What do you do when your old heirloom Colt revolver turns one hundred years old ? You throw a party but instead of feeding it cake; you serve up a couple varieties of Fiocchi ammo!
Several years ago, I aquired this old Colt Police Positive from a family friend. I knew at the time it was a classic but until I checked the serial number with the Colt factory historian, I had no idea this revolver was manufactured in 1917. Sure, it’s finish is worn, the iron sights are difficult to see in dim conditions, and the grips offer very little purchase… Still, it was built when America was a country of pride and true craftsmanship. Everything is still as it should be, timing, accuracy, and of course a “smooth as silk” trigger.
I rarely shoot the old Colt, and recently purchased a newer revolver for my family to shoot. The Armscor, Model 200, is by no means a Colt. It comes in a plastic sleeve with enough lubrication on it to grease a dozen politicians. Priced right at just over two hundred bucks, it’s less than half of what a Colt, Ruger, or Smith & Wesson would set you back. This Armscor is merely a utility gun and does not aspire to be anything else.
I test fired the Armscor and Colt with two different types of .38 Special ammo. First, the Cowboy Action loading, which features a 158 grain lead bullet. This ammo is loaded to low pressures, perfect for any old classic revolver that may be questionable with high velocity or “+P” type loads. Next, I pulled a box of Fiocchi, .38 Special Wad Cutter ammo (red box) with 148 grain lead bullets. This is always a great target round, albeit it’s stubby, flat nose isn’t sexy like a hollow point, it will often impress you with it’s charm and accuracy!
All shooting was done at seven (7) yards, off hand, single action. I hadn’t shot a revolver much in twenty years so my technique was a bit rusty. As mentioned earlier, the Colt’s simple blade front sight and tiny notch rear sight were difficult to see in the shade. The Armscor had an edge there, with it’s beefy,ramp front sight; but that sight was flat black and a contrasting color would really help. Rear sight on the Armscor, was a typical fixed revolver square cut notch type sight. The Armscor really fit well in the hand with it’s oversize, synthetic grips. On the other hand, the factory grips on the Colt gave the impression of an under-achiever but that was the norm a century ago. It would be sinful to replace those original grips. Modern synthetic grips add to the beefy look of the Armscor revolver. They fit the average shooter’s hand and offer good control in both single and double action firing.
Finish is as different as night and day. The Colt had a true, cold blued finish, which a century of use has worn off. Not so for the Armscor; which has what can best be described as a matte or parkerized finish. This gun won’t win any beauty pageants but does go bang when you pull the trigger. It’s perfect for the truck or car, modern cowboys, ATV riding or camping, or anywhere you can’t baby a firearm but never the less desire to have one with you.
Of course trigger wise there is no comparison. Comparing the century old Colt to the overseas made Armscorp is like comparing Pappy Van Winkle to Rich & Rare ! They both get the job done, but one is obviously a bit more polished !
On to the shooting… As stated earlier, all shooting was done off hand at 7 yards. The first ammo was the Fiocchi Cowboy Action,part number 38CA, which incorporated a 158 grain lead flat point bullet.The Armscor won that match with a six shot group of 2 1/4 inches. Meanwhile the Colt could only offer up a group of 2 3/4 inches. No the results of the wad cutter ammo was really interesting. I expected the Colt to improve, shooting the Fiocchi Classic line (red box), which sends a 148 grain, lead wad cutter bullet down range. No surprise, that old six gun came alive! The Police Positive and the Fiocchi Wad Cutter were a match made in heaven. A group with each hole toughing the others, measuring 1 1/2 inches, it truly was the Colt’s perfect match. Not so for the black sheep, model 200. I have no idea what happened but it apparently had a distaste for the wad cutters. I could only manage a group of 2 3/4 inches while shooting the Armscor.
Once again, it shows that as shooters we can have no preconceived notions about ammo for each and every firearm. What works fine for one, may not do so for another. One thing I have noticed, is how clean the Fiocchi ammo is. Neither gun had a speck of powder residue on it. Recoil on both varieties of Fiocchi ammo was light enough for all day shooting, and in fact my teenaged daughter had no issue firing fifty rounds. I highly recommend them. In fact, the Fiocchi Cowboy Action ammo is what I always shoot first in any classic rifle or handgun.
Lastly, this wasn’t a fair fight. Comparing these two revolvers is much akin to apples and oranges. This was merely a chance to celebrate an old classic, while putting the new kid through a few paces. I will sample a few more varieties of Fiocchi ammo and find something better suited for the black sheep. Until then, if you have an “oldie but a goodie” get it out and shoot it!
text and photos by Tom Cannon road-runner-2-0