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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
You don't see many of these offered up for sale:
This appears to be an early Post-War Detective Special that was issued to the US Postal Service. These Post Office guns are SUPER hard to find as most were destroyed. I dropped a couple of bids until I realized that its had a barrel replacement. If you look closely at picture #17 you'll notice the stamping on the right side of the barrel reads "COLT'S PT.F.A. MFG. CO. HARTFORD, CONN USA". This stamping went into production after Colt changed it's name back to Colt's Patent Fire Arms Company in late 1955. Still a decent looking 1948 production DS (likely delivered to the Post Office Department), but with a 1955 (or later) barrel. Also of interest is that the only other Post Office DS I've ever seen was not .38 Special but rather .38NP. It was one of 55 shipped on May 21, 1948.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I believe all correct Post Office guns are .38 NP. Correct me if I am wrong, but I did not think that any came in .38 Special.
I also believe that to be true...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
I just sent a message to the seller about the barrel and asked that he also try fitting a .38 Special round into the cylinder and see if it fits. When someone replaced the barrel, they might have chosen one marked ".38 Special" instead of ".38NP".
 
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The seller has updated the description.
"After being informed by a knowledgeable member and some additional research, it seems the markings on the barrel would indicate it was changed sometime post 1955. The Detectives originally bought by the Post Office Dept were .38 NP. More than likely, the person this gun was issued to wanted a bigger bang and had it re-chambered to the popular .38 Special."

Vic
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The seller is indeed a "Stand-Up" guy and quickly made the correction after receiving my observations. He emailed me this morning and informed me that a .38 Special cartridge will indeed drop fully into the cylinder. I should have noticed it quicker, but the cylinder flutes should also be mat as per the "Dual-Tone" finish that would be correct for a 1948 produced DS. What I believe happened was a previous owner has replaced both the cylinder and barrel.
I guess if a buyer was determined enough, they could put the gun back to factory condition with the installation of a period correct and properly chambered/marked barrel and cylinder. It wouldn't be easy locating the parts, but it could be done.
 

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I think Winston sold a USPS a month or so ago that was like this gun with the 38 special barrel marking too.

Mine has the 38NP barrel marking......also have a non numbers matching box thanks to HOYA.....RR
 

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Back in December, 2014 saintclair had a Colt Police Positive Special made in 1936 that I wanted! I am a retired Customs Inspector/CBP Officer; so a U. S. Customs marked gun would be nice to own!

The gun now sports an early Post WWII Detective Special barrel; it more then likely started life with a 4” barrel. As I’ve been told that (especially with the Post Office but Customs as well) when someone was promoted and wore a suit instead of a uniform they had the armorer install a snubnose barrel for them. One day I will letter this to see where it went.

699737

699738
 

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Hootch56 posted pictures of his post war DS in 38NP a while back. He lettered that gun and it is correct except a former owner sanded the US PO engraving off the backstrap. I own that gun now. Got it from Hootch56 on a trade.

The barrel from my gun would be correct for his.
 

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Has anyone tried to letter the gun or contact Colt Archives t see if the gun is legitimate ??
After WW2 Colt stopped making the Bankers Specials so PO bought S&W Terriers. I have invoices for 3000 bought in the early 1950s
 

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Very good
My father was a registry clerk in 1950's and told me he had a Colt 6 shot revolver he would pull out of a desk drawer when to took the registered mail to the train station. He knew it was Colt but other that that he was not a gun guy.
Might have been one of the Detective Specials listed above.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Has anyone tried to letter the gun or contact Colt Archives t see if the gun is legitimate ??
After WW2 Colt stopped making the Bankers Specials so PO bought S&W Terriers. I have invoices for 3000 bought in the early 1950s
I'm currently double checking with Colt Archives right now. Sometimes you never know...
 

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Well, it seems to be that I've stumbled across your thread. I'm actually the seller of the Post Office marked Detective Special linked at the top. =P Thanks for taking the time to make a post about my listing. And I appreciate your above compliments, Gus. I simply want to be as honest and informative as I can to any interested buyers, so I respect you reaching out to me and value your input.

Also, since you guys are smart and will figure this out eventually, as radical Rod pointed out, this actually is the same revolver Winston sold back in December. Unfortunately, due to extenuating circumstances, I have to let it go pre-maturely, so it's up for bid to whoever might want it. Sadly it's not a new find, but all the conversation is really cool. I love learning more about these unique guns. I might also add the shipment info kwill mentioned to my listing. That'd be some good information.

Thanks guys. Look forward to hearing anything else anyone finds out or has to add.
 

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Well, it seems to be that I've stumbled across your thread. I'm actually the seller of the Post Office marked Detective Special linked at the top. =P Thanks for taking the time to make a post about my listing. And I appreciate your above compliments, Gus. I simply want to be as honest and informative as I can to any interested buyers, so I respect you reaching out to me and value your input.

Also, since you guys are smart and will figure this out eventually, as radical Rod pointed out, this actually is the same revolver Winston sold back in December. Unfortunately, due to extenuating circumstances, I have to let it go pre-maturely, so it's up for bid to whoever might want it. Sadly it's not a new find, but all the conversation is really cool. I love learning more about these unique guns. I might also add the shipment info kwill mentioned to my listing. That'd be some good information.

Thanks guys. Look forward to hearing anything else anyone finds out or has to add.
As information, this Detective Special with factory-rolled "POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT" was added to the Railway Mail Service Library collection.
 

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Very good
My father was a registry clerk in 1950's and told me he had a Colt 6 shot revolver he would pull out of a desk drawer when to took the registered mail to the train station. He knew it was Colt but other that that he was not a gun guy.
Might have been one of the Detective Specials listed above.
Hello, Toyman: It is more likely that your father had a Colt Bankers Special since my estimation is that this model comprised about 80 percent of all non-Postal Inspection Service and non-Postal Police weapons and were primarily assigned to Railway Postal Clerks. Some were assigned to Post Office Registry Cages in large post offices.

If you seek more information about the Railway Mail Service/Postal Transportation Service, please contact me off-list at [email protected]
 
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