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I am sure 'thecoltguy', Cam, has the info on this issue. The Shooting Masters I have seen (about 5) have all been the round butt variety.
 

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Nice find. While most of the Shooting Masters were sold with the round butt Colt did offer the square butt as an option. If I were guessing, of the 2500 Shooting Masters in .38 Special I would think about 100-200 were sold with the square butt. This number is based on my experience with collecting these for the last forty years. As you may already know, the Shooting Master was the top of the line revolver that Colt offered in the pre war period. All were hand fit and assembled by Colt's best craftsman who were responsible for each one of these that were shipped. Reports are that if one was returned to the factory because it was not perfect that the craftsman who did the work had to come in on there own time to make it right.
 

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riley31, that is a really nice looking Colt Shooting Master you found at the gun show. I have never seen on at any of my LGS! Thanks for posting the pictures, just beautiful!

I have a question myself; what is the difference between the Officers Model Match/Target and the revolver "riley31" just picked up, the Shooting Master?
 

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riley31, that is a really nice looking Colt Shooting Master you found at the gun show. I have never seen on at any of my LGS! Thanks for posting the pictures, just beautiful!

I have a question myself; what is the difference between the Officers Model Match/Target and the revolver "riley31" just picked up, the Shooting Master?

As mentioned above by Weagle99 the Shooting Master is on the much larger New Service frame that was designed to handle the .45 Colt, .45 Acp., .44 Special as well as the .357 Magnum and .38 Special. This was Colt's largest frame revolver in the pre WWII era and it came with checkered front and back strap and hand honed action. Production of the Shooting Master was low at about 3500 guns and offered in the five calibers mentioned above. When introduced it was offered with the round butt only but mid way through the production the square butt could be purchased. The photo below shows the difference. Note the lack of checkering on the cylinder release latch. Colt did this to prevent chaffing on the shooters hand.

 

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Thanks guys for the difference in the Officers Model Match/Target and the Shooting Master!!! Just looking a picture of each alone, they ppear almost the same!

It will be great to see the Letter when "riley31" get it from Colt! That is a beautiful revolver. I don't remember ever seeing one.
 

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It's a shootingmaster, you going to shoot it? I was just shooting mine with a plus P 38 special load at metal plates, almost could not miss at 20 yards and in double action. Mine has the roundbutt and fits my small hand much better. I use either the small or large pachmayr grip adapter on my square butt NS to help with fit.
 

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This is an interesting revolver for at least a couple of reasons. I know of one other (348273) in that shipment of 10 to the USMC and it was also returned on 11/21/39 and resold to a Chicago dealer (W.S. Darley). I suspect all 10 were returned. It is a martial shipment that Pate does not document in his book. Also, Gil Newton (aka Bob Murphy) made a note of this serial number in his book on the Colt New Service Revolver. The entry is as follows: "348281 .38 Special, square butt, factory rebuilt to .357." Are there any unusual markings on the cylinder of your gun?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Kwill, I do't see any markings on the cylinder and barrel is marked .38 but it will chamber 357. Why dosen't the factory letter tell that it was a rebuild to 357? And why wouldn't the gun be marked in some way to show it is .357 by the factory?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
OK, I found this number 899 stamped under the grips on the bottom of the barrel and under the ejector star.From what I have been reading it is a drawer number, used by Colt to keep the parts together during factory work, so I guess this was used when they did the caliber change, but I still don't understand why they did not mark the gun as 357.Would colt have any record of this work?
 

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