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Police Positive .38 Special

ManygunsManyguns Member Posts: 3,837
edited November 2011 in Ask the Experts
I have a Colt Police Positive with a 6" barrel, serial# 171694, which, I believe puts the date of manufacture as 1926. A couple of questions.
It says .38 Special cartridge, but I assume they mean .38 Smith&Wesson as a regular .38 Special would be too much. Doubt that hey would even fit.
My second question is: There is some "play" sideways in the cylinder. Is that play more apt to come from the cylinder itself (the alighnment slots don't seem to be worn) or would it be the little pin that comes up from the bottom to lock the cylinder? Otherwise, it's in good shape and I would like to shoot it a little.
Thanks, Tom


  • MIKE WISKEYMIKE WISKEY Member, Moderator Posts: 9,928 ******
    edited November -1
    "It says .38 Special cartridge"...........then that's what it is, as to the 'play', probably the 'bolt' or the slot in the frame (the cylinder nothces would show visable wear)
  • ManygunsManyguns Member Posts: 3,837
    edited November -1
    Thank you Mike. The "bolt", thanks, couldn't remember what that was called. I'm thinking that's what it is. As for the cartridge, I seem to remember reading somewhere that particular cartridge was actually a S&W .38 with a different headstamp, not the more modern day .38 Special. The skinny little pistol just doesn't seem like it would be up to a modern .38 Special.
    Thanks, Tom
  • Hawk CarseHawk Carse Member Posts: 4,357 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Sounds like it is really a Police Positive Special to be marked .38 Special.
    A Police Positive Special marked .38 Special is a real true .38 Special - they did have ammo loaded with a flat nose bullet in boxes labeled .38 Colt Special but the bullet shape was the only difference from .38 S&W Special and nobody makes the distinction any more.

    The .38 Special was as modern as it gets in 1902 when smokeless became standard instead of the black powder it was introduced with in 1899. Pressure for standard ammo is no higher than it ever was. I would not pound the old gun with +P but it should be fine with standard stuff. Sights were meant for 158 grain lead bullets.

    Play in the cylinder. Feel it with the hammer all the way down and the trigger held back as though the gun had just been fired. Is the play reduced or absent? If so, you are fine, the Colt final lockup includes the hand holding the cylinder against the bolt. If it is still kind of sloppy, the bolt is likely worn.
  • ManygunsManyguns Member Posts: 3,837
    edited November -1
    It says only:

    Positive .38 Special

    It doesn't say Police
    Positive Special

    I just tried to chamber a .38 S&W and it wouldn't go. .38 Special went right in though. I will keep it at standard factory loads. Appreciate all the help.
    Thanks, Tom
  • fastcarsgofastfastcarsgofast Member Posts: 7,179
    edited November -1
    The .38 S&W is a larger diameter than the .38 special.
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