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Identity and Date of Manufacture of Colt Revolvers

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by pgmrdan, Sep 29, 2011.

  1. pgmrdan

    pgmrdan Member

    Colt serial numbers?!

    I'm confused but it sounds like Colt Manufacturing is even more confused.

    I bought a Trooper Sunday. The guy that sold it said it was manufactured in 1959. Proofhouse.com said it was manufactured in 1960 I think (I assume the serial number paired up with a year is the first serial number for that year and not the last serial number for that year. That right?). So I called Colt yesterday to find out which year is right and the guy said it was manufactured in 1969(?!?!?!)...unless there was a letter after the serial number. He told me that if I find a letter to call back. So I looked last night, found a letter, and called back this morning. The lady said the gun was manufactured in 1960 and that the letter has nothing to do with the date of manufacture.

    So, what the heck is going on at Colt?

    Is there a definitive source for finding the year of manufacture of a Colt Trooper revolver?
  2. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    Proofhouse.com is the only FREE online source I know of for Colt revolver serial numbers.

    I expect that when you called, the first guy just looked on the wrong chart and the lady got it right.

    The only definitive source would be for you to pay a hundred bucks for a factory letter giving the gun's original configuration, shipping date, and destination. I don't see the point of that on a modern gun unless you were trying to document it to a famous individual.

    Right now you have two votes for 1960, one for 1959 (indistiguishable from 1960 if you ask me) and one for 1969. I'd call it a 1960 gun and be content.
  3. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

    Post the number here and Jim or I can look up one of our resources too.
  4. pgmrdan

    pgmrdan Member

    That number is on both the frame and the crane. Under the number on the frame is a 'U'.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2011
  5. harvester

    harvester Well-Known Member

  6. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Well-Known Member

    Colt serial numbers can be very confusing.
    Trooper numbers were intermixed with the Officer's Model Match, the 357 and Trooper numbers depending on the caliber.
    As example .22 Troopers were numbered with the .22 Officer's Model match.
    .38 models were numbered with the Trooper numbers AND the .38 Officer's Model Match.

    The "U" under the serial number is a factory inspectors stamp.

    In the mid-1960's, Federal law demanded that all firearms have a unique serial number.
    At that time Colt started using letters as a prefix or suffix in the serial number.
    In these guns, the letter is part of the numbers. It's stamped WITH the numbers, and in the same font, size, and depth as the numbers.

    Letters AROUND the serial number are factory inspection numbers, and on per-war guns numbers ABOVE the serial "may" have special meaning.
    As example a pre-war gun with a "T" above the serial indicates the gun was factory targeted.
  7. pgmrdan

    pgmrdan Member

    1960 ... good! Thanks guys. :)
  8. tiggir2000

    tiggir2000 New Member

    Detective Special Serial 992XXX age?

    Guys sorry to bother you, but do you have any idea how old a Colt Detective .38, serial number 992XXX may be. There is a C stamp below the number. It is my fathers, and I cannot seem to find that sequence anywhere on charts I have. Is this a 1960s model? Anybody? Thanx again.

  9. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

    Chuck that number doesn't fall within DS serial numbers that I can find. Could be 1968 but should be precdeeded by a "D".

    Also please start your own threads with such questions or they can get lost.
  10. mesinge2

    mesinge2 Well-Known Member

    I know Radagast is the King of S&W revolver DOBs and I was wondering if the same was possible with Colt revolvers.
    Never mind I found the info, its from 1923

    a) caliber
    b) bbl length (from cylinder to muzzle)
    c) grips shape (round or square)
    d) number of shots/cylinder bores
    e) type of sights.
    f) serial number, and if there is a letter in front of or anywhere near the s/n on the bottom of the grip
    g) Model number if it is under the crane.
    That number, if it is the s/n, should come from the butt of the grip (or under the barrel or face of the cylinder).

    A picture or two is worth A LOT of words in this case...

    a) .38 S&W Special
    b) 6" barrel
    c) not sure on a Colt
    d) 6 shot
    e) Fixed, Half Moon front
    f) xxxxxx
    g) Official Police

    Last edited: Apr 21, 2012
  11. harvester

    harvester Well-Known Member

    Thats not an officers model since they all had adjustable sights.
  12. mesinge2

    mesinge2 Well-Known Member

    Excuse me Official Police
  13. harvester

    harvester Well-Known Member

    Ah yes and it looks like a nice example, square butt. The Official Police was introduced in 1927, I don't think your date is correct.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2012
  14. Radagast

    Radagast Well-Known Member

    You will find the list of serial numbers and dates by model here:
    If you don't know which model you have you will need to post some pics, preferably one of each side.
  15. BoltActionPrepper

    BoltActionPrepper Well-Known Member

    thats a pretty nice OP....i want to get a colt agent .38 spl. myself :)
  16. Railrunner85

    Railrunner85 Well-Known Member

    I checked on the site, but I couldn't find anything about the Anaconda. I have a six inch .44 that is drilled and tapped for scope mounting. The serial number is AN01***
  17. Railrunner85

    Railrunner85 Well-Known Member

    I found it, I just called colt, lol.
  18. 2DREZQ

    2DREZQ Well-Known Member

    I'm a little confused. I have Trooper Mk III. Do I look under Trooper, or Mk III series? None of the numbers look right. My s/n is 1***3L

    Attached Files:

  19. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    On most Colt hand ejector models made after 1908 (and a few before) the serial number is stamped on the frame under the back end of the barrel, and behind the crane. Swing out the cylinder to see it. Otherwise it is usually found on the butt, or on the frame just ahead of the trigger guard.

    On U.S. military model hand ejectors the number on the butt usually is a contract number used for inventory purposes. The Colt serial number is located as described above. Generally the two numbers are not related to each other.

    Colt has always used model names or letters, but not numbers, and you will usually find the model stamped on the side of the barrel. This can mislead someone if the barrel has been changed, so be careful.

    And if that isn’t enough to cause rampant confusion, they sometimes had several different models within one serial number series.

    When in doubt, a picture is worth a thousand words.

    If you are sure of the model, go to www.proofhouse.com and use the serial number to find DOB.
  20. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    Mk.III Series (Lawman, Metropolitan, Official Police, Trooper, and Officers Model Match).
    1***3L = 1978

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