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First Colt...couple of questions.

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by TennJed, Jan 24, 2013.

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  1. TennJed

    TennJed Member

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    First Colt...couple of questions...UPDATED PICS

    I picked up my first colt today in a trade. It was sort of a whim trade, which is unusual for me. Honestly I am happy with the trade regardless of money. I traded a CZ Rami that was in great condition I just never shot it much. Never quite warmed up to it. I always wanted a colt revolver, but I am more familiar with their Single Action.

    First thing I want to ask is how do I tell if the grips are real mother of pearl? When I saw the picture of the gun I assumed they were fake, but after meeting the guy (he wasn't sure) they don't look "plastic" to me. They have a rainbow like sheen when held just right.

    Second question is, how good of a gun is this? It is a detective special in 38 sp. I am familiar with the name, but do not really know much about them. Gunbroker shows the values running from $400 to $1200 on detective specials, so i really don't know where to begin. It is in what I would consider good shape. one big scratch on the front of the trigger guard that runs onto the right side. Another small mark under the barrel. The rest of it seems to be good. The nickel is in good shape everywhere else. Most importantly the lockup is tight and the bore is good.

    So what do I have and how did I do? Here are some crappy cellphone pics. I paid $540 for the CZ new a couple of years ago. I am not really sure what they bring used. ETA the serial # is 41xxxx
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2013
  2. Black Knight

    Black Knight Member

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    Not that there are not people here who know the Colt Detective Special but a better place might be the Colt Forum. They specialize in Colt firearms. There are several generations of the Detective Special. I have heard that you should not use 38 Special +P in it much, but should stay with the standard pressure loads.
     
  3. TennJed

    TennJed Member

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    thanks, I did post over there too. Just that I do not get on that forum much. THR and TFL are where I spend most my time
     
  4. Black Knight

    Black Knight Member

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    From the photos yours is a first or second generation Detective Special. While I don't know for sure, those grips appear to be mother of pearl. They have the sheen and iridesence of mother of pearl. It is a very nice gun.
     
  5. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    Take a grip off, heat a pin with a lighter, and press it against the grip. If the hot pin sinks in the grip, you have plastic.

    Congrats on owning one of the finest snubs ever made.
     
  6. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    TennJed

    Nice looking Detective Special there! And all the more nicer if that's the original nickel plating and those are actually factory Mother of Pearl grips. I can't tell from your pics but they appear to have that iridescent quality about them. From the serial number it was made in 1932 or 1933.
     
  7. PRM

    PRM Member

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    The D frame Colt is a classic. One of the best DA snub revolvers ever made. I have been carrying them since the mid 1970s. Colts are addictive.

    Far as +P ammo, a few rounds on occasion won't hurt them. Some will argue that the new +P is in the range of the old standard ammo. I personally don't use them in mine, simply because the guns are not made any more. And I don't feel the need to shoot the hotter rounds.

    The Proof House can provided information on the age of your gun.

    http://proofhouse.com/
     
  8. Airbrush Artist

    Airbrush Artist member

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    Dependent on the handle You would get More ,That Colt would Be $400- $700, I have a 1973 Colt Detective Special That has had less than 150 rounds Fired I been offer $700 for it..Contact Colt Do The Homework on the Firearm,They will give You the Info You need if You provide the Serial number and send You a new manual free...I would say whatever the condition would determine if its a Keeper..Whatever You decide a 38 Special is one of the Best CCW Revolers that has every been made like PRM stated and a Joy to own and Shoot I work Concert Security Transporting Performers and feel fully comfortable with it as my CCW Firearm, I do load with hallow Point rounds when I'm working. ,Its pretty much a Consensus by a Lot of Gun owners,I started with Mine and It remains my Firearm of Choice, 1,000's of Former Police Officers from back in the day cannot be wrong.. ,They have a Serious learning Curve but "whatever" you learn or start out with, Practice is the key word..Everyday if possible till you know it .Then practice some more.I carry My Colt 38 Detective Sp. every day with full assurance I have what I need ...One things for sure do get discouraged and Sell it... shoot standard 38 rounds till you get the Lowdown on the Firearm heres mine 19634-580545_10200130636289964_374118962_n.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013
  9. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    Sweet little pimp pistol you have there! Doesn't look like factory nickel as it appears to have been refinished. Hard to tell from the pics but it looks like it might be real mother of pearl. Which are gonna be worth at least $200 if not $300. Very cool sixgun!
     
