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Good morning...My father recently gave me a Colt 38 Super Automatic that originally belonged to his grandfather. From the serial number and Colt's web site, it appears this pistol was manufactured in 1931, and it is in excellent shape. No scratches, no idiot mark, and the blueing is beautiful. The pistol wears ivory grips with my great-grandather's initials inlaid in mother-of-pearl on one side and the outline of a longhorn steer's head (think UT mascot) on the other. There's no box or paperwork, and Dad had only one what I am convinced is an original magazine.

I remembered seeing this pistol on ocassion in my childhood (I'm 50 now...geez) but know that it's been at least 25 years since the last time. I have a CHL, and my Dad said that he hoped that I would carry it. He explained how his grandfather was a very, very practical man and had no time for pretty things that served no useful purpose. Dad said his grandfather would be very happy if I were able to get some practical use out of it as my CCW.

Here are a couple of quick photos I took of it:





I'm considering using Colt's archival service to find out more about the pistol from their end to connect it to my great-grandfather. Is that service worth the price of admission?

Also, I guess this really isn't an EDC pistol, but I share my great-grandfather's disdain for pretty things sitting idly by on a shelf or in a safe.

I welcome any additional info that members here can provide.
 

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1. Welcome to the forum.

2. I hope you degreased it before laying it on Granny's quilt.

3. The Colt letter will cost you $100 and may disappoint you. It will show the specific ship date (probably in 1931) that it shipped, and where. Some shipped to individuals, especially if they were LEO, but most will show shipment to a hardware store.

4. Here's an article that may interest you: http://historicalgmen.squarespace.com/pre-ww-ii-colt-super-38-kevi/

R
egards,
Kevin Williams
 

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That thing really has a more likely future as 'Sunday Best'. It is way too nice to be the daily working piece it was originally designed to be. Maybe as a range toy, and a BBQ gun, but not for daily carry.
 

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It is gorgeous. If you are inclined to carry, I would do so. There is no such thing as too nice in my opinion. Maybe not an edc because of size, but when you have the urge, it is there.
 

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KWill....thanks for sharing that article. Those pre-war super 38's are great looking guns


Also....AFFF_667, that's a nice piece of family history. IMHO I would make it a safe queen and bring it out every now and then.
 

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I'm sorry, I have to disagree. I would carry that amazing piece of history most everyday, just like your Great GrandDaddy bought it for.
 

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Whatever great grandfather bought it for, either he never carried it or it has been refinished. Something that made it over 80 years in that condition deserves to be preserved in that condition. If a carry gun is what you desire, a really nice Super .38 that probably shoots better can be had for about 1/5 the value of that one. Of course you can carry that one and reduce that ratio considerably.
 

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I remembered seeing this pistol on ocassion in my childhood (I'm 50 now...geez) but know that it's been at least 25 years since the last time. I have a CHL, and my Dad said that he hoped that I would carry it.
He explained how his grandfather was a very, very practical man and had no time for pretty things that served no useful purpose. Dad said his grandfather would be very happy if I were able to get some practical use out of it as my CCW.
If that is the original finish and your grandfather was to know what that gun is worth today, being the practical man that he was, he might just advise against putting any cosmetic wear on it.
 

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Welcome to the Colt Forum.
That's a beautiful early Super .38!
The gun doesn't look like it has seen much handling or usage. Fine condition. Maybe great grandpa bought it in later life and didn't get to use it as much as he wanted to?
After reading that it belonged to your great grandfather and reading what your father said about him being a very practical man, I would use it for what it was intended for, not have it sit on a shelf in the safe, especially since you indicated that is your nature as well. Be damned that it's a high condition early example - enjoy the heck out of it if you wish. Life is short. If you decide you would rather preserve it's excellent condition and can afford to buy a new production 38 Super, that's OK, too. It belongs to you and nobody can tell you it's wrong to use it because it can fetch a lot of money in that condition. Or that you have an historical obligation to preserve this early example. That's fine if one wants too, and it's fine if they don't. We collectors are always hung up on historical significance, early year production examples in high condition, etc. etc. :) Not everything comes down to money.

I have a few guns that are so pristine and relatively rare that never get shot and not handled much, but most of the guns I own do get used. I enjoy my old used looking carry guns more than my pristine ones.

Here's one of my favorite carry guns. It's a well worn Colt Agent 38 Special. The finish is so-so at best, there's none left on the back gripstrap or most of the barrel and cylinder. Mechanically it's like new, including the bore and lockworks. What makes it special is it's from the 1st year of production, 1955. We don't even know how many Agents were made in 1955 but probably not a lot. If it were like new, I wouldn't be able to carry it and I wouldn't enjoy it nearly as much.
I enjoy the heck out of it!

If yours winds up looking like this one in 15 years, at least you enjoyed it and thought about great grandpa every time you holstered it.



 

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IMHO, I'd think Colt made no more than 1,000 of these Agents the first year, possibly less. But there is no historical data about this. The first year of Cobra production they only made 1500, for example, and it became a very successful model. And, it takes some time for the public to become aware of, chew on it, and then decide to buy a new model. The manufacturers needed no new tooling for this model, just a new roll stamp that said AGENT and cutting the original grip frame length a bit shorter, and recontouring walnut stocks intended for existing models, but I am sure they were reluctant to make too many the very first year. Kind of like dipping only a toe in the water...
 

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Welcome to the forum and thanks for sharing the pictures and story of your gun. I can't really add anything to discussion about whether or not to carry, except to say that I personally don't care whether a gun has value to collectors; I'm more concerned with its value to me. With the sentimental value connected to this gun, it's worth far more than any collector could ever offer. Enjoy it the way you want to.
 

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i would not carry that piece of family history but i would take it to the range from time to time. enjoy shooting it and taking care of it and pass it down in the family some day. there are plenty of other guns for CCW.
 

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Wow is that an outstanding inheritance. The only thing I ever got from my grandpa was his Waterford crystal cigar ashtray. I wouldn't carry that pistol, but I absolutely would take it to the range occasionally and run a few magazines through it in honor of the man with such great taste who bought it so many decades ago. I suppose I would letter it, you may find that it went to a hardware or sporting goods store in the town where your grandfather lived at that time and that would add to the history.
 

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Unless you plan on selling it that pistol has no monetary value. If you want to save it in its current condition for a relative or child that is your decision. Personally I would be happier inheriting a pistol with honest wear that was handled and used by that person than one that sat in a safe.

But as I learned here I am an accumulator not a collector and in that regard cool beats condition every time....
 

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That is a beautiful piece of family history. just remember the guns of today have much better steel then they did in 1931. I would shoot it and enjoy it and one day I would pass it on to my grandson. If you use the gun defensively and some one gets shot you probably will never see it again. I use modern guns for CCW and I enjoy shooting my old ones. Good luck
 

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I'm with the "Keep it in the safe and shoot it occasionally " crowd. I agree that there are other guns that can be used for CCW with less sentimental value to be lost if tied up in the court system.
 
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