Looking for help with a M1913 Patton saber
I picked this sword up over the weekend, at a gun show, and have spent most of my free time researching these awesome swords since then.

Mine is stamped 1914, made by the Springfield Armory, and the serial number is 17161. There was no scabbard included, and it's been painted somewhere along the line. There are a few nicks in the edge of the blade, as well, but I don't know for sure if they came from combat or somebody playing around the backyard. There are two that look distinctly like blade marks, but maybe 4 other ones that look like regular ol' dings.

I know some troops painted these swords in combat to obscure any glare that might come off the handguard or blade, but I honestly have no idea what my paint job indicates. I know the US sold a good number of these sabers to the Chinese in the 1930's, and they slightly altered the appearance of the swords by polishing the handguard and blade, but mine is very clearly painted.

So here are some pics:

I'm trying to find out if the paint means anything special, or if I'd be better off removing the paint. I've also been trying to loosen up the handle nuts/bolts to see about making wooden grips, if I can't find a good reproduction set. Are there any good methods for loosening 98-year-old nuts and screws? Or, am I better off just leaving it as-is? Finally, is there any way of telling if, when, and where this sword was used in combat? I've heard these were used in the American southwest chasing Pancho Villa, as well as in Europe during the War to End Wars.
Hi Doug

Welcome aboard

You may want to hook up with this crowd, as somethere are compiling data (such as serial numbers) on the M1913.

Another site you should visit if you have not is

The condition of your sword overall is pretty rough. The swords were by and large already painted/coated but in this case this silver seems like someone's later attempt to pretty it up a bit. To be honest, sound examples are still circulating without scabbardd at about $300 without scabbards and around the $500 mark with scabbards. The average street price right now may be $100 more. I guess what I'm saying is do what you like but keep in mind whole swords may better fill a need for these.

I doubt any were sold to the Chinese and modified by them, as the American Horse Marines used this sword into WWII. Those were indeed nickel plated bowls/guards. Pershing's rush to Mexico wielding these was more often (by notes) showing use of the M1906, which was an updated light cavalry saber from the American Civil War. You will be hard pressed to find a massed charge that involved the M1913. Anyway, the fellows at that first link can sort out the rumor from fact a lot better than I can. Another great thread there regards a rpecursor of the Patton with the 1911 model

You may have to modify reproduction grips to fit. I have never put my Windlass side by side with an original but have handled originals.

As far as I know, it was the U.S. Horse Marines in Peking that were the last to carry them but I could be mistaken.


Thanks, Glen!
I'm in email contact with a guy over at usmilitariaforum. He's one of the guys trying to catalog the serial numbers. According to him, they've only gotten about 1,100 serial numbers so far (out of 60,000 total swords made).

I'm not expecting anything huge out of this sword...I don't plan on flipping it for a profit anytime in the near future, so I'm not very concerned with the resale value. I'm just a history nerd with a passion for fixing things and sharp, pointy objects :D

I'm honestly just trying to figure out the story of the sword, as well as best way to refurb it...be it paint removal, reproduction grips, etc. But, that'll all be trumped if I find out something significant about the paintjob. I've seen, and scoured, both usmilitariaforum and pattonhq, but I might go ahead and make an account on USmilitaria
I showed this to a local militaria guy, and he was quite excited about seeing one. He told me that he wasn't comfortable purchasing the sword from me in its current condition, but if I put a little elbow grease into removing the paint and putting some grips on, he'd be more open to take a look. He said even some wooden grips would greatly help the sword, because even though they're not authentic, they're grips and it would make a complete sword. Does that sound legit? He sounded sincere to me, but I don't really know much about sword restoration.
Little update:
I tried removing the pommel screw using a screw extractor, and the extractor broke. So, I'm sort of in the process of drilling out the old screw and fabricating a new one. I've got a lot of guidance over at Sword buyer's guide, so I feel somewhat comfortable pursuing this. I'm not in this to make a bunch of cash, I just want to get the sword nice and fixed up as a sweet collector piece. :p
I...um...forgot about this thread :eek:

Thankfully, I got a PM asking about my progress. I got the sword completely finished over the past 2 years ( :!: ), including some original grips from a military source in New York. It's still in rough shape, but it's leaps and bounds better than when I first bought it.

Since I moved the pics off of my Photobucket, and thereby killed the original thread, here's the before:

Black painted blade, silver plated handle, no grips to speak of, every fastener was corroded shut

And, here's the after:
The blade is still rusted and pitted, there are still bits of paint that I couldn't remove, but I'm very, very happy with my results. Any questions, drop me a PM on here!
Well done, I think it looks great!
Last fall, I found a spare scabbard at a gun show. So, with the cleaned up blade, fresh grips, and a scabbard, I now have a complete US M1913 Cavalry sabre...and that's pretty awesome.

For being a "once in a lifetime gun show find" though, I have now seen 3 of these at the local gun show...mine, which was in really rough shape when I got it, a nearly-mint specimen from 1917, and another less-pretty one with a huge "DO NOT TOUCH" poster on it.

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