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Colt Army Special 38 1905

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  • Colt Army Special 38 1905

    I picked up another cafe gun this morning. For those that don't know me, I live in a VERY small town. I do minor gun repairs, clean guns, and usually buy guns when I am presented the opportunity.

    I have developed a reputation for being fair, doing nice work, and not ripping people off. This is a very rural setting and outsiders are usually not trusted until they prove themselves. As an accepted member of our little society I have become the go to guy when it is about guns.

    There is a small cafe in town where all the locals have breakfast. My daughter is a waitress there. I often get offered guns for sale at the cafe, on the phone, or by way of my daughter at work. Sometimes they are guns found in barns, under beds, or discovered by family when there is a death in the family and the kids come back to town to sell everything and leave again.

    This time it is a Colt Revolver. It is marked Colt Army Special 38 with a patent date of 1905. It has a 5 inch barrel and the grips are not original. Mechanically the gun is like new! No creep in the trigger, the cylinder locks up tight as Ft Knox, and the action is crisp and smooth.

    I have a few questions... anyone have any idea what caliber the gun is? It says .38 so I assumed it was .38 S&W. Problem is a .38 S&W will not fit in the chambers. The round is to thick and will not go in. I tried a .38 special and it fits. A quick search tells me that "Calibers included .32, .38 Short and Long, .38 S & W Special, .38 Special and .41 Long". I don't want to shoot the wrong ammo in the gun.

    Does anyone have any idea where I can find the correct grips? If the gun is like other Colts I have the grips changed from year to year so I would need to know what year it was manufactured to know which grips are correct.

    The serial # is 348544. How old is it? What year was it made?

    Cosmetically it is pretty good. I always hesitate to give it a % rating because I'm usually wrong. It has most of the blue still on the gun but the barrel and cylinder have lost most of the blue. The barrel is bright with a small amount of darkening in a few of the grooves.

    I probably paid to much but I really enjoy these old guns so if I did, oh well... Anyone guess at its value? I paid $275 for it and some of the old farmers at the cafe thought I had lost my mind!

    Any information is gratefully accepted....



  • #2
    Man, is that nice.

    This gentleman has always been very helpful to me when i have questions about an unusual firearm-
    Modern Sportsman
    Go, Trump, Go!


    • #3
      BangBang, Give this site a try for the Serial number info.


      They have a lot of old Colt serial numbers to manufacture date. Not much help, but it is a start...

      NRA Life Member

      The heck with 911, I use 1911 !!


      • #4
        Well I for one don't think you paid to much as that is a fine looking revolver. I hope someone with a Blue Book on guns will chime in here. The Colt Forum may help you price it, just be sure to say that it's not for sale. They seem to clam up when people ask for value sometimes. Here's a link.

        The deadliest weapon in the world is a Marine and his/her rifle.


        • #5

          Well I think I found it in my Blue Book...

          Army Special Model .32-20 WCF, .38 (Various) and .41 Colt Cals., 4, 4 1/2, 5 and 6 inch barrels. Hard rubber grips standard through 1923 - Checkered wood with medallions beginning about 1924, blue finish, fixed sites, rounded checkered cylinder, release thumb catch, smooth trigger, has heavier frame then New Navy, approximately serial number range 291,000 - 540,000 has a patent date on barrel was July 4 1905. Mfg 1908 - 27


          100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10
          750 400 325 295 275 250 225 200 185 175

          My Blue book is a few years old (27th edition) so I wouldn't put to much into the values, I just provided them as a reference. Hop this helps.

          In looking at the serial number, you probably need the rubber grips.

          Last edited by xfactor; 07-18-2010, 12:52 PM.
          NRA Life Member

          The heck with 911, I use 1911 !!


          • #6
            Proof house says it was made in 1914 by the serial number.
            The deadliest weapon in the world is a Marine and his/her rifle.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Baldy View Post
              Proof house says it was made in 1914 by the serial number.
              Yea, That's what I had too.

              NRA Life Member

              The heck with 911, I use 1911 !!


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