Colt Officers Target & Match Revolvers - Pistolsmith

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Old 02-01-2003, 09:41 AM   #1
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Colt Officers Target & Match Revolvers

Other than date of manufacture, what is the difference between the Officers Target Revolver model and the Officers Match Revolver model?
Although I have been collecting C&R firearms for a few years I am new to Colt revolvers and I am trying to gather as much info. as I can before making my first purchase which will be either of the above mentioned models in .22lr
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Old 02-01-2003, 11:50 AM   #2
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The Officer's Model Target is Colt's top end pre-war target revolver. It was available in various calibers from .22LR to 32. to the .38 Special. These guns were built on the Colt "E" frame, which is the same as the Official Police "41" frame. This model made Colt's reputation as "THE" target revolver. In the 20's to the 40's many, if not most target shooter's used the Colt.

The Officer's Model had a hand fitted and finished action, checkered trigger and backstrap, with an adjustable rear sight, and an adjustable front sight.

Since the Officer's Model was Colt's premium target revolver,
the gun received extensive polishing and tuning of the action, for the best trigger possible.

The Officer's Model Match is the post-war Colt Target gun. This is built on the Colt "I" frame. Post war the "I" frame was used for all Colt mid-frame revolvers like the Official Police, Trooper, and Python.

The only real differences between the "E" and "I" frames are a few minor changes, primarily in the method of securing the cylinder into the frame.
The pre-war guns used a flanged screw and stud device to hold the cylinder. This is a "figure 8" arrangement on the right front frame. When the screw is backed out, the flange on the screw draws the cylinder retention stud up with it.
The post-war guns use a cap screw, spring, and stud arrangement. This is a large screw on the front right side of the frame. The screw is actually a cap, that retains the cylinder retention stud and spring.

The Officer's Model Match, had Colt's new post-war target hammer, target grips, and the Accro adjustable rear sight, which was a higher-quality match sight. Shooter's had complained that the pre-war sight arrangement of adjusting both front and rear, was too difficult to use.
It had a grooved trigger and grooved backstrap.

The post-war guns used a different bluing system, and received slightly less tuning and polishing of the action. Colt realized that the extensive work done on pre-war guns was simply too expensive, and actually unnecessary, since target matches were fired single action only.

The Officer's Model Match was discontinued, along with all "I" frame revolvers in 1969, with the exception of the Python.

Some pre and post war guns had single action-only actions. In these special order guns, the gun cannot be fired double action. If the trigger is pulled in the DA mode, the cylinder will rotate, but the hammer will not cycle, and the gun won't fire.

In addition, some target shooter's were know to remove the Colt hammer safety mechanism, in the belief that this improved the trigger pull. All Colt target revolvers should be checked for the presence of the internal safety assembly.

The pre-war Officer's Model had a great reputation, and are some of the finest fitted and finished revolvers ever made. Colt was using their famous heat bluing process in those days and the guns are gorgeous.

The post-war guns have better sights, are usually cheaper to buy, and are more available and usually in better shape.
Old 02-01-2003, 12:20 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info!

I guess the only way to satisfy my collectors instinct would be eventualy to get both! I've read nothing but raving revues of both models. I have a choice between a Officers Match in excellent condition with the original Colt target grips for $475 and a Officers Target in very good condition with original regular grips for $525. In reality the $525 isn't that much more since the seller is only about 20mi. away and would save me the shipping costs and hassle of signature delivery to my home etc. plus allows me hands on inspection...
Can you give me the names of any good books with more info. on these revolvers?
Thanks again.
Old 02-01-2003, 02:52 PM   #4
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And if you want to complicate the issue further, there was an Officer's Model Special, in the 1950s. It had a perfectly straight bull barrel with a great long front sight ramp and the Coltmaster adjustable rear sight.

I would sure take a look at that Target before I bought a Match. The later gun has better sights and grips, but the prewar is just SO nicely made.
Old 02-01-2003, 02:57 PM   #5
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Colt books are kind of rare and sometimes expensive.

I can recommend Haven & Belden's "Colt Revolvers".

For technical info on the mechanics of Colt revolvers, the best is Jerry Kunhausen's "Gunsmithing the Colt Double Action Revolvers, Vol. One".
Old 02-02-2003, 05:37 PM   #6
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I used to shoot these guns in NRA competition starting in early 60's. I got the .22 given to me by my dad for a high school grad. present. I got his .38 2 years later shooting in college centerfire matches. The sly old boy hung on to his .32long version he bought to replace the .38 he gave me. I got that gun in the 70's when his eyesight failed and it IS the most accurate of the three. These guns have same 'feel' , balance and action which is a great advantage in the old rimfire and centerfire bullseye format.the .32 was the "cheat' race gun of it's day. None of these guns are 'modified' although they were 'stoned' by an old New Jersey Pistolsmith right when purchased. I found couple lead buck shot under grips of .38 which made it weigh the same as .22 because of bigger holes in barrel and cylinder, I think that was added by Dad.
Old 02-04-2003, 06:26 AM   #7
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Colt O.M.revolvers

In the ol;d days when Joe benner was still shooting 2600ds he was shooting a Colt officers model specially tuned by Colt and he did real well with it. Thats why at the first American Handgunner Awards I built Joe a Costom Colt to give him at being a nomonie
Old 02-04-2003, 04:42 PM   #8
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For those of you who don't know about Austin Behlert:

If Mr. Behlert took a dull axe and whacked a tree limb off, put some scrap rubber innertube straps on it and made a slingshot,
a legion of shooter's and gun collector's would be kicking, biting, and gouging for the chance to buy it at any price.

He's one of the Greats of the Pistolsmiths Hall of Fame.

There were other 'smith's that could equal his work, (maybe, on a really good day), but NOBODY bettered him.
Old 02-09-2003, 02:06 PM   #9
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I have a Colt Officers Model Match. It has an excellent action--smooth as silk---and is a real "TACK DRIVER". It is a .38 special.
Old 02-10-2003, 10:23 AM   #10
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Colt Officers Model - Target

Well I decided to go with the Colt Officers Target and hope to pick it up this weekend. Serial # is in the 22,000 range. This is my first Colt and I am looking forward to getting it.
Thanks for all of the info.!

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