Wheelgun Wednesday: Colt Camp Perry

Colt Camp Perry
Image Credit: Rock Island Auction

Colt Camp Perry Model was a single-shot .22LR pistol, intended for use in slow (and I do mean slow) fire competitions.  Guaranteed to bring a grin to any über-strict “at least three seconds between every shot” RSO, the Camp Perry Model had a 10″ barrel.  Why does this single-shot pistol feature on Wheelgun Wednesday, you might ask?  Because it was based on the Colt Officer’s Model frame.

Colt Revolvers @ TFB:

All together now

Seeing an available niche for a slow-fire handgun, in the 1920s (preproduction guns date back to 1920, and official production models came out in 1926) Colt made the decision to modify the “2nd Issue” Officer’s Model frame in a very special way.  The Camp Perry Model replaced the cylinder with a one-piece flat chamber block and barrel, connected to the crane for reloading.

Colt Camp Perry Image Credit: GunsAmerica

Colt Camp Perry. Image Credit: GunsAmerica

The Colt Camp Perry ejected cartridges via a plunger.  There were a few more exterior target-specific touches, such as checkering of the hammer, backstrap, trigger face, and barrel block release (normally called a cylinder release, but not in this case). Colt Camp Perry Models featured fully adjustable sights, with the rear being adjustable for windage, and the front “partridge” sights being adjustable for elevation.  The sights were very nice, featured windage markings, as well as lock screws to hold adjustments in place, and would be considered premium target sights even today.

Colt Camp Perry Image Credit: Rock Island Auction

Colt Camp Perry. Image Credit: Rock Island Auction

Inside Out

While a few Colt Camp Perry Models came in double action, most were only single action, as that was the main way in which they were being fired in slow-fire competitions.  Unlike 1st and 2nd issue Officer’s Models which used a flat mainspring, the Camp Perry Model used a coil mainspring.  This was intended to reduce lock time for better accuracy.

Further Modifications

In the 1930’s Colt further reduced the lock time on the Camp Perry Model.  An 8″ barrel version also was introduced.  While the Camp Perry Model was, as far as I can tell, the first production Colt Officer’s Model frame to be offered in .22LR in 1926, in 1930, Colt offered the “Third Issue” Officer’s Model in a 6 shot .22LR revolver configuration.

Colt Camp Perry Image Credit: Rock Island Auction

Colt Camp Perry. Image Credit: Rock Island Auction

While the concept of a double action revolver being modified to single shot (and, for the most part, single action) just for competition might seem silly to some, the Camp Perry Model won quite a few shooting competitions in its day, in a sector of pistol competition that saw the Colt Officer’s Model already dominate the field.

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