Colt Forum banner

1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
46 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
A Colt Army Special 38 with a 5 digit serial. 21 something IIRC. Easily in the low 90s in condition. What am I missing here? I tried a fired 38 Spl case. it won't go in all the way. I'm suspecting 38 Colt. That might explain the low price. Is that it?

------------------
Ask the Chief!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,483 Posts
Something is not right here. Army Specials ran from somewhere in the high 200,000 range through the high 400,000 range,when the model became the Official Police around 1926. Does the barrel say "Army Special"???,or does it say Colt D.A. 38??? The serial number and the fact that it wont chamber a .38 Special,leads me to believe that it is an earlier Colt New Army/Navy,made up to 1908. The cylinder rotates towards the left(from rear of gun) and the serial number will be on the butt bottom(they also have assembly numbers,such as on the square shaped cylinder latch,that confuses many). Bud
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
46 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
The patent date on the bbl shows 1905 if that helps. I really believe that it says Army Special. Because I kept thinking about it while driving home and I didn't even know there were such things as Army Specials.

------------------
Ask the Chief!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
794 Posts
I agree with Lonewolf, something is not right. Army Specials didn't have 5 digit S/N's.The patent date on barrel is correct for an Army Special. So my guess is it really did say Army Special. Is there any chance it was really a 6 digit S/N and you missed a leading number 3, 4 or 5?

If not I'd have to say it was a New Army/Navy that was re-barreled using an Army Special 38 barrel.

The other thing to look for is double cylinder notches. If it has the double cylinder notches and the S/N is really 5 digits starting with 21, then it would have to be a New Army/Navy re-barreled.

And that would account for the low price.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
46 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Okay, am positive that it does not have double notches. I would've caught that easy. Maybe the serial does have 6 digits. What caliber is it?

------------------
Ask the Chief!

[This message has been edited by SnWnMe (edited 02-18-2005).]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
794 Posts
SnWnMe, I'm not the most knowledgeable in Pre War guns, so maybe lonewolf can please jump back in. He has forgot more about Pre War guns than I ever knew!

However, I believe that the Army Special was chambered in the 38 Colt as well as the 38 S&W. Maybe others. So that could account for why the empty wouldn't chamber. But it still does not account for the alleged 5 digit S/N.

So it now really boils down to what is the actual S/N and what characteristics does this gun really have. I'll bet the next time you see it, you will take better notice. When you see it next, also take notice of the configurations (placements) of the screws. That may help.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,483 Posts
Thanks for the nice comments,WS23,but I am still learning(and that old advice given to me by a dealer years ago,"buy a good book,or two,and read them,AS you buy guns!).We really can't do too much,until SnWnMe returns to the LGS,but what you should look for is; 1)the correct serial number-if it is an Army Special,it will be inside the frame,visible when you pop the cylinder out(New Army/New Navy had them in TWO rows of numbers,perpendicular to the grip frame on the butt bottom)2)New Army/New Navy had sideplate screws on the RIGHT side,Army Special on the left,same side as cylinder latch 3)New Army/New Navy USUALLY had a "step",or indent from frame to trigger guard(last years didnt,like a "transition" 32/20 I have. 4) Cylinder rotates to the left,as viewed from rear of gun and will have 2 sets of notches(unless it is a very rare earliest Army/Navy).5) The later Army Special was chambered in .38 Special(the shorter .38 Long Colt will fit) 32/20,a long,bottle necked cartridge,and the .41 Colt(My Favorite) and I've read that some special order ones were in the shorter,slightly fatter,.38 S&W. So give the gun a good looking over. The Army Special is virtually the same gun as the Colt Official Police,which replaced the Army Special,with different barrel marks starting in 1926,and ending(sadly)in 1968. Prices can vary,obviously. Good Luck,and let us know! Bud
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top