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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, gang. I'm kinda new to the Forum and definitely new to the Revolver side. Been strictly a .45 ACP guy, but that may change in a few days. Need some help/advice/suggestions here. One of my coworkers has a Colt DS 1st Edition in .38 cal for sale. I've not seen this weapon yet and don't even know if it's worth the $200 he's asking. First Editions were made sometime in the 1950s, is that right?

What pointers can any of you give me as far as what to look for and check when I do get a look at it? My coworker dabbles in gun trading and says he took it in trade on another gun. I also plan to get the serial number and try to find out if it's a "hot" gun or not. Any recommendations as to the best place to run the serial number?

Thanx in advance, everyone!

Major Dad
 

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"first edition" is a little hazy! a true first edition would be a true square-butt gun, ostensibly from the 30s/40s, or even earlier, and may or may not even be marked "detective special". it is probably a "long grip frame" detective which ran until about 1966, and can be quickly identified by the grip frame being visible all the way around the grip panels. after that, they changed to a "short grip frame" and the bottom of the grip frame is hidden by the grips, so wood is showing if you look at it from the bottom. after that (about 1974) they changed to the shrouded ejector frame, and got big "target" style grips.

that being said, if it is an old square-butt gun it could be very valuable, but i would want a factory letter verifying its originality before i parted with big money. there are lots of early police positive specials that have been rebarreled with detective barrels. some are nice copies. some are total abortions. none are as valuable as a REAL det. even a nice rebarrel would easily be worth 200.00!

you can look up the serial number for date of production right here on the revolver forum. look at the sticky thread for d.o.b. or proofhouse.

here in n.c., you can just call your local sherrif's office, and tell them the serial number, and they will run it to see if it has been reported as stolen. i have done it a couple of times, and it is quick and painless. i guess if one DID pop up as stolen, it could get interesting, and your friend/coworker might not be too happy!

good luck, and post pics if you get it!
 

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Pick it up and post some pics for us even if you don't like it i'll take it off your hands for the same price so no loss to you.
 

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For $200, when you pull the trigger, if the hammer goes up and down and the "wheel" goes 'round, it's a good deal. Anything else which might be wrong can probably be fixed for a total investment (buying price + repairs) about equal to what a DS in good shape is worth.
 

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+1 to the above. If it appears to function OK and has not been used as a boat anchor (so to speak), it should easily be worth $200, even if just for parts. Take some pics with the i-phone and let us have a look. If it looks good, you should be able to turn a nice profit from this forum (just don't hesitate to pursue it).
 

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As others have stated, I don't think you can go wrong with that deal.
 

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As long as not stolen, and all the bits are there, just can' think you'd lose at $200.00. Around the Seattle area, even absolutely beat to tarnation DS 's are going for more than that.
 

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Have you bought it yet? Hit an ATM and get it tonight. No way you can go wrong at that price. Saw a beat up refinished one go for more than twice that at the last gunshow.
 

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One of the local dealers who does a substantial business in receiving and transferring guns bought over the internet also offers a service to run the SN to determine if the gun has been stolen or is otherwise suspicious. He charges $10 per gun. Maybe other dealers do this also.
 

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The price is good enough that you should not nitpick too much.
A common issue with older Colt revolvers is in the timing of the cylinders. If off, and it likely will be, you will need to hire a competent gunsmith to fix it and it will easily add $100 to your investment.
To check the timing, slowly cock the hammer while lightly dragging one of your fingers along the cylinder. When the hammer locks back, the cylinder should also be locked in place (Chamber fully aligned with barrel). If not, you will be able to physically continue to rotate the cylinder by hand just a little to feel it (and hear it) click in place.
Other issues? Lets say you see the gun and it is clean, the timing is on , and it has original grips with Colt markings or medalions. $200 is a steal. On the other end, if the gun has bad timing, the markings or not crisp (thus indicating a refinish job), the bore is full of crud, and it is wearing modern rubber grips then you holding a revolver that lacks appeal to shooters AND collectors. In such a scenario $200 is a good bit high for a weak parts gun.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I'd just like to say a giant, heartfelt "THANX!!" to all my Colt brethren here for your generous help. I won't see my coworker, Roger, until next Wed at the earliest. Hopefully he won't forget to bring the DS in to work for me to look at. We are allowed to store personal weapons in our lockers provided they are locked securely. Brinks does not want to assume responsibility for loss and I don't blame them. I think Roger is running some sort discreet gun sales operation, because lately he's been posting "For Sale" signs on his locker door.

