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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings all. This is my first post on this forum. I'm not a big Colt collector though I wish I could afford to be.

I own a 6 inch King Cobra which I think is one of the smoothest revolvers I've ever shot and a .22 Official Police.

This Official Police has a serial number 12xx which puts it in the first year of production I think. But what's strange is the target sights, front and rear. This pistol looks exactly like a .22 Officer's Target Model, complete with checkered grips, except the barrel is plainly marked Official Police.

Was this a transition model of some kind? I found a thread on this forum that showed an Official Police with a target rear sight. Maybe Colt made a few that way?
 

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how about a photo. is the backstrap checkered?? would like to see a photo of frt site attachment. i have 2 of the o/p .22 and like them.almost forgot. WELCOME to the forum /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the welcome icdux1.

My O/P has a checkered backstrap, grooved trigger, and flat top receiver. The front sight base is either one piece with the barrel or else its brazed on so well I can't see the joint. The front sight blade has a lateral clamping screw and a screw going in the front for raising and lowering the blade. There's a small spring that pushes up on the blade. In my copy of "A History of the Colt Revolver" there's a picture of an Officer's Model Target on page 194 that looks identical to my O/P.

I'd be happy to post some pics but don't have any website to upload and link to. Maybe I could just email you some pics?
 

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very interesting tom, sure send me your photo`s at [email protected], surely someone here will know what you have. you are describing an officers model. i cant explain the o/p bbl marking. is the gun vp proofed??
 

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It could be that the revolver is an Colt Officers Model that was rebarreled with a Offical Police barrel later. If it is a Officer's Model it would of been made in 1930. Shooting of corrosive ammo has caused many old Colt revolver barrels to be replaced. What is the last patent date on the barrel? And the Barrel length?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Fire17, the last patent date on the barrel is Oct 5, 1926. The barrel, cylinder, and frame all have the same serial number. Barrel is 6 inch. The cylinder is not recessed for the cartridge rims so that confirms its pre 1932, at least the cylinder.

I e-mailed some pics to icdux1 that he can post if he wants. Icdux1, where is the vp stamp supposed to be?
 

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Your revolver has a Offical Police pre-war barrel. icdux1 please post the picture of the revolver so we can look at the front sight. It would be hard for this to be a factory mistake because Offical Police has a fixed front sight. Also there is a Officers Model 22 and Offical Police 22 with the same serial number which makes it hard to ask for a Colt letter. Which one of the 12XX Colt 22 revolvers do you have see the problem.
 

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Well TomP it is going to be hard to tell what happen to your revolver. The frame is a Officers model and the barrel is a Offical Police barrel with Officers model front sight. A expert needs to look at that front sight in person.
 

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[ QUOTE ]
Icdux1, where is the vp stamp supposed to be?

[/ QUOTE ]
on the left side forward trigger guard bow, your gun has it. i thought it might be a lunchbox gun as some were not proofed. i suspect the bbl has been changed. as was stated the o/p did not have the rear adj. site.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I was talking today with Ms Haynes in the archive dept at Colt about getting an official letter for my .22 OP. She verified 1930 as the production year but wouldn't be able to tell me if mine was rare.

I'm posting these pictures just to see if anyone has ever seen another .22 OP like mine with flat top frame and target sights. It was probably just a special order but I'm wondering why not just purchase an Officer's Model Target? Cost maybe?









After doing a lot of internet searching I finally found a picture of a flat top .38 OP, but not a .22 model.

TomP
 

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This appears to be a regular first-year Officers Model Target that has had the barrel replaced with an Official Police barrel, and the OMT front sight very nicely installed on the OP barrel. The joint can clearly be seen in the pictures. A "real" OMT front sight base does not have that visable joint. It is NOT an Official Police.

It is too bad this revolver has been altered, since the first-year, non-recessed chamber guns are scarce. Even if the barrel had not been replaced, the condition of this gun would have taken it out of valuable collector status, but it would have been worth more than shooter value, which is all it has now. As it is, it probably shoots fine, and has value as a shooter, but no more.

