Saturday, March 14, 2009

Colt Agent .38 Special



One revolver that I regularly put in the rotation of various pocket guns I carry around the house is a
Parkerized post 1972 Colt Agent, which is a variant of the light, alloy frame Colt Cobra, which in turn is a variant of the carbon steel frame Colt Detective Special. The fit and finish of the later Agents often was not very good, but their factory action and lockup were the same good quality you would find on any other Colt revolver. Sadly, Colt no longer makes any of the aforementioned revolvers.

Gun stores and the internet are full of “experts” on Colt revolvers. If you want to read the truth as to whether or not Colt revolvers are delicate or will readily lose their timing,
click here to read what a REAL gunsmith, Grant Cunningham, has to say about it.

The original short grips on my Agent were far too small for my hand; there was no way I could shoot the revolver comfortably or accurately. I substituted a smooth set of walnut Cobra style grips, further enhanced by adding a
Tyler T-Grip. This combination is still just a bit too small for my hand, but it is as big as I can go and still keep the revolver hidden in my pants pocket. A well-worn but ever-durable Kramer pocket holster is my preferred carry for the Colt Agent. A quality pocket holster will keep your gun positioned where you want it and protect the trigger from an itchy finger. Negligently lighting off a round in your trousers could profoundly alter your future.

Other than the grips, the only remedial action taken on my Agent was to remove the razor sharp edges from the hammer. My goodness, I wish I could find knives that held an edge so well! A person could have field dressed a moose with that hammer. It took a couple of hours of careful work with a diamond whetstone for me to make that hammer less than lethal.

My preferred practice load is
Federal AE38K 130 grain FMJ, which has roughly the same recoil and point of aim as my preferred carry load, the standard pressure Federal P38M 125 Grain Nyclad hollowpoint. As to why I choose not to shoot +P loads in this alloy frame Colt, click here for more of the expertise and wisdom of Grant Cunningham.


7 comments:

Ed Harris said...

I own several pre-1974 Colt D-frames which aren't suitable for +P. I have found the Winchester .38 Special 110-gr. Silvertip HP is the best performing non+P load from 2 inch snubbies. Accuracy equals the best match wadcutters, expansion is consistent and reliable, penetration adequate. It also has low muzzle flash. At typical snubbie ranges from contact to ten yards point of impact is not enough different from factory wadcutters to make a difference. I practice with wadcutters to minimize wear and tear on the guns for practice and field shooting, and I carry the 110-gr. Silvertips when the varmints are more likely to be 2-legged. I don't know if current production Federal Nylad is as reliable as the old stuff was, because I'm unable to get any here near DC. Since the former Nylad was discontinued and I discovered the 110-gr. Silvertip worked so well, I don't intend to change back, as I bought a case for TEOTWAWKI.

James A. Zachary Jr. said...

Thanks for all of that information, Ed. I too have been unable to score any of the new Nyclad, so I don't have any to compare to my old stuff.

I'll have to pick up a few more boxes of the Silvertip 110 gr when I get a chance.

Take care,

Zack

Anonymous said...

In February 2009 I sent a note to Federal asking about their Nyclad availability. They replied (bless them) that it would become available in May. I haven't seen any yet. Perhaps it's time for another email.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting. I have an Agent like yours, except fitted with an aftermarket hammer shroud. And I also carry Silvertips in it. Usual EDC is a Glock 26, but I rotate the Colt in periodically, when I feel like it.

I'm considering a Smith J-frame, but I will keep the Colt, partly because of its place in Colt history and partly because it was my first handgun, twenty-five some years ago.

Anonymous said...

I do not own the Colt Agent but do own an early Colt Cobra in .32S&W long, a most enjoyable weapon to shoot, my question to anyone who owns a Colt Agent or Cobra in the .32 S&W caliber, have any of you tryed shooting the .32ACP out of these guns ? .32S&W ammo is becoming rather hard to find, and when it is found prices are not cheap,$30 compared to $18 for .32ACP ammo !

Steve said...

Zach, would you be interested in selling me the old, small Agent grips that you changed out? stobacco@bellsouth.net is how to contact me. Thanks.

James A. Zachary Jr. said...

Hey Steve, thanks for stopping by the blog.

I appreciate your interest in purchasing the grips for the Colt Agent, but I'd like to hold onto them as they were the original grips for the revolver and may help bring a better price for if I ever choose to sell the gun. Further, some D-Frame Colt revolvers had a bit of slop in the manufacturing and grips for one revolver often would not fit quite right on the next, which is one reason why after-market grip makers often shunned the Colts. There is a chance that these would not sit well on your revolver's frame.

If I see some grips on the market, I will bring them to your attention. If I do change my mind and choose to sell these, you are first in line.

Thanks again,

Zack