Anyways, before I plop down cash I'll run the serial number, hopefully with the Sheriff's Dept, and if not, one of the reputable gun dealers in the area. I also hope to get a good, crisp foto for you all to see.

Thanx again!

Ed
Major Dad
 

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If you work for Brinks, don't they run a background check yo uyou? Can't imagine he would be dumb enough to deal in "hot" guns! Ron
 

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If you work for Brinks, don't they run a background check yo uyou? Can't imagine he would be dumb enough to deal in "hot" guns! Ron
Ron, of course Brinks runs background checks on us, at both the respective state levels and the FBI. This happens annually. Brinks also has an additional, internal screening process for all prospecive employees. In fact, a large percentage of applicants are never hired even after clearing all the state and federal legal checks. As regards my coworker, he is certainly not "dumb enough to deal in 'hot' guns." He, and some others where I work, merely engage in occasional off-duty, legal, private firearms transactions. Brinks has not a nickel in it. There's no "looking the other way" or pretending it doesn't happen. Rather, the company recognizes that all this is perfectly legal, like buying from an individual at a gun show, and has no issues with it. Wouldn't it be nice if everyone's employer took this point of view?

As regards to my checking the serial number with a local LE agency, I feel this is most prudent on my part. I know not the past history of this DS and I don't know if Roger himself checked it out. I just need to know in my mind that all is "up & up" with this weapon before I take possession. I'll keep you posted.

Ed
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Discussion Starter #17
Well, Gang, it looks like I've joined the Colt Forum "Revolver Posse." I bought this little gem last Wed and I'd like to share what my $200.00 got me.

First, a week ago Friday I called the Knox County Sheriff's Department here in Ohio and gave them the serial number (serno). The Deputy told me it was not on their stolen gun list. Great start. The serno is 2699XX, and when I looked at Proofhouse.com, it shows that the weapon was made in 1922. I've attempted to talk to Joe at Colt's Archive Service, but he seems to always be away from his desk or "unavailable until next Tuesday." So I suppose what I ended up with is a re-barrelled Police Positive. Am I on track so far?

Additional scrutiny showed that the serno on the frame is the same as stamped on the crane. This is good, too, right? The Rampant Colt is visible on the left side of the frame, but appears to be a bit "filled in," which I am guessing means that it was probably re-finished at some point in the past. The finish appears to be very good; too good, maybe for a 90-year old weapon. Still right on this?

There are no rust spots or severe scratches, although a bit of holster wear appears evident at the muzzle end. The barrel has a few small pits but no fouling and ".38 SPECIAL" is stamped on the left side. There is no evidence of corrosion where the barrel was attached to the frame. The cylinder is clean with no pits or excessive wear and locks up nicely. I had our Brinks firearms trainer inspect it also and he agrees it is very tight. BTW, it seems a bit strange to see the cylinder rotate clockwise as compared to the S&Ws some of our guys carry.

I removed the black, checkered, plastic stocks to look inside. On the inside of the backstrap is what appears to be someone's Social Security number etched in. On the inside of the left stock it is stamped, and I quote: "FITWELL BY MARWYN" and "NEW YORK N.Y." Nothing on the inside of the right stock. Not sure if these are the original stocks. Help?

So...... What do you all think about this for a Colt Revolver "newbie?" Did I do OK? It appears to me that even though I don't have an original, unaltered, authentic piece of history, I still do have something between a "Collectible" and a "parts gun." I really, really love this piece. It shoots great, too!

Comments? Thanx........

Ed
Major Dad
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For 200 bucks you can go wrong reaqlly as long as it locks up and such. Looks to me like a true first Edition with a square butt and such. Probably has had a reblue from the depth of the bluing bot thats about all I can tell from the pics can we get more and better ones? My offer still stands to buy you our of it if you want to as well.
 

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Yes it is rebarreled if the barrel says Detective special on the barrel and production is 1922. Yes it is good the frame and crane numbers match. Your deal was good and fair for both parties and it appears you will like shooting this piece. I probably would have bought it too. Lots of Police Positives were either cut down or rebarreled as your gun appears. How is the point of aim as the sight appears to be filed down some? Looks like a good carry piece.
 

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With what you do this is a nice BUG.For 200 dollars you did very well.Next we want more and better "Gun PORN" LOL and a range report.Welcome to our Merry Band......Mike
 
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