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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys - I'm new here, but a long time fan and owner of Colt revolvers. I have a chance to pick up a Colt New Service .38 Special, blue, four inch, serial number 349xxx, marked USIBP on the backstrap, lanyard ring, four digit number on the butt, 95% condition, not reblued, checkered wooden grips. I sure appears to be a legit Border Patrol gun circa 1940, one of the batch ordered and test fired by the Unrepentant Sinner himself, Charlie Askins. I have a brief window to pick this up, and it will require the sacrifice of some other guns to make it happen. Any thoughts on what a fair price to pay for this revolver would be, and any thoughts on future collectability. Thanks in advance for any advice you can give me.
 

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You will have to decide what it is worth to you. I will venture that a 10-15% premium would be fair for Border Patrol markings, and the 4" barrel length is somewhat uncommon also. Tack that on top of what you would pay for a late model .38 NS. Hopefully, they are asking under $1000. More than that would be steep, unless it was mint or you just had to have it. Will it appreciate? Sure, and it has a loose Col. Askins connection (maybe he bent the front sight himself when it was delivered to the B.P.). I guess if I had the dough, it would be a nice addition to any Colt collection. Keep us posted and good luck.

P.S. Does the seller have a 1952 B.P. laying around that he wants to get rid of? /forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif
 

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The serial you mention is that of a 1940 New Service. The Border Patrol was manufactured only in 1952. Hmmm, could it be a rebarrel?
 

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Addicted,
The 1952 model was a heavy barrel OP frame, .38 Special, rollmarked on the barrel "Border Patrol". Just issued one year, about 500 made. However, the United States Immigration and Border Patrol (USIBP) also were issued New Services before WWII. Col. Askins was the head of the service for a time and he and Harlon Carter (later president of the NRA) were said to have personally sighted in the New Services before they were issued to agents.

B.W.
 

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[ QUOTE ]
The serial you mention is that of a 1940 New Service. The Border Patrol was manufactured only in 1952. Hmmm, could it be a rebarrel?

[/ QUOTE ]

Can't recall the exact years, but sometime prior to WWII the Border Patrol purchased a number of the Colt New Service revolvers and they were stamped USBP. Not sure, but I believe all were 38 special caliber. The Border Patrol guns bring a premium, and I hear there are counterfeits floating around. One of the gun rags did an article on the Border Patrol New Service guns a year or two ago.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
This isn't a Border Patrol Model Colt. Its a 1940 New Service purchased by the Border Patrol to their specifications from Colt. They were in the serial number range 331,000 to 350,000. They were marked USIBP (United State Immigration Border Patrol) and were given a unique four digit number on the butt. Charlie Askins has said in his books that he personally testfired each of these guns. I'm sure this is one of those, but I can't find any benchmark to establish a value. I've heard of 1952 Border Patrol Colts, this just isn't one of them. The seller wants $1400, which is a tough nut before Christmas.......
 

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I learn something every 15 minutes.

$1400 is a lot of money for a production of 500. Beware of the phony. Low production models bring counterfits. Buyer beware.

How about a good close up picture of one of these prizes?
 

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I have the article at home. It was in the March/April 2004 issue of American Handgunner. Here it is if anyone's interested. I hope posting an article isn't against forum rules.

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0BTT/is_168_28/ai_112685772


The Colt New Service Border Patrol Revolver: An Original Fightin' Sixgun

American Handgunner, March-April, 2004 by Gary Paul Johnston

As I remember, the year was 1949 and I was eight years old. My late stepfather was a U.S. Border Patrol Inspector working out of Chula Vista. One of his partners was a Mexican American. We'll call him Joe. It was a proud day for both men when they graduated from the U.S. Border Patrol Academy and were issued their gold Border Patrol Inspector's badges and guns.

The standard issue sidearm for the US Border Patrol back then was the Colt New Service .38 Special revolver. Based on the standard Colt New Service frame, this 6-shot revolver was offered in several barrel lengths including 2", 4", 4.5", 5", 5.5", 6", and 7.5", with a 6" barrel standard on the Shooting Master target model. Calibers ran from .38 Colt to .476 Eley with .45 Colt, .45 ACP, .38 Special, and .357 Magnum being the most common. Serial numbers ran from one through about 356,000, with production beginning in 1898 and ending in 1944.

