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The Consummate Collector
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A Study of the Colt Officers Model Revolver by Cam Cogsdill "TheColtGuy"




1st Model (Officers Model Target revolver): (1904-1907)
The first model of the Colt Officers Model revolver dates back to 1904. Colt introduced it as a new Colt Target Revolver and it was based on the New Army/New Navy frame style with its counterclockwise rotation of the cylinder. It was chambered for .38 Long Colt and .38 S&W Special and was known as the Officers Model Target. The only barrel length available in this first model was 6". It had a finely checkered trigger and backstrap with beautiful checkered walnut stocks. The adjustable sights allowed for levation adjustment on the front sight, and windage adjustment on the rear sight. This sight style adjustment remained through the third model. Two different frame types were used on the first model. The first from 1904 to mid-1906 had a narrow trigger guard. The second type followed with the more conventional width trigger guard. Both types used the early style flat latch for opening the crane. The finish on the first model was a very high polish bluing with fire-blued accent parts such as the trigger, hammer, and pins.

1st Model first frame type (1904-1906):


1st Model second frame type (1906-1907):




2nd Model (Officers Model Target): (1908-1926)
In 1908, Colt introduced the second model of the Officers Model Target revolver with a new frame, positive lock, checkered cylinder release latch, and clockwise cylinder rotation. This model had the last patent date on the top of the barrel showing July 4, 1905. With this new introduction, a second barrel length was added at 7 1/2" and by 1924 Colt had listed a 4 1/2" barrel length in their catalog. When first introduced the top of the frame was flat with highly polished blue to match the rest of the revolver, however in 1917 at about serial number 423,500 Colt made a change that put a bevel on each side of the top strap. About this same time a special order chambering was also produced but not advertised. Colt made and sold several of these Officers Model Targets in .32 Police Cartridge. Barrel lengths in this caliber included both 6" & 7 1/2" and of the standard weight configuration since the Heavy Barrel had not been introduced yet. These are exceedingly rare, especially with the 7 1/2" barrel. Some collectors have estimated that less than 20 of these longer barrel examples were made. With the introduction of this 2nd model came the deep-set Colt medallions in the stocks. The Rampant Colt logo with a letter C was also entwined around the prancing pony and is often referred to as the stylized C logo. This logo ran from 1908-1910 when the large C was removed leaving the pony by itself. One nickel example of the 2nd model showed up in this study. While we may assume that others could exist we should also assume that very few of these were made.

6" 2nd Model:


2nd Model 7 1/2" example:


2nd Model Nickel example:




2nd Model .32 Police Cartridge standard weight barrel with 6" barrel:


2nd Model .32 Police Cartridge standard weight barrel with 7 1/2" barrel:






3rd Model: (Officers Model Target): (1926-1949)
In 1927, Colt introduced the third model of the Officers Model Target with its stippled top strap to help prevent glare. The sights now favored the Patridge style with its flat front blade and square notch rear sight blade. The ever-popular bead front sight and U-notch rear sight from the earlier models could still be ordered however the standard, out the door, OMT's were being shipped with the Patridge sights. This new model was available in five barrel lengths: 4", 4 1/2", 5", 6", and 7 1/2". In 1930, the .22 caliber was also offered in this model. The first two years had the non-embedded cylinder head, however, Colt made the change by 1932 so that every .22 caliber cylinder was made with the embedded head allowing the cartridge to remain flush with the face of the cylinder. In 1935, Colt introduced the Heavy Barrel .38 which was offered in response to target shooters. The .32 Police Cartridge had remained available, but not shown in the catalogs, with the 6" standard weight barrel, however, in very limited quantities. From 1938-1941, Colt made the .32 available in a Heavy Barrel version and about 1,500 of these went to the Massachusetts National Guard. Most of these were never used and were later released to the general public. Today, many of these are still in their original boxes and remain in the hands of collectors. In 1947, once the war efforts were over, Colt again produced the Officers Model Target with a few changes. It was apparent that some cost-cutting measures were put into effect, as the finely checkered backstrap and trigger were replaced with vertical groves and the checkered cylinder release was now smooth. The flutes of the cylinder and bottom portion of the frame and trigger guard were no longer polished but were replaced with a sandblasted matte finish. The once finely checkered walnut stocks with their silver Colt medallions were replaced with molded plastic ones that Colt referred to as Coltwood. Colt also made very few nickel 3rd Model Officers Model Targets.

