Colt D.A.38

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by jetra2080, Jan 29, 2011.

  1. jetra2080

    jetra2080 New Member

    Jan 29, 2011
    I have recently inherited a Colt D.A.38.
    Here is the link to the pictures:
    It seems to be in decent condition. Anyone have any idea when it was manufactured or what is could be worth?

    On the top of the barrel is the folowing:
    PATENTED AUG 5, 1884 NOV 6 88 MAR 5 95

    The side of the barrel is stamped:
    COLT D.A.38

    There appears to be Military Tridents stamped on the cylinder release, The upper forward Trigger Guard inside the cylinder bracket and on the butt.

    On the butt is stamped:
    An Anchor
    The Trident Stamp
    The Cylinder works smooth and there is very little slop. Seems pretty tight. Any ideas? Any question? I am not much into Revolvers or old pistols so any help would be appreciated.
  2. deadin

    deadin Well-Known Member

    May 16, 2006
    Welcome to the forum!!
    I was sure one of the Colt guys would be along to answer your questions, but they seem to be elsewhere. I'm not much into Colts but I will give it a try..
    First off I can tell you what it isn't. It's not a M1889 Navy. It is what is called a Colt New Army and Navy Revolver. The problem is that there are 6 variations of this model (M1892, 1894, 1895, 1896, 1901 and 1903) and I don't know how to tell them apart. The other problem is that many of the earlier ones were upgraded to the later one's specs. The Navy variations show as having a lanyard swivel as standard and I don't see any sign of where one was on yours. Also they normally had wood grips. However, one thing different on yours is the "WBW" mark on the butt. This is where the inspectors initials are and, as far as I can find, WBW stands for "William B. Whittelsey, Lt. USN" who was an inspector of Winchester Lee 6mm Navy rifles at the onset of the SP/AM War. ???????
    I'm guessing it's a M1895, but that's just a guess.
    You might try posting it over on the Colt Forum ( There is an expert on the early Colt DA's there.
  3. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

    Dec 6, 2009
    Deadin is right on. Confusion arises because the model numbers usually given are Army model numbers, and the Navy didn't always go along. So there was no Model 1895 Army revolver (they skipped from 1894 to 1896) and the Navy Model of 1895 was not marked that anywhere. According to Robert Best*, Whttelsey, assigned to inspecting rapid-fire guns at the American Ordnance Company in Bridgeport, was also given temporarily the task of accepting Colt revolvers for the Navy, and did so for a group of revolvers "in the 95xxx range" that arrived on April 4, 1898.

    Best pictures, on Page 160, a revolver very close to yours, with Navy number 9508 and Colt serial 95490; it has no lanyard loop, and and they were apparently not used on Navy revolvers.

    So we are fortunate, thanks to Mr. Best, to be able to pinpoint your revolver almost to the day it was accepted by the Navy.

    *A Study of Colt's New Army and Navy Pattern Double Action Revolvers 1889 to 1908
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2011
  4. deadin

    deadin Well-Known Member

    May 16, 2006
    You mean I guessed right for a change???;):D

    I have a M1892 civilian that Bob Best verified has not having any of the "updates" and is the 310th civilian made in that model and therefor is fairly scarce.
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