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Kentucky shooter seeks information and/or opinions about the DS-II. Known production numbers with 3-inch barrels and approximate value? Any online T&E reviews out there?


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The DS-II was one of Colt's last series of double action revolvers.

The frame type was the Colt "SF" or "Small Frame". This replaced the old Colt "D" frame.

The basic gun was first issued in the late 1990's as the "SF-VI" or Small Frame-Six Shot.
The reason for the less than catchy name, was Colt didn't want any cases of mistaken identity with the older Colt Detective Special's still in the wholesalers stock.

As soon as the last of the old Colt "D" framed guns were off the shelves, Colt renamed the "SF-VI" as the Colt DS-II, or Detective Special Two.

Guns in the "SF" series were the:
And the Magnum Carry.
Colt discontinued the "SF" guns along with the King Cobra in the early 2000's.

The rarest of the "SF" guns are the 3" and 4" versions. These are so rare, most people never heard of them, and value on these will higher than on any other of these guns.

The "SF" guns were somewhat a disappointment to older Colt buyers.
When we first heard Colt was going to make a "Stainless Detective Special" we assumed it was going to be the older DS made of stainless.

The new "SF" guns were totally new guns that only resembled the older DS gun.

The new "SF" frame uses a transfer-bar action, and different internal parts.

The "SF" guns dispensed with some of the features the older DS guns had, like the smoothly rounded barrel muzzle, rear sight "shadow" notch, and non-glare top strap.

In order to hold costs down, the new "SF" had a uniform stainless finish with no non-glare surfaces.

The rear sight is simply a cut in the frame which reflects glare rather badly.

The barrel is squared on the end, and most owners find the edges so sharp, there is a danger of getting cut.
The barrel edges are so sharp, it will quickly ruin most holsters by shaving leather off.

Many people find the new, shorter front sight ugly, but it does offer a better sighting surface than the older, long ramp sight of the Detective Special.

The early "SF" guns had the lightest double action trigger ever use on a factory revolver.
The triggers were so light, some owners had problems with "short stroking", or failing to allow the trigger to go far enough forward to reset.

Colt offered to replace the trigger spring for owners who had problems.

The new transfer-bar action's cylinder locking bolt had a VERY fast reset, and some owner's found it was not properly adjusted at the factory.
Some guns dropped the locking bolt TOO fast, and sometimes the cylinder would fail to unlock at all, jamming the action.

On it's plus side, the "SF" guns had great triggers, were stainless, and were a good follow-on to the older, and just too expensive to make Colt revolvers.

The guns are usually nearly as accurate as the legendarily accurate Detective Special.

The gun was beefed up enough, that it was possible to offer the Magnum Carry, chambered in .357 Magnum.
Even the standard SF-VI and DS-II .38 Special guns could handle a steady diet of hot +P ammo.

Since the "SF" frame Colt's were only made a few years, production was low, especially on the Magnum Carry, and prices are skyrocketing.

In any event, a "SF" owner has one of the finest "snubby" revolvers ever made.
Most criticism is from shooters who wanted the older DS made in stainless, and who weren't happy with the cost-cutting features of the "SF" guns.

To be fair, other than the rear sight glare and the sharp muzzle, there's not much to criticize on the Colt "SF" guns.

[This message has been edited by dfariswheel (edited 08-17-2004).]

150 Posts
I have one of the SF series which has a bobbed hammer in polished stainless. From what I've been able to discover, the only polished stainless guns and components were the "Special Lady". I know the gun came from the factory this way, so I guess it's another case of Colt "using the parts on hand". Other than the sharp edges around the muzzle, I like the gun a lot. Double action is as good as a couple of post-70 Pythons I own, and it's as accurate as a snubbie could be expected to be. No problems with the trigger or action so far.
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