The 3" bbl. was catalogued in some years,for BOTH the post war(1946-72)unshrouded ejector rod model as well as the post 72' shrouded model. Ive seen 3" models of both. While "rare",only an "advanced collector",who maybe specializes in D frames,would be willing to pay a large premium for 3" model,and then only for a NIB example. 3" bbls were standard on the Cobra in .22 cal,available in some of the other calibers,and "standard" on the rare Courier made around 1954, in both the .32 and .22 cals. I once owned a 1920s Police Positive .38 Special with a factory 3" bbl. but it had the older style narrow butt,which made it hard to control in fast D.A. fire,even with a Tyler adapter in place. Now have a first year production D.S.with the larger grip and square butt,that was standard until 1933. A much more controlible gun. Ive always preferred the larger grip frame on the D Frames(one of many reasons!!) to the smaller S&W J Frames. Good Luck in buying it bluesteelnwood. Only problem might be finding a holster for one with a 3",but very minor problem. Bud
I agree with Lonewolf. While the 3" DS is somewhat rare, except to the collector they value no more than the standard 2 incher. I once had a 3rd generation 3" DS, but lost it in a foolish mistake on my part. I haven't seen another one since. I have seen several 3" Cobras chambered in .22lr though.
bluesteelnwood I had several reasons why I asked you the question I did.
1st is that many folks find the D frame guns confusing, not really knowing the differences between a 3rd issue and the 4th issue Detective Special or the similar named Detective Special II that also has a shrouded barrel but a different frame.
The 2nd reason is that I own a 3" DSII. The only one I've seen. It is uncataloged in common sales documents or resource manuals. I was trying to validate the existence of possibly another of this gun/barrel combo. I'm sure there are others, I just haven't run across any.
Within the past year I have seen 3" Detective Special barrels in blue for sale at such places as Sportsman Guide. They had good prices if I recall. They could easily be fitted to a 3rd or 4th issue DS and look original. I mention this as when dealing with scarce or rare variants (where one pays a premium for a particular characteristic), one must always be sure of what they are getting.
lonewolf gave you an excellent overview of the 3" D-frames. I believe the 1st issue Cobra 22 was only available in 3" barrel. That is probably what lonewolf was referring to as standard. The 3" Cobra in 38 Spec being a little less common. I have examples of each and did not pay a premium over similar condition 2" versions
I am making a deal to buy a later issue Colt Det Spec. with a 3" barrel with the enclosed ejector rod. In regards to the first to third issue, how common are 3" barrel DEs and is there a premium in price for one.