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Old June 13, 2019, 07:27 PM   #1
Fullclip610
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Colt police positive safe to fire

Hi all, title kind of says it all. Guy at the gun range said to ask colt if my 1920’s era 38 special police positive would be safe to fire with modern ammo. Not that I would shoot it a lot. But have never shot it since I inherited it. What do you all think?
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Old June 13, 2019, 08:35 PM   #2
Jim Watson
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What caliber?
.32 Police Positive (New Police) same as .32 S&W Long.
.38 Police Positive (New Police) same as .38 S&W.
.38 Colt Special same as .38 Special (not for +P).

In good condition it is safe to fire with CORRECT "modern ammunition" which is not loaded any heavier than it ever was.
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Old June 13, 2019, 09:35 PM   #3
tmd47762
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I have one made in 1929 I shoot occasionally. I like light reloads with 158 lswcs to go easy on it, but it can handle any standard pressure 38 special (unless there are condition issues).

My research a few years back seemed to indicate they should handle +p without blowing up, but it will bang the frame up. Not much point in pushing the boundaries on a century old revolver.
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Old June 13, 2019, 09:54 PM   #4
Dfariswheel
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There are TWO Colt Police Positive models.

One is the Police Positive chambered for short obsolete cartridges like the .32 and .38 S&W.
This model has a shorter frame and cylinder.
Since Colt didn't want S&W's name on their guns, Colt simply re-named the .32 and .38 S&W as the .32 and .38 Colt New Police.

The other model is the Colt Police Positive Special.
This was chambered for the .38 Special and .32-20.
This model has a longer frame and cylinder for use with the longer cartridges.

As long as either model is in proper working condition they are safe with the appropriate ammunition.
The Police Positive Special should not be used with +P ammunition unless it was made after 1973.
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Old June 13, 2019, 11:40 PM   #5
Jim Watson
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Colt did not resume the original Police Positive after WWII, but they still offered the .32 Police Positive/New Police/S&W Long even though in the Police Positive Special with its long cylinder. Stebbins says .38 NP, too, but I don't have a second source.

Then there are the .22s, the prewar Bankers Special and the postwar Courier; short and long cylinders, respectively.
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Old June 14, 2019, 01:39 AM   #6
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Have the gun checked over by a competent gunsmith.
headspace, timing, endshake, etc.,

IF it passes as ok, then it is safe to fire with the modern production of its original ammo loadings.

I would avoid any kind of +P or "high speed" load.

If its a .32-20 make sure you have pistol and not rifle ammo for it.
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Old June 14, 2019, 10:38 PM   #7
Fullclip610
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Thanks all. It is a 38 special (like the post said). Great grandfathers phila police service weapon. I don’t know any gunsmiths so I’ll just say a prayer and close my eyes before I pull the trigger
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Old June 15, 2019, 05:03 AM   #8
Jim Watson
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Dang, how did I miss that.
Any road, suitable ammo will say ".38 Special" on the box and will NOT say "+P."
A 158 grain lead bullet will likely shoot to zero the best.
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Old June 15, 2019, 07:26 AM   #9
Mike Irwin
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You don't want anything that is +P or +P+.

If you can find ammo that has the velocity printed on the box, go for 158-gr. lead bullets and a velocity of around 800 to 850 feet per second.

That is the classic .38 Special load and is undoubtedly what your Grandfather would have been issued as a police officer.
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Old June 15, 2019, 11:06 AM   #10
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Sorry no link

There is a revolver check out on the web. It's quite good. Since you don't have a smith if you can follow instructions it would be wise to do so.

It is a better plan than closing your eyes and pulling the trigger.
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Old June 15, 2019, 01:02 PM   #11
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Quote:
Sticky: THE REVOLVER CHECKOUT - 10 year anniversary update. ( 1 2 3 )
Go here in the Revolver forum, for a good start.
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Old June 15, 2019, 01:57 PM   #12
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Quote:
If you can find ammo that has the velocity printed on the box, go for 158-gr. lead bullets and a velocity of around 800 to 850 feet per second.

That is the classic .38 Special load and is undoubtedly what your Grandfather would have been issued as a police officer.
The other classic load (and safe for old guns) that should also shoot really close to point-of-aim is 148 grain lead wadcutters.
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Old June 16, 2019, 12:29 AM   #13
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Perfect. Someone recently had me clean their fathers SW model 49 phila police weapon as well. He insisted I take his 70’s era ammo as well. I told him the ammo would be totally fine yet he forced me to take it. A lot of lead wadcutters in the mix along with some old school hordnady hps as well. I felt bad so I replaced it with 100 rounds of newer 38spc and a cylinder of Hornady critical defense for home defense. The funny part was he locks it away and his home invasion plan is a baseball bat. lol. Can’t force a horse to drink water is what they say.
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Old June 16, 2019, 07:28 AM   #14
Mike Irwin
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This past week I was at two different gunshops in Northern Virginia.

Between the two they had at least a dozen Colt Police Positive Special, Official Police, and Official Police Match revolvers, most in absolutely gorgeous shape. More than I've seen in any one place in years. Apparently a collector got rid of his collection. It was all I could do to keep from throwing down my credit card and screaming TAKE MY MONEY!

The shop yesterday also had an S&W 42 with the grip safety. Haven't seen one of those in years, either.
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Old June 23, 2019, 01:04 PM   #15
Fullclip610
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Mines def not in gorgeous shape. Wish it was though! Someone left it untouched in a basement for like 50 years.
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Old June 24, 2019, 12:56 PM   #16
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I’d love to have one of these. I passed up a Police Positive in excellent condition because it was the earlier revolver in .32 caliber.
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Old June 25, 2019, 07:44 AM   #17
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I have a Police Positive (38S&W) and an Army Special (38SPL) and shoot both regularly.
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