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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
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    Flyover country
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    Default Colt Police Positive 38 special

    I have a friend that has an almost mint Police Positive in 38 special with a serial of 96xxx serial with an "8" below the serial # on the frame. anybody have a clue what the date of manufacture would be on this pistol and approximate market value? there is a little thinning of the finish on the grip straps but other than that it has that deep blue finish and is about 98+. Grips are the early hard rubber type.

    Update: It is a Police Positive Special, the markings are correct for the PPS in 38 Special. Apparently the other PP Specials in other calibers are marked "Police Positive Special". Along with the forum's help I was able to access a good colt reference.
    Last edited by selectfire; 11-12-2008 at 11:41 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Ohio
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    380

    Default

    Go to www.proofhouse.com for serial number to date tables.

    I won't hazard a guess on pricing, might try the auction sites.

  3. #3
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    Dec 1969
    Location
    Flyover country
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    Default

    thanks for the link to Proofhouse, looks like a useful site. Seems this pistol was made in 1917 or '18.

    The auctions sites aren't that much help unfortunately, already looked.

  4. #4

    Default

    I'm confused as to how a Police Positive (as opposed to a Police Positive Special) can be chambered for .38 Special, in that the Police Positive cylinder is too short for the .38 Special round. I miked the cylinder on my Police Positive @ 1.255." Three different reloading manuals I checked stated the overall length of the .38 Special cartridge is 1.550. Am I missing something?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Ohio
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    Default

    I thought the same, a Police Positive had too short a cylinder for .38 Special, and only Police Positive Specials had the longer cylinder length, but I don't own many Colts and know little about them.

  6. #6
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    Dec 1969
    Location
    Flyover country
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    Default

    picture up

  7. #7

    Default

    While I don't have calibrated eyeballs capable of measuring the cylinder, the gun in the photo _appears_ to be a Police Positive Special.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Posts
    2,120

    Default

    The Colt in the picture is a Police Positive Special.

    It's not at all unusual to see various Colt's with barrels from other models installed.
    Usually these switches were not done by qualified gunsmiths, so it's always buyer beware.

  9. #9
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    Dec 1969
    Location
    Flyover country
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    Default

    DFW, changing the barrel would be somewhat unlikely as this pistol was given (new) to a Federal Judge way back in 20's and pretty much stored from that point on. I am not sure why a barrel on a new gun would have been changed anyway, as this gun is almost unfired and the finish is consistent across the whole gun. Even so, say the barrel is a replacement, it is stamped Police Positive, then 38 Special. Apparently there were Police Positive revolvers chambered in 38 special, right? unless they restamped the barrel?

    regardless, does anybody have a sense of the value of this pistol? The owner (not me) needs an idea.
    Last edited by selectfire; 11-11-2008 at 11:54 PM.

  10. #10

    Default Nitpicking

    I'd argue that a weapon is defined by the frame, and since it's a Police Positive Special frame to accomodate the longer cylinder, then its a Police Positive Special with either a replacement barrel or a factory barrel installed by mistake, or to use up old parts. If you prefer to think of it as a Police Positive that's fine with me--but I think describing it as a PPS for appraisal will get you more accurate responses.

    Since there's a marginal difference in bullet diameter between the .38 Special and the .38S&W round for which the Police Positive was chambered, it would be interesting to know if there is any difference in bore diameter between your gun and a gun marked .38 Special.

    Because Gunboards is a collection of generalists I'd suggest posting on the Colt Forum and asking them for valuations. Those folks might have more insight into the discrepency between barrel markings VS. caliber.

    Another avenue is screening Auction Arms and Gunbroker completed auctions for the sale price of like items.

  11. #11
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    Dec 1969
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    Flyover country
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    Default

    El B. All good suggestions and things that I have already done. Please read the update on my first post. The Colt Forum was very helpful. I am not sure to whom your "nitpicking" jibe is for but I can assure you that I have never held myself out as knowledgeable on Colts, just trying to get to the truth through the clutter of opinion.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Minn.
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    Default

    Thanks so much for the link I checked my 32-20 and it was made in 1920-21 and I have been wanting that info for years.

  13. #13
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    Sep 2007
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    Ohio
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    Default

    A comment on value, for what its worth. The revolver's desireablity will be enhanced if you can document it to the federal judge and have some history of his life and career; the more noteworthy the better. Did he try any notorious and famous cases? I'd also consider a factory letter.

  14. #14

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by selectfire View Post
    El B. I am not sure to whom your "nitpicking" jibe is for ...
    I was referring to my own nitpicking about nomemclature.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Bedford PA
    Posts
    144

    Default Police Positive Special

    Heres a PIC of a fairly early Colt Police Positive Special, chambered for 38 Special. The serial number indicates manufacture in approx. 1922. I picked this one up at a local estate auction a couple of years ago for $85.00. Price reference books indicate it is worth somewhat more.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Washington St.
    Posts
    20

    Default

    Interesting thread! I just acquired, fortuitously from my family, a very nice (probably NRA Good) Colt's Police Positive Special in, of course, .38 Spl. Most of the finish is intact except holster wear on the bluing in the usual places: the forward edges of the bbl, and the outer sharper edges of the cylinder. Otherwise the bluing is in excellent condition, and the bore is bright and clean. Unfortunately, the left grip is damaged on it's bottom outside edge (looks like an unfortunate impact problem; possibly the revolver was dropped?) and the owner filled in the missing piece with red epoxy. I think I can find a replacement grip, even a possible original, for it. The grips are otherwise in "new" condition.

    Interesting provenance though: this revolver was issued new to a gentleman who was in the Federal Revenuer's business, huntin' down them cagy & illicit makers of moonshine/hootch. The package I received also included a leather holster in which this gentleman carried it in the field.

    According to gunbroker.com, these revolvers sell, in this condition, for about $375 (poor) to upwards of $550. I think I'll keep it as a possible carry piece or plinker.

    Any comments?
    Last edited by rifledon; 06-28-2013 at 08:30 PM. Reason: typos
    Long Live the Avro ARROW!

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