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Bill Jordan\'s Combat .357 Masterpiece vs colt .357 as #1?

Why was it always thought that whenever S&W's Combat(.357)Masterpiece was first introduced in 1955(Influenced by Bill Jordan!)that this was(In fact)the very first medium framed, .357 magnum revolver, offered to the Gun World? This, whenever the "Sleeper" Colt Model .357, actually came approximately two years before the S&W Combat .357 Masterpiece(1953)! It certainly doesn't seem right, that S&W should have taken all of the credit away from the Colt .357, as the true, "First" medium framed .357 Magnum revolver, offered for sale, to the shooting public? Almost every magazine article that I had ever seen, always "Touted" the S&W Combat .357 Masterpiece, as being the first of it's kind(And, there was never any mention about the Colt Model .357?)! What are your opinions about this?
 

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Re: Bill Jordan\'s Combat .357 Masterpiece vs colt .357 as #1?

Colt38; I have mentioned my "theory"several times when the ".357" was discussed on the Colt Revolvers section. But here it goes again.

Sometime in 1955,one of my favorite TV shows,as a 12 year old then,had Bill Jordan on demonstrating modern day gun handling/fast draw. The show was,"You Asked For It",hosted by Art Baker,I think. Viewers would write in asking to see things done etc.

Well of course Bill used the Combat Magnum,and praised it to high heaven as the,"answer to a peace officers dream". And as they say;"the rest of the story is history". S&W got millions of dollars of free publicity.

Colt would not make the lack of publicity mistake they did with the ".357",when they tooled up to make the Python; they "blitzed" the market on the Python.

I feel Colt was in a marketing frenzy in the early to mid 50's. Some hits with the reintro. of the SAA,the Python's success,but some strike outs with marketing the little Couriers and the Marshall.

Just my "ideas". Bud
 

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Re: Bill Jordan\'s Combat .357 Masterpiece vs colt .357 as #1?

I have part of that show [You Asked For It] on VHS tape. I remember that show and personally met Bill at an NRA convention.
 

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Re: Bill Jordan\'s Combat .357 Masterpiece vs colt .357 as #1?

Ahhhh the power of advertising, but nobody said it's the truth.
 

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Re: Bill Jordan\'s Combat .357 Masterpiece vs colt .357 as #1?

There are at least two reasons the "357" did not get the "first medium frame .357 Magnum" award. First, the "357" is based on the Colt I-frame, which is sized for a .41 caliber round. The I-frame Colt is considerably larger than the K-frame Smith, which is sized for a .357 caliber round. Second, since Jordan was working with Smith in developing the Combat Magnum and got on television by representing the gun as the first, that was all it took to win the title.
 

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Re: Bill Jordan\'s Combat .357 Masterpiece vs colt .357 as #1?

"Sizes",as per factory catalogs for 4" models;
Colt .357 9.25" length and 36 oz.
S&W Combat Magnum 9.50" length and 35 oz.

While the E/I ".41 frame" sized Colt is a stronger gun than the K frame S&W,I don't think the was "a considerably larger gun",Judge. Hell,with one extra "freebie donut" in the cops' pocket,they'd be identical in weight!

If anything,some gun "experts" had worries that the K frame,despite heat treating and a shorter bbl. lead,wouldn't hold up to a steady diet of .357s,and they were right,especially when the hi velocity 125 gr. jhps. came on the market;hence the "L frame".

No,it was marketing,and that shrouded ejector,and more "streamlined apperance of the Combat Magnum no doubt helped. Bud
 

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Re: Bill Jordan\'s Combat .357 Masterpiece vs colt .357 as #1?

From Guns Magazine
In 1955, the year GUNS magazine was born, the police handgun situation in the United States had been static for decades. The revolver ruled, with only a handful of small town cops and felony squad detectives carrying semiautomatics, usually the Colt Government Model .45. For the rest, the choices were stark: a Colt or Smith & Wesson double action sixgun, typically .38 Special, and in rare cases .357 Magnum. A handful of cops were authorized S&W .44 Specials, and the New York State Police were just transitioning from the Colt New Service .45 Colt to Smith & