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I have acquired a 4" nickel "Police Positive 38 Special" as marked on the barrel. It has the exposed ejector rod. Serial # 43XXXX. There is an L over the last number in the serial and a larger R just under the the number. Is this a Police Positive Special or Police Positve 38?
The condition of the nickel is excellent and I have shot it a number of times and it is smooth as glass. Anything unusual about this weapon?
 

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tracker; sounds like a great early classic! Nickle plated,swing out cylinder Colts(and S&W's) seem to be a lot "scarcer" then one would imagine,when you consider the number produced.

Your gun was made in either 1934,or 1935 if the full serial number is above #435000.

The "L" means it was only lined up as far as the barrel being turned to get the front sight "square" with the rear notch. Any Colt with a "T" means the factory "targeted it" by shooting it,then turning the barrel to get it dead on. This was a subtle bit of work Colt did during the Depression era. Not to worry,however,as I've found that most "L" marked guns are great shooters also. And yes,you won't find that smoothness and "glass breaking" crisp,light trigger,on pieces coming out of the factories in recent years; computer generated milling/casting of internal parts,and "assembling" versus "hand fitting" of parts from a bygone,less hurried era!

The larger "R" is the "inspectors" symbol at the factory,who gave it the final OK. I don't know if the following is "urban legend",but supposedly any Colt that was found to have a fitting problem by the inspector,was returned to the man who'd assembled it-and they did the correction(s) AFTER working hours-ON THEIR OWN TIME;NO EXTRA PAY. If a buyer returned a new gun,with factory defects,the inspector did the work,sans pay! I once suggested this to my wife,when she was stitching the famous Bean boot at L.L. Beans here in Maine for 25 years! Didn't like the idea! But having my students stay after school,to correct sloppy,rushed homework papers,usually happens only once,and the quality(and their grades and comprehension of the material) goes up ! These fitting/assembler jobs were highly paid,and took years to obtain and there was a pride in their work.

What type of stocks does the Colt have? Checkered wood,with a silver Colt medallion began around 1926(black "hard rubber" prior to that). Many nickled guns are shown in photos,with factory pearl stocks,with the Colt medallions,and stag or bone stocks always highlight the nickle plating.

I find that the smaller frame(D Frame) Colts like the Police Positve Special,as you have,are much more pleasant to shoot using a grip adapter,such as a Tyler or Pachmayer,as the rear of the trigger guard will pound my thick fingers,even shooting moderate or factory level reloads,NOT the plus P's,as a steady diet of these could get the 70 year old Colt out of timing.

Glad to see this old Colt is being shot,and that you are enjoying its wonderful action/accuracy-sure beats just "admiring it" and fondling it in a vault/gun cabinet. Bud
 

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Originally posted by lonewolf:

The "L" means it was only lined up as far as the barrel being turned to get the front sight "square" with the rear notch. Any Colt with a "T" means the factory "targeted it" by shooting it,then turning the barrel to get it dead on. This was a subtle bit of work Colt did during the Depression era. Not to worry,however,as I've found that most "L" marked guns are great shooters also.
That's interesting information.. I sent my "as new" back to Colt last month for evaluation as it was purchased in "unfired" condition" and when I shot it I found it to impact considerably left of poa.

I sent it back to Colt and they kindly corrected the problem and threw in a "tune up" of the DA trigger pull as a courtesy.

The DS now shoots better and it right on in terms of point of impact. I am very pleased with Colt Customer Service and appreciate very much their kindness.

Cost: $0. Colt even paid for return shipping. My nickle DS was manufactured in 1982. Can't beat that for quality Customer Service!

Thanks for the enlightenment...

[This message has been edited by Laserlips (edited 06-09-2005).]
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Lonewolf, great info. Thanks a lot. Full serial has it made in 1934. This 70+ year old handgun shoots better than my 586 S&W. Right on POA at 50 feet. Grips are square frame walnut, in good shape, with the raised silver Colt medallions. It came with a Pachmayr adaptor and a Bucheimer "Semi-Shoulder" holster. It was carried by a relative many years ago when he was on the cops. Out of respect for its age I only use standard velocity 38's in it. You are correct, it does pound the fingers even with them. Funny, when he gave these weapons to me, I also got a Colt Cobra, he referred to it as the big gun. Times sure have changed.
 

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You are welcome,tracker. Your relative certainly knew fine firearms(your Colt),accessories(the Pach adapter) and gun leather(the Buchmeier). He was a well armed law enforcement officer,with a reliable and accurate gun,that was easy to conceal,yet powerful for its 23 oz. weight.

I wouldn't hesitate to carry this rig nowdays,but probably with lead semi wadcutters,that were not facory made in the 1930's,as my only "change" Bud
 

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Wow!! I always learn something from this group... I went back through all of my Detective Specials and Police Positive Specials checking for "L"s and "T"s. I couldn't find any of those markings earlier than 1929. After that year I was surprised... Thanks folks, I never noticed those markings before..........Henri
 
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