Colt Forum banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Here is a question for the experts here please:

I saw a Colt Officer Revolver 38 in my local shop. It is in decent condition overall, but the timing is off/loose.

When the gun is in lockup (hammer cocked, trigger pulled, hammer gently let down) the gun is tight, no wiggle or movement of the cylinder.

When the gun is not in lockup (i.e., hammer and trigger at rest as normal) the cylinder can be rotated a bit, i.e., slip from notch to notch, with some stickiness.

The bolt looks worn (pointed like a flat triangle and sides are worn), and the lead-ins to each notch on the cylinder are shiny, like they have seen a lot of wear. The lead-ins are more pronounced (worn?) than on any other gun I have seen, almost like a channel.

Is it possible to get a replacement bolt for a Colt Officer 38 revolver?
Numrich (e-gunparts) lists them as $43 and they are sold out.

So, are these signs of a gun I should avoid? I am capable with gunsmithing semi-autos (Ruger rifles and pistols, milsurp pistols) but have no experience of repairing a complex revolver.

I have a Colt Officer 22 and love it, so I want to get a 38 to match.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
904 Posts
I've ordered the Kuhnhausen books. I like it all laid out and I'm learning, too.

Have you used the Jim March system of examining used revolvers?
 

·
The Searcher
Joined
·
11,097 Posts
It certainly sounds like the bolt could be part of the problem, but it very well might not be the entire problem. The Colt mechanism is a clever and somewhat complicated mechanism. Problem identification and resolution is not always intuitive. Some parts have more than one function and, in general, parts are not drop in replacements but require careful fitting. That implies that it might not be possible to fit even a new part to interact correctly with other worn parts. That is exacerbated by the scarcity of new parts and the fact that used (but good :rolleyes:) parts may be no better than those you have and have already been fitted to another mechanism. It also seems to be the case that many/most contemporary gunsmiths are no longer familiar with Colt revolvers and claims to the contrary should viewed with some skepticism. The usual bottom line suggestion is to return such a revolver to Colt (or perhaps Cylinder & Slide) for correct repair. Sending to Colt, of course, involves expedited shipping to, $55 per hour (I believe that is current) plus parts and $30 return shipping. I am amazed at what they can do with one hour's labor but figure on two. I realize that being in CA affects availability, pricing and even the mobility of firearms so I cannot evaluate the situation from your point of view. Since you already have one Colt revolver and are not averse to some DIY smithing, I suggest you obtain a copy of The Colt Double Action Revolvers, A Shop Manual, Vol.I by Jerry Kuhnhausen. You may be familiar with the JK semi-auto books. If not, this one covers Colt D, E and I frame revolvers at at a gunsmith level. HTH :cool:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Cost of parts and repair

OK, thank you all for the info. I think the cheapest I could get the gun for from the local shop is about $300, and its going to need at least $50 worth of parts (new bolt at a minimum), and possibly a trip to Cylinder and Slide (I figure that is another $150 in total fees, shipping). So the $300 gun becomes a $350 or $500 gun.

I did use the March system to examine the gun, and when in lockup the timing is fine. The problem is that when the gun is out of lockup, the cylinder rotates when it should not (as far as I know).

The economics suggest buying another gun that doesn't have these problems from the get-go. Thoughts?

Oh, one more question. Are Colt Python grips interchangeable with Office Model grips? I think they are the same frame but am not sure. Thanks!
 

·
The Searcher
Joined
·
11,097 Posts
Yes, they are interchangeable, but the Pythons used gold medallions and the OMs had silver. You total investment might not be too bad from what you say. I guess it comes down to confidence in the estimate, the condition of the finish in the end and the prospect of finding another (which should be possible with a little patience). :cool:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
904 Posts
Well, if I were buying a gun the economics of getting it running would weigh heavily in my decision.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the advice

Thanks guys for the advice, it is much appreciated. I decided to purchase another from an online vendor that looks in decent condition, for less money. I'd rather not take the risk of a project gun that will take a bunch of $ to get working.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,516 Posts
You describe the gun as an "Officer." It is an "left-wheeler" Officers Model, an Officers Model, an Officers Model Target, an Officers Model Special or an Officers Model Match?

