SIGforum.com    Main Page  Hop To Forum Categories  SIG Pistols    Battle of Britain Colt New Service Revolver
Page 1 2 

Moderators: Chris Orndorff, LDD
Go
New
Find
Notify
Tools
Reply
  
Battle of Britain Colt New Service Revolver Login/Join 
Member
Picture of hjs157
posted
Attached are some photos of my most recent purchase - a 1937 Colt New Service revolver in .38 Special. Supposedly, this is one of a number of US firearms acquired by the British Purchasing Commission from various US firearms manufacturers in July 1940 when a German invasion appeared imminent. There are no British proof marks however, only a single acceptance stamp on the upper left side of the frame. The barrel is 4" while the finish is the familiar green/grey parkerization. I've sent to Colt for a factory letter which will hopefully corroborate the story.

1937 Colt New Service




 
Posts: 2741 | Location: Western PA | Registered: July 20, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Fighting the good fight
Picture of RogueJSK
posted Hide Post
Cool find. Has it been reparkerized?
 
Posts: 24793 | Location: Northwest Arkansas | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
Excellent. I'd carry it.
 
Posts: 115 | Registered: June 11, 2018Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of hjs157
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by RogueJSK:
Cool find. Has it been reparkerized?


I suspect the original finish was Colt's pre-war commercial blue since the BPC guns were purchased directly from existing inventory. The seller claims similar revolvers of this type have been observed with a parkerized finish, though it is unclear if it was applied in England or after the revolver was repatriated.
 
Posts: 2741 | Location: Western PA | Registered: July 20, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
Very cool! I thought most of the revolvers we shipped to the Brits were 38.200


End of Earth: 2 Miles
Upper Peninsula: 4 Miles
 
Posts: 10286 | Location: Marquette MI | Registered: July 08, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
7.62mm Crusader
posted Hide Post
Wow. The revolver is all but perfect. I would like to find a nice condition War Horse like that.
 
Posts: 16022 | Registered: December 23, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of 1KPerDay
posted Hide Post
Gorgeous!


---------------------------
My hovercraft is full of eels.
 
Posts: 2372 | Registered: February 27, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Gracie Allen is my
personal savior!
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by YooperSigs:
Very cool! I thought most of the revolvers we shipped to the Brits were 38.200

I'm sorry I can't give you a citation, but an article in a past edition of The American Rifleman mentioned that the first shipments were "whatever was available", including .38 Specials. At some point the same source mentioned that Winchesters in .44-40 were shipped over and assigned to the Home Guard, or "Dad's Army", but those were apparently not uncommon in the British Empire.
 
Posts: 24247 | Location: Deep in the heart of the brush country, and closing on that #&*%!?! roadrunner. Really. | Registered: February 05, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of JohnnyD
posted Hide Post
That is really cool!


-----------------------------------

USAF/ANG Retired
 
Posts: 779 | Location: Garland, (Zombieland) TX. | Registered: February 21, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of pulicords
posted Hide Post
Beautiful. I love firearms with a history.


"I'm not fluent in the language of violence, but I know enough to get around in places where it's spoken."
 
Posts: 9001 | Location: The Free State of Arizona | Registered: June 13, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by YooperSigs:
Very cool! I thought most of the revolvers we shipped to the Brits were 38.200

Those guns produced and made via contract were 38/200 aka 38 S&W
But the “British purchasing commission” or “battle of Britain” guns were literally anything in inventory!
My Clawson big book notes a listing including revolvers in .22,.32,38,44-40,44 special 45 acp and 45 Colt, including both standard and target models of the single action Army
And autoloaders in 32,380,38 super and 45
 
Posts: 2596 | Location: Finally free in AZ! | Registered: February 14, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
I read a quote from the memoirs of a Home Guardsman... "A Pony Colt and three cartridges..." That one was a .32-20
 
Posts: 2853 | Location: Florence, Alabama, USA | Registered: July 05, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Uppity Helot
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by YooperSigs:
Very cool! I thought most of the revolvers we shipped to the Brits were 38.200


Most were but in 1940 the Brits bought every revolver they could from Colt regardless of caliber, sorry Calibre.

That is a sweet revolver, a truly excellent find. I hope a range report is forthcoming. I hope to someday have a Colt New Service in .38 Special.
 
Posts: 1995 | Location: Manheim, PA | Registered: September 04, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Pursuing the wicked
Picture of rangemaster
posted Hide Post
I’ve always wanted a shorter barrel New Service! What a gem.
 
Posts: 1460 | Location: West Virginia | Registered: December 08, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
Great find! I used to own a Colt New Service in .357 caliber. It was a little bigger than a S&W N frame - quite a handful. Shooting .38 spl in that gun would be like shooting BBs. Thanks for the post.

Jerry
 
Posts: 125 | Location: Oregon | Registered: November 23, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of hjs157
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by j38:
Great find! I used to own a Colt New Service in .357 caliber. It was a little bigger than a S&W N frame - quite a handful. Shooting .38 spl in that gun would be like shooting BBs.