I suspect the original barrel was "ringed," which I have seen on several .22 barrels, perhaps from squib loads that push a bullet into the bore, but not out, followed by another full charge that causes a ring where the first bullet is struck by the second bullet. However, if the chambers are pitted, the poster who suggested a barrel damaged by corrosive ammunition is probably right.

It is not a rare factory mistake. It is just another altered gun, taking one more out of the "original" ranks. Shoot it and enjoy it. I would, however, keep watching eBay for an original barrel. I have seen stuff come up on eBay that I never expected to see anywhere. It could happen!

I am curious about the reference to the serial number being on the cylinder, barrel and frame. I have never seen serial numbers on Colt cylinders and barrels. Please post pictures of those numbers. To me, that is a bigger mystery than the OP barrel, which is no mystery after all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
JudgeColt, what I originally thought were the matching serial numbers on the barrel, frame and cylinder are actually "drawer numbers" according to Ms Haynes. I guess that was a way of keeping the parts for a specific revolver together as it went through the different manufacturing steps. You can just make out the 4 digit drawer number on the barrel just above the ejector rod in the one picture. The real serial number is on the frame and the crane. It is three digit.

Concerning the front sight, holding it under a strong light and using a magnifying glass it sure looks like it's one piece with the barrel. I can't see any hint of braze or solder and there is the smallest radius joining the base to the barrel. I'll look for some pictures of a for sure OMT and compare.
 

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Re: Official Police w/ Target Sights Correct?

If you read "COLT A American Legend" p.210 it states that some special order sights were installed on OPs in 22 caliber. So it is a good chance that what you have is factory.
 

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I see said the blind man as he fell into the ditch! Wow, now we learn this is a three-digit gun, which makes it very early and adds to the sorrow about what has been done to it.

I have dozens of Colt revolvers and NONE of any age have "drawer numbers" on their barrels or cylinders. An "advanced" Colt collector once told me that such numbers indicate a factory refinish (I have no Colts without original finish), or some other service requiring disassembly, so the parts could be kept together for reassembly. If the "drawer numbers" on major parts of this gun all match, that adds to the mystery, since that could mean this OP-marked barrel was at the factory. I still believe this is a well-done, non-factory barrel replacement with the front sight carefully added to an OP barrel, but the "drawer number" presence makes me wonder a bit. Perhaps the gun was factory refinished at some point in its life.

I agree the front sight installation is excellent, but that does not make it one piece with the rest of the barrel. All Colt front sights are installed into a slot in the barrel and brazed into place. (Brass wire was wrapped around the base stud and the sight was driven into the barrel recess, after which the barrel and sight were heated until the sight was brazed into place. The tight fit makes the joint invisible, and no brass ever shows, since the brass is down in the slot.) Unlike Smith & Wesson revolver barrels where the sight body is forged with the barrel, Colt front sights are added after the barrel is tapered and finish-polished. Therefore, the original front sight body on a target barrel could be removed and a slot cut into an OP barrel and the body installed in the slot just like was done at the factory on a target barrel. The presence of the "drawer numbers" could even indicate that the gun was returned to the factory, with a fixed front sight OP barrel already installed, specifically for installation of the adjustable front sight assembly. As I think more about this bastard, I believe that is probably what was done, since the installation is so good.

sumkummer, I believe Wilson's reference to "special-order sights" probably refers to special-shaped blades, Patridge for example, or ramp style (see TBOCFA Page 350), or .125-inch instead of .100-inch, rather than adjustable fronts. Remember, the rear sight and top strap on this revolver are identical to an OMT so it makes no sense to make a gun in every respect like an OMT and then roll-stamp it as an OP.

I still believe this is an OMT with an OP barrel installed, and I am willing to put my money where my mouth is. Get a factory letter and if it letters as an OP, I will pay for the letter. Just post the letter here and give me an address, and I will send you the $75. It takes about four months so be patient.

