Clark Custom Long Heavy Slide .38 SPL Mid-Range Semi-Auto Pistol 1975

SOLD FOR: $2,575

LSB#: 231112TW001

Make: Colt, customized by Clark Custom

Model: Custom Series 70 Government Model, now a Clark Long Heavy Slide .38

Serial Number: 70S17931

Year of Manufacture: 1975, Customized September, 1979, proofed in Ulm, Germany 1980

Caliber: .38 Special Mid-Range (flush-seated wadcutters)

Action Type: Single Action Semi-Automatic Pistol fed by Detachable Magazine

Barrel Length: 6”

Sights / Optics: The slide has a full-length solid rib installed. The front sight is a slightly under-cut blade slotted to the front of the rib. The rear sight is a square notch adjustable for windage and elevation, pinned to the rear of the rib.

Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are two-piece custom wood target stocks with textured grip areas, palm-shelf on the right panel and thumb-shelf on the left (for right handed shooter). When installed, the grips hold the grip safety in, preventing the safety from stopping the gun from being fired. The grips have minor handling wear with only a few small marks. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grips are in about Excellent condition as not original to the gun.

Type of Finish: Blued & Chrome

Finish Originality: Refinished by Clark

Bore Condition: The bore is mostly bright and the rifling is sharp. There is no erosion in the bore, but there is some stubborn fouling just in front of the chamber. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates 9 out of 10.

Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 98% of its current metal finish. The finish is strong throughout with light handling marks and operational wear. The screw heads are lightly tool marked with strong slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this pistol is in Excellent condition as customized.

Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The slide to frame fit has barely perceptible play. The trigger is light and crisp. As noted above, the grips keep the grip safety pressed in, the thumb safety functions normally. We did not fire this firearm. As with all used firearms, it may need a thorough cleaning to meet your maintenance standards.

Box, Paperwork & Accessories: This pistol comes with a single 5-round magazine.

Our Assessment: The 1911 and 1911-A1 pistols served the military of the United States from 1911 to 1985, through two World Wars and the Korean and Vietnam wars. They gained a reputation as a reliable handgun with plenty of stopping power, and are held in high regard by those who have used them. The design was the end-result of a series of developments by famous gun designer John Browning, starting with the Model 1900. The advances made by Browning were revolutionary at the time, and were so successful that they are considered commonplace today. Browning not only developed first a pivoting and then a tilting barrel to allow for a locked system, he developed the concept of “the slide”, which is now synonymous with semi-automatic handguns.

Here is an excerpt from an article by Holt Bodinson of American Handgunner with information on the legendary Jim Clark Sr:

“Jim Clark Sr. (1923–2000) was a remarkable man. He could not only build match-winning pistols, he could shoot them too. Competing in NRA bullseye he won the US National championship in 1958. As a gunmaker he won the 1985 Pistolsmith of the Year award. A rough equivalent would be designing and building an Indy 500 racecar, then climbing into the cockpit and winning the race.
Clark’s 1958 win is all the more amazing. It was an era when competitors who were supported and equipped by military shooting programs totally dominated. Clark (who had seen combat as a WWII Marine) won his title as a civilian; building his own guns, casting bullets and loading his own ammunition, training on his own.

In the early 1950s, Clark bought 20 Colt .38 Super pistols and converted them to shoot .38 Special wadcutter match ammunition. He wasn’t the only gunsmith doing so, but none of these conversions was more highly regarded than Clark’s. Another idea came when he bought (for 10 cents each) hundreds of 1911 slides the military had cut in two and sold as surplus. What do you do with hundreds of half-slides? Jim Clark used the parts to make his famous “long slides” which many competitors came to prefer for their long sight radius.

His many innovations were not limited to bullseye competition. When action/practical shooting competition took off in the 1970s, the Clark “Pinmaster” was developed for the popular Second Chance match. John Shaw used a Clark Pin Gun to win the US IPSC (in the pre-USPSA era) in 1980 and again in 1981.”

This Clark Long Heavy Slide .38 Special Mid-Range was customized by Jim Clark in September of 1979, built on a 1975 Colt Government frame. Shortly after, it went to Germany, having Ulm commercial proof marks from 1980. The slide is also marked “EXCLUSIVELY FOR: / SANDER-VISSER”, though we could not find more information about this marking. The long slide has a full-length rib with adjustable target sights, and the rib also incorporates two set-screws that contact the rear of the barrel hood, ensuring consistent barrel placement for each shot. The 6″ barrel has a target crown and the bushing fit is quite tight. The frame has Clark’s distinctive punch-texturing on the frontstrap and has been given a hard chrome finish. Rounding out the customization is a textured wood target stock with palm- and thumb-shelf for a right-handed shooter. The result is a long-slide .38 Mid-Range that will be prized by collectors, but it should also prove to be a great shooter. Please see our photos and good luck!

Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California. -Bud

Clark Custom Long Heavy Slide .38 SPL Mid-Range Semi-Auto Pistol 1975
Clark Custom Long Heavy Slide .38 SPL Mid-Range Semi-Auto Pistol 1975