Colt Officers Model .38 special


dagger dog
February 1, 2008, 10:54 AM
the barrel is marked officers model 38 and the stocks are checkered walnut with the rampant colt medallions. 41/2" bbl exposed ejector rod, front sights adjustable for elevation rear sights for windage, flat top strap checkered triggerand hammer spur, hammer spur is narrow.

any welcome to jump in and add input or experience with this wheel gun.

it shoots better than i can hold it. the action is buttery smooth, single action breaks like glass,double action is smoother than any Smith i've ever owned .

was passed on to me by an uncle don't know where it came from before that .must have been kept in a holster it's pitted and holster worn, but the bore is perfect and the stocks are like new . no end shake on the cylinder and the timing is dead on.the bbl to forcing cone gap is hair like.

i would sure would've like to have seen this revolver when it came out of the box new!

like previously stated any one with knowledge of this model, or experience, i would sure like your comments

thanks in advance

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February 1, 2008, 11:34 AM
I had a Officer's Model Match and it had one of the best double action pulls I've ever felt on a revolver. The Officer's Models were definitely some of the finest revolvers Colt ever made. You can get an idea of when it was made here:

February 1, 2008, 12:52 PM
Take good care of those wood stocks. They are selling for big $$$$ on the auction sites.

Your OMM is a pre-Python revolver. Same lockwork, same frame, same craftsmanship.

No finer revolver was ever made. Someday the Python crowd will discover the OMM and prices will soar.

dagger dog
February 1, 2008, 07:41 PM
hey, thanks guys just checked the serial # looks like 1948 manufacture date. it's one year younger than i am.

thanks again for the help dagger dog

February 1, 2008, 11:55 PM
If you have an adjustable front sight then you don't have an Officers Model Match (OMM). You have either an Officers Model Special or Officer Model Target. The OMM was the last of the series and had a fully adjustable rear sight with the fixed front sight. These were Colt's medium framed target revolvers. The actions were hand tuned and they were exceptional shooters. They ruled the bullseye circuit in .22lr, .32 long, and .38 spl. Your 4 1/2 inch barrel if stock is rather scarce as most had 6 inch barrels.

February 2, 2008, 12:22 AM
Does it look something like this?

Here's one in .22 LR.

The 38 is from 1950 and the 22 from 1931. The stocks are from the late 1950s.

The barrel on your gun should be 6" measured to the cylinder face.

Blue Brick
February 2, 2008, 12:55 AM

February 2, 2008, 05:37 AM
Like that .22, how does it shoot?

February 2, 2008, 07:25 AM
I love Colt revolvers, especially old ones. They seem to have put a lot of care and skill into making them, and they last a long time in perfect working order.
I have a 1964 Detective Special that i got for $289 bucks, and it is very smooth, very accurate, locks up bank vault tight, cyclinder gap is tiny.. And it is definitely not in pristine condition, it has been shot a lot over the years.

Jim Watson
February 2, 2008, 08:10 AM
The Officer's Model Target was cataloged in barrel lengths of 4, 4.5, 5, 6, and 7.5 inches, plus the 6 inch heavy barrel. A 4.5 can't be common, they were probably using parts on hand as they got back into commercial production in 1948. Probably not worth a lot of money in the condition described, though.

Standing Wolf
February 2, 2008, 08:26 AM
it shoots better than i can hold it. the action is buttery smooth, single action breaks like glass,double action is smoother than any Smith i've ever owned .

Now you know how come some of us prefer old Colts.

dagger dog
February 2, 2008, 08:26 AM
Majic 'n' SaxonPig , it's definitley 41/2" bbl. and the sights are as pictured in both of the pics. but the stocks are different, i would assume that the stocks in the pics, are of the target variety, the ones on the gun in question don't extend to the rear of the trigger guard. another assumption; maybe it's the carry variation ,duty gun, Officers Model Special?

knowledge is power dagger dog

p.s. the back strap of the frame is checkered also.

February 2, 2008, 01:23 PM
I have never seen any OMT other than with 6" barrels. Never heard of any.

If they actually sold any the number must be very small. If yours is original it's worth a small fortune to a Colt collector. I would want to verify that it hasn't been modified.

Old Fuff
February 2, 2008, 01:34 PM
I have handled several in 4 and 5 inch lengths. They were originally made for police officers who competed in special "law enforcement only" bullseye matches that specified the shorter barrels. They are indeed scarce if not rare, but a serious collector wouldn't be interested unless the gun was lettered by Colt, and that would cost $100 give or take. The letter might eat up most of the profit made on the revolver's sale.

