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Discussion Starter #1
Friend calle dme today,knowing I like older Colts,and saw a 4" "old Model Trooper",in a shop for $225. Says the gun looks to be in "great shape",with the "big grips",so I guess he means target stocks.

Anyway,dealer is having a hard time selling it,hence the marked down price,as "its only a 38,and most buyers want a .357 Mag.".

I don't "need another" .38 revolver,but I wonder how scarce the .38 Troopers are. I have a .22 old style Trooper,and 2 "357 Models(4" and 6"),but I know that the old Trooper was made 1953-1969,when the Mark IIIs replaced them. In 1961,the ."357" was dropped,and that chambering was introduced in the Trooper-BUT-did this mean that the .38 Trooper was discontinued??? If so,thats only and 8-9 year production run in that caliber,so the $225 might be an even better buy.

I also,have never run into many old style Troopers,at least in .38 Special.

Thanks for any info?

Bud /forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif
 

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Hi Lonewolf,
Not sure how scarce the .38 Trooper is, but our police agency had a number of them. I bought several including a consecutive pair when we changed weapons in the '90s... The pair were in the 13xxx J range (I sold them so don't have the exact number handy)As I remember we had 50 to 60 of them... Bob Best
 

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There were actually two Old Model Trooper versions, the early model and the late model.

The early model Troopers, both .38 and .22LR, were really nothing more than the Officer's Model Match with a different barrel.

These early .38 Specials had the firing pin mounted on the hammer.

All the books say that when Colt discontinued the 357, they "rolled" the 357 into the Trooper line.

This isn't what actually happened.
What really happened was, the original Trooper .38 with the hammer mounted firing pin was actually discontinued.

The 357 with it's frame mounted firing pin was made as the Trooper and was chambered in .38 Special and .357 Magnum.

Colt continued to make the .38 Special Trooper since some departments restricted their guns to the .38, and wouldn't buy the Magnum model.

The .38 Special Trooper, in both versions was highly popular with law enforcement.
My take is, in the 50's the .38 Special was probably a bigger seller than the Magnum.

In the 60's, the police started to buy into the Magnum, and I think the majority of the later guns were made in Magnum.

The .38 version is by no means rare or unusual, and certainly not a low production model.

The low production Trooper is the rare .22LR version.
I've read somewhere that Colt only made about 2200 of the .22 Troopers from 1954 to 1969.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks Bob and dfaris. Didn't think the gun was "a collector",but around here,they seem scarcer than their "competition" from the 1950's,the S&W Combat Masterpiece(M-15).

Have often wondered why Colt kept the hammer mounted firing pin on the .22s?? S&W went to the frame mounted pin as early as the 22/32 Target,nearly a century ago.

Just was thinking of a heated argument,from close to 50 years ago,between my neighbor,with his 1930's S&W K-22 Outdoorsman and another shooter with an Officers Model .22 of the same vintage. No,not about accuracy,but "snapping" or dry firing.My neighbor claimed you could "snap"the S&W for eternity with no problems,due to its "internal pin",while the Colt would eventually have its pin break off! Other gent claimed it was safe to "snap" both guns to practice your hold and "squeeze" during the week for Sunday's matches.

To me,repeated "snapping" of a revolver is usually done by "tire kickers"/jerks walking the aisles of gun shows,until the seller intervenes.

Bud
 

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Actually, dry firing the Old Model Trooper .22 is as safe as dry firing a center fire revolver.

Like most modern firearms, the .22 Trooper has a positive stop that prevents the firing pin from ever contacting the cylinder.

What caused damage to older designs is, the firing pin or striker has no positive stop. The pin is simply allowed to move forward until it strikes the cartridge rim.
If no cartridge is in the chamber, the pin continues forward until it IS stopped by the chamber mouth.

This will quickly damage the chamber mouth.

Most modern firearms stop the firing pin before it can contact the case mouth, so the chamber is never struck and damaged.

For that reason, MOST, (not all) modern .22 firearms are safe to dry fire.

I have a .22 Old Model Trooper that the original owner dry fired literally thousands and thousands of times.
It's in 100% perfect condition.
The firing pin has never broken, and the chamber mouths are perfect.

In my years, I've never seen a modern Colt .22 revolver or auto that was damaged by even huge amounts of dry firing.
 

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dfariswheel: Thank you, this change in the Trooper line makes more sense now and your summary was excellent.

I thought I would try to augment some of this information with catalog and reference info about the 22RF, 38spl. and 357 versions of the Trooper, and try to put it all together chronologically. I have some information gaps, so your help would be appreciated.

The Trooper was introduced in late 1953 in 22 and 38spl with a 4" barrel configuration only. The 22 version was discontinued in 1962 or 1963. Serven says 1963, but the 1963 catalog does not have it listed as available. The 38spl version was a distinct chambering of the Trooper and listed as such on the barrel.

The 357 Model was a separate version of the Trooper and referred to as a "Deluxe version of the Trooper" in 357 Magnum. It was introduced in Early 1954 (Serven). This would suggest a much stronger design (treatment of the steel) and as Dfariswheel said, no hammer mounted firing pin on the 357 Model. (Please verify this someone relative to the hammer as I don't have one.) The 357 Magnum model was offered in 4 and 6 inch barrels versions in a blued finish only. It was discontinued in about 1961 with less than 15,000 units manufactured. (The Python was offered during this time as the premium 357 revolver.)

The 357 Model became the Trooper with barrel markings showing 357 which would obviously shoot the 38spl. This Trooper Model was discontinued and the Trooper Mark III was introduced in 1969. The Trooper Mark III continued to be manufactured in 357 magnum (and 38spl) until the Trooper Mark V was introduced in 1982 with a redesigned double action design and trigger. The Trooper was discontinued at the same time as the Mark V was introduced. I would assume the inventory was sold off within a year which is why you see the Trooper Mark III production ending in 1983 in some references.

The 22 and 22wmr versions of the Troopr Mark III was introduced in 1979 and later discontinued in 1983. It would seem that Colt planned to market a 22 version of the Mark V as it was cataloged in 1983. As you know, none were produced commercially and after 1983 the 22 was not cataloged in the Mark V design. The Mark V was discontinued in 1985 or about the same time as the Diamondback was discontinued.

I would assume that Colt chose the Mark V model name since the Mark IV was being used on a 1911 design at that time.

Questions
Plese confirm that the firing pin was never mounted on the hammer on the 357 Magnum model as I extrapolated above. Were there distinctly chambered "2nd model Troopers" that listed the caliber as 38spl (only)after the 357 Magnum Model was discontinued or were they all simply 357 Troopers?

I hope I didn't make too many mistakes... please correct me if I'm wrong. I like the Trooper Models.
 

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Very informative replies and as an owner of a three colts I appreciate the new knowledge on the Trooper Series as well as the dry firing.
 

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The serial number of my "357" (25xx) is listed as a first year model by the Wilson book and it has the frame mounted firing pin.
 

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All Models "357" have frame-mounted firing pins as far as I know. Both of mine do. It was thought necessary due to the pressure of the .357 Magunm cartridge.

I will have to check my catalogs to see how the Trooper was listed after the .357 chambering became available. I will also have to check to see if the .357 Troopers have frame-mounted firing pins, which I would imagine they do. I speculate the .38 Troopers retained the hammer-mounted firing pin through the end of produciton, but I am not sure.

If anyone has an "old model" .357 Trooper, check to see if it has a frame-mounted firing pin. If anyone has a very late .38 Trooper, what kind of firing pin does it have?
 
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