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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Would the early OMT Flat tops circa 1900 be in .38 LC or .38 Spl.?

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Charles
 

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The First Issue Colt Officer's Model was based on the Colt New Army Model.
The Officer's Model version was first made in 1904 and made until 1908.

They were made for the .38 Special and would shoot the .38 Long Colt.
I'm not certain of the year, but around 1903 Colt began chambering the Army Special in .38 Special because it could shoot both.
 

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Officers Model #263657, from 1906, has chambers that are stepped and accept .38 Special. I do not know if it is true, but there was at least some comment hereabouts that revolvers intended for .38 Colt remained bore straight through while those intended for .38 Special were not. Shoots 148 grain hollow base wadcutters quite well.

 

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Hopefully our resident Colt New Army expert will weigh in but my understanding is that after "about" 1903 all versions of the New Army were chambered for the .38 Special and had the "stepped" chambers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I won the auction today. I know it's not perfect condition wise. But, it might make for an interesting history letter. This is apparently the 1st Variation..
 

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... but around 1903 Colt began chambering the Army Special in .38 Special because it could shoot both.
The Army Special was not introduced until 1908. It became the basic frame size for all "medium" frame Colt revolvers to follow until the arrival of the J-frame in 1969.



Edit: dfw, it occurs to me that you probably meant to type "New Army" instead of "Army Special," correct?
 

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Front sight has been modified but original inserts are available. From my observation, early Colts generally used a front bead sight that was matched to a rear sight that has a circular channel. That sight was used to aim dead center into the bullseye. Later Colts used a front partridge post again matched to a rear sight with a square channel that gives a "modern" sight picture and a 6 o'clock hold. It's your gun now so you decide which sight you like if you want to restore the sights.
 

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"smkummer" stated the old "U" notch rear and bead front sights (Payne sights) as being intended for center hold shooting at, I assume, bulls eye targets, and the later "Patridge" square notch rear and flat blade front types as designed for six o'clock hold shooting. I don't know if that is the case or not, but think individual shooters picked what ever hold they felt worked best for them. My father was a bulls eye shooter for many years and always used a center hold with his Patridge sighted Shooting Master. I shoot, sometimes, a vintage 1926 OM equipped with Payne sights and use center hold also only because I taught by my father to shoot that way and am used to it. I have tried a six o'clock hold with both types of sights and find both to be just as efficient no matter which hold is used. As a kid I shot a borrowed Marlin .22 rifle at our local police range and was taught to float the bulls eye on top of the "lolly pop" front bead by the instructor.

Today I do quite a bit of shooting with Lee Enfield rifles with blade front and "U" notch rear sights. Since the minimum range is 100 yds., a six o'clock hold is necessary because the front sight just about covers the bulls eye if a center hold is used making any kind of repeatable sight picture almost impossible. I would prefer a center hold, but it just doesn't work well with this type of shooting.
 
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