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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Picked up an early 50's vintage Detective Special (have to confirm birthdate with Colt yet, s/n is 496xxx with "8" below the s/n) with some interesting plastic grips. The left grip seems to have a raised/protruding thumb rest. The right side grip has the Colt logo. So... real, not real?

Gun Revolver Trigger Starting pistol Shotgun
Firearm Gun Revolver Trigger Starting pistol
Firearm Gun Revolver Trigger Starting pistol

Nice gun, shoots well but has a very heavy double action trigger. Single action drops at 3.8 pounds but since my scale only goes up to 12 pounds I couldn't get a good number for double action.
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Your 1948 Detective Special was from the old serial number grouping ending with SN 510001. It has the old pre war type C frame, which was replaced later, in 1949 with the D frame, starting in a new serial number group begining with SN 501600. The older frame had two holes in the right side frame below the cylinder window. Colt changed from a two hole frame with a cap/spring/detent/ in one hole, and a 2nd hole next to it with a threaded lock screw nestling and securing the detent assembly in the frame. The detent assembly are the parts that hold the crane and cylinder into the frame and secure the cylinder's smooth rotation in and out for loading. The newer D frame uses one hole on the right side to accomplish the same thing. It consists of a tapped hole, a threaded cap with a concave roof which holds and depresses the detent spring and detent to hold the crane and cylinder assembly in the frame.
Another big change occuring in 1949 was the change of the mainspring design. But that is another matter, though very important in the study of D frame Colts.

I'm sorry to tell you these plastic stocks are not original to your Detective Special. They were special order for Police Postive Specials ordered by the Hong Kong Police in the 1950s. If memory serves, they ordered the Police Positive Specials with 4 inch barrels and lanyard loops on the grip butts, and these atypical stocks with the thumb rest on the left panel. I am not sure of the number of revolvers in the order. Original examples of these 4 inch Hong Kong Police Positive Specials pop up on Gunbroker every once in a while. They are of interest to Colt police gun collectors in the main. Your older pre war type frame may have a mix of pre and post war small parts. Pre war parts could be a checkered cylinder latch, a checkered trigger, and a checkered hammer. Post war parts in the mix for that year gun could be a serrated trigger, a serrated hammer, and a smooth cylnder latch.

The stocks your gun should have are type 1 Coltwood plastic stocks. Please do a search using the keyword Coltwood. There is a lot of information for you.

* Your DS may need a good cleaning and oiling if the DA trigger pull won't register over 12lbs! Hopefully that will clean it up to a standard DA Colt C or D frame trigger pull
weight.
 

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Hi, all,

There must have been a warehouse full of those black plastic stocks somewhere! Back in the late 80's I answered an ad in Shotgun News which read:

"Colt Police Positives--38 Spl. 4" Bbl. Have on hand a good supply of these ideal home protection revolvers, in hard hitting 38 Spl. All have been in Police Service and have seen heavy usage. They require cleaning, perhaps some tinkering. All will be sold AS IS at this give-away price. $59.95."

I ordered two. SN 545827 had no special markings except for "CAI ST. ALBV." under the barrel. SN 752364 was marked, "FUERZAS DE POLICIA" above "REPUBLICA DE COLUMBIA" on top of the barrel, and "59-0300" on the butt. The under barrel stamp was a slight variation."CAI STALB VT ( Century Arms International, St. Albans, Vermont). The later one shot fine, the other needed some parts. Both sported those identical black stocks as chuter's. I managed to get period correct stocks for both (not sure why :)) but still have the "Hong Kong" pairs for any "purist" willing to meet my price!

Thanks to chuter and Malysh for the memories.

Dick

P.S.

No lanyard loop or plugged hole on the Columbian.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Malysh: the trigger and hammer are checkered. The cylinder latch is smooth. I'll look up Coltwood and try to get a set for her. I'll also do a good cleaning and lubing. Except for the loss of some of her bluing on the left side and some classic holster wear, it's in great condition. Her lands and grooves are like new. Minimal, if any wear on spur, etc. and other action parts. I picked it up as another CCW shooter for my wife (adding to her collection of a 1968 and 1975 DS). I'm into it for a little over $300. I hesitated because of the double action trigger pull but the single action is nice, crisp and smooth so I "looked the other way" on the DA.
Thank you all for your help identifying the gun series and the grip history.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Looking Inside

Guys: I opened her up and found a pretty clean gun inside. The barrel is in great shape and I was happy to see the matching serial number on the inside of the side plate. I did a little extra cleaning, lubed it lightly and closed her up. The single action is still very nice and crisp but the double action remains very strong. I'm not sure if a different spring is the right way to go or just leave a sleeping and classic dog lay. Gun Firearm Trigger Revolver Starting pistol
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