Colt "Army Special" frame vs Colt "Official Police" frame.
Results 1 to 10 of 10
Like Tree7Likes
  • 1 Post By SnidelyWhiplash
  • 1 Post By Absalom
  • 1 Post By up196
  • 4 Post By thecoltguy

Thread: Colt "Army Special" frame vs Colt "Official Police" frame.

  1. #1
    Senior Member

    Member #
    3615
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    St. Catharines, Ont.
    Posts
    535
    Liked
    159 times

    Colt "Army Special" frame vs Colt "Official Police" frame.

    Ran across these two revolvers on a for sale board. The Colt Army Special sported fixed sights, a 1909 manufacture date, a 4.5" barrel, fixed sights & the original slim wood grips.
    The Official Police is a 4" model with fixed sights, both are 38S&W special. Both are in similar VG condition. The OP sells for C$399.00, the AS is listed for C$700.00.

    Both revolvers looked so similar I placed pics of both side by side for a visual comparison. The mid-profile barrel appear the same on both, the front sights are identical and the frames look the same.

    Is the Colt Official Police the same as Colt Army Special?
    "The ruling elite of this society has got to get over their hostility toward religious people and their values." Carl Paladino.

  2. #2
    Senior Member

    Member #
    29305
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Occupied Territory aka the People's Republic of Maryland
    Posts
    7,694
    Liked
    12096 times
    Yes, they are. The only real difference is the name on the barrel. The Army Special wasn't getting any military sales but was popular with police agencies so Colt made the change to reflect that.

    In equal condition the Official Police tends be be more expensive to buy but not necessarily by a lot. It's just better known. The Army Special was available in .41 caliber which was dropped with the change to the Official Police. Also beware of the occasional Army Specials on the market that have been re-barreled with Official Police barrels.
    Last edited by SnidelyWhiplash; 08-20-2019 at 12:20 PM.
    deyomatic likes this.
    Socialism is like a Jedi Mind Trick...it only works on the weak minded. SnidelyWhiplash
    I'm an American. Your approval is not required. SnidelyWhiplash
    Good people do not need laws to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws. Plato



  3. #3
    JWP
    JWP is online now
    Junior Member

    Member #
    65977
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Posts
    69
    Liked
    33 times
    They are except for barrel stampings. And the AS came with black plastic grips whereas the OP came with wood except during the Coltwood post WW2 era. So I'd say the grips on the AS you describe are not original. I also don't see why it's is priced that much higher. I think it would have to be nib or have special history to be worth that.

  4. Remove Advertisements
    ColtForum.com
    Advertisements
     

  5. #4
    Supporting Member
    Supporting Member

    Member #
    22270
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    1,379
    Liked
    1693 times
    Quote Originally Posted by JWP View Post
    .... And the AS came with black plastic grips whereas the OP came with wood except during the Coltwood post WW2 era. So I'd say the grips on the AS you describe are not original....
    Not necessarily. Checkered wood was always available as a special order. Attached a photo of an Army Special I once owned that lettered as ordered with wood.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    azshot likes this.

  6. #5
    Senior Member

    Member #
    5187
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    1,273
    Liked
    755 times
    While the Army Special and the Official Police are basically the same, there is more to it than a change of name on the barrel. Both were built on the .41 size frame, but there was an evolution from one to the other.

    The Army Special frame initially had a smooth topstrap, rounded from side to side, with the sight groove down the middle. It was fitted with hard rubber stocks with a "C" around the escutcheon as standard. The last patent date on the barrel was 1905 and it was marked on the left side as an Army Special. It had a smooth trigger.

    Around 1923 or so, the stocks changed to checked walnut with a silver medallion as standard, the same ones common to the Official Police. The patent date remained 1905.

    At some point, the 1926 patent date was added to the Army Special barrel, and it seems that may have coincided with the topstrap being changed to a configuration with three flattened surfaces with the sight groove down the middle one, which is serrated. This frame configuration is identical to the Official Police frame configuration. Trigger was still smooth and the front sight was slightly wider.

    The next change appears to have been the change of name on the barrel from Army Special to Official Police and the addition of the checked trigger and even wider front sight, making it the typical Official Police model.

    NOTE: There were some variations from the typical Army Special. Two that come to mind are the Greek contract guns that had smooth wood stocks and the presumed NYPD spec revolvers that had a wider front sight and a squared off rear sight instead of the "dished" contour that was standard.
    Last edited by up196; 08-20-2019 at 02:58 PM.
    Walter Rego likes this.
    __________________________________________________

    Capable of using typewriter if necessary. - "Jerry" Campbell, 1934

    I don't have the time for multi-tasking, I'm too busy doing a bunch of other things.

  7. #6
    Senior Member

    Member #
    5899
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Buffalo WY
    Posts
    1,182
    Liked
    628 times
    Also there's a good smattering of Army Special frames that have Official Police barrels that were not 're barelled' and were parts guns to use up the the Army Special frames.

  8. #7
    The Consummate Collector

    Member #
    2818
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    6,054
    Liked
    17544 times
    I would agree with both of the above two posts and add that the carryover from the Army Special also included the boxes. There are many Army Special boxes that have an Official Police label pasted on the top lid such as shown below:





    With regard to the value of the two guns that were mentioned by the seller, the higher price on the Army Special is most likely because of its rare barrel length. The 4 1/2" is by far the most difficult to acquire in the Army Special especially in the .41 caliber. I started collecting the Army Special almost fifty years ago and had acquired all three calibers with each of there four barrel lengths. The last to add to the collection was the .41 caliber with the 4 1/2" barrel and that was accomplished just a few years ago. Here are the four different barrel lengths. The 4", 4 1/2", 5" & 6".

    73shovel, big_gus, ei8ht and 1 others like this.

  9. #8
    JWP
    JWP is online now
    Junior Member

    Member #
    65977
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Posts
    69
    Liked
    33 times
    Interesting. I just assumed he made the common mistake of measuring from the frame and it was actually a 5" barrel.

  10. #9
    Senior Member

    Member #
    3615
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    St. Catharines, Ont.
    Posts
    535
    Liked
    159 times
    The Colt Army Special has a heavily knurled trigger, looks like a cross checkering in the X style. Im pretty sure its a 4.5" barrel.

    I like both guns. The 4.5" has the edge with a longer barrel but his $700.00 is not justifiable.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Hatman1793; 08-21-2019 at 11:33 AM. Reason: Trying to post pics
    "The ruling elite of this society has got to get over their hostility toward religious people and their values." Carl Paladino.

  11. #10
    Member

    Member #
    28973
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Posts
    112
    Liked
    97 times
    Quote Originally Posted by Hatman1793 View Post
    Ran across these two revolvers on a for sale board. The Colt Army Special sported fixed sights, a 1909 manufacture date, a 4.5" barrel, fixed sights & the original slim wood grips.
    The Official Police is a 4" model with fixed sights, both are 38S&W special. Both are in similar VG condition. The OP sells for C$399.00, the AS is listed for C$700.00.

    Both revolvers looked so similar I placed pics of both side by side for a visual comparison. The mid-profile barrel appear the same on both, the front sights are identical and the frames look the same.

    Is the Colt Official Police the same as Colt Army Special?
    They are essentially the same. I prefer the early, pre WW II, Official Police for fit and finish. Equal condition should bring similar prices.
    A strong chain has NO weak links.


 

Home | Forum | Active Topics | What's New

Sponsored Links

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
We are not associated with Colt's Manufacturing LLC. We are an enthusiast site comprised of Colt Fans.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 4.2.3
Copyright © 2019 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.
SEO by vBSEO ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.