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View Full Version : Remington Rand 1911A1 With No Serial Numbers



nomatic
31st January 2010, 09:55
My long time friend found this gun in his father's possessions after he passed and gave it to me as a divorce present. I was thrilled! As you can imagine it cheered me up instantly Just one minor problem..

The gun does not have any serial numbers on it anywhere. I have looked it over very carefully and they have not been removed it was just never stamped with any.
It has the proof marks on the slide, frame and barrel and they appear to be the same size. It also has the FJA inspectors stamp on it. To my untrained eye, it appears to be stamped with a partial Ordnance department inspectors stamp(2nd to last pic).
I understand from some other posts that I read that there are some "lunchbox" guns out there. If this is one of those why would it not have a serial number?

Should I shoot this gun, or should I put it up? If I do shoot it, should I worry about being pulled over with it it in the car and it not having a serial number? I saw a couple of posts stating that I could go to the ATF and get a serial number stamped on it, but if I do that wouldn't that lower the value? assuming it's worth anything..

What do I have here?
I would be grateful for any information and comments that you guys are willing to give.

Thanks everyone for taking a look.


http://img683.imageshack.us/img683/7830/011gh.jpg

http://img163.imageshack.us/img163/1288/010tj.jpg

http://img62.imageshack.us/img62/9379/009hu.jpg

http://img686.imageshack.us/img686/5752/008iy.jpg

http://img208.imageshack.us/img208/9204/007kv.jpg

http://img62.imageshack.us/img62/2770/006quv.jpg

http://img683.imageshack.us/img683/2041/005fe.jpg

http://img199.imageshack.us/img199/8779/004hgb.jpg

http://img686.imageshack.us/img686/1893/003xra.jpg

http://img641.imageshack.us/img641/641/002bq.jpg

http://img685.imageshack.us/img685/368/001trd.jpg

1saxman
31st January 2010, 14:09
I'm afraid its been 'sanitized'. Its illegal to possess a gun with an altered or removed serial number. I imagine some others here will chime in on that. I would remove every part and destroy the frame. The parts can be sold along with the slide or kept to build another pistol on a legit receiver.

nomatic
31st January 2010, 14:40
Yikes! What makes you say that it has been sanitized? Wouldn't you be able to see where the numbers had been ground off or something?

Spyros
31st January 2010, 14:56
I'm no expert, but it looks severely buffed to me. A better picture of the area the serial would have been (a little higher than this http://img686.imageshack.us/img686/1893/003xra.jpg) would be helpful. But if I remember correctly, the presence of acceptance marks precludes any possibility that it might be a lunchbox gun.

Chris_Blair
31st January 2010, 15:12
I can't see a single photo..."403 forbidden"

Here is an alternate view...it still could be a "Lunchbox" gun. A 'liberated', er...'smuggled'...um, well, it's possible that a Rem-Rand employee brought it home in his lunchpail, before numbers were stamped.

Spyros
31st January 2010, 15:19
I can't see a single photo..."403 forbidden"

Here is an alternate view...it still could be a "Lunchbox" gun. A 'liberated', er...'smuggled'...um, well, it's possible that a Rem-Rand employee brought it home in his lunchpail, before numbers were stamped.
But after the 'FJA' was stamped..?

nomatic
31st January 2010, 15:25
After taking another good hard look, I think you guys are right. Though it saddens my heart, I'll do the right thing, it's got to go.

Are there any legal issues with trying to sell the parts and slide?

Thanks rekladan and 1saxman.

Chris_Blair
31st January 2010, 15:27
But after the 'FJA' was stamped..?

I cannot see the photographs :)

All I see is a series of "403 forbidden messages".

edit-

oops, he mentions the FJA

No, I have never heard of that. But as they say, anything that can happen will happen. Tough to prove most of that stuff though!

Spyros
31st January 2010, 15:30
I can see them OK!

I believe selling the parts is fine.

kenoc
31st January 2010, 15:33
Why not keep it and just get the serial number stamped? Ashamed to destroy a good Rand frame...

Chris_Blair
31st January 2010, 15:33
I can see them OK!


that's really odd. Here's what my screen looks like: [edit: I think you're seeing a cached series of images that your PC has stored]

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v441/Chuck_Older/403.jpg

Spyros
31st January 2010, 15:44
Again I'm no expert. I believe restamping the frame, unless you can be 100% sure the number is correct, is risky. I believe Frank has posted about this in the past.

wjkuleck
31st January 2010, 15:49
Again I'm no expert. I believe restamping the frame, unless you can be 100% sure the number is correct, is risky. I believe Frank has posted about this in the past.
If it were to be in my possession, I would strip the frame and contact the closest BATF office. After describng the provenance, I would ask that a serial number be assigned (there have been pics on the InterWeb of ATF serial numbers) to the frame. If this could not be arranged, I would smply leave it with them and wave it goodbye.

