Bought another Colt, hoping it is original


December 31, 2012, 11:44 PM
This 1943 New Service Colt 45 I got for $550 11-24-2012 has the wrong barrel

This 1922 32-20 Army Special I got 12-27-2012 for $325 has the wrong grips.

So today, I got a 1940 Colt Official Police 22LR for $639, hopefully it is all original.

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Old Fuff
January 1, 2013, 11:14 AM
The New Service appears to have a correct barrel, but an altered front sight. Unless one is a very picky collector this doesn't matter, and probably makes it a better shooter.

The .32-20 has replacement (genuine stag) stocks that are probably worth more then the original ones, at least in the United States where the material they are made from can no longer be imported from India. If you want exact duplicates of what came on it, post a serial number using xx for the last numbers and I'll be able to describe what you should get.

The .22 has Colt target stocks, which may or may not have been on the revolver when it left the factory. Usually they didn't but there is no reason they couldn't. Again, post a serial and some more research can go forward.

Any way you look at it, you have a fine collection.

Just noticed that the .22 was made in 1940. If so be aware that the stocks are post-war usually found on target revolvers with adjustable sights.

January 1, 2013, 11:36 AM
The stocks on the OP 22 are what came on my 1956 OP 22, they were optional in 1956 and as OF sez, not available in 1940. Great guns, all!!!!

January 1, 2013, 11:54 AM
.. very nice. "Living" history ... enjoy!

January 1, 2013, 01:53 PM
Nice collection of Colts. I have always been particularly fond of the New Service models.

January 1, 2013, 10:09 PM
I am surprised at how much you guys know.

Old Fuff
January 1, 2013, 10:32 PM
You haven’t scratched the surface yet…

This forum is filled with individuals with extensive experience and knowledge concerning almost any firearms subject or issue you might think of. And it’s all free for the asking. :cool:

January 2, 2013, 07:43 AM
You need to go to the colt forum - those target grips/stocks on your last gun are worth a good bit!

January 2, 2013, 09:06 AM
This is what the stocks on the .22 should look like:
1930 OMT

I do see the correct type for sale from time to time on evilbay, and the ones that are on it have some significant value.....Or you might find that the target stocks are more comfortable for you and just leave them on.

BTW, I feel your pain. I bought a .45 Colt NS that had been refinished. In my case, it was very obvious, and the price reflected that fact. Nevertheless, they are fun shooters and I enjoy it for what it is.

January 7, 2013, 07:21 PM
I bought a revolver today.
I think it is a 1978 Colt Officer's Model Match.

But I don't think it is original.
The wide trigger and hammer spur, I guess Colt did that.
The grips look aftermarket Fitz ten-O-grip.
The barrel, I can't tell. It looks like a Colt front sight, but there is nothing written on the barrel and it is 6.5" long. But then they did such a good job of putting the Colt front sight on, I dunno.

Old Fuff
January 7, 2013, 09:26 PM
The revolver appears to be a mostly stock Colt .38 Officers Model Match (made from 1953 through 1970). The barrel and front sight are standard for that production, as is the rear sight. However model stampings I'd expect seem to be missing so I suspect a polish and refinish. The trigger is standard, but a trigger shoe has been mounted on it. The hammer spur has been substantially modified, possibly at the factory but outside of it being far more likely. You have correctly identified the stocks.

It would be of little or no interest to a serious collector, but for the listed price ($349) it should make a great shooter if it is in sound mechanical condition.

Cocked & Locked
January 7, 2013, 09:46 PM
Another picture of stocks on my 1937 .22 OP

January 8, 2013, 12:00 AM
Old Fuff
The revolver appears to be a mostly stock Colt .38 Officers Model Match (made from 1953 through 1970)

OK, i see my mistake in serial numbers.
It is a 1954, not a 1978.

It locks solid. It does start dragging the bolt a little early.

Old Fuff
January 8, 2013, 11:18 AM
It locks solid. It does start dragging the bolt a little early.

That's often easy to fix, and new parts are not required. However it does require expertise. Use the revolver and shoot it enough to determine how well you like it (or don't). If the outlook is positive consider returning it to Colt and see if they will do a tune-up.

January 9, 2013, 10:56 AM
Another great Colt DA revolver is the .38 Trooper. Basically a duty version of the Colt Officer Model Match only with a Baughman style front sight. Even now the .38 Troopers are still a fairly reasonable buy. They don't seem to have as many fans. If you can find one I suggest you get it. It will make a nice addition to your collection. Mine was made in 1960. I picked it up about fourteen months ago for $375.00.

