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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Gents,

Just getting started here so here comes the inevitable new guy question(s). Any answers will be greatfully accepted.

1) Please recommend books regarding serial number ranges and features of those ranges.

2) What year did Colt stop checkering the cylinder release on Official Police, Det Spec, and Officers Match.

3) Same question but regarding hammer change. Pre war vs Post war? Or were the years different.

4) Same question on sights. Halfmoon vs "chopped moon" (is there a common term for the 50's, 60's vintage sights that slope on the hammer side?)

Yeah, slipped a couple of sub questions in there and I THINK that good answers to number 1 above would help me greatly. Since you folks are the experts...

Much more familiar with Smiths but there is a pretty major change on many firearms during and immediately after WW2 as manufacturers learned to "streamline" production during the war. Is this the same for Colt?

Thanks again for reading and answering.

Tim
 

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Tim;welcome over on this side.Like you I am "dually addicted"!

Sadly,there is NO single book like the Standard Catalog of S&W,that covers all models and production dates. As a bare minimum,get a serial number book,and the out of print(and out of date) Book of Colt Firearms-but it is pricey. The Colt Heritage is cheaper,but not as comprehensive. BOTH by R.L. Wilson(a fallen angel!).

There was a transition period just like S&W after W.W. 2(and at other times!),and both tended to use up most prewar parts(but some were later "found",and I was lucky enough to buy a "few", years back).

I am holding a 1943 Official Police Heavy Barrel(6") and a 1948 version. The 1948 is truly a mixture of pre and post war parts; smooth cylinder latch,grooved vs. checkered trigger on the 1943,plastic "Coltwood stocks",heavy barrel not marked heavy barrel,but still same contour,and a slanted half moon sight,vs, regular 1/2 moon on the 1943. The 1948 gun still has the 2 part cylinder retention screw,as in "pre war" guns,yet the 1948 gun has "duo tone blue finish".1948 gun also has a "pre war" checkered hammer-yes,its all original".


2 1952 vintage O.P.s I own,have ALL the post war features.

So,you have to go by the serials,and while"fun", "transition pieces" can drive you nuts! (Not to mention gunsmith conversions,such as the 1955 O.P.s for a local P.D. that had checkered cylinder latches installed by a local gunsmith;that will screw spme future collector(s) up!)

Bud
 

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I disagree with LW that there is no one source book for Colts. "The Book of Colt Firearms" by Sutherland and Wilson is THE Bible for every Colt firearm through 1970. They come up on eBay from time to time. Expect to pay $200 to $400, sometimes more, but worth it. There are two editions, the original 1971 and the reprint in 1993. The reprint did not correct the errors in the First Edition, so functionally there are the same.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Gents,

Just getting started on Colt's and I currently only own 2 Colt "wheelies". A 1936 Officers Match HB and a 1950's vintage OP that letters back to the South Carolina Highway Patrol. Working on others to acquire such as a prewar Dick Special (aren't we all), prewar OP's and a match up Officers Match in .22 (just love those two gun sets). I will go online searching for the above titles, you never know what a good tree shaking might produce.

THANK YOU for steering me in the right direction. Much appreciated.

Tim
 

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Well, I am nowhere near as experienced or knowledgeable as either Lonewolf or JudgeColt, but I do have a fair number of books on Colts and S&Ws.

I’d say that LW is correct that there isn’t an equivalent of the SCSW for Colts, but that JC is correct that TBOCF is the Colt Bible.

The SCSW is an extraordinary work, with an amazing amount of info at a very modest price. TBOCF, while a visually impressive tome, weighty and all that, has a lot less info in it and runs about ten times the cost. Still, it is the best there is, and well worth buying, in my opinion. I got a copy off the net for $200 after searching for a while. There are cheaper books on Colts, but none as good. I guess I’d rate James E. Severn’s Colt Firearms, published in 1954, originally, next best.

My interest is primarily in the prewar (and early postwar, to some extent) DAs, so my response is probably skewed in that direction.
 

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The trouble with the Wilson/Sutherland book is that it has errors and is now somewhat out of date, as is the Sevren book. Today no one book is adequate (IMO) and, depending on your collecting interests, you will probably find that you'll need to get into the specialist books such as Bob Best's recent work on the early swing-out cylinder double actions (the New Navy, New Army, etc.), Kopec's book on single actions, Wilkerson's book on the M-1878 double actions, Swayze's book on the M1851 Navys, etc. Each of these books will give you far more serious information on specific models than any of the eraly books on Colt's firearms.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Gents,

Thanks for all of the above info. Will be "on the lookout" for these and other volumes.

Anyone else chiming in here?
 
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