Regards,

Walt
PS A "lunchbox gun" would not have final acceptance stamps. The serial number would have been applied long before the "FJA."

Spyros
31st January 2010, 15:50
Ijust tried viewing these images from a different browser, and I think Chris_Blair is right! nomatic, did you remove the images from your imageshack account???

Spyros
31st January 2010, 15:54
A "lunchbox gun" would not have final acceptance stamps. The serial number would have been applied long before the "FJA."
Thanks Walt, I was hoping someone would chime in on this. In any case, the fact that the finish is buffed away on the flats only, while the rest of the gun sports a fair amount of it, would make this a very improbable candidate for being a... 'lunchbox' original!

nomatic
31st January 2010, 15:59
Chris: I pulled the pics off of image shack.

I would much prefer to have the frame re stamped. It goes against my nature to destroy a part of history. But I am not sure if it is worth the risk..

wjkuleck
31st January 2010, 16:01
Thanks Walt, I was hoping someone would chime in on this. In any case, the fact that the finish is buffed away on the flats only, while the rest of the gun sports a fair amount of it, would make this a very improbable candidate for being a... 'lunchbox' original!
You're welcome. The "scrubbing" of of serial numbers was not unusual with wartime bringbacks. There was the belief that the gummint would charge those found with "US Property" marked arms with theft. After WWI, scrubbing off the "US Property" and leaving the serial number was way too common. It's likely that the returning doughboys who removed the US Property mark were unaware that the serial number was a dead giveaway as to the provenance of their pistol. If no "C" then military.

It's hard for us today to put ourselves in the mindset of a returning veteran after WWI or WWII. Further, folks then (at least here in the USA) seem to have had more concern with issues of honor and service, and would have been sensitive to thoughts that their wartime souvenir was contraband.

Regards,

Walt

wjkuleck
31st January 2010, 16:02
Ijust tried viewing these images from a different browser, and I think Chris_Blair is right! nomatic, did you remove the images from your imageshack account???
It appears that ImageShack doesn't permit gun pictures.

There are other image hosts. I'm fortunate to have my own.

Regards,

Walt

wjkuleck
31st January 2010, 16:05
Chris: I pulled the pics off of image shack.

I would much prefer to have the frame re stamped. It goes against my nature to destroy a part of history. But I am not sure if it is worth the risk..
You cannot have the number "restamped," because you don't know what it was. However, please see my earlier post. You can request a number from the ATF; if they decline, just give them the frame. You're no worse off, in the clear legally, and there's really no risk.

Remember, our government is here to help us ;) .

Regards,

Walt

nomatic
31st January 2010, 16:06
If it were to be in my possession, I would strip the frame and contact the closest BATF office. After describng the provenance, I would ask that a serial number be assigned (there have been pics on the InterWeb of ATF serial numbers) to the frame. If this could not be arranged, I would smply leave it with them and wave it goodbye.

Regards,

Walt
PS A "lunchbox gun" would not have final acceptance stamps. The serial number would have been applied long before the "FJA."

That is certainly something to think about. At least that way I try and save the frame..

wichaka
31st January 2010, 16:17
I have helped people get serial numbers restored.

Can you email me pics of the frame, with close up area of where the serial number should be.

Sanford Walker
2nd February 2010, 08:42
Wichaka, I am interested in "raising" markings from old muskets; when you say you have helped people restore a s/n do you mean you have a means to "raise" the old, existing, number? Or do you mean you have helped them throught the process of obtaining new numbers with the ATF?

Thanks in advance

Wolfpuppies3
2nd February 2010, 09:08
There are no photos visible, just "403 forbidden".

wichaka
2nd February 2010, 11:16
Wichaka, I am interested in "raising" markings from old muskets; when you say you have helped people restore a s/n do you mean you have a means to "raise" the old, existing, number? Or do you mean you have helped them throught the process of obtaining new numbers with the ATF?

Thanks in advance


Both. But I need to see up close and very clear pics of where the serial number should be.

1saxman
2nd February 2010, 17:18
Gentlemen; just to clarify - when I made my post, the pictures were up. The frame had been sanded hard on the serial number side. Because there have been several discussions here on the ATF issuing new numbers, with the result usually being that they would not, and with the uncertainty/risk involved with any dealing with them concerning a possible contraband gun, I advised to trash the receiver. I know we all hate to do it. If the ATF will condescend to issue a new number, at least it could be an interesting shooter. I wish the OP luck with that. It is also true that forensic science has been able to retrieve serial numbers because the steel is compressed by the stamping die and has a different magnetic signature roughly in the shape of the number. But, the cost of something like that would have to be factored against the real value of the finished gun, which I would guess at $450 with the retrieved number - about what it would cost to get the number if my guess is any good.

Hawkmoon
2nd February 2010, 21:16
There are no photos visible, just "403 forbidden".
See post #16 in this thread.

wichaka
3rd February 2010, 00:51
The cost is no where near what you stated to try to raise the numbers, I do not charge that type of fee.

But...if one thinks its the going rate, I'll be happy to up the price!

Hawkmoon
3rd February 2010, 06:12
Perhaps Wichaka can clarify, but is it even necessary to attempt to raise the number? Or will the BATFE just as happily assign a new number and have it inscribed?

Wolfpuppies3
3rd February 2010, 07:43
It is a no brainer to forensically "raise" (read) the serial number, it's done every day in crime labs. The question begs, why was the serial number defaced to begin with? The answer is generally because the weapon is either stolen or used in the commission of a crime or both. It may well be evidence.

Hawkmoon
3rd February 2010, 07:48
It is a no brainer to forensically "raise" (read) the serial number, it's done every day in crime labs. The question begs, why was the serial number defaced to begin with? The answer is generally because the weapon is either stolen or used in the commission of a crime or both. It may well be evidence.
It can be done, but there is a cost associated with having it done.

As to why the number was "scrubbed," that was often done by returning GIs who "appropriated" (that was a commonly-used term in the military, even when I was in) an issue sidearm and didn't want it to be traceable. Often the "U.S. Property" marking was also removed. Was the weapon stolen? Technically, probably yes. However, today neither the Department of Defense nor the BATFE is interested in trying to figure out who stole it, and they don't want it back.

Chris_Blair
3rd February 2010, 08:42
It is a no brainer to forensically "raise" (read) the serial number, it's done every day in crime labs. The question begs, why was the serial number defaced to begin with? The answer is generally because the weapon is either stolen or used in the commission of a crime or both. It may well be evidence.

valid points, although the obvious answers may not be the right ones

I just want to mention that Colt itself peened s/ns on commercial models so that they could "militarize" them with "US PROPERTY" stamps and new s/ns, right at the factory

I am not suggesting that this was the case with the pistol in question. just that s/ns have been removed for "valid" reasons in the past. That begs the question "why was the pistol not re-serialized if it was a 'valid' reason" and of course I cannot hope to answer that question

Wolfpuppies3
3rd February 2010, 09:01
Last year from someone's residence? Three years ago from someone's car trunk? Forget the "liberation" scenario.

I have personally had weapons stolen in a burglary of my home to have them recovered via serial number ID in NCIC years later and returned to me. Those weapons were destined to leave the country as a part of a greater criminal enterprise. I have also, as a lwaw enforcement officer, personally recovered many stolen weapons seizing them from criminal suspect's person or premises searched.

Hawkmoon
3rd February 2010, 11:11
Last year from someone's residence? Three years ago from someone's car trunk? Forget the "liberation" scenario.

I have personally had weapons stolen in a burglary of my home to have them recovered via serial number ID in NCIC years later and returned to me. Those weapons were destined to leave the country as a part of a greater criminal enterprise. I have also, as a lwaw enforcement officer, personally recovered many stolen weapons seizing them from criminal suspect's person or premises searched.
You seem to be forgetting the law of Occam's Razor: If there is an obvious answer, the most probable answer is the most obvious. The original poster stated that this pistol was found in his friend's father's effects when the father died. What is the likelihood that an elderly gentleman might have stolen a pistol, removed the serial number, and then died shortly after doing so ... compared to the likelihood that the father (or more likely HIS father) brought the pistol back from WW2 and that the serial number was removed in 1946 and has been that way ever since?

Why forget the liberation scenario when it is by far the most probable explanation.

Ken Grant
3rd February 2010, 11:36
I kinda thought that serial numbers were not required on guns until the Gun Control Act of 1968.
I do know that I have had rifles made before then that had no serial numbers but don't remember having any pistols without numbers.

Hawkmoon
3rd February 2010, 14:14
I kinda thought that serial numbers were not required on guns until the Gun Control Act of 1968.
I do know that I have had rifles made before then that had no serial numbers but don't remember having any pistols without numbers.
Serial numbers were not required, but ALL military issue M1911s and M1911A1s had serial numbers. It is against Federal law to possess a firearm with an altered or removed serial number. If the gun never had one and was produced before 1968 there is no need to add one, but for any firearm that had a serial number ... it has to have one.

wichaka
4th February 2010, 01:41
Its always necessary to try to raise a serial number, to see if the firearm is in fact stolen.

As for ATF, its an act of congress to get them to do anything. And they tend to give the evil eye to everyone!

I still would like to see pics of the area wgere the number was scrubbed.

Pleeeeez send pics.