Old Colt .38 revolver - what is it worth?

Discussion in 'Handgun Discussion' started by Burt Gummer, Aug 14, 2011.

  1. Burt Gummer

    Burt Gummer Completely Out of Ammo Gold Supporter

    Messages:
    5,951
    Likes Received:
    5,384
    Location:
    Portland
    Feedback:
    56   0   0
    A friend of mine has a Colt .38 revolver and would like to sell it or better yet trade it for something that would make for a better home defense weapon. It was her husbands dad's gun I believe.

    Any idea what something like this is worth? It has been tucked away for many, many years. Wrapped in a blanket. Appears to be in great shape. Has a leather holster also.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
  2. Burt Gummer

    Burt Gummer Completely Out of Ammo Gold Supporter

    Messages:
    5,951
    Likes Received:
    5,384
    Location:
    Portland
    Feedback:
    56   0   0
    Is this thing worth anything at all? A friend of hers offered her $300 for it, should she take it? (Then she could get a Ruger LCP or something similar - she is small)
  3. ogre

    ogre Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,042
    Likes Received:
    195
    Location:
    Vancouver, WA
    Feedback:
    72   0   0
    Perhaps you could provide us with a model number? It would go a long way in helping to determine value.
  4. Jerry

    Jerry Active Member

    Messages:
    292
    Likes Received:
    95
    Location:
    Vancouver, WA
    Feedback:
    0   0   0
    Well...you know it's worth at least $300.

    Looks like a Police Positive. Not sure of the value.

    Nothing wrong with a .38 special.

    I wouldn't load it up with +P loads. Just shoot standard loads.

    A person oughta keep family guns.
  5. MrNiceGuy

    MrNiceGuy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,681
    Likes Received:
    689
    Location:
    between springfield and shelbyville
    Feedback:
    8   0   0
    I thought you said she wanted a better home defense weapon.

    I'd spend the effort taking her to the range to get comfortable with the revolver.
    It's a good home defense weapon as it is.
  6. ogre

    ogre Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,042
    Likes Received:
    195
    Location:
    Vancouver, WA
    Feedback:
    72   0   0
    Well.......it might be a Police Positive alright but a Police Positive was not chambered in a .38 Special. It was however, chambered in .38 S&W: a different kettle of fish.

    A Police Positive Special was chambered in .38 Special.

    A model number or some more information off the barrel would be a great help.
  7. orygun

    orygun Gold Supporter Gold Supporter

    Messages:
    2,767
    Likes Received:
    727
    Location:
    West Linn
    Feedback:
    78   0   0
    I was thinking of offering up a pistol for trade, but decided to pitch in with my thoughts. As long as she wasn't intending on using this gun for a carry piece and it is a .38 Special, she should keep it. I think this is a 5" barrel and that will definitely get the most out of the .38 Special. There are many types of practice and defensive loads that are not +p and this gun fits smaller hands very well. I used to have one of these and kind of regret trading it away.
  8. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,480
    Likes Received:
    1,627
    Location:
    sequim
    Feedback:
    12   0   0
    I would guess any old Colt revolver is worth $300 in OK condition.If it isn't pitted up,I would get these guy all the info you can and get a positive ID.
    Heck a shop up here was asking $500 for an older 38 snub in 80% condition
  9. titsonritz

    titsonritz Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,630
    Likes Received:
    1,551
    Location:
    So Lame
    Feedback:
    23   0   0
    ^^^This

    I am sure its worth more than 3 bills
  10. ZigZagZeke

    ZigZagZeke Gold Supporter Gold Supporter

    Messages:
    1,880
    Likes Received:
    1,586
    Location:
    East of Portland
    Feedback:
    5   0   0
    I've never seen a Police Positive or Police Positive Special with a trigger guard shaped like that one, and the cylinder looks longer than a .38 S&W.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2011
  11. hermannr

    hermannr Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,851
    Likes Received:
    900
    Location:
    Okanogan Highlands
    Feedback:
    0   0   0
    I think it is an Official Police, in .38 with 5" barrel. I have an Officers model from 1926 that looks quite similar (except for the sights and the grips). If the weapon is as good mechanically as it appears physically, I would think it would be worth at least $500. BTW: if it is an early Official Police, contrary to popular belief, they will handle +p just fine but as a home defence weapon there is no reason to use them on a regular basis.

