Picked up an old Pony today.

Picked up an old Pony today.

This is a discussion on Picked up an old Pony today. within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Went to the gun show in Fayetteville today and found this nice classic Colt Police Positive in 32-20 WCF. According to the seller it was ...

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  1. #1
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    Picked up an old Pony today.

    Went to the gun show in Fayetteville today and found this nice classic Colt Police Positive in 32-20 WCF. According to the seller it was made in 1949 and has a serial #523XX, if anyone can confirm the date I would appreciate it. It has a tight lockup and a fine trigger pull. There is some light staining on the cylinder but no apparent holster wear, may have been wrapped in a cloth and spent may years in a nightstand drawer. I did find some ammo at slightly less than the cost of an arm so I am looking forward to a range trip to try it out.

    Colt_PP_R.JPG Colt_PP_L.JPG
    When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk.
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  2. #2
    VIP Member Array StormRhydr's Avatar
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    Nice find! Give us a report after your range trip.

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    Congrats on your find , Enjoy.
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    Very nice.

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    Nice find.

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    It had some information on your's on Wikipedia.Didn't mention serial numbers but it said they were 3 versions.The last year was 1947,if i was looking at the right one.Anyway good luck

    I pasted this in search box on Wikipedia::Colt Police Positive in 32-20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brent95 View Post
    It had some information on your's on Wikipedia.Didn't mention serial numbers but it said they were 3 versions.The last year was 1947,if i was looking at the right one.Anyway good luck

    I pasted this in search box on Wikipedia::Colt Police Positive in 32-20
    Thank you for the info, will check it out.
    When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk.
    "Don't forget, incoming fire has the right of way."

  8. #8
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    Well, we're pretty certain it didn't sail on the Titanic for your Colt is still floating around, msgt/ret, but with that serial No. of 523XX it was made in the portentous year of 1912. The Titanic went to the bottom in April of that year and Europe was even then hurtling toward a cataclysmic war, initially called The Great War, but renamed World War I when an even greater war emerged to afflict mankind.

    Your gun is an early Police Positive Special, different than the Police Positive in that it has a longer cylinder housed in a frame lengthened to accommodate it. The Police Positive Special was introduced in 1908 so your revolver was made only four years into its manufacturing run which lasted a long time. Your revolver has the same frame size as was later used to introduce the world to the Detective Special. The Police Positive Special was chambered in both .32-20 and .38 Special. The grip frame on the early guns was more narrow than the ones made after about the mid-1920s. The narrow grip frame means the gun is a handful when used with really heavy loads such as +P .38 Special. I've tried some +P 158 grain lead SWCs in my 1914 vintage Police Positive Special. You won't have that problem with your .32-20 version which will be pleasant to fire. Should be really accurate too with good loads. The last box of factory Winchester 100 grain lead .32-20 ammunition I shot off was a disappointment, in both rifle and revolver. It exhibited huge velocity variations and poor grouping. I mostly shot it up for the cases for handloading purposes.

    The .32-20 was said to have a degree of popularity in the mid-South and in Appalachia in the years before World War II. A good number of folks, both within and without law enforcement circles, thought it offered more punch than the 38 Special. This was likely due in part because it is a fairly loud little bugger. It's power reputation was likely mostly due to folks being willing to buy and shoot the "rifle only" .32-20 loads that were once common before World War II. This was a hot number, giving near .30 Carbine performance from a rifle and scorching velocities with attendant evil very loud report from revolvers. It's bound to have been an impressive event to fire off a .32-20 "rifle-only" load from a revolver. It might have been more potent than .38 Special other than the .38-44 loadings. Only problem is, the high-velocity "rifle only" .32-20 was likely also really hard on the revolvers in which it was fired.

    Pretty Boy Floyd was said to have been done in with a .32-20 in 1934.

    Even in that century-old Colt you can probably obtain near .327 Magnum performance with the right handloads. Colt steel was always highly regarded though I'd probably not be willing to hot-rod one made so early. Modern factory loads or handloads giving factory equivalent performance will be pleasing to shoot, kind to the revolver, and suffice for a number of handgunning chores.

    Cartridge Discussion: .32-20 Post No. 4 gives one illustration of a composer who had a high regard for the .32-20's capabilities as opposed to the .38 Special.

