"Original" Colt 1911s chambered in .38AMU

Page 1 of 2 1, 2  Next

View previous topic View next topic Go down

"Original" Colt 1911s chambered in .38AMU

Post by Rob Kovach on 1/24/2016, 7:29 pm

This bit of history goes way back.

Back in the 50s the AMU took a 1911 in .38 Super, reamed out the chamber deep enough for a rimless .38spl (that the AMU made on a lathe out of .38spl brass) case and created a new caliber known as .38 AMU to create a more competitive centerfire gun.

I'm hoping that one of you guys was around back then. There are guys trying to collect the old Colt .38 AMU bullseye guns and we are trying to figure out if there were any of these guns produced in the Colt factory or if they were all converted by armorers and gunsmiths in the aftermarket.

Let me know what you guys remember about those .38 AMUs.
avatar
Rob Kovach
Admin

Posts : 2609
Join date : 2011-06-13
Age : 43
Location : Brooklyn, WI

Back to top Go down

Re: "Original" Colt 1911s chambered in .38AMU

Post by Tim:H11 on 1/24/2016, 7:31 pm

I'm guessing since they only modified the rim that you still loaded it with 38 special load data?
avatar
Tim:H11

Posts : 823
Join date : 2015-11-04
Age : 28
Location : TN

Back to top Go down

Re: "Original" Colt 1911s chambered in .38AMU

Post by orpheoet on 1/24/2016, 7:58 pm

I don't mean to hijack, but isn't this what the S&W 52 evolved from?
avatar
orpheoet

Posts : 525
Join date : 2014-07-29
Age : 49
Location : Lakewood, Oh

Back to top Go down

Re: "Original" Colt 1911s chambered in .38AMU

Post by Tim:H11 on 1/24/2016, 8:17 pm

orpheoet wrote:I don't mean to hijack, but isn't this what the S&W 52 evolved from?

I'd be curious to find out. But if so...when did they stop making the 38 AMU 1911 and start making the 38 Special 1911's? My mentor has a Colt National Match in 38 Special. Nice gun. Until this thread I had never heard of a 38 AMU... So this interests me quite a bit as I tend to gravitate toward older equipment and practices.
avatar
Tim:H11

Posts : 823
Join date : 2015-11-04
Age : 28
Location : TN

Back to top Go down

Re: "Original" Colt 1911s chambered in .38AMU

Post by dronning on 1/24/2016, 8:51 pm

I think some were produced by colt, I almost bought one 3 years ago until I found out brass is almost impossible to find.  I wasn't at the point where I would buy a gun I couldn't shoot.  

I have pics somewhere showing:
1) A 5 shot test target @ 15 yards from Colt plainly marked 38 Auto AMU.  (I'd estimate group to be < 1/2") 
2) The slide stamped Colt 38 AMU Automatic definitely factory stamped
3) Original box from Colt 38 Super with AMU written on it as if Colt did the conversion.

- Dave
avatar
dronning

Posts : 1265
Join date : 2013-03-20
Age : 63
Location : Lakeville, MN

Back to top Go down

Re: "Original" Colt 1911s chambered in .38AMU

Post by Wobbley on 1/24/2016, 8:53 pm

I wasn't around, but from dim and distant memories the AMU developed the round and the conversion method in the middle 1950s.  Colt then sold kits consisting of a frame and a top "half" so gunsmiths could make 38 AMU  target pistols.  No guns were completed by Colt.  But they are marked as all Colt.  The AMU developed the 52 and most know that history.  The Colt Mid Range in 38 special was an answer from Colt for an out of the box gun that would be competitive to the kit guns.  The. 38 AMU had issues with brass availability and never took off.  Most people had to get them machined.


I believe the impetus for all this was the International shooters were limited to 9mm in the center fire course and the AMU wanted to shoot A gun they were familiar with (1911).

Wobbley

Posts : 905
Join date : 2015-02-12

Back to top Go down

Re: "Original" Colt 1911s chambered in .38AMU

Post by Rob Kovach on 1/24/2016, 9:02 pm

Dronning,

If you can find any pictures of a .38 AMU slide that was factory roll marked, can you let me know?
I've never seen one that wasn't rolled ".38 Super" then Hand Stamped "AMU"

As Wobbly said, most .38 AMU'S were converted to .38spl mid-range (wadcutter).

