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Old May 6, 2021, 09:21 PM   #1
swissfist
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1967 Colt Agent

I just acquired my first Colt revolver, a Colt Agent ,vintage 1967 with the hammer shroud emblazoned with the Colt logo. While very excited about my new acquisition, I want to make sure it gets the care and feeding it deserves. It is not in mint condition, nice character patina, no rust or pitting. Lockup is tight, buttery smooth trigger. I'm asking for info on maintenance and what to feed, ie,..."to + p or not to +p"? ....... any wisdom would be appreciated. I'll put up some pics when I'm off work. Thanks
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Old May 6, 2021, 10:50 PM   #2
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Feed it standard .38 Special and it will be fine.

Back in the day it was still in production Colt said it would handle +P loads, BUT they also asked that the gun be sent to them for evaluation after 1,000 rnds of +P and every thousand rounds of +P thereafter.

So, I'd say standard .38 Special should be ok, and a LIMITED amount of +p should not be a problem, but a steady diet of +p will probably wear the gun out before you want it to...

I don't think Colt is still doing inspections or supports the gun but you can call them for the direct word.
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Old May 7, 2021, 09:16 AM   #3
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The Agent has a aluminum frame. This makes it wonderfully light, but it's not as strong as a steel frame. +P use should be kept to a minimum. It's not likely to blow up, but it will wear out more quickly.
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Old May 7, 2021, 10:21 AM   #4
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Thanks for the info gents. I was planning on having my GS give it looking over to see if it's been abused in anyway. +p, if at all, would be strictly for carry and not on the range menu.
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Old May 7, 2021, 10:39 AM   #5
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SAAMI apparently changed the specs on .38 Special, such that modern +P is loaded only 2,000psi higher pressure than previous specs - existing in 1967 - for non-+P.
I'd probably be guided by "+P only in steel framed guns", or, limit +P use to business.
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Old May 7, 2021, 01:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
modern +P is loaded only 2,000psi higher pressure than previous specs - existing in 1967 - for non-+P.
First point," only 2,000psi" is more than 10% of the .38 Special's pressure. Current data says SAAMI spec for the .38 Special is 17,000psi and .38 Special +P is 18,500psi, and that's not even 2,000 difference its 1,500.

SAAMI pressures are standardized RECOMMENDATIONS for MANUFACTURERS, intended to be safe in ALL firearms. They are NOT the max safe working pressures possible, and they have been LOWERED for some calibers over the last have century.

SAAMI recommendations are what they feel is best for the industry, not what individual shooters can safely accomplish in some individual guns.

The Colt Agent has an aluminum frame, and a steel cylinder, its not going to "blow up" from .38 Special +p pressure. What can happen, over time, firing enough of the overpressure loads is that the frame can deform (stretch), which could lead to an inoperable condition, or worse, an operable but unsafe condition.

NO ONE, including Colt, knows exactly how many +p rounds that would take, only that enough could do it, which is why they asked to check the gun after 1,000 rnds of +p.

Limit +p use to sighting in and duty carry, shooting standard pressure ammo for all other uses and the Agent should last a long time.
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Old May 7, 2021, 04:11 PM   #7
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"Only" was relative to the various differences of the past; the difference has been as much as 2,500psi.
The standard pressure has been as low as 17,000, but has been as high as 18,000.
Depending on what and whom you believe, could be 1,500, 2,000, or as much as 2,500.
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Last edited by RickB; May 7, 2021 at 04:22 PM.
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Old May 7, 2021, 06:47 PM   #8
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Thanks 44 Amp and Rick for the info. As I said, it's not in mint condition so for me it's definitely a shooter but not a range toy for me. And I'm inclined to just keep practicing with standard lead RN and for the occasional insertion into CC rotation, I like either standard load semi wadcutters or full wadcutters. I see no reason for HPs as there wouldn't be much expansion anyway. Any special maintenance for tips for Colts?
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Old May 8, 2021, 12:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Any special maintenance for tips for Colts?
Not taking it apart when you don't HAVE to is what I would recommend. Same for any revolver basically, but out of production Colt's even more so.

Don't take it apart, don't over oil it. As long as the mechanism runs smoothly (and the gun hasn't gone swimming) there is no need to take apart the mechanism just to "clean" it, and I feel that doing so risks damage that outweighs the benefits.

