View Full Version : Granpaws' old Colt

January 9, 2005, 01:03 AM
Dear FiringLine
Could you help me identify an old Colt 32-20 that has been passed down from my Father. The only visible wording I can read is "special 32-20" on the barrel. The serial number is 24470B. Would this be an old Police Positive? Any help on I.D. and info on this old revolver would be appreciated. Thank You

January 9, 2005, 02:58 PM
You have a Colt Police Positive Special.

24470B was made in 1910. The "B" is not part of the serial number, it's an inspector's mark.

The PPS serial numbers for 1910 started off at 22500, and went to 35499.

Colt made a number of Police Positive models, with the Police Positive Special made for more powerful rounds like the .38 Special and the 32-20.

In 1927, Colt fitted the PPS with a 2" barrel, and called it the Detective Special.

Colt made various revolvers based on the PPS up until the late 1990's.
Included in this series were the Detective Special, the Cobra, the Agent, the Diamondback, the Viper, and before WWII, a number of Target versions of the PPS.

Yours would probably still be safe to fire, AFTER being inspected by a good pistolsmith.

However, DO NOT fire ANY +P ammunition in it, it was not made for high-pressure rounds.

January 9, 2005, 03:39 PM
Thank you for the info...I had always wondered about the old revolver and had heard of the Police Positive and the Combat Special but never had I heard of the Police Positive Special chambered for 32-20. It's good to finally nail down some history. Grandad and Dad have both passed away and I inherited it about 4 years before Dads' passing. The revolver has seen action so I'm told....I plan on passing the pistol down to my daughter along with the stories it carries from past family members.....If you feel like replying again..you say it as made to handle .38 special rounds as well?....also...any idea on worth?...thanks again

January 9, 2005, 05:21 PM
Around the turn of the last Century Colt introduced their small framed revolver, which they called the Police Positive.

This was an upgrade from an earlier pistol, and the "positive" referred to Colt's new "Positive Safety" system that prevented the gun from firing if dropped.

The first PP models were chambered for lower power cartridges like the short .32 and .38 cartridges made by S&W and Colt.

In 1908, Colt lengthened the cylinder and frame to accommodate the new .38 Special cartridge, and this was named the Colt Police Positive Special.

The PPS was offered in a wide variety of cartridges like the 32-20, the .38 Long Colt, .38 Short Colt, and the .38 Special.

Fairly quickly, Colt offered target versions of the PPS usually known as the Police Positive Target models.

The PPS was quite popular with many police departments, and civilian shooters.

After WWII, versions of the Police Positive Special were made in smaller numbers up into the 1980's.

If you'd like information on YOUR particular gun for heirloom purposes, you can get a Colt Historical Letter from the Colt factory.

This letter costs about $100.00, and contains everything Colt knows about the gun.
This would include the original finish, barrel length, any non-standard custom options like possible the ivory grips, and when it was shipped, and to who it was shipped from the factory.

These Historical Letters are made of document-grade paper, and can be framed.

January 9, 2005, 06:34 PM
Thank you for the help friend....NC