For any who are mildly interested in offbeat firearms of old.
I'm always interested in the "molded oldies" so here's one that introduced the popular .45 ACP cartridge to the world and that predates the grand ol' 1911 by a few years. It's a Colt Model 1905. A fairly scarce model, only 6100 were made, trickled out of the Colt factory in the years before before the "new and improved" 1911 hit the scene.
My Model 1905 is far from perfect. It is complete, original, has the proper magazine, and is in good order, but the blue has turned to a soft brown patina except in a few protected areas. The original finely checkered walnut grip panels are so worn that most of the checkering is completely gone.
When I was employed with a small-town bank in Texas a Mexican lady was a customer of mine and also cleaned the bank. After her brother had died she spoke of a Colt .45 automatic she had around the house that had been her brother's gun. She said it had previously been her grandfather's pistol and that he'd brought it with him when he came up from Mexico. I love old guns and envisioned an old beater of a U. S. Army .45 so asked her to bring it by sometime. She said she would and that in fact she'd thought of selling it as she was concerned about having it about the house with her grandchildren. I didn't much think I'd want it as I have some decent military .45's.
One day she brought it by my office wrapped in a rag inside a paper sack. I'm sure my chin hit the desk when I unwrapped it to find a Colt Model 1905. Of course I was interested in purchasing it and told her so. She was hesitant as it was a family heirloom. I said: "that's ok, I don't blame you for wanting to hang on to it. Why don't you let me clean it up for you so it may be better preserved?" So I cleaned it, oiled it, and gave it a thin coating of RIG. I returned it to her and didn't think any more about it.
Several years later and after I'd left that bank, I ran into her and she asked me if I still wanted to buy her .45. Well of course I did so I took possession of the old pistol.
I've read that the early Colt automatics with the dual link "parallel slide rule" design were unsafe to fire. The design doesn't share many of the later 1911's attributes. After examining the design closely I determined that if the slide velocity wasn't too high the gun should be fine to fire.
In bygone years folks fired their Model 1905s with the standard 230 grain ball ammunition but I go easy on this one. The .45 ACP as it was introduced in 1905 featured a 200 grain bullet so I prepared some 200 grain lead SWC handloads with moderate charges of Unique and Bullseye. I worked up from the minimum listed charge weights to a middle-of-the-road charge which gave good function. The old gun is as accurate as my other military .45s and has never jammed. It has a really decent trigger and, though the grip angle is a bit more abrupt than that on the 1911, it is surprisingly pleasant to shoot and recoil is easily tolerated. I wouldn't subject it to a lot of use but am willing to take it out for occasional exercise.
I've never indulged in naming my firearms with the exception of this one which I call Pancho Villa. It just has to be one of his original guns. At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it. I keep intending to spring the hundred bucks for a Colt factory letter but haven't gotten around to it.
As may be seen, it's missing a couple of grip screws. I'm certain that the same sized screw fits several early Colt semi-auto pistols but how often does one stumble across any such pistols or screws? If anyone has a suggestion for a source I'd be grateful to know it.