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Colt should have where it went originally with a Colt letter. The slide must be marked in this serial range so you already know it is Navy if the slide was there originally.. Serial number list are out there to tell you if the frame was Navy. Just under 10K were so made and marked.

Evaluation of any M1911/A1 begins with the serial number so providing it or at least all but the last two numbers will get my more info. One advanced collector, who's opinion is as good or better than a $100+ Colt letter, will not opine if the serial number is hidden.
 

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A Colt letter is a waste of money for a USGI M1911. It won't tell you anything more than is already known by the serial number data of pistols shipped to the US Gov't. And it definitely won't tell where where it went after the gov't received it.
 

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A Colt letter is a waste of money for a USGI M1911. It won't tell you anything more than is already known by the serial number data of pistols shipped to the US Gov't. And it definitely won't tell where where it went after the gov't received it.

It is often a waste of time to get a Colt letter. Sometimes it helps. The Navy did keep some record of serial numbers, like the USS North Carolina. They will probably not show on a Colt letter but you will get some verification it was there once. The Springfield Research data base extended the data some. The USSNY also has a list and I had a pistol shipped there for years. Most USN pistols are a crap shoot after their issue after Colt documented shipment.

The biggest issue these days is was it altered/mixed up, refinished, etc. after initial shipment. Looking through SRS records are like looking for a needle in a haystacy and the needle is broken in half. Not easy and if it ain't mine. I am not trying.

If the pistol was before serial number 110000, the question becomes, was it messed with. If a gun shipped to the Navy after that number, documentation is essential since they were not marked USN. The whole problem is, these are expensive and very often humped. Buyer beware.

Forgot to add, if it did not say USN on the slide and below 110000, and no proof is solid, I ain't putting down my money. The ones known just by serial number just do not seem worth the money so I do not own one. I have 3 or 4 of the early guns.
 

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COLT or any manufacturer has no way of knowing where their pistol or rifles went to after they were shipped to the depot. if records do exist it will only tell you where it shipped to, and not where they went from there.

and I serious doubt the Navy can even find the records, if they still exist and weren't destroyed, where it went from there.
 

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Dumb question, but whats SRS mean?


It was, still is Springfield Research Service. IIRC, they added a fee, free initially, to look up a given gun and charged a fee. That kinda fizzled. Most guns did not get a significant hit so wasted time and money. Many with a hit, the hit was worth little or nothing. It kinda fizzled but there is very valuable hits to be found. It was not unusal to see a given gun was at Ft. Bragg in 1958 and maybe for 2 days. Wow. Others were very significant, but not many. Kinda like the lottery, you can do well but most do not.
 
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