There is a colt collector trying to figure out hoe a Colt .38 AMU appeared from the factory. The serial number lookup says .38 super match. That leads me to believe the gun was converted on the outside.
avatar
Rob Kovach
Admin

Posts : 2609
Join date : 2011-06-13
Age : 43
Location : Brooklyn, WI

Back to top Go down

Re: "Original" Colt 1911s chambered in .38AMU

Post by Wobbley on 1/24/2016, 9:48 pm

Some further background on the kit guns in 38 Special. 

http://youtu.be/8c-QPgPmH60

Some further background on 38 AMU pistols.  Apparently there were some guns completed by Colt but these went to the AMU. 
http://youtu.be/OM_vPkPeSO8

Wobbley

Posts : 905
Join date : 2015-02-12

Back to top Go down

Re: "Original" Colt 1911s chambered in .38AMU

Post by Chris Miceli on 1/24/2016, 10:26 pm

http://www.ammo-one.com/38AMU.html


Last edited by Christopher Miceli on 1/24/2016, 10:28 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : new link)
avatar
Chris Miceli

Posts : 1255
Join date : 2015-10-27
Location : Haymarket, VA

Back to top Go down

Re: "Original" Colt 1911s chambered in .38AMU

Post by dronning on 1/25/2016, 12:00 am

Here is one of the pics that was sent to me.  I think the gun did start as a 38 super but I believe this one was converted by Colt.  The photo of the test target (from Colt) which I can't find was marked 38 Auto AMU. and there was a number on the target - I don't remember what it was.  

- Dave


Last edited by dronning on 1/25/2016, 9:51 am; edited 1 time in total
avatar
dronning

Posts : 1265
Join date : 2013-03-20
Age : 63
Location : Lakeville, MN

Back to top Go down

Re: "Original" Colt 1911s chambered in .38AMU

Post by jglenn21 on 1/25/2016, 8:58 am

When I was shooting in the mid 70s all the 38 AMUs I saw were converted to the Spl.. I had a Clark 61 that had a AMU barrel that was converted.. Used to have some brass, but long gone these days..

Both Federal and Remington made cases for it.
avatar
jglenn21

Posts : 836
Join date : 2015-04-07
Age : 69
Location : monroe , ga

Back to top Go down

Re: "Original" Colt 1911s chambered in .38AMU

Post by fc60 on 1/25/2016, 10:06 am

Greetings,

Sgt. Gano of the USAMU developed the 38 AMU, as told to me by Jack Maple, also of the USAMU in the late 50's and early 60's.

Western, Federal, and Remington all made contract ammo for the Army. Exactly the same as 38 Special WadCutter; but, with the modified head. (Very similar, if not the same profile, as the 38 AUTO/SUPER)

You "could" ream out a 38 Super to 38 AMU; but, the 38 Super chamber is larger than a 38 Special and the fired cases would be bulged excessively. This is why 38 Super conversion barrels have sleeved chambers.

Also, the 38 AMU chamber had a 1 1/2 degree chamber throat. Very easy to see with the naked eye.

Smith and Wesson also chamber a small number of pistols marked 52-A. They were, again, contract items for the USAMU.

Soon thereafter, Colt brought out the 38 National Match and the excellent 38 Special magazine to suit. This fairly much ended the 38 AMU as the new magazine design removed the feeding issues.

I do have an original Colt 38 AMU magazine and several boxes of commercial ammo for curiosity sake.

Cheers,

Dave

fc60

Posts : 156
Join date : 2011-06-11
Location : South Prairie, WA 98385

Back to top Go down

Re: "Original" Colt 1911s chambered in .38AMU

Post by Magnusbullets on 1/25/2016, 4:57 pm

I sold some brass and a used amu gun for a Marine resevere team shooter, that ran our matches in bham ,al back in the day. Late 80s.
Kool setup. Shot great.

Magnusbullets

Posts : 254
Join date : 2011-06-12
Location : ardmore, al

http://www.magnusbullets.com

Back to top Go down

Re: "Original" Colt 1911s chambered in .38AMU

Post by Allen Barnett on 1/25/2016, 9:42 pm

As stated by FC60 his posting is correct.  MSGT Gano and my father MSGT Charley R. Barnett were the 2 smiths at Fort Benning who developed the 38 AMU and it was developed specifically for international shooting.  As for some more trivia it was also MSGT Gano and my father who developed the adjustable sear/trigger for the High Standard pistols.  Since they were both government smiths neither of them were able to receive any compensation for that little advancement that High Standard made on their pistols.  If by chance any of you might have a March 1960 issue of the American Rifleman laying about, there is an article entitled "The Handguns of the Champions", of the top 10 shooters at that time MSGT Gano and my father were identified by 2 of the shooters as being their smiths.

