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  1. #1
    Senior Member 6Gun is on a distinguished road

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    California Combat Python Facts

    The recent sale of "California Combat" Pythons has brought to light some information previously known by few. However, one critical piece of information seems to have failed to make it into the collective knowledge of most Colt collectors concerning these guns.

    The “California Combat” Pythons in their 3 inch .357 magnum configuration WERE NOT MADE BY COLT.

    An aftermarket alteration was done to the 8 inch 38 Special Target models by representatives of the distributor - Pacific International AFTER the Guns were shipped from Colt.

    Because these guns were not made in there final form by Colt, they cannot be lettered as such by Colt. Colt archives will only indicate that they were produced as 8 inch Pythons. If you attempt to letter them with Colt, it is likely that the best that you can achieve is to confirm that they were shipped to Pacific International as 38 Target models.

    1. Colt never made a “California Combat Python.” source: Colt Archives

    2. Colt was having a hard time selling the 8" Python. source: Owner of Pacific International and Others

    3. Colt sold and delivered 8" barreled Pythons to a Pacific Internation source: Colt Archives

    4. This 8” version was the .38 Special target edition source: Various and backed by California Combat Python Sales (Thank Jackthedog and some savvy buyers; hence the “38SP” stamp on the end of the cylinder)

    5. Pacific International then had the barrels

    a. cut down to 3"

    b. the cylinder chambers altered to accomodate the .357 magnum catridge

    c. the barrel rollmarked “California Combat”

    d. speculation on my part--- the barrel reblued

    ------thus creating enigmatic “California Combat” Python

    but wait there's more...
    Deltas, Snubbies, and Ivory... oh my.

  2. #2
    VDM
    VDM is offline
    Senior Member VDM is on a distinguished road

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    Re: California Combat Python Facts

    Great info 6Gun... Good to know...

    [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]
    vdmfirearms.com

  3. #3
    Member gopacers2000 is on a distinguished road

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    Re: California Combat Python Facts

    I don't have my facts as well organized as 6gun, but from my experience there are three (maybe I should say, at least three, since Colt likes to surprise us) variations of the 3" Python. I have a Colt authenticated 3" "K" series gun with only Python marked on the barrel and I have had a few 3" "T" series guns marked with "Combat Python" and then there are the cut down 3" "California Combat" guns like the one on the auction recently referenced. I am not sure what the total count of 3" guns really is but one gentleman I have spoken with indicated the number was around 500 or so. 200 of the California Combat guns, with some split of the other 300 between the Combat Python and the "plain" 3" Python. My recollection is the "plain" 3" is smallest group. Although that is subject to verification.

    Just a little more info to add to the mix.

  4. #4
    Senior Member greekgeek is on a distinguished road

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    Re: California Combat Python Facts

    Hmmm can you post the source of this? I've read some old Dfariswheel posts and others that run contrary to this statement. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif[/img] Would like to confirm.

    Thank you!


    [ QUOTE ]


    1. Colt never made a “California Combat Python.” source: Colt Archives




    [/ QUOTE ]

  5. #5
    Senior Member elric is on a distinguished road

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    Re: California Combat Python Facts

    [ QUOTE ]
    Hmmm can you post the source of this? I've read some old Dfariswheel posts and others that run contrary to this statement. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif[/img] Would like to confirm.

    Thank you!


    [ QUOTE ]


    1. Colt never made a “California Combat Python.” source: Colt Archives




    [/ QUOTE ]

    [/ QUOTE ]
    I've been looking at all the photos and info on the various 3" Pythons, and IMHO the "California Combat" 3" Pythons are not consistent with having been made by Colt.

    Here's what I've observed:

    1. The label. Look at the label photos that were posted in the Nice BBQ Gun thread:


    http://www.coltforum.com/forums/showflat...;gonew=1#UNREAD

    The label says its an 8" .38spl, but the finished product is a 3" .357. If Colt made these, why is the label wrong? They have the label printer, they'd just print a new label.



    2. Look at the rollmark:



    That doesn't look like a proper Colt rollmark to me. Its flat on the bottom. The Colt rollmarks look like a sharp bottomed valley. This looks more like some sort of laser/etching.




    3. Look at the vent on the barrel rib in the above photo. The vent is not centered. Its shifted toward the cylinder side. Now look at this Combat Python, its centered:




    4. Look at the front sight on the 2 above photos. Its not pinned on for the California Combat version, it must be soldered/glued or somesuch, which I've never seen on any other Pythons. The other 3" Pythons are pinned like all other Pythons.

    5. Look how low the "ridge" (what's the proper term?) on top of the vent is on the California version, its barely there, while on the Combat Python its quite tall. We've heard that Colt made its 3" barrels from left over 8" barrels for the Combat Python. Someone seems to have used 8" barrels (per the above story and the label) to make the California Combat ones too.

