I am a bit confused.
What I read says that 38 Special was not produced in SAA's until 1930.
Then, I read that there were 2 Bisleys in 38 Special.The last Bisley shipped in 1919.
Edit: This gun dates to 1903
well i thought 38 special was first developed in the late 1890's
and i am not sure when the first use it was but i think it was before 1930's.....
i think it was somewhere in the teens when it was first used
but i have been wrong before and will be wrong again i am sure
Check his other auction. The descriptions give the impression he is not very experienced. He would have given more attention to the engraved, gold/silver, carved ivory stocked Colt (undoubtedly refinished, but still valuable) if he was more knowledgeable about the guns.
The study of Colt single action on page 143 states "There are a also a number of existing factory and private gunsmith conversions of Bisley Model revolvers to the two .38 special calibers"
While Colt did chamber the Bisley in .38 S&W Special it was at a later date than this gun and I can not find any records of Colt chambering the Bisley in .38 Colt Special as an original chambering.
But then with Colt anything is possible.
So is it original? Not likely, but maybe.
Take care, Duane
Ok, it is complicated. Colt persisted with .38 Colt as .38 Colt Special. The letter will offer up .38 Colt, but not .38 Smith and Wesson Special. The former had a square shoulder in the chamber and the latter a tapered shoulder in the chamber. The cartridges were the SAME. An early gun such as this would be. 38 Colt Special if correct.
I am going with Colt refinish and rebarrel to 38 Special. A letter would certainly clear up some things. Presence of bin numbers would confirm refinish by Colt. When blown up you can clearly see an ampersand on the trigger guard bow. Every picture looks like someone has played in the checkering on the grips.