At least one 4” Officers Model was sent to England in 1940 as a “Battle of Britain” gun.

February 2, 2008, 04:28 PM
dagger dog, Just curious are the cylinder flutes and flat surfaces (front & backstrap, underside of trigger guard, etc.) matte blue and the balance polished?


dagger dog
February 2, 2008, 06:26 PM

the areas you question are of the polished blue including the sides of the hammer and trigger, the only matte is on the flat upper portion of the top strap( anti-glare?) . the bbl is stamped COLTS PT FA MFG. CO HARTFORD, CT. USA. PAT D. AUG. 5, 1884 JUNE 5,1900 JULY 4, 1905 on the top surface and OFFICERS MODEL 38 preceeded and followed of what appears to be a cross which closley resembles a German iron or Victorian cross of the older style(not inferring they have any notation, other than me not knowing what else to call these symbols)

the bbl seems to have not been altered in length, as the front sight appears to be the same distance back from the perfectly crowned muzzle as the two revolvers that appear in the pics generously donated by SaxonPig. if it has it was by a very competent smith.

also by studying the pics ,the stocks on the revolver in my possession leave the rampant colt stamped into the side plate ,and a screw ,exposed and have German silver medallions, and the stock screw holes are bushed in brass.

more fodder for the greymatter

fun huh?


February 2, 2008, 11:37 PM
dagger...yup, fodder for the noggin. If the sides of the hammer are polished blue, more than likely the revolver has been reblued. Colt hammers on their DA revolvers (sans the MKIII, MKV, King Cobra, etc. later models) were always in the white.

Too, the patent information being on top of the barrel would preclude its' being manufactured in 1948 as that's a pre-war roll-mark. Possible someone swapped a barrel.


Steve C
February 3, 2008, 08:33 PM
Your grips are probably more like the ones on my .22 LR 6" Officers Model Match manufactured in 1959. The grip extension of course in not Colt. OMsm.jpg

dagger dog
February 4, 2008, 07:49 AM

yeah, thats them. i wish my revolver had a finish like your .22 man that thing looks good!


dagger dog
February 4, 2008, 07:56 AM
J. Watson,

is there a source where you aquired your info. ? it would make great reading!
most of the books only hit partially on this specific model.
also from your statments about the post war production it may be the reason for the older patent dates on the relvolver.

Jim Watson
February 4, 2008, 08:38 AM
Not being a big-time collector, my only reference to pre-war Colts is A History of the Colt Revolver, 1836 -1940 by Charles Haven and Frank Belden. I expect there have been more thorough studies since, but Haven & Belden has the advantage of reprinting the 1940 Colt catalog and sections out of earlier ones.

Colt is well known for not throwing stuff away, and finding a barrel with pre-war markings on an early post-war gun is not much of a leap of logic. But I don't have that in print.

Old Fuff
February 4, 2008, 08:45 AM
The Old Fuff is digging.... :cool:

Jim is right. Following the war Colt made many revolvers, including several hundred Single Action Army models, out of pre-war manufactured parts. Among those models were the Officers Model Special. More information will follow as time permits.

February 4, 2008, 01:34 PM
I have never seen any OMT other than with 6" barrels. Never heard of any.
I have a 5 inch in .38 spl and my shooting buddy has a 7 1/2 inch. I have seen one 4 1/2 inch in .22lr and can't pry it out of the owner's hands.

February 5, 2008, 01:01 AM
Colt did indeed assemble some OMT's in the immediate post war years from pre-war parts, and, as the pre-war parts inventory ran low, some examples of the OMT can be found that have parts from this period such as Coltwood stocks.

The OMS is a slightly later development. If some pre-war parts were indeed used in the manufacture of this model then rework to the frame would have been necessary to accommodate the larger rear sight and its windage screw.

The following pictures illustrate the development of the Officers Model from the 20's through the 50's:

Colt OMT, 38, 1923, 7˝" barrel. Modified King #1 front sight.

Colt OMT, 38, 1923, 6" barrel. Original barrel replaced with heavy type at factory, 1936. Stocks not original, but pre-war. Perhaps the stocks date to the factory refurbishment.

Colt OMT, 32, 1939, 6" barrel.

Colt OMT, 22. 1933. 6" Barrel. Note the somewhat lighter barrel profile characteristic of many examples found chambered for 22 LR.

