From: [email protected] (James & Linda, Rawles)
Subject: M1911 Magazine FAQ (updated)
Date: 6 Mar 1998 00:19:29 -0500
Revised March, 1998
In response to repeated requests for clarification on the types and makers of M1911 series magazines during the World Wars and post-War, here is a brief outline:
“Two-tone” magazines. These are the type that were made up until just before WWII. They are called “two tone” because only the bottom half of the magazine was blued, while the upper half was left “in the white.” Most were made without lanyard loops. These sell for $30 to $70, depending on condition. Those with lanyard loops are much more scarce and therefore sell for $50 to $150, again depending on condition. There were several makers of two-tone magazines including:
Remington-UMC. Made by Remington during WWI to fill a large military contract. This is the most numerous type of two-tone you will find. These are unmarked, but can be identified by the short length of the floor plate tab that extends from the front of the bottom of the magazine. The tab is rounded, but much more steeply curved than that of the Colt made magazine described below.
Colt Mfg. Made by Colt before, during, and after WWI for both commercial sales and to fill military contracts. These too are unmarked, but can be identified by a longer and more smoothly rounded (a longer, less severe curve) floor plate tab than on the Remington contract magazines.
American Pin Company. Can be identified by a small letter A stamped on the TOP of the floor plate tab. Very Scarce.
Raymond Engineering. Can be identified by a small letter R stamped on the BOTTOM of the floor plate. Very Scarce.
World War II blued (a.k.a. “One-Tone”) magazines. Made in large quantities during WWII by a variety of contractors. Entire magazine body was blued. To my knowledge, none of the WWII types had lanyard loops. Prices range from $10 to $50, depending on maker and condition. Here is partial list of military contractors:
Colt. Can be identified by a small letter C stamped on the top of the floor plate tab, or “C-S” on the BOTTOM of the floor plate. There is some debate as to whether or not “C-S” stands for Colt-Scoville, i.e. a subcontract by Scoville for Colt.
General Shaver. Can be identified by a small letter G stamped on the top of the floor plate tab.
Little. Can be identified by a small letter L stamped on the top of the floor plate tab.
Risdon. Can be identified by a small letter R stamped on the TOP of the floor plate tab. Don’t confuse these with Raymond Engineering contract magazines, which have the letter R stamped on the BOTTOM of the floor plate.
Scoville. Can be identified by a small letter S stamped on the top of the floor plate tab.
Variants of Risdon and Scoville are marked respectively: “C-R” or “C-S” on t he BOTTOM of the floor plate. I have seen one reference that indicated that these magazines were made under subcontract to Colt, to put in Colt’s WWII production M1911 pistols. Presumably, the markings stand for “Colt-Risdon” and “Colt-Scoville.”
A Special Note on WWII magazines: Many gun shop owners and gun show dealers are relatively ignorant about the “top of the floor plate tab” markings on WWII magazines. Most of course know the significance of two-tone magazines. However, they often have a box of magazines that they have accumulated over the years that they *assume* are all after-market. If you take the time to sort through them and look for markings on the *tops* of the floor plate tabs, you can go home with some original WWI magazines at a bargain price.
Post-WWII M1911 series .45 magazines:
Commercial Colt (pre-1970). Marked “Colt .45 Auto” on the bottom of the floor plate. Beware! Many of the after-market copies carry the same marking. However, the “counter” holes in the side of the magazine body are generally over-sized. The other dead give-away is the typeface (“font”) used in the marking. It is not the same style font used by Colt, and the number “45” is usually not preceded by a decimal point.
Post WWII military contract. Most of these were made during the Vietnam “conflict”. They can be identified by a lengthy military part number and manufacturer’s contract number on the floor plate. These markings fill up most of the bottom of the floor plate.
Commercial Colt (post-1970.) Marked Colt .45 Auto on the bottom of the floor plate. A rampant stallion (a.k.a. “prancing pony”) marking was added around 1970. Still in production. For many years the magazine bodies have been produced under subcontract by the Metalform Company for Colt. Shooting Star Company now produces some of the magazine followers for Colt–most notably these followers are used in the 8 round stainless steel model that was first produced for the now discontinued Double Eagle, but is now standard for all full sized Colt .45 autos.
After-market copies. Too numerous to list here. Most are total junk, and not worth buying. (You can expect horrible feeding problems.) In particular, beware of fake “Colt made” magazines! Three points to look for to determine if they aren’t the genuine Colt-made item: 1) The fake magazines are marked “Colt 45 AUTO” but without a decimal before the “45”. They may say “Colt” but they aren’t made by Colt! 2) The typeface (font) is not the same as that used on genuine Colt magazines, and is much more deeply stamped. 3) The “counter” holes in the side of the magazine are often much larger than originals. Keep in mind that the lack of a “pony” doesn’t necessarily mean that a magazine isn’t a genuine Colt. The pony marking didn’t begin until around 1970. The best evidence of originality is the type font used in the marking. (Compare side-by-side with a *known* Colt-made magazine until you learn to identify the original type font at a glance.)
Some exceptions to the “don’t ever buy after-market” rule are .45 magazines made by Metalform, Shooting Star, and Wilson-Rogers. These are some of the *few* after-market brands that my customers report work well. There may be a few others that work, but why take the risk? In general, unless you want to buy grief, only buy original Colt made magazines, or original U.S. G.I. military contract magazines.
I hope that you find this information useful.
James Wesley, Rawles
Clearwater Trading Co.
c/o P.O. Box 642
Penn Valley, Calif. 
voice: (530) 639-1999
e-mail: [email protected]