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Old June 17, 2013, 02:53 PM   #1
kh1911
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Colt vs. Smith and Wesson

In my local gun shop they have a S&W 6 shot revolver in .38 special for $275 i dont really remember what model it was, but whatever. They also had a Colt police model in .38 S&W for $245. I really like revolvers and they were both in pretty good shape, the smith and wesson a little bit better condition then the colt, but i would really like to own a colt, but i also like S&W so its a real tough decision. They also had an Enfield revolver for mid 200s that i didnt really look at but am also pretty interested in. Which one would be the best for the money and the best to shoot. Pete, the store owner, also said the .38 s&w ammo isnt readily available so theres something else to consider.
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Old June 17, 2013, 03:14 PM   #2
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No way to answer without knowing the specific models you are comparing.

Assuming the S&W is a Military & Police Model or a Model 10 if made after 1957, this is the classic DA revolver. You will never go wrong with one.

If the Colt is the Police Positive Special in 38 Special (a slightly smaller model called the Police Positive was made in 38 S&W... or whatever Colt called their version... and that's a different caliber) then it's a pretty fair comparison. The PPS and M&P/M10 are similar in size and intent.

If the Colt is the larger Official Police Model, it will be larger, heavier and bit sturdier than the S&W K frame M&P. The OP was built on the same frame as the 357 Magnum Trooper and Python models.

Either a PPS or an OP in decent shape is a steal at $250. The S&W would fetch a bit less than a Colt as Colts are through the roof in recent years. With any revolver, the shorter the barrel, the more it will bring.

The Enfield is a break action revolver in 38 S&W (not 38 Special) and this caliber is not for the casual shooter due to ammo cost. If you load your own ammo then no problem.

Here's a Model 10-7.




Here's a 4" Official Police. Yes, they both have ivory stocks. I like ivory stocks.




I even have a 1941 Enfield.

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Old June 17, 2013, 04:11 PM   #3
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If you intend to shoot it very much, don't even consider either of the guns (Colt or Enfield) chambered for the 38 S&W cartridge unless you are a reloader or extremely wealthy.

It's an obsolete cartridge that is expensive and not readily available, just as the dealer told you.

Now if you think they're cool and just want one, go for it.
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Old June 17, 2013, 10:10 PM   #4
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Quote:
If you intend to shoot it very much, don't even consider either of the guns (Colt or Enfield) chambered for the 38 S&W cartridge unless you are a reloader or extremely wealthy.

It's an obsolete cartridge that is expensive and not readily available, just as the dealer told you.

Now if you think they're cool and just want one, go for it.
I agree with most of this, just not the part that says you have to be wealthy to buy manufactured .38 S&W ammo. Pre-panic, I saw prices close to .38 special. It just wasn't readily available locally and not as many different loads for the .38 S&W. Not sure how prices have been since the ammo shortage began.
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Old June 17, 2013, 10:19 PM   #5
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Actually 38 S&W is a good reason to start reloading, it's pretty straightforward and wadcutter bullets punch more pleasing holes in the target than the factory RNL.
Enfield revolver? They come in the later DA only version as shown, if you are lucky you will find an earlier SA/DA model with the hammer spur. However their action is not as smooth as a Colt or S&W and it's really more of a collectible than a shooter.
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Old June 18, 2013, 12:21 AM   #6
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If you like the S&W, double check the wording on the barrel. The wording can be confusing, if it says 38 S&W Special that is the "standard" 38 special. You can also tell by looking at the cylinders, the S&W 38 is noticeably shorter than the S&W 38 Special. At least I can usually tell the difference when I see a pic of one on a gun auction site.
I think I disagree with Saxons descriptions a little. The Police Positive frame is smaller. The next size up is the Army Special which became the Official Police. I would rate the AS and OP to be comparable in size to the S&W K-38, maybe not exact but close enough for me. My only complaint with the group is that the Police Positive is a little too small and I can't control the recoils as well. If I loaded a 130 grn for the PP it was pretty good but I definitely noticed a difference going to the 158 grn, which is the more common round.
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Old June 18, 2013, 07:52 AM   #7
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Did you see any .357's you liked? I know it's not what you had your eye on but you would be able to shoot .38 as well. Ruger, S&W, and Colt make fine revolvers as long as they seem to be in decent shape.
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Old June 18, 2013, 02:00 PM   #8
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im goin in to the shop tomorrow im leanin more towards the colt because of the fact that its a colt, and i can also reload the ammo, but ill also keep an eye out for other things
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Old June 18, 2013, 02:54 PM   #9
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Get all three if you can afford it.

38 S&W ammo is not expensive and the Webley is a great shooter, with excellent resale value.
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Old June 18, 2013, 07:59 PM   #10
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The major drawback to both the Colt and the Enfield as shooting guns is that both are out of production and parts are scarce if not unavailable. In addition, there are few gunsmiths willing (and able!) to work on either.

The S&W may be in the same fix, depending on the model, but there were a lot more made and parts are generally available.

Before buying ANY used revolver, take a look at the revolver checkout under the Revolver forum, though few revolvers that have seen much use will pass all the checks. One good thing to check is the condition of the sideplate screws and the fit of the sideplate to the frame. Buggered screws and a beat up sideplate fit are certain indicators of amateur work, usually by someone who read on a web site about working on the trigger pull. Avoid those guns, always.

Jim
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Old June 19, 2013, 06:54 AM   #11
4V50 Gary
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Are the ivory stocks factory ivory?

As for parts for the Colt, you can still get them new, but you pay the price. Colt Parts (not a Colt but a place that makes them) and Jack First will make the part for you.

I made a hand for a Colt, but that was an easy machining operation. The fitting was another matter. I wouldn't want to try to make the rebound lever.
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Old June 19, 2013, 07:05 AM   #12
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At those prices I would buy both and never look back.

However I like Smith Revolvers and Colt 1911s.

Smith revolvers just seem to fit me better. A Colt (and USGI 1911s) are the best natural pointing autos I've ever put in my hand.
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Old June 19, 2013, 12:32 PM   #13
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Making a hand for a Colt is fairly easy; making a bolt (cylinder stop) is a lot harder. Not as bad as the "snake" cylinder stop in an old topbreak S&W, but bad!

Jim
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Old June 19, 2013, 12:44 PM   #14
4V50 Gary
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Kraigwy - the P-08 Parabellum doesn't feel more natural than the 1911? Which 1911? Flat or arched mainspring housing?
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Old June 20, 2013, 09:35 PM   #15
skoro
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Colt vs. Smith and Wesson

My reason for going with S&W would be that Colt has been out of the DA revolver business for some time now and replacement parts are getting scarce as are gunsmiths who will work on them.
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Old June 20, 2013, 10:30 PM   #16
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My advice if you are looking for something to shoot, and not a collector piece.

First: Check out both for firm lockup, if they both are good then:

If you do not want the "hassle" of gettign 38 S&W, buy the Smith but make sure it is true 38 special. If the Smith says 38 S&W CTG on barrel it may have been modified to fire 38 special but it is not. (Stay away from those - they are the least value of all)

The colt does not say 38 S&W on it. It says DA (maybe) .38. If it has the word "special" on it then it fires 38 special.

If one is 38 special and the other not, buy the special (Exception below)

If they both end up being 38 S&W, buy the colt.
If they both end up being 38 special it is trickier but in general:
If the Colt has target sights buy it.
(A 38 S&W Colt with target sites would be a real collectable, buy it re-sell it and take a profit)
If the Smith has target sites, and the Colt not, then buy it.
If neither has target sights, buy the Colt

Last edited by jhvaughan2; June 20, 2013 at 10:36 PM.
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Old June 25, 2013, 08:27 PM   #17
Tom327
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An OP would probably be a 38 special.

One other consideration is the action. Colts with their leaf mainspring are known for stacking--the resistance gets heavier through the pull ultil the action releases. S&Ws with the coil spring have a more consistent pull.
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Old June 26, 2013, 12:09 PM   #18
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Most Smith & Wesson revolvers (K, L and N frames) use a leaf mainspring (similar in design and function to the Colt revolver, if not execution). Only the Smith J-frame commonly uses a coil mainspring.
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Old June 26, 2013, 01:05 PM   #19
James K
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It is not the mainspring that is the difference between Colt and S&W in trigger stacking, it is the design of the S&W trigger and hammer interface.

If you examine the working of the S&W, you will see how the design changes the leverage as the trigger comes back. That is what prevents stacking in the S&W, no matter which type of spring it uses.

Jim
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Old June 27, 2013, 09:46 PM   #20
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Sorry about that guys--of course you're right about the mainspring. Still, the stacking issue needs to be considered by someone deciding between the two makes.
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