Colt .38 Military Model Pistol
The Browning-designed Colt .38 Military Model pistol was produced commercially from about 1902 to 1928. Commonly called the Military Model 1902, this pistol fires the .38 ACP cartridge and should not be used with the more powerful .38 Super round.
The blued sheet steel 8-round magazine of the Model 1902 resembles that of the Colt .38 Sporting Model pistol, but is W longer. One of the main identifying features is the bent-down part of the follower that lifts the slide hold-open catch when the magazine is empty.
Another identifying feature is the backstrap notch. The base bears the marking shown or "MIL. COLT .38 CAL." Some bases are unmarked. —E J. Hoffschmidt t
Colt's Patent Fire Arms Mfg. Co., of Hartford, Conn., began manufacture of single-shot cartridge pistols about 1872 after the acquisition of patents and other assets of the National Arms Co. of Brooklyn, N. Y. The National Arms Co., formed about 1863, was the successor to the Moore Patent Fire Arms Co., manufacturer of the single-shot cartridge pistol patented (No. 31,473) Feb. 19, 1861, by Daniel Moore. As made by Colt's, the National Deringer (Moore patent) was offered with both metal and wood stocks in cal. .41 rimfire only. At about the same time Colt's also began production of a small cal. .41 rimfire single-shot pistol based upon Patent No. 105,388 granted July 12, 1870, to Colt employee F. Alexander Thuer. The Thuer pistol was of side-swinging barrel type, similar in appearance to side-swing single-shot pocket pistols manufactured at the time by J. M. Marlin, Hopkins & Allen, Forehand & Wadsworth, and others. The unique patented feature of the Thuer pistol was the automatic ejector which eliminated the necessity for manual case ejection after opening of the breech. As stated in a Colt advertisement of 1872, "The exploded shell need not be touched by the fingers."
The Thuer pistol weighed 6V2 ozs. as against 10 ozs. for the Colt-National pistol with metal grips. It was available with silver-plated frame and blued barrel, or with silver-plated frame and barrel. Stocks were optionally of walnut, rosewood, ivory, or pearl. There was a change made in the barrel marking as well as changes in shape of hammer and frame during its period of manufacture, which extended to 1912. Frame of the pistol was always of bronze, with other parts of iron.
Present collectors designate the Thuer-designed pistol as the Third Model whereas the Colt-National metal-grip and wood-grip pistols are designated First Model and Second Model respectively.
In late 1959 Colt's introduced the Colt Deringer No. 4 chambered for the cal. .22 short cartridge. Primarily offered to interest the collector of Colt arms, it features a frame and barrel die-cast from zinc alloy, but is otherwise a close replica of the original Thuer model.
Colt Deringer No. 3
By James M. Triggs
To disassemble barrel assembly, remove barrel screw (2) from underside of frame (1). With hammer at half-cock or safety position, swing rear of barrel (4) to right and remove barrel from frame. Remove barrel latch and ejector screw (8) from left side of barrel while pressing barrel latch and ejector in. Withdraw barrel latch & ejector (10) and spring (9) from rear of barrel. Draw barrel latch release pin (7) from left side of barrel. Removal of barrel stop pin (6) is seldom necessary and should not be attempted during normal disassembly.
To disassemble lock mechanism, remove grip screw (19) and grips (20).
2. Barrel screw
3. Barrel latch bushing
5. Front sight
6. Barrel stop pin
7. Barrel latch release pin
8. Barrel latch & ejector screw
9. Barrel latch & ejector spring 10. Barrel latch & ejector
Mainspring (13) may be tapped out of its seat in frame and removed. Remove hammer screw (12) from left side of frame and withdraw hammer (11) from top of frame while pressing back on trigger. Remove trigger screw (15) from left side of frame and drop trigger (14) and trigger spring (16) out bottom of frame. Note: Trigger spring shown in exploded drawing is of the coil type which rests in a shallow hole at rear of trigger. Earlier types are provided with a flat. V-shaped trigger spring, shown in longitudinal-section drawing. The barrel latch bushing (3) may be removed only by drilling. Reassemble in reverse. ■
12. Hammer screw
15. Trigger screw
16. Trigger spring (flat or coil type)
17. Grip pin
19. Grip screw
By Thomas E. Wessel
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