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Does anyone shoot their Dectective Special?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Mastrogiacomo, Oct 17, 2004.

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  1. Mastrogiacomo

    Mastrogiacomo Member

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    I'm planning on getting a Colt Dectective Special 3rd generation. Does anyone actually shoot these guns a lot or do you just leave them in the safe?
     
  2. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    I have owned various Detective Special's since the late 1950's. I presently have a 3rd. generation, and will soon aquire a 2nd. made in 1963. During my mispent youth I occasionally dropped six rounds into the "K-Zone" of a silhouette target at 100 yards (measured distance) using a 2nd. generation revolver with the round barrel and high front sight. Doing this with a 3rd. generation gun is a bit harder because of the ribbed barrel and low front sight.

    If I was to obtain a pre-World War Two piece in absolutely mint/like-new condition it would probably become a safe queen. If it was a 2nd. or 3rd. generation in the same condition - and especially if it was in the original box with papers and accesories, I might consider doing the same. These are becoming to be worth serious money and the value will increase as time goes by. But anything in less condition is a shooter, and a darn good one too. Standard velocity/158 grain loads are recommended because they are most likely to shoot point-of-aim/point-of-impact, but do experiment.
     
  3. ruger357

    ruger357 Member

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    Have shot my 2nd gen. Very accurate.
     
  4. schromf

    schromf Member

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    Old Fuff,

    Where is the break between 2nd and 3rd generation? 1970's sometime?

    I am reasonably sure mine is a 3rd generation early 80's gun. Mine likes both the 158 gr loads and the 125 gr loads. I haven't spent enough time shooting it to sort out which works best. My wife likes this gun a lot and if she is with me I usually don't get more than a cyclinder shot through it, so my evaluation is less than scientific.

    Great gun, if it is real cherry, in LNIB condition, it is semi collectable now, I would preserve it. If not I would shoot it and enjoy it, and take good care of it. These are very nice pistols and it is a shame to leave it in the safe collecting dust.

    My wife has semi permanently glommed mine, she had a 38 super Colt Commander of mine that I got back in the deal which she never really handled well. I was a lot happier when she adopted the detective special, I never had confidence with her handling of the auto, and her performance between the two is night and day.
     
  5. Mastrogiacomo

    Mastrogiacomo Member

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    I'd like to be able to shoot the one I'm going to buy. I probably don't know about the guns enough to know the quality but this was owned by another gun dealer who gave it to the shop where I'm buying. From a novice standpoint, it looks to be in good/very good condition but I personally don't like to acquire guns for the safe -- they're meant to use. I did notice the low front sight on my gun but then again, most incidents targeted at women at close range anyway so I can't imagine I'd miss at that distance.
     
  6. GrandmasterB

    GrandmasterB Member

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    I shoot mine with light target loads regularly. I usually put 3-6 defense loads through it at then end of each range session.
     
  7. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    I may be off on some of this because I'm not where my reference book is.

    Colt introduced the Detective Special in 1927. It was nothing more nor less the a Police Positive Special with a 2 inch barrel, but it quickly became popular, and provided Colt with sales that were desperately needed during the Great Depression (1929-40). These were made up to 1946, and are the 1st. issue guns.

    The post-war 2nd. issue guns were made from 1947 through 1972, but in 1966 Colt changed all of the D-frame revolvers to the "short frame" configuration used on the Diamondback, that had been introduced in 1966. I therefore I classify the the 2nd. issue guns as either "full butt" (1947-1965) or "short butt" (1966-1972). This can be important if you need to order/buy grips.

    The 3rd. Issue guns started in 1972 and were made until 1986. This is when Colt introduced the heavy barrel with an underlug that shrouded the ejector rod. I find that this is the better configuration when shooting out to 25 yards or so, but the older barrel with a higher front sight is better if you go beyond that (most folks don't).

    All of the D-frame guns made after 1966 have the short butt frame and the grips wrap around the bottom. Consequently you can buy all sorts of larger or smaller grips depending on your need.

    I wouldn't care to tangle with your wife ... :D :D
     
  8. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Member

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    I have a 3rd generation. It is nice, shoots well and is kind of fun to play with. It is definately more accurate then I am and kind be kind of a handful with hotter reloads. I kind of regret getting a nickled one, but I will probably buy a blued eventually.

    I think it is a good gun to practice technique on. If you do not hold it the same way and pull the trigger the same way, have a good sight picture and have the same grip strenght, (etc) you will get crappy groups. It is a good gun to practice with because it "amplifies" your faults.

    Definately not a safe queen.
     
  9. schromf

    schromf Member

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    She's a sweetheart no fear.:D :D
     
  10. Checkman

    Checkman member

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    I own a 3rd generation (mfd. 1973) and I carry it as my BUG (backup gun) in an ankle holster. I load it with 110 grain Hydrashocks. It's very accurate and I never have a problem qualifying with it. My department has a different course for BUGs. It is a working gun and consequently that beautiful Colt blueing is starting to wear. I'll probably have it refinished in the near future. That might hurt it's collectors value, but so what? I'm interested in how well it works. I have other safe queens.
     
  11. sm

    sm member

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    I have a 1928 model.

    Yep I shoot it - often.

    Someone special wanted me to have one before he passed - we had a running joke about him buying one, we being S&W folks, " That gun was backwards" .

    A THR member helped me find one, I still have the black Bakalite grips on it. Darn thing might be " backwards" , but dang....it hits where aimed, everytime, any distance.

    Now the bluing is worn, has character , sentimental to me....but I'm going to shoot it. I also keep it handy as a HD firearm as well.

