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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,
a friend out of state has this old colt. He knows not a lot about old guns, but says it's an official police in .38-200. I wasn't interested in that round but then I saw the picture. It has a lanyard ring. Is this a lend-lease pistol for the British? Is it worth anything? I can get it for maybe $200.

GOA
 

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It is a revolver made for England,as evidenced by the 5" barrel & .38-200 service round.I don't believe it is a Lend-Lease gun as I think it was made under contract for the British government.Another forum member,ordnanceguy,is a leading expert on US & Allied small arms,especially service revolvers.Hoepfully he'll weigh in.I'd certainly buy it for $200.
Regards,
John Witty
 

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Azshot:

Turnerriver has correctly identified the Colt OP in question. From your description and the pic it is most likely a Colt Official Police manufactured in 1941 under direct contract for the British Purchasing Commission. Accordingly, it is not a Lend Lease gun.

You did not mention the serial but I expect that you will find it to be in the 670,XXX range. There should also be a separate number on the butt that will be less than 15,000 or so. On close examination you should find on the upper left frame a small crown, within which is found the letter W. This is the marking indicating inspection by a British Government inspector of Woolwich Arsenal. It is unclear when the marking was applied, but the current thinking among those of us who collect these guns is that it was likely applied by the inspector at the Colt factory.

These are very scarce guns. About 15,000 or so were made for the British under this contract. How many survived is anyone's guess. The barrel marking is the quick identifier as it clearly states the caliber as .38-200. I believe that this is the only group of OP's so marked.

I am fortunate to have found and purchased two of these interesting martial Colts over the years. While I don't typically make it a practice to comment on values, I can say that if you can buy it for $200 and it is properly functioning and in original condition, you would have a major bargain on your hands.

I hope this information is helpful to you.

Regards,
Charlie Flick
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks John and Ord, this is starting to scare me. They guy that has the gun is getting it and others from the widow of a famous shooter and collector. I told him I'm interested in "winchesters or colts", I have none of the former, a few of the latter. The only colt that was reasonable (several gold cups and such) was this one. I think I better get it. At first I was thinking it was just a run-of-the-mill DA, but I'm still learning. I really thank you for educating me....I'll let you know.

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Charlie; never having seen a .38/200 Colt O.P. "in person"( I WANT ONE,to round out the caliber collection!!),were these guns "converted" from .38 Special,but reaming out the chambers for the fatter .38 S&W round(.38/200,or .380 to the Brits),or built "brand new"??? Are barrels "restamped" from Official Police .38 to "38/200??

Pate's book shows that some barrels were bored out on the muzzle to a depth of 1 to 2 inches,for the larger .361 or so, .38/200 bullet,as Colts had a tighter bore .355 or so,and used this size for both .38 chamberings. Picture of an Officers Model,and you can see the step. I suppose that with FMJ bullets in wartime,the Brits might have worried that the bores would be too tight. Don't think it would be the best for accuracy!!! S&W used a .360 bore for all there .38 S&W(.38/200s) and a .357 for the .38 Specials.

Pate also gives,via Skennerton,much higher production figures than the 15,000 you said,but I tend to go with yours,as some of that info is "old".

Just curious. /forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif

Bud
 

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Hi Bud:

These .38-200 OPs were not converted but were new production. Attached are a couple of pics of one of mine, including a shot of the barrel rollmarking showing the .38-200 designation.

As you point out, Charlie Pate's info came from Ian Skennerton. Skennerton's 1993 book gives higher numbers, some of which he notes may include 6" and some 4" guns, so it is not clear how reliable the total he states really is.


Charles Clawson's book "Colt .45 Government Models", published in 2005, refers to the Crown-W marking and states "Included was an order for 18,250 Colt caliber .38/200 Official Police Revolvers from 1941, easily recognized by the Crown-W mark and butt numbers from 1 to 18250."

Considering of all the nice New Services and other great Colts you have found up there in the woods of the great Northeast I am surprised that you have not managed to locate one of these interesting revolvers. Get to work!

Regards,
Charlie



 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks to all of you I'll try not to let a good one get away. Excellent pictures that I'll compare to the pistol I get. I told my contact I'd take the colt, he's sending it down for my review. I doubt I'd go through the trouble of shooting, but would the old .38 S&W work? Is it too valuable to shoot? It would help to know about what this is worth, but I shoot my bisley and other high-end guns from time to time. We'll see what the condition is too....
 

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Nice find .

Shooting is part of the fun of owning and collecting . 38 S&W will work fine .
 

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Thanks for the photos and info,Charlie!

Think I may have seen one,years ago,at a small rural gunshow up here. It was formerly owned by a USMC officer and last carried in Korea,and I think the provenance on the gun siad that the late Major had got it from a British officer at the end of W.W. Two.

Wonder what "units" of Brits were issued these Colts?

Thanks again,
Bud /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
 
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