Ammo recomendation for my Colt 38 detective Special


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Airbrush Artist
January 10, 2013, 06:02 PM
I spoke to the Colt tech and she said the +p was a no go as a round and she also said that a that a transfer bar or hammer block was not on any Colt 38 prior to 1983 .Transfer I understand but not even a hammer block,If thats the case not so sure i want to Carry with it...Hmm, how does a Nyclad standard hollow point round 158 grain sound as ammo for my baby..

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rswartsell
January 10, 2013, 07:16 PM
There is some kind of disconnect between the representative you spoke with and Colt's official position published in owners manuals as well as elsewhere. I am quoting as I do not have an owners manual for my Dick Special, from memory.

+P is NOT prohibited from use in the DS by Colt. They do recommend return to Colt for inspection after 3000 rounds. I practice with standard pressure and carry +P shooting an occasional cylinder for keeping familiar. I think I could shoot +P more than I do without problem.

She is way off on the transfer bar/hammer block also. Your DS has a "rebounding hammer block". I'll let the experts that reside here address that specifically. It does seem that spinning the wheel of chance again with Colt CS and hoping for a more seasoned rep. is in order. When you get one I would consider telling about the mistakes of the previous rep. in the interest of training.

If the Old Fuff, dfarriswheel, rcmodel or the like chime in, take what they say to the bank. (Typed while looking at the rebounding hammer block of my '70s DS).

P.S. My recommendation is practice with the best remanufactured .38 spl. standard pressure semi-wadcutters you can find for cost reasons, and carry Speer +P Short Barrel Gold Dots when you are serious. 148gr match wadcutters for bench accuracy and defense in a pinch. The Nyclads would work just fine however nowadays they are becoming "old" bullet technology.

dfariswheel
January 10, 2013, 07:57 PM
Colt "D" frame guns like the Detective Special as made prior to 1972 were not factory rated for any +P ammo, although many people used it for "business" carry.

After 1972 the heavy, shrouded barrel steel guns were rated for up to 3000 rounds of +P and the aluminum models for 1500 rounds of +P.
After that, they were to be returned to the factory for inspection and possible frame replacement.
Since Colt no longer has any frames, limit the use of +P ammo to preserve the gun and shoot mostly standard .38 Special and just enough +P too maintain the feel, while carrying the gun with +P.

All Colt double action revolvers made from 1908 to 1969 had a double internal safety system.
One safety is the rebounding hammer. Once the gun is fired and the trigger released to reset, the hammer is forced back (rebounded) and locked from moving forward until the trigger is pulled again.
The second safety is Colt's "Positive Lock" that's a steel bar in front of the hammer that prevents the hammer from moving forward unless the trigger is pulled.

Both these safeties make the Colt's perfectly safe to carry fully loaded, and the only way the gun can fire is if the trigger is pulled. No amount of dropping or hammering on the gun can cause it to fire.

Airbrush Artist
January 10, 2013, 08:00 PM
Thank You ,I will relay that info to the Tech I spoke to ,with that said She was very professional and a Wealth of Information about the Weapon Thanks again gentlemen..

Old Fuff
January 10, 2013, 08:02 PM
Whoever you spoke to a Colt's must be a spy from that other company located in Springfield, MA. :evil:

I suggest you determine when your particular Detective Special was made. Go to: www.proofhouse.com and look up the year.

The Detective Special is nothing more nor less then a Police Positive Special with a 2" barrel that was introduced back in 1908. The "Positive" in the name refers to a positive hammer block that makes it safe to carry the chambers fully loaded. Actually this block is one of two independent safeties, either of which will prevent an accidental discharge if he revolver is dropped or in some other way the hammer is struck a hard blow.

Hmm, how does a Nyclad standard hollow point round 158 grain sound as ammo for my baby..

Sounds fine, it and any other standard velocity 158 grain load is O.K. I don't worry about hollow points because the lowered velocity caused by the short snubby barrel reduces the speed the bullet's going to make expansion questionable.

Shooting most Plus-P ammunition won't destroy the gun, but some brands are hot enough to loosen it up and put it out-of-time. Then a tune-up is required and the best option is to return it to the factory - which is justified but expensive. If you don't feel secure with lighter loads (which I do) buy one of the small S&W, Ruger or Taurus snubbies that's rated for .38 Special Plus P, or .357 Magnum.

rswartsell
January 10, 2013, 08:10 PM
The Speer Short Barrel Gold Dot recommendation is because the bullets are engineered to expand at the reduced short barrel velocities. They work, ah the wonders of modern science.

SFCRandall
January 11, 2013, 12:05 AM
Buffalo Bore makes a non +p, low flash load with a 158gr LHPSWC bullet specifically for short barreled revolvers. The performance they show from thier test guns is listed on their website.

