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Help Identify Colt OP...

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Coyote3855, Dec 9, 2008.

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  1. Coyote3855

    Coyote3855 Member

    Nov 6, 2006
    Some years ago I acquired a .38 caliber Colt revolver with a 2-inch barrel. Markings on the left side of the barrel are a large 38 with the words OFFICIAL POLICE in two lines. On the right side of barrel also in two lines: COLT’S PTFA MFG CO, HARTFORD, CONN USA. Both sets of markings are centered lengthwise on the barrel.

    There are no other markings on the exterior of the revolver except the rampant Colt on the left side of the frame. All markings are crisp and clear with no indication that the gun has been buffed or refinished.

    The revolver appears to be silver plated rather than nickeled or chromed because the finish tarnishes. The trigger, back strap, cylinder latch knob, and rear of the hammer spur are finely checkered.

    The rear sight is dovetailed into the top of the frame and is adjustable for windage. There is a small screw through the top of the sight which holds the sight in the dovetail, and a screw in the side of the frame that appears to be used to adjust the sight. The top of the frame in front of the sight has five fine lines parallel to the bore about ¼ inch long. The center of the sight has a single inscribed line extending forward to align with the lines on the frame. The top of the frame is flat from the front sight to the point it tapers down to the barrel.

    The grips are wood checkered with Colt medallions and are probably a recent replacement. I believe the originals would have been black hard rubber.

    The serial number is 382XXX with a capital “N” under the first digits of serial number. The serial number appears on the crane and on the frame opposite the crane.

    The serial number is lower than the 513216 where Proofhouse.com shows the Official Police Series began in 1927 as a continuation of the Army Special.

    So what is this thing? I know about Colt letters, but I’m reluctant to spend more on the letter than I did on the gun.
  2. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    Obviously modified as the sights were clearly added, or perhaps the OP barrel was screwed into an Army Model frame? The flat top frame almost sounds like an original target model but the barrel would not be stamped Official Police.

    A photo would help.
  3. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Sounds like an Official Police barrel on an Officer's Model Target. Frame ca 1915.

    Factory silver plate is highly unusual, but I had a highschool physics teacher, who told of making pocket money in college by silver plating guns, mostly WW I souvenirs, for $3.00 in coin. He had set up a plating bath and he would hook up the three silver dollars across from the gun parts. He could plate a pistol with silver from the silver dollars without affecting their appearance. Then spend the slightly lighter money. Naturally we kids thought that neat and did not worry about the legality or ethics of it.
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