There are three series of Woodsman pistols, corresponding to three basic frame designs. First Series refers to all those built on the S frame as it existed prior to and during World War Two. Second Series includes all versions built on the second S frame design from late 1947 until mid 1955, and Third Series means the third S frame design as used from 1955 to the end of regular production in 1977.


Each series of the Woodsman had a Sport Model with a 4-1/2 inch round barrel, a Target Model with a 6 or 6-5/8 inch round barrel, and a Match Target Model with a heavy, flat sided barrel. For the First Series Match Target that flat sided barrel was 6-5/8 inches in length, while in the post war versions it was either 4-1/2 or 6 inches.

The very similar Challenger, Huntsman, and Targetsman were attempts by Colt to meet price competition from less costly .22 pistols and were made during the post-WWII years only. The Challenger (Second Series) was replaced by the nearly identical Huntsman (Third Series) when the Third Series was introduced in 1955. The Targetsman, basically a slightly upgraded Huntsman, was added to the line in 1959.

All post-WWII type Colts built on the S frame, both Second and Third Series, including the Sport, Target, Match Target, Challenger, Huntsman, and Targetsman, have an alphabetic suffix to the serial number.

First Series (1915-1947)
The First Series Woodsman can be easily recognized by its distinctive profile, which resembles the German Luger in the rakish grip angle. The serial number also provides a sure means of identification. First Series Sport and Target models have no alphabetic prefix or suffix. The First Series Match Target has the prefix MT.
  • If the serial number is on the front strap and contains only numeric characters, with no alphabetic characters, it is a First Series Sport or Target. The only difference between the Sport and the Target models is the barrel length.
  • If the only alphabetic characters in the serial number are MT, it is a First Series Match Target.

  • Second Series (1947-1955)

    The Second Series Woodsmans: Sport, Target, and Match Target, have a push button magazine release, as on the Government Model 45. The Challenger has a spring catch at the butt.

  • If it has a push button magazine release just aft of the trigger guard, it is a Second Series Woodsman Sport, Target, or Match Target.
  • If it is marked Challenger, it is a Second Series. Although part of the Second Series, the Challenger model has a spring catch at the butt, similar to Third Series models. The Challenger will always have a C suffix to the serial number.

  • Third Series (1955-1977)

    All Third Series models: Sport, Target, Match Target, Huntsman, and Targetsman, have a magazine catch at the heel of the butt. In addition, they all have an alphabetic suffix to the serial number: either an S or a C.

  • If the magazine release is at the heel of the butt,
  • AND
  • the pistol has an S at the end of the serial number,
  • Then it is a Third Series.
  • If it is marked Huntsman, it is a Third Series.
  • If it is marked Targetsman, it is a Third Series.

  • Last revised on June 28, 2009