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Filed-off serial #??

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by soberups, May 22, 2010.

  1. soberups

    soberups Newberg Well-Known Member

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    :paranoid:

    I was going thru my gun collection today, taking pictures and recording serial numbers of all my guns for insurance purposes.

    One of my handguns is a family heirloom that belonged to my great grandfather, who was a Railroad Policeman during WW2. In addition to the gun, I have his original holster, badge, ID card, nightstick, and a nasty little weapon that appears to be a round lead ball inside of a woven leather bag on a strap.

    Anyway, the handgun in question is a Colt Police Positive, model of 1905, chambered in .38 Special. Its in fair shape, I have even fired it a couple of times.

    I went to look for the serial# and couldnt find it anywhere on the gun. So I looked in the same spot that the # is on my S&W 640...which is inside the crane that holds the cylinder...and in that same spot on my Colt it looks as though someone "filed" the area down. I took a pic, but I dont know how well it shows up.

    Does anyone know where the serial# is on this gun? And if indeed that # has been filed off...am I breaking the law by being in posession of it? And if it is illegal...could I legally keep it if I removed the firing pin or rendered it inoperable?

    I dont want to break the law, but I dont want a family heirloom getting thrown into a furnace either. Suggestions?
     
  2. nwo

    nwo Southern Oregon Well-Known Member

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    I believe that before 1968, many firearms were not required to have serial numbers. Some did, some did not. All were legal.
    I think you are fine.
     
  3. Cougfan2

    Cougfan2 Hillsboro, OR Well-Known Member

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    I think you are fine. I have a couple of old Savage/Stevens .22 rifles that are from the late '40's or early '50's I believe that have no serial numbers on them.
     
  4. gst264

    gst264 Independence Member

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    What a great piece of family history to have...share pics of all of it!
     
  5. powermad

    powermad Portland Active Member

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    That is a Sap.
    Pop someone upside the head with it and it's lights out.
     
  6. soberups

    soberups Newberg Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the info. I always wondered what it was called. I wonder why these arent around anymore, they certainly make effective little weapons.

    Here is a (crummy cell phone) pic of the holster, the badge, the sap and my great-grandfathers Southern Pacific Railroad Police ID card, issued in 1943. He patrolled out of Camp Adair, down by Corvallis, during WWII. He was too old to be in the military then, but his son (my grandfather) was a radar technician for the Army Air Corps and was stationed in England.

    I already took a pic of the gun itself, its locked in my safe and I'm too lazy to get up and dig it out. When I get around to it, I am probably going to make a little wood and glass display case for these items. I'd like to display the gun also, but my wife wont stand for an unsecured firearm in the house and I am still a bit worried about the (missing?) serial#. I need to try and find a reference guide for these old guns to see if they had serial #'s and where on the gun they might be found.
     
  7. TCOV

    TCOV OLYMPIC PENINSULA Active Member

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    My Colt Army Special is similar to your Colt and has the serial on the frame behind the cylinder crane as yours probably did. It also has the serial on the crane so look for a number there. As I recall the law didn't require a serial number on older guns but if they had one from the factory and it is defaced or removed that is a problem. I would start with talking with a gunsmith or knowledgeable ffl in your area about your options. That will be a small shop that has been in business for awhile. I have seen one pistol with a new serial stamped in place of the original by a gunsmith and for sale in a ffl shop. You could also just call or email BATF and ask them how to resolve this situation. You need to be in compliance with the rules no matter what. It can probably be fixed.
     
  8. slingshot1943

    slingshot1943 salem or Well-Known Member

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    I was reading something recently about 22's and shot guns not always being numbered before 1968. I'll bet the Smith has or had one.
     
  9. TCOV

    TCOV OLYMPIC PENINSULA Active Member

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    Some manufactures didn't serial their firearms before '68 but I haven't seen a Colt, Smith, or Winchester that wasn't numbered. Common for older 22 rifles to not have serial numbers, I have a couple Remingtons like that. I think the law says that if it had a serial number it can't be removed. I have 2 older Colt double action revolvers and both are numbered twice, behind the crane and on the crane itself. I pulled the grip panels and there was no number under them. I don't know if there would be a number internally.
     
  10. madcratebuilder

    madcratebuilder Ardenwald, OR Well-Known Member

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    You have the proof this revolver was in the family well before the gun control act of 1968. You gun is legal to own.
    The last thing I would do is ask the BATF&E about it.
     
  11. mhadix

    mhadix Tacoma,WA Member

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    look under the grips, sometimes the SN# is there.
    also it should be a 38 S&W round, not the 38SPL. could be wrong but have it checked out before firing it
     
  12. The Quiet Man

    The Quiet Man rural Washington County, Oregon Active Member

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    Your revolver was made prior to the time that serial numbers were required by federal law. If your revolver never had a serial number stamped on it, you are completley legal. I have a "1920s era" 1911/1911A1 hybrid that has never had a serial number. However, you do have a serious problem if it had a serial number and it has been "altered, mutilated, or removed". I would contact Colt and see what they have to say about serial numbers on that model from that time period.
     
  13. TCOV

    TCOV OLYMPIC PENINSULA Active Member

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    Colt Police Positive Special with the 1905 patent date was also chambered in 38 special.
     
  14. soberups

    soberups Newberg Well-Known Member

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    This one says "38 Special" on the barrel.

    Methinks I need to contact Colt to see if it ever had a serial# in the first place.
     
  15. Silver Fox

    Silver Fox Puyallup, WA Well-Known Member

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    Cool local family history.

    SF-
     
  16. pdxjohann

    pdxjohann Portland near Tigard Member

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    I agree; cool family history. Let's see it all on Antiques Roadshow with better video of course.
     
  17. torpedoman

    torpedoman land of corrupt politicians Member

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    All colts were serialized.
     
  18. coop44

    coop44 Tacoma ,WA Well-Known Member

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    careful with that sap, in a collection probably ok. a sap can crush a skull, that is why it's considered a felony to possess in many states. not sure about your area, I would make discreet inquiries.
     
  19. pokerace

    pokerace Newberg Well-Known Member

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    never open that can of worms.


    careful with that sap, in a collection probably ok. a sap can crush a skull, that is why it's considered a felony to possess in many states. not sure about your area, I would make discreet inquiries.

    forget you have it it is considered a slugging device.
     
  20. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    I was thinking that a SAP was flatter - maybe sewn of a sandwich of two pieces of leather, with something like a lead weight in it maybe. The one's I've seen also had a strap to swing them with.

    Then I was thinking that the rounded ones were called blackjacks. Not that I'm right, or that this affects the law, of which I know nothing, LOL.

    I think that is really cool family history and I love it. Congratulations.