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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Today at a local shop I saw a Colt Police Positive, serial #335418, in a caliber I am not familiar with--.32 Police is what the shop tag stated, with the notation that it is "the same as .32 S & W Long". It was in the shop's glass case and i didn't ask to handle it, but it looked to be about 96-97%. I could not tell whether or not it had been refinished; should the hammer be blued or in the white? There was a groove in the top strap so it is a fixed sight model. Grips were darker brown wood that looked to be walnut. If i recall, there was a gold Colt medallion on the right grip which was facing up. The barrel appeared to be 6". The asking price is $499. I have some questions: What IS the appropriate ammo to shoot in this revolver, how available and expensive is it? Generally, always assuming the owner can shoot, how accurate are Police Positives in this caliber? Before I'd make an offer, I'd want to handle/inspect it, check the lockup and timing, and try to determine if the finish is original, but if this gun is original, is the asking price reasonable?
 

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These are great little guns and are a real blast to shoot!

The Police Positive in 32 Police will shoot the 32 S&W Long just fine. This ammo is not hard to find and is not particularly expensive.

The standard grips for the early (1907-1922) Police Positive revolvers was hard rubber. About 1923 checkered walnut grips became the standard.

A Police Positive, in good working order, will shoot better than you can.
 

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The cartridge is actually named the ".32 Colt New Police" . It is essentially the same as the .32 S&W Long. The story is that when Colt introduced the Police Positive in that caliber they did not want to put the name of their competitor, Smith & Wesson, on their guns so they called the cartridge by their own proprietary name. Several Colt revolvers were chambered for the .32 Colt New Police. Ammo manufacturers also packaged ammo with the .32 Colt New Police label so as to not confuse buyers.
 

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A very under-appreciated caliber, and like the man said, ammo is available at gun shows quite reasonably priced. I seem to have the only S&W 3rd Change that DOESN'T shoot accurately. Oh, well, mine has been through the wars. Always try to keep an eye out for good deals on these neglected gems. Snap it up.
 

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Like the others have said, 32 S&W long works fine and is available in lead round nose, full wadcutter, blanks, empty brass and bullet molds also. Win. Federal and Remington plus other imported makers still provide this caliber. The shorter 32 S&W also works. If you are a reloader and bullet caster, one can load this caliber cheaper than what scalpers are asking for 22LR. The gun your looking at could be built on the 32 frame or the bigger 38 frame, I believe since your serial number is higher, it should be on the 38 frame which most find more comfortable and accurate. If the finish is original, blue book price may show that figure but in my opinion, 32 revolvers are slow movers. I don't consider a 32 as a serious defense cartridge so the long barrel on this revolver makes it a better plinker or kit revolver. I have not paid $300 or more for any 32 Colt revolver in the last 5 years except the rare post war courier revolver ($350). This includes a refinished 32 pocket positive ($245) and a small frame (32 frame)4 in. police positive in about 98% ($225). But I am a opportunist when it comes to gun buying.
 

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Is this a pre-war Police Positive Special or a post-war Police Positive? I can't find a SN that high in my admittedly limited number of references.

I'm not getting them as cheaply as smkummer is, but I love 'em anyway!

Dick

Whoops--I can't find where Wilson spells it out, but Serven says the PPS wasn't chambered for the .32 New Police until 1945, but by that time the PPS SN's were in the 480000's. ????
 

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The gun your looking at could be built on the 32 frame or the bigger 38 frame, I believe since your serial number is higher, it should be on the 38 frame which most find more comfortable and accurate.
About what serial number did they switch to the 38 frame, and is there an easy way to tell which frame it is when looking at pictures?

How does the referenced 38 frame of the Police Positive compare to the Police Positive Special frame?
 

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Post WW2 police positives were all the longer police positive special frames even if the gun was chambered in shorter 32 Colt new police or 38 Colt New police cartridges as they were in little demand. I am guessing this gun was made in 1930 on the 38 police positive frame. I believe all pre-war guns if 32 Colt New police chambered were either on the 32 frame or the short 38 police positive frame and NOT the longer 38 police positive special frame.
 

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Post WW2 police positives were all the longer police positive special frames even if the gun was chambered in shorter 32 Colt new police or 38 Colt New police cartridges . . .
I think a more accurate way of putting it would be to say there were no post-war Police Positives, as Colt's stopped producing the Police Positive around 1943 or so, while the Police Positive Special continued in production after the war, and included those chambered in .32, .38 Colt New Police.
 

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Thank you, again, gentlemen. I've added a "sticky" to each of my references so I won't forget. The C frame is the .38 frame and the G frame is the .32, right? The Colt An American Legend SN page explains that in the PP .38 data line, if I had bothered to read it. :bang_wall: Need to get a Hi-Lighter to go with my stickys, which my books are full of from reading this Forum.

Thanks again,

Dick
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Would it appear then, if I can determine the finish is original and the cylinder indexes correctly and the bore/rifling is in good shape, that $499 is ok? I believe I'd come back at $375-400 and gauge the seller's reaction from there....
 

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According to Fjestad the Police Positive was chambered for the .32 New Police from the 1st issue (1907), as was the Police Positive Special.
The first part of your statement is correct however the Police Positive Special was chambered in the .38 Special and the 32-20 (Which is a longer cartridge) not the .32 S&W (.32 New Police).
 

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The first part of your statement is correct however the Police Positive Special was chambered in the .38 Special and the 32-20 (Which is a longer cartridge) not the .32 S&W (.32 New Police).
In addition to Fjestad, Wilson says (top of p387, 3rd edition) that the PPS was also chambered (or could be chambered) in .32 New Police, as well as 32-20, .38 Long and Short Colt, .38 Special, .38 New Police, 38-44 and 38 Smoothbore.
 

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I need some help to. I have a first edition police positive. 38 s&w, but some knucklehead back in the day shortened the barrel all the way to the extractor. Is it worth it for me to replace the barrel or leave it as is.
 

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I think you PP is worth saving if you can find a decent 4" police positive 38 barrel. Sometimes one can find a parts kit or a blown up gun that the barrel is still good. I found a police positive 38 made in about 1910 that some knucklehead used something like a screwdriver to pry off the sideplate. I bought it for $100 sent USPS small flat rate for $6 to my C&R. It took me forever to bend the side plate back and get it right enough to function but I did it. Its a fun plinking caliber that a 146 lead bullet going out about 700 FPS simulates the 38 special 148 wadcutter.
 

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1907

I hear horror stories on the frames bending or cracking when the original barrel gets removed. Since i really don't know if a torch or saw was used to hack the barrel. If a torch was used its a possibility that the barrel threads fused to the frame. But, i can be completely wrong. :cool:
 

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