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Colt Detective Special First Gen

Discussion in 'The Snubbie Club' started by JesseA, Nov 8, 2012.

  1. JesseA

    JesseA Glock Historian

    Oct 7, 2012
    Shawnee Oklahoma
    I recently acquired a First Gen Colt Detective Special, it was made in 1945 and is in very good shape. I was wondering if anyone could give me some info on this gun, value and anything that might be useful or worth knowing. I love the gun and have been looking for a long time.

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  2. Berto

    Berto woo woo

    Sep 15, 2003
    A great revolver; not much bigger than the S&W J frame, but gives you an extra round and more to hold onto.
    I'm used to seeing those sell in the $450-550 range in good or better shape in my locale.
    The gun will be OK for an occasional cylinder or two of +P, but lots of +P will wear the lockwork- specifically the hand and bolt engagement. The frame is plenty strong though.
    A good bet would be sticking to standard pressure .38sp loads for practice and loading up +P 135gr Gold Dots or the Rem 158gr LSWCHP for defensive needs.
    The difference in recoil between +P and std pressure won't be as pronounced and felt in an alll steel snubby like that.
    Those guns really feel nice too, with a Tyler T grip insert and the factory stocks.

  3. BamaTrooper

    BamaTrooper Almost Done

    Sep 12, 2006
    Rocking Chair
    I found a Colt Agent in a local shop. Frame lost all the finish but they still want 449 for it.
  4. ArtCrafter

    ArtCrafter ¤Hocker Mocker¤

    Jul 14, 2008

    The next time you see a prewar DS in any condition for that price, you should buy it.

    In the condition shown above, it would bring at least $1000 on GunBroker, probably more.

    I strongly disagree with this statement.

    Ask the Colt factory, and I bet they will, too.

    To cite the most obvious analogy, Smith & Wesson advises against +P in any .38 Special revolver made at their factory before the introduction of model numbers in the 1950s. That includes models on the K-frame, which is arguably closest in size and strength to the Colt D-frame.

    The subject gun is almost 70 years old and was never intended for use with +P type ammunition.

    If I wanted to use it for self-defense, I would load with that old skool favorite, wadcutter (match) ammunition − and then hope I never had to use it.

    If I wanted to shoot it for sport, I would use only standard-pressure ammunition loaded with non-jacketed lead bullets. The old barrel steels simply aren't up to the modern alternative without seeing undue wear over time.

    HTH @ OP :wavey:
  5. glockjeeper

    glockjeeper G19/J Frame fan

    Sep 9, 2000
    Very nice snubby. I use to have one made in the late 30s. Very nice revolvers. I don't have it anymore but still have the Tyler T grip adaptor. Its a polished silver version, one of the older ones. If your interested its yours, PM me for details.
  6. bac1023


    Sep 26, 2004
    Very nice indeed

    I have a couple Colt DS's, but the oldest is a 1960.
  7. OldSchool64


    Sep 5, 2010
    I'm not into these Colts myself but I know someone with one of these, also has one with 4' barrel, both are mid '40s and in good condition.

    Anyway I have some interest here, so I have to ask...

    Are you sure about that resale price on GB? I'm not sure myself but seems like I've seen some prices that were way up there.

    If using for SD... Do you (or anyone else) know if a few rounds of +P JHP's would actually do any damage?
  8. fivestar


    Oct 15, 2004
    Very nice. I picked up a 1969 model at a local shop earlier this year. No plans to carry it, but Ive shot around 50 rounds thru it. Range/safe gun only.
  9. Berto

    Berto woo woo

    Sep 15, 2003
    I agree for the most part, not sure where the controversy is.
    First, I simply stated what I see at the shop I frequent. Gunbroker is a joke in the context of what a shop might take in and sell for. I recall seeing a first gen Det Spec there for $479...and yeah I shoud have bought it. You would probably be really pissed at what I paid for my Pre war Officers Match too.
    Second, what Colt or S&W says about +p depends on when you're asking. These guns and non numbered mod K frames for that matter were produced long before there was such thing as +P, and much hotter ammo was common and cleared by both Colt and S&W for limited use, that was the .38/44.
    I think along the lines of what Grant Cunningham said makes sense .
    These days, Colt and S&W live in a more litigious time and might well devolve to a point where shooting your product in anything but a life saving emergency and then only with factory ammo will void the warranty. In the thirties when battling for share in LE markets, sure, it'll take whatever you stuff in the chambers. .38/44 was said to be nearly twice the pressure of what we're calling +p, right?
    You quoted part of what I said, without mentioning the stated caveat about increasing I'll go ahead and stand by what I said
    Were it my gun, and I actually intended to carry or use it as it was designed, I'd probably load it with a typical +p like the Rem FBI load with it's soft lead bullet, and shoot standard pressure in it for range work. There's really no good reason to use +p for general shooting anyways, eh? I simply responded to the question regarding +p, and the truth is the gun can handle it in limited dosages , but will accelerate wear. As Grant pointed out, nowhere should it be inferred that the D frame will tolerate steady use of the stuff.
    The whole +P thing in relation to .38sp is really becoming a red herring, IMO ....we're still talking about low pressure ammo in a steel framed gun too. There's no reason for the OP to be terrified about a cylinderful destroying his gun with ammo loaded to lower pressure than typical 'standard pressure' of that gun's era.
  10. Walking Softly

    Walking Softly

    Oct 5, 2006
    Another choice for older snubbies in the Winchester silvertip, available in 38 special, standard pressure.
  11. Berto

    Berto woo woo

    Sep 15, 2003
    For standard pressure in that gun, the Nyclad or Buffalo Bore soft lead 158gr lswchp would be decent loads that actually expand and penetrate- though the Nyclad is on the light side in penetration.
  12. Fox

    Fox Varmit Control

    Nov 7, 2001
    Damage? Standard .38 Special has killed many people.