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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 4-inch Commando has a post-war type ramp front sight but is marked the same as all the Commando barrels possessing the common half-moon front sight.

I'm assuming this ramp sight is due to a post-war rebuild. The parkerized finish is dark gray and the wear characteristics match on barrel and the rest of the revolver.

Am I correct in my assumption?

Left side of the barrel is marked:

COLT COMMANDO
.38 SPECIAL

Top of the barrel is marked:

COLT'S PT. F. A. MFG. CO. HARTFORD CT U.S.A.
PAT'D AUG. 5, 1884 JULY 4, 1905 OCT. 5, 1926

On the bottom of the barrel is a small punch mark that aligns with a witness mark on the frame.

The serial number is 38543

There is a "D" beneath the serial number and an "L" beneath the "D".

I apologize for being unable to provide a photograph.
 

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While Pate,in his book, ONLY mention a number of Commandos that were converted with 2"(TWO INCH) post war barrels(including a number that were originally shipped as 4" with the rounded 1/2 moon sight) in an arsenal rebuild program,I would feel "safe" to assume that some were rebarreled with 4" bbls.
.

Hopefully, Charlie,"ordinance guy",can weigh in on this post war rebuild program.

In this vein,I always get a kick out of "military","government" and even some "cop guns" having worn, dirty barrels. We have all seen the movies with the "inspections" and being chewed out for a dirty barrel.

Not talking combat veteran guns here,or cops that shot their guns frequently,ESPECIALLY with jacketed ammo,but guns like Victories and Commandos etc. that were stateside "drawer or holster queens". Many users DID NOT clean their weapons after firing-that simple!

While we cleaned our guns daily in 'Nam,doing airbase security,some of our S&Ws had slightly rough bores,when we were issued them!(including the old 1917 S&W I "appropriated" in Texas before I left!) Any event,the young Lt.,who rarely checked us out on the perimeter(too dangerous!!),insisted on shiny bores! No sweat! Just got some Crisco from the mess tent(which had another "non food" use with the "petite" Vietnamese girls!! /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif) and made em' look shiny.

Bud
 

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At my first department, I worked for a great lieutenant, but he definately NOT a "gun guy". The sheriff walked up to him one day and asked to see his revolver. The Lt pulled out his Trooper MK III, unloaded it, and handed it to the sheriff. As the sheriff examined it, a small spider crawled out of the barrel. The sheriff looked at the spider, then at the Lt, and walked away. It seems that Colt sized leather was hard to find when the Lt first bought his holster, so he got a S&W "N" frame holster and stuffed a paper towel into it to make it "fit".

Six or seven months later, the sheriff once again asked to see the Lt's gun. This time, when the Lt pulled the Trooper from the holster, the front sight fell off. The sheriff just shook his head and walked off.

I took the Lt's gun home with me and made a sight pin out of a drill bit.
 

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[ QUOTE ]
My 4-inch Commando has a post-war type ramp front sight but is marked the same as all the Commando barrels possessing the common half-moon front sight.
I'm assuming this ramp sight is due to a post-war rebuild.

[/ QUOTE ]

Hi B:

I agree with Bud, and I think that your assumption is correct, although I can not provide you with irrefutable proof of that. One factor suggesting this is that your 38000 serial number is in the middle of the Commando range. I would be more inclined to accept a ramp front sight on a very late production gun. The last Commandos, with serials above 50000, were shipped in early 1946. Given that circumstance I would not rule out a ramp front sight on those late guns. Unmodified Commandos with serials above 38000 usually are seen with the customary half moon front sight.

I have not gone back to look at the Digest of Significant Purchase Actions for the Ordnance Dept. to see if there were any contracts let late in the war for rebuild of 4" guns to stay as 4" guns, but it would not surprise me if that were the case. Charlie Pate has reported, of course, that more than 12000 4" Commandos were rebuilt to 2" guns at the end of the war. The quality of those rebuilds was so good as to be almost indistinguishable from new production. It is the barrel markings that tell the tale there. However, I believe that the 4" barrel markings never changed.

Hope this helps you.

Regards,
Charlie Flick
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the responses. This is a clean 97% gun. It has a cracked grip however an is wearing pre-war Official Police grips at present. The walnut grips add to its shootablility in my view anyway. Would be happy to purchase another set of proper plastic grips for show.

This Commando has an action that has to be experienced to be believed. Pythonesque in feel, it is very smooth with a wonderful single and double action trigger. The revolver shoots tight groups too.

I have a number of Smith & Wesson M & P revolvers. My Victory Model has the best action of them all. It is a mid-war production revolver, rough with milling marks showing all over but what an action!

I find it interesting that the war babies are the functional show-offs.

Thank you for your imput, guys.
 

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b; I've often said that while "rough on the exterior",Colt & S&W never skimped on the internal fitting of the "war babies" in the SECOND World War. Won't say that about the FIRST World War,as S&W kept the exterior finishing on the ORIGINAL 1917s just as good as Commercial revolvers. Colt 1917s did NOT,and having handled "a few" New Services over the years,the "stock" 1917s will usually have a a stiffer action,than the commercial N.S. My old armorer in the Air Force said that the COLT 1917s had a stiffer mainspring to be and fire ALL makes of ammo. I think he is right,as I've "miked" some mainsprings,and "swapped em around" and ya' can feel the difference.

Make sure you get the "brown"-solid color-no swirls of black reddish brown etc.-Coltwood plastic stocks. These are "correct" for the World War Two Commando. Don't know if Colt used another vendor(although they had a "plastics division") for the 1946-52 Coltwood stocks on commercial guns. These,are usually NOT all ONE Brown color. I know this is a little nick picking,but if rest of Commando is correct,go with originals;seen them often on ebay.

Bud
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Lonewolf, you are right in regards to my two New Service revolvers. My Model 1909 is lighter and shoots to sights while my Model 1917 is stiffer and shoots low and left.
 
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