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This looks like an original .38 Super from the factory. The serial number matches up with a limited production of .38 Supers made between 1942-44. I'm just guessing here but, the only part of his story that might be correct is that it was probably sent to Camp Perry to be used in competition shooting, hence the ordinance stamp.
 

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OSS Gun

This appears to be one of either 24 supers shipped to Remington for testing or it could be one of 376 shipped by Colt to the OSS in July 1945. According to Sheldon's book only eight guns from that shipment are known to have survived, and as this serial number is not listed could this be number nine? Definatley need a Colt letter on this one!
 

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There is one in the Imperial War Museum in London. I saw it a couple months ago. I will see if I can make out the serial number in my pictures. It was in the Spy area to include a Winchester 22 with a silencer and an M1A1 carbine with a ZF-41 scope mounted on it. A great museum and free.
 

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"In June and July 1945, the U.S. government purchased 400 pistols serial numbered in the 34000 - 37835 range. Some of these pistols were selected from prewar inventory, and others were assembled with surplus prewar components. ... The U.S. pistols were marked with G.H.D. inspector's intials and crossed cannon inspection marks." (1)

Clawson does not list such an example in his Government Models book (at least not in the first edition). It must be very rare. I doubt that it is a fake as why would someone ruin a perfectly good early Super 38? The serial number is in the wartime range and it has the late war trigger and a post war? serrated main spring housing without a lanyard loop.
None of the Super .38 pistols made by Colts had lanyard loop mainspring housings. I think it is authentic although I've never seen one. It certainly looks like a Super .38 of the period. Clawson doesn't state where those pistols ultimately ended up, so I can't say if it was a USMC or OSS or the Department of Agriculture. It would be interesting to know where they went. Personally, I'd like to have it. At it's current bid, it's not to far over what a decent specimen would go without the government markings. I think this one will go over $5000 from what I've seen. Clawson states the U.S. pistols had Swartz safeties. I'm going to ask the seller if we can see that.

In late 1945 the Miltary took 400 Colt 1911/ 1911A1 and sent them to Colt to have them made into 38 super for Camp Perry shooting. These were signfied by the stamping of the ordnance mark and the GHD inspector marks.
This part is hee haw. The pistol appears to be just what it is, a Super .38 that was purchased per Clawson, by the government.









(1) Colt .45 Government Models (Commercial Series) Second Edition, C. Clawson
 

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I see what he did...

He's assuming the serial number is from a 1911 USMC 1913 contract with the serial; No. 36514, what he does not realize is the Super .38's had their own serial number that duplicated the early 1911 range without the No.
That's where the 1913 USMC story came from.
 

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The 38 super in the Imperial War Museum in London is credited to the SOE. The serial is 18467. No ordnance stamp.

The Balister Molina, also attributed to the SOE, is B1305. They also had a late Polish Eagle Radom in the 47000 serial range and an early Nazi proofed P-35(p) which was slotted. All were SOE. The suppressed Winchester 22 rimfire rifle was 110563. My pictures are pretty bad and dark(flash through glass display cases really messes up a pic), and they need serious resizing. Otherwise I would post some. There were a bunch of 1911s and A1s there and I got pics of about all of them(2700 pictures on this trip). Most were Colts with serials under 1 million. The Rem Rand in the Brig. Gen. Teddy Roosevelt III's display, for his CMH won for his service on Utah beach, was an exception.

If you go to London, go to the Duford(near Cambridge) annex of the Imperial War Museum. That is an airfield were lots of US flyers were in WW2. Great planes on display and they have a special US hanger. I was lucky enough to hit it when they had an airshow. It was amazing. Nothing like the sound of a Merlin. 5 Spitfires and 2 P-51s flying, not to mention a lot of other stuff. They have a website for the museums.
 

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British Purchasing Commission

During the early days leading up to the time the U.S. got into WWII, the British were buying any and all handguns they could from U.S. manufacturers. The Colt Super .38's were among their purchases. I have no idea how they got one made in 1935, but maybe it was still hanging around in Colt inventory.
 

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It's a nice pistol and the first one I've see with a lanyard loop msh. You'll notice the one on the auction does not have a lanyard loop and if you check out Super .38 36797 on Sam Lisker's site (which is a military contract) it doesn't have one either. Clawson states the msh did not have loops, so I'd be suspect of the one on your pistol. Of course it's always possible someone at Colt made a mistake...which would make it a rare variation.
 

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Super .38

I don't know if you have lettered the pistol, but I would suspect that the pistol was shipped post WWII, accounting for the GI trigger and mainspring housing. If so, it probably came with Coltwood GI grips.
Is it cut for the Swartz safety?
 

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Axels said:
Here is a Super .38 that has a lanyard loop on a serrated main spring housing.
It has a stamped GI trigger as well. What were these, early post-war put-togethers? Do they have the Swartz safety?
 

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Super .38

I don't believe a letter would confirm the grips either, but it would tell you when it was shipped. Since the lanyard loop mainspring housing had already been sandblasted, Colt polished the back of the housing, but not the bottom as the lanyard loop was in the way. It is probably matte finished from the sandblasting.
 

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Both the pistol on the auction and the one on Sam Lisker's site (36797) have stamped triggers; my guess would be Colt had no milled triggers left.
 

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I was at my local gunsmith shop on fri. he has a .38 super there ,looks to be maybe 75 or 80 %,still has blue on it .I think somebody changed out trigger,hammer and put beavertail on it. I know that it it close to impossible to tell how much it is worth without seeing it BUT maybe a ball park. He wants 999.00 .i think i could get it a little cheaper but not sure.
It would depend on several factors. Condition comes first and by what you've stated, $999 for a 75 to 80% example would be too much. IMO, you box up every beaver tail grip safety and drop them in the ocean. I feel that it's just another gun gimmick to make someone money. The other two modifications wouldn't be hard to correct. The second thing would be what is the serial range? Axels pistol was probably put together by Colts just after the war ended it's an interesting variation in pristine condition. I've seen early 1950's examples going for over $2K when 95% + and original. Once you get into Series 70 I wouldn't expect to pay more than $750 +/-. That's about what a new Colt retails for.
 
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