Colt doesn't make them anymore, doesn't have parts or support, and real gunsmiths who work Colts are fewer and fewer all the time.

Detail strip your military grade semi autos every day and twice on Sunday if you want, they are made for that. Revolvers are NOT. Clean the barrel and cylinder normally leave the rest (inner mechanism aka lockwork) alone unless you HAVE to have it repaired. And, if you ever do need it repaired, choose your gunsmith carefully.
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Old May 8, 2021, 08:33 PM   #10
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No plans to take it apart, I agree, not necessary, if it's hitting on all cylinders. And if any issues do arise, I am lucky enough to have a gent on hand who is very competent. Just a light hosing with ballistol after a few down range.
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Old May 9, 2021, 02:05 PM   #11
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I used to carry a Colt Agent quite a bit. It was manufactured during Colt's strike years so it had a matte finish, rather than typical Colt bluing. But the trigger was excellent.

I put a cylinder of +P ammo through it and loaded it with +P. But, I practiced with standard pressure ammo. I considered it a close-quarters defensive gun so didn't worry about practicing with +P ammo. Plus, I shot other handguns with more recoil, so I wasn't concerned about the kick from the Agent.
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Old May 11, 2021, 11:09 PM   #12
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Mine is blued from 67 and it has a sweet trigger. I'm quite comfortable with standard pressure semi or full wadcutters for carry, fmj fn or rn for practice. Wish I had picked one up years ago.
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Old May 13, 2021, 06:02 PM   #13
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Quote:
I'm quite comfortable with standard pressure semi or full wadcutters for carry,
For carry, be sure any full wadcutters are actual duty class loads and not the common light target full wadcutter loads. Using the light target loads for self defense because they are full wadcutter bullets would, in my opinion, be ... suboptimal.
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Old May 13, 2021, 06:25 PM   #14
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Run it with 38s as others have said and you'll be fine. I have a beat up Agent that's a great shooter and regular 38s are plenty enough.

I also have a 1964 Agent that is NIB. Damn thing looks like it came out of a time machine. I can't imagine why it was never shot but at this point, it probably never will.
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Old May 13, 2021, 06:48 PM   #15
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There's some new wisdom that 148gr wadcutters in a snub gets you good expansion from a short barrel, as well as point of aim/point of impact hits.

It's what I have in my various snubs, including my Agent.

Plus, free shot! (5 vs. 6)
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Old May 13, 2021, 11:14 PM   #16
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.44 Amp, the 148 gr wadcutters I get are duty loads from some LEO pals I have. And as tdrizzle points out, and IMO, I think they perform better out of a short barrel then some hp that you won't get much, if any, expansion anyway. It was the exceptional Jim Cirillo's most trusted projectile.
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Old May 14, 2021, 10:37 AM   #17
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Quote:
.44 Amp, the 148 gr wadcutters I get are duty loads from some LEO pals I have.
Cool. If you get a chance, you should chronograph some. The wadcutter bullet shape is very good for transferring energy. However the rest of the load may not be as good as one might like.

"Service ammo" .38 Special, to me means a 158 (+/-) bullet at approx 850fps from a service revolver, or the equivalent speed with a lighter or heavier bullet.

Factory 148gr Wadcutters were always the target/match ammo, soft lead (often swaged) loaded to speeds around 100fps lower than service ammo, suitable for paper punching, wadcutter shape cutting clean holes in the target (better for scoring) low velocity for light recoil (an aid in timed matches), and very accurate.

This target ammo will be even slower from a snubnose. Not the best stuff for self defense. That being said the waductter shape bullet, made from something a little stiffer than pure lead, and pushed to 800fps+ is something I would find acceptable for personal defense.
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Old May 15, 2021, 01:15 AM   #18
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I also have a decent quantity of 158 gr semi wadcutters, LEO loads to standard pressure. It's almost summer so it should be good for SD loads thru light clothing. Not concerned with heavy clothing season at the moment.
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Old May 17, 2021, 07:53 PM   #19
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I've got a 70s era Agent, it was Mom's gun. For winter carry, I usually go to semi-wadcutters at standard velocity. Good load that isn't going to stress the gun.
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