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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Im a newbie to the forum so Hello All! Just picked this up today. An Army Special .38. Serial Number 527XXX. Looks like its either a 1926, or a 1927 continuation of the Army Special serial numbers. I can use some help with that. The blackstrap is marked "NYSBMV" for New York State Bureau of Motor Vehicles, which was established in 1924. The BMV had armed law enforcement officers that investigated vehicle theft and fraud cases.The butt is marked "No. 1". The holster is a Jay Pee and appears to be a vintage law enforcement issue.Comments and questions would be appreciated
 

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The Consummate Collector
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Very nice and certainly an interesting gun as I don't remember ever seeing one marked like yours. Having it dept. marked #1 is interesting and I would recommend that you obtain a letter from Colt to see whom it was shipped to. Your gun dates to 1926 and this was the end period for the Army Specials as Colt changed over to the Official Police about the same time. What is the barrel length, 5" or 6" ? Should you ever decide to part with it please keep me in mind and thanks for sharing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the clarification. The barrel is 5 inches. So I assume that all production in 1927 would have been marked "Official Police". Kind of cool to have one of the last marked Army. I was on the hunt for Barney's Official Police with 4 in. barrel when I found this one. Barney will have to wait.
 

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The change from Army Special to Official Police was not an abrupt one. The most obvious change was in the contour of the topstrap, from one that is smooth and curved from side to side with the sight groove in the center (early style typical of the Army Special) to one that looks like three flat surfaces with the sight groove in the middle of the center flat (newer style typical of the Official Police).

During the transition period, you might see either frame style with either an Army Special barrel or an Official Police barrel, and the barrel marking would denote what it was.

Most Army Special barrels have "July 4, 1905" as the last patent date on the top, but some have "Oct. 5, 1926" as the last patent date, as do the Official Police barrels.

About the only other differences are that the Official Police had a checked trigger while the Army Special trigger was smooth and the Official Police also had a somewhat wider front sight

I have a late Army Special in the 542 thousand serial number range that has the newer style frame and an Army Special barrel with the 1926 patent date. Other than the "Army Special" on the barrel and the smooth trigger and front sight width, it appears identical to my 1929 and a 1931 vintage Official Police revolvers.

I have to add, the above information seems to hold true for the .38 Specials, but these revolvers in .32-20 are a different matter, with Army Specials being made in that caliber long after 1927.
 

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Hi,
I have an Army Special from 1917 (thanks for the great DOB site). I've never shot it because some have said it is not safe to shoot. My question is what .38 caliber shell does it take? Will it take a modern .38 special or would it be .38 S&W? Thanks.
Marv
 

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It should be a .38 Special. The .38 S&W is bigger in diameter and shouldn't fit in the chambers.
 

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Hi,
I have an Army Special from 1917 (thanks for the great DOB site). I've never shot it because some have said it is not safe to shoot. My question is what .38 caliber shell does it take? Will it take a modern .38 special or would it be .38 S&W? Thanks.
Marv

.38 Special.

But, you should start a separate Thread any time there is a separate Gun beng asked about.

Start a separate Thread, and, we can go over how come it is not 'safe to shoot...
 

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Im a newbie to the forum so Hello All! Just picked this up today. An Army Special .38. Serial Number 527XXX. Looks like its either a 1926, or a 1927 continuation of the Army Special serial numbers. I can use some help with that. The blackstrap is marked "NYSBMV" for New York State Bureau of Motor Vehicles, which was established in 1924. The BMV had armed law enforcement officers that investigated vehicle theft and fraud cases.The butt is marked "No. 1". The holster is a Jay Pee and appears to be a vintage law enforcement issue.Comments and questions would be appreciated

That is a very interesting Army Special, every which way!


Wow..."No. 1" of the 'NYSBMV'...how cool is that!!
 
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