need help ID this Colt revolver


February 28, 2009, 10:08 PM
So we have this revolver we need to appraise for an estate but we can't even ID it. I have info that says it was purchased new in 1947 and the serial number is 38348. I think it's a Colt Officer's model but the rear sight seems wrong. The barrel has been replaced along with the grip, hammer, and trigger all customized. Maybe the sight was changed as well?



Thanks for your help.

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February 28, 2009, 10:23 PM
Oh man, that's pretty sad.

Thomas Garrett
March 2, 2009, 08:11 AM
Yes, i think your right. It looks like a Officers model. Rear sights were "cut" in. Barrel looks like a gen-3, 6" with the high front sight ramp. est value (condition) $400.00 to $500.00. just my .02 cents worth.

Duke of Doubt
March 2, 2009, 08:31 PM
"Look what they did to my little boy ..."

Jim K
March 2, 2009, 09:01 PM
A good revolver "customized" to one man's taste for one man's use. I would not go to even $400; there are too many OM's in better shape.

That model was made during WWII; I think the last wartime serial is unknown, but in 1946/47 they resumed production with 50,001.


keyboard commando
March 2, 2009, 09:02 PM
cry !!:banghead:

Jim Watson
March 3, 2009, 12:07 PM
Can't be sure without seeing the topstrap clearly. Is there a groove there for the "hogwallow" fixed sights of the day? If so, it is probably an Army Special or Official Police gunsmithed into a homemade imitation of the Officer's Model with bull barrel, tall but fixed rear blade, and ramp front, along with a welded up hammer spur a la King "Cockeyed" and trigger shoe. All jewelled, too, woo, woo.

I don't understand the weeping and wailing over a gun that was probably bought cheap and customized to the needs of the owner in the post war era when commercial guns were not yet readily available and were expensive relative to incomes. The shooter and 'smith were not considering the delicate feelings of collectors 70 years later. Neither do I when it comes to making a gun do what I want it to.

Claude Clay
March 3, 2009, 12:31 PM
strip it
spank it
and start over

Vern Humphrey
March 3, 2009, 02:21 PM
That's definitely not the issue rear sight. And the ejector rod isn't properly knurled. This gun has been thoroughlyhworked over.

But how does it shoot? If it shoots well, you might be justified in going $350-400. But tell prospective buyers that it is not original.

April 16, 2009, 12:40 AM
Thanks for the help. I put it on consignment for $350 and have a cash offer of $280 outside of the gun shop. The double action is really smooth and the single action pull is really light I'm sure it shoots really nice but I actually haven't had the chance. It was bought new by an offer with LAPD in 1947 and I'm sure he used it in shooting competions back in the day. It also has a slick Saftey Speed clamshell holster same vintage LAPD. I'd love to just keep it but unfortunately it was my mother in laws and she took her own life with it so we want it sold now. I do need a handgun but want a Colt 1911. Funny lots of custom work on a 1911 helps but just hurts a revolver.

April 16, 2009, 03:45 AM
If it was mine, I'd list it on Gunbroker for $150.00, with free shipping and a free Gun-Rug...and if anyone bid, I'd be grateful...might have to run it through a few times though, even at that...

Edit - P.S.

I'd remove the Grips...and list those seperately...which'd help...

Old Fuff
April 16, 2009, 10:33 AM
The Old Fuff, who was around at the time this revolver was sold and/or customized, would note that unlike some others he isn’t emotionally upset.

The barrel could be one made from a Douglas blank. The ejector rod head was removed because it would have prevented the cylinder from being closed. In any case I suspect that this junker might be able to cut a one-hole cloverleaf group at 25 yards, and something around 2 inches at 50. Try to do that with some of the stuff that’s coming out of the factories today. That “funky” rear sight may put the bullets exactly to the point of aim – at least for the original owner. The stocks follow a pattern that was popular with L.A. police officers (as well as many others) at the time, and while they may look funny they work very well. They are relieved at the bottom because one’s little finger is shorter then the others.

As has been pointed out, the action is very smooth in both double and single action. Today’s revolvers have actions that feel like the frame was full of sand, and it takes a man and a boy to get the trigger pulled in double action.

