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I just purchased a very nice OP built in 1942 with a 4 inch barrel. I thought the gun to be about 95% until I got it home and did a little research. After reviewing my colt literature and some web sites I think my revolver has the wrong grips. The ones on the gun are the ornate hard rubber with the oval colt logo and equipped with the old Mershon "Suregrip Adapter" that fits in front of the ornate grips. The grips and the adapter look correct and fit nice but I think they might be for a little earlier model. Does anyone know for sure? I still like the gun but I think I paid too much. If mine are wrong, can original grips be found?
 

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Colt stopped using the old molded hard rubber grips on most revolvers in the mid-1920's and went to checkered walnut with silver Colt medallions.

There might be a question about a Colt made during WWII.
Colt started using re-brown plastic grips called "Coltwood" during the war for the war-time Colt Commando, which was a parkerized Official Police.

Colt did continue making Official Police models during the war for police departments, and I "think" these had checkered walnut grips even during the war.

In any case, the hard rubber grips are not "correct" for a Colt made after the mid-20's.
 

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That is generally correct about the grips, and correct for your 1942 gun I would think as well. But there are exceptions, see picture.

View attachment 49534 View attachment 49533

How interesting!


I had wondered about that - about whether the Black Hard Rubber Stocks could either come incidentally or be Special Ordered by then.

I see no reason why a purchaser could not have requested them, or, requested the 'Coltwood', or the Checked Walnut or even plain un-checked Walnut, for that matter...seeing as how a purchaser could request Ivory, Pearl, and maybe other variations as well.
 

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mynorac, There is a good chance that any Army Special made late in the run (some call it a clean up run) from around 1935 or so, will have the hard rubber grips. Several of these have surfaced over the last few years and they letter with the rubber grips. Some Colt grips are numbered inside, some are not, so that doesn't necessarily help. Mine are not numbered but the fit is factory and I believe them to be original to my near mint gun. On yours only a letter will tell for sure. But if you have an Official Police with hard rubber grips then the originality is very doubtful.
 

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It would be interesting to know if the build date on the Mid-1930s-shipped Army Special revolvers is in the Mid-1930s. They are probably a parts cleanup as stated, but I wonder if there are some that were built earlier and never shipped until later.

It is interesting to note that the stock material IS mentioned in the letter, an uncommon mention in most letters where the stock material is not mentioned if it is "standard." The rubber stocks on the Army Special "cleanup" revolvers is especially interesting because the last production Army Special revolvers were shipped with wood stocks.
 

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Aren't the mid-30s Army Specials that have surfaced all .32-20s?

As research, do they have the curved topstrap typical of the Army Special, or the flattened and serrated style adopted around the change to the Official Police in tge late 1920s?

Are there many .32-20 Official Police revolvers known from the mid 1930s?

My point is, is it possible that, after the transition to the Official Police, any orders for .32-20 revolvers were filled by building guns with .32-20 Army Special barrels on current production frames?
 

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On the Army Special late production guns that I have seen, they were purpose built as a cost reduced gun. An "Army Special" quality gun vs the more deluxe Official Police that superceded it. These late Army Specials did not have Official Police characteristics of walnut grips, checkered trigger and checker cylinder release, also did not have the serrated top strap and perhaps the most telling cost savings was the brushed blue rather than polished blue military style finish.
So in my view Colt was using up Army Special left over barrels and was also making a version of the older Army Special as best they could using the then current production frames and serial number ranges. I am told the earlier frames were different so I do not believe these clean up guns were simply left over from 1928 and finally sold in 1936. They are totally different and purpose built as a cheaper gun. My gun was 1 of 12 going to the same Company so they are not rare or single shipments.
 
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