Has someone ground on the lead-in notches to make them appear so worn? (I ask because I have seen a Colt where some idiot actually ground out the lead-in notches!) The bolt should not have a triangular shape even if worn. It may be altered in shape and related to the appearaance of the lead-in notches.

How decent is "decent condition overall?" Is the gun all original as to finish and stocks? If the lead-in notches are not modified and if the gun is 95% or better and all original, I would be interested in it as the timing condition is most likely an easy fix.

I gather the gun is in Kalifornia, correct? If so, would the dealer ship it to a licensed dealer?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
I will ask to get pics next time I am there

The Barrel says (IIRC) "Officers 38 Heavy Barrel" It has the older style front sight (smaller, adjustable front sight without a ramp, not like the later models with a ramp).

Bluing is worn all over the barrel, so not a 95% gun by any means. The grips are service type (not the big target ones), with a grip adaptor at the front.

Frankly, I just bought a nicer looking one online for under $300, so I don't think this one is any bargain.

The lead-in notches do look like they are ground, the channels are deep and shiny. Why someone would do that I don't know.

The gun is in California, I can ask if they will ship. They are asking for $450, but I think they would sell for less, I proposed $300 and the guy working said he'd ask the boss. I have since decided not to get it.

Thanks for everyone's input, it is appreciated.
 

·
The Searcher
Joined
·
11,097 Posts
That would be an Officers Model Target. I am surprised you were able to purchase one for under $300. :cool:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Not pretty, but...

The Officer 38 I found is a shooter, not a collector. 60% bluing approx, and that may be generous. However, I really don't care as I intend to shoot it a lot.

Incidentally, the Colt 22 OMM I picked up a while ago is also a shooter grade also, and I love it. It is very tight with no slippage or timing issues, and had a really smooth DA pull.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Cost to repair timing on Colt OMM

Thanks Guys for your advice in the past. Well the one I found online and purchased has some timing issues also. Its a nice gun, and fine in Single Action, but Double Action timing is a bit off on at least one chamber, it shaves lead on that chamber.

Does anyone know a ballpark cost to have Colt fix this? From the Colt webpage you cannot determine any $ cost.

Here is how the gun looks now. Would it be worthwhile having it reblued? The bluing on it is a bit worn, but not terrible. Its also got some funky custom grips, they are actually not too bad.

Thanks for your input, much appreciated!

 

·
The Searcher
Joined
·
11,097 Posts
In reverse order, I seem to recall noticing the stocks in a listing and think they are quite intriguing. The OMTs didn't have target style stocks, so any you use will be non-original anyway.

I would not reblue it. It will only add to the expense and not the value, but will remove the mystique, so to speak. If you want a 98% gun, pay the price and buy an original. JMO

My earlier "estimate" is probably about the best that can be done without Colt actually looking at the gun. A timing issue wherein the cylinder does not reach index usually involves a worn hand, but if one cylinder is the main offender, then it could well be a ratchet finger or a combination or perhaps even a cylinder notch. Using the procedure in this previous thread on each cylinder may give additional insight http://www.coltforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1297 . I still recommend the Kuhnhausen book for those interested in these revolvers. Considering your distance from CT, you might look into Cylinder & Slide or Jack First Guns for repairs. I do believe you would be much farther ahead spending any dollars for repair rather than refinish. Again, JMO.

From your photo, I consider it an attractive gun. How about a few additional "shots" including a view of the cylinder and ratchet? :cool:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Pics of my matching OMM 22

Here is my matching OMM 22. I'd like to get them set up as a functional pair of matching bullseye revolvers. The 22 can really shoot and the action is super smooth.


 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top