M1911 Springfield Armory, 1914 Production

I began collecting U.S. martial arms in 1980.  My interest was focused on M1911 and M1911A1 service pistols.  A 1983 business trip in to Holyoke, MA and time to kill before my return flight led to my first visit to Springfield Armory National Historic Site Museum (SANHS) and triggered an interest in all arms made by Springfield Armory.  By 1986 my interest narrowed to collecting M1 Garand rifles and M1911/M1911A1 pistols.  My interest in both arms continues to this day.

Over the decades I’ve been fortunate to have owned many outstanding examples of nearly every manufacturer with many having been in outstanding condition.  But a very good condition M1911 manufactured by Springfield Armory between 1914 and 1917 had long eluded me.  While I had owned several examples over the years, none were in the condition that I had sought.

Like most of us, throughout my years of collecting I’ve often had to “sell one to buy one.”  Having been self-employed for much of my adult life has meant no corporate retirement plan so much of my collection has been sold off to fund retirement and that meant fewer new additions to the collection.  As I approached retirement, I gave up ever finding a great example SA M1911.

I have learned that sometimes when you cease looking for something that is when it finds you.  And so it was with M1911 Springfield Armory pistol s/n 80360.  A local gun dealer friend contacted me about some M1911/M1911A1 pistols that he had gotten in and invited me to stop by to look them over.  The collection included several vary good Colt’s, but as soon as I picked up the Springfield Armory pistol I knew that I would be buying it, if passed the test of detail stripping and inspection.

With Chuck Clawson’s “Big Book” in hand, I detail stripped the pistol and compared it with Chuck’s list of 13 possible S marked parts found on page 104.  All of the parts listed were marked with an S.  The finish and wear of all components were matching, as were the condition of the SA made grips.  The bore was in very good condition, which is unusual as the corrosive ammo of that period was tough on bores.  The pistol was 100% original to its 1914 production and included the correct Springfield made lanyard loop magazine in matching condition.  This wonderful example now resides in my collection, at least until the time comes along when, again, I have to “sell one to buy one.”

Someday I’ll tell you of giving up hope in locating a suitable M1803 Harpers Ferry flintlock rifle to add to my collection.  And detail the surprising result of my having given up on a 20-year search for a suitable example.