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I obtained a Series 70 Colt Gold Cup National Match recently. The pistol has a number of features which appear to be similar to those found on pistols 'smithed by Mr. Swensen. These include a squared trigger-guard,safeties stamped as Swensen's,checkering etc. How would one go about determining whether this firearm was,in fact,worked on by Mr.Swensen? Any advice is appreciated. Thanks in advance.
 

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Take a picture and I'll tell you in a heart beat :smile: Any "circle S" stamped into the gun? If Swenson built it there would be at least TWO Swenson maker's marks on the gun. One on the frame and one on the slide.

But you never know...it mightbe....slight possibility....that it isn't marked at all but I doubt it. There are a bunch of fakes out there too. Buyer beware of those! Stories tell of two still actives smiths who have dumbied up "Swenson" guns. The Swenson ambi's were commercially available and on lots of period guns had them. Than would mean nothing.

Do a "swenson" search on this forum and you'll see a bunch of Swenson guns. They should get you started on trying to verify you piece. Most of the buyers have kept the paper work as the guns were "collectors" guns from the get go. Swenson signed targets and reciepts are good, a stamped gun better :smile:

If you want serious help figuring it out, call me or email off list. Swenson guns are one of my serious hobbies.
 

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Classic example of an A. Swenson Pre 70s Gold Cup. Early gun before Swenson offered the comercial ambi thumb safety. This extended thumb safety is hand made, note Swenson maker's mark right above the safety.





<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Dane Burns on 2001-11-06 21:45 ]</font>
 

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Ace Pistolsmith John Jardine (Armand's nephew) has alluded to me that on some Swenson guns that were outwardly
unmarked for various reasons, Swenson usually marked them internally sometimes in hard to see internal areas.

It may be worth contacting John to get his advice.
 

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I'm almost afraid to ask, it may be a no brainer to all of you. How is this square trigger made on these guns? Is it somehow formed into this shape, is it initially cut this way?
What does his makers mark spell out? Was the same mark used at all times? Are there various grade Swenson guns. What type of slide, frame did he work from?

Are there references in larger detail of Swenson and his work I can be directed to other than what is on this forum. (books, photo collections, biographies, historical data, work ethics, etc.).

I recall reading about Dane Burns compiling a CD collection of his craft and no doubt, Swenson content as well. I take these to be most of the wonderful photography I've seen throughout these boards. Just marvelous.
Dane, are these CDs presently available for purchase?

Maybe I ask too many questions.
Maybe I'm interested.
 

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Swenson used two marks that I know of that were spelled out A.D. SWENSON (first line) Gardena Calif OR Fallbrook Calif or just CALIF. (second line). I have also seen just A. D. SWENSON and no second line. Lots of "circle S" stamps. Swenson marked anywhere and everywhere, often to cover mistakes or dings done in the shop according to those who knew him or hung around his shop. The only person I can verify that actually worked for Swenson is Wayne Novak and I suspect he has a wealth of knowledge , much more than anyone else on Swenson guns...Ken Hackthorn would be a close second I bet, as would Walt Rauch.

The trigger guard is easy to do with heat and a swaging bar. Nothing is removed if done right.

There have been a half dozen articles about Swenson in recent years. I know of one more coming soon. I suspect there is as much info here on this forum as has been written. I know the pictures are better and of more guns that anywhere else I have seen published. More to come here BTW.

The BCP CD does have a good section on Swenson...as well as Heinie, Garthwaite, Vickers, Novak and some photos of work by Hoag, Colt, Bilby, Wilson, Yanek, Krebs and Jardine. They cost $20 delivered, even to Canada :grin:
 

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I keep getting pictures from other makers that I wanted to include. Just added a great Novak and got soem good pictures in from Heinie. I have several I want to shoot that are new this wek...so I ma thinking next week. The longer I wait the more pictures on the same CD :grin:

Can you wait a bit more guys ?

I added 30 GREAT pictures this week!
 

