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Discussion Starter #1
Like the subject of the post implies, I now have a Colt 38 that is new to me. Not to bore you guys with details, I was passed this gun by my father. Not really concerned about the value as I have no intention of selling, but I would like to find out what in the heck I actually have.

I have read a lot of posts on this board prior to asking this question, but I have not been able to piece together the info completely yet.

First the serial number...where in the world is it? When I open the gate, there is an 881606 on two parts...I think one is the actual frame and the other is called the gate. There are also two letters, it looks to be a W and G in upper case.

Then there is an H (upper case) behind the trigger guard on the left of the frame. I think I have read that is the inspector mark.

The horse on the frame has two arrows, one in his mouth, and one under both legs. The one under the legs has two "bobs" or something on it...in any case it looks different than the one in the mouth.

The barrel has "detective spec." and "38 special ctg.". I think the former is pretty clear to me, and I think the latter is just an indication that it takes a 38 special cartrige. Now I don't know if that means I can put P loads in.

I also took the grips off. The grips are wood with the silver medalion horse. On the back of the grips are something like white greace pencil markings that have "606" on them. I have to assume that these are the orginal grips for the model number 881606.

There are a few other letters on the frame under the grips. A "V" in one place, a "Z" in another, and a "INS" stamped on the bottom of the left side.

I don't see any other marks on the gun other than the mfg info on the barrel. The barrel is about 1.5 inches long...I see you guys talking about 2 inch barrels, but this one is not that long...but it does not look modified. Is 2 inches the total length of the barrel or is that what sticks out the end of the frame?

That is all I have. Can anyone help me id the gun? Do I need to go to Colt?

Thanks much.

Ryan
 

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Your Colt was made in 1965.

The barrel is measured from the front face of the cylinder to the end of the barrel, so the correct length is 2".
Only about 1 1/2" sticks out from the frame.

The serial number on Colt's is stamped on the frame and the crane that the cylinder rides on. It's also stamped inside the side plate.

All the other marks are inspector's marks.
Back in the 50's and 60's the "INS" inspection stamp was common on Colt revolvers.

These older Colt Dick Specials shouldn't be fired with +P ammo.
While it's probably Ok to shoot a few rounds, and carry them loaded for "business", the older models were not made for the higher pressures of the +P.

Better to stick with the standard ammo.

The horse is Colt's famous "Rampant Pony" logo. The pony is knocking spears away.
This is from Samuel Colt's Coat of Arms.
 

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The barrel is measured from the forcing cone to the muzzle ( from the part close to the cylinder to the bery end).
The revolver was built in 1965 by the date and the stocks are the coorect ones as they are serial numbered to the gun.
The prancing pony is holding a lance in it's front legs.
You can shoot a conservative amount of +P loads in the revolver, but it's best to stay with standard pressures for practice and the +P for defensive uses only.
The "gate" is named the crane. and the stamped letters are factory and inspector marks.
I hope this helps some.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Cool, thanks a bunch. I saw various posts with information about "d", "v" and "sf", but I could only find that "v" that I mentioned above. I think that was what was throwing me off the most.

Again, thanks for the replies. Do you guys have a favored ammo that is not P+ that provides some good accuracy? I picked up 130 grain FMJ American Eagle for $13.00. Seemed a little high, but then again I am used to $7.00 for 50 for my FEG PA63 Mak.

Any good internet sites to order from?

Ryan
 

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GREETINGS, Ryan!
Your gun is certainly one of the world's best and most recognized guns. Are you new to revolvers and shooting? Please be careful and respect that piece ... We all want you to shoot it often and well and VERY carefully!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I am new to handguns. I have been around shotguns since I was old enough to carry a 410. Loaded my own shells as a kid for duck and dove, but that is not rocket science like loading for handguns.

Handguns are something I am just getting around to learning...including the automatic that I mentioned above. My dad had some inner need to collect as many as he could, so I have an instant collection...all total there are about 15 handguns (S&W, Colt, FEG, H&K, etc), a lot of shotguns, and probably 1500 knives. He has not passed away or anything like that, but he didn'd do any research on his stuff either. Not sure what to do with all of it, but I thought I would start with the FEG (because it just looks so cool) and the Colt.

Anyone happen to know what Colt will charge to "refurbish" the gun? Gun is in great shape and has a little rust in spots here and there...nothing I would not expect on a gun that is almost 40 years old. Is it worth it to have Colt do anything?

Ryan
 

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Ryan,

You've stepped into an often debated area, that of refinishing/restoring an older Colt. There are many sage members here who might say "no way, it will destroy any collector value" and other wizened members who might use the "life is too short to shoot any ugly gun" approach. It's your property and your choice. Give Colt a call, I would venture that the work would cost about $150-$175.

I suppose I fall somewhere in the center. I knowingly purchased a Colt refinished pre-war National Match, and had a chance to talk with someone who had seen the wreck prior to refinishing, they considered it a blessing that the old fellow had a bit of dignity again. I did not pay "original" value either. Your revolver doesn't sound like it's in rough shape at all. Why not shoot it awhile and get to know it a bit before you make any decision.

If you are looking for some specific loads, drop me an e-mail or post the question here as there are many veterans willing to share. I've been reloading centerfire for about 20 years and could pass along some good starting recipes, at least ones that wouldn't have muzzle flashes the size of basketballs coming from your new "snubbie".

Scott
 

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Scott:
I have a new stainless Detective Special, Model DS-II rated for +P's (don't know for how many or for how long)and I'm interested in youe load work information. Thanks - J.Solo
 

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J.Solo,

E-mail sent. Need a bit more information on the type of shooting you intend. I typically do not shoot any +P in my 38's, I reserve them for the 357. If I really feel the need to rock, I just reach for the 44 Special.

Scott
 
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