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Old 07-26-2010, 12:13 AM
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Default Two .32 Target Revolvers from the 1940s (one S&W, one cousin)

I'm slipping deeper into my mid-century revolver addiction and used an upcoming birthday (now in the recent past) as an excuse (as if I needed an excuse) to grab a couple of nice revolvers that came available from different sources at about the same time.

The gun in the background here is a Colt Officers Model Target in .32 Long that was part of a 1940s Massachusetts National Guard contract. It was probably shipped in 1941, based on what I know about Colt serial numbers (which, to be honest, leaves a lot of room for improvement). As with S&W, the .32 Target Colts are not at all common. The gun in the foreground is a K-32 Masterpiece that shipped in April of 1949. It went to J.L. Galef in New York City. Galef was a major firearms retailer who worked closely with NYPD officers. Don't let the perspective mislead you; the Colt OMT is actually slightly larger than the Masterpiece.




The K-32 came to me with diamond magnas from a later gun, and they didn't quite fit. Since they were the wrong stocks anyway, I rummaged in the woodpile to find some non-relieved K-frame targets that I put on the gun. They are still the wrong stocks, but they look a little better.




I think both guns are about 98%. The Colt may not have been fired since leaving the factory, which presents a quandary. The K-32 seems to have been fired, but not much. I'll probably try a few rounds in it.

The other side of the S&W:




Back of cylinder. The number is K69843. Nice case coloring.




I promise not to load you all up with photos of the competition, but this really is a pretty nice target revolver, so I'll let myself post a couple of views.






Nobody is responsible for my revolver addiction but me, but a forum member triggered this thread by asking elsewhere if I had let myself have any special birthday presents. Well, yeah -- blush! -- I guess I kind of did.
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Old 07-26-2010, 12:49 AM
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Nice, David, just NICE! You take good photographs, too.
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Old 07-26-2010, 11:09 AM
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What a great looking pair of .32's! I doubt I would be able to resist shooting that Colt - a weakness of mine to be sure.

A Belated Happy Birthday to you, David,

Jerry
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Old 07-26-2010, 11:14 AM
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A very nice Birthday surprise , Congratulation on a couple beautiful Revolvers

Dan
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Old 07-26-2010, 03:17 PM
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Very nice, I don't have a .32 but a K-32 or the Colt would be very tempting if the funds where available. Are they both chambered for the same cartridge, the .32's are a bit confusing to me. Let us know how they shoot.

Thanks for the pics.

Troy
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Old 07-26-2010, 04:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Troystat View Post
Are they both chambered for the same cartridge, the .32's are a bit confusing to me.

Troy
.32 cartridges in the late 1800s and early decades of the 1900s are indeed confusing, with Colt and S&W both offering .32 cartridges that were not identical. By the time the guns above were made, the .32 S&W Long was the standard, and both guns will fire it. Both guns will also shoot the slightly smaller .32 Colt and .32 New Police cartridges (WRONG. See note), but probably with diminished accuracy and the possibility of brass swelling.

In general, you can shoot .32 Colt rounds in .32 S&W-chambered revolvers, but the .32 S&W rounds (short or long) won't fit into the chambers of revolvers that are designed exclusively for the .32 Colt cartridges. I believe .32 Colt rounds are now available only occasionally after special production runs from specialty ammunition manufacturers.


EDITED TO ADD: Oops, I was wrong about the .32 New Police. That's what Colt called the .32 S&W Long. See post No. 18 below for more info.
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Old 07-26-2010, 05:03 PM
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Those are 2 really nice revolvers. The best thing about giving them to yourself is that you will always get what you want. No tie to take back.
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Old 07-26-2010, 06:51 PM
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Default Two .32 revolvers

Sir;
Those are beautiful!
By the way, how do you get that background like that?
Those are great photos.
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Old 07-26-2010, 07:32 PM
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A question on the OMT. Is the front sight slotted where the screw is so you can adjust it?
Paul
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Old 07-26-2010, 08:02 PM
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"... the .32's are a bit confusing to me. "

I'm glad Troystat asked that question because I was going to. And thanks for the info, I didn't know the 32 S&W, 32 long and 32 Colt were not, for the most part, interchangeable.

The Colt is immaculate and the 32 Masterpiece looks just fine with the targets. DCW is a old revolver MAGNET. They just seem to find you and stick.

