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Discussion Starter #1
Hi I've got a Colt officer's model .38. That's quoted from the barrel. It does not specifically say .38 special. Which makes me uncomfortable. I'm 99.9% sure it's a 1926 model as the last patent date is 1926 and the serial is 532xxx. I would greatly appreciate if someone with more experience and expertise would verify it is a 38 special. I'm just uncomfortable that it didn't explicitly say special.I can post pics. Thanks in advance
 

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It would be .38 Special.

And, would have been Serial Numbered in with the 'Army Special' ( which when in .38, was tacitly understood to be ".38 Special" ).
 

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Discussion Starter #3
So you're saying it would have been released along side the army special? If it was another .38 caliber would that have been explicitly labeled. Like s&w or lc?
 

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Will a .38 Special round chamber in it? Unlikely to be a .38 S&W, and a .38 LC would not chamber a .38 Spec.
 

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..... and a .38 LC would not chamber a .38 Spec.
Early New Armies and New Navies had their chambers bored straight through for old-fashioned outside-lubed ammo (bullet same diameter as case, with a small "heel" at the base for the case to grab onto, like .22 LR), and would accept .38 Specials, and even (brrr) .357s.
 

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Will a .38 Special round chamber in it? Unlikely to be a .38 S&W, and a .38 LC would not chamber a .38 Spec.
Don't count on that! I've had some old .38 Long Colt revolvers that would chamber a .357 Magnum round. Saw one old 1877 DA that would chamber just about anything that said .38; took Short, Long, S&W, New Police. Could not get a .38-40 to go, though.

Bob Wright
 

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So you're saying it would have been released along side the army special? If it was another .38 caliber would that have been explicitly labeled. Like s&w or lc?
The 'Officers Model 38' was the Target version of the 'Army Special 38', both began at the same time, both were intended for .38 Special...both were serialled in the same production.

Barrel side text did not specify .38 Special, as it was expected it would be understood without having to be explicitly stamped or explained.

Revolvers intended for the .38 Long Colt Cartridge as such, were being phased out in favor of .38 Special Chambering or intent, several years prior to the introduction of the Army Special and Officers Model, and the advent of the .38 Special - or it's succession from the .38 Long Colt Cartridge - was popularly understood at that time.

Latter production .38 Long Colt Cartridges of course can be used in any .38 Special, and are merely a little shorter than .38 Special.

Were an Army Special or Officers Model to have been chambered in .38 Colt New Police or in .38-200, the Barrel Stamping would say so...since that would be quite a different Chambering than what anyone would have been expecting.
 

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EPJ: The .38 LC round...

will easily chamber and function in the .38 SPL chamber. Perhaps you meant to say that the .38S&W or .38 Colt New Police rounds, which are essentially the same cartridge but for bullet nose shape will (should) not chamber in the .38 SPL.

mhb - Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #13
are there any real good indicators that this is not the first issue chambered in 38 long colt? I guess the patent date would be a dead give away. I just don't want to go to the range with some 38 specials and leave with half a hand
 

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Starting in 1904 when Colt introduced the Officers Model, the guns were chambered for the 38 S&W Special cartridge or, the 38 Colt Special. They would still accept the 38 Long Colt, 38 Short Colt, etc. The bore was also reduced to accommodate the smaller inside lubed bullets.
 

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are there any real good indicators that this is not the first issue chambered in 38 long colt? I guess the patent date would be a dead give away. I just don't want to go to the range with some 38 specials and leave with half a hand
It is not as if standard Loadings of .38 Special would/should really ever bother an 'early' "New Army" Frame Officers Model...it would merely be about 10 or 12 percent stronger of a load, if that, than the .38 Long Colt Cartridges would be. And some sources claim the original ( 'New Army' frame ) Officers Model was actually meant to be used with .38 Special anyway.

I really doubt the Revolver would care one way or the other.

Being Target Revolvers, the early Officers Models, in my opinion, really should be used with standard 'Target' loadings of Lead Wadcutter or semi-Wadcutter .38 Special Cartridges, anyway...which would be just fine for anything else chambering .38 Long Colt, inside Lube Cartridges for that matter...and would be on par with or close enough to, odrinary .38 LC performance wise.


The 'New Army' and 'New Navy' Revolvers, as such, I gather one is cautioned to stay with .38 Long Colt, if they were made prior to say about 1905 or so.

For the ones intended for the inside Lube .38 Long Colt, and made prior to 1905 say, any now-a-days mid range Wadcutter.38 Special Target Ammunition would be just fine and would be about on par with or below the stresses of the Black Powder .38 Long Colt Ammunition of the day.


And or to basically regard 1904 or 1905 or so and earlier Colt DA Revolvers, as having been intended for 'Black Powder' Loadings...as a sort of general Rule of Thumb.

The original 'Officers Model' on the 'New Army' frame, came out at a time when the New Army and New Navy were rated for .38 Special...and my own acceptance, is that the earliest Officers Model was/is also.

Your 'Officers Model' isa couple decades later than these 'early' and sometimes a little confusing transitions...and is .38 Special.
 

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Starting in 1904 when Colt introduced the Officers Model, the guns were chambered for the 38 S&W Special cartridge or, the 38 Colt Special. They would still accept the 38 Long Colt, 38 Short Colt, etc. The bore was also reduced to accommodate the smaller inside lubed bullets.
The one I used to have was from about 1904 and was in .38 Special. I thought all Officers Models were in .38 special.
I also thought the giveaway on this was that if there is a shoulder in the chamber it is in .38 Special, if it is bored straight through it is .38 LC.
Maybe I'm wrong about this I don't know. But almost every New Army & Navy .38 I've had has cylinders bored straight through. The only one that didn't was made around 1906 or so I think and that one was .38 Special.
 

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Except for my 1904 and 1906 Officers Models, I've never seen a New Army or New Navy chambered for the 38 Special round. Not to say that it wasn't done, but what I have learned about these early Colt double action/swing out cylinder guns is that most were chambered for the 38 Long Colt round. Keep in mind that these same guns were also chambered in 41 Long Colt so there had to be a good bit of reserve strength in the cylinder walls. Personally, I would use 1904 for the introduction date of the 38 Special chambering.
 

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Except for my 1904 and 1906 Officers Models, I've never seen a New Army or New Navy chambered for the 38 Special round. Not to say that it wasn't done, but what I have learned about these early Colt double action/swing out cylinder guns is that most were chambered for the 38 Long Colt round. Keep in mind that these same guns were also chambered in 41 Long Colt so there had to be a good bit of reserve strength in the cylinder walls. Personally, I would use 1904 for the introduction date of the 38 Special chambering.
It was only the later versions of the New Army and Navy before the introduction of the Army Special. Mine was from 1906 or 1907 I think. They look like a hybrid between the 1892 and the Army Special with a triggerguard that looks more like the Army Specials. Actually I think one of the nicest looking Colt DAs are those late New Army & Navies.
 
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