Colt -- D-frame vs. J-frame - Pistolsmith

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Old 07-14-2011, 03:20 PM   #1
Aguila Blanca's Avatar
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Colt -- D-frame vs. J-frame

No, not asking about the S&W J-frame.

I've had a Colt detective Special for a number of years. I recently came across an Armscor M206 .38 Special snubnose, made in the Philippines. The finish certainly isn't in the same league as Colt blue, but the thing works, and feels fairly solid. Here's the question:

I have read that the Armscor M200/M206 is based on the Colt Detective Special, and manufactured on tooling purchased from Colt. But when I look inside, the mechanism is not at all like the Detective Special. However, the gun fits perfectly in a molded leather holster that was made for the Detective Special, and I put a set of Pachmayr Detective Special grips on the Armscor, and they fit like they were made for it.

Looking through schematics on the Numrich web site, the mechanism shown for the Colt J-frame revolvers (the Lawman and Trooper models, for example) appears to be identical. A key identifying element would be the in-line hammer strut with a coil spring wrapped around it, leading to a retainer plate in the grip frame.

So (finally getting to the question) ... are the Colt D-frame and J-frame revolvers actually the same size, and the different designation is because of the mechanical design rather than the size?
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Old 07-14-2011, 05:02 PM   #2
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The Armscor revolvers are NOT based in any way on the Colt "D" frame revolvers.
They have an external resemblance to the Colt Detective Special and Diamondback but that's it.

Because of the Colt look a lot of rumors have it that Colt sold the tooling to Armscor, Colt sold the design to Armscor, or it's a close copy of the Colt's.
None of this is true. Colt never sells any tooling or commercial designs.
While they have an external appearance to a Colt, internally they're more like a Dan Wesson or the later Colt revolvers like the Trooper Mark III-King Cobra, and have a transfer bar safety-ignition system action.
Quality is not good.

Armscor is also making these under the Bersa brand name.

The Colt "D" frame is a small frame revolver.
The Colt "J" frame as used on the Mark III series is a larger, heavier medium frame revolver that's about the same size as the Python.
The "J" frame Mark III frame was later upgraded and made as the "V" frame Trooper Mark V, and was later still fitted with a different barrel and first made of stainless steel as the King Cobra.
The "J", "V", and "AA" frame Colt's are significantly larger with larger cylinders than the Colt "D" frame.
Old 07-14-2011, 08:52 PM   #3
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The speedloader for my Detective Special works with the Armscor. And, as I noted, the Armscor is a perfect fit in a quality, molded leather holster for a Detective Special.

But you're correct, it does have a transfer bar rather than a hammer-mounted firing pin.

Interesting little gun. Just wish I knew more about it. The frame very much does NOT appear to be larger or heavier than the Detective Special.
Old 07-15-2011, 05:38 PM   #4
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Armscor made the external size and appearance as close to the Colt Detective Special and Diamondback as they thought they could get away with.

This isn't the first time a foreign gun maker has made close look-alike guns that mimic American quality guns.
The intent is to make the buyer think he's getting an exact copy.
Considering all the rumors that Colt sold them the old ""D frame tooling, or sold them the design, or it's simply an exact copy, this old gag still works.
Old 11-09-2011, 08:58 PM   #5
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Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Concord, New Hampshire
Posts: 68
Armscor quality

Or the lack thereof... I have never owned one but a friend once did and I handled it and pestered him until he let me take it apart to look at the innards. Kind of like the old LLama guns. Nice enough on the poutside but look inside and you'd swear the were made by an angry blacksmith with nothing but a hammer, chisel and file. Just me, but I wouldn't carry one. I'd be scared it would explode if I used it. I guess I'm a snob in a lot of things. Especially if I may need it to save my bacon.

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