COLT ACP .38 RIMLESS SMOKELESS PISTOL

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by mjackson, Jun 9, 2010.

  1. mjackson

    mjackson New Member

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    PATENTED APR 20 1897,SEPT 1902 s/n46719
    PISTOL CONDITION. EXCELLENT

    ALSO OLD AMMO REM UMC 38 APC 7 ROUNDS

    PLEASE PROVIDE AN ESTIMATE AS TO THE VALUE
  2. guns4life

    guns4life New Member

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    we need pictures theyre worth a thousand words
  3. Twaits

    Twaits Member

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    If it looks like this it's a 1903 Pocket hammer and if it is it was made in 1927 with that serial number. If the slide and barrel are longer its either a Military or Sporting model of 1900 or 1902.
    Value is dependant on condition. This one I bought a couple years ago for $750 and felt very lucky to get it for that:

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2010
  4. mrj20120@yahoo.com

    mrj20120@yahoo.com New Member

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    I have the same model but my looks as though it has never been fired.
    I can not find the 38 auto rimless ammo any suggestions? Maybe someone has reloads. Any help will be appreciated.
  5. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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  6. Lanrezac

    Lanrezac Active Member

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    mrj20120@yahoo.com, if you are waiting for a reply direct to your e-mail address, you may be disappointed. As gun owner, we are a bit wary of giving out personal information.

    Also, if your Colt is indeed in near-mint condition and not just refinished (you could put photos of it up here if you would like some opinions on that) firing it may not be the best thing you could do. Those guns are valuable - several thousand dollars - in fine condition.

    HTH!
  7. Lanrezac

    Lanrezac Active Member

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    mrj20120@yahoo.com, if you are waiting for a reply direct to your e-mail address, you may be disappointed. As gun owners, we are a bit wary of giving out personal information.

    Also, if your Colt is indeed in near-mint condition and not just refinished (you could put photos of it up here if you would like some opinions on that) firing it may not be the best thing you could do. Those guns can be valuable - several thousand dollars - in fine condition.

    HTH!
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2012
  8. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

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    Something unusual is going on here. We have two threads on the same subject.

    The link in post #5 here takes you to the other thread. Post #5 in the other thread explains the down-side of shooting valuable old guns. Post #2 there tells of a current source for .38 ACP ammo.

    If the pistol in question is, as claimed, to be in "never been fired" condition; then I would not fire it now for fear of significant devaluation.

    Let me also point out that the "seven round of ammo" (that are currently with the gun) are an unknown as to having non-corrosive priming which began to replace Chlorate based (highly corrosive) priming in commercial ammo in the 1930's. One definitely would not want to shoot corrosive primed ammo in one of these guns in nice condition. {Few of these guns are found in really nice condition today, because they were fired with corrosive ammo (all that was available in their heyday) and not promptly and properly (thoroughly) cleaned immediately after firing.}

    HTH
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2012
  9. mikebravo

    mikebravo New Member

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    My grandpa found an old Colt 1902 (pictures attached) at my great-grandmas just before she past away, and we called Colt and they said they could restore it. It's in rough shape outside, with a lot of surface rust, but the internals are very clean. Never fired it, but everything seems to function. Would a proper restoration be worth it? :confused:

    Attached Files:

  10. valbehaved

    valbehaved Member

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    No, "proper" restoration would not be worth it as it would cost around $2000-3000
    If you did decide to restore it, I would not do it with Colt as they are not capable of reproducing the finish that your gun originally had.
    The best(and most expensive) way would be to go with Turnbull restorations on the east coast - you can "google" the name.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2012
  11. Lanrezac

    Lanrezac Active Member

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    mikebravo, your Colt is a Model 1900, which was the very first type of automatic pistol Colt ever made. It was the second type of pistol designed by John Browning to actually go into production. (The first was a 32 automatic made in Belgium starting in 1899.)

    There is quite a bit of collector interest in these early Colt automatics, so somebody would buy your gun in just about any condition. I don't know whether restoring it would increase its value by more than the cost of the restoration, which is what you really need to know.

    The cautious approach would be to not spend any money on it, but to sell it, probably at auction, the way it is. There are Internet firearms auction websites that are good, and there are reputable "live" auction houses that deal in collectible firearms. I am not at all familiar with the latter, however, so I cannot suggest any names.

    You say the internals are clean. Does that mean you know how to take it apart properly?

    BTW, here is a good article about this type of Colt:

    http://unblinkingeye.com/Guns/1900ACP/1900acp.html
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2012
  12. rhmc24

    rhmc24 Member

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    mikebravo -- Here pix of one I bought as a parts gun for $400, turned out EXC inside. I did my own prep, remove pitting, polishing, etc., sent it to Turnbulls who replaced the lettering and blue, at cost almost $500. In addition repro magazine and grips cost maybe $100. The preparation for the refinishing is over 20 hours work for someone equipped to do it.

