Model: Super .38 Automatic, 2nd Model
Serial Number: 51796
Year of Manufacture: 1947 (Proof House)
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 MFG. CO. HARTFORD, CT. U.S.A.”. The left front of the trigger guard is marked “4” and with a “VP in a triangle. The right front of the trigger guard is marked “71”. The right side of the frame above the trigger is marked “51796”.
Barrel Length: 5”
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a short rounded bladed with a serrated rear ramp that is fixed to the top of the slide. The rear sight is a square notched target sight that is dovetailed into the top of the slide.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are checkered walnut with smooth diamonds around the grip screws. There are a few very light mark in the smooth areas. The checkering shows very light wear that is still sharp to the touch. The grips rate in about Excellent overall condition.
Type of Finish: This pistol is blued. The sides of the slide and frame have a polished blue finish while the rest of the pistol is matte black. The trigger and magazine housing are serrated.
Finish Originality: The finish is original.
Bore Condition: The bore is bright with sharp rifling. There is no erosion in the bore.
Overall Condition: This pistol retains about 80% of its metal finish. The left front side of the slide and the bottom edges of the frame show chemically induced surface loss with light erosion, with another spot on the top left shoulder of the slide and another on the front of the trigger guard. There is thinning on the edges of the slide and a few light marks in the front strap and the edges of the mainspring housing serrations. There are also a few light marks on the sides of the frame, with a scratch through the finish below the slide release. The hammer, magazine release and safety knurling and the slide and mainspring housing serrations are sharp. The recoil spring plug knurling shows moderate wear. The grip screws with very light marks from a screwdriver. The markings are clear. Overall, this pistol rates in about Very Good condition.
Mechanics: The trigger pull is crisp. The slide is tight on the frame. The action functions correctly. 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 eight round magazine. The magazine body has been refinished and shows light pitting under the finish. The floorplate has a matte black finish and is marked “COLT” and “SUPER / 38 AUTO”. The magazine is in about Very Good condition.
Our Assessment: The .38 Super cartridge was first introduced by Colt in 1928 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 with 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 its cartridge. 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 just after WWII and is a 2nd Model, made with a heavier barrel than the first model and easily recognized with a Rampant Colt logo on the right side of the slide instead of the left. It is in about Very Good condition with about 80% of its metal finish remaining. The bore is bright with sharp rifling and no erosion and the slide is tight on the frame. The Super .38 pistols are highly prized by collectors, and this one should be no different. This pistol would be great for home protection and/or as a base for a custom target pistol, but there just weren’t that many of them made, and the collectors will price this beyond reach of the shooters.