In closing, I have a Colt Huntsman, which is normally a fixed-sight pistol, that has a Targetsman-style adjustable rear sight. It letters as a Huntsman (shipped October 13, 1976, very late in the produciton of the Model S so parts cleanup could be the explanation), and there is no mention of the rear sight in the letter, even though I specifically asked the historian to comment on it. There are many examples of Colts that are mismarked, always automatics in my experience (see Douglas Sheldon's Super .38 book for several examples of Supers marked "Government Model," etc.) and this OMT could be one. The problem is, as with my Huntsman/Targetsman, it letters as though the error were not there, so the letter proves nothing.

As another example, I have a Marshal without the "M" suffix said to be universal on Marshals, and the factory letter ADDS the "M" suffix to the serial number I submitted when reference is made to it in the letter! I even asked Kathy Hoyt specifically about that issue, being VERY clear that I had not omitted the "M" suffix by accident, since I have seen several Marshals without the suffix, but she ignored the issue entirely. (I suspect the factory records have the "M" suffix in the ledger even when the guns do not, another form of factory error.) Therefore, the factory letter on this gun may not be correct either, but I would stil pay for it if it states this OMT is an OP. Deal?
 

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JudgeColt, now I have learned something, thanks. I was going to quote the Numrich gun parts book selling sights for OP in .22 caliber. They pretty much mirror what you just said with variations in width and either bead or patridge. I never considered that these could be used with a fixed rear. Also I really need a copy of TBOCF as it probably has 3 times the info that the Colt-An American Legend has. No doubt that this gun is interesting. I believe early single actions have assembly numbers on the loading gate and maybe somewhere else? Like you stated, sometimes a letter confirms something and sometimes it doesn't do much at all. I have a Parkerized 1917 Colt that has 2 extra sets of 4 digit numbers on the barrel, crane and frame. It is also stamped AA. So who knows if Colt stamped one set of numbers and Augusta Arsenal stamped another.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I'm waiting for Colt to call me back so I can order a factory letter. I'll send them some pictures so they can see this mystery for themselves. Some key points are: was this originally an OMT and, was it reworked at Colt, hence the drawer numbers.

Thanks for the offer, JudgeColt, but this will be my treat to the forum either way it turns out. I will post the letter, hopefully in a hundred days or so.

One other thought, were the OMTs numbered in the same sequence as the OPs or did they have a series of their own? I was thinking that might tell me whether my revolver started life as an OP or a OMT.
 

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I'll risk an answer. The 38 cal OMs were numbered with the Army Special and then the OP and eventually the MkIII. The 22 cal OMs had their own number sequence. Stand by for correction. /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif
 

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Did Colt make an offer to call you back? Wow! Never heard of that! I would not wait for that fairy tail to come true.

I would just send the $75 with the gun's serial number and begin the long wait. Including the pictues will only help to convince Colt that you are not crazy or mistaken in what you are describing, which I guess is a good thing, but it will not help in the letter process.

In regard to the serial numbering, even though the charts do not so indicate, the .22 Official Police and the .22 Officers Model Target (and Special and Match) are numbered together in a separate sequence from any other Colts. I assume (remember, "assume" makes an ass out of you and me!) that the guns were made in batches of OPs and OMs, so it is unlikely that there will be much scattering of serial numbers between OPs and OMs. How large the batches were, if there were batches, is anyone's guess. My guess would be 100 to 200, maybe 500, but that is only a wild guess.

Someone mentioned above that adjustable sights might have been added to an OP to save money. The list price only varied about $10, and, considering the different machining on the top strap, where MORE metal is required on a OM than on the fixed-sight OP, and the different sight slot on the barrel, it does not seem logical or even possible (welding up the top strap would be necessary) that adjustable sights could be added to an OP at any cost, let alone for less than $10 even during the hard times of 1930. (Yes, we know that some firm welded up the top straps of OPs to make bastard Pythons in the 1970s, but that method surely was not in play in 1930.)
 

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FWIW here is a hasty photo of a factory front OM sight. It may depend on lighting, but (in addition to showing flaws /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif ) to me it looks very much like yours. Perhaps time and letters will tell. /forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif

 
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