Initially offered with black hard rubber grips, these were discontinued in about 1928 when, at around serial number range 333,000-350,000 checkered walnut grips with a Colt medallion became standard. It is within this range the U.S. Immigration Service adopted the gun for the Border Patrol. Finished in blue, this revolver had a 4" barrel and fixed sights, and came with the standard Colt New Service lanyard swivel on the butt. Next to the lanyard was stamped a uniqne U.S. Government four digit number.

Askins Gets Involved

The Colt New Service in .38 Special was personally selected for Border Patrol issue by the late Col. Charles Askins, renowned U.S. Border Patrolman and firearms instructor. Chosen for its robust, heavy duty qualities, the Colt New Service .38 Special was also adopted with fixed sights for the same reason. In fact, Col. Askins once reported he personally test fired and approved each and every Colt New Service revolver before it was issued to the Border Patrol. The standard .38 Special cartridge issued was the relatively under-powered version using a 158 gr. round nose lead bullet. Although I don't recall the brand, I remember they used nickeled cases.

One weekend, my step dad came home to L.A. with the news Joe had been attacked and severely injured by a Mexican illegal alien. Like most Border Patrol Inspectors of that era, Joe worked a one-man patrol car, and his Spanish was as good as his English. Although I don't recall the exact details of the incident, Joe stopped the suspect, and after determining that he was an illegal, he placed him under arrest.

After removing his handcuffs from his belt, Joe went to handcuff the prisoner's hands in front, which was common practice in those days. Suddenly the Mexican produced a switchblade knife, wrapped his arms around Joe, and grabbed the knife with both hands behind Joe. He then plunged the knife all the way into Joe's back with the blade glancing off his spine.

Retrieving his Colt New Service .38 Special revolver from his holster, Joe stuck the muzzle against his assailant's stomach and fired all six rounds of 158 gr. round nose lead .38 Special bullets into him. In spite of the .38 Special's relatively low stopping power, six of these rounds were enough in this case, as the Mexican died at the scene. After radioing for help, Joe was rushed to a hospital where the knife was removed. Although it took months for Joe to recover from his wound, he returned to duty and completed his career with the Border Patrol.

I met Joe in 1960 while living in the Virgin Islands, and dived with him off St. Thomas. The huge scar in the middle of his lower back was apparent, but Joe talked freely about the incident and said the wound didn't bother him much any more. At that time Joe was still on the job and had been promoted to Immigration Investigator. He was lucky.

Missing Colts

Nobody seems to know much about what happened to the hundreds of Colt New Service .38 Special revolvers issued to the U.S. Border Patrol more than 60 years ago, but they were apparently never traded in or sold to the public, as very few have survived. This is probably because they were all stamped "USIBP" on their backstraps. This stood for U.S. Immigration Border Patrol. The Border Patrol New Service revolver pictured bears serial number 3459xx, and was made in 1938.

Sometime in the early 1950s the U.S. Border Patrol replaced its Colt New Service revolvers with newer revolvers. As I recall, they were a Smith & Wesson 4" barrel revolver with fixed sights, and they too were chambered for the .38 Special. The few surviving specimens of original Colt New Service revolvers are extremely rare and are highly collectible.

COPYRIGHT 2004 Publishers' Development Corporation
COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group
 

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Calvin: Thanks for posting the article. I don't think it is against the rules (I have not checked), but don't think it should be against the rules. Your post with the article was very informative and educated me on something I was not previously aware of. That is one of the main functions of Forums like this. A good thread this one.

Charlie Flick
 

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Homerfan; Hope you got the Border Patrol New Service. If the gun is in that nice a shape,and it certainly sounds all original,$1400 is a FAIR price. These guns are not only sought by Colt collectors(especially those of us enamored by the big New Services!) but by a group of collectors who "specialize" in military or "agency" marked pieces.

I have been "into New Services" for over 2 decades,and while ALL of mine get shot regularly(with prudent handloads),many are in the collector category. Saw a few Friday,in a neighboring state,very highly priced;none under 2k! I wish my retirement annuity had gone up like New Services,alibi this dealer/collector loves to inflate prices,and these were premium shape pieces.

ANY ORIGINAL New Service,in the 98% or above finish,for under a $1000 these days is a good buy! So many of these guns have been reworked,butchered,reblued over the years,that originality is the key. With SAA prices above the average collectors budget,some of us turned to the neglected New Service about 20-25 years ago; glad I did!