Old Fuff
January 9, 2013, 11:41 AM
Don't tell anybody, but they put a heavy lug/vent rib barrel on one, and added a high polish blue and action tune-up. Called it the Python.

Those go for up to $1,500 and maybe more. You paid $375.

Such a deal... ;)

January 9, 2013, 05:41 PM
I found a new store today.
I am pretty sure this is all original.
1930 6" 32-20 Police Positive Special

Old Fuff
January 9, 2013, 06:25 PM
This one appears to be correct in all respects if your 1930 date is right. Do carefully inspect the bore for rings, as .32-20 ammunition would sometimes leave a bullet stuck in the barrel, and the next shot would ruin it. Not common, but did happen. If you shoot it, use ammunition with lead bullets only, not jacketed.

January 15, 2013, 04:42 PM
I got another one today.
I can't find any scratches or wear in the bluing.
I can't tell if it has ever been fired.
Should be 1943.

Old Fuff
January 15, 2013, 06:22 PM
During World War Two Colt assembled on top of everything else, some revolvers using previously made parts left over from the Great Depression years. Most of them were used by domestic law enforcement agencies and guards at various factories doing war production work. After the war many if not most were sold as surplus. Some were lightly used where others were run into the ground.

You have one of the former, and it appears to be totally originally, even down to the pre-war gas oven blue that can't be duplicated today.

Good buy on your part.

January 15, 2013, 06:54 PM
It has new bluing in the barrel.
That is ok with me on this gun, but I had trouble with a Douglas factory blued rifle barrel that fouled fast.

The forcing cone cut must have been after they blued the inside of the barrel.

Old Fuff
January 15, 2013, 09:02 PM
After the barrel was blued and assembled, they adjusted the barrel/cylinder gap and then cut the forcing cone. For that reason it's not blued.

The blue itself was not done by submerging the parts in a tank filled with hot chemicals as they do today. They were completely degreased, racked and placed inside a gas-fired furnace. The temperature was controlled so they turned a pale/satin blue color, which was unique to Colt handguns from the early 1920 to about 1940.

January 19, 2013, 08:12 PM
I got another one today.
It is another Officer's model, like the one above that I got on Jan 7.
I am sure today's purchase is not very collectible, as it has most of the blue replaced with gray.

The serial number is 751XXX, and I am assuming that is somewhere around 1950... not sure.

It has different sights than the 1978 model. The front sight is elevation adjustable, where as the 1979 adjusts elevation in the rear.

January 19, 2013, 10:30 PM
That is a Colt Officer's Model Target with the heavy barrel. Pre-WWII. Colt stopped making the OMT in 49, but they probably assembled and sold OM Targets into the ffirst couple years of the early fifties. I have a heavy barrel OM Target 6" from 1940. Great revolvers. How are the mechanics?

Here is mine

January 19, 2013, 10:50 PM
The mechanics are perfect on this one, as far as I can tell.
I have not done every check in Kuhnhausen's book.
I just:
1) Pull the trigger and when holding back, try to move the cylinder with the other hand.
2) I check that the bolt is falling into the beginning of the scalloped out part of the cylinder. This was perfect in the 1950 I got today, but the 1978 Officers I got two weeks ago, the bolt falls too soon.
3) The trigger feels good in double action or single action..
4) The hammer spring feels strong enough [ I once bought [5] police positives that were surplus police and had the name of the PD welded over, and the hammer springs got weak].
5) There is no crack between the crane and the frame.

January 19, 2013, 11:18 PM
Looks like you got a good one with some honest wear and a nice "patina". Congratualtions.

January 20, 2013, 10:09 AM
Did those two Officers Models come from the same shop? The finish loss is indicative of the owner having highly acidic skin in #25. I can see fingerprint outlines.
The finish is what it is. Bet they'll shoot with a Speer 148 HBWC and 3 grs. of Bullseye though.

That sure looks like a King hammer on the OMM.
From #23 - The checkering pattern is consistent with the original OMM hammer and it was obviously professionally done.
The King cockeyed hammer allowed the shooter to re-cock the revolver without coming completely out of the grip. That was particularly important when using thumbrest Sandersons, Ropers, or the more affordable Fitz grips.

