Help identifying specifics on DA 38
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  1. #1
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    Help identifying specifics on DA 38

    I ASSUME it is a Colt New Army circa post-1895 but a lot of the markings have me confused. The cylinder has RAC markings, there is no engraved colt above the left grip, and the butt is shiny/smooth. There is a matching set of numbers all over on the release, crane, and frame. Under the left grip there is a K and an 8. On the bottom of the barrel appears to be a backwards p and a K. The other places one would expect to see RAC and year markings appear to have been pitted. MAR 5 95 patent dates etc on the barrel.

    Will try to post pics shortly
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    Last edited by boredkender; 09-10-2019 at 04:14 PM. Reason: Pics

  2. #2
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    Looks to be a New Model Army/Navy. Some info can be found on the Colt Fever site New Army & Navy
    The serial number should be on the butt. Probably long gone on that poorly kept specimen. The other numbers you mentioned are assembly numbers put on certain small parts to keep them together during manufacture. The K and 8 on the grip frame are probably inspection/assembly marks.

    Tom
    Last edited by Mosby; 09-10-2019 at 07:59 PM. Reason: clarification

  3. #3
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    With the RAC (Army ordnance inspector Rinaldo A.Carr), it‘s a military version, but the grip panels are from a commercial version, so not original, I think. But there were some Navy contracts with rubber stocks, so the butt stampings are important. If the the butt being „shiny, smooth“ means there is nothing to be found there, it will be difficult to identify the gun further as the only legal and complete serial would be located there.

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  5. #4
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    Thanks for the info. I was inclined to believe it had started life as military version as well since the bottom of the grip has a lanyard hole (with a small piece of wood plugging it). Pic of bottom incoming but if I can't figure out a solution to the serial I may end up pouring lead down the barrel to make it permanent inop to avoid felony issues.

    It DOES appear that some of the model did use the last 4 of the serial as the assembly number, and even the side plate stamp on the inside matches
    Last edited by boredkender; 09-11-2019 at 04:08 PM.

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by boredkender View Post
    ....
    It DOES appear that some of the model did use the last 4 of the serial as the assembly number, and even the side plate stamp on the inside matches
    The lanyard hole would indicate it’s a Model 1901 or an earlier US Army model upgraded to 1901 specs, which happened to many of these. The last four digits of the serial as assembly number was indeed the case, I think from 1894 or so onward, but you still don’t know whether one of two digits, and which, are missing up front, so that’s little help.

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Absalom View Post
    The lanyard hole would indicate it’s a Model 1901 or an earlier US Army model upgraded to 1901 specs, which happened to many of these. The last four digits of the serial as assembly number was indeed the case, I think from 1894 or so onward, but you still don’t know whether one of two digits, and which, are missing up front, so that’s little help.
    So somewhere between 1895 (patent date on barrel) and 1901. I posed this question on another forum but will toss it up here at the risk of sounding like a stubborn child...

    Given the oblitteration marks of where the RAC and year WOULD have been on the frame, and the fact that the butt has a slight bevel to it... is it within believable realm that either colt did this as a civilian rework of old parts, or even that I may be able to take a dremmel with a light buffer wheel and uncover a serial on the butt? Posts have indicated that the old serial stamps were easily removed plates but if this was just covered and smoothed in a reblue there may be hope?

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by boredkender View Post
    ....

    Given the oblitteration marks of where the RAC and year WOULD have been on the frame, and the fact that the butt has a slight bevel to it... is it within believable realm that either colt did this as a civilian rework of old parts, or even that I may be able to take a dremmel with a light buffer wheel and uncover a serial on the butt? Posts have indicated that the old serial stamps were easily removed plates but if this was just covered and smoothed in a reblue there may be hope?
    I doubt Colt would have let a gun out of the factory after a rework without a restamped serial number. I don’t know what those other posts would mean with “easily removed plates”. The military butts were flat, but especially the serial was fairly deeply stamped. I don’t have expertise in raising ground-off numbers, but depending on your forensic skill, it might be possible.
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  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Absalom View Post
    I doubt Colt would have let a gun out of the factory after a rework without a restamped serial number. I don’t know what those other posts would mean with “easily removed plates”. The military butts were flat, but especially the serial was fairly deeply stamped. I don’t have expertise in raising ground-off numbers, but depending on your forensic skill, it might be possible.
    Thanks for your pic! It gives me a little more hope that my handle was filled over instead of ground off. Will hit the buffer wheels after work and either yield results or have a super-shiny butt.

    Testing my google-fu, the difference between 1901 and 1903 was a larger trigger area that went up into the frame by the cylinder, correct?

  10. #9
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    Well buffer wheel failed. Took off some bluing without showing a single bit of being engraved. Lowered the value of an unsellable gun even more I guess. May give up and part it out down the road instead of destroying it outright...


 

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