    It's a Model 1902 Sporting, not 1900.

    Worth it? ---- For me, yes. For someone else, it depends ----

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2012
  13. Lanrezac

    Lanrezac Active Member

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    Your gun came out beautifully, rhmc24. That is why I don't buy four-figure guns - I can't tell the difference between "mint" and "great restoration".
  14. saa

    saa New Member

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    I'm familiar with both Colt (naturally), and Turnbull. Yes, Turnbull's work is exceptional, no question.

    But why are they more capable then Colt at restoration? Or are you saying that they are better equipped to do restoration work, since that is their (or was) primary service market? I understand Colt's business is centered on new firearms, however, I would have assumed (that's why I'm asking) that their custom shop would be quite capable at restoring any of their firearms to a condition equal or better than any outside facility.

    Not having used either for restoration, I'm asking honestly for your evaluation. I have no preconceived notions here. Thanks!
    saa.
  15. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    Don't think of it as a gun. Think of it as a car. You have a 1924 Model T you want restored. Would you send it to FOMOCO, in Detroit? Or would you send it to someplace that their business is restoring old cars?

    For the same reason, I would not send a gun to the factory for restoration.
  16. saa

    saa New Member

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    I understand your premise, however, it only works because Ford does not restore cars, not has the department, facilities, or offers to do so.

    Colt does.

    That said, I'll have to do some more digging for some examples of Colt's restoration work. Turnbull's is evident.

    Thanks for the input, Alpo.
    saa.
  17. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    Sorry, Lanrezac, that is not a Model 1900; as Mikebravo says, it is a Model 1902 Sporting Model. That is significant for a restoration, because the 1902 Sporting, while scarce, is more common and less valuable than the Model 1900, (approximately 7000 made, vs half that for the Model 1900). The difference in value may make restoration a less attractive option.

    Just a general note: These sites often discuss restoration of antique firearms, with some folks evidently believing that such a procedure will make the gun like new and worth as much as one in like new condition. In fact, no restorer, no matter how good, can actually make a gun like new. At best, the gun will look better; at worst, it will be grotesque, a shiny reblue over a ruined gun.

    While a sore subject for some, it also needs to be mentioned that no restoration will deceive a knowledgeable buyer; there are too many areas which will be glaring signs of restoration work to the experienced eye, though the gun might fool beginning collectors.

    Jim
  18. Lanrezac

    Lanrezac Active Member

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    Dang. I thought the difference between the 1900 and Sporting Model was only whether the gun was originally machined for the rear sight safety catch or not, and I could not tell that from the photo. I'm always learning I don't know as much as I thought I did!
  19. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    Aren't we all!

    I was not aware that Colt did restoration work (as opposed to simply refinishing). I would like to see some of their work. I have seen a number of examples of S&W rebuild/refinish work and will say that it is darned good. That, of course, is why they mark refinished guns with a star or diamond to keep them from being passed off as new.

    Turnbull is good, but I have not seen any that I would have accepted as original. But then, if they were good enough, I wouldn't know, would I?

    Jim
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2012
  20. saa

    saa New Member

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    Jim, you make a good point here and I'll take the chance to expound on it a bit, from my perspective.

    Sometimes people hear the word restoration in the firearms field and their first inclination is to line up the dollar signs for all of the firearms they will find, have restored, and then unload onto unsuspecting buyers who are new or uneducated.

    This is foolhardy and simply fraud. Most people buying guns that would be worth spending any restoration money on, would be bought by collectors experienced enough to see the signs - as Jim makes good note of - and if you do find a newby to float one by on, your overall net on the project is not going to pan out to profits. And could cause you some trouble, depending on who you try to swindle.

    Educating your self on restoration, as I continue to do: who does it, how well, what methods, to what success, on what models, etc., will serve to allow you to be knowledable running across the myraid of marginally refurbished guns that you have to tramp through to get to the good ones. (the unrestored originals)

    An educated collector is nobody's fool, and a haste bargain hunter is usually surprised when they get home to inspect that gem they just snatched up for a steal.

    Take your time evaluating a gun. If the deal is too hot to be able to do your due dillegence on it prior to an offer - let it go. What's too good to be true, is usually too good to be true.

    Thanks for raising those good points, Jim. Restoration is not a tool of collectors. Restoration is a tool of gun sellers. Our job is to know their tactics better than they do.

    Happy collecting men.
    saa.
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