POTD: Not Just any 1911 – British Contract 455 Colt Government 1911
Welcome to today’s Photo of the Day! Here we have a very cool Colt Government 1911 pistol. This is a 455 Colt Government 1911 made for the British Government. These came about towards the end of World War One when the war of attrition was really hurting the British Empire. Small arms were in short supply and the current (or in the process of being adopted) service pistol for the cavalry was the Webley Self Loading Pistol in 455 Webley/Eley. This 455 is confusing since it is not marked differently from the revolver cartridges but these particular ones are semi-rimmed rather than rimmed. It was a simple modification on Colt’s end to change the model 1911 just enough for 455 Webley.
“Manufactured in 1917 on order for the British Government, this is a Colt Government Model semi-automatic pistol outfitted with a 455 Eley barrel and magazine, with a set of crossed pennant and broad arrow military stamps along with the standard commercial markings. Fixed sights, with a long smooth trigger, wide checkered hammer, short grip safety, checkered grips, a two-tone magazine with “CAL 455/ELEY” marked lanyard base, and a 455 caliber barrel. Included with the pistol is a English-style red felt lined hardwood case, with a blank brass inscription disk on top and a paper label for Daniel Frasier & Company of Edinburgh on the interior. Inside the case is an extra replacement magazine (two-tone, lanyard base, unmarked), wood-handled screwdriver, Micro-brand bushing wrench, and a package of 455 Mark I ammunition dated “30 1 19″.”
Lot 3642: Colt 455 British Gov’t Model, w/Ex. Mag, Case, Ammo, Accessories – Cased British Contract 455 Colt Government Model Semi-Automatic Pistol. (n.d.). Rock Island Auction Company. photograph. Retrieved January 11, 2023, from https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/75/3642/colt-455-british-govt-model-wex-mag-case-ammo-accessories.