Free Your Inner Gangster
The Colt 1903 Pocket Hammerless - I've had my eye on one of these bad boys for a while now. In my opinion, this gun is one of the most underappreciated pieces of American badassery you'll ever find. Everybody loves the 1911, but only the cool kids remember the 1911's Daddy.
This bitch oozes swagger. It was designed by God's eldest son, John Moses Browning and it's still as cool now as it was eleven decades ago. The magazine holds 8 rounds of .32 ACP and a later variant, the 1908 holds 7 rounds of .380 ACP. And for those of you who want to turn your nose up because it's only a .32, please feel free to go right ahead and **** yourself.
It was good enough for this guy (not a gangster, but still a badass):
It was John Dillinger's EDC:
Al Capone kept one tucked neatly away in his coat pocket, but Al's piece declined our request for a photo op. Here's the one Bonnie Parker smuggled in to Clyde Barrow so he could bust himself out of the clink:
But this story is about an even more fearsome and deadly gangster - me. Here's the one I just picked up on the cheap:
So yeah, she looks a little rough around the edges. Never fear. I could've picked up a prettier one for a grand or so, but I was looking specifically for a bluing project. I chose this one because it needs a new finish, but the lines are still pretty good. You'll see a lot of these old guns that look like they've been melted because people did shitty polishing jobs when they were reblued before. This one also still has fairly deep lettering and the pin holes aren't washed out from polishing.
It has a lot of crisp, clean lines left and I should be able to re-establish the lines that need more work, like on the slide. I'll also touch up the serrations so they're nice and sharp. Then I'll polish it out to about 800 grit and hot blue it. It should be beautiful when I'm done. I'll be tinkering with this for a while and I'll try to remember to post some pics as I progress through the polishing. It'll be a couple months before I start working on it. I'll finish it this summer and show off the final product when it's done.
Lastly, the grips are cracked which is fine by me because I'm partial to the checkered walnut grips anyway. If all goes well it'll look pretty close to this when I'm done:
Damn, it feels good to be a gangsta'.
Here's a little more info on the different variations of the 1903. The one I bought is a Type III.
JUST REALIZED YOU BOUGHT ONE...SORRY FOR THE REST OF THIS POST! NICE PISTOL!
They are fairly sweet shooting pistol. My dad has the .380 version. I would really like to push you towards the .380 instead of the .32 ACP. I know that some prolific people used them but goddamn that doesn't make it any better of a round. The facts are the .380 is bigger and moves faster thus better. Speaking from personal experience, I have seen a person shot with a .32 in the cranium at fairly close range (8-10 yards) and survive. The bullet entered the back right and followed the skull and exited behind the right ear. The guy's quality of life wasn't great afterwards but he was not effectively croaked. Now, call it a fluke, call it bad ammo, call it whatever you want. I have personally seen quite a few people killed with quite a few different rounds, and to be honest this was the first instance where a bullet was not totally effective when hitting a guy in the head. Then again, hommie, ballistics is a mother fucker and totally unpredictable. I play the law of averages. The .380 is consistently better.
This fucked up guy killed literally tens of thousands of people under Stalin:
He only used a fucking .25 ACP when he shot people. That doesn't mean I'm going to rush out and buy that hunk of dog ****.
Originally Posted by TexJohn
The flaw in that line of thinking is that only a moron would use a gun that rolled out of the factory 97 years ago for self defense in the first place, regardless of the caliber. I carry Sigs and Glocks the vast majority of the time. Also, I have a .380 already. In fact I've got pistols in a shitload of calibers.
I bought the gun because it's fucking cool. I would never, ever, ever carry it for self defense. I'm fully aware of the ballistic limitations of a .32, but that's not the main reason I wouldn't carry it. I wouldn't carry it because it's a century old and I don't like to bet my life on 100 year old parts. Hence, the invitation in my OP for the .32 haters to go **** themselves. I mean that in the nicest possible way.
Originally Posted by Devil
Work has begun on my 1903. First, disassembly:
I use Naval Jelly to remove the existing bluing:
Here she is in the white:
Here's some of my polishing setup. I'm using 3M adhesive backed sandpaper of various grits on pieces of oak for a backing to polish the flat surfaces and 3M multipurpose lubricant to lube the paper during polishing. You can see the difference in appearance between the frame and slide after my initial polishing on the frame. The frame is only polished to 150 grit here. It will be much shinier when I'm done. The purpose of the initial polishing is to remove all the pits and scratches and establish a uniform surface.
Some better pics of the frame after the initial polishing. I marked the rails with layout fluid as a reminder to stay off of them with the sandpaper.
After the initial polishing of the magazine I can see I'm going to have to live with some pitting. The metal is too thin to take it all out. Oh well, it's just a magazine.
I have to say the most pleasant surprise of the day was when I hit the slide with a little sandpaper. It looked pretty rough but with just a few strokes of the paper the surface muck is coming right off and I can see there is very little pitting on the slide. This thing is going to be awesome. More pics in a week or so.
This is a really cool restoration project. I haven't gotten into this type of thing yet, but I hope to someday. Can't wait to see the results of your efforts.
I have to agree with Cassius. I love restoration projects on old tools and guns. Please keep us up to date. I can't wait to see the finished project.
Hell yeah! The ORIGINAL CCW. Streamlining so far ahead of it's time it's not even funny.
I've shot the 1903 before. 1918 manufacture IIRC, so the piece had a lifetime on it. Still ran like a top! Darn handy little stinger too. Reliable and dead on at defensive distances. Not that it's hard to hit something nine yards away, but what I mean is you could pick which eye socket to drill. Really impressive for a 90 year old pocket handgun.
I would love to own one of the 1908 versions. Mostly because .32acp is rare and pricey in these parts but .380 not so much...