But generally,BIGGER revolvers bring more that smaller ones. Owning a "few S&W's",the bigger N frames will be at least double in value over the mid size K frames-plus the larger frames were sold in far less quanity in both Colt and S&W lines in the pre war years.

Always loved Charley Askins saying he personally tested every new New Service,and had to bend the front sight on quite a few to zero them in. Never made sense having seen different shooters eyesight with fixed sighted guns over the years. What about the guys who had these guns issued to them??

The Border Patrol kept these New Services through the 60's,and of course were NOT surplused to the public,thanks to Senator Dodd(current jerk's dad) and the 1968 GCA.

As far as the 1952 issue "Border Patrols",let me clear up a few myths. First,it was NOT built on the D frame,as commonly reported. Page 255 of Severn's book, "Colt Firearms" has the best photo of one,and it clearly is built on the Official Police E or I frame. Yet Severn comments twice on other pages that it is a Police Positive Special or Detective Special with a 4" Bull Barrel" and weighs 36 oz. Well the barrel must have been made of lead,or depleted uranium,as the 4" PPS weighs 23 oz-and this barrel doesn't add nearly a pound!!!

While I have never seen a Border Patrol,or measured its bbl. diameter,Old Model Troopers and "357's have this shape bbl,and weigh about 35-36 oz.

Finally,the 400 or so made in 1952,fall into the 823,000 serial number range,which is 1952 for the Official Police serials(and would have been 1963 on the smaller D frames!!)
So it is basically a heavy, untapered bbl. on the O. Police(which Colt "recreated" with the "Metropolitan" on the Mk.III frame,for those PD's who had to use .38's vs. .357's.)

Thought about building one,using a shooter grade O.P,and a 4" Trooper" bbl,but recreating that small ramp front sight on the donor bbl. seemed tough,so I will just shoot by Trooper,with its adjustable sights.

Finally,someone sent me a PM,asking about the Mk.III "Border Patrol" on the Mk. III frame, Made in blue or nickle,1970-75,I don't know if any were ever issued to the B.P. Few off these guns I've seen at shows,look like a regular Mk. III Trooper,with just a different roll marking.

Sorry for the long post,but have been caring for my ill wife while not at work the past few weeks,and haven't had a lot of free time.

Bud /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
 

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Severn comments twice on other pages that it is a Police Positive Special or Detective Special with a 4" Bull Barrel" wilsons book{colt american legend} also states gun is a heavy bbl d-frame with ramp type site on page 222. thanks for correcting me, hope your wife is recovering.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for all the good input. I think I'll have to pass on this one, though I'm sure I'll regret it. Simple economics - with Christmas coming and three kids there's just no cash at hand. I did tote some guns to the store, and by the time the evil pawnshop owner said we were even I had a 1902 7 1/2 New Service, a pre-war N-frame Smith .357, and a .45 Colt New Frontier on the counter. I just couldn't leave my three old companions there and walk out with this one. Anyway, it will soon be on one of the auction sites, where it will probably soar to new heights. If anyone wants the contact number for the pawnshop, drop me an email.
 

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Smart move Homerfan! I agree about xmas coming up and the kids. Good to put priorities in order.

The owner must have thought you'd "fallen off the turnip truck". Even in "average shape",he could have gotten close to double the $1400 he was asking for the Border Patrol New Service for those 3 guns,as I am assuming the pre war .357 is in decent shape,and fairly original;New Frontiers,even shooter grade,are in the $700-$1000 range.

He obviously knew you wanted the gun,and tried to take advantage of your desire for it. I've had it happen it to me a couple of times;once I traded,once I refused to(and later got the gun for cash). Probably with Xmas coming,asking for a layaway wouldn't have been a good idea.

Bud /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I just checked in with the dealer, and he said he got $1200 cash money for the Border Patrol New Service - sold to a local collector, not on an auction site.
 

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Let's restart an 11 year old thread!!

I have one of these USIBP New Service .38s that shipped to the agency in Tucson AZ in 1941. What was the total number that Border Patrol issued? I'd also be curious if mine is one of the Askins guns. What did his sight modification look like??
 

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The original 1952 issue Colt "Border Patrol" model has been my holy grail gun that I've been trying to locate for almost 15 years now. The one and only NIB example I've ever seen sold a few years ago for over $16,000. I'm not sure about their production numbers, only that they are almost impossible to find these days...

15827933_1m.jpg
 
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