A 1960s Colt Shotgun?

Colt Semi-Auto Shotgun

The Colt Semi-Auto Shotgun was manufactured for Colt by the firm of Luigi Franchi in Italy. It features an aluminum alloy receiver and is chambered for 12 or 20 gauge. The barrel length is 26", 28", 30" or 32" and came either with a vent rib and without or plain. According to the 2001 Standard Catalog of Firearms, The Collector's Price and Reference Guide, 11th Edition, there were approximately 5,300 manufactured between 1962 and 1966.

With the Serial Number Tables below, I can account for 5,093 of these guns. There is an oddity in that 260 of the Custom Grade guns made in 1963 and 1964 have serial numbers that begin with 4 rather than 7 like all of the Custom Grade Models.

My gun pictured here, is chambered for 3" shells and has a 30" full choke barrel with solid rib. It also has the higher grade walnut, the Gold Colt Medallion on the grip of the stock and engraving scenes of dogs and pheasants on the right side and dogs and a rabbit on the left side. Note: I've been chatting with a Colt collector on a forum and he opined that the medallion is likely not original.

I concur, and even think that medallion may be mounted upside-down (well, not upside-down, but rotated facing the wrong way), because the logo on the Colt Sauer rifle gun stocks are 180 degrees from this.

UPDATE 08/11/2020: A Facebook user just shared a photo of his 20 gauge and the medallion was identical, except mine is set upside-down from his.

The serial number is C040001, making it the first of the 260 guns in the 4 serial number series. There has to be an underlying reason for the deviation in serial numbers and that is one mystery I would like to solve. Reserved for special ordered guns?

Franchi produced 2,888 of the Standard Model Colt Semi-Auto 12 Gauge Shotgun from 1962 to 1966 in the following serial number range.

The Colt Custom Auto Custom Grade is a deluxe version of the Semi-Auto 12 Gauge Shotgun that features engraving and a higher grade wood than the Standard Model. Franchi produced 2,145 of these models.

bead midway on barrel

closeup of barrel stamped 3 inch
colt medallion
left side
right side
bead at tip of barrel
serial number


  • 12 Gauge
  • 3" Chamber
  • 30" Barrel
  • Full Choke
  • Solid Rib
  • Lightweight Aluminum Alloy Receiver
  • High Grade Walnut
  • Engraved Scenes
  • Two Sight Beads

Update: January 28, 2020 - I contacted Paul, the Archivist at Colt Archive Properties about obtaining a letter on this shotgun and here's what he said:

A great gun collection doesn't have to consist of all high-dollar guns!

This 1963 Colt Semi-Auto 12 Gauge is one of 5,000 shotguns made in Italy under a 5 year contract with Franchi (1962 - 1966). I purchased it in a local gun store for $500 a few years back. After researching it, I learned it's 1 of 260 with a unique serial number.


Standard Model


Custom Grade

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