Interesting history on my Official Police.....
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 13
Like Tree29Likes

Thread: Interesting history on my Official Police.....

  1. #1
    Supporting Member
    Supporting Member

    Member #
    17312
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    655
    Liked
    712 times

    Interesting history on my Official Police.....

    I picked up this OP a few years back, with the non factory Herret's grips on it, primarily as something I'd occasionally shoot. It's a plain jane 4" .38spl in decent condition. A year or two after I got it, I finally got around to taking it apart and discovered the marking "US POW 4879" under the left stock panel. It looked somewhat poorly done, certainly not a factory or professional marking. Thinking this was some type of security business inventory number or similar, I dismissed it a bit. Over time, I kept thinking it was odd the "US" was included in the marking. I finally included my request from Colt with the last batch of letters and after a longer than usual wait - myself being away from my mail for a few extra months - was superbly surprised!

    Colt Official Police SN# 713736 was manufactured August 8, 1942. On August 13, 1942 it shipped with 49 of its fellow guns to "U.S. Rubber Supply - Penn Ordnance Works". Hence the "US POW 4879". The Rubber Supply part sounds boring but, anything related to Ordnance Works doesn't. Likely the security business I was predicting. Nope - not even close. As it turns out, in 1942 Brig. Gen. Leslie Groves acting on behalf of the US Gov't at that time, acquired a bunch of land in Pennsylvania by purchasing a good number of privately owned properties and thereupon was built the Penn Ordnance Works. Once the facility was up and running during 1943-44, it seems to have been a top secret storage facility for the radioactive materials for the Manhattan Project, as well as manufacturing 69 million tons of TNT. It was eventually cleared out early 1944 and was in active operation for only 11 months.

    From this point, looking at the build/ship date correlated with the Penn facility build/operation dates, I believe that it was one of 50 OP's ordered under a generic business name and destined for use protecting this top secret facility...?? The number marked on the gun seems to be an inventory control number as predicted.

    Does anyone else have any info on these guns, the facility or even any further speculation about it? Am I off in my thinking about its likely history?
    If this history is accurate, it's almost a "light" version of a US Military firearm...but not really....

    I've also attached a link to the Penn Ordnance Works with some old time photos.
    https://www.pennlive.com/midstate/20...dioactive.html

    ColtOP1.jpgColtOP2.jpgColtOP3.jpgColtOP5.jpgColtOP6.jpg

  2. #2
    Senior Member

    Member #
    14714
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    East TN
    Posts
    1,850
    Liked
    2017 times
    Excellent history! If I were to do anything with it, I believe I would replace those grips with a set of original grips. It deserves it
    Ron
    Last edited by Ronald12; 09-30-2019 at 02:34 PM.
    jeepnut711 likes this.

  3. #3
    Senior Member

    Member #
    54873
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    Pflugerville, Texas
    Posts
    1,964
    Liked
    1684 times
    Very neat history on that revolver.

  4. Remove Advertisements
    ColtForum.com
    Advertisements
     

  5. #4
    Supporting Member
    Supporting Member

    Member #
    17312
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    655
    Liked
    712 times
    Quote Originally Posted by Ronald12 View Post
    Excellent history! If I were to do anything with it, I believe I would replace those grips with a set of original grips. It deserves it
    Ron
    Ron - I fully agree. Which of the many variations would have been correct, so I can begin my search? Heck, I may even have a set in a drawer... I'm not up to speed on the OP's and the variations over the years...I believe they were wood, then even went on to the plastic/colt wood at some point?
    jeepnut711 likes this.

  6. #5
    Senior Member

    Member #
    14714
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    East TN
    Posts
    1,850
    Liked
    2017 times
    I am no expert, but I believe the wood grips verses the plastic might be appropriate for this revolver. It is early enough. Hopefully some of the more knowledgeable folks will chime in.
    Ron

  7. #6
    Senior Member

    Member #
    14960
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN area
    Posts
    1,334
    Liked
    1044 times
    Since it was destined for “government” use, I suppose it could have had plastic grips like the Commando. Probably no way to know for certain but I think the only other possibility would have been checkered walnut grips with the Colt Medallion.

    https://www.legacy-collectibles.com/...ry-letter.html
    Last edited by Blackjack33; 09-30-2019 at 04:05 PM.

  8. #7
    Supporting Member
    Supporting Member

    Member #
    22270
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    1,421
    Liked
    1774 times
    Quote Originally Posted by inspcalahan View Post
    Ron - I fully agree. Which of the many variations would have been correct, so I can begin my search? Heck, I may even have a set in a drawer... I'm not up to speed on the OP's and the variations over the years...I believe they were wood, then even went on to the plastic/colt wood at some point?
    The standard pre-war wood with medallion was the style used on the OP until the switch to Commando production, and would have been on this one too. Attached picture is of a specimen from March 1942.

    Unicolor brown plastic was only used on the Commando. Coltwood didn't start until the post-war resumption of OP production in 1946.

    PS: The lettered OP in the link provided by blackjack definitely does NOT have original grips. By March 1942 the Commando grips were more than half a year from even being developed.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Absalom; 09-30-2019 at 05:00 PM.

  9. #8
    Senior Member

    Member #
    29305
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Occupied Territory aka the People's Republic of Maryland
    Posts
    7,910
    Liked
    12471 times
    Yes...wood stocks would be correct...Commando production hadn't begun yet...or at least not in quantity and even then early Commandos are known to have shipped with wood stocks until the Coltwood plastic became available.
    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



  10. #9
    Senior Member

    Member #
    933
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Occupied California
    Posts
    1,473
    Liked
    2163 times
    My OP has no non-factory markings. When I lettered it, the information came back that it shipped just a few weeks after Pearl Harbor with 13 other identical guns to a hardware store, but for delivery to the Ohio River Ordnance Works in Henderson, Kentucky. A little research showed that it was a defense contractor chemical plant that manufactured ingredients used in explosives.
    Certainly a target for Jap or German saboteurs, I'll bet the plant guards were pretty jumpy at that time.
    I would letter any gun that shipped during wartime, chances are good that it will be worth the cost of the letter.
    inspcalahan likes this.

  11. #10
    Senior Member

    Member #
    1906
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Desert Southwest
    Posts
    4,476
    Liked
    6451 times
    Wow, a Manhattan Project gun! I started reading your post, and got to "Gen Leslie Groves" part and my eyes perked up!
    inspcalahan likes this.


 
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

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.