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Colt D.A. 38?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by jimC2, Jul 27, 2007.

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  1. jimC2

    jimC2 Member

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    Does anybody know anything about one of these? It has 1374 5 (5 below the 1374, no dash) where the S&W has a serial number. A number on the bottom of the grip frame is 151XXX. It also has R.A.C. below the hammer on one side of the frame. I'll try to get some pictures later.
     
  2. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    You have a Colt Model 1892 U.S. Army service revolver. R.A.C. was Rinaldo A. Carr, a U.S. Government Inspector who worked at Colt's from 1889 to 1909.

    The Colt serial number is the one located behind the crane, and indicates the revolver was made in 1894. The number on the butt is the Army's number, and there should also be U.S. Army and a Model date on the butt.

    The gun was originally blued, chambered in .38 Long Colt, and had a 6" barrel with plain walnut stocks. It was also the first double-action/hand ejector revolver to be adopted by the U.S. Army. Some were still in service as late as World War Two.
     
  3. jimC2

    jimC2 Member

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    Up until two years ago my father kept this under his pillow loaded with 38 specials. Don't remember my father ever shooting it. I'll try to make some pictures. Thanks
     
  4. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    It is generally recommended that .38 Special ammunition not be shot in revolvers chambered to use .38 Long Colt. I have heard of only a few ka-booms! however. I believe this is because the bores are oversized (.360") for the .38 Special (.358"). If one should decide to shoot .38 Special's in one of these revolvers they should stick to mid-range/hollow base wadcutters. Be aware that accuracy will probably not be too great.

    .38 Colt cartridges are available from some sources because of unexpected demand from cowboy action shooting competitors. They may, or may not be loaded with the correct .360" heeled bullets.
     
  5. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Member

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    How would one even fit in there? Are the chambers bored straight through (i.e., no shoulder)?
     
  6. jimC2

    jimC2 Member

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    The cylinders are bored straight thru, no shoulders. I don't think I'll be shooting this one. Probably just clean it up. It looks like it hasn't been used much, finish is almost like new.
     
  7. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    You got it! The .38 Long Colt originally used a heeled bullet (like a .22 Long Rifle) that was outside lubricated. The case and bullet dia. were the same (.360") and the chambers were bored straight through. As a consequence .38 Special, and even some .357 Magnum cartridges will chamber. Obviously this is something that you don't want too do!

    Some late production model 1892's (around 1908) did have shouldered chambers with the bore reduced to .356" - .358", but they are seldom seen.
     
  8. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Generally speaking, Colt model 1892 revolvers are not hot collectables.

    However a military revolver in almost new condition would be an exception to the rule. If everything is original it would be worth much more then an ordinary gun of the same kind.
     
  9. jimC2

    jimC2 Member

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    I'll try to make some pictures today. As for shooting 357's in this because they fit, not me, I value my health too much.
     
  10. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Member

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    OK, next question: Since new .38 Long Colt is apparently intended to be a subload for .38 Specials in cowboy shooting, it will not have this heeled bullet and will be sized to fit the .38 Spl. bore (.357"), correct? If so, I would give the old-timer an honored retirement. :)
     
  11. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    So far as I know current .38 Long Colt ammunition is loaded with .358" bullets, although heeled-style bullets are available for reloaders. Some "cowboy" guns, open-top Colt cartridge replicas in particular, are offered in .38 Long Colt because (I think) this would prevent a Plus-P .38 Special from being chambered in one.

    .38 Special mid-range cartridges are usually loaded with 148-grain/hollow base/wadcutter bullets rated at about 720 FPS. .38 Long Colt specs are a 150 grain bullet at 770 FPS - both out of a 6" barrel. Modern .38 Long Colt bullets are also hollow based so that (hopefully) the .358" bullet will expand to fit the usual .360" bores, and this should reduce the muzzle velocity and pressure a little bit.

    In the present case I would agree that the revolver, if it is as described, be retired from shooting because of it's potential collector's value.

    Any Colt model 1892 revolver is at least 99 years old (they were discontinued in or about 1908) and those made during or before 1898 are legal antiques. At best they are not particularly accurate shooters. I can see very limited shooting of some examples, just for having the experience. But anything over a century old deserves to be retired.

    Unfortunately, some folks aren't as bright as you are. Some model 1892 revolvers have been fired with .357 Magnum ammunition - with the expected result.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2007
  12. jimC2

    jimC2 Member

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    Last edited: Jul 28, 2007
  13. tipoc

    tipoc Member

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    The gun looks to be in very good shape.

    tipoc
     
  14. jimC2

    jimC2 Member

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    The finish looks real good but there is pitting around the end of the barrel. I haven't cleaned all the junk out of the barrel but it might be slightly pitted too. The rest of it looks real good. Guess I would have some minor blemishes if I was around 100 years too. It isn't a real collector's item but it would be nice to know it's history.
     
  15. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Want'ta bet? :uhoh: :)

    It was the Army's service pistol before, during and after the Spainish-American war in 1898, and Teddy Roosevelt carried one - not a Colt Single Action Army as many believe. A number of late 19th century western peace officers carried them too. While the civilian version has attracted modest attention they are gaining in popularity as other historical Colt's become too expensive to collect. There has always been interest in the military issue, especialy when they are in excellent or better condition.

    Some were resently sold at an auction held on www.armsbid.com

    Go look at the results. Generally speaking, your revolver is in better shape then some of those that were offered there.
     
  16. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Member

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    This is Jim's revolver.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2007
  17. jimC2

    jimC2 Member

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    Don't want to shoot this gun but is the 38 Long Colt BPC 150gr. HBFP listed at the Old Western Scrounger website the right ammo for this one. Ten-X also lists this. My father kept 38 specials in this thing for years, never shot them. Cartridges loaded with smokeless powder to black powder levels, right?
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2007
  18. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Either should be O.K. in your revolver, but check with the manufacturer because they may be loaded with black powder. The reason is some cowboy shooters using original Colt model 1877 D.A. 38's. Any commercial .38 L.C. should be safe in your gun unless the manufacturer states otherwise. Unlike the .38 Special there is no such thing as a +P or +P+ load in .38 L.C.

    So far as black powder is concerned, the revolver was made to use it. Shooting "black" is part of the fun if you don't mind the cleaning chore. ;)
     
  19. tipoc

    tipoc Member

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    It is a collectable piece. I'd clean it well and think before shooting it at all. Worth 500 to 800 depending on the market.

    tipoc
     
  20. jimC2

    jimC2 Member

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    Thanks for all the info. Not planning to shoot gun but may get a box of ammo for it anyway.
     
  21. jparham

    jparham Member

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    [QUOTEThanks for all the info. Not planning to shoot gun but may get a box of ammo for it anyway.QUOTE]
    Not a bad iea. Have ammo for all your guns (well, unlest yo got something weird like .44pinfire that costs abot 200 bucks a round.)
     
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