Help with colt da 38

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by davybitts, Aug 15, 2011.

  1. davybitts

    davybitts New Member

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    Can anyone provide info on this gun on top of barrel are three pat dates 8/5/1884,6/6/1860,and 7/4/1905. Also on top of barrel Colt's PT F A Mfg co Hartford Ct On side of barrel Colt D A 38. Nickel plated with black grips 784 is stamped on slide that allows rotating cylinder out. 784 is stamped in two places visible when cylinder is rotated out. On the bottom of the butt are the numbers 73 over 086
    5 inch barrel Anyone tell me approximate value?
    Thanks

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Aug 16, 2011
  2. Insjim

    Insjim Guest

    If your grips are damaged I have a excellant original set for $100 I sold my DA and do not need them anymore. Just thought I would throw that out there.
  3. davybitts

    davybitts New Member

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    grips are good thanks anyway
  4. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    The gun is a Colt New Navy revolver, made in 1896. The caliber is what we call the .38 Long Colt (not to be confused with the .38 S&W or the .38 Special). The serial number is on the grip (73086); the others are assembly numbers to keep hand fitted parts together in the manufacturing and assembly process.

    The nickel plating appears to be original, though flaking a bit. The same basic revolver was made for the military under several model year designations (Model 1892, Model 1894, etc.) and for the Navy on several contracts. Military contract guns are marked on the butt with military identification and have plain wood grips; civilian guns were unmarked except for serial number and have hard rubber grips. That gun is the civilian model, which was made in two versions, the "Army model" and the "Navy model"; the models were identical except for the grips.

    The guns have a reputation for being fragile, with frequent parts breakage (especially in small springs) and parts are scarce to non-existent at this time. In addition, few gunsmiths today understand the action or are willing to work on the guns.

    Value for one in near new condition will run about $800 or so; yours would probably bring $150-200 tops.

    Jim
  5. davybitts

    davybitts New Member

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    Thanks for the information. The moving parts are tight with no play. Can the gun be used with the proper ammunition?
  6. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    Yes, certainly. I think .38 Long Colt is available as a Cowboy load, or it can be easily made by trimming .38 Special. Later (post-1903) guns were actually made for .38 Special but Colt did not change the marking.

    Bear in mind, though, what I said about those guns being fragile; if something breaks, getting repairs might not be easy.

    Jim
  7. davybitts

    davybitts New Member

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    Thank you for the information. The last pat date on the barrel is 7/4/1905 so I presume the gun was manufactured post 1905.
  8. Clathrus

    Clathrus New Member

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    I have what I think is the Colt 38 DA from around the turn of the century. It would be the civilian with the hard rubber grips. I cannot find a serial number anywhere, but when I swing the cylinder out I see an crown-like emblem stamped into the metal between and slightly above two of the chambers. It looks like the cylinder is designed to lock up when closed, but it will rotate counter-clockwise.
    Any help out there?
  9. StoneChimney

    StoneChimney New Member

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    Serial numbers on the early Colt double-action revolvers were stamped on the butt of the gun. Please post clear pictures, or at least list all markings on the gun, so we can help with identification.
  10. Clathrus

    Clathrus New Member

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    As I said, there are no serial numbers on the butt of the gun or anywhere else I can see. It doesn't look like the numbers were there and just worn off either. The butt is perfectly smooth with nice shiny bluing. I doubt I'll be able to photograph the mark; its small and I don't have a camera that has a macro lens anymore. I'll try to draw the mark and post it later today.
  11. StoneChimney

    StoneChimney New Member

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    Please post pictures so we can see the whole gun if you can. As it stands right now I'm not sure it is a Colt.
  12. Clathrus

    Clathrus New Member

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    Yeah, I will. It is a Colt, I'm sure. The markings on the barrel are consistent with the descriptions I've seen, and the pictures match also. Colt D.A. 38, for example although the "38" is very faint along the top half of the numbers and hard to make out. On top of the barrel is "Colt's PT F AMFG CO HARTFORD CT U S A." I can see only the period after the final "A" on the USA, although the way they are spaced I assume there should be periods after each letter. The second line reads "PATENTED AUG. 5, 1884 NOV. 6, 88 MAR 6, 05" as well as I can make out. Again, on the butt I can see absolutely no markings nor evidence of any. I suppose it's possible they wore off, but I can't see anything even with a magnifying glass.
  13. Clathrus

    Clathrus New Member

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    Ok; I hope I'm posting the photos properly:

    Attached Files:

  14. Clathrus

    Clathrus New Member

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    I'm intending on cleaning and lubricating the gun, nothing else of course. Should I remove the grip panels and clean inside there? I understand these things are a nightmare to actually work on. I doubt it will ever be fired, but the gun belongs to a friend and who knows?
  15. StoneChimney

    StoneChimney New Member

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    That last patent date should be MAR 5, 95. Sounds like you have a version of the New Army or New Navy double-action revolver. Either way, there should be markings on the bottom of the grip frame. From the way you describe the markings it sounds like the revolver has been refinished and possibly heavily polished.

    Yep, that is what it is. It has been reblued. There used to be markings on the butt of the gun. The screws in the sideplate do not look correct and obviously the grip is broken.

    Specifically it appears to be the Model 1895 New Navy due to the Navy trident marking on the cylinder.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2012
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