I come up with a '47 or '48 date for your OMT, depending on the last three digits of the serial. Serial numbers for the E frames in the '47 - '49 period got pretty confused. Even for Colt.

Here's my 1949 OMS .38. Came with the full checkered targets, although they were not a factory option in 1949.
This is the most accurate Colt revolver I've ever shot and is my 'go to' gun for making fun shooting wagers.

Like checkman said, Colt used up their OMT frames as late as 1950 (the latest I've personally seen) while making the newer OMS model.
They just never threw anything out. Remember, the last of the pre-war SAA frames were assembled and shipped in 1972.

Around my area, all I see are overpriced and abused MK IIIs.


January 20, 2013, 06:49 PM
If I found an OP .38 or PPS .32-20 in that condition, in that price range, I'd be all over it.
My LGS has a .38 sp PPS that appears to be renickeled. the hammer and trigger are both nickeled and are very slick feeling.
Plus, the plating is in much better shape than the checkering on the grips.
I don't recall seeing any nickeled revolvers from that era with a nickeled hammer and trigger.
It just doesn't look right, compared to my mom's original nickeled .32-20 PPS.

Maybe the one in the LGS is chromed, not nickeled. Dunno.
Anyway, they want $350 or $375 for it. *cough, cough, ripoff, cough cough*

January 20, 2013, 10:09 PM
Boy I like the look of the Officer Model Special. There is just something about that bull barrel and the sights that appeals to my sense of style. Good looking revolver. I've yet to come across one, but I am always looking.

January 21, 2013, 03:40 AM
Did those two Officers Models come from the same shop?

No, the gun stores are 20 miles apart.... but they could have been felt by the same sweaty hands.. they are now.

For my brother a year ago, I processed 1500 pieces of "Remington Target 38 Special Wad Cutter Brass" and got him some 148 gr Rem wadcutter bullets.
I should have kept some:)

January 21, 2013, 07:21 AM
That's funny Clark!

And thanks checkman. The finish is worn, but it actually looks better in person than the pic.

Here is a link to an auction that I am not affiliated with or pushing at all. Just using it to show a classic example of the transition Colt Officers Model Target.

Note the combination of pre and post war parts on it.
The gun is a post war dual tone. It is a challenge to fake or re-do that finish.

The frame is an OMT, but has the single crane retention screw. The backstrap is grooved rather than checkered.

The cylinder release latch is smooth post war with a pre-war checkered hammer and a grooved post war trigger.

The barrel is not marked as a heavy barrel. I have not come across a pre-war '37-'47 .38 special that was not marked as a heavy barrel.

The barrel is marked with Colt's post war single line address on top in pre-war placement rather than on the side.

The grips are standard pre-war walnut. I'm not questioning them, but most transition OMT .38s and .22s I have looked at have the mottled Coltwood instead.

There are variations of all these features on different post war OMTs I've seen.
Guess I wanted to use the auction to show just how many variations of the OMT a guy could come across and go broke trying to collect one of each!

1947 through 1950 must have been a confusing time for the guys and gals assembling these pistols at Colt.


January 27, 2013, 03:39 AM
I bought a Colt Official Police 38sp 1961 today, that I think is original.

But I saw another one, I would like to also get, but it had a brass button on top of the front sight.

Did Colt ever put a little brass knob on a Colt Official Police 38 sp front sight?

I have made a picture of what it looks like, sort of.


Old Fuff
January 27, 2013, 12:20 PM
If paid enough, Colt would do almost anything within reason, but a gold bead on the front sight of an Official Police is highly unlikely and was never cataloged.

What they did sometimes do on a special order basis was offer the Officers Model target-style revolver with an optional bead front sight with a matching "U" notch at the rear. You could also have the barrel length shortened to any length back to about 2-inches. Be aware that more of these modifications occured outside the factory rather then within.

January 27, 2013, 12:42 PM
Beautiful, I'm using my first post to let U know that I appreciate a good revolver. Yes I'm a traditionalist and revolvers R in my CCW rotation.

February 2, 2013, 08:24 PM
I got the one with the Gold bead on top of the front sight.

Old Fuff
February 2, 2013, 08:31 PM
The revolver appears to be of post-war production, but the brass stud in the front sight is an aftermarket alteration. Some (but not all) collectors might frown on this, but it should make a very acceptable shooter.

February 6, 2013, 06:10 PM
Dang, Clark- I think you have exceeded the current administration's limit on gun purchases just within this thread!! CONGRATS- all nice pieces!

