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See These Websites Within Nichols Cap Guns:
The Antique Cowboy
Cap Gun Paradise
Toy Gunslinger
Piñon Collectibles
Turner-Nichols Service Center
Cap Gun Treasures
GrandDad's Toy Box
Jim's Vintage Toys
The Ten Gallon Hat
Cap Gun Toys

Get THE BOOK on the History of Nichols Industries

The Detective is a toy .357 Magnum and one of those shell firing toy cap guns. These guns started with the Derringer that was the larger cousin of the Dyna-Mite. When Nichols Industries first developed these shooting shells, the muzzle velocity was probably enough to require you to get a "Concealed Handgun Permit." However, they redesigned the die-cast bullet to let out more of the blast and got the velocity down to a "reasonable" limit. Nowadays it would probably be illegal to use these. However, with our current paranoia, it is not politically correct to point your finger at someone and say, "Bang!" (which is what kids used to do when they didn't have the proper cap guns) But anyway, the point is that the 3-piece bullets are just about as valuable as the gun itself!

As it turns out, there are 2 different versions of this Detective: one with a short barrel and a handle that "sticks out" and the 2nd one that has a longer barrel and looks more like the real gun. It would seem that the snub-nosed barrel version came out first, in 1961. Then later they redesigned it into the fancier version. Both are valuable. The first two photos here show the smaller one.


There are over 8,000 pages (including those from thumbnails—and the site is still growing!) on this website that will give you more information plus BIGGER PHOTOS!
Mattel Marauder Division Tommy Burst w/ Night Scope
(then go find it!)

(Thank you for some of you have contributed generously and have helped us stay alive!)
Normally I don't grovel and beg for money, but I am past that stage. Originally we had quite a few who helped us each month by contributing a little to our cause of maintaining this website. Not so much anymore. It's a trickle now.


See how many people have helped us one way or the other over 12+ years at:

Hundreds of wonderful people for over 12 years!

Also...The Internet wants a "mobile-friendly" website and we don't know how to convert a 7,000+ page custom website over to a format where you can always read it on a smartphone or tablet. Even Google said that this is the largest "Static" website on the entire internet. But it's only a matter of time before we lose it all to "progress." I'm old, have only Windows 7 and my software won't load on a higher operating system, and I don't know how to keep up with these changes and am worried about losing it all. If you're an expert, please help by suggesting a sensible technological upgrade! No two pages are completely alike on this website. If I could redo 10 pages a day, it would take about 2 years!

I would ask those who are enjoying this site to PLEASE contribute at least a little to helping us keep it going. Believe me, even small contributions help! This is the only site where you are likely to find most of the Cap Guns ever made. The site will always be free to use, but it's not free for me.

(Contritubutions start at only $10, but you can make it more if you can afford it.)
(And we refuse to put you on a mailing list or sell your e-mail address.)
Thank you "History Buffs & Collectors"—Mike Nichols, Texas

Nichols Detective
Please Click On Each Thumbnail For An Enlarged View!
Many thanks to Rich Hall for the above photos!
This gun, as previously mentioned, has a sibling that uses roll caps, but this is the one that is more expensive when you buy it at auction. Originally it sold in 1961 for $1.98 and now is worth many times that figure.

Explaining a Few Things About This Gun
From Dr. Bob (George Peters---see his collection!)

Hey Mike. Dr.Bob here! I was browsing THE website and noticed a couple of questions that you raised in regard to the .357 Magnum (The Detective: editor). I know some questions are rhetorical but some aren't, so here are my thoughts. You were wondering why the grips on this gun look so awkward. After all is said and done this little gun is a modified frame of a Nichols Stallion .32. The hammer and trigger of a .32 will fit and work in the Magnum as do the springs, and cylinder advancer. There are external differences on the hammers; the .32 is smooth while the Magnum has grooves but nonetheless they work in the Magnum. If you remove the grips from a .357 you will instantly see they are nearly identical, with the exception of the shorter barrel and markings. Now to the question....... The awkward grips were shaped to make this gun look less western and more Detective-like. Without the grips the Magnum looks like a short-nosed Cowboy gun, if there ever was such a thing. Mattel was famous for modifing their western guns until they looked like a detective's snubnose. It was a time when the kids were saying goodbye to Roy and Gene and hello to Sergeant Friday and Peter Gunn. I'm sure modifying an existing gun was far less costly than starting a new one. The second question you raised was the loading gate and why there was no "handle" to aid in opening it. The answer goes back to the grips. The grips take up so much room that the gate would not open if they had a handle (like the Stallion .22 and so many others have). While most sets of grips are mirror images of one another, the right side Magnum grips had to be shaped different from the left, just so the tiny gate would open at all. The only other difference I can find between the .357 Magnum and the Stallion .32 is the cylinder, it had to be modified to let the firing shells pass thru but that was simple enough for your Uncle and his crew to accomplish. It's obvious I have too much time on my hands not only for knowing these things but also for writing a letter to take away from your busy schedule. Thanks for listening (reading)!!

Here's an even better photo of the Detective still on the card. The gun is valuable enough in its own right, the 3-piece bullets make it even more valuable and being on the card is a real bonus!!!

Thanks to Brad Wentworth for the contribution!

For a reason I can't explain, apparently Nichols made this particular card with red also. It's funny to notice that the 3-piece bullets have been pirated from the pack. They are worth more than the gun by far! Jack Rosenthal , one of our advertisers from Toys and More, contributed this photo.

More Nichols Detective
You know me; I always try and get as many good shots of a Cap Gun as possible

These photos are from our good friend,
Doug Hamilton
Be Sure To Click On The Thumbnails!

Here is a holster set for the Detective, a page from a 1962 catalog from Nichols.

Photo contribution by Robert Nichols

Nichols Detective Holster Set
Those this set is valuable in its own right, I always think, when I see a set like this, WOW now I've got some of those fabulous 3-piece bullets. There has been a lot of confusion about when this set was made. I tend to think that it was made in around 1963-64 or so, but I don't know how log it stayed in production. Since the holster already appeared in the 1962 catalog, it's anybody's guess from that time forward. I do know that I don't have one and wish I did. This one seems to be dead mint.

Here's a great comparison shot to show the differences between the first model of shell firing Detective and the last model. The last model looks a lot more realistic. Probably aimed better too. It was made during the Nichols/Kusan days.

Photo contribution by Louise Utley

We will be happy to list toy shows and the like (free), if you will please send them to me at: .
Should you have some nice photos and/or some text, please send them to me at: .

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