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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
picked up this 3digit 8XX 4" 357 at the cave city KY gun show today

have some questions on colt nickel handguns

I have owned some nice boxed colts before but today I took a chance on this non boxed gun.

did Colt mark their fames like Smith did on their nickel guns ?

the rampant colt and all letters are sharp on the 1954 pistol, bore is great, lockup an timing are rock solid

I have seen early pythons and detective specials with bright triggers and hammers and seen troopers 3's with blued

old stags show long time residence on the frame.

their is an M stamped on the underside of barrel along side the serial number, any idea what that might represent?

the bright rear sight is a concern

how do you go about lettering a colt?

any and all help will be appreciated




 

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NICE gun, but I don't believe the Model 3-5-7 was offered in nickel that early (1954) and if so, it would have been "dual-tone" in appearance. I have a small collection of boxed 3-5-7's (including 2 nickel guns from 1960 and 1961). I don't know of any nickel examples that letter prior to 1960.

You can write Colt for an "archive letter". Check out their web site for more info. Cost is $75 and usually takes a couple months...
 

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I think the "357" in nickel was first cataloged in 1961. I have a factory nickel "357" that letters as shipped in December of 1957 as one of two, so there were a few early non-cataloged nickel "357" revolvers. I do not believe the OP's is one.
 

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The finish on the gun actually looks pretty good. The stamps and rollmarks are pretty crisp as well. So are the frame pin heads. Appears to have been a decent re-nickel if indeed it is (most likely).

I do see a couple clues though. As mentioned, made in '54 one would expect the dual tone finish, which this does not have. The sideplate has two seams that are a little wider than I'd expect from '54. The most curious thing I see is the trigger. I thought until about '57, the E/I frame triggers were 6 line serrations. This one has the 3 line serration of '57ish and beyond.

Still be a great shooter though. Yes, the nickel front and rear sight are not the best for shooting, but the gun looks classy!!!
 

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The finish on the gun actually looks pretty good. The stamps and rollmarks are pretty crisp as well. So are the frame pin heads. Appears to have been a decent re-nickel if indeed it is (most likely).

I do see a couple clues though. As mentioned, made in '54 one would expect the dual tone finish, which this does not have. The sideplate has two seams that are a little wider than I'd expect from '54. The most curious thing I see is the trigger. I thought until about '57, the E/I frame triggers were 6 line serrations. This one has the 3 line serration of '57ish and beyond.

Still be a great shooter though. Yes, the nickel front and rear sight are not the best for shooting, but the gun looks classy!!!
Yes is does look good. A bit nicer then my Trooper .38 which I know is a refinish. Not all refinished guns are bad unless a premium was paid, and a nice shooter is good too, like my Trooper because I can't hurt it unless I blow it up.

I have a 4 inch nickel 3-5-7 that I'm 99.99% sure is factory, but as posted by Snakeman, and the Judge it too dates to 1960-61 as my serial # is 275XX.
Mine also has the "M" on the underside of the barrel. I was lucky when I bought mine as it was on consignment and they let me put it on layaway, and it has the early stocks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
well the letter finally came back

it sipped 4/23/1954 to Blish,Mize, Silliman hdwe. Atchison Kansas, in a 3 gun order

but shipped as a 4 inch blue gun,
so however did he nickel did a beautiful job

 

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their is an M stamped on the underside of barrel along side the serial number, any idea what that might represent?
I would expect the serial number and M to be stamped on the frame, and opposite it on the crane. The M was the mark of the Colt workman that assembled the revolver.
 

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Enjoy your Colt, it’s yours and do what you want with it. Check your side plate screws that they are tight with a correct screwdriver. Your gun has the service hammer and was often ship with service stocks which since your rear side plate screw is rounded, this would further indicate that. Anyway, you have all kinds of options with rubber, wood and custom stocks. For myself, if my colt has the service stocks, I add a pachmayr grip adapter and I am good to go. Anything that fits a python will fit this gun. My favorite load out of my 4” colt 357 chambered gun’s is a plus P 38 special sending a 158 SWC out at about 900 FPS. All paper and steel targets are fair game out to 100 yards.
 

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It is a beauty! I love those stag grips and would be proud to own that gun even refinished or not. I own a old nickle trooper in .38 special. I also own a 2 1/2" nickle python that I bought new around 1972. I swear the trooper is just as nicely high polished and bright nickeled as the python, although this bad picture doesn't show it right. I agree the nickle sights are harder to see than blue by a bunch. Those stag grips really make that gun and are worth a lot. I could fall in love with that gun as well as any python especially if it had blue sights. I own several Pythons and old model troopers. I have never been in love like most collectors are with that heavier ribbed barrel with the extended heavier ejector housing on the Python versus the Trooper. I just am not fond of carrying the extra useless weight along with target grips. I packed a .357 4" blue Trooper on my guard job for many years and made a big mistake selling it when I bought a Python.

 
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