Colt OMS, 38, 1950, 6" barrel. Note the difference in the rear sight (and the cut in the frame) used here, the Coltwood stocks, the intermediate type hammer, and the characteistic OMS barrel.

Colt OMM, 38,1957, 6" Barrel.


February 5, 2008, 12:52 PM
I have an OMT heavy barrel serial number 603000... that last 0 is causing me some confusion. Any help as to when it was made, etc? The sources I've looked at seem to tell me it has one extra number than it should in the serial number.

Thanks for any help.

Old Fuff
February 5, 2008, 03:36 PM
1K PerDay:

There isn’t a problem with your serial number as such, but finding where it fits in to a very confusing situation. In fact a leading Colt researcher had this to say;

“No species of Colt double-actions can touch the Officers Model in intricacy of serial numbers, and variations in configuration, sights and nomenclature. Members of the O.M. classification are the Officers Model, Officers Model Target, Officers Model Special, Officers Model Match and finely the MK III Officers Model Match. The group covered a span of sixty-five years, but due to serial-number practices hundreds of research hours would be required to tabulate accurately just how many revolvers were made.”

The first and most important step is to determine exactly which of the various versions your revolver is. Then one can start tracking which particular series of serial numbers fits.

I am working on it, and success will be forthcoming. But so far today a number of things have come up that demanded my immediate attention. When time permits I will date your serial number.

February 5, 2008, 05:02 PM
No hurry, I assure you. I truly appreciate the help. :)

No species of Colt double-actions can touch the Officers Model in intricacy of serial numbers, and variations in configuration, sights and nomenclature.
That sounds about right... I notice on a couple of sites that there were duplicate serial numbers made in different models. Bet that's fun to track down...

Old Fuff
February 5, 2008, 06:27 PM
That sounds about right... I notice on a couple of sites that there were duplicate serial numbers made in different models. Bet that's fun to track down...

You have a warped…. I say a really warped sense of humor. :evil: :D

Old Fuff
February 5, 2008, 07:10 PM
Check your barrel on the left side and see if it's marked "OFFICERS MODEL TARGET 38” There may also be a marking "HEAVY BARREL."

If so, I believe that your revolver was made during 1937 (serial numbers started at 602,000 and in 1938 at 622,000 - but this included the Official Police service revolvers as well as Officers Model Target guns that were made that year.

The heavy barrel was originally offered on the larger New Service Target and Shooting Master model revolvers. But marksmen of the day ask for it on the smaller-frame Officers Model Target. During the Great Depression, Colt would do almost anything a customer wanted within reason, so in 1935 the heavy barrel was offered as an extra-cost option on the OMT series. This continued until 1940

The well-known Python is descended from the OMT, and the frame size and lockwork is for the most part the same. Also during the Depression Colt was able to lavish extraordinary hand honing and fitting that wasn't seen after, except possibly on the early Pythons.

February 5, 2008, 07:14 PM
Thanks again... I'll check.

February 5, 2008, 07:31 PM

The top strap is very unusual. Note the chamfer within the red elipse I've added to your picture. That is not present on normal OMT's.

This is speculation-

The block of numbers 602000 through 621999 was assigned to Official police models produced in 1937.

I suspect that one of two things happened-

Most likely a talented 'smith welded up the top strap of an Official Police, filed it to close to an OMT profile, cut a sight slot, and replaced the original barrel with a service part OMT barrel. The trigger too may be a service part. With the right filler rod it's possible to do this so that the weld, after reblue, is very difficult to detect.

It's also remotely possible that you have a factory oddity.


Old Fuff
February 5, 2008, 07:45 PM
Nope, the frame is correct for the heavy barrel version. Remember that barrel was originally for the larger New Service and Shooting Master.

You are right about the 1937 Official Police serial numbers, but according to R.L. Wilson the OMT revolvers made at that time were numbered with the Official Police service revolvers.

It's little things like this that make a researcher's life so much fun. :cuss: :D

February 5, 2008, 10:50 PM
My pocket guide to Colt dates of manufacture by RL Wilson (Yeah, I know) published in 1985 also indicates an Officers Model with a 602,000 number would have been made in 1937. This would be numbered in the Official Police series and six digits would be too many to be in the Officers Model series.

But then, what do I know? I'd never heard of OMT barrels other than 6" in length.

