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Discussion Starter #1
An old friend who has gone gave his Colt OM .22 to his son a couple of years ago. The son knows that I collect Colts and asked if I wanted to buy it, so I went over to take a look. I'd seen the revolver before but had never inspected it closely. Lockup is as tight as you would want. No end-shake. Finish is very good except for a few scratches, handling marks, and lost blueing around the muzzle. Barrel crown looks excellent.The serial number is 824x, placing it in 1933 if I'm reading Proofhouse.com correctly.Under the topstrap, right where you might expect to see flame cutting, there's a machined indentation at least 1/16" deep. It's shaped like a partial section of a cone with the almost straight edge forward and tapering toward the back as it gets shallower.My first guess is that there was bad flame cutting and someone removed the damaged metal. I know that my 1937 Officers Model 38 does not have any cut like this, and I've never seen one on any other Colt. However, I would like to verify that this is not a normal feature of an Officers Model .22.As a side issue, the sides of the hammer have been jeweled. Am I correct in thinking that this change reduces the gun's collector value?Finally, I am certain that the trigger was "worked on" because my old friend told me so. The trigger pull is clean and a little bit light, but the break is not as crisp as my other old Colts. The double action pull actually is nicer than most Colts I've handled. Still, the known trigger work reduces the value too, right?At this point, I've decided not to make an offer on the pistol. My take is that is would be a fine shooter, but it's not worth the $700+ that I would pay for a nice, untouched Officers Model from 1933. I already have a very clean Officers Model Match from 1960 which is a great shooter.
 

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I'm wondering if "flame cutting" is typically a problem with '22's. It would not seem like it is. I have an old officers model match .22 that's been shot ALOT yet I dont see any evidence of flame cutting. Since .22's arent subject to hot reloads like a 357 magnum loaded to screaming hot pressures, I wonder if flame cutting is really a concern. Maybe someone here who has shot colt .22's in competetion can chime in.
 

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A1A - thanks for solving the mystery of the "fouling cup". While my 1937 Officers Model 38 does not have one, my Model 1917 does! That was the first old revolver I ever bought and I hadn't heard of flame cutting at that point.New question: the barrel is marked "Officers Model .22 Long Rifle" IIRC. It definitely does not say "Target". The last patent date is 1926. The cylinder bores are recessed though. Is 1933 the right date?Also, were my other questions about the jeweled trigger etc. affecting collector value just too obvious?
 

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The .22 rimfire does not develop enough pressure to cause flame cutting, but the fouling cup was generally put on every Colt revolver after the feature was introduced.

The jeweled hammer does hurt the value, but the good thing is that it can be removed by repeatedly drawing the hammer across appropriate grade sandpaper in the right direction until it is gone.

Trigger pulls do vary from gun to gun, and remember, the gun is over 75 years old. Some old guns feel different from other old guns after decades of use.
 

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First time I have ever heard of a "fouling cup". Interesting for sure. I went and checked all of my revolvers and the only one that has that feature is my 1933 Police Positive Special .38. All three of my OMT's do not. Learned something new again here. THANKS!
 

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New question: the barrel is marked "Officers Model .22 Long Rifle" IIRC. It definitely does not say "Target". The last patent date is 1926. The cylinder bores are recessed though. Is 1933 the right date?
That is interesting. The addition of "Target" to the Officers Model name and the roll mark is generally attributed to circa 1930 with the advent of the 22 caliber. Perhaps your barrel was made very early on before the name change was decided. 1933 is correct for your serial number. The "Officers Model" listing in Proofhouse is for 22 caliber only, so don't try to date any 38s from that. :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
That is interesting. The addition of "Target" to the Officers Model name and the roll mark is generally attributed to circa 1930 with the advent of the 22 caliber. Perhaps your barrel was made very early on before the name change was decided. 1933 is correct for your serial number. The "Officers Model" listing in Proofhouse is for 22 caliber only, so don't try to date any 38s from that. :cool:
Thanks for your insight.Now I'm wondering if the barrel could have come off an earlier pistol. Serial number on the frame matches the 1 on the crane. It has the elevation adjustable front sight, just like my later .38. Is there anything special to look for if you suspect a replaced barrel? The finish seems to match.I need to look at this revolver again and take some pics.
 

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Thanks for your insight.Now I'm wondering if the barrel could have come off an earlier pistol. Serial number on the frame matches the 1 on the crane. It has the elevation adjustable front sight, just like my later .38. Is there anything special to look for if you suspect a replaced barrel? The finish seems to match.I need to look at this revolver again and take some pics.
There were no 22LR Officers Model barrels before 1930. :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #11
A1A - the owner confirms that the word "Target" does not appear on the barrel.

Varangi - thanks for the pics! That'll show everyone what we are talking about.
 

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Well, as always, it is interesting. I am not where my reference material is, but I know that The Book Of Colt Firearms attributes the start of the Officers Model Target designation as circa 1930 with the advent of the 22LR as I stated. However, I have just looked through a lot of posts on the forum and there are several early (1930 - 1933) 22LR Officers Models reported with no "Target" designation in the roll mark. There is also a rampant (good word) tendency to refer to every pre-OMM as an OMT which is not the case. :( Most of the other pictures do not show the roll mark clearly enough to make any determination. So far, I would say that yours is typical for the period, but I am curious about when the actual target marking may have begun if other than 1930. So far, I am only in a position to say they were that way in 1948. :D

 

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Just looked at my Officers Model .22 from 1938 and the barrel does not have "Target" on it, and no fouling cup. My Shooting Master (38spl) "does" have a fouling cup. According to proofhouse, my SM serial number dates to 1936.
 

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I have checked all of my Colt revolvers and have reached the conclusion that the fouling cup was discontinued sometime in 1935, because some of my collection shipped in 1935 have the fouling cup and some do not. None shipped after 1935 have the fouling cup.

I note with interest that none of my Pocket Positive revolvers, regardless of age, have the fouling cup. I note with further interest that my Smith & Wesson Triple Lock that shipped in 1910 has a fouling cup, while my K-22 shipped in 1935 does not. I have no other Pre-War Smith & Wesson revolvers so do not know whether this was a centerfire feature only, or whether it was discontinued by 1935.

In regard to the "Target" barrel nomenclature, I have a 7.5-inch .38 Officers Model that shipped October 1, 1931, and it has no "Target" barrel stamping. The factory letter refers to the revolver as an "Officers Model." I have a .22 Officers Model that shipped October 19, 1933, and it has no "Target" barrel stamping. However, the factory letter refers to the revolver as an "Officers Model Target!" Whether that is what the actual record says, or whether that is the historian making an "editorial adjustment," I cannot say.
 

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Is the fouling cup something that is just something that was carried over from the black powder era? I'm assuming this since serious fowling in that area with smokeless powder must not really be an issue. I could see it becoming an issue with black powder though. I can't remember for sure but I think I've seen it on early S&W hand ejectors as well.
 
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