Colt Detective Special - rebarrel ?


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KC&97TA
November 27, 2012, 09:31 PM
I picked up a Colt Detective Special 1969 with 3rd generation grips looks like first picture. Nice little pocket gun, icon to Bonnie Parker and many movies.

I'm considering haveing it rebarreled to a 3rd generation shrouded barrel, maybe even haveing a 3" barrel put on instead of the 2". Finish is rather beat up and worn, thinking a nice bead blast and reblue. Not concerned about collectors value, this one isn't a safe queen by any means.

New barrel is about $100, tracked down a 3" blued or a 2" nickle finished. I haven't talked to my local Gun Smith about this project yet, wondering a price still on labor still.

Anyones thoughts on going to a 3" vs 2" ?

edit; I really preffer the shrouded barrel look in the second picture.

http://cdn2.armslist.com/sites/armslist/uploads/posts/2010/03/22/27001_02_colt_detective_special_second__640.jpg

http://i240.photobucket.com/albums/ff159/ky40601/Guns/aColtDetectiveSpecial3rdIssue38Sp1975SNH19537.jpg

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PRM
November 28, 2012, 03:07 AM
Lot of folks are going to cringe at the thought of altering a vintage Colt like that. Your going to hear, "they are no longer made...". And, that argument has some merit.

However, its not a rare gun in pristine condition to begin with. I own both (2 and 3 inch guns). The 3 inch will conceal just as easily with the right holster. Some folks claim they are more accurate??? I've never had a problem with a 2 inch. I do like the looks of the 3 inch better. But, the 2 inch is a classic look also. If it were mine, I would try and stay with an unshrouded barrel, just to keep the gun in an original configuration.

I've done some gun projects in the past. Had a Colt Bisley custom built. Also, had some engraving done on one of my Colt BPs. Both went way over budget, just be ready to go the extra mile if needed.

Could also be a good excuse to buy another gun.

bannockburn
November 28, 2012, 06:50 AM
KC&97TA

I don't know because I like the looks of both the unshrouded and shrouded barrel. The unshrouded barrel looks so vintage, like something out of a Warner Brothers gangster film from the 1930's. And the shrouded barrel makes the gun look more streamlined and modern, as if it was still in production today. I don't think you could go wrong with either style.

As for the barrel length, I still prefer the 2" to the 3" in the shrouded barrel configuration. Just looks right to me.

snooperman
November 28, 2012, 07:20 AM
Leave it alone, it is fine carry gun the way it is.

Ky Larry
November 28, 2012, 08:48 AM
It's your gun. Do whatever makes you happy. I had a minty Colt Det Spl III gen. Then I got married about 15 years ago. Somehow my Colt became her Colt that she carries every day.

Fotno
November 28, 2012, 08:59 AM
Do as you please; but...

I have a third generation Detective Special, and it's a fine firearm; but I never stop looking for an earlier D.S.. They're on my list of 'grail' guns. If I were in your shoes, I'd shoot it as is for a while. Who knows, you might decide to keep it just like it is.

22-rimfire
November 28, 2012, 09:54 AM
Your gun, your money.... enjoy.

Guillermo
November 28, 2012, 10:25 AM
My advice is that you carry your DS and shoot it for a while.

Have no idea what rebarreling would cost but as mentioned, it is not an ultra rare gun.

Why wait?

While your mileage will surely vary from mine, I used to like the shrouded barrel better, as you do. Then I started shooting it more. (Folks like David E and Old Fuff inspired me to use my snubby at longer ranges.) It didn't take long for that low, tiny sight to lose its appeal.

The old "pencil" barrel is a lot easier to shoot fast and accurately. (I have an early Cobra)

Eventually I gave away the DS (mine was a 1972).

So before you decide to start modifying your gun, do an IDPA match with it. You might find that the gun in its current configuration is everything you need and nothing you don't.

I did.

Guillermo
November 28, 2012, 10:27 AM
One more piece of advice.

It is almost always cheaper to buy the gun you want than build it.

ESPECIALLY with Colts.

dfariswheel
November 28, 2012, 06:51 PM
Another piece of advice, make SURE the gunsmith really does have the correct frame wrench and wrench inserts to fit the Colt "D" frame guns, along with the special tooling to re-cut and set the barrel/cylinder gap, and the tools and special gage to re-cut and gage the forcing cone.
A proper re-barrel job is NOT just screwing a barrel on and making sure there's a crack of light between the cylinder and barrel.

These wrench inserts haven't been available for a long time and very few gunsmiths will have them.
What this means is that there will be a strong tendency for a gunsmith to use some sort of expedient tooling to do the change, and that's a high risk of a bent or broken frame.

Checkman
November 28, 2012, 08:41 PM
dfariswheel is on the money - as he always is when it comes to Colt revolvers. Be very cautious. YOu know Colt did make the DS with a 3" barrel. Maybe you'll get lucky and find one. Probably cost you more, but they do exsist and they are still out there. Ultimately it is your gun though (and money).

