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I have my "family gun" on loan from my uncle. It's history depends on if you ask my mom or my uncle. I am hoping some one here can help me learn about this gun.
The Gun:
It is a colt New Navy D.A. .38 with a 6" barrel.
The side of the barrel is stamped COLT D.A. 38
Top of the barrel: COLT'S PT F A MFG CO HARTFORD CT USA.
PATENTED AUG 5 1884 NOV 6 88 MAR 5 95
It has the assembly number 162
The lower part of the frame where the cylender catches is stamped: F 162
Ser number on the butt of the handle is 119xxx

My questions:
Did I properly identify the gun?
How do I find out any information about the life of the gun? While I doubt I can find the original sale of the gun, it would be good to at least find in what state it was sold.
Any other historical information/ how to is useful to me.
Thanks to all.

Colt D.A. .38 013.jpg Colt D.A. .38 015.jpg Colt D.A. .38 016.jpg Colt D.A. .38 018.jpg Colt D.A. .38 022.jpg
 

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Image showing the Butt?

I will guess this is a Commercial model...and, thus, that it would be able to be 'Lettered'...where, you send off to Colt for them to research their Records for when it was sold, and, to whom, and sometimes this includes the location of the buyer.

Often these ( like all other Commercial Colts ) were sold By Colt to various Hardware or Sporting Goods stores, but oftentimes their records show a Gun to have been sold to some individual, or to a Business, so...you just never know till you send off for and get the 'Letter'.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Image showing the Butt?
I thought this was a family frendly forum. :eek: ;)


I will guess this is a Commercial model...and, thus, that it would be able to be 'Lettered'...where, you send off to Colt for them to research their Records for when it was sold, and, to whom, and sometimes this includes the location of the buyer.

Often these ( like all other Commercial Colts ) were sold By Colt to various Hardware or Sporting Goods stores, but oftentimes their records show a Gun to have been sold to some individual, or to a Business, so...you just never know till you send off for and get the 'Letter'.
Thanks for the information. That is what I was looking for. Do I just go on the Colt website, send them an email and go from there?

Scott
 

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Lol...


I have never gone through the process of writing to Colt to obtain a Letter.

You will have to wait till those who have can come along to explain the process.

You could call Colt and ask them how to go about it, also, of course.

No idea if their Web Site has that info, but, it might.
 

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Anyway, if you plan to shoot this now and then, bear in mind this Revolver was designed for .38 Long Colt, and, not .38 Special ( even though .38 Special will chamber and fire).

.38 Special Mid Range Wadcutter Ammunition would be alright since it is down-loaded a little from the usual...but, Standard Loading .38 Special is a little too stout for these.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the info all.
Oyeboten: My uncle has been shooting Winchester .38 Special 130 gr. FMJ. I'll pass on the info to use the lighter loads.
 

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Thanks for the info all.
Oyeboten: My uncle has been shooting Winchester .38 Special 130 gr. FMJ. I'll pass on the info to use the lighter loads.
Ouch!!!


A very bad choice of Ammo for these...that would be very hard on the forcing cone and everything else. Not good!!
 

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Hi All,

I also have a old DA Navy that was my wife's grandfathers so, I know a thing or two about them. I agree with all that has been said before, but would like to add that you should be aware that the bore is .375 not .357. The bullet that was used was an external lubed one or what is also called a "healed" bullet. It is like a .22 rimfire bullet.

If you use ammunition that is loaded with .357 bullets you will need a hollow base lead one to insure that the bullet grips the rifling. The mid-range wad cutter is your best bet if it has a hollow base.

One further comment. The pistol is very old and should you break it, finding a gunsmith who will work on it is very difficult. Those that will are back logged for year or more. That assumes that he has the necessary spare parts. Treat it carefully.

Bob



Most of the
 

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Hi All,

I also have a old DA Navy that was my wife's grandfathers so, I know a thing or two about them. I agree with all that has been said before, but would like to add that you should be aware that the bore is .375 not .357. The bullet that was used was an external lubed one or what is also called a "healed" bullet. It is like a .22 rimfire bullet.

If you use ammunition that is loaded with .357 bullets you will need a hollow base lead one to insure that the bullet grips the rifling. The mid-range wad cutter is your best bet if it has a hollow base.

One further comment. The pistol is very old and should you break it, finding a gunsmith who will work on it is very difficult. Those that will are back logged for year or more. That assumes that he has the necessary spare parts. Treat it carefully.

Bob



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Hi Bob,


Quite so!


Though at some point, the .38 Long Colt Cartridge did transition to being an inside Lube Cartridge and smaller Bullet diameter, and thence a smaller Bore for the Revolvers, but, I forget when that transition was, or when in Colt's production of the New Army and New Navy, they changed the Bore sizes to oblige the up-dated Cartridge and smaller Bullet diameter. I kind of think it was during the mid to latter 1890s though.

Also, I gather some of the last ones made, were made with the understanding that people would use .38 Special in them, in addition to of course accepting the then up-dated .38 LC.
 

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You are quite correct. Like you, I am uncertain as to the extact date. My wife's is dated as 1906 by Colt and it has a .375 barrel so it was later than that. I am sure that one of the experts here abouts will know.

Bob
 

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You are quite correct. Like you, I am uncertain as to the extact date. My wife's is dated as 1906 by Colt and it has a .375 barrel so it was later than that. I am sure that one of the experts here abouts will know.

Bob

Huh, well, by 1906 there was not much time left for the New Army or New Navy ( before they were dis-continued to favor the Army Special as their more or less successor ) to catch up to being .357 or so, so, I don't know!


Colt might have got the production date wrong, too...
 

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Though at some point, the .38 Long Colt Cartridge did transition to being an inside Lube Cartridge and smaller Bullet diameter, and thence a smaller Bore for the Revolvers, but, I forget when that transition was, or when in Colt's production of the New Army and New Navy, they changed the Bore sizes to oblige the up-dated Cartridge and smaller Bullet diameter. I kind of think it was during the mid to latter 1890s though.
Barrel diameter was reduced on the M1903 model of the military revolvers, no idea when the civilian guns got the tighter barrel.
 

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Thanks guys. This is the type of information I need.



Forcing cone?
The forcing cone is the rear part of the barrel where the rifling starts and the bullet first enters the bore. FMJ bullets are very hard on this area if the gun is out of time at all. And it is VERY common for New Army & Navy revolvers to be out of time. You should shoot nothing but lead out of these and very light loads even if it was built in the smokeless era. If it was made pre 1899 I would only shoot the Goex black powder cartridges or something similar as mentioned above.
Also, before shooting it again look very closely at the forcing cone to make sure it is not cracked anywhere.
 
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