    From looking at the 8" Python below, it looks like Colt used the muzzle end of the barrel, and re-cut the ejector rod channel, barrel threads and forcing cone. The vent alignment, "ridge" height, and holes for mounting the front sight match up with this.

    On the California versions, it appears that the cylinder end of the barrel was used, and just the muzzle face and crown were re-done. There was no way to pin on the front sight so it was soldered/glued on. Using the cylinder end is much easier, especially if you don't have all of Colt's tools to do the harder work involved in cutting the ejector rod channel, forcing cone and threading.

    All in all, when I consider what I have noticed above, the work doesn't seem consistent with what I have seen done by Colt on the other 3" Pythons. Maybe they are legit, but it looks to me like they were done by a 3rd party. I'd think a Colt letter is definitely in order for these.

    Just my opinion, YMMV, etc.

    8" python for reference:

  6. #6
    Senior Member 6Gun is on a distinguished road

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    Re: California Combat Python Facts

    VDM:Thanks Much!

    GREEKGEEK: The "California Combat" has long been misunderstood due to the circumstance of its creation. I've tried to list my basic sources in my original statements. When I say Colt never made the "California Combat Python" and source the Colt Archives, I mean I have spoken PERSONALLY about this matter with the Colt Archivist. This was also confirmed by PERSONALLY speaking with the owner of Pacific International. DFARISWHEEL is a phenomenal source of Colt info. This has just been a cloudy area of Colt history.

    GOPACERS: I've been researching the 3" Pythons in general for a while now and have pretty much come to the same conclusion as you for the moment. First came the cut down "California Combat," then Colt produced some factory guns in 3". When production of these ended Colt sold the remaining barrels to Numrich (hence our counterfeiting problem). Then Colt produced the 3" "Combat Python" for Lew Horton. Take this with a small grain of salt, however, because there are some inconsistencies I am tracking down.

    There is a Colt archive letter floating around the web that indicates 500 "Combat Python" were produced for Lew Horton. I have no reason to doubt its authenticity. As you say these are the "T" series guns.

    ELRIC: HE'S AT THE 40, THE 30, THE 20 THE 10.... TOUCHDOWN BUCKEYES! I've been waiting for someone to pick up on that. Colt can't make a correct label for a gun box? Sure they can, and they did. It's just that the label IS CORRECT for how the gun came from Colt.

    Check the font on the Python rollmark. Does that "3"in .357 look like Colts rollmarked "3"? Don't think so.

    Also, glad to see your catch on the front sight and rib!

    ELRIC: Great job! I think you see where I am coming from.
    I hope that Buckeye referance doesn't put me in a bad light. (ok, you don't have to bring up the shellacking we took from Florida)
    -
    -

    - NOW DOES ANYBODY WANT TO SEE WHAT A REAL "CALIFORNIA COMBAT" BOX LOOKS LIKE?
    -
    -
    -
    Deltas, Snubbies, and Ivory... oh my.

  7. #7
    Senior Member 6Gun is on a distinguished road

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    Re: California Combat Python Facts

    ELRIC: One other thing I forgot to mention. What do you see on the barrel side opposite the rollmark on the "California Combat" you reference... or rather don't see.
    Deltas, Snubbies, and Ivory... oh my.

  8. #8
    Senior Member elric is on a distinguished road

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    Re: California Combat Python Facts

    [ QUOTE ]
    ELRIC: One other thing I forgot to mention. What do you see on the barrel side opposite the rollmark on the "California Combat" you reference... or rather don't see.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I don't see a version of the "Colts Pt. F.A. Mfg. CO. Hartford, Conn. U.S.A." manufacturer name/address which is on all other Pythons.

    Additionally, isn't Colt legally required to put that on there? I think they have to put the manufacturer name on it somewhere, and these Cal. Combat Pythons don't seem to actually say Colt on them anywhere ... Well, maybe on the grip medallion, but since grips are so easy to change, I doubt that the BATF would accept that as marking the manufacturer.

    Just this alone would make me really suspicious of these, I doubt Colt would want to get themselves in trouble with the BATF by leaving off the manufacturer identification.


  9. #9
    Senior Member greekgeek is on a distinguished road

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    Re: California Combat Python Facts

    Very interesting post guys! Thanks for the info.

    JP

  10. #10
    Senior Member 6Gun is on a distinguished road

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    Re: California Combat Python Facts

    ELRIC: I can't speak to the legal issues of the missing info on the barrel, but the fact that it is missing should make most collectors scratch their heads.

    As to a Colt letter... as it will reflect the 8" barrel length it will be of minimal use.
    Deltas, Snubbies, and Ivory... oh my.


 

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