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I value the time you take explaining to and educating the public on 1911s Dane. Your knowledge is well received. :smile:

I formally request a copy of your photo CD. Perhaps it can ship with your impatiantly anticipated Ignition System, if it hasn't left yet, that is. :grin:
 

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The trigger guard is easy to do with heat and a swaging bar.

-Dane Burns

Easy for you to say pale face. :wink: The tricky part is getting a perfect right angle -- and you only get one shot to do it right. As we both know, even Swenson had a few that went past 90 degrees. :eek:




Armand Swenson Colt Series 70 Gold Cup


The rumors about Swenson forgeries are real. I wouldn't buy a Swenson pistol that didn't have all the orginal paperwork and test target. An *informed source* once told me that soon after Armand passed away, it was discovered his makers stamps disappeared. I am not going to point fingers at anyone, but I can't imagine too many people had access to them. It has been said that Mrs. Swenson kept very good records of all guns that came through the shop. I have always wondered if those records could be somehow accessed for the benefit of those interested in preserving true examples of his work.





One of the things Armand did, was to take a factory barrel and add his barrel positioner to enhance accuracy. There were several iterations, but the above pictued barrel is from my Gold Cup that was shown in the first photo. Note the Prussian bluing that is still intact in this unfired Swenson pistol.


DD

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Desert Dog on 2001-11-07 02:46 ]</font>
 

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So everyone can follow along...



PseudoSwenson???

The ad is here

I have said this before... but, I still wouldn't buy a Swenson gun without the proper paperwork. Buyer beware -- Swenson forgeries are definitely out there. FWIW, most of the Swenson guns I have seen were hard chromed. I don't recall Armand ever using that particular style of red insert front sight, and Bomars were certainly not a Swenson 'signature' item. Check out the grip safety, msh and trigger -- then look below. While not every Swensons gun was checkered, that would give us another clue about this guns orgin. I can't see any makers mark(s) in the photo either. If this is indeed a Swenson gun, then this has to be one of the poorer examples I have ever seen. IMO, the ambi safety is likely the only thing Swenson about this Commander.

Compare that pistol with this fine Swenson Commander example owned by Randy Cain:



photo by Randy Cain

[Randy -- where is the Bill Evans/Swenson photo? :sad: ]


DD

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Desert Dog on 2001-11-21 13:17 ]</font>
 

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Noting that Randy's Commander is built on an original 1911 (not A1) frame and the dust cover is the original length. Has the recoil spring guide abuttment been milled back to Commander spec or is it in the original configuration? Randy??? It is a nice piece and I'm very jealous!! :wink:
 

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Colt 70 Series Combat Commander, 45ACP, 4 1/4 inch bbl with parts by A.D.Swedson-Calif.
From the pictures the only thing that I recognise as Swenson's work is the ambi safety of which he sold thousands at retail. The safety in this case is marked A. D. Swenson, Calif. But the ad is higlighted by a "Swenson Colt" and the text is as quoted, "parts by".

I would extremely leery of buying a Swenson gun without the accompaning paper work as Randy's gun is shown with. I own several and have bought and sold more. All of them had the paperwork with the gun or the original owner bought the gun directly from Swenson and there is no mistaking his numerious maker's stamps all over the guns.

Hey, just so you know I once bought a very nice single square bridge Mauser thinking it was a G&W because the scope mount said so. Turns out it wasn't :sad: It was in fact a Rigby that had been refinished and the mount added but I could have lost my shorts if I hadn't been so lucky. I haven't been a number of times and now I am a little more careful.
 

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I was in a gun shop yesterday and found a 1911 that was what I assume a Swenson. It was an older Colt s/n 3199168-c. The gun had an old style hammer, arched mainspring housing, hard chrome frame, original blued slide,30 LPI front strap, squared trigger guard 30 LPI, Micro Sights. It was marked A D Swenson on the right side of the frame and also with a very small A D Swenson and ?? California on the right rear of the slide.

The gun had seen some use as the bluing was worn a little and the front strap had a small dent in the checkering, but otherwise was very tight and the trigger was good.

I know this is a difficult question from just a poor description, but what would this gun be worth? I'm wondering if I should buy it.
 
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