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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just had a couple of guns lettered, a New Service Target and a Shooting Master. Shipped 1931 and 1932, respectively.

I was kinda surprised that the SM letters as a NST.

Is that normal? Maybe it's a typo as they lettered my two guns at the same time? Can someone else who has lettered a Shooting Master comment?

(Hey, maybe its worth a zillion bux as the only SM that letters as a NST! Very rare! /forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif)
 

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I have 4 letters on my Shooting Masters, 3 have the heading "Colt Shooting Master Revolver", and the 4th is "Colt Shooting Master Target Revolver". Other than that, as you know 6" bbl., which is normal is noted. One of mine has a factory lanyard, not noted in the letter.

Does the cylinder release latch have checkering on it? The NST would have the checkered style and the SM would be smooth. Also the grip profile would be narrower in the SM most of the time.

One possibility, the gun was ordered as a NST with a 6" barrel requested instead of the normal 7 1/2" NST length, easier for Colt to supply an available 6" than cut a 7 1/2".

Or, more likely, a barrel change to 6" SM type was done sometime in the last 70 years.

Is your SM .38 Spec.? I believe the NST was only available in the bigger bores, whereas the SM was mainly .38 Spec. but could be had in 44 & 45. Many details in Bob Murphy's booklet on NS Revolvers. What does your letter say about barrel length and cal.?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the comments and observations, Tommix.

My Shooting Master (leastways I sure think that is what it is) has the smooth cylinder release, is 6", bbl marked Shooting Master, and is a .38 special. Its a "shooter," in both senses of the word. Wonderful action, too.

Letter says 6" bbl and "38/c," for 38 special I assume. But letter calls it "Colt New Service Target Revolver."

Here’s a pic of my Shooting Master. Per the Colt letter, shipped to Hamilton Vreeland, address unavailable, 1/22/32. Per the letter, there were two guns of the same type in the shipment. Mine was returned to colt on 2/1/32, and shipped on 2/20/32 to a Don Thompson, address also unavailable. (Curious, about the return and reship, don't you think?)



Smooth cylinder release:



And bbl marked Shooting Master:



So, why do you s’pose the Colt letter calls it a “Colt New Service Target Revolver”?

I suspect the typist erred as on the same date a letter on my NST in 45 Colt was also signed by Kathleen J. Hoyt, Historian, and the title for that one -- “Colt New Service Target Revolver” --- is identical.
 

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Barrel replacement is a more likely explanation than a typo but the simple solution would be a call to Kathy Hoyt for confirmation of the letter content as accurate or a mistake.
 

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After looking at your pictures, it has to be an original S/M, all the characteristics are correct, smooth cylinder release, narrower grip profile, and, .38 Spec.barrel and cylinder which were exclusive to the S/M. I have had Colt make errors on historic letters in the past, call them and request verification and correction..
tommix
 
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