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Discussion Starter #1
Can anyone give a year of production of a Police Positive S/N 189XXX? Little guy in .32 seems to kick more than a like revolver in .38 S&W. It is an elegant old Colt. Thanks for any help.
 

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Mk3guy, With that 1923 production date,it probably has a narrow grip frame,and this would make recoil feel "heavy",and may be banging your knuckles against the rear of trigger guard.

A grip adapter,made for the gun(or any D frame Colt,like a Det. Special,Cobra etc.),such as produced by Tyler,or used ones like Tyler or Pachmayer/Mershon,that slips under the grips(stocks on a Colt!)and held by the grips when you re-tighten the grip screw,will reduce this a great deal.

These are fine old guns,and the .32 ,while not a great "man stopper" is capable of outstanding accuracy,as well as being fun and comfortable to shoot.

Great find! Glad you are "using it" Bud
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks Sirs,
1923 is sooo long ago. Can you advise when the Police Positives began production?
The revolver is what the Diamondback started off as isn't it? Don't shoot it enough to go with the adapters but good idea. Bought it to begin a collection of a type of revolver I could afford but sold all but this off. Not so inexpensive anymore and this was just 10 years. A different era in design and need.
Thanks for the information.
 

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Police Positives began life in 1907 for the .32,and 1905 for the .38. The Police Positive Special,for the longer,and more potent .38 Special(the P.Positve 38s used the shorter and slightly fatter,.38 S&W or Colt .38 N.Police round) and the 32/20 Winchester,began in 1908.

The "Positive" name comes from the new positive safety device(a lever from the trigger that would block the hammer,unless trigger was deliberately pulled;this became a feature of all Colt D.A. revolvers).

The predecessor gun to yours was known as the .32 New Police,and had a different frame type(and no positive safety device.).Introduced in 1897,it won instant fame,when chosen by then Police Commissioner "Teddy Roosevelt",to outfit the NYPD with a standard,modern,side swinging cylinder revolver,rather than the hodge podge of weapons they were carrying,some still cap n'ball.

Bud
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Howdy Lonewolf,
Began earlier than I thought and did not know that the .32 was first. Great info on the meaning of the "Positive" and sequence of evolution. Any idea of why the .32 was the initial chambering? Thank you for your knowledge and response.
 

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Have no idea as to why Colt chose the .32 in the New Police in 1897 unless it was;a) they already had a larger frame .38 and ,41 Cal. side swing revolver from 1889? b) that S&W had introduced their first D.Action side swing in .32,in 1896 c) but probably this;the .32 was considered a perfectly adequate police cartridge by eastern urban PDs back then. Note that they bought the Police Positive in .38 out in 1905,probably because some wanted a bigger round in a smaller frame(and knowing Colt,they had a helluva lot of .32 New Police bbls. to use up!(I once had a .32 Police Positive,that was original,and the barrel was marked New Police;gun made in 1907).

If you promise not to get too confused!!!,Colt actually chambered their New Polices for a different .32 Cartridge. The .32 Long(or Short version) COLT. This had been in production for years,and dates back to the conversion of cap and ball revolvers to metallic cartridges.

If you have a .22 long rifle loaded cartridge in front of you,notice that the bullet is the same diameter as the rest of the case. A short length of smaller diameter part of the bullet,called the "heel" fits inside the case to hold it. In a "regular" cartridge,like say a .32 S&W Long,that you are probably using in your P.P.(to further confuse things,Colt calls this .32 S&W Long,the Colt .32 New Police! Egos of both big revolver makers here!-OK for the nitpickers,the Colt N.Police had a slightly "flatter" bullet-BFD!!)

The old .32 Long Colt chambered guns,have chambers too small in diameter to accept the .32 S&W Long. I once had a New Police in .32 Long Colt and a New Police Target version in .32 S&W Long.

Ammo companies later reduced the bullet size of the .32(.38 and .41 too) Colt cartridges to fully fit inside the case,avoiding the heel bullet(and its greasy lubrication). So now we have a bullet too small for bore of the barrel!! No problem;these bullets had a hollw base,that would expand upon firing(ever hear of a Minie' ball). If my .41 Colts(that I hand load these hollow based bullets for) are an indication,system works!

Went over this ".32 ammo confusion",because I recall,over 2 decades ago,trying to figure out what .32 ammo to buy at a large gun show,for the 3 above mentioned .32 Colts! All different opinions(sellers probably wanted to sell me what ammo they had!),so I had W.H.B. Smiths classic in the car,went out,had a Marlboro,and book helped me figure it out!

Bud
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Wow Bud,
Can't promise about impending confusion until after a couple cups of caffeine. You sure seem to know a thing or ten!! Thanks for the bit of education. I find it fascinating. Probably need to get a book. Another lament on how they don't seem to make things like they used to.
Were the .38 S&W's Police Positives the same size frame and cylinder as the .32's, with the .38 special being larger? I've seen the PP's so far in .22, .32, 32-20, .38 S&W and the .38 Special. Anyway thanks for your knowledge and willingness to share it.
 

