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Thread: Colt Official Police w/King Target Sights

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    Junior Member zainyD is on a distinguished road

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    Colt Official Police w/King Target Sights

    Hello everyone, this is my first post on the forum and I'm hoping I can learn more about my Colt Official Police .38spl revolver. This story has a lot of background information so please forgive me.

    I have had the pistol for about for about 14 years. While living in California as a young man I received it as a Christmas gift from my employer who was an FFL holder and bought/sold/traded firearms as a hobby and a secondary income. The story as I remember it was that he purchased my Official Police, along with approximately six other handguns from an acquaintance's widow. The original owner was a law enforcement officer who died unexpectedly leaving behind a large collection of firearms for his widow to dispose of. I seem to remember my employer telling me that the widow had been taken advantage of when she sold her deceased husband's long guns to a gun shop. Before she could sell the handguns he purchased a few of them from her with some money he scrapped together. It was my first handgun and one that I will always keep. Since that time I have moved to the opposite side of the country and, sadly, have not seen or spoken with my old boss for over a decade.

    Based on my preliminary research the gun was produced in 1937 or 1938 and the serial number is 6252XX. I have not yet ordered a Colt letter for it, but I am now seriously considering doing so. At some point along the line my pistol was worked on by the well known San Francisco gunsmith F. Bob Chow. Based on what I have read it seems that Mr. Chow mainly worked on 1911's, but I do not know that for sure. My pistol has a King style vent rib adjustable sight, but "CHOW" is stamped on it rather than King. However, the front sight blade is stamped "KING". The knurled hammer is King style but is also stamped "CHOW". It appears that Mr. Chow did an action job on the gun, perhaps at the same time the hammer and sights were added. It is a dream to shoot and is very accurate. The grips appear to be original and it also has a Tyler-T grip of unknown vintage. Approximately two years ago I had to have the gun repaired due to the action locking up. Michael Heffron of Heffron Firearm Classics did the repair work and did a marvelous job. He fitted a new hand and adjusted the timing, along with a few other necessary things.

    Since Mr. Chow has been deceased for quite some time now I do not know of any way to get information as to when he might have worked on my gun and exactly what he did. Does anyone here have any information that might be useful in acquiring additional information from Mr. Chow's family about my pistol? That is, if any of his records still exist. The only information I've been able to garner about Mr. Chow so far is from an article in the May, 1988 issue of American Rifleman and what I've been able to read online.

    I realize that assessing a value for something as unique as this is difficult, but could anyone give me an estimate?

    Below are a few pictures. I apologize for the poor quality and my severe lack of photography skills.




    Last edited by zainyD; 12-20-2013 at 07:37 PM.
    Rock, Widetrack55 and DCWilson like this.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Collects is on a distinguished road

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    ZainyD, welcome to Coltforum!

    You REALLY know how to enter a room!

    Your gun-photography skills are really quite good. It is difficult to take nice, detailed gun photos.

    Our real Colt experts will come along shortly and offer their opinions.

    But I seldom shy away from offering my opinions, although my opinions may be worth exactly what you pay for them - nothing.

    Some people like modified guns, some do not. I personally do not add any value to a gun for customization; actually, I avoid most custom guns. Without any customization, IMHO, your revolver is worth around $350 to $400.

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    Senior Member 824tsv is on a distinguished road

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    Your going to get a different opinion with every post. I don't necessarily agree with Collects on that one, I believe it's a unique and a historic piece of early hand gunning. Something that I would be proud to own. King conversions are quite desirable, although yours done by Mr Chow to me is an unknown. Still a very nice gun IMHO.

