Colt 1903 .32 & 1908 .380 - Question

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    1. #1
      Junior Member
      Join Date
      Aug 2012

      Colt 1903 .32 & 1908 .380 - Question

      Hello Everyone - I am brand new to the site and wanted to open up with a quick story and a question or two...

      To start - I have never owned a Colt ... yet ... and I'm relatively new to the "older" guns

      I walked into my local gun shop this week and was looking for a Ruger SR1911
      Finding out it was going to be a lot harder than just walking in to a random shop to find one
      So I browsed around for a while then,
      I was astonished to see another customer looking at a Colt 1908 .380 with a leather holster & also a Colt 1903 .32
      A weird coincidence, because I was just reading an article about both guns the previous night in the new addition of G&A Handguns
      I told him that I stop back next week if I was interested

      -So my questions are... What does everyone think about the Colt 1903 & 1908 ?
      (The gentleman who wrote the article said they were a couple of his favorite guns he owned)

      For someone that wanted to get into the collecting of "older" guns, would either or both of these be a nice starting point for the Colt World?

      Finally, if and when I go back, what would be a good offer be on either or both?
      The 1908 is in (for me) really nice condition, minimal scratches/ wear maybe a 7 out of 10
      The 1903 has a crack on the one grip and a little more wear maybe a 5 out of 10

      Budget is 700-1000

      Any and all comments are appreciated


    2. #2
      Senior Member TedDeBearFrmHell's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jul 2011
      the pocket hammerless colts are excellent guns, made when guns were steel. they have great reputations, thanks to the john browning design.

      as for the guns you described to start a collection, pass.... if you want to start a collection, buy guns with a high 90% rating and put them away.

      if you wanna shoot them, then buy them and refinish them if you want pretty and then shoot some more.
      they are gonna be fine with modern ammo if they have been well maintained.

      what to offer?

      well the dealer has to keep the lights on and pay the guy behind the counter, he isnt gonna drop the price much, unlike a car that gun will not depreciate sitting there.

      start low, see if he haggles, when you reach your best price and he wont budge, shake his hand and leave... if he lets you get to the door, you really were too low.

      and for god sake, stop drooling on the gun, he can see it and KNOWS how bad you want them.

      last 1908 .380 i saw was 95-98% and was selling for just over $700. actually it was just sitting there under the glass.

    3. #3
      Join Date
      Jun 2010
      can be found in Arizona or Ohio most of the time
      +1 what TBFH said. If planning for collection starters be aware there are 4 types of the 1903 model as well as a parkerized 3 1/4" marked U.S. Property serial number range is 554447-572214 are worth nearly double the non military issue pistols.
      The model 1908 has 3 types as well as a U.S. Property marked this time in blue finish with serial numbers 134500-138000 they are also worth double or a bit more than the non military.
      A word of caution about the military issue on both these models. They are often called generals guns and many were issued to generals, these are worth another roughly $1,000.00 more but must have proof (paper work tying a gun by serial number to a particular general usually) for that premium price.
      You best bet is get at lest a copy of the Blue Book of Gun Values the prices may or may not be good but the information should help you not make a high priced new collectors mistake. If you want more information there are a number of good collector guides in print that will tell you what to look for to properly ID Model, type, quantity, and so on.

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    5. #4
      Junior Member
      Join Date
      Mar 2014
      get the 1908. excellent carry gun and enough punch to be effective. most 32s ain't got enough guts to do the job. suggest hollow points.

    6. #5
      Senior Member tony pasley's Avatar
      Join Date
      May 2006
      clyde n.c.
      Both are good guns and if the price is rifgt you will not lose money. What do you want your collections for display or use or both? A display case collection then no they would not be a place to start but If you just want to collect old style shooters then yes they would be a good place to start.

    7. #6
      Senior Member Steve M1911A1's Avatar
      Join Date
      Feb 2008
      Northwest Washington State
      Quote Originally Posted by pitts View Post
      get the 1908. excellent carry gun and enough punch to be effective. most 32s ain't got enough guts to do the job. suggest hollow points.
      This is a really old thread, guys: No "action" for about two years.

      1. If you're using a .380 (as I do), you had better be a really, really good, instinctive shooter. The .380 is a minimum-strength self-defense cartridge.
      2. The difference between .380 ACP and .32 ACP self-defense cartridges is small. The .380 has only a very small ballistic edge, and even is bettered by some .32 ACPs.
      3. Some people knowledgeable about self-defense suggest using full-metal-jacket bullets, for improved penetration. (I use hollow-points.)

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