March 4, 2007, 04:29 AM
I just picked up a Davis .38 Special O/U Derringer for a very low price. It's an inexpensive remake of the .41 Remington O/U Derringer. Cobra Enterprises (Utah) bought the Davis machinery after it went bankrupt, and now makes the same gun. I know that there are better choices (i.e., Walter PPK, SP101, North American Mini), but I got a good deal on a discreet, large-bore pocket pistol. The gun is in excellent condition, and well-made, considering production costs.

Could you please advise me on the following:

1) Ammo. Since the barrels are zinc alloy, and not steel, I'm thinking that it might be wiser for me to fire lower-velocity .38 Long through them, as opposed to .38 Special even thought the gun is obstensibly designed for it. What do you think?

2) Safety. There are four ways to carry this pistol.

A. Loaded with hammer down. Bad choice since hammer is sitting on top of centerfire primer, with no transfer bar, just waiting to go off if derringer is dropped or slammed into something. A good way to lose part of one's lower anatomy.

B. Loaded, on half cock, with cross-bolt safety engaged. This is what the Davis/Cobra manual recommends. This makes any defensive use a joke, however. A flintlock pistol would be more effective.

C. Loaded, on just half cock. This is probably the way that the original Remington Derringer was carried -- just like the old Colt SAA. If Davis/Cobra advises using both the cross-bolt safety and the half-cock safety, then either they're going "belt and suspenders" due to past product liability problems, or they have little confidence in the half-cock safety by itself. If the latter is true, then I should sell this gun immediately.

D. Loaded on FULL cock, with cross-bolt safety engaged. The manual said that to fire this pistol, you need to go from half cock to full cock, and then disengage the cross-bolt safety. I got to thinking, why not just carry it like a 1911 -- "cocked and locked". If I need to fire it defensively, then I simply remove the safety. Now, it finally begins to look half-way useful.

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s&w 24
March 4, 2007, 04:49 AM
A) leaving the gun at 1/2 cock is not a good idea. You'll end up breaking the secondary sear notch sooner than you think.

B)leaving the gun at fully cocked position is only good if you have a firm and possitive safety, a cross bolt safety would not cut it for me

If it were mine and I had to use it for CCW I'd leave it hammer down on a live round and take my chances of dropping it. Thats why I don't carry non transfer bar safety revo's and such.

AMMO: 38 colt is a good choice if your gun groups O.K. with it.
38 125 nyclads for carry use(get em at ammoman.com)

March 4, 2007, 06:43 AM
The barrels have steel liners in this class of gun. If they were just zinc they'd probably have a life of one round. I'd shoot wadcutters as they are a low pressure round. You are not going to get much velocity out of this so I wouldn't worry about using hollow points. I would not carry this gun with the hammer down on a live round. If you carry it in your pants pocket you could bump it against something or even going into you pocket make it go off. Half cock is to catch the hammer if it should slip off full cock. I'd go with what the manufacturer said if I had to carry it.

I would treat the gun for what it is, a novelty, and not use it for a carry gun as there is no absolutely safe way you can carry it and put it into action fast.

March 5, 2007, 12:25 AM
Thanks for the information, gentlemen. I'm selling it to a gun store next week. I'm not too much in the hole.

JS Mosby

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