SOLD FOR: $7275
Model: Super .38 Automatic
Serial Number: 4354
Year of Manufacture: 1929 (https://www.colt.com/serial-lookup), 1st Year Production
Caliber: .38 Super
Action Type: Single Action Semi-Auto with Removable Magazine
Markings: The right side of the slide is marked “COLT”, “SUPER .38 / AUTOMATIC” and with a Rampant Colt logo. The left side of the slide is marked “COLT’S PT. F.A. MFG. CO. HARTFORD, CT. U.S.A. / PAT’D APR.20,1897. SEPT.9,1902. DEC.19,1905. FEB.14,1911. AUG.19,1913”. The left front of the trigger guard is marked with a “VP in a triangle and “1”. The right front of the trigger guard is marked “60”. The right side of the frame above the trigger is marked “4354”. The rear face of the slide, under the firing pin plate, is marked “43 / 54”.
Barrel Length: 5”
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a rounded bladed fixed to the top of the slide. The rear sight is a square notched sight that is dovetailed into the top of the slide.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are two-piece checkered walnut. The grips show moderate handling wear. There is a patch of smoothed checkers below the top screw on the left panel, a patch of compressed checkers below this, and a notable scratch below that. The right panel has some scattered nicks and scratches. There are no chips or cracks. The grips rate in Good-Very Good overall condition.
Type of Finish: Blued
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is mostly bright with sharp rifling. There is infrequent minor erosion in the bore, mostly at the muzzle-end. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates an 8 out of 10.
Many military and C&R eligible weapons have bores that will show erosion. This is not only due to age but to the fact that corrosive primers were commonly used in ammunition worldwide. For example, the U.S. used corrosive ammunition throughout WWII. The U.S. military did not begin to phase out corrosive-primed ammunition until the 1950’s.
Overall Condition: This pistol retains about 85% of its metal finish. The finish is thinning at all edges. There is scattered finish wear on the slide and handling wear in the grip areas. There are some scattered light nicks and scratches. There are infrequent spots of minor oxidation. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to lightly tool marked with strong slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this pistol is in Very Good condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The trigger pull is crisp. The slide has minor play to the frame. We have not fired this pistol. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: This pistol comes in a maroon cardboard hinge-lid box with manual and one blued nine round magazine. The top half of the magazine is “In The White”. The floorplate is marked “COLT” and “SUPER / 38 AUTO.”. The body has light operational wear, the feed lips are intact and the spring is strong. The box has the serial number hand-written on the bottom in pencil and shows scattered storage wear. Also included is a Folsom’s Audley leather retention holster with a leather belt (33″-37″).
Our Assessment: The .38 Super cartridge was first introduced by Colt in 1929 as a higher pressure loading of the .38 ACP. It is capable of driving a 115 gr. bullet to nearly 1400 fps., producing almost 500 ft-lbs. of energy. This is not quite up to the .357 Magnum, but was still capable of penetrating body armor and automobile bodies. Today, the cartridge is favored by many top pistol match competitors for its ability to make “Major” category with a lighter bullet offering less felt recoil than that produced from a .45 ACP round. Colt first introduced the round in its 1911A1 frame, making it basically the same as the Government Model except for the caliber. The 1911 pistol had already gained a reputation as a highly reliable pistol during WWI, Colt saw no reason not to capitalize on that reputation with a new caliber offering.
This Super .38 pistol was made in 1929, the first year of production. This pistol is in Very Good condition, showing honest wear consistent with its age, but retaining a good bore and strong mechanics. The Super .38 pistols are highly prized by collectors and one from this early in production with its original finish and box is going to have the collectors standing in line to bid. Please see our photos and good luck!
Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California. -Bud