February 5, 2008, 10:50 PM
Old Fuff and 1KPerDay,

What I assumed to be a chamfer may be the lighting in1KPerDay's picture- it looks as if there is a blend or chamfer of the normal radius on the top front of the top strap where it meets the vertical wall of the top strap in a roughly triangular shape rather than the usual crisp corner.

The arrow in the following picture shows the characteristic nearly sharp corner of this feature in heavy barrel OMT's.

If the corner is crisp then you have a "normal" OMT with an unusual s/n. It's not extremely uncommon to find such oddities in Colt numbering...

First series New Service (and New Service Target) revolvers do have a straight taper barrel without a shoulder similar to the barrel used in heavy barreled OMT's, however this style of barrel was discontinued between 1913 and ~1920 as existing parts in factory stock were used up. To the best of my knowledge heavy barrels were not an regular factory option on OMT's until 1930.

New Service, 5˝" barrel, 1916, 455 Eley, transitional, features of both first and second series revolvers. This rough old revolver illustrates the first series New Service barrel without a shoulder. First series New Service Target barrels were similar, though they did have the adjustable front sight. The taper per inch is slightly less than that used on OMT heavy barrel revolvers. These must, I think, be the barrels that Old Fuff is referring to.

The Shooting Master and second series New Service barrels was indeed heavier than that used on typical 1920's production OMT's but it was not the same barrel used on 1930's heavy barrel OMT's. Note the radius and short shoulder just ahead of where the barrel is screwed into the frame in the picture of the Shooting Master and New Service Target pictured below. All New Service and Shooting Master revolver barrels have a larger thread than used on the 41 frame revolver family (including OMT's)

Shooting Master, 6" barrel, 1935, 38 Special. I've never seen one, or a picture of one, with a barrel just like that used on Heavy Barrel OMT's

New Service Target, 7˝" barrel, 1920, 44 Russian + S&W Special. Note the barrel profile is similar to that of the Shooting Master pictured above.



February 5, 2008, 10:55 PM
OK, now I am really confused. The HB does not have the shoulder where it joins the frame and the standard barrel does? In the photos of my two OMTs the 38 has no shoulder and the 22 does yet I see on difference in the contours of the barrels. Is the 38 barrel heavier and I just don't see it?

February 5, 2008, 10:56 PM
Bob, that little extra line/division you're seeing is just a reflection... the transition from frame to barrel is smooth and uniform like on the versions above.

Old Fuff, the left side of the barrel has two lines stamped:

The + represents a maltese cross.

The top of the barrel is also stamped in two lines:

PAT'D AUG.5, 1884. JULY 4, 1905. OCT.5, 1926.

Below the serial number on the frame/yoke, there is a "D" stamped

There's a small triangular proof mark (I assume) on the left side where the front of the trigger guard joins the frame. Inside the triangle looks like VP or something. Rampant colt on left side of frame, no other mfg marks that I can see. Trigger, hammer and cyl release are checkered, barrel is 6".

February 5, 2008, 11:27 PM
BTW Bob, heck of a collection there. I assume they're yours? Beautiful. That new service target looks absolutely mint.

Thanks to all for the help... so 1937 it is?

February 5, 2008, 11:35 PM
One more thing... anyone know where I can get some original-looking grips? I assume they're worth more than the gun as usual? LOL

February 5, 2008, 11:48 PM
Yes. 1937 is my best guess. The revolver appears to be correct for that time,


Old Fuff
February 6, 2008, 12:10 AM
I think that most of the "heavy barrels" (all of which were .38 caliber) likely ended up on Shooting Master rather then New Service revolvers in the larger size. The barrels made for the smaller Officers Model frame were adapted from the ones used on the Shooting Master. Somewhere I have some late 1930's Colt advertising that explains this. In any case Officers Model revolvers with the heavy barrel were scarce, but not rare.

Colt also fitted the same 6" heavy barrel with a standard front sight on Official Police revolvers as a special order item, and they may be more scarce then the same configuration on the Officers Model.

The big problem is that relatively little research has been done on Colt's late 19th century and 20th century double-action revolvers. There is a lot out there we simply don't know about.

Old Fuff
February 6, 2008, 12:16 AM

Keep in mind that the stocks used on the Official Police revolver of that period are indentical to the ones used on the Officers Models. Also consider that the stocks used on the 2 1/2" Python were the same, but with a gold rather then nickel trademark logos. Those logos can be switched out, and you're good to go.

February 6, 2008, 12:55 PM
Thanks again to all. :)

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