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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Today I received the factory letter on my OP .38, almost 3 months to the day to the date on the acknowledgment postcard for those that are keeping track of letter lead times.
The first thing that surprised me was that the ship date was a year earlier than the beginning serial number date in the Book of Colt Firearms. It is in the 686000 range and shipped 1/17/42, the book says 685000 was the beginning of 1943. I have heard of guns shipping much later than their actual manufacturing date, but obviously R.L. Wilson was way off for the S/N range of WWII OP's.
Anyway, it was one of 14 similar revolvers shipped to the Constructing Quartermaster, Ohio River Ordnance Works, Henderson KY, C/O the Chas. Leonard Hardware Co. in Petersburg, VA. From what I was able to find on the internet, the Ohio River Ordnance Works was a plant that made anhydrous ammonia for gunpowder or explosives manufacture. It opened in May of 1941 and remained operational until 1950. I had assumed that commercial Colt models shipped during WWII went to defense contractors or police departments with few making it into civilian hands. My gun shipped just 6 weeks after Pearl Harbor so I'll bet defense plant guards were really jumpy thinking about potential espionage. This is part of the fun of collecting.
 

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WOW, neat story behind the gun and thats a beautiful example to boot! Thanks for sharing.
 

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Super pretty gun! You are inspiring me to get a letter on my own, serial 715,090 with 5" barrel and lanyard loop! Thanks for posting yours!

Colt Off. Police 1944 001.jpg Colt Off. Police 1944 009.jpg Colt Off. Police 1944 018.jpg
 

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Very interesting and a wonderful example of a WWII era Official Police. Thanks for sharing and setting Mr. Wilson straight :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I would letter any WWII era commercial model Colt. Not many were released for civilian sale, given that Colt was busy making M1911A1's and various machine guns. Sometime in 1942 they started production of the Commando model and made around 51,000 of those over the next couple of years and I would have to think that commercially finished OP's were only produced in small numbers. Most civilian models will show sales to the Defense Supply Corporation for distribution to various defense contractors, or to municipalities that still had need for police-type weapons.
 

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I would letter any WWII era commercial model Colt. Not many were released for civilian sale, given that Colt was busy making M1911A1's and various machine guns. Most civilian models will show sales to the Defense Supply Corporation for distribution to various defense contractors, or to municipalities that still had need for police-type weapons.
This obscure area of Colt collecting has currently become my main focus ....
I long ago acquired all of the Commando model variations
and I have found all of the other WW2 production commercial model Colts revolvers save one, the Police Positive 38 Special.
Sadly I've hit a brick wall - in that, I haven't found one in the correct serial number range, offered anywhere - at any price.

Its been very frustrating,,,,,,, but the hunt continues.
 

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The Consummate Collector
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This obscure area of Colt collecting has currently become my main focus ....
I long ago acquired all of the Commando model variations
and I have found all of the other WW2 production commercial model Colts revolvers save one, the Police Positive 38 Special.
Sadly I've hit a brick wall - in that, I haven't found one in the correct serial number range, offered anywhere - at any price.

Its been very frustrating,,,,,,, but the hunt continues.
Nice job of collecting. I assume that you have the 2" and 4" Commando however do you have one with the 6" barrel ? Please explain: acquired all of the Commando model variations. Thanks.
 

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Nice job of collecting. I assume that you have the 2" and 4" Commando however do you have one with the 6" barrel ? Please explain: acquired all of the Commando model variations.
Yes, I have the 2" and several 4", one each with all of their various inspector markings, cartouches, proof marks and the unmarked ......
however, I never even seen a 6" Commando, not even a photo of one.
So ,,,, I've concluded that they're either so rare as to be totally unobtainable, or that they don't exist outside of Colts reference materials.

You'll note that Pate`s shipping data [Table 8-5] contains no mention of even a single 6" example in 3 years of data.
Knowing how extensively he combed their shipping records, I'm pretty sure that there were none supplied to the Govt.
That doesn't mean that Colt didn't make one (or two), but their absence testifies to their mythical status today.
 

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This obscure area of Colt collecting has currently become my main focus ....
I long ago acquired all of the Commando model variations
and I have found all of the other WW2 production commercial model Colts revolvers save one, the Police Positive 38 Special.
Sadly I've hit a brick wall - in that, I haven't found one in the correct serial number range, offered anywhere - at any price.

Its been very frustrating,,,,,,, but the hunt continues.
First off, nice story OP and beautiful gun!!

Abe: Don't feel too bad, I have never seen a PP from that era either.
 

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Beautiful OP and I might add in extremely fine condition from the pics - congratulations. My 1941 OP is an extremely accurate shooter.

Abe, do you per chance own one of the scarce Commando revolvers marked on the backstrap U.S. PROPERTY I am going to look at one next week with this marking - 4 inch.
 

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The Consummate Collector
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Yes, I have the 2" and several 4", one each with all of their various inspector markings, cartouches, proof marks and the unmarked ......
however, I never even seen a 6" Commando, not even a photo of one.
So ,,,, I've concluded that they're either so rare as to be totally unobtainable, or that they don't exist outside of Colts reference materials.

You'll note that Pate`s shipping data [Table 8-5] contains no mention of even a single 6" example in 3 years of data.
Knowing how extensively he combed their shipping records, I'm pretty sure that there were none supplied to the Govt.
That doesn't mean that Colt didn't make one (or two), but their absence testifies to their mythical status today.
Thanks Abe. Sounds like a great collection. I only ask about the 6" to see if you have one or have ever seen one. I know that Wilson's book mentions the 6" but I have never seen or heard of one. It may be a typo. My only Commando is a 4" that is marked U.S.N. on the butt.
 
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