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Old April 22, 2015, 06:55 AM   #1
Mike Irwin
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So much for Colt being shy about putting S&W on their guns...

While looking for possible candidates for my next revolver purchase, I came across this interesting critter:

http://www.antiquearmsinc.com/colt-n...grips-guns.htm

It's a Colt New Pocket chambered for .32 S&W.

Even more interestingly, it's MARKED with the S&W designation.

Apparently this is a pretty rare gun and is one of but a few that were so chambered, with the majority being chambered in .32 Colt (not sure if just Short Colt, or both Short and Long).

There's no indication of how much it went for, but I suspect it commanded a nice premium over a standard New Pocket.
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Old April 22, 2015, 10:03 AM   #2
Tom Servo
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The font looks wrong, and the "for" modifier is odd. Is it possible someone else stamped it?
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Old April 22, 2015, 10:47 AM   #3
Mike Irwin
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There are a number of New Pockets so reported -- Flayderman's says a number were made in .32 S&W.

My guess, though, is that they were never intended to be released for general sale. They were R&D guns intended to be used by Colt, or were for a special order contract.

The fonts are similar to what Colt used at the time, but not exact. The markings appear to be machine stamped given how even they are.
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Old April 22, 2015, 08:50 PM   #4
James K
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Most are marked just "COLT DA .32" the same format used with other calibers at the time.

It is interesting that the New Pocket was a sort of transition model between the New Army/Navy and the later Pocket Positive and Army Special. It has much of the look of the older gun, but has the sideplate on the left and the lockwork is more like the newer guns. It looks like Colt didn't want to disrupt production of the military guns and was experimenting with new ideas on a civilian model, knowing they could easily scale up the changes to larger frames when the time was ripe.

Jim
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Old April 23, 2015, 05:05 AM   #5
Mike Irwin
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"Most are marked just "COLT DA .32" the same format used with other calibers at the time."

Exactly, which is what makes me think that these guns were either for a very limited special order or were never intended to leave the factory.
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Old April 23, 2015, 06:45 PM   #6
James K
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Wilson does mention that exact marking for the .32 Pocket Positive, but not for the New Pocket. That serial is too low for it to have been a transition model.

A more logical explanation is that a Pocket Positive barrel was installed on a New Pocket, either on a factory return or by a gunsmith, to replace a worn or damaged barrel. Since most Colt barrels for the same frame size will interchange, replacing an old barrel with a current one was quite common, causing modern collectors to go wild trying to explain some "impossible" marking.

Jim
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Old April 23, 2015, 06:52 PM   #7
Mike Irwin
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I thought all Pocket Positives had the barrel swell at the frame lug.

The barrel on the New Pocket doesn't have that swell, which I believe was common to that earlier model.
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Old April 23, 2015, 07:24 PM   #8
James K
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And the patent dates (and font) are wrong also for a Pocket Positive barrel. Oh, well, another good theory shot down!

Jim
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Old April 23, 2015, 08:29 PM   #9
Mike Irwin
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So apparently Wilson didn't cover these. He might not have known of them.
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Old April 23, 2015, 08:57 PM   #10
James K
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Wilson didn't cover a lot of things. I guess I shouldn't complain, the book is pretty good and covers so much that some things were bound to be missed. Still, more and better pictures would have helped in place of pics of engraved but otherwise uninteresting guns.

Jim
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Old April 24, 2015, 08:48 AM   #11
Mike Irwin
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I'm going to stick with my theory that this particular revolver was part of a very limited number of guns made for either a special order or as test guns for Colt.

It's a standard Colt, but it's a non-standard chambering.

While it's hard to tell without having another of the same gun side by side with it, the letters used in the cartridge stamp look bigger than what Colt put on their production guns chambered in standard rounds.

That makes me thing that they were made for in-house use. Make the letters big enough and hopefully whomever is using it will notice...

Just a theory.

You hear rumors of these test bed kind of guns all the time...

For years I've heard whispers about a very few Model of 1896 Hand Ejectors chambered not in .32 S&W Long, but in .32 S&W.

To the best of my knowledge, none has ever been identified, but those whispers started somewhere...

Same with the .22 LR-chambered on the pre-war .357 Magnum N frame, and the .41 Magnum Colt Python...
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Old April 24, 2015, 08:49 AM   #12
Mike Irwin
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"...in place of pics of engraved but otherwise uninteresting guns."

Yeah. It seems that either he or his composit editor are in love with engraved guns.

Meh.
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