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Old Colt .38 revolver - what is it worth?

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

  1. Burt Gummer

    Burt Gummer Portland Completely Out of Ammo

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    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.

    th_Colt_38.jpg
    th_Colt38.jpg
     
  2. Burt Gummer

    Burt Gummer Portland Completely Out of Ammo

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    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 Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps you could provide us with a model number? It would go a long way in helping to determine value.
     
  4. Jerry

    Jerry Vancouver, WA Active Member

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    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 between springfield and shelbyville Well-Known Member

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    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 Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    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 West Linn Gold Supporter Gold Supporter

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    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 Constitutional carry ,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    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. ZigZagZeke

    ZigZagZeke Eugene Silver Supporter Silver Supporter 2015 Volunteer

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    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
  10. hermannr

    hermannr Okanogan Highlands Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  11. madcratebuilder

    madcratebuilder Ardenwald, OR Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  12. hermannr

    hermannr Okanogan Highlands Well-Known Member

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    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)
     
  13. Jerry

    Jerry Vancouver, WA Active Member

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    Yep, you are correct. I forgot the Special part. Good catch. It does look like a Police POsitive Special, however.
     
  14. orygun

    orygun West Linn Gold Supporter Gold Supporter

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    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.
     
  15. madcratebuilder

    madcratebuilder Ardenwald, OR Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  16. TCOV

    TCOV OLYMPIC PENINSULA Active Member

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    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.
     
  17. jakk586

    jakk586 Astoria, Or Member

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    $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.
     
  18. Burt Gummer

    Burt Gummer Portland Completely Out of Ammo

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    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.
     
  19. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg WA Well-Known Member

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    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