Wednesday, July 16, 2014

My Grandpa's Gun

It was a Colt Woodsman made in November of 1934. My Grandfather probably bought it shortly thereafter. I know he bought it new. It was his field gun. If he went walking in the woods, it was on his hip. The right side grip panel is worn down from the brush, the bluing is worn away in places. The holster, too, shows it's age.

My mother remembers it as the first gun she ever shot. It was always around, I shot it as a boy. When my grandfather died, it went to my uncle along with all the other guns. Years later, it was given to my mother. She gave it to me at Christmas about ten years ago.

I found the instructions, ordered new springs, and completely disassembled it, cleaning the internals and replacing all the springs. I suspect it had never been done.

 I shoot it. I let my friends shoot it. When I have a new shooter to take to the range, it always goes. And it carries the memories of three generations with it.

12 comments:

Isegoria said...

I went to read up on the Colt Woodsman, and the Wikipedia entry cited this passage from Ernest Hemingway:

The rifle and the pistol are still the equalizer when one man is more of a man than another, and if…he is really smart…he will get a permit to carry one and then drop around to Abercrombie and Fitch and buy himself a .22 caliber Colt automatic pistol, Woodsman model, with a five-inch barrel and a box of shells. I advise him to get lubricated hollow points to avoid jams and to ensure a nice expansion on the bullet. He might even get several boxes and practice a little…

Now standing in one corner of a boxing ring with a .22 caliber Colt automatic pistol, shooting a bullet weighing only 40 grains and with a striking energy of 51 foot pounds at 25 feet from the muzzle, I will guarantee to kill either [boxer] Gene [Tunney] or Joe Louis before they get to me from the opposite corner. This is the smallest caliber pistol cartridge made; but it is also one of the most accurate and easy to hit with, since the pistol has no recoil. I have killed many horses with it, cripples and bear baits, with a single shot, and what will kill a horse will kill a man. I have hit six dueling silhouettes in the head with it at regulation distance in five seconds. It was this type of pistol that Millen boys’ colleague, Abe Faber, did all his killings with. Yet this same pistol bullet fired at point blank range will not dent a grizzly’s skull, and to shoot a grizzly with a .22 caliber pistol would simply be one way of committing suicide.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Oh man, what a great gun. Not just that it's a Woodsman. It's all the other pedigree.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Show the worn grip panel.

ASM826 said...

NJT,

Okay, I'll have to get another couple of pictures later, I'll focus on both sides.

Borepatch said...

I've never heard of anyone who ever sold one that didn't regret it.

Richard Blaine said...

My dad had that exact same pistol & holster - I'm kicking myself for letting it go. This is me doing a face palm. No idea what I was thinking (or apparently not thinking at the time)


James said...

Grandfather's guns are the best kind.

Jerry The Geek said...

Yup. My father had one too. His story was that during The Depression he traded a mason jar full of .22 LR ammunition for the pistol, a black leather holster, and a black leather belt with a rifle-caliber ammunition 'sleeve'.

He said he was sitting on a hillside on a deer hunt (this was Depression ... there was no "season" for meat-hunters) when a Bobcat bumped into him. Scared the crap out of him! He pulled the pistol and capped it ... all 10 shots! Some of them must have actually hit, at a range of 3 feet.

All the men in my family are hunters, which means liars, so you can believe as much of that story as you wish.

I finally gave the Woodsman to my son "The Squid Kid". I never asked him what he did with it, hoping that he didn't swap it for a M92.

Some questions are best left unasked. (You can buy 'em books, but you can't make 'em think.)

Old NFO said...

Outstanding! And they are great guns (and still work too)...

shieldmaster said...

I am surprised how similar your Colt Woodsman is to my High Standard H-D Military version. Corporate twins?

I agree with you, I introduce all new shooters with this gun - no recoil and the sights are dead accurate. I can work on their grip and aiming with this before moving them up to a 9mm.

Charles

Unknown said...

I need another .22 pistol like I need another hole in my head...

...and have several that I can use to take new shooters to the range (including my K-22s, my Kit Gun, and my Ruger)...

...but every now and then, I see a Colt Woodsman at a gun shop and have to avoid drooling on it.

Ken O said...

Two things touched me. Grandad's Model 42 Winchester that I still hunt with, and the sentimentality that goes with a gun we have long had and valued. I during the blackest times, I managed to keep that Winchester, but had to sacrifice my first gun, an 870 lightweight with my initials engraved in it. May my stepdaughter know how much I love her, but let her never know what personal, sentimental treasures I sacrificed to care for her.