Seeking info about an old .38 revolver
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  1. #1
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    Seeking info about an old .38 revolver

    I inherited an old Colt revolver that belonged to my grandfather and I've been trying to find out more information about it. I'm fascinated by the history of all my guns, but there is something special about a genuine Colt! I'm not certain of the accuracy of what I've found out so far so any further details or corrections to what I think I know would be very helpful.
    2012-09-09_12-05-48_250.jpg2012-09-09_12-06-07_332.jpg

    On top of the barrel it reads: COLT'S PT F.A. MFG.CO.HARTFORD CT.U.S.A.PATENTED AUG.5.1884 NOV.6.88 MAR.5.95; on the side of the barrel is COLT D.A. 38;
    On the frame it looks like the letter U above the number 1853; 1853 is repeated on the cylinder arm and cylinder release. On the bottom of the butt is 281 over 320.
    What I believe I've found out so far is that it's a Colt model 1903 manufactured in 1907 and that's about it. As I hope can be seen in the pictures, there are a few rust spots and areas where the blueing is worn, but overall it looks to be in pretty good condition. I've read that some of these models were designed to fire ammunition that is different from the more modern .38 round, but I'm not sure if that applies to this gun. All thoughts, information, and suggestions are greatly appreciated!

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    Yup 1907 if the serial number is 281320. It should be chambered in .38 Special by that time period. You can fire smokeless in it but if it were mine I would stick with mild loads.
    Really nice gun. The blue appears to be the correct original high polish blue with fire blue trigger. The back of the hammer should also be fire blue.

  3. #3
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    Sure looks to be in fantastic shape.

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  5. #4
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    That's a pretty nice New Army Model revolver you inherited. I have one that is two numbers off of your serial number... Always fun to see a gun so close to one you own... second one this month for me as another collector reported one that is consecutive with one of my other New Army guns... :-) The New Army models did come in other calibers if that is your question. .41 Colt and 32 WCF to be specific... As for your gun. It is a late gun, the production ended at 293xxx in 1908. While people like to shoot them I always recommend against it as the steel was milder then and the mechanism was intricate and if you have a malfunction in the mechanism while firing you could damage the gun and maybe sustain an injury. Always up to the owner though... its your body parts! :-) That is a nice gun... Thanks for sharing it. Enjoy! Bob

  6. #5
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    No risk in firing mild loads, such as target wadcutters. But if something internal breaks, you may have some trouble getting it fixed. Probably best to limit trigger time with it. For old gems like that, I have found it fun to shoot with parrafin bullet loads using primers only. You can shoot them inside or outside, as the noise level is very low. Just don't shoot at the dog or cat. No tools neaded, and your only expense is the cost of primers. But drill out the flash holes so they are about twice the original diameter. I shoot them in my back yard using old political yard signs as targets.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DWalt View Post
    No risk in firing mild loads, such as target wadcutters. But if something internal breaks, you may have some trouble getting it fixed. Probably best to limit trigger time with it. For old gems like that, I have found it fun to shoot with parrafin bullet loads using primers only. You can shoot them inside or outside, as the noise level is very low. Just don't shoot at the dog or cat. No tools neaded, and your only expense is the cost of primers. But drill out the flash holes so they are about twice the original diameter. I shoot them in my back yard using old political yard signs as targets.
    I used to do this when I was a kid with my Dads old Victory model S&W. There are still a couple of good sized divots in the closet door of my old bedroom from shooting it.
    I remember shooting a grey squirrel out of the tree in the back yard. Didn't kill him just stunned him. I had to aim pretty high and it was a pretty lucky shot.
    I seem to remember cleaning the wax out of the bore wasn't much fun though

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    Thumbs up Thanks for the feedback!

    I appreciate you folks taking the time to check out my gun. The new info you had for me is very cool to know! I was thinking of insuring it for $500, do you think that's a fair estimation of the value of this gun? Thanks again!

  9. #8
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    $500 should be close.
    Values on guns are determined by the amount of ORIGINAL factory finish remaining, it being in working condition, and being in original configuration (barrel length, caliber, grips, etc).

    The Blue Book lists the Colt New Army & Navy as follows:
    70%--$400.
    80%--$500.
    90%--$700.


 

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