View Full Version : help with older pistol

June 10, 1999, 09:11 AM
I have an opportunity to purchase an older model Colt Police Positive in .38 short. Is ammo still available for it? The shop wants $65.00 for it, the shop owner is a friend of mine, and though most of the blueing is gone, I still like the pistol, more for its curiosity level that anything else. I don't collect pistols though: I want to shoot it if I own it.

Thanks for any info you can offer.


Harley Nolden
June 10, 1999, 12:56 PM
I really don't have the info on the 38 short, but maybe some one on this forum will jump in and help.

I can provide the following.

The pistol is externally the same as the New POlice, with the addition of the positive lock feature and two new chamberings. ..38 New Police, and .38 S&W. They were mfg'd from 1905-1947.

.32 Colt, .32 32 New Police, .38 New Police, or .38 S&W, 2 1/2", (.32 only) 4, 5, 6" barrells. Hard rubber grips standard through 1923, checkered walnut grips 1924-1947.

Is it possible that the .38 New Police is the .38 Short?


[This message has been edited by Harley Nolden (edited June 10, 1999).]

Mal H
June 10, 1999, 01:18 PM
I'll bet you can find some at "The Old Western Scrounger" at http://www.snowcrest.net/oldwest/index2.html

If they don't have it listed online, you can email Dangerous Dave and he'll scrounge some up. Just be aware, it may be expensive, as well it should be.

Paul B.
June 10, 1999, 01:34 PM
Harley. Looking in an older Lyman reloading manual,(#43), they show the Colt N. P. and the 38 S&W as being the same cartridge. I think it was because they wanted their brand name on the gun, IE, 38 S&W on Smith's and 38 Colt N. P. on Colt's. If memory serves, this was done on the 38 Spl. for a time also.(38 S&W Spl vs 38 Colt SPL, the only difference being nose shape)
To my knowledge, ammo for the 38 S&W is still available.
Paul B.

June 10, 1999, 02:19 PM
This one does have the checkered walnut grips. Now, I know this is a subjective question, but is $65.00 on OK price for it? I like it mainly because it harkens back to the revolvers I remember from my youth.

June 10, 1999, 04:08 PM
joe: The price you mention is reasonable for a Colt Police Positive in average well-worn condition. My wife has one of these, nickled with MOP grips that was her uncle's NYPD plain-clothes carry gun, back in the '50's. Note that parts for these guns will be in short supply, and the gun's peculiar leaf mainspring is the 'weak link' in the parts chain: a tired spring makes the whole gun sluggish. Proper ammo for your Police Positive is .38 S&W. slabsides

An armed man is a citizen; an unarmed man is a subject; a disarmed man is a slave.

June 11, 1999, 08:24 AM
Slabsides and everyone else:
Thanks for all the info. I also remember it from my youth (in the 60's) in NY. That's really the only reason I want it. I own no other revolvers, I'm a combat semi-auto guy, but it's just so damn... reminiscent!

James K
June 12, 1999, 07:27 PM
Yes, .38 Colt NP and .38 S&W are interchangeable. There were slight differences in the factory bullets. There are also cartridges called the .38 Short Colt and .38 Long Colt, which have a smaller diameter (same as .38 Special); .38 S&W/Colt NP won't fit in those chambers.


March 23, 2006, 02:23 PM
I found this old thread, probably should be moved over to the revolver forum.

I am intersted in brining it "Back to life" because I recently acquired one of these for a song at an estate sale. It take the "38 Short" as that was what was loaded in it when I got it.

It's pretty well worn and scratched. Thought it might be fun to target shoot with or hunt rabbits. I didn't know the ammo was so expensive! I tried to order some out of a catalog and it was more than 38 special!

Did I waste a few bucks? Any advice, research? I am well aware that millions of these things were made.