1902 Colt 38 auto - value?

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by confused09, Jul 24, 2006.

  1. confused09

    confused09 New Member

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    Can you help? I have a 1902 Colt 38 auto - non military, probably a sporting model - markings are: Automatic Colt Colt's Patent Fire Arms Mfg. C. Hartford, Conn USA and Patented April 20, 1897 Sept. 9,1902 Calibre 38 Smokeless Rimless - it has some rust but could be cleaned up - very little wear on case or grip - has a serial # 21953. Any idea of the worth of this gun? Thanks for any assistance you can give!
  2. Xracer

    Xracer *TFF Admin Staff Mediator*

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    Hi Confused......welcome to TFF! :)

    I think you may well be confused......according to the Blue Book, that serial # makes your pistol a 1903 Pocket (.38ACP) model.

    Is the barrel 6 inches long or 3 3/4 or 4 1/2 inches long?

    There's a considerable difference in the value between the Model 1902 and the Model 1903 Pocket (.38ACP).
  3. confused09

    confused09 New Member

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    Sorry for the error in ignoring you and I think that I may have messed up in sending you a reply to your info on the Colt.

    Once again, the measurements (from the top of the gun) are 6 1/2 from the sight to the end of the barrel. The length (measured from under the barrel) from the front of the trigger guard to the front of the barrel is 3 and from the front of the actual trigger is 4.

    I really am not familiar with guns so I am not sure of from where the beginning of the back measurement of the barrel would start.

    Please accept my apology if I insulted you but keep in mind what my user name is and you can figure out how I got it.

    Thanks again!
  4. Xracer

    Xracer *TFF Admin Staff Mediator*

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    Hey.......no insult percieved at all!!! :D

    From the measurements you've taken, the overall length of the gun is just over 6 1/2 inches long. That would make the actual barrel length considerably shorter.

    The Model 1902, both the Sporting Model and the Military Model have an actual barrel length of 6 inches.

    This means that your gun is a Model 1903 Pocket (.38ACP) Model, which has a barrel length of 3 3/4 or 4 1/2 inches. This model is serial numbered approximately from 16,000 to 47,226......which tallies with your serial #.

    According to the Blue Book, the value of this model is:

    (Figures are % of original finish left)

    90% - $1,000
    80% - $750
    70% - $650
    60% - $500

    Add 30% for early round hammer
    Add 20% for original box and instructions
  5. wonderwhippet

    wonderwhippet Active Member

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    For those who do not know how to measure barrel length, take a dowel or a wooden skewer and stick in in the barrel until it can go no further. Take a pen and make a mark just where the dowel comes out of the barrel. Now measure how much of the dowel went into the barrel. You now have the barrel length.
  6. southernshooter

    southernshooter New Member

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    Welcome Confused
    Sounds like you got somethin worth hangin on too
  7. Moe Beers

    Moe Beers New Member

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    Hey...I was trying to find the value of this old pistol my grandfather had and came across this thread listing on Google.....It's the Colt .38 Rimless Smokeless Patented April 20, 1897. Sept. 9, 1902 serial number #30063 6 inch barrel ...I just took a picture and will post it here if possible....any idea what it may be worth and how do I find folks who might be interested in it?...not sure how to grade the condition yet...Thanks in advance!...and while I'm here...what's the best way to dispose of really old bullets and shotgun shells?
    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2008
  8. Xracer

    Xracer *TFF Admin Staff Mediator*

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    Hi Moe.....welcome to TFF. :)

    Is that a picture of YOUR pistol? If so, it's a Model 1902 Sporting Pistol, and was one of the last made, in 1908.

    The Model 1902 was manufactured from 1902 to 1908, ending at Serial # 30190.

    Your gun, if all original, and in good working order, it potentially has value anywhere from $900 to $4,500, but condition is everything, and we need to see some pictures of YOUR gun to give you an estimate of it's value.

    Can you please post some clear, sharp pictures of your pistol, full length, right and left sides?

