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Old February 6, 2013, 07:52 PM   #1
Saxtonram
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Colt Officers Model: What Year?

Hello all

Like some of you, I have just purchased a Colt Officers Model (38) with a three day inspection period and am struggling to confirm the year of manufacturer. It is supposed to be a pre-war model. But I would like to confirm this as part of my inspection period. From reading many forums, I am appreciating that dating these old revolvers is a bit of an art. So your help is appreciated.

Here is what I know.

The serial is 603-xxx.

It has a checkered cylinder release, checkered back strap and checkered trigger.

The barrel has stamped "OFFICERS MODEL .38 HEAVY BARREL" and "PATD AUG 5 1884, JULY 4 1905, OCT 5 1928".

The front sight is adjustable for elevation (Patrdige?); the rear sight is simply adjustable for windage.

From a similar question to which Dfariswheel replied back in January 2011, I am pretty sure it was made sometime around 1935 and is a model Target.

I did find an old magazine ad from 1940 that described the heavy barrel, but that ad included "Target" on the barrel which mine does not.

Any suggestions or advice.

Many thanks.
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Old February 6, 2013, 07:58 PM   #2
Winchester_73
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The gun is pre war, by the sight type. The post war sights were adjustable rear only. Are you sure you have the SN right? You are claiming 603XXX as in 600 thousand range. Did you check the yoke for the SN? Its the revealed portion underneath rear of barrel when the cylinder is open.
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Old February 6, 2013, 08:02 PM   #3
Saxtonram
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Hello Winchester_73

The gun is currently in the hands of FEDEX on route to me. My description is based on information provided by the seller. He is a long standing gun owner, so I am assuming he knew the correct location of the serial number. I did look at proofhouse and colt online for a date linked to that number - and I agree it does not make sense. I will double check the yoke when its in my hands.
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Old February 6, 2013, 09:00 PM   #4
savit260
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Your description is accurate for a pre-war Officers Model, however the serial number sounds incorrect.
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Old February 7, 2013, 12:07 AM   #5
Saxtonram
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Looking at this site (http://tonybrong.blogspot.com/2011/1...get-match.html), and the photo I have of the gun, it does look like a pre-war version given it has the figure 8 type of arrangement to hold the cylinder.

"Pre-war guns used a flanged screw and stud device to hold the cylinder in place. It’s a ‘figure 8’ arrangement on the right front frame. When the screw is backed out, the flange on the screw draws the cylinder retention stud up with it."
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Old February 7, 2013, 05:21 PM   #6
Saxtonram
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Actual year

I would be grateful if anyone can suggest a specific pre-war year for this gun and explain why it does not have "Target" on that barrel. All the ads I have seen have "Target" on the barrel.
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Old February 7, 2013, 07:41 PM   #7
Dfariswheel
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Your Officer's Model Target Heavy Barrel was made in 1937.
The serial numbers were often combined with Official Police serial numbers.
The numbers started in 1937 at 602000. 1938 started at 629000.

The reason for the confusion is that Colt usually listed .38 Special OMT numbers with the Official Police, but .22LR OMT and .22LR Official Police numbers in a separate series.
In the published serial number data base, the Officer's Model serial numbers start in 1930, which was when the .22LR OMT was introduced.

The Officer's Model name was used on the First Issue model which was based on the old Colt New Army & Navy revolver, and the Second Issue based on the Army Special.

When the gun was upgraded as the Third Issue in 1927 it was officially known as the Officer's Model Target, but often the Target name wasn't stamped on the barrel.

The Third Issue OMT was made from 1927 to 1949, with the Heavy Barrel version being introduced in 1935.

Last edited by Dfariswheel; February 7, 2013 at 07:47 PM.
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Old February 7, 2013, 08:03 PM   #8
Saxtonram
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Thank you Dfariswheel.

I have had the pleasure of reading your posts in helping other owners date and identify their guns and am grateful you helped me out too. I was hoping to get a pre-war model to get the special trigger and action work I have read this guns received from colt.

What was the third edition OMT based on or was it its own new format?

Thanks again.
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Old February 8, 2013, 07:52 PM   #9
Dfariswheel
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The original First issue Officer's Model was based on the old Colt New Army & Navy revolvers.
That series was replaced in 1908 with the Army Special, later re-named as the Official Police.

All Colt medium frame revolvers after 1908 were based on the Army Special frame and action, right up to the Python in 1955.
The Second and Third Issue Officer's Model and Officer's Model Target were based on the Army Special.

The only real difference between the Second Issue OM and the Third Issue OMT was the OM was available in more calibers and barrel lengths.
The OMT was available only in .22LR and .38 Special with 6" barrels and the Heavy Barrel model.

The OMT's made in the 1930's were when American gun makers quality was at it's peak.
The 30's OMT was of extraordinary quality in fit, finish, and accuracy. Only the semi-custom Python bettered it.
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