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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Came across something today that baffled me. A 1957 vintage Python, serial number 44XX, with what looked to me like a standard polished blue finish except that the insides of the cylinder flutes appeared to be bead blasted satin, like on an early fifties Officer's Model or 3-5-7 with the "Dual-Tone" finish. The first thought that occurred to me was that somebody had dropped a 3-5-7 cylinder into a Python, but the serial on the cylinder matched the one on the frame. Second thought was Python barrel on a 3-5-7 frame, but it was definitely a Python frame. The underside of the trigger guard was polished. Only the cylinder flutes had this bead blasting, resembling the bead blasting on top of the barrel and frame. Has anyone ever seen anything like this?
 

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I have never seen a serial number stamped on a "modern" Colt double action revolver cylinder. Pictures of this refinished cylinder showing the serial number please.
 

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Maybe he meant on the crane??
Perhaps, but the "crane" is not the "cylinder" and a cylinder can be removed from the crane. I always assume that what was said was what was meant, until proven otherwise.

Qs, to clarify, what part has the serial number, the cylinder or the crane? If the crane, then that has no bearing as to whether the cylinder is original to the gun or not.

I still suspect that the cylinder has been refinished in the "Dual-Tone" style, but probably not at the Colt factory.
 

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Colt didn't stamp serial numbers on modern revolver cylinders, only on the frame, on the crane, and usually inside the side plate.

Chances are very high this is something non factory.
 

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Very interesting question Quickshanks has posted. I have no idea if Colt would have offered a custom finish on its Python back in '57. I don't remember seeing anything but standard factory Colt Royal Blue finishes on its Pythons in the early years; say 1955 to 1957. But the serial number on the cylinder, under the extractor, is an intriguing element that deserves a closer look. The only time I have seen this practice with the Python was with the engraved guns shipped from the Custom Shop. I have heard it explained that this was a way for the engraver to keep track of the cylinder when it was separated from the yoke/crane and frame during its engraving. This makes sense to me, but I have no way to prove it. However, the only serial number stamped Python cylinder I have is found on my 1980 engraved piece. The last 3 numbers of the serial number are found under the extractor. So was the two tone finish on the cylinder a special order custom shop job back in 1957? I guess the next step would be a Colt Archives Letter. But for the time being, Quickshanks, can you please share some photos with us?



*****
 

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FWIW I have a 1980, unengraved Python that has the serial under the extractor similar to Kanatak's. It also has one other anomoly, the VP is stamped both on the front of the trigger bow and adjacent the serial in the crane recess.
 

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Serial numbered cylinders are not found on standard production Colt's but does anyone have an early Python?
If so, is it possible the first production guns had numbered cylinders.
About the first two years of production all Pythons were hand built by TWO Colt employees. When they burned out, the Python was moved to standard production. Did they serial number the Super-premium Python cylinders during these early days?
I "think" that in 1957 Trooper's and 357's still had the duo-tone Colt finish, so this raises some interesting conjecture:

Could the cylinder been mistakenly preped for bluing with duo-tone blasted flutes, but then been polished for Royal Blue finish, missing the flutes?

Is the finish on the gun Royal Blue?

Could this be a Colt 357 that was converted into a fake Python in the late 1960's.
During that time Pythons were near impossible to get so custom gunsmiths were using Troopers to build "Troop-On" or "Pooper" guns.
The front of the top strap on the frame was welded up and contoured to mate with a Python barrel, the action was tuned, and they were given a Python level polish and blue.
Most of these were made with Troopers, but it possible someone used a 357.
A close look at the top strap on these converted guns will often reveal the slight color difference on the metal where the welding was done.
Since both the early Python and 357 had serial numbers starting with "1", this could be a 357.

This still doesn't explain the serial number on the cylinder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
The "font" for the numbers stamped in the cylinder give mixed signals. The 3 looks identical to the ones Colt used in all other places, but the 4 is a little different in that the tops of the 4s don't completely meet on the cylinder while they do on the frame.

Dfariswheel's comment about counterfeit "Poopers" has gotten me in a suspicious mood. I can't detect any evidence of welding, but I can possibly detect a faint color difference between the finish of the frame and the finish of the barrel and sideplate. If the frame was from a Three Fifty Seven originally, the serial would make it a 1954 one, which would indeed have had the Dual-Tone finish and therefore explain the presence of the satin flutes.

There's as many things leaving me with doubts, however. I find it very questionable that they would do such an extremely fine job reshaping the frame, polishing all the other satin surfaces off, and even changing the medallions in the stocks to gold ones, but then entirely neglect to also correct the cylinder flutes. Especially considering that the numbers stamped into the cylinder also have bluing over them, meaning the Colt factory either put them there originally, which does not appear to be the case, or they were refinished over -- by someone who either put the bead blasting in the flutes or managed to leave it there somehow, neither of which makes much sense. The barrel is also the early hollow underlug type used from '55 to '60. If it was added in the late 60s, would they not have more likely used the later style barrel?

Very strange. Curiouser and curiouser.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Lay it on me, guys. http://i.imgur.com/vxIJcHP.jpg?1

This seems like a heck of a forgery if it is one. What do you think? The level of work it must have taken. If it's true, I ain't even mad.

I'll try to do pictures with a real camera and lighting on the weekend when I can borrow one.
 
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