Indeed. At ~40 oz. the Colt New Service is a hefty revolver. For those who haven't held one, picture a slightly smaller Ruger Redhawk in .38 Special. I suspect recoil will be negligible.
 
Posts: 2741 | Location: Western PA | Registered: July 20, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
That appears to be re-finished and the British were and still are VERY fussy about proofs and proof marks. I just do not think that it's possible for a lend-lease revolver to have made it to England without being proof marked. Finally there is the Caliber, it's wrong. During WWII ALL British service revolvers used a variant of the 38 S&W cartridge called the 38/200. The 38 S&W while similar to 38 special it is not dimensionally related to the 38 Special. In fact 38 special ammunition will NOT chamber in a 38 S&W revolver and the 38 S&W will not chamber in a 38 Special revolver. The 38 S&W case diameter is larger at 0.3855/.3865, the bullets are larger 0.361 inch, and the case length is much shorter. Note, some 38/200 bring backs will chamber a 38 special due to a chamber reaming job but the larger diameter chambers on the 38 S&W portion can cause the 38 special case to split and the larger bore causes accuracy to be very poor with tumbling seen frequently. Collectors regard any 38/200 bring back that will chamber a 38 special as a Parts Gun, not anything of value.

As for the statement about the British taking anything they could get, in private hands that may be the case but there is the matter of the missing proof marks. The British required that every single imported firearm be proof marked. Even today the British require that any barrel that has been re-worked in some fashion be submitted for re-proofing, even if the repair is something as simple as tapping out a dent in a shotgun barrel. For Service revolvers my information is the only calibers accepted were the .455 Webley and the 38/200.

While it's an attractive old revolver it is not a collectable revolver. Hopefully you didn't pay too much for it. Because what you were told isn't true. As for value, that can be hard to pin down with a re-finish but at a guess I wouldn't pay more than 300 dollars for this revolver.


I've stopped counting.
 
Posts: 4551 | Location: Michigan | Registered: November 07, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of hjs157
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Scooter123:
That appears to be re-finished and the British were and still are VERY fussy about proofs and proof marks. I just do not think that it's possible for a lend-lease revolver to have made it to England without being proof marked. Finally there is the Caliber, it's wrong. During WWII ALL British service revolvers used a variant of the 38 S&W cartridge called the 38/200. The 38 S&W while similar to 38 special it is not dimensionally related to the 38 Special. In fact 38 special ammunition will NOT chamber in a 38 S&W revolver and the 38 S&W will not chamber in a 38 Special revolver. The 38 S&W case diameter is larger at 0.3855/.3865, the bullets are larger 0.361 inch, and the case length is much shorter. Note, some 38/200 bring backs will chamber a 38 special due to a chamber reaming job but the larger diameter chambers on the 38 S&W portion can cause the 38 special case to split and the larger bore causes accuracy to be very poor with tumbling seen frequently. Collectors regard any 38/200 bring back that will chamber a 38 special as a Parts Gun, not anything of value.

As for the statement about the British taking anything they could get, in private hands that may be the case but there is the matter of the missing proof marks. The British required that every single imported firearm be proof marked. Even today the British require that any barrel that has been re-worked in some fashion be submitted for re-proofing, even if the repair is something as simple as tapping out a dent in a shotgun barrel. For Service revolvers my information is the only calibers accepted were the .455 Webley and the 38/200.

While it's an attractive old revolver it is not a collectable revolver. Hopefully you didn't pay too much for it. Because what you were told isn't true. As for value, that can be hard to pin down with a re-finish but at a guess I wouldn't pay more than 300 dollars for this revolver.


It is well documented in June 1940 the British Purchasing Commission, with Winchester acting as their agent, purchased most any serviceable handgun in commercial US inventory. This included a wide array of pistols and revolvers in calibers other than .38/200. There are actually documented Colt SAA's from this order. These BPC guns were obtained as a stop-gap measure after the British defeat at Dunkirk and pre-date the Lend-Lease program by 9 months. The question however isn't whether or not the BPC guns exist, but rather if my revolver was part of the purchase. While the the refinish on my revolver is of unknown origin, other parkerized 4" Colt New Service .38 Special revolvers from the BPC shipment are known to exist. My forthcoming Colt historical letter should confirm or disprove the provenance.
 
Posts: 2741 | Location: Western PA | Registered: July 20, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
This is a New Service .357 shipped to England in 1940.
 
Posts: 92 | Location: HENDERSON, NEVADA | Registered: December 05, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of JSW
posted Hide Post
Very nice, congrats!
 
Posts: 441 | Registered: June 15, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
  Powered by Social Strata Page 1 2  
 

SIGforum.com    Main Page  Hop To Forum Categories  SIG Pistols    Battle of Britain Colt New Service Revolver

© SIGforum 2020