Colt Detective Special

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by .38 Special, Nov 4, 2020.

  1. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    I have a real soft spot for these guns but never have owned one. Here in California they are not on the "approved" list and are rarely seen for sale. The ones I have come across have generally been either total dogs, or 98% plus guns at collector's prices.

    At any rate, I'd love to hear stories and see pictures of any of these revolvers owned by you fine bunch.
     
  2. BigBlue 94

    BigBlue 94 Member

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    What do you mean approved list? For those of us lucky enough to live in a 'free state'...

    Closest thing i can post at the moment is a Police Positive Special in 32 Colt New Police. Pictured with a 38 special New Service.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I do have a detective special (with box) and a police official match target 22lr but no pics
     
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  3. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    In order to be sold new, California requires two samples of a gun be sent in to be "tested". These guns are destroyed during or after testing, and even if approved, the model will be dropped off of the list after several years if not resubmitted. Obviously this means older guns will not be on the list, and thus may not be imported into the state. At least theoretically, the result is that the only "unapproved" guns sold in this state must have been in the state to begin with. It's resulted in some fairly unrealistic prices, akin to the pre-'86 machine gun situation.
     
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  4. jar

    jar Member

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    I have used my Detective Special the last few times I had to shoot a qualifying. The latest was when I got my Texas LTC license.

    The DS with stock grips:
    medium800.jpg

    and smaller grips I prefer when pocket carried:
    standard.jpg

    and with the Pachymayr that I normally use:
    medium800.jpg
     
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  5. BigBlue 94

    BigBlue 94 Member

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    Yuck. Glad I live in KS where pretty much anything goes. Word has it we can manufacture nearly any NFA item ourselves, stamp made in kansas on it, and shoot it. But it cant be sold or taken across state lines. Assembling a firearm, like an AR15, doesnt count as manufacturing.
     
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  6. SwampWolf

    SwampWolf Member

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    Stay with the "stock" grips-I can't say I'm very enamored with the looks of these grips.
     
  7. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

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    I wouldn't go waving a homemade NFA item made in Kansas in the face of an ATF agent and brag about how he can't arrest you.

    I doubt they have a sense of humor on things like that. Sounds like the people who claim they don't have to pay federal income tax for several farcical reasons, i.e. sovereign state, etc.
     
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  8. BigBlue 94

    BigBlue 94 Member

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    I agree 100%. Thats why I said "word has it". As far as i remember, its kinda like marijuana, its still federally illegal and can be prosecuted as such. I read the document many moons ago, so I dont remember, nor did i fully understand the legalese being spoken. That right there is enough to not acknowledge the rights it supposedly gave.

    Enough detraction, lets see some Colts!
     
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  9. RevolvingGarbage

    RevolvingGarbage Member

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    I hope this close relative of the D.S. is alright. What’s a little aluminum between friends?

    My 1966 Cobra pictured with my usual carry snub, my Iver Johnson.

    9B0AED15-0DCC-4798-9ABE-CD9D3CA013D7.jpeg

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Typically when it came to snubnose revolvers I was pretty firmly in the S&W J frame camp, mostly Model 36s and one greatly loved Model 38. I did have a Detective Special for awhile though and it was a really well manufactured with a high level of fit and finish to it. And that was part of the problem to me; it was too nicely made for me to want to take it out and make it part of the carry rotation. Never had that deep of a concern with my J frames so I eventually traded it in on something else and went got a Model 38.
     
  11. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    I like them a whole lot more than J-frames, but they require periodic servicing, and it is difficult to find anyone who can do that today.

    The new Cobra is a vast improvement in that regard.
     
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  12. BigBlue 94

    BigBlue 94 Member

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    I made a mistake, my snubby Colt is a Diamondback. I hope this will still scratch your itch!

    [​IMG]
     
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  13. jar

    jar Member

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    Function over form in each case.
     
  14. ArkieVol

    ArkieVol Member

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    This one is in very nice condition but is only a shooter because the previous owner had his full name engraved down the backstrap. Nicely done but still a value negative.
    I normally carry a 5 shot S&W J frame, the 6 shot Colt is a handy option.

    colt_det._spl._06sm stamp.jpg
     
  15. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    I knew this thread was a mistake. I have no earthly use for the silly things, Covid has wrecked my finances, and these guns never come available around here, but boy do I want one!
     
