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  #1  
Old 01-21-2010, 10:34 PM
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Default Advice on Colt .38 special value?

My grandfather passed away in 2007. Late 2009 I received this Colt snub-nose .38 special revolver from my grandmother. I know nothing more about this revolver than what you see. I have never fired it, but I assume it will fire perfectly (the action is good to go, seems solid). It has engraved on the side the little Colt stallion and on the barrel it has "DETECTIVE SPEC" engraved above the ".38 SPECIAL CTG.". He had some ammo, one box looks like it is complete with 50 rounds, the other is mix matched I'd guess 30-40 and the last is 20 and I have no idea what kind of round these are (flat on the front).

I know I should have filled out the inter-family transfer forms and sent them in along with the $20 or $30 (I forget exactly) that the DOJ wants, but I have been lazy and this thing just went in the safe. So if I want to just go ahead and sell it, do I need to first go through and fill those forms out or can it simply go to a FFL and have it transferred normally? What value do you think this might have if I sell it in the Marketplace here? Thanks!




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Old 01-21-2010, 11:28 PM
littlejake littlejake is offline
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Aside from needing a good cleaning, that's a nice little Colt. It appears that the frame extends to the bottom of the grip which I believe puts it pre-1960 (not 100% sure).

It would easily fetch $500; perhaps more.

Those flat nose bullets are called wad cutters and are for paper targets. They cut a nice clean circular hole in the paper.

I cannot advise you on how to transfer it... you know the correct steps to take. BTW -- the fee for filing the interfamilial transfer is $19.
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Old 01-22-2010, 7:36 AM
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Give Colt a call with the serial number, and they'll give you a correct build date.

(btw: it's missing the knob on the threaded end of the ejector rod, but you can find one online)

Today it's worth somewhere around $500, more with the box and papers.

Don't sell it. Keep it in the family, please.

It's still an excellent personal/home defense snubby.

Those flat-nose rounds are range/practice rounds with lower pressure than modern, SD ammo. Don't shoot the old roundnose lead bullets, just keep them as collectibles.

You can load it with modern, +P ammo, but don't shoot it very much with that ammo, just a few rounds at the range to get a handle on the recoil.

Or just stash it in the safe and let it appreciate.

That's the kind of gun Jack Ruby used to curl Lee Harvey Oswald (although I he used the lighter weight "Cobra").

Last edited by doc540; 01-22-2010 at 7:39 AM..
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Old 01-22-2010, 8:02 AM
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Appears to be a Colt Detective Special. If your serial number falls within the category, you can pretty much bet that is what it is. Click on http://proofhouse.com/colt/index.html to find out the year it was made.

For some history on the gun, take a look at http://www.guncollectorsclub.com/detective.htm

Last edited by Unit74; 01-22-2010 at 8:05 AM..
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Old 01-22-2010, 8:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unit74 View Post
Appears to be a Colt Detective Special. If your serial number falls within the category, you can pretty much bet that is what it is. Click on http://proofhouse.com/colt/index.html to find out the year it was made.
Sweet site. 1959 manufacture. Cool.
I just ordered the ejector rod knob, $21 shipped for a tiny piece, but it is original blued style and such, so should be OEM look.

Pretty cool this thing is that old. One side of me wants to keep it, the other side says I could sell it and apply those funds towards a nice H&K USP 45 or a glock
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Old 01-22-2010, 8:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Agro View Post
Sweet site. 1959 manufacture. Cool.
I just ordered the ejector rod knob, $21 shipped for a tiny piece, but it is original blued style and such, so should be OEM look.

Pretty cool this thing is that old. One side of me wants to keep it, the other side says I could sell it and apply those funds towards a nice H&K USP 45 or a glock
And FWIW... If you do decide to sell it, it should now be in the C&R classification and thus, a cash and carry transaction.
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Old 01-22-2010, 9:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unit74 View Post
And FWIW... If you do decide to sell it, it should now be in the C&R classification and thus, a cash and carry transaction.
Cash & carry of a +50 year old C & R applies to long guns only and not a handgun, correct? Or someone who has the C & R/COE - but still must go through an FFL dealer in CA because it's a handgun.
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Old 01-22-2010, 9:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Agro View Post
Sweet site. 1959 manufacture. Cool.
I just ordered the ejector rod knob, $21 shipped for a tiny piece, but it is original blued style and such, so should be OEM look.

Pretty cool this thing is that old. One side of me wants to keep it, the other side says I could sell it and apply those funds towards a nice H&K USP 45 or a glock
Good that you got the ejector rod knob - a touch of loctite on it wouldn't be such a bad thing so it doesn't wander away. You might want to add a Pachmayer grip adapter or a Tyler T grip - they fill in the front curve of the grip and make shooting a bit easier. I have a Cobra of the same era, they are great little guns.

My guess is the 158 and 148s will shoot to pint of aim, lighter faster stuff probably not so much. These things were set up for the heavy & slow stuff. I'd keep it, but that's just me liking the old guns.
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Old 01-22-2010, 9:18 AM
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Handguns have to go through a FFL01 for a transfer, regardless of firearm age. The usual exceptions apply to this e.g. intrafamilial transfer etc.
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Old 01-22-2010, 9:59 AM
littlejake littlejake is offline
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Establishing that it is greater than 50 years old; and hence classified as C&R means it is roster exempt.

I too had a Cobra that I bought in 1969. These are really nice Colts. In my opinion, they are stronger than S&W J-frames of the same era. I shot a lot of "Super Vel's" which were the hot ammo of the day through mine -- plus handloaded ammo that was quite hot... and it did very well.

Frankly I would recommend keeping it also.
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Old 01-22-2010, 10:07 AM
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Quote:
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Handguns have to go through a FFL01 for a transfer, regardless of firearm age. The usual exceptions apply to this e.g. intrafamilial transfer etc.
Bummer...
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  #12  
Old 01-22-2010, 5:22 PM
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Keep the gun, keep the gun, keep the gun.

It is a heirloom, and will only go up in value. Later when you have a bunch of guns you will regret selling it. Also, keep the old ammo and the ammo boxes. They are also collectables. Set everything aside, take care of it, and hold on to it. You will be glad you did.
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Old 01-22-2010, 6:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Agro View Post
Sweet site. 1959 manufacture. Cool.
I just ordered the ejector rod knob, $21 shipped for a tiny piece, but it is original blued style and such, so should be OEM look.

Pretty cool this thing is that old. One side of me wants to keep it, the other side says I could sell it and apply those funds towards a nice H&K USP 45 or a glock
Selling a great old gun like that for a glock.

Blasphemy!
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