colt officers 38


September 4, 2012, 06:27 PM
Trying to date my pistol,# 456 439 f it's a 38 last patend date 1929...any help? Double action 6 shot.Looked on proofhouse couldn't find anything? Thanks Jon

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Jim K
September 4, 2012, 06:56 PM
We need more info. Are you sure the date is 1929 and not 1926? If you can't post pictures, at least provide all the markings on the barrel and frame. Several Colt models went up that high in serial numbers, so the number alone does not tell us much.


September 4, 2012, 08:02 PM
Yes it is 1926 The only marking other than officers model 38 are the pat'd dates witch are aug 5 1884,july 4 1905 oct 5 1926 thanks Jim

September 4, 2012, 09:13 PM
Officer's models are notoriously hard to nail down. Be as explicit as you can and include pictures if at all possible. If you do that the people here can nail it down very specifically.

September 4, 2012, 09:32 PM
There's a problem. The Officers Model serial range that is inclusive with the Army Special makes it 1920... but there's that pesky 1926 date on it. The Official Police serials start at a higher number than what you have, as does the Officers Model Special.

Only other option that I see would be a Police Positive Special from 1937.

September 5, 2012, 05:44 PM
1950 Officers Model Special is listed with serial number 456439.

September 5, 2012, 06:23 PM
Officer's Model Target 456439 was made in 1920.

If it was the later Officer's Model Special it would have been made in 1950.
The Officer's Model Special was Colt's early post war Officer's Model made from 1947 to 1951.
It had the Colt Matchmaster sight used only on that model and a fat, untapered super heavy barrel.

Colt had the aggravating habit of mixing some models serial numbers in with other models. Your gun's numbers were mixed in with the Army Special.

In any case, based on the serial number you have a 1920 Officer's Model Target.
As to the patent dates on the barrel, this would be explained by an old re-barrel job, which was not unusual.

From the beginning in the 1840's up until the mid-1960's all Colt firearms started at serial number 1.
This means you could have literally a dozen or more Colt pistols all with the same serial number.
In order to ID a specific model, you have to go by frame size and the barrel markings.
The problem is, most Colt revolver barrels could be interchanged with a number of other models.
This can make identification difficult if a revolver has been re-barreled.
This often causes confusion when you have a gun with a barrel that says one thing, but a serial number that doesn't agree.

Jim K
September 5, 2012, 06:31 PM
Those Colt serial numbers are very confusing and in some cases writers have added to the confusion. But another problem is that barrels can be replaced, leading to the condition where a gun was apparently made before the patent date on the barrel. My reading of a couple of sources agrees with Saxon Pig's, that 456439 dates to 1920, in the Army Special series, which continued the New Army and Navy series. Again, pictures would help. The original grips on a 1920 gun would be hard rubber. On a 1950 gun they would be checkered walnut.

Harvester, do you have a source for that serial number information?


September 5, 2012, 08:41 PM
Jim K, I got that information on serial number from the Colt Web site serial number lookup. It is a new feature they have .

Jim K
September 6, 2012, 12:14 AM
The Colt web site should be definitive, but I have to wonder, seeing they show the Officers Model Special, but not the Officers Model, and no mention of the Army Special. I wonder if that feature is a work in progress or just more guesswork. Time will tell.


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