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I ran across a 1976 vintage 4" blue Diamondback. It's cosmetically pretty rough. No pitting, but much blue wear/loss. The action is tight, with no end shake or excessive movement from side to side with cylinder. The lockup is tight with no push off. It's priced below $700, but I would be more comfortable below $600 due to condition. My question is: Would it be worthwhile to send this back to Colt for refinishing, or does Colt still do that? If so, what do they charge to re-blue a gun? Normally I'm not one for refinishing guns, but this one would definitely benefit. I would rate the overall finish at around 40-50 %. If I was able to purchase for say $575.00 and have it professionally refinished, what would it be worth? I know these are a lot of "what if's", but I'm just trying to determine if it would be worth the investment, given the crazy prices of "snake" guns these days. I would be looking to have a collectible shooter, hand me down someday. My son has already laid claim to my Python, so this might be a good choice for my daughter someday.
 

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Colt probably won't work on a gun that old and it would take them a year or two to get the job done. There are plenty of outfits around that could do a great job for you. I don't think a re-finished gun is much of an investment. It would, however, look a lot better if that means something to you. In the end, you would have a good looking shooter with a a nice pedigree.

Welcome to the forum.
 

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Most say don't refinish an old gun because it will lower the value of the gun. I refinished a Colt police special that I had bought for $300. I figured how much value could it lose and I really don't like worn off to patina finish either. The way it came out it looks more like an old finish rather than a new looking reblued gun.
Most snake guns lose a lot of value if refinished but I figure I am the one to please. I figure a gun with most of the finish gone will not bring high dollar either.
 

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Refinsihed, it's still a shooter, until more years (decades) dictate. I'd keep her well cared for, oiled and waxed if you want to pass it on. Then it's your son's decision. IMHO. Just my observation on the refinished/resale deal but I'm no expert on pricing, just an observer.

J.

A '78 Diamondback I paid more for in 2012, without box nor paperwork. The revolver was in excellent condtion and mechanics are great:

1978 Colt Diamondback (1024x575).jpg

J.
 

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My understanding is colt doesn't work on discontinued double actions anymore. Sounds like his gun would be a good candidate for the service they used to provide. I have a officers model match 38 that I sent to them 5 years ago that had little finish left and some pitting. The bore and action was perfect so I sent it to them and it came back wonderful. I'll never sell the gun as it is a good example of what they used to do. I just picked up a 2 1/2" diamondback 38 that sounds like the same condition for $675 shipped. I am probably going to just settle on some cold blue to touch it up and shoot it as is. If your gun has the original wood stocks, it's probably worth the price. A blued 4" 38 diamondback is the most common and nice examples have been bought under 1K if your patient.
 

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Having blued a lot of guns I will disagree, if it was mine I would re-blue it. If you prep it right it will come out like a Python. I think the reason most of the guys say don't re-blue it is because most re-bluing jobs look like crap. The key is all in the prep, what you have when it goes in the tank is what will come out. The good part is that the prep is relatively easy, it just takes time and attention to detail. Don't give it to a gorilla "gunsmith" with a coarse buffing wheel, they will destroy it and nearly all do. First of all chemically strip the old bluing off, Birchwood-Casey Rust and Blue remover does great. Old pan and acid brushes from Home Depot, have to work fast and keep fresh chemical on the metal so it doesn't dull. Will have to do a couple of times with the last time being really quick to brighten the metal and then neturalize by dipping in water. Then you can use wet-dry paper with WD-40 probably starting with 400 and ending with 1500 or so. You can get a 3000 grit pad at an auto parts store that is used for final finishing on clear coat. Stay away from the roll markings with the wet-dry paper, use a 3M pad, steel wool, whatever to polish the metal. I finish up with Semichrome metal polish and a rag by hand. If you prep and polish the parts a lot of gunsmiths will tank it for $50-75. I use George Roghar in Boca Raton, FL. Make it purdy! :)
 

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You ultimately wouldn't be happy with a reblued gun. Either buy it and keep it as a shooter or spend the extra money for a nicer one
 

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I am in the "buy it and leave it alone" school of thought. Any reblue won't increase the value to a collector and a refinish will not make it any more accurate than it is right now. ;) The only thing you accomplish by a refinish on a shooter grade gun is spending enough money on it to successfully turn what was a bargain into a money pit with a quickness. Use the extra money for ammo and shoot it !!! :)

Best,
Charles
 

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They're asking too much because of the price bubble of good ones. Otherwise, these were $400 guns if mint about 15 years ago. To me, a 50% finish one is still worth about that. The main thing going for a diamond back is the perceived quality of the Colt finish. Otherwise, it's a police positive with a rib. Offer them $480 and try to get it as a shooter, tell them it's worn out. Don't waste $300 for a good reblue on a $500 gun that will be worth $650 when you are done. Watch for a better condition one at a good price, now that you have a shooter. Don't be hasty, just be patient. The bubble is bursting on these.
 

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Even if factory refinished (and that's not going to happen), or 'restored' - it'll always be a reblued, used revolver, and you'll be out the costs, because it won't add anything to value beyond being more attractive to look at.

Either buy it as-is (but not for the asking price) and soak it in 'Break-Free CLP' for a few days to help remove surface dirt and detritus to see what sort of true finish it might have, or look for another one in better condition.
 
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