SOLD FOR: $8,525
Model: Super .38 Automatic
Serial Number: 32271
Year of Manufacture: 1938 (https://www.colt.com/serial-lookup)
Caliber: .38 Super
Action Type: Single Action Semi-Auto with Removable Magazine
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 checkered walnut. The checkering shows minor wear with a few scattered minor marks. The wood shows some discoloration from age and oil. The checkering is well defined. There are no chips or cracks. The grips rate in Fine-plus overall condition.
Type of Finish: Blued
Finish Originality: Original, the slide is serial-matched to the frame.
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 8 or 9 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.
Overall Condition: This pistol retains about 95% of its metal finish. The finish is lightly thinning at most edges, more notable at the front of the slide. There is scuffing and handling wear in the frontstrap. There is a spot of wear on the left of the frame under the slide stop-notch. There are scattered minor nicks and small scratches, mostly on the slide. There is infrequent very minor surface oxidation. There is one more notable nick at the bottom-rear corner of the slide on the left. The action shows light operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to lightly tool marked with strong slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this pistol is in Fine condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. This pistol has a Swartz safety, similar to a Series 80 firing pin block. The trigger pull is crisp. The slide has barely perceptible 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 with one blued nine round magazine.
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 1938 during a period where these pistols were equipped with the Swartz safety system, similar to the more modern Series 80 firing pin block. This pistol is in Fine condition with about 95% of its original metal finish remaining. The bore is in great shape and the mechanics are still spot-on. The Super .38 pistols are highly prized by collectors and one with its original finish and high condition 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