Old Fuff
January 11, 2013, 09:30 AM
They do indeed, but without question they push the limit. The problem with Colt Detective Specials is that when pushed they sometimes go out of time and won't "carry up" (fully revolve the cylinder from one chamber to the next). This is not hard to correct, and if done before the condition gets to bad does't require new parts. However doing the tuning requires specialized knowledge and experience. Now 'smiths with those qualifications are disappearing, as are new parts. Used parts that were hand-fitted to another revolver may not work in a different gun. Unlike many of today's revolvers (and pistols for that matter) these Colt revolvers that were originally introduced in or around 1908 were not designed or assembled on a drop-the-parts-in basis.

This is not to say that they are fragile, which they are not, but to point out that they were not made to use some of today's hotter loads on a substantial basis unless you can do what was formally recommended before World War Two. Mail the gun into the factory once a year (more or less depending how much it's used) have a quick tune-up done for free, and then sent back in a week or so to your mailbox. That was then and this is now.

My middle-1950's Detective Special is usually loaded with 148 grain mid-range wad-cutters when used for general plink & play shooting, and also for inside home defense based on over penetration issues. Otherwise with 158 grain semi-wadcutters. I don't worry about hollow points. If, on infrequent occasions I think I need more I have a Taurus 445 snubby chambered in .44 Special and other .38 Special/.357 Magnums with 4" or longer barrels.

My Dective Special is finish worn, but as tight as the day it came out of the factory, and it has no timing problems what-so-ever. ;)

smkummer
January 11, 2013, 09:59 AM
Call Colt and ask them to send you a manual for your gun. The last I looked it was free. In there you will read the recommendation for the 3000 round plus P check-up. Plus P is what I carry and occasionally shoot. Standard 158 cast SWC with about 3.5 grains bullseye is what I practice with. The trasfer bar was introduced with the 1994 introduction of the SF-IV or DS-II series of guns that replaced the older D frame Detective and Police Positive. Again, as stated the saftey on the older Colt makes it 100% safe to carry with all 6 chambers loaded. You have several grip/stock options for your gun as well. I currently use the Colt/pachmayr compact rubber stock to take the bite out of hotter loads.

Airbrush Artist
January 11, 2013, 11:40 AM
Manuals being sent in the mail already at no Charge ,Colts Customer service is fantastic ,If you can get through LOL,

Old Fuff
January 11, 2013, 07:11 PM
You can also download the manual in .PDF format, at no charge of course. If you are interested in any other Colt products, either current or recent past the same holds true.

Vern Humphrey
January 11, 2013, 07:37 PM
I spoke to the Colt tech and she said the +p was a no go as a round and she also said that a that a transfer bar or hammer block was not on any Colt 38 prior to 1983 ]Transfer I understand but not even a hammer block,If thats the case not so sure i want to Carry with it...

The Colt Detective Special has a rebounding hammer. Take the empty gun, pull the trigger and hold it back. Look through the gap between the recoil shield and the breech end of the cylinder. You will see the tip of the firing pin.

Release the trigger, and you will see the firing pin move backward and disappear.

That's just as safe as any other system on any other revolver.

Hmm, how does a Nyclad standard hollow point round 158 grain sound as ammo for my baby..
Very nice. I carry the Winchester 130-grain self-defense load in my Detective Special (when I carry it.) Another alternative is a 148 grain full wadcutter loaded ahead of 3.2 grains of Clays. This gives you maximum velocity for that bullet, and the full blunt nose wadcutter is a very effective bullet.

Guillermo
January 12, 2013, 10:13 AM
+P is not a hot round.

Before 1972 it was a "normal pressure" round. They added "+P" to the package of regular ammo and then dropped the pressure of what they called "regular pressure".

It is marketing hype.

http://shootingwithhobie.blogspot.com/2009/01/p-phenomenon-by-saxonpig.html


BTW, this alloy version of your DS, the Cobra, is from the mid 50's. She has had thousands of "+P" rounds through her. She locks up tight.

Don't believe the hype. "+P" is a mild target round that the marketing weenies have called "ultra hot!!!" and some folks believe it.

http://i600.photobucket.com/albums/tt82/BillLoeb/Cobrawithnewfurniture.jpg

(Denis...are you happy?)

Haywood
January 12, 2013, 11:17 AM
I had a Colt Agent. If I had your gun I would follow the same procedure. Practice with standard 38s in 125 or 130 grain. Pic a +P round of my choice. Shoot only enough to make sure it is accurate. Carry the +P. Back in the day Colt claimed you could shoot +p in those guns. They said after 1000 rounds in a light weight and 3000 in the all steal, the frames should be checked for stretching. I never put more than a box of +P through mine and when I gave it to a friend it was still fine.

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