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New Colt owner

974 Views 8 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  SailorBill
Hi, I am brand new to this forum. I recently purchased a Colt DS snubbie that my wife fell in love with. I wrongly assumed that it was a 38 long Colt but found today that it is not. After closely reading the barrel, with my glasses on, I find that it calls for a 38 Colt NP.Some google research suggests that the 38 Colt NP is a close clone of the 38 S&W. Other information, such as Starline Brass specifically says that is not so. I already own one box of 38 long Colt with more on the way. I need to know just what my wife should have for this little beauty.The firearm is labeled as Detective Special and has a 1-7/8" barrel. I was told that the item was specially built by an employee of Colts Manufacturing some years ago. It appears to have had very little use. I hope the reason is not that 38 Colt NP hasn't been made since 1912. There is no visible serial # on the frame but there is a number on the frame under the crane, (804XX), and it appears to be hand stamped.I do reloading of a few handgun cartridges and hope to be able to reload whatever fits this.My questions then are;1. Is a 38 Colt short the same as a 38 Colt NP?2. Is the 38 S&W the same as either the 38 S&W or the 38 Colt NP?3. Are there sources for factory ammo?4. Any thoughts on when this might have been made?5. Did I really make a mistake in buying this for my wife?Thanks for any help,SailorBill in Connecticut
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Thanks Parrisjr. That helps. Any thoughts on ammunition sources?Thanks again.SailorBill
I have a Bankers Special that is chambered for 38 NP and I buy 38 S&W at my local gun store and have also bought it at Academy Sports.

Also, you can read this and it list both cartridges. It may make you feel better;
As a matter of interest, if you have a .38 Special or .357 Magnum revolver, you can shoot those .38 Long Colt in one of those.

Here are a couple of .38 "Colt/S&W duplicates:"

"USC" headstamp is the old Unites States Cartridge Company of Lovell, Mass.

Bob Wright
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Sorry, forgot to welcome you to the forum.....Welcome!

Sorry, forgot to welcome you to the forum.....Welcome!
I knew If I came to the Colt Forum I would get good information.Thanks again and Happy New Year.
Looks like your Detective Special was made in 1962. A Colt Detective Special chambered for .38 Colt NP is a pretty darn scarce revolver. The .38 Colt New Police (NP) cartridge is basically the same case as the .38 S&W (not .38 Special), just used different shaped bullets. Ammunition will interchange between .38 S&W and .38 Colt NP. The .38 Short or Long Colt are not the same as .38 Colt New Police. Keep in mind that .38 S&W is different than .38 Special. Buy a few boxes of .38 S&W ammunition and blast away.
Thanks for this information Colt 75. I have found several sources for 38 S&W and have a few boxes coming. Also found some new brass and will start rolling my own once we try out the factory made product. This was a purchase for my wife and so didn't I look smart when we went to the range a couple of days ago and the 38 long Colts stuck out by about 1/4"! I think she intends to carry this one so it needs to be right. The firearm appears almost as new with a very clean bore, tight action and no marks. She has a S&W Chief's special in 38 spl with a three I much barrel that is just a bit long for carry in a purse. That Smith has the sweetest action in both DA and SA. I'm spoiled with that and will have to work on my Airweight.Thanks again,SailorBill
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