SPRINGFIELD M1911 22LR SN:131301 MFG:1919 Gallery Practice

  • Caliber: 22LR
  • Era: Pre-War
  • Finish: Brushed Blue
  • Serial Number: 131301
  • Shipment Type: Military
  • Year: 1919

This M1911 is a Springfield Armory Gallery Practice Pistol.  It's the 2nd type and one of 25 produced in 1919 to be used with the less expensive 22LR ammunition.  It is based on a design submitted by J.H. Carl and modified through trials conducted by Col. Julian L. Hatcher.

The frame of this pistol is within the serial numbers 125567 - 133186 that were allocated to Springfield Armory but were manufactured by Colt.  The reasons for this change is unknown at the time of this writing.  

Based on a Colt M1911 frame, this pistol has a flat mainspring housing and standard features for the group of spare receivers the frame came from and double diamond checkered walnut grips. Left front side of frame has “UNITED STATES PROPERTY” in Gothic font. Right side of the frame has the SN in the usual place and has no inspection marks on the trigger guard bow as should be with the serial range receiver.

The conversion unit resembles a M1911 slide with integral fixed barrel and fixed sights. It has an enclosed bolt with dual checkered grasping knobs on each side and ejection port on right side. Slide is tapered with deep, tapered lightning grooves on each side. This was done to keep the balance approximately the same as a 1911 pistol.

Right side of slide is marked with a Springfield eagle. The bolt number “2” is on left side, visible through the grasping groove port. A trapezoidal cut in the bottom middle of the slide has been expertly brased with a well fitting plug on both sides. Accompanied by an original Type-2 magazine with heavy 22 Long Rifle Cal. insert in a cut down regular 1911 magazine body that has been altered by having a recess stamped in one side for the loading assist button and the top edges crimped to hold the insert. Cal. 22 LR. The insert is further secured with 2 pins near the bottom of the magazine.

The chart on page 449 of Military Automatic Pistols 1894-1920, Meadows, does not list this pistol. Dr. Meadows in later discussion, states that the mixed numbers undoubtedly resulted from being mixed during the numerous returns to the Armory for alteration to correct malfunctions.

These pistols were first issued for testing in Sept. 1919 and over the ensuing 4-1/2 years were issued to the Infantry School o Arms at Camp Benning, GA and the Cavalry Board at Ft. Riley, KS. Over several tests in these years the pistols were deemed unsuitable for a variety of reasons and were withdrawn from testing in favor of the Ace Model pistol that was being developed by Colt Mfg.

Finally in Aug. 1938 authority was granted to dispose of the 25 pistols. Dr. Meadows states “It is assumed that the pistols were cannibalized for usable parts, as was the custom, and the non-standard or un-serviceable parts disposed of.” It is unknown how many of these pistols actually survived, but only a handful are known.