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Colt Magnum Carry

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by 11bucky, Apr 17, 2005.

  1. 11bucky

    11bucky New Member

    Apr 1, 2005
    I have a Colt Magnum Carry and was wondering if anyone knows much about them. I have not seen many around. Mine looks like the bbl was put on about 1/16th inch to tight because the front sight doesn't quite look right. Any advice?
  2. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Mentor

    Dec 26, 2002
    Send it back to Colt for a "fix". For some reason, Colt had problems getting their small revolver barrels on right for many years.

    Of course, you should shoot the revolver first to be sure the barrel wasn't installed that way to bring the gun on target.

    The history of the Magnum Carry starts with the end of the Colt "D" framed revolvers like the Detective Special and Cobra revolvers in the mid-1990's.

    Other than the Python, the "D" frame was the last of the old style Colt actioned revolvers going back to the 1890's.

    These old style actions were intricate, complicated designs that required extensive hand fitting during assembly.
    The cost of the hand labor simply priced these Colt's out of the market, and most of the old style guns had been discontinued in 1969, leaving only the Super premium Python and the various "D" frame small revolvers.

    In the mid-1990's, Colt decided to replace the "D" frame with a new, simpler design, based on the Trooper Mark III/King Cobra revolvers.

    This new revolver would require much less hand fitting, and would have the same transfer-bar ignition action as most modern revolvers use.
    It would be made of stainless steel, and would be the basis for a whole series of small revolvers.

    This new frame revolver was the "SF" (Small Frame).
    The first gun in the series was the SF-VI, or Small Frame, Six Shot.
    This was a .38 Special revolver.

    The reason for this "catchy" name was to prevent confusion with the older Detective Special which was still in the Wholesaler/Dealer pipeline.

    As soon as the last of the discontinued Detective Special revolvers were gone, Colt changed the name of the SF-VI to the DS-II, or Detective Special Two.

    The SF-VI and the DS-II were .38 Special, stainless steel revolvers, mostly made with 2" barrels, with a VERY few made with 3" or 4" barrels.
    There was also a bright polished version with a spurless hammer, sold as The Special Lady.

    In the early 2000's, Colt introduced a new version named the Magnum Carry, and chambered in .357 Magnum.
    Shortly later, Colt discontinued most revolver manufacturing, and the King Cobra and the SF framed guns like the DS-II and Magnum Carry were discontinued.

    Since the Magnum Carry was only made for about one year, these guns are being hunted by both shooters wanting a powerful carry gun, AND by collectors looking for a very limited production, somewhat rare Colt.

    Mechanically, the SF-VI guns are a reduced size version of the King Cobra/Anaconda.
    The firing pin is frame mounted, and the revolver uses the transfer-bar system Colt developed in 1969 on the Trooper Mark III design.
    This design was so good, every revolver designed since uses a virtual copy of Colt's design. Guns made by Ruger, Taurus, Dan Wesson and others use Colt's system.

    Unusually, the SF guns DO NOT use a coil spring to power the hammer.
    The SF guns actually use the same "Vee" leaf spring that Colt used on the older "D" framed guns.
    The only difference is, the lower leg of the Vee spring serves no function other than to tension the spring. The upper leg powers the hammer.

    Size-wise, the SF guns are virtual duplicate of the older "D" frame guns, and holsters and grips "USUALLY" will fit, although there are some differences due to polishing and the extra 1/4" of barrel length.
  3. prezzz

    prezzz New Member

    May 18, 2003

    You sure know your Colts and you would be the one to ask this question.

    I found a new in box Stainless Colt DS with 3" barrel in a local shop for $425.00. I doubted it was a stainless DS because I had never heard of one or a 3" barrel for that matter.

    Sure enough, that's what it is. How rare is this gun? Sounds like a good deal to me.

    Thanks for any info you can provide.
  4. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Mentor

    Dec 26, 2002
    Colt made ONLY the later Colt DS-II in stainless.
    They NEVER made the actual Detective Special in stainless.
    Had they done so, you can BET I'd have one, since that was the Detective Special I REALLY wanted.

    This is either a gun someone had hard chrome plated, OR it's a factory plate job.

    Colt offered a satin Electroless Nickel finish (also known as "Coltguard") on their guns.

    This looks much like stainless steel, but when compared to true stainless usually shows the slight "yellowish" color common to Electroless Nickel.

    Although Colt offered this finish for a fair amount of time, it wasn't really all that common, especially on the Detective Special.

    In revolvers, you'll see a very few Detective Specials and Pythons, and more Trooper Mark III and V guns with the EN or Coltguard finish.

    Now, in this particular case of a EN plated Detective Special with a 3" barrel, THIS you should buy.
    The Detective Special with the 3" shrouded barrel is NOT very common, and one in EN would have some collector's interest due to the VERY low production.

    On the chance this is a later DS-II, it's likely an even better buy due the even lower production.
  5. DHart

    DHart Participating Member

    Jun 1, 2004
    Sonoran Desert, Arizona
    I have good information (myself) that a DS-II (as new in box) with 4" barrel (extremely rare!) and a Magnum Carry (also as new in box) will be offered for sale on Gunbroker soon... I just sold my 3" version there and ended the auction early with a relatively low bid (considering the gun) for special reasons. I am planning to list the guns by Saturday or so.
  6. cyclist

    cyclist Member

    Sep 20, 2007
    Dredging the archives looking for info, finally got the search function to work for me, and found this thead.

    Is the above quote still true? How about for an unfired example kept in the original carry case? Shoot it and use it as an everyday piece, or swap it out for something less "collectable"? I'm sort of a 'if I got it I might as well use it' sort of person as opposed to collecting wall hangers and safe queens. Just looking for thoughts and opinions.
  7. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Mentor

    Dec 26, 2002
    An unfired Magnum Carry would be a prime gun for a Colt collector and would be work a good bit of money at auction.

    However, the Magnum Carry is also one of the finest CCW revolvers ever made.
    It shoots .357 Magnum ammo, but is just a slight bit bigger than the tiny S&W revolvers that "can" shoot the Magnum, so it's more controllable.
    The Colt will stand up to more shooting due to the beefier frame and cylinder, AND it has the famous Colt sixth shot.

    Want a great carry gun, or do you want a considerable wad of cash?

    Tough call.
  8. cyclist

    cyclist Member

    Sep 20, 2007
    I think I've made a decision. Went out and looked it over tonight, still have the original Massassachusets Warning paper in the case and the original Master Lock case lock (probably have the keys around here someplace :D ). Even though I haven't fired it, I have worked the action some over the years and due to this I have some slight marking on the cylinder where the cylinder lock thingie (technical term there) rubs along the cylinder as it rotates. Having dealt with some "collector" type people in the past with cars and bikes and bicycles the cosmetic line is the decision maker. It's a shooter, and if I really get strapped for cash I now know I can probably unload it for a fair price since I do still have all the stuff that came with it.

    I think I'll go shopping for a holster this weekend.

    Thank you for the input.

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