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Modified Police Positive Special

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by JohnnyCremains, Oct 20, 2011.

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  1. JohnnyCremains

    JohnnyCremains Member

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    Here's a PPS that started life as a blue 4 inch in 1915.
    I bought it for less than 200 and turned it into this. I did all of the polishing but had a local finishing house do the nickel plate.
    Colt made a few of these on special order back in the '20s but are so rare I will never see one let alone own one. So I made one. It has a 1 1/4" barrel.

    IMG_1927.jpg

    IMG_1876.jpg

    And with pearls:

    IMG_1887.jpg

    IMG_1888.jpg
     
  2. rdrancher

    rdrancher Member

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    That's one heck of a first post! I like it!
     
  3. CFletch08

    CFletch08 Member

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    That is one beautiful little snubby. Great job!
    Just out of curiosity, what was the motivation to shorten the barrel so much and how is the perceived recoil?
     
  4. TarDevil

    TarDevil Member

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    Nice! Been trying to decide what to do with my Police Positive... trade it or trick it out. You've given me some nice visuals on what can be done with the gun.

    I just worry that an already anemic .38 S&W will dribble out of the barrel if I shorten it that much. Maybe 2 1/2"? Sure would look nice!!
     
  5. rikman

    rikman Member

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    Beautiful!!
     
  6. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    I once handled one that was made by Colt for one of they're own sales representives. (When I questioned this the owner produced a Colt Historical Letter that confirmed its background.)

    .38 Special, Police Positive Special, nickel plate finish with genuine Colt pearl stocks, 1 1/4" barrel with no front sight, bobbed hammer and shortened ejector rod. Cased in wood box with red felt trim.

    While no mention of him was made, I suspect that John H. FitzGerald might have had a hand in the project.

    I presume it was intended to be carried in a gentleman's pants, side or hip pocket.
     
  7. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Just for the record, S&W made some .38 Safety Hammerless revolvers on special order that had 1 1/4" barrels, and the bullets didn't "dribble out."

    Also it isn't generally known, but Colt made the .38 Police Positive with tighter chamber throats (.358) and barrel groove diameter (.356) then Smith & Wesson did. You should check your particular revolver, but if your gun is the same as mine you can reload the .38 S&W cartridge using a .38 Special neck sizing plug, and regular .38 Special diameter bullets (.358) rather then the usually recommended and hard-to-find (.361)

    You can also make a modest increase in velocity because factory .38 S&W rounds are intended to be safe in late-production top-break's.
     
  8. TarDevil

    TarDevil Member

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    Thanks, Old Fuff..

    I'm not set up for reloading yet, and I'll have the gun checked per your instructions. Of course, "dribble out" is a bit extreme, but it is a pretty slow round. I do love to shoot the gun, but always wondered how it would look in 2 1/2. Found a lot of good examples over on the Colt forum.

    Any idea (not meaning to hi-jack the thread.. my apologies) on what it would cost to re-barrel?
     
  9. JohnnyCremains

    JohnnyCremains Member

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    There's a picture of that gun in the book on Colt DA snubnose revolvers by Gary Peer. It shows it with it's wooden case. That is the very gun that gave me the inspiration for this project.
     
  10. JohnnyCremains

    JohnnyCremains Member

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    I actually haven't fired it yet. It looks so good and like new I'm having a hard time getting motivated to actually shoot it. I'm sure I will eventually.
    My motivation is stated in my above post.
     
  11. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Oh darn!!! I could have bought that gun, but the asking price was more then I had in my pocket...

    A lot more. :banghead: :D

    I did make one on a Police Positive (not Special) platform with a 1 1/4"/no front sight barrel, but I also FITZ'ed it by shorting the butt and cutting out the front of the trigger guard. It made a great side pocket revolver, and I found it was effective enough out to about 20 feet, even without a front sight.

    One trick is to cut out the rear sight and make it the same as the "hogwaller" that runs down the topstrap. Aim (I use the word loosely) by looking down the groove, and hold low because the bullet will hit higher. You'd be surprised what a little practice will accomplish. ;)

    When chambered in .38 S&W the recoil is nothing to worry about, and you do get an impressive muzzle blast on a dark range. :eek:
     
  12. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    Mighty pretty!
     
  13. JohnnyCremains

    JohnnyCremains Member

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    Can you post a picture of yours? I've been toying with the idea of making a little brother to this one on a Police Positive platform. I have two Police Positives but neither one I want to cut up. I will look for another one if I want to do the same thing again to another gun.
     
  14. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Sorry, but I did all of this back around 1985, and later traded it off to someone who wanted a lot more then I did. :evil:

    Like you, I have some other Police Positive's that are too nice to chop up. If I build another one it will most likely be on one of the smaller Taurus platforms. :what:

    The reason (besides low cost) is that the spring and plunger that tensions the cylinder stop is inside the yoke, and you can cut back the trigger guard without getting near any lockwork.

    Unfortunately I am finding two kinds of Police Positive's - those that are in too good of a condition to modify, and those that wouldn't be a serious loss if they were, but likely require an expensive restoration to be good shooters.

    That said, if the right Colt should come along.... ;)

    Look in Gary Peer's book for a picture of a Bankers Special (Similar to a Detective Special, but on a Police Positive platform).
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2011
  15. JohnnyCremains

    JohnnyCremains Member

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    Yes I'm familiar with Banker's specials. I really like them. One of mine is a PP that has a BS replacement barrel on it. I really like it. The best part though is the deep dish medallion grips that came with it.

    IMGP4837.jpg
     
  16. JohnnyCremains

    JohnnyCremains Member

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    Here it is with my other Police Positive. Both were made in 1908 and are transitional models. Note the side plates of both say "Colt's New Police" but are Police Positives

    IMGP4361.jpg
     
  17. vanfunk

    vanfunk Member

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    Twaits, is that you?
     
  18. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Maybe this would be a good place to point out that with the exception of the frame and cylinder assembly, Police Positive and Police Positive Special revolvers in .38 caliber are identical. So for example if someone wants a Banker Special, but is unwilling to pay the steep price usually required to get one, a viable option is to match an older Detective Special or Cobra 2 or 3 inch pencil-style barrel with a .38 Police Positive platform. It is far easier to find a snubby barrel for the former then the latter.

    If you get into screwing barrels in and out, be sure the gunsmith has the right tools, in particular the necessary blocks to support the frame and barrel. The old method of clamping the barrel in a vice (with or without blocks) and turning the frame with a hammer handle or some-such in the cylinder window, can and likely will result in a bent and ruined frame, and if the barrel slips you may find the front sight has a new angle... :eek:

    Standard cataloged barrel lengths for the Police Positive and Police Positive Special were 4, 5 and 6 inches, but prior to the introduction of the Detective Special and Banker Special they did make short runs of lengths such as 2, 2 1/2, 2 3/4, 3, and 3 1/2 inches. Occasionally they show up in places such as Numrich Parts Corp. (www.e-gunparts.com) as a one-of-a-kind item. You'll have to e-mail or call, because they don't go to the trouble of cataloging them. Do not expect them to be inexpensive, but it won't cost anything to ask.
     
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