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Greek Army Colt Army Special

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cwo4uscgret
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Greek Army Colt Army Special

#1 Post by cwo4uscgret » Tue Jul 03, 2018 1:09 am

I belong to ColtForm.com (as well as other gun forums go figure). A member who collects Military and LE Agency marked guns posted a Gun Broker link for a Greek Army marked Colt Army Special chambered in .38 Special. Colt made the Army special in various calibers (.22 LR, .38 Special, .32-20, .38-200 (aka as .38 S&W), and .41 Colt (aka .41 Long Colt with barrel lengths of 4", 5", and 6". They also made them in 4-1/2" which is not as common. Around 1927 Colt renamed the Army Special the Official Police!

This 4-1/2" barreled gun, made in 1914 according to Proofhouse.com was inspected by Major Gilbert H. Stuart, US Army Ordnance Inspector (his inspection mark is the round circle stamped on the left side between the top of the cylinder and the hammer.

This gun shows a somewhat decent finish considering its 104 years old and was a military sidearm. I suspect there was a lot more holster wear then hard use; the bore and cylinder is fairly clean. I took the side plate off; inside its clean but dry. The action is tight; the cylinder locks up tight; trigger pull in both Single and Double action is heavy however! If I knew how to take it down to a bare frame I'd give it a super detail cleaning and lubricating! The smooth wood stocks (grips) are numbers matched to the gun; and on the butt of the gun is marked with the Greek Letters Epsilom and Sigma (meaning the Greek Army) and a 5 digit S/N probably a property number. I don't see any reason to not shoot it with some very basic Lead Round Nose 158 grain ammo or some .38 Special Mid-Range Wadcutter ammo!

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Just for grins, here's my .41 Colt Army Special, 5" barrel, made in 1920:

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Now for the fun part: The gun was $275 plus $25 shipping; and another $20 transfer fee from my friendly local gun shop here in San Antonio. Sadly the .41 Colt Army Special was three times as much - but condition means everything!

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Re: Greek Army Colt Army Special

#2 Post by RWS » Tue Jul 03, 2018 8:46 am

Good catch on your part. The Army Specials are old revolvers that can still be had for not much coin in either .38 Special or .32-20 calibers. I'm not sure why because several fellow collectors proclaim that any Colt revolver these days in good working order is worth $500 minimum.

I have a refinished Army Special in .32-20 that I was able to pick up for $250 OTD. I thought I was getting a real bargain but since then I have seen several others in .32-20 for sale, all under $300 so I guess there is not a lot of demand for these revolvers in average condition.

I also see older Police Positives in .32-20 for sale at the under-$300 mark so not much reason not to get one, IMO.

-Bob

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Re: Greek Army Colt Army Special

#3 Post by Polock » Wed Jul 04, 2018 1:18 pm

Been a fan of the mid-frame Colts since I carried one (Colt .357) as a patrolman in Tennessee--great actions--same as Python--and great guns.
Always kind of wanted one in .41 Colt, but not being a handloader never took the plunge.

Great find on an Army Special that actually went to an army!!
Last edited by Polock on Sat Jul 07, 2018 3:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Greek Army Colt Army Special

#4 Post by cwo4uscgret » Wed Jul 04, 2018 4:31 pm

Over on the Colt Forum, the member who steered me to the auction had this to say about his Greek Army Special:
Seriously, mine does not have the inspector's mark and is Epsilon Sigma 11172. It also is one year later than yours (1915) and has a matte (Parkerized?) finish that appears to be period to the revolver.
His gun's number is 86 higher then mine...

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Re: Greek Army Colt Army Special

#5 Post by indy1919a4 » Wed Jul 04, 2018 4:50 pm

Any thoughts on the number of these Colts that was sold to Greece????

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Re: Greek Army Colt Army Special

#6 Post by M67 » Thu Jul 05, 2018 8:24 am

Beautiful revolver in original shape. It was surprise for me that revolver was in official weapon manual as a part of onfiscated weapon in KuK Austro-Hungarian forces during ww1.
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Re: Greek Army Colt Army Special

#7 Post by RWS » Fri Jul 06, 2018 6:01 am

indy1919a4 wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 4:50 pm
Any thoughts on the number of these Colts that was sold to Greece????
In April 1914 Arms and the Man, the forerunner to The American Rifleman, gives some very brief info in Volume 56, page 138. They say 25,000 Army Special revolvers were "recently" sold to the Greek Army and Navy so I would assume the sale date was in either 1913 or 1914.

Greece specified .38 Special caliber w/4.5" barrels, plain wooden grips, and a lanyard swivel in the butt. By comparison, my 1915 civilian Army Special in .32-20 has a 5" barrel, plastic grips, and no lanyard swivel.

That's all I got.

-Bob

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Re: Greek Army Colt Army Special

#8 Post by indy1919a4 » Fri Jul 06, 2018 6:45 am

Gee, ask and you will receive.. wow RWS many thanks for the info.. or the 411 as the younger folks say...

Did not know about the Magazine "Arms and the Man" At first I thought you were talking about the Bernard Shaw play.. Now I wonder where that
phrase originated from.. Again many thanks

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Re: Greek Army Colt Army Special

#9 Post by indy1919a4 » Fri Jul 06, 2018 6:50 am

Well I guess that phrase goes back a few thousand years at least... perhaps Vigil got it from someone else himself, who knows

Shamelessly copied off the internet...

Arms and the Man is a comedy by George Bernard Shaw, whose title comes from the opening words of Virgil's Aeneid, in Latin: Arma virumque cano ("Of arms and the man I sing").

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Re: Greek Army Colt Army Special

#10 Post by RWS » Sat Jul 07, 2018 7:07 am

I guess it should be noted that while I have no reason to question the referenced 25,000 figure, I think it is possible that there could have been a later order or orders shipped to the Greek military. I don't think that is likely since I can find no references that this occurred, but anything is possible I guess.

It's funny to me that that Colt had a hard time marketing the Army Specials but they took off after the name change to Official Police.

-Bob

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Re: Greek Army Colt Army Special

#11 Post by steamer » Sat Jul 07, 2018 3:56 pm

Great looking vintage revolvers - awesome addition to any collection - thanks for sharing.

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Re: Greek Army Colt Army Special

#12 Post by cwo4uscgret » Fri Jul 20, 2018 8:06 pm

RWS thanks for the info! I suspect that the sale went through with the “assistance” of the US Government - hence the US Ordnance Inspector’s mark.

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Re: Greek Army Colt Army Special

#13 Post by RWS » Sat Jul 21, 2018 8:51 am

You could be right. I have also read that Colt was so overly confident of getting a U.S. government sale that it had a large quantity of Army Special revolvers pre-inspected and stamped so they could ship quickly (before the government could change their minds). After the gummint decided not to buy Army Specials the lot of revolvers was allegedly wholesaled out to anyone who would buy them. The Greeks apparently bit first.

This is strictly hearsay but it kinda makes sense. Can't confirm the accuracy of it though. Your theory is equally valid as well.

-Bob

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