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Hi Guys: Although the list of things I collect seems to be continually expanding, there is one area that has always been a primary focus. That's US martial firearms, including Colts. I try not to get involved in foreign military stuff, but every now and then my interests in different areas coincide. That happened recently when I ran across, and bought, the pictured Colt Official Police. It is a 1940 production British military example in .38 Special, serialed 645832. As is customary with British guns the finish is in poor condition, but otherwise it is solid, sound and original. The only modification was the addition of the British style of lanyard ring (they call them "swivels, butt"). It has no import markings nor any post-war commercial proofs. Those features are, in my experience, unusual for British surplus guns in the USA. It is shown with a British lanyard. I'll post a second pic of the other side and give you the rest of the story.....
 

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The OP is marked on the upper left frame with the British Crown property marking of the Broad Arrow, and the markings of an inspector at Enfield. (Crown over U7 over sideways E). It also has the British military proof marking consisting of the crossed split tail pennants on the left frame just before the barrel. In researching it I found that the British Purchasing Commission had purchased, along with many other Colts of various types, 2499 4" blued, .38 Special Official Police revolvers on an order dated 5/28/40. This was the only order in 1940 for 4" OPs, with the bulk of OPs ordered in 5" and 6" lengths in .38-200 caliber. (My source on this was Ian Skennerton's book on the British .380 Revolvers.) Thus, short of a factory letter which I'm not going to spring for, I think the evidence is pretty good that this gun was one of the 2499 bought by the British in the darkest days of WW2. How it ended up back in the USA is anybody's guess. What service did it perform in the war and where did it serve? The answers are unknowable now, but they are interesting to contemplate. (El Alamein, Burma, Arnhem, Crete...?) The kicker is that I bought the gun from a dealer for $115 within the past month. To the dealer it was just an old, and very beat up, Colt .38. He did not see the history in it, and seemed greatly relieved to be rid of it. I gathered that he was happier selling .40 plastic guns. Anyway, it has found a good home now. It is not pretty, but it speaks to me. Anybody else here like the military Colts? Let's talk about 'em. Charlie Flick
 

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Are you sure about the caliber? Most British lend-lease or WW2-era guns I have seen are in .38 S&W caliber, NOT .38 Special. If it is indeed a .38 Special then you may have a more valuable gun than you think. I'm not an expert on this subject so hopefully someone with more knowledge will chime in.
 

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I have a 4" Commando and a 1917 New Service. Both were unfired, and neither had even a cylinder turn line when I bought them. I've posted pics of the 1917 in the past. I don't have a pic of the Commando because it's in the safe, and I haven't had the chance to get it out. The Commando has the military G.H.D. proof mark (for Col. Guy H. Drewry) above the cylinder latch. Both are great shooters, and great collectables!

[This message has been edited by OfficalPoliceRev (edited 12-28-2003).]
 

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One of the first handguns that I bought when I was a kid, was a Colt model 1909 U.S. Army cal. 45LC. The old gentleman that I bought it from was in the U.S. Army from the Spanish American war through WWI. He related to me that the Army received the 1909 about 1911 or 1912 and when the 1911 45 automatic was issued, most of the old revolvers just walked off. I believe I paid $10.00 for the gun and mowed his lawn twice. This old warrior is still about 98.9% with fire blue trigger etc., plus a perfect bore. No modifications on this Man-O-War.
 

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RS: Yes, I am sure about the OP being in .38 Special and not .38 S+W. You are, of course, correct in saying that most of the British guns in WW2 were chambered in .38 S+W (or officially .38-200 with the heavier bullet.) However, when these guns were purchased in the 'Battle of Britain' timeframe (1940) Britain seems to have been buying almost anything that would shoot. How else can one explain the British purchase of 7 1/2" barreled nickel .45 SAAs or .357 Mag. Shooting Masters? This was pre-Lend Lease Act which did not come into play until 1941. The guns in the 1940 period were all purchased directly by the BPC from the manufacturers (and in some cases from large dealers/distributors). Steve Bunch: That deal you got on the Model 1909 is the best one I have ever heard of! I mowed a lot of yards as a kid, but I never got a crack at a nice revolver lke that as part payment. Can you post some pics of your gun? I have one as well and will try to post something on it later in the week. OPR: I am impressed that you could find unfired a M1917 and a Commando. Those must be beautiful guns. I don't recall seeing a GHD marked Commando before. Most that I have seen have the Ordnance Dept. 'shell and flame' symbol on the left receiver (my 4" is like that). I hope you can post a pic of that one if you get a chance. Nice to see that some others here enjoy the military Colt wheelguns as well. Charlie
 

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Thanks for the terrific pictures, ordnanceguy! I wasn't aware of the extensive history of the OP ... I just always assumed they were exclusive to me and my dad! (And Elliot Ness in the movies.)I think anyone, anywhere would have been and still is well-armed with one of these. They're more accurate than most shooters are and not too big nor too little and will take any 38 load you can buy.
 

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I remember the days during WW II that the government was asking for arms to send to the UK and most of my family gave up some.fifty years later I found a lend lease arm covered with acceptance marks and that little box stating "Not English made"or whatever.Talk about odd guns,it was a 1903 Winchester 22 Automatic.Remember the one that started Win. off that required special smokeless shells.As you might imagine it looked almost unfired.I am not surprised as the ammo might have been hard to get over there.AH, the good old days.

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