Custom Fitz-style Colt Official Police
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  1. #1
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    Custom Fitz-style Colt Official Police

    I always thought the old Fitz-Colts were really neat. The cutaway trigger guard, bobbed hammer, and shortened barrel always lit my imagination. Original revolvers actually made at the Colt factory by J.H. Fitzgerald sell today for thousands of dollars.

    A few years ago a friend gave me a box of old gun parts and inside was a 2 1/2" Colt Official Police barrel. It had been custom cut down and its muzzle was expertly re-crowned. It read "icial" over "lice" and then .38 Special. Apparently it had been a 4" Official Police before it was shortened.

    It took me a few years, but I finally bought a 1948 Colt Official Police .38 Special off Gunbroker for a reasonable price. The gun was tight and functioned well, but its finish was rather poor. It had lots of scratches, holster wear, and some browning patches of patina. Its 5" barrel's bore wasn't very good either.

    Here is the Official Police when I first received it:





    I left the Colt with my FFL and gunsmith, Mario Matelli ( http://bullseyefirearms-il.com/ ) and he completely disassembled it for a deep cleaning:



    Mario is a great guy and a fantastic gunsmith. He installed the short barrel:



    Then Mario bobbed the hammer and cut the trigger guard the way Fitz did it way back when:



    Mario also went over the action and smoothed it out. His work on the hammer and trigger guard is outstanding! We talked about front sights and I wanted to see if we could re-use the original front sight from the factory 5" barrel. Mario did an amazing job of removing the old sight and then installing it on the custom 2 1/2" barrel. Here's how the Colt looked when I got it back from Mario:



    I've got big hands so I didn't want to shorten the grip. I sent a period correct pair of Colt medallions to Patrick Grashorn ( http://www.grashornsgunworks.com/ ) and he installed them in a pair of his handsome American Elk Stag handles.

    Then I had the Colt re-blued by a local guy who does great work. He kept the matte blue finish on the top strap, and the front and rear of the grip strap areas. The rest of the gun was polish blued. He didn't lose the Rampant Colt emblem on the left side of the frame, but he did polish off the "Icial Lice" on the left front of the barrel at my request. Now all it says is .38 Special.















    I made a custom case out of an old cigar box to hold my Fitz'ed Colt:





    I'm very happy with the way the old beater Colt turned out. I've breathed new life into a Colt that wasn't much to look at when I got it and wouldn't have been much of a shooter either. I won't ever carry this gun, but I will shoot it just to say that I did.

    But I'm going to wait to fire it until it's totally finished. It has one more trip to make to Michael Gouse ( www.mtart.com ) in about two months. I called him and got put in line on his waiting list to have this revolver engraved. I think I'm going to go with about 75% Nimschke style engraving. I definitely want to have the bottom of the frame engraved where the trigger guard used to be and I want some scroll under the portion of the trigger guard that still remains.

    I'll be sure to add photos when it comes back from Gouse, but that's 3 months or so away....

    -Steve
    Last edited by mm6mm6; 02-22-2011 at 12:27 PM.
    mentallapse likes this.
    "I hope your fingers aren't ticklin' my ivory handled Colt." (Paden in Silverado)

  2. #2
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    A Dick Tracy Deluxe!
    "What I've found in life is what goes around comes around. Take ice for example: the rich get it in the summer and the poor get it in the winter" (W.B. Masterson).

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    That's the best story I've read in ages. Beautiful!

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    Very nice!

    I love the symmetry of the grips, you don't see them matched up that well too often.

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    Let me say I think that is a great idea and it looks beautiful! Great job, that is something I never thought of. Got a text into my gunsmith to see if they have a beater Official Police.

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    Smile

    Great story, as I have a real soft spot for the cut barrel OP's and Army Specials. The Fitz job is real classy.

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    Nicely done Steve!

    I've been looking for an old 1917 Colt to do the same with. I love Patrick's stags and have a few sets on some of my guns, but I'm planing on putting wood on mine.

    Thanks for sharing the pictures and story behind your conversion. whitecoyote started my obsession with doing one of these, and you've fanned the flames!

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    Whitecoyote got me going too! Allow me to take this opportunity to thank him!!!!!!!
    "I hope your fingers aren't ticklin' my ivory handled Colt." (Paden in Silverado)

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    I've been following the progress of your project since your first post about it. I am really impressed by how it came out. Your going to have a lot of fun with that little beauty!
    Who did the blueing? Was he reasonable? Been thinking about my old Trooper needing to be dressed up.
    You've certainly got something to be proud of there!

  11. #10
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    The blueing cost me $150 from a local gentleman that does great work. Unfortunately, he doesn't want me to post his info because he has too much work to do. He had about 10 guns in his basement that he was working on when I picked my Colt up. He does it as a hobby, but he was quite firm about me not giving out his info. Sorry about that.
    "I hope your fingers aren't ticklin' my ivory handled Colt." (Paden in Silverado)


 
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