February 6, 2013, 06:14 PM
Love old Colts!

February 7, 2013, 11:45 AM
Yes indeed. They are nice.

February 10, 2013, 01:23 AM
I got another Colt today.
A 1960 Colt Police Positive Special 32 Colt N.P.
S/N 757XXX

This revolver was almost completely frozen.
But I could tell that it was the cylinder rotation was gummed up lube and not rust.
The cylinder would barely turn. I bought it anyway, as everything else seemed to work.
I got it home, took off the crane and side plate and there was no rust or dirt. Just lube turned to glue.
I scraped out some old lube with a dental probe.
I put Break Free CLP in it.

This revolver is like a scaled down Official Police 38 sp.
This little revolver could have been much lighter, but they made it heavy duty, with thick chamber walls and frame.

This pic I gave so much gamma correction that the blue back ground is gray.
Otherwise all you would see is a black blob.

The revolvers in this area that are available to me and getting further and further from what Old Fuff would consider collectible.

Old Fuff
February 10, 2013, 10:29 AM
The revolvers in this area that are available to me and getting further and further from what Old Fuff would consider collectible.

Perhaps the Old Fuff has failed to explain the facts of life concerning collectors and/or collectables.

Some (generally well off financially) collectors limit themselves to well-established fields (examples: Colt cap & ball or Single Action Army revolvers, 19th Century Smith & Wesson’s and selected pre-war hand ejectors, Winchester lever action rifles, etc.) and will pay healthy sums for perfect or near perfect examples.

Others who are not necessarily wealthy and are more interested in the history behind their collection, and more willing to venture into some less established and researched categories, can find opportunities - and with a few exceptions Colt and Smith & Wesson hand ejector (swing out cylinder) revolvers produced during the first three-quarters of the 20th Century offer some interesting areas to explore where a collection can be assembled over time that won’t require a second mortgage on the ol’ homestead. It is also a field where values have room to grow, especially for pieces that are boxed, and/or in pristine condition.

But to fully appreciate what one has or has a chance to acquire it is necessary to spend some money on research books and other publications, to know exactly what is what. When building a gun collection ignorance is not bliss.

Which brings me to Clark’s latest buy, which it appears has not set off any bells and whistles on his part, but has caused the Old Fuff to raise an eyebrow.

From 1908 (or possibly as early as 1905) to 1942 Colt made a revolver called the Police Positive that was slightly smaller then the Police Positive Special. The former was usually chambered in .32 Colt New Police (.32 S&W Long) or .38 Colt New Police (.38 S&W) where the latter was offered in .38 Special and .32 WCF (.32-20). When revolver production was resumed in 1945 the Police Positive was discontinued, and the .32 Colt New Police and .38 Colt New Police chambering added to the options available in the Police Positive Special.

But neither of the latter two proved to be particularly popular, and a substantial part of the already limited production was exported to overseas markets. So it wasn’t long before both versions were discontinued.

Granted, they’re not a whole lot of collectors or shooters who are looking for this particular Colt variant, but among the few that are some that would grab it in a heartbeat, and I expect over time the number of such individuals will increase.

March 23, 2013, 03:40 PM
I got some 22 revolvers at the gun show today.
I am beginning to suspect one of them is not a revolver.

The other two; Officers Model 1930 and Police Positive 1920

Jim Watson
March 23, 2013, 03:50 PM
Is the Police Positive Target a Long Rifle or a WRF?
My late boss had a .22 WRF of the type and I see more of them than I do LRs.

The other one looks pretty good even though not a revolver.

March 23, 2013, 05:03 PM
It just says on the barrel "22"
The chambers are .224" go, and the cylinder is 1.26" long.
So it is too tight and too short for magnum.

The conditions vary:
1) The one in the box has spent most of the last 93 years in a bank vault.
2) The big revolver looks original, but worn.
3) The little revolver looks like it was reblued. Bubba did not have the right tools when he worked on the front sight. And he left some of the grip on the nail when he used the Police Positive as a hammer. But it is a Colt 22 with adjustable sights that locks up tight, so it followed me home. Old Fuff would not all it collector grade. Barely shooter grade.

March 23, 2013, 07:35 PM
I recently found an Army Special in .32-20. It has been parkerized by the GS that is selling it.
The finish was uglied up on the starboard side, due to laying on it's side under a car seat, apparently. The grips appear to be checkered black hard rubber and are in excellent condition. I can't say if they are repops or OEM.

