Sunday, June 01, 2008

Colt Official Police .38 Special

I wanted an Official Police in .41 Colt but finally went with the flow and picked up a 1929 5" OP .38 Special gun. External finish isn't great. The gun is clean, but blue worn, the bore is good, it locks up tightly and is timed correctly. Should shoot well with good ammo. This gun was made in 1929.

I have a load in .38 Special cases of a 200 gr. bullet over 2.5 gr. of Bullseye. Used in my .357 Maximum rifle this is a cat-sneeze load but in a revolver it is the duplicate of the old Super Police, with a slightly better shaped bullet. I'm going to try it out in this gun as well. This would give very close to .41 Colt performance.

I know the grips look wrong for the gun. The grips had the checkering re-cut and they look pretty good condition wise even though they are way better than the rest of the gun.

A former police department issued gun, the butt seems to be marked WPD No. 38 (I think, it is really hard to read and this is my 4th or 5th version of what is stamped there!). Look at this photo to the left to see what I mean. The PD wasn't the last interesting duty this gun had. Somebody electric penciled a name or initials on the butt OVER the PD mark and then somebody (the same or later?) tried to obscure the whole thing. It has the appearance of being deliberated rusted to obscure the marks but the "pitting" doesn't extend to the front or back straps of the grip frame.

For those that don't know, in 1928 the Army Special (introduced in 1908) became the Official Police because armies didn't buy the guns but police departments did. Barrels were made in 2, 4, 4½, 5 and 6 inch lengths. The guns were chambered for .22 LR, .32-20, .38 Special and .41 Colt. Calibers .32-20 and .41 Colt were discontinued in 1935.

The gun has a smooth but heavy double action trigger pull and a clean, sharp break when used in single-action mode. Fairly heavy for a .38 Special, recoil shouldn't bother anyone. I like the gun but haven't fired it enough to come to any conclusions. Now wearing a Tyler-T grip adapter, this one might spend most of its time bedside!

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