Allen Barnett

Posts : 83
Join date : 2012-10-22
Location : Central Missouri

Back to top Go down

Re: "Original" Colt 1911s chambered in .38AMU

Post by Jack H on 1/26/2016, 2:12 am

I knew had I seen it somewhere

http://www.wwmcmillan.info/media_AmericanRifleman_1960-03.html
avatar
Jack H

Posts : 1159
Join date : 2011-06-10
Age : 67
Location : Duckburg, Orygun

Back to top Go down

Re: "Original" Colt 1911s chambered in .38AMU

Post by jglenn21 on 1/26/2016, 8:53 am

What a great article from the past. Brings back many names
avatar
jglenn21

Posts : 836
Join date : 2015-04-07
Age : 69
Location : monroe , ga

Back to top Go down

Re: "Original" Colt 1911s chambered in .38AMU

Post by james r chapman on 1/26/2016, 11:27 am

Thank you!
avatar
james r chapman

Posts : 1820
Join date : 2012-01-31
Age : 68
Location : HELL, Michigan

Back to top Go down

Re: "Original" Colt 1911s chambered in .38AMU

Post by spursnguns on 1/26/2016, 1:50 pm

Jack H wrote:I knew had I seen it somewhere

http://www.wwmcmillan.info/media_AmericanRifleman_1960-03.html

Check out all those index fingers on their respective triggers.  Times certainly have changed.

Jim
avatar
spursnguns

Posts : 222
Join date : 2013-01-04
Age : 59
Location : Gilroy, California

Back to top Go down

Re: "Original" Colt 1911s chambered in .38AMU

Post by DavidR on 1/26/2016, 3:23 pm

Great article on our bullseye heritage!
avatar
DavidR
Admin

Posts : 2963
Join date : 2011-06-10
Age : 63
Location : NRA:Expert, Georgia

Back to top Go down

Re: "Original" Colt 1911s chambered in .38AMU

Post by BE Mike on 1/27/2016, 9:14 am

Jack H wrote:I knew had I seen it somewhere

http://www.wwmcmillan.info/media_AmericanRifleman_1960-03.html
I remember many of these names and met a few. I must be getting long in the tooth. Thanks for a trip down memory lane. Giles and Clark are the names most often mentioned, as far as, civilian pistolsmiths.
avatar
BE Mike

Posts : 1272
Join date : 2011-07-29
Location : Indiana

Back to top Go down

Re: "Original" Colt 1911s chambered in .38AMU

Post by Dr.Don on 1/27/2016, 10:49 am

I got to shoot quite a few matches with Joe White in the '80s in and around Northern Virginia.  I'm feeling old reading this......

Dr.Don

Posts : 393
Join date : 2012-10-31
Location : Cedar Park, TX

Back to top Go down

Re: "Original" Colt 1911s chambered in .38AMU

Post by Jerry Keefer on 1/27/2016, 11:07 am

I like the rimless concept, and think it still has much merit.. Many of the feeding/extraction issues are a product of the 38 rim.
avatar
Jerry Keefer

Posts : 1001
Join date : 2012-01-02
Location : Maidens, VA

Back to top Go down

Re: "Original" Colt 1911s chambered in .38AMU

Post by james r chapman on 1/27/2016, 11:18 am

A Keefer .38 rimless in our future??
avatar
james r chapman

Posts : 1820
Join date : 2012-01-31
Age : 68
Location : HELL, Michigan

Back to top Go down

Re: "Original" Colt 1911s chambered in .38AMU

Post by jglenn21 on 1/27/2016, 11:24 am

A 38 Super comp  is close
avatar
jglenn21

Posts : 836
Join date : 2015-04-07
Age : 69
Location : monroe , ga

Back to top Go down

Re: "Original" Colt 1911s chambered in .38AMU

Post by Jerry Keefer on 1/27/2016, 12:20 pm

james r chapman wrote:A Keefer .38 rimless in our future??
Hmmm, no problem, but it will take a lot of time to machine the rims off all those 38s.
avatar
Jerry Keefer

Posts : 1001
Join date : 2012-01-02
Location : Maidens, VA

Back to top Go down

Re: "Original" Colt 1911s chambered in .38AMU

Post by Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

Page 1 of 2 1, 2  Next

View previous topic View next topic Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum