Search This Blog

Friday, November 16, 2012

Top Rate Colt Woodsman Semi-Automatic & Camp Perry Single Shot Pistols

This December, Rock Island Auction Company will bring the 2012 auction season to a fitting close with our Premiere Sale, which will include an assortment of top rate Colt Woodsman semi-automatic pistols as well as some excellent Camp Perry single shot pistols.
Among the Camp Perry Pistols, one in particular stands out above the rest, Lot #1594, the Kornbrath Engraved, Factory Documented, Presentation Serial Number One Camp Perry Pistol. Part of Colt's long company tradition of supplying top rate arms to political, military and corporate figures as gifts this pistol was personally given by Samuel Stone, then-President of Colt, to John H. Trumbull, Governor of Colt's home state of Connecticut, in December of 1926. Before the presentation, the arm was sent to the work bench of Rudolph Kornbrath, noted Colt Master Engraver, who executed a subtle and elegant scroll inscription banner to the left sideplate. The Camp Perry was designed as a shooter's gun first and foremost, and #1 is no exception, as demonstrated by a pair of original factory test targets. The first, representing the first 25 rounds fired by any Camp Perry pistol is all in the black, with 8 outliers and the remainder cutting a single, significant hole into the center ring, and the second, showing a 10-shot grouping delivered through a single ½ inch hole in the bottom of the center ring, both impressive displays of marksmanship, even by modern standards. As for documentation, the only valid word is "extensive", in the form of an original factory letter which confirms the presentation, a mention in Volume Two of Wilson's Colt Engraving Book that verifies the Kornbrath inscription, original blueprints, advertising sheets and excerpts from factory ledgers. At the time of release, when the 22 caliber revolver was king of small bore target shooting, the Camp Perry was a revelation. By eliminating the cylinder in favor of a one piece barrel, the shooter no longer suffered the effects of the long jump from cylinder to rifling, the interference of the gas gap, or minute timing issues that could interfere with alignment, as well as having a longer barrel in the same sized package. To the casual shooter, the difference could be imperceptible, but at the competitive level, where a fraction of an inch could make the difference between the champion and the also-ran, these advantages were highly desirable.

Also present are a number of high grade Woodsman pistols, including boxed examples of the First Model Match Target, two of which (Lot 1597 and 1605) are first year production featuring the original "elephant ear" pattern grips. One of the most distinctive features of the Match Target, the extensions beyond the frame were highly vulnerable to drops and strikes, cutting down on the number of original, excellent examples on the market. Also an interesting grouping of three factory engraved Colt target pistols (Lot 15931603 and 1604) being two Woodsman and a Targetsman, all formerly of the Larry Mayle collection, reportedly on special order, including such features as gold finish and inlay, and ivory grips. Woodsman and Targetsman pistols are rarely seen in so fancy a style; both were regarded as a "shooter" during their day, with the Targetsman in particular being regarded as an "entry-level" arm, as such very few customers were willing to pay out to have one with elaborate appointments, making them scarce and desirable on the market today.

Without even scratching the surface it is easy to see the importance and depth of this S&W collection.  We cannot encourage you enough to come and see this spectacular collection and many more this November 30th, December 1st and 2nd.  Our sale contains something for virtually everyone and covers the entire spectrum from antique black powder arms to Class III Items. Our catalog is available online for free, or we can ship you one today, just complete the online order form, call 1-800-238-8022, fax 1-309-797-1655, or e-mail of We look forward to any inquiries, and hope to see you in at the sale!