    Can't afford a set of wood grips, nor a holster , but it gets toted as a CCW every now and then.

    Put it this way, I let a couple shoot it, and the Beretta Tomcat they had was sold to someone that wanted it real bad....the Replacement was a Dick Special. They are tickled ....gonna have to buy another one...they fight over it. :p

    That way the nightstands in the Bedroom will match...dang women that decorate :D
     
  12. Gordon

    Gordon Member

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    I too have a 1973 DS in nickle 3" and it is my version of a Diamond back .38. Because of the guns rarity I DON'T shoot it much, but it IS a tackdriver shooting 158 grain loads to point of aim and 3" 25 yard groups (probably less). I like the lugged 3rd generation guns once they are tuned properly. I regulary carry such an Agent (1978) Sadowski tuned, that will also put 158grain LSWCHP into 3" at 25 yards. My older Colt D frames won't doi this, even Police Positive Target models!;)
     
  13. Mastrogiacomo

    Mastrogiacomo Member

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    I'm looking forward to taking the gun out to the range when I'm finally able to pick it up. I do wish Colt were allowed in this state. I'm at the mercy of what's ever available. I'd love to have the option to buy from as many different names as other states enjoy. What can I say, Massachusetts stinks. At least now I have a Federal job so after I finish up some courses, I'll look for my first ticket out.
     
  14. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Mastrogiacomo:

    I know what you’re saying about “Messed-up-chusetts,†but in my opinion that little Colt you are about to get is as good as they come. I live in Arizona, where I can buy almost anything I want, but most new guns don’t hold a candle to what you’ll have. I passed up several to get an older Detective Special, and was absolutely delighted to find it. So far as this gun’s concerned you’re not a second class citizen.
     
  15. Lone Star

    Lone Star Member

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    Keep in mind that butt wasn't rounded until 1933, and that the longer extractor rod dates from 1958.

    Lone Star
     
  16. kennedy

    kennedy Member

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    I have a 2nd issue(1952) that shoots point of aim, love it, just picked up a 3rd made in 1973, can`t wait to find the time to try it out.
     
  17. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    I take my third generation Detective Special to the range now and then; for the most part, however, she's a bank box queen: the .38 special just isn't quite enough cartridge for me to carry on a regular basis.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2007
  18. Mastrogiacomo

    Mastrogiacomo Member

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    Nice gun. I can relate to the carrying issue. I'd prefer to grab my Glock 19 or my Beretta type M. If I had a Lady Smith 65 -- that'd do as well....:D This is a gun I'd like more for range, sheer fun and some measure of protection if I'm unable to have the others for whatever reasons. Something is always better than nothing...
     
  19. Diamondback

    Diamondback Member

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    I carry a 3rd. Gen. blue "Dick Special" every day as my CCW........during the summer I load it with Fed. 125gr. standard pressure Nyclads and during the rest of the year 158gr.LSWCHP+p. Although I might switch to the new Speer 38 Spl. 135gr+p Gold Dot.

    I find the heavier bullets shoot better groups......for target use Fiocchi 148gr JHP are very accurate.

    I love the Det. Special. I have another one in the safe that is mint and also a NIB 3" SS DSII I picked up last year because the price was right. Something about those D frame Colts get me every time....did I mention I have a few Diamondbacks too ?

    -regards:D
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2004
  20. JimC

    JimC Member

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    I carried a DS on and off for a lot of years while in LE. They always shot and served very well.
    When I retired in '97, I found myself with no DS but didn't give it much thought, semi autos were in vogue now, until a used one came along in '01 at a small FFL that I use.
    A simple phone call to Colt showed that it was made in '65.
    It was dirty inside, real dirty but, it was mechanically in very good to excellent condition. The grips are a little worn but okay.
    After cleaning it up, I took it to the range one day and found it to be as good a shooter as any that I've had in the past.
    It cost me $100.
    Last year I decided to have it refinished. I contacted Colt and was quoted $165.00 for the job. Total cost w/shipping was $194.00. The job took only about two weeks. I was pleasantly surprised at that.
    What I was more pleased with was the condition in which I received the DS back from Colt.
    What Colt described as "standard blue" was more like the royal blue that they used on the Python revolvers of the '60's and '70's. They did an outstanding job.
    So good infact, I haven't fired it since it came back or has the DS been cocked. I don't want any lines apperaing on the cylinder. It resides in my safe in it's own Pelican case. :D

    The original question... Does anyone shoot their Dectective Special?

    No, I don't mine any longer. ;)

    124_2438_5x3.gif
     
  21. Diamondback

    Diamondback Member

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    Yup....that's a beauty Jim !

    -regards
     
  22. JimC

    JimC Member

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    Thanks Diamondback.
    I like it a lot. ;)
    The original owner, a Chief of police somewhere here in NJ, carried it more than he shot it I think.
    He never took it apart to clean it. It was devoid of any lube and for a long time.
     
  23. Mastrogiacomo

    Mastrogiacomo Member

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    Nice looking gun Jim. Good to know about Colt service -- I didn't realize they did refinishing. The DS I'm planning on getting looks about as blue, it's in beautiful shape but dirty. I imagine it'll clean up nice though.
     
  24. RUT

    RUT Member

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    >>I don't want any lines apperaing on the cylinder.<<

    Ah, thus the tie-wrap!:)
     
  25. sm

    sm member

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    JimC,

    Very nice !

    Well , you just told me how much it would run me to have my '28 model refinished. Thanks - I think. :)

    Looks like mine, 'cept I have them genuine Bakalite Black stocks on mine, yours is nicer looking....and I don't have a cable tie on mine. :D
     
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