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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently purchased a very nice 1974 Nickel 4" Python.
The seller was not the original owner but neither he nor I could find any physical evidence that this shiney beauty has ever been fired by it's owners. I prefer to shoot all my guns :) nd this is the first "collectable" Colt I have that may have never been fired. But I have no proof that my Python has NBF.
I want to shoot her at the range, but if shooting her is going to reduce her value by say $500 it would be hard to do so. :bang_wall:

So I would appreciate your views and experience with my dilemma........about how much does "never fired" add to value of a Python?

Thanks in advance,

Jim

Here are a few pics:



 

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Did the python come with the original box and papers? I had a Python that the prior owner claimed was unfired, but it didn't have the box or papers, so I didn't worry about shooting it. As the collector value was already affected by not having the box or papers.
 

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I'll take a somewhat contrary view to my recent posts aschewing rebluing or altering antique firearms. I feel your dilemma too, I have a couple almost unfired guns (but from the teens and twenties). If you bought it for resale and investment, consider firing it will slightly decrease the maximum profit. But, if you just love the gun, figure you'll shoot it your entire life, and pass it on - I'd say go ahead and shoot it. My dilemma gun is a mint 1913 Smith and Wesson target. When I bought it it appeared unfired. I fired it once, a couple cylinders, and as I cleaned it I felt guilty. I decided to not shoot it anymore. It sat, in the back of my safe, for 8 or 9 more years. Untouched. Recently, as I get older too, I've just about decided, what the heck, if I shoot it it goes from 98% to 96% condition, but I ENJOY it more!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Did the python come with the original box and papers? I had a Python that the prior owner claimed was unfired, but it didn't have the box or papers, so I didn't worry about shooting it. As the value was already affected by not having the box or papers.
Did NOT come with the original box and papers, but it did come with Colt box and papers

 

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It's almost impossible to be certain a gun has never been fired, because it WAS fired at the factory. Both to proof test it and to function fire it.
Probably MOST "unfired" Pythons are simply Pythons someone spent some effort on cleaning it up before sale.
A common sign a gun has been "helped out" for sale is when it's too clean and when it has a non-original box and papers.

There are also some problems with this Python.
First, the medallions in the grips are silver. During that era, the Python always got Gold medallions, silver being used only on "lesser" guns like the Trooper and Officer's Model Match.

Second, the rear sight appears to be a Colt Ellison Target sight. Colt only installed these on special order, and the Ellison came as a set with the Patridge type under-cut Target front sight.
Finding a Python with an Ellison rear sight but a standard production ramp front is pretty certain evidence the rear sight was a post-factory owner replacement.

So you have an "unfired" Python, but the grips and rear sight have been replaced and the box and papers are not original.
You have to decide if this sounds reasonable.

With all that said, this makes the gun less than a collectible Python, so shooting it will not likely lower the value any significant amount.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I
There are also some problems with this Python.
First, the medallions in the grips are silver. During that era, the Python always got Gold medallions, silver being used only on "lesser" guns like the Trooper and Officer's Model Match.
Actually the medallions are gold, just the lighting

Thanks for the info, my thought was how can anyone prove a gun has never been fired........I would guess you cannot so why claim it has never been fired
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
azshot,

We seem to think alike.
I lusted for a Corvette since I rode in one when I was 8. Took me 50 years to afford one ;^) She was not new, only 22k, so already a "used car". All along I wondered why so many owners kept such a fun car locked away like it was a fragile thing.
I drive mine every day, rain or shine, and she always makes me smile.
I suspect this Python will do the same when I shoot her ;^).
 

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A prime way to tell if it was fired would be the face of the cylinder. If in fact it had been fired there would be black burn marks at each portal of the cylinder where the bullets come out of. The other would be marks on the gun such as plating wear or scuffs or any type of marks that it would have not been on the gun if it had left the factory. As one commented about the Elliason sights, I recall as a young man back in the day if you purchased a colt from a dealer and he was a warranty service shop for colt, they had parts to convert your gun to what you wanted and of course for them to make the sale. Yes, I agree it may have left the factory with Accro sights but it may have been switched by the dealer. At least it still is the real sight used by colt. Also the last I checked, I thought the value was on the gun not the box it came with. It doesn't make sense to me that the collector value is with the box. I agree that it is more desirable that the gun have its box but hell it's the gun that is worth the money. Your gun looks mint to me. If you want it to be original buy a set of Accro sights and switch it back to make it like it left the factory. I wouldn't shoot it it looks new to me. If you want a shooter buy a shooter and sell the new one. There aren't many new Pythons left out there or mint ones at that. Don't devalue a rare condition gun because it has no box. That would be foolish in my opinion. buy a shooter. as for the sight, I actually prefer the one that is on it rather than the Accro one. In the end it is all up to you it is your gun and you can do what you want with it. :confused:
 

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There are other ways as well check the chambers in the cylinder to see if there is lead build up or fouling. you can also check the mouth of the barrel for the same type of fouling and burn marks. There may be light mark due to the test firing but shouldn't be heavy burns. Even if they were master cleaners there still would be marks. Now the only way there wouldn't be any sign of wear and tear or use would be if the gun was totally restored and replated. Then you would not have any marks.
 

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Beautiful Python but she's been fired. No original box or paperwork? I'd already have had a few boxes through it. If you shoot it and thoroughly clean and maintain it the value won't plummet so enjoy your Python while you're able. High condition, yes....all original, no.
 

