Colt Officers Model 38 Questions


December 28, 2012, 04:49 PM
So I just came across a Colt Officers Target Model in 38 Special. The owner says it is in good shape and shoots well. Reading reviews it seems like these revolvers were made well and are pretty accurate. I don't own any wheel guns currently and it sure seems like I could do a lot worse for my first. What are some questions I should ask the seller? Anything I should look for if I decide to check it out in person? Sure wish I had more than 0 38SPL ammo on hand already.

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Jim K
December 28, 2012, 05:17 PM
Other than a quick timing check, I can't think of anything. Those guns are (arguably) the most accurate revolvers ever made, just as accurate as the vaunted Python. If you like Colts, and the price is anywhere near reasonable, grab it.


Jim Watson
December 28, 2012, 05:21 PM

The illustrated revolver is NOT a factory standard Colt Officer's Model.
The rear sight is a Smith & Wesson adjustable, the front looks like the old Micro ramp and blade.
I suspect somebody built up a OM clone by adding adjustable sights to an Official Police. But I but cannot read the barrel roll marks to be sure of that part.
The wide hammer spur may be an alteration, it does not look just like a Colt target hammer to me.

No reason for it to not be a good shooter, but it is not all Colt and the price should consider that.

Jim K
December 28, 2012, 05:30 PM
Hoo boy! I didn't look close enough at that gun to spot those problems. What I said applied to original guns, not altered ones though, as Jim Watson says, it might shoot OK.


December 28, 2012, 05:46 PM
Colt stamps the model name on the barrel.

Here are some genuine Officers Models.

Old style rear sight:

New style rear sight:

December 28, 2012, 07:13 PM
As others have siad it might be a fine shooter, but the price should reflect the issues with it. It does not appear to be authentic.

Colt Officer Model Target with 6" Heavy Barrel - .38 Special (Mfd. 1941)

December 28, 2012, 07:25 PM
Stepped barrel =not an Officer's . Added S&W sights and hammer = nice enough $300-400max !

December 28, 2012, 09:34 PM
Thanks for all the info guys. Here's what the seller said regarding the gun. Also, the asking price is $275 and that includes two boxes of ammo and a holster. Thoughts?

"The serial number dates the revolver to 1935 - The barrel shows the model is a Official Police. This pistol was bought new by a North Carolina police dept. I bought it from a retired NCPD detective who moved up here from Florida and wanted a nice shotgun to shoot trap with. The bottom of the butt is stamped by the NCPD with the this units number."

December 28, 2012, 09:47 PM
Great catch Jim Watson!!!!

I glanced at it in passing before going out to eat tonight.
I did not see that!!

I agree it is what it is.
It might be a great shooter.

But whatever value it had as a Officers Model Match was never there.
And whatever value it had as an Official Police has been distroyed.

It might make a good shooter.
Or not?
Depending on the quality of the sight install work done to it.

If the S&W rear elevation screw was done right, it is still adjustable.
If the threads they tapped in the top strap are worn or stripped, it is now glued in place with lock-tight?

Your call on what it might be worth to you.


December 29, 2012, 12:57 PM
I bought this 90 year old Colt on Thursday.

I am worried the grips are not original.

My brother bought a Python this year, and then found out later that the rubber grips were not original.

Jim Watson
December 29, 2012, 08:01 PM
You can quit worrying, Clark.
They aren't.

royal barnes
December 30, 2012, 02:48 PM
I'm a retired LEO in N.C. and I'm not sure what the NCPD stands for. There is no North Carolina Police Department unless the State Bureau of Investigation was called that many years ago. It may have come from some town with the
initials NC and if carried would have been in it's original configuration. Modifications may have been made by the officer after his retirement but any pistols used in competition by teams would have been purchased as target models. The price is right if it's a good shooter so base the sale on that.

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