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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have two Colts, one a revolver that I inherited and I'd really like to find out some information on this revolver. I looked over a few sites on the internet, then thought I'd check for a Colt forum. Thus...... my first post.

I have a Colt .38 Bankers Special and I'd really like to find out more about this revolver than I currently know. What I do know, is that it was owned by my step-mother and that she had had it for a very long time. She told me that when she was first out of the home, someone tried to enter her bedroom window one night, who she scared off. This was the reason she bought the Colt, for personal protection.

That said, this Banker's Special is in excellent condition but, I'll admit I'm more of a novice than a person who could grade the revolver. It has all its bluing with very light marks on the cylinder. It is the square bottom model, with a serial number of: 36623x I have no box or manual for the revolver but, it would be interesting to obtain an approximate value too.

I do know that this revolver was shot only a few times and I actually have a partial box of .38 ammunition, which was the second box she'd bought for it.

So..... although the box states .38, I can't find .38 ammunition and can only find .38 Special. So does this revolver shoot .38 or .38 special? I registered this revolver almost 15 years ago and have never fired it. I'm not sure rather I'll even keep the revolver and may possibly sell or trade for something that I can shoot more often. I'm not as attached to this revolver as I am my Colt pre-woodsman semi-auto.

I'd really appreciate any information that could be provided.
 

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Welcome to the Forum. Sounds like you have a very nice old Colt. I don't know a lot about Banker's Specials, so I won't pretend to offer you any answers to your questions. But be assured there are plenty of people here who know your revolver inside and out and you can rely on what they'll tell you about it.
 

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Welcome aboard the Forum, ENCORE! Yes, you've found the very best place for all things Colt. I'm more of a Colt semi-auto guy myself, but it sounds like you have a gem of a little Colt revolver there. Your step-mother chose a very nice wheel gun for her own protection. Colt Bankers models are in high demand. Pix would be nice if you can add them here, too. Hold on a few minutes and the real experts will be here. Enjoy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Being new to the forum, I'm trying to do some searching within. I found were some were talking about the front site being a "half moon or penny" so, I had to get up and go check. Mine has the 1/2 moon front sight. Also being new to the forum, I have no idea yet, how to post photographs of the revolver, which I know would help with information........ Also... I'm not being notified via email that someone replied to my post??
 

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Welcome, I show your revolver was made in 1934. It is chambered for 38S&W. Winchester, Remington and now buffalo bore make ammo in this caliber but it is harder to find than the very common 38 special. As you may know, 38 special will not fit. Pictures are needed for approximate value. Value can be anywhere from $400 for a fair condition example to over $1000 for a mint condition example.
 

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First of all, welcome to the Colt Furum.

We can only be of limited help to you in evaluating your gun's condition without pictures. One person's opinion based on a description can be far different than anothers. Even with pictures there can be different opinions. You will get other members to estimate your gun's worth on your description, but having pictures gives you a better sense of the worth if you can get a concensus. Bankers Specials are cherished collector guns to Colt fans - would you search on-line for a used car, or buy an item on Ebay without pictures to go with the description? I wouldn't. I mean no disrespect to your step mother, but a lot of guns represented as Bankers Specials are really just Police Positives that left the factory with 4-6 inch barrels and were rebarreled at a later date with a Bankers Special barrel. This generally was done many years ago, and the barrel and the frame may look to be the same age. Back then, it was fairly common to send the guns back to Colt for a shorter barrel since there were no restrictive shipping regulations. Even more common was to have a local gunsmith or the owner, order a Bankers Special barrel and have changed out locally. Snubbys became increasingly more popular during the 1920s and 1930s and it was far cheaper to change the barrel out than sell the original gun or have the extra money to just buy a 2nd gun. The US was in the midst of a depression in 1934. Another scenario it a beat cop getting a promotion to Detective, and wanted a short barreled Colt to wear with his plain clothes attire. Most of these guns were not rebarreled with the intent to misrepresent or commit fraud. Who knew in the mid 1930s that Bankers Specials would become rare, expensive, and collectable Colts beginning about 4-5 decades later? This is another reason you need to post pictures. It is an often faked model, with a shared serial number range with the original longer barreled model, the Colt Police Positive.

