A common complaint about the old-style Colt Detective Special is the unshrouded ejector rod. Many people believe that the exposed ejector rod is a liability; should it get bent during a struggle, the theory goes, it will tie up the gun and make it inoperable.
Many folks have experienced this problem with a Smith & Wesson. Since their ejector rods are locked at the front and rotate about the front latch pin, any small amount of runout (deviation from true) will impose an inordinate amount of friction to the system. This usually manifests itself as an action that locks up, being completely useless in double action (and often in single action as well.)
The unshrouded Colts, however, are a different matter. Since the ejector rod doesn’t have any function other than the ejection of spent casings, even a large amount of runout has no effect on the action. In fact, you would have to bend the ejector rod to the point that it actually hits the underside of the barrel before you would encounter a problem! Because of the plasticity of steel, about the only way you could do that would be on purpose, with the cylinder open – I honestly cannot conceive of any accidental way to get it into such a sorry state.
I would be remiss if I didn’t address the effect of small bends on the ejection process; a relatively modest bend in a Colt ejector rod can cause the ejector to stick in the cylinder, so that the ratchet (ejector star) is stuck in the extended position. This isn’t as much of a problem as you might think – just shove the ratchet back into the cylinder and the gun is usually ready to be reloaded.
Every gun has strong and weak points in its design, but in the case of the unshrouded Colts the exposed ejector isn’t one of them!
-=[ Grant ]=-