GF
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Old 07-26-2010, 08:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFAN View Post
A question on the OMT. Is the front sight slotted where the screw is so you can adjust it?
Paul
Yes, there are actually two screws in the front sight. The transverse screw is a clamp. In the leading face of the blade is a smaller screw that actually elevates or lowers the blade. So loosen the clamp screw, adjust the front blade height with the other one, and re-clamp when you have it where you want it.
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Old 07-26-2010, 08:28 PM
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David,
Outstanding acquisitions!
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Old 07-26-2010, 08:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monet61 View Post
Sir;
Those are beautiful!
By the way, how do you get that background like that?
Those are great photos.
Thanks. The background is just a piece of white poster board, maybe 18" x 30", that I put down on a counter and bend up the wall behind it to make a seamless surface in two dimensions. I light with overhead fluorescents and two side lights. The side lights are Ottlite models balanced toward noon or high altitude daylight, which is why the faint shadows under the revolvers are bluish. This is a kind of slapdash lighting set up whose primary benefit is that I can set it up or tear it down in just a couple of minutes. One of these days I need to make a real light box.
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Old 07-26-2010, 09:27 PM
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those are a gorgeous pair...I love the checkering of a pre-war Colt...they sure don't make 'em like they used to...
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Old 07-26-2010, 11:26 PM
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DCW, nice guns. I have a K32 and love it. Years ago in the Shotgun News, J&G Rifle Ranch had the Colt 32 like yours in the box for $375.00. By the time I made up my mind and called to reserve one, they had all been sold to one buyer. Another smart move on my part by waiting too long. They had a blow out on them because they were so hard to sell. Not anymore. My backside is still sore because I'm still kickin it. Enjoy that pair. They are lovely.

Bob
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Old 07-27-2010, 01:12 PM
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I think the .32 S&W long and the .32 Colt New Police cartridges are the same cartridge dimensions and interchangeable. Maybe that is what you meant to say? Great guns, I just bought an old model 16. Alanfir
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Old 07-27-2010, 01:23 PM
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Happy B-Day!!

Nice pair of sixguns.
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Old 07-27-2010, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by alanfir View Post
I think the .32 S&W long and the .32 Colt New Police cartridges are the same cartridge dimensions and interchangeable. Maybe that is what you meant to say? Great guns, I just bought an old model 16. Alanfir
Yes, you are correct. I am not sure what I was thinking when I wrote the message you addressed.

To correct and summarize, early Colts chambered in .32 Colt (or Long Colt) and .32 Short Colt can fire only those cartridges.

The .32 S&W and .32 S&W long cartridges can be fired in any S&W, but not in the early .32 Colts.

Since the .32 Colt rounds are slightly smaller in diameter than the .32 S&W rounds, you can shoot .32 Colt in a S&W .32, but accuracy is likely to be poor and the cases may swell.

The .32 Colt New Police revolvers chamber the .32 S&W cartridges; Colt just didn't want to use the S&W name, any more than S&W wanted to identify the .38 Colt as a cartridge that could be fired in their first .38 Specials.

Thanks for catching that.
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Old 07-27-2010, 06:55 PM
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I have only owned one Colt. A four digit serial numbered 1911 that supposedly shipped to the US Navy. I bought it from a pilot in Viet Nam for $25 and was stolen from me in 1969, used in a crime where the perp was shot in the spine and paralyzed from the neck down. He was a friend of mine at the time and knew where the gun was. It was traced By the BATF to Cooks County Ill. and disappeared. Imagine that.
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Old 07-27-2010, 08:54 PM
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Beautiful pair, and you don't need an excuse to buy those classic revolvers, just call them your 401K fund! I also have your desease, I caught the colt bug after starting to collect and shoot Smiths, those old timers sure had a hard choice when it came down to buy one Colt or a S&W, for sure!! Congrats and thanks for posting picture, Dale the Cannuck!
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Old 07-28-2010, 12:00 AM
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DCW,
Very nice set, but what you really need is a Pre-War K-32 to go along with that Pre-War Colt 32. Like the set in the Photo below.
H. M. Pope
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Old 07-28-2010, 12:23 AM
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DCW,
Very nice set, but what you really need is a Pre-War K-32 to go along with that Pre-War Colt 32. Like the set in the Photo below.
H. M. Pope
Believe me, I've been looking! I see a Prewar K-32 on availability lists from time to time, but the prices are breathtaking. I'm not yet in that tier of collecting, and may never be.

Thanks for the pic, which really does show my dream .32 combo. I like the humpback hammer.
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Old 07-28-2010, 07:28 PM
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Default 3/4 scale cousins

Here are the kid brothers of your cousins (22 caliber 22/32 & Police Positive Target). I would show the older brothers, but I haven't found a 44 Spl Colt New Service Target I can afford.

Bob Hart #946

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Old 07-28-2010, 10:45 PM
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Bob, handsome cousins! I have a similar pair but haven't photographed them together yet. Maybe there is a potential here for a thread showing "parallel models" from the S&W and Colt lines.

I remember being surprised when I first started learning the dates of Colt models to see how often one company's introduction of a model was followed by something pretty similar from the other company the next year. Colt introduced the Police Positive Target in 1910, and the next year S&W comes out with the .22/32 Bekeart; Colt brings out the Officers Model Target .22 in 1930, and next year S&W introduces the K-22 Outdoorsman. S&W brings out the .38/44 Heavy Duty and Outdoorsman in 1930 and 1931 and soon afterward... well soon afterward Colt starts talking fast about how their .38 special revolver is big enough for the hot loads already and doesn't need a bigger frame. It's interesting to watch the marketing and countermarketing go on through time.
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Old 07-29-2010, 12:54 AM
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Thanks for explaining the different cartridges and posting the great pictures.

Troy
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Old 07-30-2010, 12:25 PM
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Great looking pair DC. Ive had several Colt target revolvers but never a 32
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