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I have had a lot of guns in my 56 years including some nice Colts that I never fired because I was afraid it would devalue them. Now I look back and kick myself in the butt because I have had several nice guns like Pythons and SAA's and never even shot them and when you get right down to it I really did not get that much more if any more money for them. If you don't believe me go look at what NIB SAA's are going for and what used ones are going for, not much difference at all. The analogy you used of owning a Corvette was a good one because I have had 4 Corvettes and some of them I would not take out of the garage if I even thought it might rain or if I could not park it somewhere safe from getting a door ding so I really did not enjoy the car at all. Anyway I will stop babbling, I just bought my third SAA NIB and I am going to go shoot it if I can find some 357 ammo for it and I don't care if it makes it worth $100 less.
Jim
 

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The seller may not be misrepresenting anything at all.

He simply may just not know.

This question was posed to Python 'collectors' - not to the general gun forum - and it stands to reason they'd be most familiar with their chosen passion, now doesn't it?

It's been fired - 'all' firearms have been proofed, so all firearms have been fired.

That this one has some original owner's tweaks likely means he enjoyed the piece.

I can polish up pretty much any plated piece, and you won't be able to tell - so can pretty much everyone else - all it takes is time and attention to detail - and many, many proud owners do this sort of thing as a general rule with no intent to defraud, just an intent to make their piece as nice looking as is possible.

Were that not the case - where would the custom gripmakers be, and the aftermarket suppliers of sights and target equipment?

As to the original box - to a true collector, everything original to the piece adds value to it - though I've seen new boxes thrown away as soon as the piece was purchased.

Stands to reason that there aren't 'that' many original-to-the-piece boxes floating around.

You could shoot that weapon every day, and twice on Sundays for the next year, and so long as you clean it properly, it's not going to lose value to the next prospective owner, since by the time your 98% Python reaches 96% - that 96% will be the new 98% down the road.

Do what it was meant to do - shoot it, carry it, and enjoy owning it.
 

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Nice revolver, shoot it and enjoy it. I have only had two pistols in my life that I didn't fire and I quickly sold both of them (one was an elaborately engraved gold plated Hipower, the other a 40 1911). I looked at them, had no interest in shooting them which meant no reason to keep them. The value of something is how entertainment it brings to you , if you are a collector and just enjoy looking at them great. If you like to shoot then you will never be happy looking at it.

A Python cost what, 800 in the early 80's new? A 80's nib now is worth what, 3000? It "went up" 2200 in 33 years? 66 bucks a year to not shoot? .18 a day? Lol

Taking all things into account a "dollar" was worth $2.79 in 1980 compared with a "dollar" today. Did that Python "really" increase in value? ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Nothing.
Makes me wonder about what else the seller is misrepresenting.
The seller did not claim it was an unfired gun, he was clear about that, just that he never fired it and saw no evidence that it had been fired. I don't feel he misrepresented it at all.
 

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It's almost impossible to be certain a gun has never been fired, because it WAS fired at the factory. Both to proof test it and to function fire it.
Probably MOST "unfired" Pythons are simply Pythons someone spent some effort on cleaning it up before sale.
A common sign a gun has been "helped out" for sale is when it's too clean and when it has a non-original box and papers.

+1
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks again for all your thoughts and knowledge.
I bought this Python mainly because it popped up local to me so I could meet the seller FTF and inspect the gun.
I also found the price affordable and reasonably low compared to what I have seen recently on GunBroker.
I would have preferred a SS Python for a shooter as I seem to prefer SS.
But I saw this one, and just like with my used C5 Corvette I said to myself "it looks great, you want one, you can afford it.......so BUY the pretty girl"
BTW, I paid $1,900. and I feel that was a fair price.
I will be sending for a Colt letter next week, so I guess in a month or so I will know if the sight was original to the gun.

This is a great forum and I hope to learn a lot here as my collection grows. Only three Colts so far, a well worn buy good shootin 1908 Vest Pocket .25 built in 1919, a brand new SS Gold Cup Trophy, and now my 74 Python. Next on the list is a SAA.

Thanks again,

Jim R
 

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It almost seems like you are trying to justify your purchase to the forums because some things do not match what your original idea of what the gun is. That gun does not need excuses, it is a beautiful revolver that will give you years of enjoyment long after the thought of the money spent on it has left your mind. If you like the gun you did very well for yourself. Instead of spending the money on the letter though I would spend it on a proper front sight. That price will be a steal in a couple years and the letter will not do much for you. Feed it and it will bring you great happiness :)
Thanks again for all your thoughts and knowledge.
I bought this Python mainly because it popped up local to me so I could meet the seller FTF and inspect the gun.
I also found the price affordable and reasonably low compared to what I have seen recently on GunBroker.
I would have preferred a SS Python for a shooter as I seem to prefer SS.
But I saw this one, and just like with my used C5 Corvette I said to myself "it looks great, you want one, you can afford it.......so BUY the pretty girl"
BTW, I paid $1,900. and I feel that was a fair price.
I will be sending for a Colt letter next week, so I guess in a month or so I will know if the sight was original to the gun.

This is a great forum and I hope to learn a lot here as my collection grows. Only three Colts so far, a well worn buy good shootin 1908 Vest Pocket .25 built in 1919, a brand new SS Gold Cup Trophy, and now my 74 Python. Next on the list is a SAA.

Thanks again,

Jim R
 

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Not a collector or an expert by any stretch. So this is just "some guys" opinion.

Has a box but not the original box. Rear sight is changed. To me it is not a museum quality piece.

So get your moneys worth and enjoy that wonderful revolver. Shoot it and enjoy it. Have the pleasure that a Python brings and then clean it up and enjoy the visual pleasure it brings.

In your post you said. (Paraphrase) "Get the pretty girl. Well you get her now so get her nekkid and have some fun at the range. :)
 
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