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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi there: I just bought a pistol that was sold as a Detective Special. I checked the serial number out (178XXX) and it listed 2 possibilities: 1) "1919 Police Positive Special"; or, 2) "1928 Police Positive .38 Caliber (not .38 Special 1-1/4" Cylinder Length)." The gun appears to have been reblued at some point. I don't believe the Seller was aware of all this and I don't believe I was taken ($400 out the door), so I'm not upset. I'd just like to know if you have any ideas what I've actually got here and who might have put it together. I'm rather new at this and I don't know much about either pistol (Police Positive or Detective Special). BTW, the barrel text reads ".38 Detective Special." Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

. DS.2.jpg DS.1.jpg DS.4.jpg DS.5.jpg
 

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It's hard to positively tell from photos taken at angles, but it looks like a Police Positive (the 1928 one) with a Detective Special barrel. A good straight side view would help in verifying what it ts.
 
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I believe some of the first DS actually letter as PPS. They are highly sought after, this may be one. I never collected D frames so I don’t know for sure. Cam or Russ will be along soon to tell you exactly what you have.
 
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My first thought was that you might have one of the "Pre-Detective Specials" but your serial number is WAY too early. Most of the models I've seen are in the 336xxx to 345xxx range. You most likely have a very early Police Positive Special or Police Positive frame with a early Detective Special barrel (with no address line on the right side of the barrel).
 
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You appear to have a 38 police positive in .38 new police (.38 S&W) with a Detective Special barrel made for .38 special. The cylinder looks too short to hold a .38 special. The diameter of the .38NP is larger than a .38special barrel you have. Have a gunsmith inspect it.
 

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It’s hard to tell the cylinder length because of the angles of your photos. The PPSpl cylinder is 1/4” longer than the PP. I believe it’s about 1-3/4” but without measuring one I cannot be certain.
 

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Looking at your photos again, it looks like a DS barrel may have been put on a PPSpl frame. The pre-Detective Special came out about 1928 but did not has Detective Special on the barrel.
 

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Looking at the short frame in front of the trigger guard, where the “stretch” of the PP Special is most obvious, I would indeed think this is a PP, not a Special, frame and cylinder, with a Special barrel. To echo the others, a straight-on side view will make it obvious.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I am expecting the pistol today (I bought it over the internet) and those photos, from the auction, are all I've got right now. As soon as I have it, I'll take some straight on shots. Question: If I were to load a .38 Special round in the cylinder, would it be an obvious ill fit in the event it's a PP?

Many, many, thanks for all the helpful and interesting comments thus far.

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I want to thank everyone who commented regarding my post. I took receipt of the pistol today and as was mentioned, a .38 Special round (std, RNL) is both too long and too wide for the cylinder chambers. I don't want to think about what might have happened had I pulled the trigger with a .38 S&W round in the cylinder. The Seller seemed surprised as well and will be sending me a return label for the piece.

You guys are the bee's knees.

Mike
 
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