I want a Colt Python. New to them.
I would really like to get my hands on a 6" Colt Python.
I think I want the bright stainless over the E-nickel. Any arguments for or against? Stainless seems to be better scratch wise and won't peel like plating.
Are all pythons made in 1983 stainless, or were some plated as well? (I realize there are blued ones as well)
Anything to look out for that makes them a No-go for a buy? What are some good indicators for use, and or, abuse?
How much is a decent price for a good condition-to like new one? I know there are gunbroker prices, but what should I expect to pay? I figure in the ballpark of 1700-2200 for a really nice one. Sound average?
Tag for info.. My dad has a Python and a Dan Wesson with multiple barrels that I haven't ever seen out of the cabinet. He's had them as long as I've been alive (I'm 31).
I just grabbed one the other day, 4" bright nickel built in 1968. My dad has a 6" blued version, probably built in the late 70's. Both are VERY nice and smooth, but from what I know anything pre (around) 64' were all hand made and more collectable because of it. I'm not 100% sure on the exact dates, but the research I did points to the start of CNC machining and when it became readily available in gun manufacturing (which was around 1964 or 1965 I think). If you look at the amounts of Pythons that were made by year, you'll notice a large increase in numbers starting in the mid 60's. This is around the time that CNC use became popular in gun manufacturing in order to mass produce them so that's where I'm coming up with that year. As far as I'm concerned ALL of the Pythons that I've ever shot or handled were among the best .357/.38 revolvers out of the box EVER. BUT if your looking for something to put in your safe and hope to gain collector value, the pre CNC hand made one's are probably going to fetch a little bit bigger price tag. They were all very well built though and as far as I know, even the one's that were more mass produced were hand checked in the custom shop. If your looking at one that seems like its seen its fair share of magnums down the pipe, look for the cylinder lock up. The only real flaw that I found in my research was that after MANY rounds fired of mostly mags, the cylinder tends to loosen up a little and can affect timing. The timing can be fixed and the cylinder lock up can be tightened by a compatent smith so that's not exactly a reason to walk away if the price is right. Also, as with any gun that you intend to purchase as a collection peice, the original factory finish is very important to most collectors as is the original box and contents.
The first year of Stainless 6" barreled Pythons was 1983 so if you find one that's SS, it's obviously been made after 83'. They dropped the nickel finish after SS was introduced. I would venture to say that you could probably still have had the custom shop build you a bright nickel Python back then, but how many and for how long I have no idea. I have a Series 70 Gold Cup National Match in bright nickel which is it's factory finish and have been told by many old time Bullseye shooters that they never made such a thing, so I know the custom shop did do custom order finishes. The originals were made of carbon steel and were only offered in blue and nickel and 1955 was the first year for the Python. A 3 number serial means 1955 - early1956. In mid 1960, they made it to 5 number serials. Anything with no letter in the serial number was made before 1969. There was a letter prefix added into the serial number in late 69' and stayed until 1975. In 1976 the letter was moved to the end of the serial number (suffix). The letters were always "E"s until 1978, then it changed to other letters of the alphabet. From 1977 to 1981 they turned out the most Pythons (A LOT more in some years than any other time period since they started). It's just my assumption here, but I would think that maybe that has something to do with Law Enforcement demand in those years. Being in Law Enforcement myself and knowing first hand what our guns are put through, I wouldn't exactly turn down "all" LE used guns, but I would certainly look harder at them if I thought there was a chance that a possible Python purchase was used as a LE issued gun. Again lock up, finish and barrel wear are things you'll want to look at. LE guns will most likely have limited round counts, but are certainly not taken care of like a safe queen in most cases. It's probably not easy to track them back to their original purchasers when your dealing with a gun that old, so you'll have to go on your instincts. in 79' and 81' they made over 50k respectively each year. I would bet that if you looked hard enough, you'd find that one or a few LARGE (think NYPD) LE agencies may have gone to issuing the Python during those times. Again, that's only an assumption of mine, but it would explaine the huge increase in production.
Price can vary, as I'm sure you know, but your average sounds about right for a "really nice" one. If it has the factory box and contents and the finish is in 95% or better, your probably not going to get it for less than $1700. You may be able to find one without a box but still in 95% condition for around $1500. For the really rarely nice ones, the one's that are in perfect, almost unfired condition and in the factory box with all the paperwork; I've seen them sell for $2500 or better.
Here's the one I just got, I don't want to say what I paid for it because I was just in the right place at the right time and the price I paid shouldn't have any affect on your average or the range you intend to spend.
Campbells Sporting Goods Holidaysburg, PA ph 814 695 9552 .
No Colt Pythons were ever built with CNC machinery.
Colt didn't buy it's first CNC equipment until the Python was discontinued in 2003.
This is one reason the Python was so expensive, it was built with old equipment, some dating back to WWI.