  10. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    it is a 1st generation

    the 1/2 moon sight is how you tell.

    pics are not great but I would guess it has been plated and those look like plastic grips.

    As CPE says, the DS is arguably the best snub ever made.

    If it is in good shape you can shoot all the "+P" you want. Current "+P" is the same pressure as the regular ammo when your gun was made.

    BTW, that old timey looking front sight is easier to see in low light conditions and the tallness allows you to "lob in" some rounds at distance. That is something the more modern looking 3rd gen can't do.

    Of course now that you have the shiny chrome gun with pearl grips you have to acquire (if you haven't already) a mid 70's Eldorado and a purple, felt swashbuckler hat. :neener:

    Magnum+Force+Pimpmobile.jpg
     
  11. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    Yeah! :D
     
  12. TennJed

    TennJed Member

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    Thanks guys. I did confirm they are real MOP grips. I will try to post better pics tonight to see if y'all can help me confirm the finish
     
  13. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    look at the "prancing horse" on the left side

    Is it smooth or are the grooves sharp?

    If it looks like it was sanded (smooth) it is not a factory plate job
     
  14. TennJed

    TennJed Member

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    Good suggestion. I will try that when I get off work tonight. Thanks.

    Not only is this my first Colt, it is my first nickel. I usually polish my stainless guns with Mother's Mag. Is that a no-no with nickel? I no ammonia based cleaners are
     
  15. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    The screw holes on the right side are a wee bit dished out, which makes me think it's a refinish.
     
  16. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    I think Craig is probably right (as is his habit) but the pictures are not exactly hi-def
     
  17. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    If he sends it to me, I'll take some good pics of it. Maybe post a few targets as well. ;)
     
  18. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    The stocks are mother-of-pearl, and not plastic. More important, they are genuine Colt stocks and not something made by an after-market company.

    The fact the the stocks are Colt's make it more likely that the revolver was nickeled in the first place. It may take an expensive factory letter to confirm (if true) that the gun was nickeled and the stocks originally came on it from the factory. But if this is so the value would increase by at least 50% on the collector market.

    It is a 1st. Issue, 2nd type. Serial number indicates it was made in 1933.

    I wouldn't shoot it until the background is known. It could easily be worth twice what you paid for it.
     
  19. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    Old Fuff's glasses must be at the exact right frequency to ascertain that which he professes from the foggy photos.

    I just hope that TennJed doesn't get the gun near Old Fuff. It will lose the trigger guard
     
  20. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    I agree on the grips but still think the finish is not original, though it may have originally been plated. Better pics would tell the tale. This particular gun comes from a time when Colt polishers were masters of their craft so if it's been refinished, it should be rather obvious.
     
  21. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Do you have any idea what an original peral-handled/nickel plated Fitz Special would be worth? :what: :evil:

    Pictures aside, the only way to confirm what the revolver's configuration was when it left the factory would be an historical letter from Colt. They are expensive, and this gun would be a gamble; but if the letter confirmed that this Detective Special is in its original condition the increase in value would pay for the letter many times over. Almost any collector that bought it would be willing to pay extra to get the letter and not have to duplicate it.
     
  22. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    I would definitely only gamble on the letter if it appears to be the original finish. If it's obviously a refinish (which should be obvious), I wouldn't bother because at that point, it doesn't matter what the finish was originally.
     
  23. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Will I suppose this is something the gun owner will have to decide. I stand by my evaluation.
     
  24. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    u were looking to chop a Holland and Holland 12 gauge

    u and your bench grinder have no limits
     
  25. TennJed

    TennJed Member

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    I think I am just going to order a Duracoat shake a bake kit from Brownells and do a home restoration in coyote olive drab dark earth brown

    Seriously I will get some better pics up. How much do those letters cost
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013
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