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  16. shoebox1.1

    shoebox1.1 Member

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    I’d be totally happy with a new retro cobra or make one by putting the retro stocks on a night cobra 3683FA21-338B-46CC-BB83-E76D1E59C878.jpeg
     
  17. JT-AR-MG42

    JT-AR-MG42 Member

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    Yeah, California laws seem pretty complicated to me, but hey! just think of where we would be without all of our State legislators/lawyers
    keeping our heads above water with their yearly myriad of new complications.

    I like the D-frame Colts as well.
    Left - here's a 1928 square butt with the smooth trigger face (made just prior to the change to the checkered face).
    Right - 1947 round butt by serial with all pre-war features.

    colts misc 4.jpg

    Since I live in 'two shirt' country most of the year, this 1956 .38 Spec. Cobra spends a lot of time just
    dropped down the front of my outer shirt. I'll tuck it in my belt between the shirts when not sitting. It's been under water more than a few times and dropped
    several times as well but it still cleans up pretty nice.

    cobra 2.jpg

    JT
     
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  18. Pat Riot
    • Contributing Member

    Pat Riot Contributing Member

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    I also live in California and will be here for 2 years, 2 months and 18 days before I retire and leave...but who’s counting? :D
    Like you I have a thing for a Colt Detective Special. I always here about but never see inexpensive deals on them, but recently on Armslist a guy listed one that looked good and was claimed to have fired only 100 rounds. This person wanted to trade for a Glock 19 or a Glock 26. I offered my Glock 26 with a tad over 300 rounds fired through it, it has an extended mag release, extended takedown lever and Tru-Glo TFX night sights, 9 magazines, 150 rounds of ammo and a set of Glock tools. I got no response. I think it was just someone messing around.

    I have wanted a Colt Detective since I was a kid. It always seems like I never have the money when I come across one or when I do find one it’s priced way too high. And of course there is always the guys that say “Well just the other day I saw one at such-and-such sell for $300 and a breath mint.”

    Someday I will own one. I have considered attempting to feed my desire with a Colt Cobra and I did actually have one in my hands a couple of months ago but I passed in lieu of other guns I am looking to buy. There is just something about that blued steel revolver that attracts me. Stainless is nice but no self respecting cop or detective would carry a shiny gun in those old black & white movies and those old TV shows. Sgt Joe Friday wouldn’t have. :D
     
  19. jar

    jar Member

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    Colt Police Positive in a Buchheimer holster and double dump pouch.
    medium800.jpg
    medium800.jpg
     
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  20. dennis g

    dennis g Member

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    Here's my 1956 D.S.
    photo (84).JPG
    It's from the "Swamp".
    photo (85).JPG
     
  21. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, the first manufacturer to come up with a modern, durable, corrosion resistant metal finish that looks like blued steel will have a gold mine.
     
  22. retfed

    retfed Member

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    I have a D.S. obtained from the son of a NYC detective. (He wasn't interested in the gun) I believe it's an early '50's model. It shows alot of blue wear. The son told me it was his ankle back-up gun for 30-odd years. While I saved the original grips, it shoots better for me with a more recoil forgiving set of Pachmyers (sp?)

    Fun to shoot but I have no progeny interested in pistols to want it. Oh well.
    Retfed
     
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  23. Gary W. Strange

    Gary W. Strange Member

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    I found this 1968 Colt Detective Special in a local shop I go in from time to time. I couldn’t imagine living in a state, where I was not free to own a firearm such as this. It is sad to think about people in other states, not having the freedom people have in other states. Where I live, we are free now, but with what is happening, our freedom may be slipping away.

    5E177040-BE42-4E0B-A401-BBBD4F594D5E.jpeg 1B3DB7B7-1E09-4BB1-9E30-3082623E9AE6.jpeg
     
  24. Gary W. Strange

    Gary W. Strange Member

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  25. texagun

    texagun Member

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    mlJYqeO.jpg
     

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