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Discussion Starter #1
Howdy everbody, I'm new to this forum, being mainly a S&W guy, but I need your help on a Colt issue. I have a pending trade, and the gun I would be receiving is a near mint condition detective special that says "Aircrewman" on the left side of the barrel. The right side of the barrel says Colt's Mfg Co, etc. The wood grips have a silver medallion that has an eagle holding 3 spear like objects in his right talon. The gun is all steel, SN is inside the yoke and is 36XXX. What have I got here and what would be approximate value? Thanks in advance for you help!
 

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The Colt Aircrewman was manufactured in 1951. The medallions an the grips are the Air Force symbols. This revolver should have an aluminum frame & cylinder. According to Fjestad, a specimen in 100% condition is valued at $4,000.00. 98% is valued at $3,500.00. Having said that, beware of fakes. They are known to exist.

[This message has been edited by Thiokol (edited 11-22-2004).]
 

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There are a few facts concerning your Colt that are correct for an Aircrewman: the grips are correct; it could have appeared in the serial # range of this gun-but the numbers have to be followed by "LW" (for example, 36xxxLW); the barrel markings are correct. With this in mind, however, there's an ever so slight problem: the frame and cylinder were made of aluminum alloy with an anodized finish. If they're steel, it's not an Aircrewman. Check again using a good magnet and hope it doesn't attract. According to Wilson in "The Book of Colt Firearms" (the source of the above facts) the Aircrewman is "scarcer than a Patterson, Walker, or a Double Rifle." Considering the value of these firearms, it's possible someone could fabricate an Aircrewman-but with the dead giveaway of a steel frame and cylinder? Hope yours is real- Asa
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Here are some pics of the gun in question, which I temporarily have in my possession pending the trade. "AIRCREWMAN" is stamped on the left side of the barrel, as you can see in one of the pics. It is not alloy, both frame and cylinder are steel (and pass the magnet test). The emblems in the grips have an eagle, as shown in the pic. The gun does not say Detective Special or have a pony stamped anywhere on it. Serial number is 36XXX. I doubt it is a fake because it is not represented by the other person as being a highly valuable gun, i.e. nobody is trying to get rich off it. I would appreciate your input!!





 

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Hi,

Looking at the two photos of your gun, I would say that the ejector rod has the wrong end cap for an Aircrewman model. Also the fit of the grips is not good... note the metal extending past the wood in the photo. Also, the Aircrewman was rollmarked "Property of the US Airforce" on the back strap. From the looks of it, I would say you have a "Home made" gun... If you want a "shooter" and can buy it at shooter prices then by all means do so, but it is not a high dollar collectible Aircrewman. According to the records, every gun was returned to Colt and accounted for... all were destroyed, per "Book of Colt Firearms". Hope that helps... Bob Best
 

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The grips are NOT right. The Aircrewman had grips(stocks) that extended above the normal Colt area,much like S&W magna grips. We had a couple of Aircrewmen in a small informal museum in the base armory when I was in the Air Force(1961-67). The gun should also have an alloy frame;and most likely the cylinder,but that was the original "achilles heel" of this piece. S&W even tried a alloy cylinder version of its Chiefs Special Airweight,that weighed even less than the Colt Aircrewman,only a few made,as the K Frame "M-13" got most of the orders from the Air Force. As I understood it,from some SAC crews,the lightweight guns were to prevent injuries when ejecting from a crippled bomber at high speed. The special holster snapped to a survival vest that contained other "goodies". I've seen "Aircrewmen grips" for sale on some auction sites. The medallions on yours seem correct though. I've checked this info with the Wilson/Sutherland "Book of Colt Firearms",page 396,as my memory from 40 years ago "ain't what it used to be". 1,189 were built and all ordered to be destroyed(along with the S&Ws M-13s of which far more were made)-BUT-"some escaped death"! And I suspect some "extra parts" got into the hands of "homemade builders". As Bob said,it also should have the Air Force Property mark prominently displayed on the backstrap. Bud
 

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good evening , if you take a good look at the grips they are marked "SILE" witch was ( perhaps still are )a grip maker, o confer not a air crewman, clever fake , rj
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks everybody for all the input, but I still have not decided whether or not to make the trade. I know this is NOT an Aircrewman but I still do not know what it IS. Is there supposed to a pony somewhere on the gun? Are there supposed to be letters in the serial number? Is it a regular Det Spec that someone put a barrel on, and if so what is the value? The gun I have to trade for this one was a $380 investment. Even tho this one is not an Aircrewman, is it worth more than my investment? Thanks again!
 

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Good eyes rj! I was looking at the arrowheads,or "bolts" that didnt look right either and didn't see "Sile" Also,look closely at that grip frame;its too thin from back to front to even be a Detective Special(as I type,I have a 1932 rare square butt D.S. on the computer table). The frame is also SQUARE BUTT,and look at the checkered latch. Post W.W, II Colts had plain latches. YUP,its a Pre War Police Positive Special,with the "thin" grip frame,changed around 1926-28. Sile DID make replacement grips for these. The serial #36xxx puts it as a 1911 made Police Positive Special frame. All steel,replacement grips,and if you look at the other side of the gun ,stiab,I will bet you see a 2 piece screw set up holding the cylinder in place above the trigger guard.Colt changed to a single "screw" shortly after W.W. 2. Might be worth $250,if it is a good shooter,but you'd need a grip adapter with that thin grip frame,as I a had a 1920 vintage P.P. Special with a factory 3" bbl. that was worse in recoil than the later D.S. that sits before me. I guess those "extra Aircrewman barrels" were plentiful-almost like the 3" Python barrels that have been for sale for years. A helluva lot more 3" Pythons then Colt ever assembled at the factory are out there now! Be careful out there! Bud
 

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Discussion Starter #10
You're right Lonewolf, on the right side frame there is a two screw arrangement above the trigger guard. THE TRADE IS OFF! Thanks a ton for y'alls time and energy in helping me out with this trade. This piece is going back to it's owner! Thanks again...
 
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