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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
20171205_205825.jpg 20171205_205847.jpg

I have looked all over forums and through serial number sites, but cant seem to find a list of official police .38, I inherited this and wanted to know the year on it, I opened the cylinder and I think it has a serial number in the 200's. Thanks for any suggestions.
 

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Three sources of getting the production date are......

The Colt factory serial number lookup. Since in those days most Colt's started off at serial #1, a number of models will show up.

https://www.colt.com/Customer-Services/Serial-Number-Lookup

Proof House has number up to 1979:

Serial Number Data

Just post the serial number here with the last two digets as XX's and we can tell you when it was made.

Your Official Police has a barrel that's been cut down.
Pictures of the entire pistol will enable us to give you more info. Right now it looks like a pre-War Colt revolver.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
i looked that those sites and didnt see a list o nthe left for offial police .38 only that official police & marshal, wasnt sure what to select, heres a picture of the whole gun ss.jpg
 

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Okay, that is not an Official Police, but a much earlier Colt DA frame with an OP barrel attached later.

It looks like the frame was from a military model. They used the last three digits of the (usually six-digit) serial number as the assembly number, so the three digits in the crane cut-out don't help at all. The only location of the full serial would be the butt.
 

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You may have a parts gun here. I can see that barrel has been cut and front sight reattached. Gun is also refinished. However, Official Police started around 513000 serial in 1927 as a continuation of the Army Special numbering and ended just under 1 million in 1968, at which point serialization was transitioned to the MKIII pattern. You may have an early Army Special frame or another mid-frame that could take an Official Police barrel. If you post pictures showing the whole gun, we might get a better idea.
 

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Just saw your picture. Looking on a small phone screen. I think you have a total frankengun. Looks like a turn of the century New Army/Navy frame in .38 Colt, post WWII commercial Coltwood grips, and a cut Official Police barrel. Hopefully it has sentimental value for you. Not much monetary value here.
 

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Also, assuming I am correct about this being a New Army/Navy, the serial number should be on the butt. In those guns the number you see under the crane is an assembly number. Please also check if the cylinder can take a .38 Special. I suspect it may not be able to, as it looks short. That would confirm it's a .38 Colt and made prior to about 1909 when the Army Special started chambering in .38 Special.
 

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And I can't tell what ammo that is, but I'd be very careful shooting it. The barrel is for .38 Special, but the frame only for .38 Colt. If there is anything stamped on the butt that would let us determine the age, it may be as early as 1889/1892. The special will fit, but you'll be a test pilot every time you pull the trigger.

Winston: The Colts were bored through, no shoulder, and specials will chamber unless it's a particularly pointed bullet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
i bought 50.38 special rounds, they fit but yeah now im nervous to shoot it. Not sure how I will determine if its safe. Maybe the gunsmith at the range?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
when i get home i will post a picture of the butt, if i remember correctly it was so worn i could only see one number on the bottom of the butt, ill look again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
20171206_222347.jpg

here it is, looks like everything is worn off except No and it looks to me like 89 at the bottom :/
 

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.......
here it is, looks like everything is worn off except No and it looks to me like 89 at the bottom :/
Interesting. Your gun, as I said earlier, was obviously a military model, or the serial would be small and stamped near the edge. It must have been a 1892/94/96. And it wasn't drilled for the 1901 lanyard swivel update.

Comparing it to a couple pictures I happened to have handy, the No. is about in the right area, but the numbers not really, and what looks like an H above them neither.

Edit: After checking Bob Best's book, the bible on these, I think either the No. or the numbers are fishy. If you read the numbers the other way, as 68 and the second line of the serial, the placement would be about right for a commercial Army-Navy model. But in that case, the No. would not make sense.
 

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If the serial's been partially obliterated, you are in possession of an illegal gun.
And at the very least, I would not be firing .38 Specials through it.
Or much of anything else.
Denis
 

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To be more clear about the caliber, these were chambered for the now-obsolete .38 Long Colt.
This has an outside lubricated bullet similar to the .22LR that's as large as the outside of the case.
The bore on these is larger then the .38 Special.

These "can" be fired IF in good condition by hand loading very light loads in .38 Special brass, and you can still buy .38 Long Colt from the Cowboy ammunition makers. However, if fired with light loads in .38 Special brass accuracy would be poor due to the larger bore.

Bottom line, due to the numerous issues with this antique it would probably be best not to attempt to shoot it, and use it for a wall hanger.

Also note, as above any firearm that originally had a serial number from which the number has been removed or defaced is a Federal Felony to possess.
It's not at all unusual to see these old New Army & Navy models with serial number on the butt removed or altered.
Usually this was done to US military versions to attempt to prevent anyone from knowing it was stolen from the military, or in the fear it might have been stolen. In the pre-1960's days removal of a serial number was not a crime.
At this late date for an antique for which ammunition is not commonly available I doubt the Feds would be interested.....BUT.... get caught with it in a area where the police and prosecutor are anti-gun and you could be in real trouble.
This is one excellent reason to not shoot it and turn it into a wall display.
 
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