Elmer Keith on the new Python....
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  1. #1
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    Elmer Keith on the new Python....

    ......by "new" I mean in 1955.....

    That year seemed to be one of those landmark years in firearms history, not unlike 1873:

    The 44 Magnum cartridge was introduced
    The S&W "44 Magnum" N frame (later Model 29) revolver was introduced
    The Colt SAA was re-introduced after a 15 year hiatus (as the 2nd Gen model)
    The S&W Combat Magnum (later Model 19) revolver was introduced
    The Ruger Blackhawk revolver was introduced
    The S&W Model 39 (first American-made DA auto pistol) was introduced
    "Sixguns" by Elmer Keith was published
    And, of course, the Colt Python was introduced

    I've been reading through a recently-acquired copy of "Sixguns" and I thought I'd share Elmer's initial thoughts on the then-new Python circa 1955:

    "Recently I checked out a new Colt Target .38 Special or .357 Magnum on the Officer's model frame. It had a lug running full length under the barrel and the extractor rod was recessed into it for a heavy muzzle weight balance. This particular gun had a very fine double action trigger pull, the best I have ever seen on a Colt, and was marked "the Python." If they would incorporate a yoke or front base pin lock along with the encased ejector, it would be the finest Colt double action so far. From briefly checking it over, we liked this gun better than any Colt D. A. Target arm we can remember."

    Sounds like it has some potential, although they never did incorporate that second lock!

    An interesting look back....
    Last edited by paracord; 02-15-2020 at 07:09 AM.

  2. #2
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    Well Elmer wasn't all knowing. They never added the yoke lock because it wasn't needed. Clearly the accuracy of the Python can attest to that.

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    The front lock wasn't and isn't needed because of the large rear lock and the fact that the cylinder turns into the frame. Others like S&W need the front lock because of a small rear lock and their cylinders turn away from the frame giving momentum to unlocking when being fired. The early K-frames had no front lock...that didn't last very long before one needed to be added.
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  5. #4
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    Wow, I never really realized all them models where introduced the same year.
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  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wildwest22 View Post
    Wow, I never really realized all them models where introduced the same year.
    Nor did I...and I like to think I'm pretty knowledgeable about the history stuff.

    Now I know. And knowing is half the battle.
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    And just one year before that (1954), these two were introduced:

    S&W Highway Patrolman
    Colt 3-5-7
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  8. #7
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    Thanks paracord for the great post. Sure wish I had a copy of "Sixguns" - where did you find yours? Is it an original or a reproduction? I ask because I've found original copies of only a couple of the classic gun books and the rest in my collection are more recent reproductions. All that being said, it's wonderful to read Elmer's take on the new (in '55) Colt target model.
    Ol' Country Jim

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  9. #8
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    1955 is about the same time I started buying every gun magazine I could afford. I still have the first issue of Guns and Ammo. I have a book or two Elmer signed. I own a 5" model 29 and quite a few smiths. Here are my 27-2 and 29-2. Both 5"s.

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    You should be able to find "Sixguns" on Amazon. I got a copy (reproduction) for about $15.00 or so a few years ago. I just checked. It's still available there, in both paper and hardcover.

    A few copies of "Hell I was there" too. I've got two of those myself. I found one still in the plastic wrap a few years ago, unopened at a gun store for $35.00. Even though I had a copy, I couldn't leave that one.

    The first one I ordered off Amazon. I forget what I paid for it, but the seller said (something like) "Someone he hunted and camped with wrote in it." I figured someone had made some notes in the margins.

    When I got it, I was surprised to see it was autographed by Bill Jordan of Border Patrol, gun writing, hunting and Model 19 fame.

    HIWT.jpg

    It says, starting at the bottom...."Hell, I was with him every chance I had! Elmer and I hunted together every year during one 8 year period. Bill Jordan

    At the top..Silver Lake Campground Grapevine Tx. May 29, 1994.

    P.S. To below. We always roomed together on Winchester and Remington's annual hunts. Great pair. He snored like an 18 wheeler without a muffler, and I was too deaf to be kept awake by it.

    I don't have any reason to doubt the signature is authentic, but no way to prove it is either, other than a couple of fellows on the Smith and Wesson forum have said it appears to be Mr. Jordan's signature.

    Oddly enough, I also have a copy of Bill Jordan's book, "No Second Place Winner" but no autographs in that one.

    I hope I'll be forgiven for going slightly off topic.
    Last edited by CajunBass; 02-11-2020 at 12:26 PM.
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  11. #10
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    Trivia: I think Hamilton Jordan who was one of the lawmen who killed Bonnie & Clyde was a uncle of Bill Jordan.
    paracord, CajunBass and Kerz like this.


 
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