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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Colt "OFFICIAL POLICE .38" ID question
[HR][/HR]Hi, I recently was given a revolver and was trying to figure out how old it was and if its a actual Colt. I have reviewed several pictures online and have not been able to find an exact match. All of the colts that Ive seen have a screw on the left side just above the grip and above the left side trigger guard, mine does not.
Furthermore where the serial number is supposed to be (on the crane area) there is a three digit number 887 and a "w", that number is also on the latch that releases the cylinder. There is a six digit number stamped on the but that begins with 110xxx . It also has the paten info stamped on top of the barrel from August 5 1884 July 4th 1905 0ct 5th 1926.
I brought it to a gunsmith and he said it was the real deal but had been re-blued and didn't have time to look up the serial number (closing for the day)
Any help would be appreciated .
Here are some pics:
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[HR][/HR]Last edited by Carjon2; Today at 06:20 PM.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I'm guessing that the frame is a early 1900's and was re-barreled and re-blued but I'd like some input.
Thanks Jon
 

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Frame appears to be either a 'New Army' or a 'New Navy', which ceased production in 1907 or by 1908 anyway ( I think ).

Serial Number on the Butt of "110XXX' would be mid latter 1898 Production.


To which Frame, someone has fitted a later 'Official Police' ( 1928 to WWII era ) Barrel.


I guess the Barrel-Frame Threads had not changed from the one to the other..!


Frame has been re-Blued.


The 'Army Special' succeeded the New Army/Navy as far as the mid-frame line, and, was a different Frame and Mechanism from it/them...and was re-named for Marketing purposes in 1928, to be the 'Official Police'...with only some slight cosmetic changes.
 

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As above what you have is a commercial sales Colt New Army & Navy model revolver fitted with a much later Colt Official Police barrel.

The Colt New Army & Navy was made as both US Army and Navy issue and commercial sales models in various versions from 1889 to 1907 when production ended.
The actual serial number is on the butt, the other numbers were factory assembly numbers used to keep fitted parts together during manufacture. Once the gun was fully assembled and the actual serial number as stamped, the assembly numbers no longer had any meaning.

As above, the barrel threads Colt used never changed so it's not unusual to see various Colt revolvers with a barrel from a totally different model. This barrel is a pre-war type as made from 1927 to 1945.

The grips on your gun are also replacements. Military issue models had smooth walnut grips, commercial models had hard black rubber grips with molded-in checkering and Colt logos.
The checkered walnut with silver medallions were used on Colt's from the mid-1920's on.

Your gun is an 1898 model which was available in the .38 Colt Long and the .41 Colt.
While the .38 Special will chamber, it's NOT safe to shoot standard load .38 Special in these guns.
You can buy .38 Long Colt ammo from the companies who make "Cowboy" ammo, or you can hand load very light loads in .38 Special brass.

The Colt New Army & Navy has a complicated, fragile action that breaks and gets out of order easily. Treat it gently.
DO NOT shoot standard load .38 Special ammo in it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you for the information! I will have to look for some ammo as I don't currently reload myself. Because of all the alterations to the gun does it have much value?
I'm not planning on selling it but it would be nice to know.
Thanks again!
 

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It would have a low value, compared to an original finish, original configuration one in worn but still functioning condition. And original worn finish, original configuration ones are low value as it is ( 2 or 3 hundred dollars say ).

Unless the Cylinder is 'stepped' at the Cartridge Case lip, or, if the Cylinder is Bored straight through, I believe you can safely shoot .38 Special "Mid Range Wadcutters" in the general run of latter ( ie: a .357 Bore, for the inside-lube Bullets ) New Army or New Navy.

But I may be wrong in so far as whether the .38 Special Mid Range Wadcutters will fit, since I do not know if the Cylinder has a 'step' or not, co-responding to the Case Lip of the .38 Long Colt Cartridge...and if so, then .38 special Mid Range Wadcutters, would be too long of a Cartridge Case.


The .38 Special Mid Range Wadcutters are a reduced Loading of .38 Special, and use a flush Seated Wadcutter Bullet, intended for Paper Target use. And would be on par with or a little below the Ballistics of the .38 Long Colt Cartridge.


The .38 Long Colt Cartridge was the 'Parent' Cartridge of the .38 Special, and is identical in dimension except for being a little shorter.

If you did decide to get into re-Loading, it is very easy to shorten .38 special Brass, to become .38 Long colt Brass.
 
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