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Old January 21, 2011, 07:42 PM   #1
Biff Tannen
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A STRANGE DETONICS 45 (photos) INFO??

I have a Detonics .45, with some rather odd features (SEE PHOTOS), I was hoping someone could shed some light on it...

The hammer, it's curved, REALLY CURVED! I'm guessing to make for optimal cocking action. Is this a custom job, or have you seen these before?

Also, the chamber reads: "COLT .45 MK IV SERIES 70" which seems to be the interior to a Colt 1911 model... Did a Colt fan do a custom on this or was this a weird run of the model?

Finally, is this a "Combat Master"? It doesn't say it on the gun, but it looks like one...

Can someone please shed some light on this strange Detonics?
Or is this more common than I think?

THANK YOU!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg DETONICS 45 6 rare hammer small.jpg (149.4 KB, 709 views)
File Type: jpg DETONICS 45 7 custom hammer back small.jpg (149.2 KB, 555 views)
File Type: jpg DETONICS 45 5 colt 45 MK IV series 70 small.jpg (105.6 KB, 540 views)
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Old January 21, 2011, 07:46 PM   #2
Biff Tannen
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A few more photos

Here's three more photos of it, just for the Detonics fans out there...
Attached Images
File Type: jpg DETONICS 45 2 closeup finish small.jpg (160.1 KB, 359 views)
File Type: jpg DETONICS 45 4 mussle small.jpg (155.0 KB, 335 views)
File Type: jpg DETONICS 45 10 mags engraving small.jpg (124.2 KB, 317 views)
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Old January 21, 2011, 07:59 PM   #3
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intresting, but I know very little about them. nice looking gun John T Rourke had a pair of them.

oh and Biff?

put two coats of wax on the truck!
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Old January 21, 2011, 08:00 PM   #4
los
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I'm no expert on Detonics handguns but It appears you have an early production CombatMaster model. The curved hammer and Seattle stamp are an indication of early production. One Mag (marked A.C.P) appears to be genuine factory.

Congrats..!
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Old January 21, 2011, 09:04 PM   #5
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Quote:
curt.45 said: intresting, but I know very little about them. nice looking gun John T Rourke had a pair of them... oh and Biff? put two coats of wax on the truck!
Yep, I have the 9mm too, like Dr. Rourke!

And yes, I DID put two coats of wax on... I mean, I'm getting ready to put the second coat on now...
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Old January 21, 2011, 09:42 PM   #6
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I don't remember 9mm's, I always thought they were .45's, but 9's like that would be nice.
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Old January 21, 2011, 09:53 PM   #7
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What you have is a very early Detonics. By SN# 4400 (mine) they had changed to a triangular shaped hammer that didn't ride up so high.

What I was told about the original hammers and slanted rear of the slide, right from the horse's mouth (I was getting a throat and trigger job at the Seattle factory) was that they were designed to meet a foreign military advisers request that the guns could be carried fully loaded, hammer down on a loaded chamber, then cocked by "swiping" the hammer down the leg. Supposedly were initially designed for compact survival weapons for pilots.

I was told that that was the reason for the raised hammer on the Tokarev -- it could be cocked by a cavalryman by "swiping" it down his pants leg while mounted.
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Old January 21, 2011, 10:18 PM   #8
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Yeah, that hammer and the sleeved Colt barrel are normal for an early Combat Master. There were three or four different hammer designs used in the first four or five years of production. Some of the early frames were cut-down from full-sized Government Model size, prior to Essex making the small frames. Eventually, the Combat Master was made in .45 ACP, 9mm, .38 Super, and .451 Detonics Magnum. One prominent collector had each Combat Master variant, Mks. I-VI in all four chamberings. They're cool guns. I've been packing a Mk. I almost daily for ten years.
Storm Lake Machine used to be located in western Washington, and provided barrels for both the original Seattle Detonics, and the later, Georgia version.
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Old January 21, 2011, 10:21 PM   #9
Biff Tannen
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Quote:
Gary L. Griffiths wrote: they were designed to meet a foreign military advisers request that the guns could be carried fully loaded, hammer down on a loaded chamber, then cocked by "swiping" the hammer down the leg...
Gary L. Griffiths:
Thank much for that, Gary! I'm trying to imagine the combat technique you described.... I'm gonna try it right now!


THANKS!
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Old January 21, 2011, 10:24 PM   #10
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you'll shoot your foot off!
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Old January 21, 2011, 10:25 PM   #11
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RickB:
Thanks a ton on the Colt chambering information. Yes, I have the 9mm version as well... One thing about the Detonics... I have to hand it to them, they are some of the most pleasant-to-hold pistols I've ever encountered. Perfect weight distribution, absolutely remarkable...
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Old January 22, 2011, 09:45 AM   #12
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My understanding of the Detonics hammer/slide/rear sight arrangement was that it was designed for hammer down carry (condition 2) and ease of cocking. No sight to get in the way of your thumb.
My CombatMaster is a Pendergrass, GA gun made in 2005 (the Jerry Ahern generation) and has the same set up as the originals.