This is a revolver that undoubtedly works, and works well. It may not be pretty, but what’s important has been done right. If it was matched with a competent marksman it might humiliate its critics at any shooting range, where the group on the paper is what’s counts. I suspect that whoever buys it will get a bargain, comments from the peanut gallery not withstanding. :scrutiny:

Bob R
April 16, 2009, 01:19 PM
I would have to agree with Old Fluff.

Trigger shoe, jeweled parts, looks like a very tight cylinder gap. Somebody built them a revolver for one purpose, to shoot.

I bet that thing is a shooter, no matter what it looks like.


April 16, 2009, 09:14 PM
Good mentions Old Fluff and Bob...

I feel bad now...

Probably is one heck of a Nail Driver

l v

Thomas Garrett
April 17, 2009, 07:52 AM
Yes, i totally agree with Old Fuff. Being the owner of 2 old Colt OMM's, This handgun was modified for a purpose of the owner. A good clean-up job and re-blueing may make someone a fantastic target pistol. I still shoot both of mine, and in my "opinion" you can't beat the OM's trigger group. Even a 686. i wonder which caliber it is?

April 17, 2009, 08:51 AM
Agree with Jim Watson and Old Fuff. Probably a Douglas barrel. The trigger shoe may or may not indicate it was primarily crafted for single-action bullseye shooting. In the "old" days, we weren't as sophisticated as we are, now, favoring smooth and narrow triggers for double-action shooting.

I'm confident the owner who modded it did it for purely shooting purposes. Today, folks look at its originality & collector's value.

Old Fuff
April 17, 2009, 10:25 AM
I can't tell from the picture, but I have a gut hunch that this revolver started life as a Official Police service gun rather then a Officers Model target pistol, which had a differently shaped top strap. It is undoubtedly chambered in .38 Special because neither of the base platforms were chambered in anything else but .22 L.R.

Also since it came with a clamshell style holster it could have done double-duty as a service gun. LAPD motorcycle officers among others carried 6 Smith & Wesson or Colt revolvers. The shape of the front sight also supports my dual-use theory.

Any documented use by a LAPD officer would add, rather then detract from its potential value.

On a number of occasions I have scored a super buy because others rushed to judgment too fast without taking the time to understand what they were really looking at. :evil: :uhoh:

April 17, 2009, 07:23 PM
The officer that bought and used it is still alive and 91 years old. He live about 1/2 hour from me. I talked to him a month ago to see if he wanted it back but said he sold it because he has "lots" of 38's. I think my Mom paid $400 maybe $450about ten years ago. The guys name is written inside the grips and you can definately handle the gun better with them then with the factory ones. I also asked him if he had the original parts but he didn't think so. I wouldn't have know anything about the origianl owner but the serial number came up stolen from California in the early 80's. The local sheriffs office started reasearching it before they sent it back to California and they found the owner. Good thing too because after finding he was retired police they looked closer to the actual report from the 80's and it showed a semi-auto not a revolver. Thanks for the help. We'll have a grage sale this summer and if nothing else the thing will defiantely sell there for $300. With this government who wouldn't want a nice unregistered handgun!

Old Fuff
April 17, 2009, 07:52 PM

… That you grab a tape recorder and go visit that 91year-old officer. See if you can get him to gab about how it was in the "old days," and if there is any connection between the times and this revolver get it all recorded while you can.

Many, many years ago I had an opportunity to talk to one of the last living Arizona Territorial Rangers. I was so excited I forgot to take a recorder with me. The old lawman was physically feeble, but his mind was sharp as a tack. Because of his age and condition (he was in his 90's) I was only allowed a 15-20 minute visit. During that short time I learned more about how it really was in the Western Frontier around Tombstone then all of the books I'd read or would read later. He was far more interesting then any fictional Hollywood movie or TV show story could ever be.

Such chances rarely come. When they do don't miss it.

I have to add: One question I ask him was, "How fast were you when drawing a gun?" He answered, "Not near as fast as those movie fellows, but they never arrested anybody..."

Vern Humphrey
April 17, 2009, 08:58 PM
We'll have a grage sale this summer and if nothing else the thing will defiantely sell there for $300.
I'll give you $300 right now.

Jim K
April 18, 2009, 12:08 AM
The ejector rod was rounded off for target shooting. After several hours of shooting, the original rod head probably felt like it was punching holes in the hand.


April 18, 2009, 02:54 AM
The consignment obligation I think ended today actually. If you want to email me at I can send you all the info and pictures you want.

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