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    Senior Member rangerider7 is on a distinguished road

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    + D.W. King conversions are quite desirable. Chow ? Someone will need to help you there other than me. RR7
    Last edited by rangerider7; 11-30-2012 at 07:20 AM.
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    "That'll Be The Day"

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    Junior Member gdogs is on a distinguished road

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    Very nice gun you have there. Chow got his start at Kings, and after they went out of business, purchased some of the parts on hand. I've never known a King Super Target to be marked with the gunsmith's name that did the work, so I would assume this is one that Chow did personally, after Kings was out of business. A Super Target in that condition would bring over a $1k (usually with Roper or Sanderson grips - which are quite valuable in their own right), there may be some diminished value since it is more likely done after Kings was out of business, but maybe not since Chow did the actual conversion. I've seen some Super Target ribs sold recently, but since this is clearly an old conversion and directly traced to Chow, I would think it quite desirable to the right collectors. I look for these and old Micro conversions.
    thecoltguy likes this.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Abe Anglin is on a distinguished road

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    Quote Originally Posted by gdogs View Post
    Very nice gun you have there. Chow got his start at Kings, and after they went out of business, purchased some of the parts on hand. I've never known a King Super Target to be marked with the gunsmith's name that did the work, so I would assume this is one that Chow did personally, after Kings was out of business. A Super Target in that condition would bring over a $1k (usually with Roper or Sanderson grips - which are quite valuable in their own right), there may be some diminished value since it is more likely done after Kings was out of business, but maybe not since Chow did the actual conversion. I've seen some Super Target ribs sold recently, but since this is clearly an old conversion and directly traced to Chow, I would think it quite desirable to the right collectors.
    You've got me scratching my head here ...
    when exactly did Bob Chow work for Kings Custom Gun Works?
    ...... I don't think that he every worked in So. California.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Abe Anglin is on a distinguished road

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    For those of you who don't know the late esteemed Mr Chow,

    In Memoriam – F. Robert Chow, a former U.S. Olympic Team member from San Francisco, died on October 17, 2003 at the age of 92. Bob Chow was a gunsmith and champion pistol shooter. He won a place on the 1948 U. S. Olympic Team that competed in London as a rapid-fire pistol shooter. Chow’s Olympic teammates included Art Cook, who won a gold medal in the 1948 rifle prone event; Emmet Swanson, who was the NRA President at the time; John Layton, who became the Washington, DC Police Chief and later was an NRA President; the legendary Marine, Col. Walter Walsh; and future U. S. International Shooting Hall of Fame members Art Jackson and Joe Benner. Chow and the other two rapid-fire shooters on that U. S. Olympic team used Colt Woodsman .22 LR pistols at a time when European and other shooters were using .22 short Walther Olympia and Beretta pistols. Chow was the only U. S. rapid-fire shooter to score 60 hits in the match and placed 13th overall. Bob Chow was a beloved and respected shooter whose departure is mourned.
    Last edited by Abe Anglin; 11-29-2012 at 07:32 PM.

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    Senior Member rangerider7 is on a distinguished road

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    Abe Anglin, Thanks for the information on Mr. Chow.
    "That'll Be The Day"

  9. #9
    Junior Member gdogs is on a distinguished road

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    Quote Originally Posted by Abe Anglin View Post
    You've got me scratching my head here ...
    when exactly did Bob Chow work for Kings Custom Gun Works?
    ...... I don't think that he every worked in So. California.
    That was my understanding. A quick search pulled up these two posts.
    The M1911 Pistols Organization Forums Site - Chow .45
    Pre-war N frame target hammers


    Kings Gun Sight Company is not the same as Kings Custom Gun Works
    Last edited by gdogs; 11-29-2012 at 08:29 PM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Mike Armstrong is on a distinguished road

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    Bob Chow was famous for his customization of 1911 handguns. This is the first revolver of his that I've seen. "King Colts" are a collector subset of their own: the guys that collect them REALLY want them, so you'd need to find such a collector to get a reasonable insurance value (be sure to let him know it isn't for sale). Many of the "King Colts" are SAAs, Bisleys, and OMMs fitted with their sights and ribs and aftermarket custom grips like those shown above. This is the first OP I've seen, perhaps because it's not by Kings.

    There was an article on King Colts in either "Rifle" or "Handloader" a while back. I'll see if I can dig it up.


 
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