Cosmoline
November 28, 2012, 08:56 PM
I love 3" and 2 2/4" snubs, but the DS was really meant to have a very short barrel. It would be wrong with a 3" barrel. Whereas the Sp101 for example would be great with one. Or the Speed Six. Plus the shrouded barrels just don't look as cool.

Fotno
November 28, 2012, 10:02 PM
The old "pencil" barrel is a lot easier to shoot fast and accurately.

I couldn't agree more. As good as the Third Generation Colts are, I find the earlier Detectives Specials are easier to shoot.

Another piece of advice, make SURE the gunsmith really does have the correct frame wrench and wrench inserts to fit the Colt "D" frame guns, along with the special tooling to re-cut and set the barrel/cylinder gap, and the tools and special gage to re-cut and gage the forcing cone.
A proper re-barrel job is NOT just screwing a barrel on and making sure there's a crack of light between the cylinder and barrel.

These wrench inserts haven't been available for a long time and very few gunsmiths will have them.
What this means is that there will be a strong tendency for a gunsmith to use some sort of expedient tooling to do the change, and that's a high risk of a bent or broken frame.

Seconded. Finding a good double action Colt gunsmith is a real chore these days, and not a task to be taken lightly.

ColtPythonElite
November 28, 2012, 10:07 PM
Sell it and buy what you want.

Remllez
November 29, 2012, 09:35 AM
Keep it as is and save your dough for a 3 inch factory gun. I agree with earlier posts about bending/ breaking frames, it's just not worth taking a chance on an out of production gun, which in my mind does make it rare.

I prefer 3 inch barrels but at defense ranges I'm not sure that extra inch means all that much. If you'll use it as a range gun then it's hard to beat the longer barrels, and your targets will bear that out.

Your money your choice but Colt projects are iffy at best nowadays for lack of knowledgeable gunsmiths and available parts. By the way my older Colts shoot lights out with lead slugs, don't know why but they prefer lead SWC, full WC, and round nose in that order.

Mac Attack
November 29, 2012, 12:51 PM
As others have stated, its your gun so do what you want.

But if it was mine I would keep it as is and buy a gen III if you want the shrouded barrel. I have a gen 3 DS (its a Commando Special which is a less expensive model) and I like it but am always looking for one of the older unshrouded barrel models at the right price.

Regarding finishes, mine has a matte finish and I like it because I don't have to worry about scratching up the finish. BTW a 3" DS was listed for sale on the Colt forum and think its still there.

Checkman
November 29, 2012, 01:32 PM
If you decide to go through with it I recommend Cylinder and Slide and Grant Cunningham for the work. They know Colt revolvers (world famous actually) and they do excellent work. But they have a long wait list and they're not cheap. But you will get your money's worth.

Ala Dan
November 29, 2012, 03:46 PM
Just last evening, I gave a very dear friend of mine a 2nd series (1947-1972)
2" barrel, blued finish with original grips COLT Detective Special. We have
been friends for over 40+ year's; and I wanted him to have it, and enjoy it
while he was still able. This firearm was manufactured in 1966, and is still
mechanically sound, with much of the original bluing intact.

Yes, I still own another blued, 2" COLT Detective Special; as well as a
pristine nickel version from 1972 [probably one of the last 2nd series ever
made~?]; along with a shrouded barrel COLT Agent.

Guillermo
November 29, 2012, 03:51 PM
from Grant's website

Because of the high demand for quality gunsmithing, I am very backed up and maintain a waiting list - which is roughly two years long at this moment, and is currently not open to new work.

I would choose Cylinder and Slide

dfariswheel
November 29, 2012, 08:02 PM
You could also have Colt do it.

Hondo 60
November 30, 2012, 01:36 AM
Your gun - your money - do as you wish.

But remember, a 3" shrouded barrel will put more weight a head of the trigger.
So it WILL change the balance.

I also like the 3" shrouded look.

Just my 2 worth.

KC&97TA
December 1, 2012, 09:02 AM
Having had a week or so to think about and read the comments on it, I think I'm just going to look for another 3" and keep the Colt DS as is... although I may talk to my GS about it. I'd probably be $250 minimum into it with parts and labor to swap barrels, half way to another handgun.

I don't own a Ruger Revolver yet... as recommended a Sp101 or Speed Six in a 3" is looking tempting.

Old Fuff
December 1, 2012, 11:28 AM
If I was in your shoes I'd check out the following link:

www.cdnnsports.com

This weekend they are selling a Taurus .38 Special/Model 85/blue/3" barrel for (I think) around $279.

No, it isn't a Colt - but it might fill your needs for an attractive price.

You might also look around for a used Colt Police Positive Special - which is nothing more or less then a Detective Special with a longer barrel, usually 4, 5 or 6 inches. They lack the cult following the Detective Special has and usually sell for much less. If you absolutely had to have a 3" barrel the longer one could be shortened and a front sight mounted for far less money then has been discussed so far. For the record a Detective Special barrel of any length will fit the Police Positive Special platform just fine.

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