    After the short frame Police Positive was discontinued during World War II, the Police Positive Special model dropped the "Special" and it became just the Police Positive though it featured the same long frame/cylinder dimensions of the pre-war Police Positive Special. The .32-20 chambering was gone by World War II as well. The Police Positive soldiered on in the Colt catalog line-up until at least the mid 1990s and could be had in .32 Colt New Police (same cartridge as .32 S&W long) and .38 Special. A few were also produced for British Commonwealth contracts in .38/200 (.38 S&W). I think the Police Positive and the Detective Special were both axed in 1995 though am not certain. Colt churned out some models from the Custom Shop after they were said to be discontinued from the catalog.

    Here's a link to a Proofhouse table for you. It's the same data as is found in my R.L. Wilson Colt reference book.
    Serial Number Data

    I confess to being envious of your new Colt. It's a fine shooter, in a great cartridge. I'm wondering about the "Rampant Colt" roll marking on the side plate on your gun. Is the "Rampant Colt" surrounded by a stylized "C"? A really attractive Colt trademark variation that apparently was only used for a few years, perhaps about 1909 to about 1912. Your revolver ought to also feature the exquisite carbonia blue finish. When new this finish was the prettiest blue ever featured on American firearms in my personal opinion. The special high polish and carbonia blue finish process was discontinued by Colt sometime before World War I. The iridescent peacock blue trigger on your revolver is standing out in the photographs which, along with the year the revolver was produced, makes me ask about the type of "Rampant Colt."

    Here's a photo of the "Rampant Colt" bordered with the stylized "C". Taken from a New Service revolver in the collection here which was produced in 1910. It's my favorite way to view the pony.



    Same photo duplicated and blow up.
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    Great info, mine does have the stylized “C” though it is somewhat worn and it does have a different cylinder release. Better lighting and flash do bring out the scratches though.

    ColtLogo.jpg
    bmcgilvray likes this.
    When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk.
    "Don't forget, incoming fire has the right of way."

  10. #10
    OD*
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    Bryan, you need to quit that new job and write a book on the classic revolvers.
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  11. #11
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    That's a real beauty, Master SGT.
    "The pistol, learn it well, carry it always ..." ~ Jeff Cooper

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    Quote Originally Posted by msgt/ret View Post
    Great info, mine does have the stylized “C” though it is somewhat worn and it does have a different cylinder release. Better lighting and flash do bring out the scratches though.

    ColtLogo.jpg
    Oh yeah! That's the one! Bah! Those fine hair scratches are nothing at all. Your revolver has a goodly measure of blue on its external surfaces. Very nice! The "Rampant Colt" is not worn. Colt only "lightly kissed" the side plate with that "Rampant Colt" roll mark. All of 'em are that way. That's the correct thumb piece. Colt developed that style thumb piece and thoughtfully placed the nice checkering on it as a handy thumb rest for the right-handed shooter's convenience. It works too. Try it sometime for a great stable grip on the revolver, especially for one-handed shooting. Later, the checkering was deleted, likely in a cost saving measure. Don't know exactly when checkering was deleted on the thumb piece but don't much think it occurs on post-WWII thumb pieces.




    Quote Originally Posted by OD* View Post
    Bryan, you need to quit that new job and write a book on the classic revolvers.
    Hah! There's no money in it. A new generation has arrived. A book on the classic early Glocks would be more to the point.
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    Theodore Roosevelt, The Wilderness Hunter, 1893

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    Quote Originally Posted by bmcgilvray View Post
    A book on the classic early Glocks would be more to the point.
    How about a pamphlet?
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    "The pistol, learn it well, carry it always ..." ~ Jeff Cooper

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  14. #14
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    That'd about get it said for me.

    Actually, I've been wondering about seeking the very earliest Glock 17 that could be found. A guy's gotta start somewhere. They're bound to have had better plastic back in the late 1980s.
    msgt/ret and gasmitty like this.
    Charter Member of the DC .41 LC Society "Get heeled! No really"

    “No possible rapidity of fire can atone for habitual carelessness of aim with the first shot.”

    Theodore Roosevelt, The Wilderness Hunter, 1893

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    Distinguished Member Array squid86's Avatar
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    very nice find. take care of that one.
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