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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello all,

I've been lurking around for a while but just now decided to finally join the forum. I look forward to participating in more discussions in the future.

I've been looking to own a quality colt revolver for some time, but never really had the chance to get one until recently. I managed to pick up my Officers model 38 from an out of state FFL and have so far been happy with it. Its not worth that much I'm sure, but that jut means that I can shoot it more without worrying about wrecking a perfectly good one. The problem I've been having with it so far is that I am getting conflicting info on just how old it is. I've been told that its a later model from around the 50s or so, but when I look up the serial number I get dates for the early 1900s and the 1940s-50s. Also, I compare it to pictures of other later model ones and all of them seem to have different rear sights and the beveled edges on the top that mine doesn't have. Its completely flat. The front sights match the later models, but I suspect that mine were added on after the fact by the previous owner when they shortened the barrel. Basically, is mine a later model or a newer version? If it helps any, the serial# is 334xxx.

Thanks.

P.S. Here's a pic. Sorry if its not very clear. 2014-06-18_22-02-40_60.jpg
 

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Try this:
Colt Firearm Serial Number Lookup - Year of Manufacture
If I put in the highest number in your serial number range (334999) it comes up with a Officers Model from 1911 and a Officers Model Special from 1950. Try putting in your actual serial number and see what comes up. Be aware that different model guns can have the same serial number. For the above number that I entered there are 12 different models associated with this serial number.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the reply. I tried the same with my full serial number but it turned up the same as it did for you, thus my confusion. I figured it to be an older variation because of the completely flat top. It seems to be a feature common on the older models or at least that's what I gathered from pictures of them around the net. Also, mine has a 5" barrel where most seem to be longer. Is there a way to tell if its been shortened?
 

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Look on the right side above the trigger. Are there 2 screws with one overlapping the other? The above example has only one which means post war. If you have 2 it is pre war. Does the rear sight have adjusting screws for elevation and windage or only windage? pre war has windage only.
 

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You have a pre-war Officer's Model.
The front sight appears to have been modified.
Determining if the barrel has been cut down can be difficult. Things to look for on a cut-down are patent dates on top of the barrel that are cut short, or the muzzle shape or crowning different.

A 1911 Officer's Model would be a "Second Issue" as made from 1908 to 1926.
It was available with a 5" barrel and came with a high-luster blue job.
The top of the barrel should have the Colt patent dates, with the last one listed as July 4, 1905.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Just got the pm sent from A1A. Thanks for the info and advice:)

Reading the pm and the above posts help point out a lot of small details that I didn't think of. But based on what Gunfish said about the screws, it looks like exactly what he described it as. Now I have a good idea of its age. Thanks all.

Here are more pics. Sorry if they're not the best. The patent dates end at July 4, 1905 like dfariswheel said.
2014-06-19_17-01-55_277.jpg 2014-06-19_17-02-26_448.jpg 2014-06-19_17-02-51_166.jpg
 

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I take back the part about the front sight being altered.
It looks like a factory bead sight, which was an option on the earlier Officer's Models.
The sight adjusts for elevation.

The barrel looks like an original 5", which is a less common length.
So, looks like an original, unaltered Second Issue Officer's Model.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well good! I might have an all original revolver then. I guess only a factory letter could tell for sure at this point. I get the impression that whoever owned it last might have shot it and even carried it a lot.

If the front sight is adjustable, how do I adjust it? I don't see any screws or anything. If I look very closely, I can barely see two pins holding the sight in but its perfectly flush on the ramp.
 

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"I take back the part about the front sight being altered"

And maybe not.
The front sight should be adjustable by a screw in the front of the base, unless Colt made some that weren't.
The Officer's Model was a dedicated target revolver with a rear sight that was adjustable for windage, and a front sight that was adjustable for elevation.
My records show the Second Issue with an adjustable front and rear sight.
 

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The barrel was cut. The front sight (which I don't think is original to the gun and might not even be a Colt sight) is overlapping the address line on the top of the barrel

 

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This is a OMT from the early 20's. The front sight has a screw in front not visible in this pic. There is a pivot pin at the rear of the front sight mount. As the screw is rotated in or out the sight pivots and goes lower or higher. I don't know what kind of optional fronts colt would install. Probably anything the buyer wanted. I have an OMT with Roper sights, the Colt sights were removed.
 
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