Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Well used Colt Officer's Model has been passed down the line

My father had a Colt officers model .38 for many years.  I first remember it being in the house about 1960 or so, but he likely had it well before that.  I recall shooting it as a child, and thinking that it was powerful, and loud.  My brother was given the pistol; I did not feel slighted, as there were plenty of guns to go around.  One of the interactions that I had with the old Colt was when it was impounded when my brother got into some legal difficulties.

The Colt was sent to the Crime Lab in Madison, Wisconsin.   I was going to graduate school in Madison at the time.   My father still owned the pistol, and he asked if there was anything I could do to check on it.    I made a visit to the Crime Lab and inquired as to what the status of the revolver was.  They asked if I was a lawyer.  I said that I had studied the law a bit (which was true).   A couple of weeks later, the pistol was back in my father's possession (about 300 miles away).

Now several decades later, the revolver has been refinished.  Perhaps it had picked up some rust, I never understood the reason for the refinish.  I recall it being in better shape, but a lot can happen in 40 years.

It has been passed on to the next generation.    I know that there are experts who can give me an idea of some of the quirks of the pistol.   I do not have a serial number.

Is the cylinder pin/ejector rod standard?   Examples that I have seen have a different end shape, that is not as broad as this one.

The cylinder latch is different than most Officer models that I have seen.  Was it a substitute, or an older version?   Maybe it was an economy measure during WWII?

While the pistol has considerable sentimental value to the younger set, the finish has been rather beat up, and the refinish job left much to be desired.

When I took the pictures, it still locked up tight, but the double action trigger was a bit stiffer than the Smith & Wesson models that I have become accustomed to.   The single action pull was delightful.

I always liked the sight adjustment system on these guns, even if the notch and bead were very fine, smaller than what I now prefer.

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch 

Update: I am told that my Grandfather traded for the pistol, sometime between 1905 and 1950....  might have been in the 20's.   That would mean that the Colt has been in the family for four generations.  I also recall a very nice walnut ammunition box that went with the gun.  It held 50 or 60 rounds in individual holes, with brass fixtures for the lid.  I do not know what happened to it.   (another brother says that he has the ammunition box)

A bit more family history.   The house that I was born in was built in the 1920's and added to over the years.  I helped build an addition (not much help as a small boy)  that had a picture window that faced the Namekagon river.  The siting was ideal because a couple of small islands screened the house from the main channel, but the picture window looked directly downstream for about 200 yards of the Namekagon.  The main window had side windows that could be opened.  The Colt ties into this story because Karl McConnell, a close friend (and boss) of my fathers, is said to have used the Colt to pot a deer standing in the river, by opening a side window and firing out of it, as the deer was standing about 75 yards away. 

Not an impossible shot, by any means.  The old revolvers had a reputation for good accuracy.  Many can hold an inch at 25 yards, which would be a 3 inch group at 75.    It is easy for me to believe that Karl would have been familiar with the revolver and had shot it before.  He likely used the window ledge as a rest.   By this time he and my father would have been friends for over 20 years, and co-workers for nearly 15.  They remained close friends until death, 50 years in the future.

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