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I have a revolver: Colt Officers Model 38

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by natedog, Feb 17, 2003.

  1. natedog

    natedog Well-Known Member

    It's a 38 special and i was curious if it could handle +P or +P+ ammunition. Also, what is a good factory defence load?
  2. Jim March

    Jim March Well-Known Member

    NICE gun.

    What you've got there is an "ancestral Python". It's the same frame size as a Python, takes the same grips and speedloaders.

    It was designed for peak accuracy around the 148grain target wadcutter. Many of 'em can shoot those into teensy tiny little groups.

    It'll handle at least limited amounts of +P. I wouldn't shoot too many, mind you.

    If pressed into home defense service, the 158grain +P lead hollowpoints by Winchester are easy to find, Remington less so (but the Remington is supposedly a tad hotter). Another 38 load that's getting a lot of notice is the 130grain Winchester Supreme +P.
  3. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    I second what Jim said. Your Colt “Officers Model†is an exceptionally accurate target revolver, and over time using +P ammunition will adversely affect it. If hot loads were what you want you would be much better off swapping or selling the Colt (which has some collector’s value) and buying something in .357 Magnum.
  4. Jim March

    Jim March Well-Known Member


    But understand, if you want to press it into defensive duty, feel free to do so! Do your practice with 148 lead target loads, is all. Those will be overall gentlest on the gun.

    But it's not THAT weak. The frame was originally used for a now-obsolete 41-cal (NOT 41Mag) and didn't need a lot of beefing up to run as a 357. It's the lockwork that's a bit on the finicky side, they can go out of time. Don't snap the cylinder shut, most certainly don't "whip it shut" with a twist of the wrist.

    Do the "revolver checkout procedure". If it's out of time (cylinder bores not lining up with the barrel) it can be unsafe to shoot.

    Any gunsmith who understands the Python can wrench on your gun.
  5. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    Hi, guys,

    That OM is pretty strong, and Colt used the basic frame size for .357, but they (like S&W) changed the heat treatment to do so. I would stick by the advice to use light loads for normal shooting. If you plan to use it for defense and load hot loads, you should fire enough of them to know what they feel like.

    As to possible timing problems, thy name is Colt! Almost all Colts of that design are "out of time" if the gun is cocked slowly and the trigger not pulled. If it locks up when the trigger is pulled, it is OK. You can look at the fired cases. If the primer strike is centered on the primer, timing is all right. If not, it is time for a trip to a gunsmith familiar with the old Colts, alas a rare breed becoming rarer.

  6. natedog

    natedog Well-Known Member

    Ok I will stay away from +P. It's my only handgun, and I don't really have a choice. Guess I'll just keep the Winchester Model 12 and Mini-14 close...
  7. natedog

    natedog Well-Known Member

    Any websites on Colt history/ model history?
  8. Gordon

    Gordon Well-Known Member

    Got my Dads Officer's mod in 64 or so and he shot maybe 5000 rds and I shot another like amount. I had it gone thru in custom shop of Colt in mid 70's before strike, it was returned like new for $189.00 as I remember. Since then I have fired cast reloads mostly 173 Keith design over unique for 900 fps ave. This is a stout but not hot load. It has fired 4000 or so rds since overhaul and it is still tight . This load does anything you can ask a 3/8" bullet to do! It drills thru everything and groups just over 1" at 25yds, recoil is controllable I reccomend it hightly! This is same as +power 158LJHP loads pretty much.
  9. Jim March

    Jim March Well-Known Member

    Well the good news is, being so dang big the recoil on a 38+P ain't gonna be punishing in the least. It's not like a situation where you have to practice with the hot stuff so you'll be able to control 'em in a fight.

    If you do decide to stick with non-plusP stuff for defense, the Federal Nyclad 125 standard pressure hollowpoints or the 110 Personal Defense Hydrashocks (also Federal) should expand out of that 6" tube :). These are probably the best standard-pressure 38 defense loads made. In a 2" barrel snubbie, I'd be very leery of these but moving about 200fps faster from your gun, they'll do fine.

    Me? I'd practice with 148 target wadcutters, I'd shoot 6 to 12 130grain Winchester Supreme +Ps to see where they print, and be done with it.

    Sidenote: there's also a rarer 22LR version of your gun. They tend to be expensive, and have a near-legendary reputation as the most frighteningly accurate DA 22 ever made. You'll have to search long'n'hard for one, and it'll run you $600+ in good condition, but if you can afford it it'll make a wonderful "understudy" for what you have now. Some of 'em have been known to keep up with a dang Hammerli Olympic big-bux target critter, when fed good ammo.
  10. natedog

    natedog Well-Known Member

    It's the 'Heavy Barrel' model. It doesn't say 'target' on it anywhere. Also, on the front of the grip( between the trigger guard and the grip) it has a sort of rubber insert on it that says "Frank Pa--mayr" underneath it it reads "L.A. Calif." there are two illegibal letters which are replaced by the dashes, which I assume to 'c' and 'h', thus making them Pachmayr grips. on the left side of the barrel it reads "COLT OFFICERS MODEL 38"
    and underneath it it has to iron crosses with the words "HEAVY BARREL" between them. on top it reads "COLT PT.FA.MFG CO. HARTFORD CT. USA." on the inside of the cylinder crane there's a serial, "7554XX" and underneath that there's an '8'. the serial # is printed again on the inside of the crane. can anyone give me a date of manufacture? how should i care for this revolver? the finish is good on most of the gun except for on usual wear points, such as on the cylinder, hammer, and a little bit on the muzzle (holster wear?). the bore is nice and shiny and the rifling looks great. oringinal colt wood grips and original colt brown box as well it was a gift to my grandfather in the 70's or 80's from a retired cop, not sure if he used it on duty. then my grandfather gave it to my father. it hadn't been shot by any of us until about a year and a half ago when i picked up shooting. since then it has been fed about 300-500 rounds of a variety of ammunition, including range reloads, UMC, winchester +p's, etc. i will no longer use range reloads in this gun, nor +p ammunition. i will try to find some 148 grain target wadcutters. most of the shooting i've done so far was against gongs and such. it wasn't until recently that i went to the range and tried it on paper, where the best group my inexperienced hands get generate was 3", using range reloads. my worse group was about 6". is this about average? could the gun perform better in better hands?
  11. winwun

    winwun Well-Known Member

    Didn't that particular pony have an adjustable front sight ?
  12. natedog

    natedog Well-Known Member

    I don't believe the front sight is adjustable, but the rear is fully adjustable.
  13. natedog

    natedog Well-Known Member

    Here's a pic. Anyone know how to remove the grip adaptor? It it makes the grip much smaller, and my pinky is almost hanging off.
  14. natedog

    natedog Well-Known Member

    woops forgot the pic(s)

    Attached Files:

  15. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    1. Remove the grip screw.

    2. Thread the screw into the threaded bushing in the right-hand grip so that you can use it to wiggle and pull the grip off the frame.

    3. Gently tap the other grip untill it come off.

    4. The grip adapter is held on with a little clip. Pull the adapter foreward and downward and it will come off.

    4. Replace the grips.

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