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The original Trooper and 357 use the same action as the Python, with all the benefits and possible downsides as the Python.
Most people would have them as a more desirable gun then the Mark III and later Colt's.
The Trooper Mark III was the basis for all Colt DA revolvers that followed, so if you're considering a Mark III a King Cobra is essentially the same revolver only in stainless steel and with Colt's first short action, which gave a shorter hammer fall.
The Mark III and later Colt's were made for unlimited use with .357 ammo and are tanks.
Of the later Colt's the King Cobra was the toughest and most durable due to the cast steel hammer sand trigger and the stainless construction.
The Lawman is less desirable due to the fixed sights.
If you're looking for quality and a higher end prestige design, I'd put the choices as....
1. A 357, with the Target hammer and Target grips being preferred.
2. A post-1961 Trooper in .357 Magnum and with the Target hammer and grips.
3. A Trooper Mark III.
4. A distant 4 would be a Lawman, but that's strictly my personal opinion.
Unfortunately, there's not much chance these days of buying any of these Colt models at your price range unless the gun is in poor condition.
That would likely mean a well a well worn gun with possible mechanical problems.
Last edited by dfariswheel; 10-17-2019 at 01:01 PM.
Yes, this is a colt site. One poster mentioned a Ruger. Up to now no one bothered mentioning Smith & Wesson. I own far more smiths than I do colt and here to tell you that I believe them as good as a colt. In fact most people here in the know will admit if you plan on shooting a lot, a smith will hold up a LOT longer than a colt without knowledgeable maintenance, AND, AND you will play hell finding a good knowledgeable gunsmith to work on a colt compared to very many that will work on smiths! That said, I love and have both but I dont shoot that much anymore to worry about it. You normally will pay less for a smith. Here is one of my best of each.
Another smith and colt that I own. They all are good.
I have the Trooper, several Trooper III's, and the Trooper V. I have a handful of 3 5 7. I have several Pythons.
My recollection of history is that the 3 5 7 came out first '53 or '54.
Pythons came in 1955.
I believe the 3 5 7 is the pre-Python, not the Troopers. They share the I-frame, the springs, the grips, and the trigger. I don't think the Trooper went to the I-frame until 1961. No shared parts that I know of.
The Trooper III seems like a new, different gun. The Trooper V also seems like a different, new gun.
Major sources disagree on this evolution. It's tough to separate the wheat from the chaf in this history.
The 3-5-7 was the first Colt "I" frame which had the firing pin mounted inside the frame.
As to selecting a 357 magnum caliber, I would also look closely at the S&W models 19, 66, 27, and 28. I don't think you can find a 27 for $650, but the others are possible. At $450, the Ruger security six isn't a bad choice.
Be very cautious when inspecting the Colts; if you don't know the details of inspection, learn before buying. The other poster had it right about the Colts not being quite as maintenance free as the Smiths and Rugers. The parts are tough to find as are the gunsmiths. Odd, but it seems like the Colt owners shoot a lot more than other owners. Still, the Colts are great guns with history that almost drips off the barrel.
The time line on the Colt 357, Trooper, and Python is....
The "I" frame 357 and "E" frame Trooper were introduced in 1953, the "I" frame Python in 1955.
The 357 and the "E" frame Trooper were discontinued in 1961, and the Trooper became an "I" frame.
The same frame size and action parts were shared between the three, although these were hand fitted, so while the parts interchange they have to be fitted to the individual gun.
The Mark III series was a totally different transfer bar safety-ignition design with no parts interchanging with the older designs.
The Mark V was the Mark III with a cast steel hammer and trigger instead of the sintered steel of the Mark III, and Colt's first production short action.
You guys think I’m making a mistake by passing up the new king cobra and instead going after something older? My thought was “they don’t make em like they use to” but I don’t want to pass up a great revolver just based on that. What day you?