    There is only one way to know for sure. Sell it at auction.
  12. madcratebuilder

    madcratebuilder Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,254
    Likes Received:
    133
    Location:
    Ardenwald, OR
    Feedback:
    37   0   0
    For a Colt Official Police to be worth $500 it has to be unfired, new in the box with all documents. Average condition they are a $200 revolver. Check the completed auctions on Gunbroker, $150-$250 is what they sell for.

    I'm not sure if the heat treating of the early Colts well like +P's. I would check on the Colt forums.
  13. hermannr

    hermannr Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,851
    Likes Received:
    900
    Location:
    Okanogan Highlands
    Feedback:
    0   0   0
    You may be correct on the price, I did not look at "completed" auctions. However, the gun looked pretty good in the photos.

    As for +p loads, back in the 60's when my FIL gave me the Officers model Colt there was no "+p", there were just minimum and max loads in the handload manuals (and on purchased ammo) top load for (AL-7 was shot gun powder you can't purchase any more) 158 grain JSP or JHP at 1100fps (that is definate +p range today) with "starting" load at 900fps. There is no warning about 'early" Colts not being able to handle these loads. (this quote is from the 1971 Sierra manual)
  14. Jerry

    Jerry Active Member

    Messages:
    292
    Likes Received:
    95
    Location:
    Vancouver, WA
    Feedback:
    0   0   0
    Yep, you are correct. I forgot the Special part. Good catch. It does look like a Police POsitive Special, however.
  15. orygun

    orygun Gold Supporter Gold Supporter

    Messages:
    2,767
    Likes Received:
    727
    Location:
    West Linn
    Feedback:
    78   0   0
    I treat Gunbroker prices kind of like a dealer price vs. retail. Don't forget to add shipping and FFL transfer fees to the price when comparing to Gunbroker. That brings this gun right up to the point where a $300 offer is pretty fair. However, if those are real stag grips, to the right person that can add a premium.
    I agree that looks like the Official Police, not the Police Positive Special. It does look a little "large".
    Still, I would consider it a very capable home defense gun.
  16. madcratebuilder

    madcratebuilder Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,254
    Likes Received:
    133
    Location:
    Ardenwald, OR
    Feedback:
    37   0   0
    I agree you have to add any fees. Most guys buying these old revolvers have a C&R and pay shipping only. Condition is everything on the price of something like this. There are a lot of these around but most show considerable wear, so if you have one in good condition it's differently more valuable.
  17. TCOV

    TCOV Active Member

    Messages:
    236
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    OLYMPIC PENINSULA
    Feedback:
    0   0   0
    If she can comfortably learn to shoot this pistol she should keep it if it is a "house gun" for home protection. This is a high quality pistol but would not sell for enough to buy a better new one. Any .38 spec. ammo she likes shooting would work fine in the house, we're not talking an assualt team here. If you read the self defence stories in the American Rifleman the recuring theme is not caliber but ability to put a hit on the stupid person after which they make every effort to leave and die in the driveway.
  18. jakk586

    jakk586 Member

    Messages:
    399
    Likes Received:
    24
    Location:
    Salem, Or
    Feedback:
    25   0   0
    $300 is a fair price.maybe &350-400 if its in %90+ condition and all original. if it was exceptional condition with the box and original grips it could bring more to a collector. btw. those grips on it are not the originals, but are colt factory grips.
  19. Burt Gummer

    Burt Gummer Completely Out of Ammo Gold Supporter

    Messages:
    5,951
    Likes Received:
    5,384
    Location:
    Portland
    Feedback:
    56   0   0
    Wow guys, thanks for the responses. I thought this thread was dead when no one had anything to say for a while.

    It appears to be in great shape. I'll take it over with her to A Place to Shoot in Jantzen Beach and see if she feels comfortable with it. If not, I'll recommend she sell/trade it here, or I will for her. If she want to sell it I'll get better pics. Will probably just list it for $400/obo/trade. A Place to Shoot lets you rent all sorts of handguns. She can get an idea what feels most comfortable for her.
  20. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,381
    Likes Received:
    4,410
    Location:
    WA
    Feedback:
    60   0   0
    If it's .38 Special then I would load it up with factory 148 grain wadcutters. For target practice any cheap non +P load would work

    I go with keep it for home defense and have her save up for a nice used stainless 3 inch S & W K frame for CCW, that will have similar shooting characteristics. It is a good ladies gun as is