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The .32 and .38 (S&W) Police Positives were the same size frame and cylinder length. The Police Positive Special,intro. in 1908,had the longer cylinder(and corresponding frame "window" for cylinder) for the .38 Special and 32/20(.32 Winchester).

BUT-AFTER WORLD WAR TWO,the longer Police Positive Special frame and cylinder was used for the .32s,.38 S&Ws-and .38 Specials,to standardize 1 type of frame production. Sadly,at least to me,the 32/20 was dropped from Colt(and S&Ws) list of offerings after the war.

I mentioned in an earlier post,that some time circa 1920s,Colt changed the Police Positive grip strap,making them longer from back to front,thus early grips are too small for later models. I used to think this was only for the hard rubber black grips,or stocks,but I've seen walnut in both sizes,and they weren't supposed to come in until mid 20's. Probably these are from the early Police Positive Targets. Yes,Colt made target versions! Adjustable front and rear sights, 6 inch bbl. in .32,.22 long rifle,and .22 wrf(obsolete today). The .38 was never catalogued-but-who knows?

You may run into a "snub nose" 2 inch revolver,that looks like the popular Detective Special,but is marked "Banker's Special". This has the shorter cylinder of the Police Positve,was made in .22 and .38 S&W from approx. 1930-1941. Some had rounded butt stocks,others were square. A very collectable little Colt,especially the .22 version,and any marked for the Railway Post Office,as these were issued to clerks,guards,etc. handling the mail on trains/trucks.

The grip,or "stocks",as some Colt "purists" call them, is a real confusing issue on "D" Frame Colts(Colt's factory name for this small size frame). Not only what I've mentioned,but the post war guns have long and short grip frames,some grips having wooden fillers on their bottoms;then to further confuse things,the square butt(harder to conceal without leaving a tell tale "bump" under a coat) were made "again" in the 1950's.

Probably that is why I "mostly" stick to the mid size E frame Colts,like the famous Python,or the sadly lamented "monster" the Colt New Service double action in "big bores" made 1897-1943(?).

Wife and I are heading out to do some "outdoor flea marketing" now. Used to be(more years ago than I like to recall!) that I could get some good "gun stuff" finds in those arenas! Seems like eBay,and other on line auctions have ruined this! Bud
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hope you and family have a good time and find some deals. I guess a Happy 4th is a little early but whatever. Printed you replies out to read. Very interesting. Thank you Sir!
 

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Hey Lonewolf: We still find gun jewels at pawn shops, and at the smaller town gun shows. Believe it or not at these small shows, some people don't know the value of what they have. Also we got lucky lately at some small town gun shops. Gotta stop for a
few minutes at each one and look! Regards, Robba
 

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Yeah,I did OK,last week at a small shop,on an absolute "mint",no box,top break H&R .22 Special Target,from the 30's for $100,which shoots very well.

Have a small show this weekend coming up.(Maine has gone from 4 good sized shows in June and July,to 1 little one! "P.C." you know,so can't use the school gyms as before!)

Pawn shops WERE good,one in particular(reblued 1901 SAA 38/40 for $250,about 12 years ago!),but the guy retired,and new proprietor,doesn't have an FFL(rumor is he has a felony prior conviction) and most of them around here,reek of drug addicts and hot,cheap merchandise nowadays.

Not talking of actual guns themselves,Robba,but gun parts,accessories(grips etc. and vintage ammo/components at these flea markets etc. Used to do better,is what I am saying.

Yesterday did net a nice "soft brass hammer" for $4.00 (great for non marring of metal-and sure my wife will "use it" and "f--k it up hammering a nail!) and an Audley/Folsom black leather holster,with the spring clip,no rips,couple of scuffs,for a Colt 4" O.Police,of which I have a few! When they say tight fit,they mean it! A 4" Colt .357,with adjustable sights won't fit,and allow the stainless steel tab to enter the trigger guard! Cost;$5.00! Now thats what I mean by "deals"!

Did get a couple of other things,for my railroad,airplane,heavy duty truck hobbies(employee t.t. for 3 bucks) and a 1941 "paperback" showing/describing how "great" U.S. pre-war planes were compared to the German/Italians. This peace of propaganda,set me back 8 bucks,but,WOW! I learned that our old P-36 Curtiss Hawk,as used my the French(true) was "more than a match" for the German ME-109 in the Battle for France!!!!!

Bud
 

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I too wish that Colt and S&W had kept the .32-20 in their product lines. I keep looking for a good shooter condition PPS to go with my S&W M&P. Won't turn down a Army Special or OP either!
 
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