The Python was always a hand built revolver. It had to be because the old Colt action as used on the Python, Detective Special etc was made of over-sized forged parts. To assembly these guns a Master fitter used files and stones to fit and adjust the parts. Some parts were bent to function correctly.
The Python got even more hand fitting and tuning than the other models, then got the finest blue job ever done on a revolver.
The Python was intended right from the get-go to be the finest quality, most accurate DA revolver ever made in America, and it always was.
THE finest were the ones made during the first two years. Those were built by TWO men working in the Custom Shop.
When they burned out, the production was moved to a production line using only Colt's top people.
These days, when shopping for a Python the best choices are between a stainless and a blued.
If you want the nickel look, buy a Bright Polish stainless model. By choosing a stainless gun over bright nickel or the rather rare Royal Coltguard satin nickel you bypass the problems of nickel scratching or cracking and chipping. Satin stainless scratches can be resurfaced with Scotchbrite synthetic polishing pads and the bright polish models with metal polish.
Things to look for in buying a Python are to beware of guns that have been "helped" by fake boxes, non-original grips, fake end labels, and original Colt grips that aren't correct for the year of Python.
Remember, anytime something gets expensive the fakers come out in force. Also note that some sellers have no idea the gun isn't "correct".
Watch for guns that aren't in the condition advertised.
Shooter guns can have some problems with finish and grips, but a top dollar version should be near-perfect in all respects.
Don't buy a Python based only on the year made. Guns are individuals and have to be judged on the guns merits.
Main thing is to learn WHAT to look for and what to watch out for.
A great source of this info is the Colt forum:
Thanks for correcting me on the CNC information. Again, I was just using deductive reasoning there based on the dates and the amounts produced. I'm always interested in learning though and appreciate the insight.
As for the nickel finish, I'm not going to disagree with you, but I will add my own experiences. I have had extensive experience with Colt handguns made from the early 60's to the early 80's that are finished with Colt nickel. ALL of them have been extremely durable and resilient and many of them have been "shooters" rather than safe queens. Keep copper solvents and harsh bore cleaners away from them and they'll last a lifetime. My Gold Cup probably has 20k rounds through it, still wears its factory nickel finish from the early 70's and looks fantastic considering. I can't say the same for some of my other blued guns with not even close to that round count and much better attention to maintenance. Obviously stainless steel is a much easier metal and finish to work with when it comes to correcting minor damage, but I have absolutely nothing bad to say about Colts nickel finish. IMO there's nothing that looks as good as a clean, well cared for Colt nickel finish if your looking for that shiney "chrome" like appearance. You can polish stainless all you want, I don't ever recall seeing one that looked as good as a factory Colt nickel finish, but that's obviously just opinion.
Don't forget about a KING COBRA , many People feel these are more reliable long term
Two totally different guns if you ask me. I don't know about them being more reliable and have never heard that claim from anyone that had experience with both. The Python is a large "I" frame and the King Cobra is a medium "V" frame. The KC is made with Mk series / Anaconda lock work so it probably is a little looser than a Python, but I don't know how that relates to actual reliability because I dont own any one. My dad has an Anaconda and I've never heard him once complain about it, but Ive never heard him rave about it like he does his Python either. I guess they both have their following, but I dont know that one replaces the other in a collectors safe. In a shooters safe, if you shoot double action the Python is the best there is. If you don't shoot double action, the KC is probably just as good or better.
I read it put like this: "The Python is for looking at, the King Cobra is for shooting.". I don't remember who said that cause I did countless hours of research before I bought my Python, but it seems to be a fair assessment of the two.
I have two Pythons. I elected to make a like new in box first year stainless my shooter. I have shot it alot and it still looks and performs the way it did when I bought it. It is tight and in time. I take care of it but no more than any of my other guns. Ok, I'm anal about all of my firearms. I also have a like new blue Python that I don't shoot very much. I value it higher than my stainless simply because the blue is unmatched with anything I own. For me the bottom line is shoot the stainless, look at the blued gun.
I'd most likely shoot it some. I want one because I think they are beautiful guns with a quality design. I wouldn't be buying it as an investment.
I'd love to own a Python, but I can't afford to buy one. They got me interested in Revos in the first place. I'd rather have 3 S&Ws for the price of that one Colt. I'll own a Python one day, and an Anaconda too.
I picked one up for 700 bucks a couple weeks ago.
having my gun smith install a 6" I wish it were a stainless but this beater was carried shot and enjoyed as a gun should be. I plan to keep it and enjoy it who knows I made trade the guy with the stainless 6" Python at the gun shows but he wants 1400 for it. Go on to river of guns and most the ones priced this much are scams I actually paid for a scam python but I got he guy in jail. Ended up with one in the end lol... Always do a face to face folks.
Is the roll pin hole for the rear site being that close to the top of the receiver healthy? I mean, is that enough material? I'd hate to have the receiver crack because of shitty tolerances, or is that fine?
That looks fine, that's the way they're made. I don't think I've ever heard or read about it causing a problem. That looks like a nice Python, very clean looking.