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A friend of mine is selling this Colt 38 Army Special. I believe based on the serial number is was made in 1927 (the last year before it became a Police Positive)? Serial #544133 It has HPD #95 engraved (professionally into the butt strap. This is from the Houston Police Department. It has honest wear, but seems to be in very nice condition. I am looking for a fair price to offer my firiend - I don't want to pay too much, but I want to give him a fair price. I would value your suggestions. Someone mentioned that it has a not common barrel length. What should I offer him?

Here are some not-so-good pictures. I can't figure why one of the pix insists on posting sideways.



 

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You sure that's an Army Special? Looks more like an older Police Special to me.

They did make one with that short of a barrel though from what I can see.

You'll need a couple of the guys with the books here to verify value though.
 

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Saying that revolver is what some might say is in "good" condition, the Blue Book and the Standard Catalog of Firearms, would put the retail price in the + or - $300.00 range. Unless the Houston PD association has special interest to you I would think a $225-$250 offer would not be out of line, JMHO. But I always pay too much for gun, ha. It should make a great shooter.
 

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Just FYI, the Army Special was renamed the Official Police, because cops were buying loads of them and Army wasn't buying any.

The Police Positives were smaller frame guns, of which only the last version (the Police Positive Special, aka Detective Special if it had a two-inch barrel) was made in 38 Special.

The Army Special / Official Police was a very good gun - if I understand correctly, it ultimately evolved into the Colt Python - but it seems to me there is less collector interest in them than in any other classic Colt. That's just my opinion, of course.

PS - I have not seen many four inch barrel Army Specials. Five and six inches appears to have been more common for that model. Four inch Official Police's only seem to have become common after WWII.
 

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Remember that these are NOT rated for +P ammo. In fact there is some thought (That I agree with) that even modern high velocity ammo should be avoided. Be safe, stick with lower power .38SPL ammo.
 

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Fatsrat, you may be thinking of the Police Positive. The Official Police is bigger and stronger than both the Police Positive and the S&W Model 10, and can handle 38 +P fine. Colt did not have to do very much to get it to handle 357 Magnum, in the long-gone "Colt 357 Magnum".http://www.google.com/imgres?hl=en&...art=0&ndsp=27&ved=1t:429,r:5,s:0&tx=136&ty=39

I could be wrong of course, but I would appreciate a reference to some authority, in that case.
 

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Fatsrat, you may be thinking of the Police Positive. The Official Police is bigger and stronger than both the Police Positive and the S&W Model 10, and can handle 38 +P fine. Colt did not have to do very much to get it to handle 357 Magnum, in the long-gone "Colt 357 Magnum".http://www.google.com/imgres?hl=en&...art=0&ndsp=27&ved=1t:429,r:5,s:0&tx=136&ty=39

I could be wrong of course, but I would appreciate a reference to some authority, in that case.
My source is a friend who gave me an Army Special w/cracked forcing cone. He said the seller (to him) warned him to use only low pressure loads. But he fired high pressure loads anyway with stated results.
 

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Thanks, Fatsrat. I realized later that asking for a cite was kind of snobbish.
No problem. I've heard it both ways. It is my understanding that the Army Special was pretty much a renamed New Navy in attempt to hopefully garner an Army Contract. And that metals weren't updated to high pressure capability until the New Police.
 
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