The serial number you provided dates the gun to 1934. Starting that year, Colt standardized the Bankers Special and the Detective Special with the round butt. It is certainly possible your Bankers Special, made that year, could have a square butt. But not one made too many years after that.
The Bankers Special was made on a slightly smaller and less robust frame to shoot 22lr and 38 Colt New Police cartridges (identical to the 38 S&W cartridge). The larger frame Detective Special was built to handle the 38 S&W Special cartridge, commonly called the 38 Special. Without getting into cartridge dimensions, lets say for now, that the 38 Colt New Police Cartridge is shorter (and less powerful) than the 38 Special cartridge. This requires a longer cylinder, which is another reason Colt developed the Police Positive Special revolver.
You will not be able to chamber the longer 38 Special Cartridges in your Bankers Special. The cylinders are too short for the cartridge. The noses of the cartridges would jam against the forcing cone of the barrel (the back end of the barrel that can be seen when the cylinder is opened).
You can buy the correct cartridge, usually marked as the 38 S&W in many local stores. Even if you can't find it locally, it is available from many on-line ammunition businesses. It's considered an obsolete cartridge, but it is still quite lethal and there are enough old Colt and Smith and Wesson revolver shooters around that many ammo manufacturers still make it.

Good luck, and again, welcome.
 

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Being new to the forum, I'm trying to do some searching within. I found were some were talking about the front site being a "half moon or penny" so, I had to get up and go check. Mine has the 1/2 moon front sight. Also being new to the forum, I have no idea yet, how to post photographs of the revolver, which I know would help with information........ Also... I'm not being notified via email that someone replied to my post??
Most of all the Colt revolver line previous to WWII had the half moon or half penny front sight. Colt made a run of Bankers Special barrels after WWII as replacement parts that used a different shaped front sight, commonly called a semi ramp sight. That is something else you have to be careful about when examining a gun claimed to be a Bankers Special. No Bankers Specials were ever made in the post war period, but there a many Police Positives with the post war semi ramped front sight and the Bankers Special stamping floating around.

Another reason you will need to learn to post pictures.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I also noticed that there are two (2) serial numbers on the revolver and they are identical. Did the pictures show up guys?????
 

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As stated above, some will balk at the 1934 date and the gun still has a square butt which is possible. To maybe get top dollar on the gun, a factory letter should be ordered and that will cost I believe $75 and a 4 month wait. It is a nice condition Colt and if all original should be worth 1K or more.
 

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Yes, your pictures are good enough, and your description was pretty good, too.
Everything looks kosher. I'd say you have a very good condition original Bankers Special with a few wear marks a some small spots of rust on the very front of the frame on the right side where the barrel is screwed into the frame, and a spot on the rear right side of the front sight. Overall bluing condition is quite good, with some wear on the cylinder. The finish or bluing, appears to be original and is quite good. There is no indication I can see that the gun was refinished. Refinishing an old collectable gun kills the value.
The stocks, or grips, are in very good condition. You can take them off the gun and look at the back side of the stocks. If they are the originals, the serial number will be stamped or penciled on that surface, usually on the right stock panel. They are not marked on both panels. Original matched stocks with the gun may not increase the value, but if the stocks were determined to be replacement ones, it can decrease the value a bit.

The serial numbers on Colt double action revolvers were stamped in the recess in the frame the cylinder crane fits in when the cylinder is closed and it was also stamped on the inside surface of the crane arm. I hope this helps.

I'd say you have easily a $1200-$1800 Bankers Special, depending on who's looking to buy it, as long as there are no mechanical problems and it functions correctly. A collector would pay the lower ended price. But some very rich and uneducated buyers on auction sites like Gunbroker would pay more. If two of them got in a bidding war, it could sell in the lowish 2K range. Some of those jerks will pay anything for an old Colt revolver.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
If more pictures would tell a better story on the revolver, please suggest how they should be taken. I do have a zoom on the camera and I may be able to zoom in on both serial numbers. Both are hidden until you open the cylinder, then one is on the swing out arm that holds the cylinder and the other is on the frame. Serial numbers are identical.
I have to admit, I've learned more in a few minutes, than I have in almost 15 years.
 

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nice piece.

i was at the lousville show,i saw 2 in 22 cal kinda rough.one had the front sight filed down i guess for pocket carry these where $1300 each.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I took the following photo, after VERY CAREFULLY removing that wood, which in my opinion has never been off. Scared the living crap out of me doing it but, I was careful and everything worked out.

Gun Firearm Revolver Trigger Starting pistol
 

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Take them outside (no bright sun) with no flash!
Ron


If more pictures would tell a better story on the revolver, please suggest how they should be taken. I do have a zoom on the camera and I may be able to zoom in on both serial numbers. Both are hidden until you open the cylinder, then one is on the swing out arm that holds the cylinder and the other is on the frame. Serial numbers are identical.
I have to admit, I've learned more in a few minutes, than I have in almost 15 years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Depending on our weather, I'll take the photos tomorrow outside... without the flash. Thank you guys for all the help. As previously stated, I've learned more in a few minutes, than in 15 years.
 
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