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Colt ” D ” frame revolver reassembly

This is a picture tutorial for the reassembly of a Colt Detectives Special. It is a ” D ” frame revolver, chambered for .38 Special cartridges. This gun was issued to the Maine State Police in the 1930’s.

This particular revolver had some broken parts that needed to be replaced. I disassembled the gun to find the mainspring was broken in addition to the top of the revolver hand. This picture tutorial starts with reassembly after the new parts are in the shop…..



The above picture shows the cylinder bolt assembly and spring installed in the gun.



Above is the trigger, the safety linkage and the hammer block.



These parts clip together, post and slot style. I install them as one piece.



Here they are installed in the gun.



Next I install the hammer onto it’s post and slip it into place. Note the sear surface and the way it engages behind the hammer strut…..



The rebound lever is shown being installed next. This part cycles the hammer and pushes forward on the revolver hand to turn the cylinder.



The rebound lever is installed next. The pin that holds it in place is the pivot point in the frame.



Next I install the revolver hand. The tip of the rebound lever pushes it forward to engage the ratchet teeth at the back of the cylinder. The hand needs to be fitted to the gun. For further information on the proper angles you’ll need for smooth functioning, I refer you to Jerry Kuhnhausen’s Colt Double Action Revovler Manual, Vol 1. I DO NOT teach gunsmithing online due to liability reasons. If you attempt to undertake your own repairs, you are reposible for any mistakes you make.



The cylinder latch pin goes into the frame next. I wait until now to put it in, simply because I don’t like to chase after it when it falls out as I install other parts.



The main spring is installed. All internal parts are in place and I’m ready to install the cylinder latch, pin and spring. If you’re thinking at this point that the inside of a Colt double action revolver looks like a Swiss watch — don’t feel too badly about it. They’re simple enough if you take time to watch how the parts interact with each other. A good rule of thumb is NEVER pry on any parts and don’t force anything in place.



The sideplate and screws are now on the gun.



The cylinder and crane assembly are slipped into place…..



The crane lock and lock screw are assembled like this…… the detent and spring for the crane lock are already in the gun.



The gun is finally reassembled and taken out behind the shop to be test fired.

{ 3 comments… add one }

  • Ron November 11, 2011, 9:02 PM

    That’s a nice little handgun.

  • Jonathan S April 16, 2012, 5:49 PM

    Thanks for the excellent walk-through. I have been searching for something this detailed with pictures for a while now. I plan on refinishing my Colt Agent soon and this will be a tremendous help with reassembly. Thank you!!

    • Butch August 6, 2015, 11:25 PM

      Son of a gun, this is so heflpul!

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