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Questions About WWII M1911 Colt .45


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#1 militbuff

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Posted 02 January 2020 - 08:56 AM

I know nothing about guns, so I could use a hand here.  I’m going to purchase a WWII US Army jacket and Japanese flag from a man whose dad was in WWII in the Pacific and served at Biak in New Guinea.  According to the man, his dad picked up the flag and a Colt .45 from a dead Japanese officer.  He said the serial number on the .45 was filed off.  
 

After the war, he brought the .45 to a gunsmith who was able to re-stamp the serial number back on the .45 so he could register it.  The gunsmith also engraved the top of the pistol with his name, date of capture etc.  I’m waiting for more pics to arrive of the other side of the pistol.

 

So my questions are the following:  is this an official WWII era U.S. Army Colt .45; why would the Japanese have filed off the serial number; is the gold inlay original to the pistol or was it done post war by the gunsmith; is it worthwhile to purchase the pistol?
 

Any thought or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

 

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#2 militbuff

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Posted 02 January 2020 - 08:56 AM

Here’s the capture info

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#3 militbuff

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Posted 02 January 2020 - 08:57 AM

Side

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#4 everforward

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Posted 02 January 2020 - 09:05 AM

From what I can see in the pics it is actually a WW1 Colt 1911 that went thru a refurbishment at Augusta Arsenal....when that happened is a guess, I couldn't say from what I see. Was it used in WW2..? Maybe.



#5 dhcoleterracina

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Posted 02 January 2020 - 09:22 AM

Be very cautious about any firearm with a messed with serial number. There really is only one reason to file off a serial number. It would likely be seized by LE or ATF. 



#6 militbuff

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Posted 02 January 2020 - 10:06 AM

Be very cautious about any firearm with a messed with serial number. There really is only one reason to file off a serial number. It would likely be seized by LE or ATF. 

 
That’s a great point. But what if it was stamped back on by a gunsmith.  Is that something that a gunsmith could have done?  Or should it still be avoided?  



#7 thorin6

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Posted 02 January 2020 - 12:13 PM

The grips are not USGI and not consistent with the age of the pistol.  As I understand it, the ATF will allow a serial number to be restored, but under their direction; I don't believe a gunsmith can do it legally on his own.  The story is somewhat suspect; while not unheard of I don't think a Japanese officer would carry a USGI (captured) .45 (shortage of ammo), file off the serial number (means nothing to him), or swap out the GI grips for civilian grips (where would he get the grips?).

The filed off serial number is the biggest issue.



#8 militbuff

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Posted 02 January 2020 - 12:41 PM

The grips are not USGI and not consistent with the age of the pistol.  As I understand it, the ATF will allow a serial number to be restored, but under their direction; I don't believe a gunsmith can do it legally on his own.  The story is somewhat suspect; while not unheard of I don't think a Japanese officer would carry a USGI (captured) .45 (shortage of ammo), file off the serial number (means nothing to him), or swap out the GI grips for civilian grips (where would he get the grips?).
The filed off serial number is the biggest issue.


I agree that the story is strange. I cant imagine why a Japanese officer would carry a US .45 with a filed off number. Sometimes things get lost in translation especially when they happened nearly 80 years ago. Im sure theres some truth in there especially since the uniform, paperwork and flag are all fine. But Ill definitely pass on the .45.

Thanks to all for your help.

#9 72psb

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Posted 02 January 2020 - 12:47 PM

There is or was  product called "Bonanza Gold". It was popular in the 60's and 70's. Put a glue in the lettering then rub in the gold powder,then wipe off excess.

That what it looks like to me.If cheap enough,buy it,strip the parts and turn in the frame to LE.



#10 costa

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Posted 02 January 2020 - 01:59 PM

pass up on the 45-------------- screwed with serial number means problems for you.




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