The five barrel lengths of the 3rd Model:


Introduction of the .32 Heavy Barrel:


The .32 Heavy Barrel:


Here is an example of the nickel 3rd model with the heavy barrel:


Showing the 1926 patent date:



4th Model (Officers Model Special): (1949-1951)

In 1949, a new-looking fourth model of the Officers' Model revolver was introduced and it was known as the Officers' Model Special. It was offered in both .22 Long Rifle and .38 Special calibers with a Heavy Target Barrel and new sights. The front sight had a long serrated ramp base and fixed sight. The rear was a Coltmaster sight with adjustment for both elevation and windage. The hammer was also changed with a deep thumb cut for easy cocking. The stocks remained the same as the post-war third model using the Coltwood. The matte finish in the flutes and lower frame stayed the same. The checkering on the hammer was replaced with groves similar to the trigger and back strap.

4th Model (Officers Model Special):

 

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The Consummate Collector
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
5th Model (Officers Model Match) 1952-1969)

In 1952, Colt brought out the fifth model called the Officers' Model Match. It retained the Heavy Barrel but was fitted with new sights. The front sight was fitted with a shorter ramp and the rear was Colt's new Accrosight, which was adjustable for both windage and elevation. The new wide spur hammer was checkered wood with the silver medallions. The flutes and lower frame were once again highly polished blue, similar to the pre war models. This model was offered in the following three calibers: .38 Special, .22 Long Rifle, and .22 Magnum Cartridge (only 850 made). The .38 Special could also be ordered as a short single action for target shooting. These are seldom encountered and are considered to be quite collectible. Many were sold to the military bases for competition matches.

.38 Special shown on top and the .22 shown on the bottom:




6th Model (Officers Model Match Mark III (1969-1970)

The last Officers' Model revolver that Colt made was the Officers' Model Match Mark III. It was introduced in 1969 and only 496 guns of this model were produced, making it one of Colt's rarest production guns. It is reported that 350 of these were shipped abroad, which leaves very few remaining in this country. This was truly a highly polished and beautiful revolver with its heavy vent rib barrel, wide spur checkered hammer, fancy target stocks, and frame mounted firing pin. While some Colt literature list the revolver in .22 Long Rifle, it was only produced in .38 Special due to its short run production. One example is known to have been factory engraved.

An example as it left the factory:


Barrel marking:




Engraved examples of the Officers Model revolver:



Factory engraved, gold plated and double sided carved ivory stocks:




Factory engraved Officers Model Target with carved ivory:




Early post war factory engraved Officers Model Target with carved ivory:




Factory engraved Officers Model Target .22:


The seldom encountered factory engraved 7 1/2” Officers Model Target:




Very few Officers Model Specials' were factory engraved. This one was done by the master himself, Alvin White:






Cased Officers Models:

A .22 and .38 cased in an NRA period target case form the 1930's:



This one is housed in a British case after it was shipped to England:


Note the British proof marks:


A custom set that includes three calibers, .22, .32 & .38 all with King Super Target treatment and Roper stocks:
 

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The Consummate Collector
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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Fancy Holsters for the Officers Model:








A few cut-a-ways were made by the factory for show & tell. Here is one of them:










Colt would always try and accommodate the customers with options and variations.
Here is a pre war Officers Model Target that was shipped with a round butt:








Gunsmiths alterations:
Many Officers Model revolvers were altered to suit customer needs and here are a couple of examples:

Officers Model Target with a cut down cylinder:





Here is another .22 OMT with an extra-long barrel and Roper sights:





This one has the full treatment: King Super Target, Roper stocks, and the addition of a King-Gaidos .22 interchangeable cylinder:


Our display of the Colt Officers Model Revolvers at the 2014 Collectors Association Show in Concord, N.C.



While additional research will surface as time passes this study will give a look at some of the information that is currently available.
 
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