Colt revolver serial number dating
The first source is the Colt Firearms Company. Because of Colt's serial number systems it may not be possible to identify what model a Colt is based on just the number. What he has is an aluminum frame Cobra someone installed a Detective Special barrel on. For that you have to buy a Colt Archive Letter.
In most cases they can help you identify exactly what model of Colt you have. You plug in the serial number and it will give you a list of guns it could be.
Since parts were so difficult to get, it was common for barrels from other models to be used as replacements. Note that they won't give you any more information.
Most Colt revolvers had the same thread size and it was often possible to install a barrel from a totally different model on a frame. Since the data base seems to be a work in progress, many newer models may not be listed. They provide every spec about the gun, who is was shipped to, when it was shipped, and even how many other firearms were shipped at the same time as yours.
This law mandated that from then on all new firearms had to have a serial number and that number had to be unique. If your firearm manufacturer was not listed or covered in this lense. Years ago gun parts were terribly expensive and often almost impossible to obtain.
Then you can proceed to determine when it was made. When he attempts to determine when his Colt was made, it comes back as a totally different model than what is stamped on the barrel. Colt often mixed several models in the same serial number ranges or split models out by caliber. As example you may have a model of revolver made in. This cross reference can be used to figure out which Sears firearm was created by which manufacturer as a mirror model of their own.
Since these guns shared the same serial number ranges, it can be quite confusing as to just what you have. Also note that the people working the phones are rushed, may not be totally familiar with Colt models and have been known to give out incorrect information. Here is where problems may first appear when the data base doesn't list what you think your Colt is, or returns no information.
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