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Old January 24, 2011, 03:11 AM   #13
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WC145:
Are you saying that the photos you posted are the original design (but the 2005 version)?

I'm getting confused... I sure wish there was a proper archive of this gun (boy you'd think with all the Survivalist fans out there, someone would have made a web site devoted to the history of Detonics production models)...
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Old January 24, 2011, 09:45 AM   #14
los
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biff Tannen
... I sure wish there was a proper archive of this gun (boy you'd think with all the Survivalist fans out there, someone would have made a web site devoted to the history of Detonics production models)...
LINKS:

Detonics Archived Data

Detonics Forum

The Detonics Story


.

Last edited by los; January 24, 2011 at 09:55 AM.
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Old January 24, 2011, 09:46 AM   #15
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There's info out there but you have to work to find it.
Detonics made a few different models over the years but the most well known is the CombatMaster, which was the original offering. When it first came out it was quite innovative, until then cut down 1911s were all custom jobs. The use of stainless steel for autos, multiple recoil springs, bushingless barrels, etc were all pretty radical ideas at the time. Of course you had to pay for all that innovation and they were expensive by the standards of the day.

There were three manufacturing facilites - Seattle, Phoenix, and Pendergrass - and three different "Detonics" companies - Detonics (76-87), New Detonics (87-92), and Detonics USA (04-07?). Now there is a fourth out of Illinois somewhere, I don't know much about them and I don't know all the details of the differences between the guns made in each factory. Supposedly the early Pendergrass guns have the best metal, fit, and tolerances, mostly thanks to advances in metalurgy and manufacturing/machining over the 30 years since the Seattle guns were introduced.

Aside from changes that came with better metal, springs, etc, all of the CombatMasters are basically the same. They were offered in a number of calibers - .45acp, 9mm, .38 Super, .451 Detonics - but the .45acp was the most popular. They're quite small, with a 3.5" barrel and a very short grip, shorter than the Colt Officers Model.

Check this site for pics of other ComatMasters, you'll see the obvious similarities between my gun and the originals - http://www.z3bigdaddy.com/site6/page13.html.

Here's a link to a history page from one of the sites los posted - http://www.biggerhammer.net/detonics..._patyates.html
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Last edited by WC145; January 24, 2011 at 09:53 AM.
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Old January 24, 2011, 11:31 AM   #16
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Here's a few charts comparing the Detonics Combat Master to other compact 45acp automatic handguns...








Last edited by los; January 24, 2011 at 03:54 PM.
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Old January 24, 2011, 04:07 PM   #17
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Looks normal to me.
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Old January 24, 2011, 04:16 PM   #18
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A final chart with the legendary LM-4..

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Old January 24, 2011, 04:56 PM   #19
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a big thanks to los & WC145

los & WC145

You are better men than I (or at least better researchers haha)! I looked for links like this, but couldn't find anything! Amazing... a very very big thank you for your help, I now have a lot of great recreational reading for tonight!

THANKS AGAIN!!!!!
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Old January 24, 2011, 05:27 PM   #20
los
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Hello, Biff.

Glad we could help out.

As a former, proud owner of a pristine Mk VI, I had a few links saved in my laptop related to early manufactured Detonics handguns.

CONGRATS on your acquisition.

Here's a few photos of my ex DCM Mk VI..


Last edited by los; January 24, 2011 at 06:39 PM.
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Old January 24, 2011, 05:46 PM   #21
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I think you have one of the early ones too. I read that the (designer) wanted a condition two carry and so it got that hammer and a ridiculous rear sight placement to facilitate ease of condition 2 carry.

Engineers on Meth.
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Old January 24, 2011, 08:50 PM   #22
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My pleasure Biff. You've got a nice piece there, enjoy it.

los - You're gun was in incredible condition, the pics are terrific. The size comparison charts are very cool as well.

I haven't been able to find too much info on the Pendergrass guns. I know that my gun was the 35th CombatMaster to come out of that factory. I don't know the total number but based on what I've seen there were only a few hundred of them. I've got an eye out for a StreetMaster, which was only made in Pendergrass, and is pretty rare. It had a shorty CombatMaster frame with a full size 5" slide. In general Detonics are very cool guns with an interesting history, one of those guns you'll never lose on. Definitely worth hanging on to.

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Old January 24, 2011, 09:21 PM   #23
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THANKS, WC145.

I regret selling mine. It had 3 factory "A.C.P." magazines and also came with the rare rug case. The wooden stocks were also pristine.

I had a custom holster made by UBG Holsters. His first DCM holster. Note the "loaded indicator" on the magazine... :}




One last chart to add to the Thread...

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Old January 25, 2011, 01:24 AM   #24
michael t
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Dang now Ive got to get mine out of safe and carry it . Been packing my Defender But Detonics need luv to. Mine is a Belview Washington
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Old January 25, 2011, 12:43 PM   #25
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The "Seattle" Detonics pistols were also made in Bellevue. The offices were in the Seattle Tower (right across the street from where I type this), and the plant was across Lake Washington, in Bellevue. Some time in the '80s, the offices were moved to the plant, and that's when they started stamping "Bellevue" on the frame.
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