nice Colt handgun models that didn't survive World War II. Several firearms restoration specialists can do the work. Turnbull is probably the most well known. He's expensive though. Realistically the value of the restored pistol wouldn't be worth the cost of the restoration except as a hobby project for a honored heirloom piece. This would be as good a reason as any to undertake such a restoration though.
Link:Turnbull Mfg. Co. - antique and classic handgun restoration, rifle restoration, shotgun restoration, & custom gunsmith service.
The tiny Colt conceals anywhere. It can be made to just go away. Prior to purchasing a Kel Tec P3AT in 2005 I would infrequently tote my Colt 1908 in my hip pocket behind my wallet when I just couldn't conceal something larger. Those times were few and far between as I wore business suits and could hide a howitzer.
Though it was intended to be carried so, I'm not keen on carrying a Model 1908 with a loaded chamber. The safety is just a little less positive in operation than I could wish for. The pistol is striker fired and the sear is small. A blow from being dropped on a hard surface could discharge the pistol. Bullets getting loose are always bad, even if they are only out of a .25. The grip safety blocks only the trigger, not the firing pin's sear. Carrying without a loaded chamber adds a measure of slowness in being made ready to fire. That fact along with the low power doesn't make the Colt .25 a top choice for self defense. Still, it could be better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.
For more inane musings on the .25 pull up the link that Gunnybunny placed in his first post to this thread, if you haven't already.
Chuck Hawks says:
"The best .25 load is the Hornady 35-gr. XTP-HP round. If it jams, use any Federal, Remington, or Winchester 50 grain ball round. Winchester has an odd 45 gr. "Expanding Point" round that should be OK if it is reliable in your gun (it seems to work fine in Beretta 950 pistols, for example), but don't expect any improvement in performance over the 50 grain ball rounds. The excellent Walther TPH .25 should be loaded with ball.
The Hornady 35 grain JHP should be considered only if it is 100% reliable in your pistol - fire 200 rounds through your gun to see. Ed Sanow recommends the MagSafe 22 grain "Defender" and Glaser 40 grain Safety Slug."
Another defensive ballistics website I frequent says:
".25 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol) Caliber:
One Shot Stopping Success: 22-25% (Actual)
Self Defense Rating : Very Poor
Winchester "XP" JHP 45 grains 25%
Winchester FMJ 50 grains 23%
Federal FMJ 50 grains 22%
Remington FMJ 50 grains 22%
Try the JHP round to see if it functions reliably in your auto-loading pistol. The rule of thumb is to shoot 200 rounds without a jam as the test of reliability. The JHP reportedly works well in Beretta 950 and 21A .25 caliber pistols. The Walther TPH in .25 caliber should be loaded with FMJ.
The .25 ACP cartridge was developed as an alternative to the .22 LR for use in autoloading pistols. The former, a center-fired cartridge, provides a degree of dependability not found in the .22 LR, which is a rim-fired cartridge.
Which of these calibers of autoloading pistol should an individual consider purchasing for self-defense? Neither. Buy a .22 LR autoloader for fun because ammunition is inexpensive and the firearm will likely experience considerable use as a plinker. For self defense, consider the .32 ACP to be the minimum acceptable caliber when deep concealment is an issue."
This enough for you?
A nice little tidbit from an article that sums it all up nicely:
The professional wound ballistics community, comprised of well-qualified law enforcement personnel, emergency room physicians, medical researchers, trauma surgeons, weapon/ammunition designers, forensic pathologists, neurologists, criminologists and other interested persons, has been engaged in this kind of "street shooting" research for years. These knowledgeable researchers realize that no honest study done with Marshall's purported methods could possibly produce results that are anywhere near as regular as those he reports.
The best "option" for a .25 is FMJ. I wouldn't bother with any JHP, even the Hornady XTP.
With that said, I have an FIE Titan. It is TINY! I sometimes carry it with me in my pocket when I'm squirrel hunting. It's good for finishing off a squirrel that hasn't quite expired after you've shot him out of a tree with a shotgun. A .25 up close is much cleaner than a 12 gauge at 6 inches!
Anyone remember RIF (reading is fundamental) from their school days? I think we really need to bring that back.
In answer to the OPs question, I am in agreement that FMJ that feeds and functions in the pistol in question is the best choice. The .25 lacks enough velocity to reliably expand JHP ammunition, and at any rate it benefits more from increased penetration than any expansion one might get from a JHP.
I carry a customized .45 loaded with Corbon 230gr JHP. And although the .25 is no match for one shot put downs, a careful shot to either the eye or behind the ear works really well, just use a JHP round and not in +P configuration. What you want to do is to have the round enter the cranial vault and bounce around, thereby turning the BG's brain to soup. If it works with a .22 (DAMHIK), it should work with a low powered .25 round.
Other than that, you can always carry an M-40, which really gets the job done.
Best of luck,
Agreed, the stats that they provide are as legitimate as anyone else's, but like all stats, the conclusion drawn maybe incorrect... but no one can really prove that. So the FBI has a set of stats that differ... and the FBI does not have the most gun battles of federal agencies. Gun analyst are a lot like chemist, in that they will fight each other over theoretical ideas for years, since there is no concrete proof on who is right, this will be a philosophical argument for years. I happen to believe that over time S&M will be proven , on at least part of their ideas, but once again, like every vehicle every bullet is a compromise... shoot what you wish.
Special thanks to GunnyBunny, Landric, and especially bmcgilvray for giving me over and beyond what I was expecting! Looks like I joined a good forum... :D