    And......if those old cartridges and shotgun shells are really old, they might have some collector value......what've you got?
  9. Moe Beers

    Moe Beers New Member

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    Hey XRacer!...I just now got back and saw your note here....Tuesday night Jan. 22...10:00 pm ..EST...and yeah, it's my gun now...and I'll take those pics tommorrow and post them here...I know it's been in a drawer since the 40's...and I doubt if my grandad ever fired it much....It hasn't been cleaned or handled much either. Very little wear....I still haven't looked at the rifling yet...it's hard to hold the thing open long enough to look down the barrel....sorry I didn't reply sooner...this dial up dinasaur pc takes forever to post stuff.....later Moe...
  10. Moe Beers

    Moe Beers New Member

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    here's some pics I just took....Moe
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    Last edited: Jan 23, 2008
  11. Xracer

    Xracer *TFF Admin Staff Mediator*

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    That's a neat old Colt Moe.....and considering that it's a hundred years old, in very nice condition. I'd say a solid 60%. Blue Book value is $900.

    Looks like it needs a good cleaning and lubrication, though.

    If you plan on shooting it, first take it to a good gunsmith and have it checked out for safety and functioning....then remember, it takes .38 ACP (.38 Auto) NOT .38 Super.
  12. Moe Beers

    Moe Beers New Member

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    Thanks for the reply XRacer!....I hate to sell it and won't if I don't have to but times are hard right now....I'm just checking stuff like that just in case...Later...Moe

    I know how folks are about antiques is the reason I haven't cleaned it...but i am now...I doubt if I'll ever fire it ...I miss the days when you could just drive a few miles up the road and target practice in a field...no more arond here...too built up around Atlanta....
  13. Harpo211

    Harpo211 New Member

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    Hi all. I also have the same Colt which also belonged to my grandfather. Mine is pretty much in the same condition as Moe Beers. I rememeber firing it a couple of times back in the 70's. I Don't believe it has been fired since. It was in my fathers posession until recently when my dad passed it on to me. I would really like to fire mine though, and had went to the local gun shop and asked what cartriges could be used for it, and I was given Winchester .38 Super +P cartriges. Being suspiscious of this after doing some research, I read this thread. So do I understand correctly that I cannot use the cartriges I was given? Thanks in advance.

    JR.
  14. artabr

    artabr New Member

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    Welcome Harpo. Do not shoot it! They gave you the WRONG ammo. If its the same gun as Moe Beers, it shoots .38 ACP. You need to make sure of what you have.
    I'd find another gunshop.


    Art
  15. berto64

    berto64 Active Member

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    Sounds like you folks have some nice heirlooms there.

    Welcome to TFF and enjoy yourselves.
  16. Harpo211

    Harpo211 New Member

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    artabr, Yeah, that's what I figured. I wanted to be absolutely sure before I did anything. Thanks for taking the time to respond. Should I shoot this thing or just buy a new gun? Opinions welcome.................
  17. Xracer

    Xracer *TFF Admin Staff Mediator*

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    Hi Harpo.....welcome to TFF. :)

    That's very good advice artabr gave you. Your Colt M1902 was chambered for ".38 Rimless Smokeless" which is .38ACP, not .38 Super, and most definitely not .38 Super +P!

    Well.....yes, and no. If you really want to shoot it, you can....with the proper ammo....but first have it checked out by a gunsmith. After all, this "old girl" is 106 years old, and not getting any younger! :)

    And....since it belonged to your "grandpa", I'd consider it a family heirloom, and not as a regular shooter. It's also a fairly historic firearm....The first sucessful Colt Automatic pistol.....and the grandfather of the greatest pistol ever....the Colt M1911.

    If you want a regular "shooter", buy a new pistol.
  18. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    That's good info, but is the "proper ammo" available. Does anyone still make 38 ACP ammo?

    To make it quite clear, so there are no misunderstandings, 38 Super will fit in your magazine, chamber in your barrel, and fire. IT WILL BLOW UP YOUR GUN. Don't shoot it.

    Short of having access to old reloading manuals, and using 38 Super brass, is there anyway to get 38 ACP ammo?
  19. Xracer

    Xracer *TFF Admin Staff Mediator*

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    Yup, "Old Western Scrounger" has it....50 rounds for $39.95. Not cheap, but at least it's out there.

    http://www.ows-ammo.com/catalog/product_info.php/products_id/192

    If you want to reload for it using .38 Super brass, Cartridges Of The World recommends:

    5.0 grains of Bullseye with a 115 grain full metal jacket....or....

    4.7 grains of Bullseye with a 125 grain jacketed hollow point.
  20. Plinio

    Plinio New Member

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    Hi, i also have a colt and i want to know how much it worth (sorry, i dont speak much english) because someone offers me some money and i want to know if the price is ok.
    thnx

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