It obviously has no collector value, due to the refinish. I'd like to send it to Colt for rebluing.
The action is damned tight. Bank vault tight. It appears to have been shot very little.
I want it, if it's still available.
It is priced at $329.
How much should I offer them?

Old Fuff
March 23, 2013, 09:17 PM
I recently found an Army Special in .32-20. It has been parkerized by the GS that is selling it. The finish was uglied up on the starboard side, due to laying on it's side under a car seat, apparently. The grips appear to be checkered black hard rubber and are in excellent condition. I can't say if they are repops or OEM.

Remove the stocks, but be very careful in doing it because if they are original they'll be very brittle and prone to crack or chip. If they are original you'll find the panels are solid (not hollow with ribs) on the inside, and part or all of the serial number will be scratched on one of both panels.

It obviously has no collector value, due to the refinish. I'd like to send it to Colt for rebluing.

Check with Colt, but I think you'll find they will refuse, because they no longer have parts, and can't replace what's in it if there is a problem. Also given the condition it's in now, it would likely cost more then the revolver is worth.

The action is damned tight. Bank vault tight. It appears to have been shot very little. I want it, if it's still available. It is priced at $329. How much should I offer them?

You are right in thinking that it is (or was) a fine revolver, but now it's chambered for a less-then-popular cartridge, and the ammunition is expensive. The condition it's in should not affect it as a shooter, but will discourage most people from buying it at $329.00. For that much money you should be able to find one in much better condition, and possibly chambered in .38 Special, which is easier and less expensive to get ammunition for. I would pass, but in any case not offer more then $200.00. If I was so unlucky as to have them accept my offer I'd keep it as it is, and use it as a shooter up to the point of being able to afford the ammunition.

Do check the bore carefully, as you sometimes find them with a bulge caused by someone who shot another bullet on top of one that didn't exit the muzzle.

Old Fuff
March 23, 2013, 09:33 PM
The little Police Positive Target is chambered to us .22 Winchester Rim Fire (.22WRF) cartridges. It's a neat revolver, and was very popular in its day, but now it's next to impossible to find ammunition for. Do not try to shoot it using .22 WRM (Winchester Rimfire Magnum ammunition

March 24, 2013, 10:23 PM
The big 1930 Revolver says "22LR".
It has a .226" chamber, .223" throat, and a 1.505" long cylinder.

The small 1920 revolver says "22".
It has a .227" chamber, no throat.. straight through, and a 1.26" long cylinder.

I shot stingers and sub sonic hollow points in the small revolver and it seems to work. The chamber is the right diameter for 22LR, but throatless.

March 24, 2013, 11:04 PM
Old Fuff, thanks for the reply. I was thinking of offering them 200 bucks for it.
Unfortunately, I'm a .32 fan, especially .32-20. The first centerfire pistol I shot was my late grandfather's PPS .32-20. It has a neat story.
Dude came down from up north, to Mississippi, and shot up a juke joint in the hood.
Said revolver was confiscated by the popo at the time of his arrest, at the scene.
Chief of police was good friends with my granddad and gave it to my granddad, after the trial/conviction. This was before my granddad and grandmother got married, in 1935.
IIRC, the serial number placed the DOB at 1922.
It is nickel with pearl grips. Totally pimped out version. My best friend always called it a pimp gun.
It's always been a good shooter.

I realize that .32-20 is going to be a reloading proposition.
The last ammo I found for it was over a dollar per round.
Now, I just need to find out how hot is safe for an old PPS and an Army Special.
I get the feeling the Army Special is a good bit stronger than the PPS, based on frame and cylinder size.

Old Fuff
March 25, 2013, 01:27 AM
The Army Special is identical to the Official Police, the only difference being a name change made in 1927 when it had become obvious that the Army was no longer interested in .38 revolvers. The frame and cylinder were designed around the then popular .41 Long Colt. Any listed load today in .32-20 (.32 WCF) for revolvers should be safe.

The Police Positive Special is a much lighter gun, and the snubby version named the Detective Special is much better known. Again listed loads for handguns should be safe, but given that heavy loads can loosen the revolver and put it out of time; combined with the lack of repair parts and qualified gunsmiths to fit them, would cause me to avoid the heavy stuff.

Incidentally the Old Fuff is also a big fan when it comes to .32 revolvers...

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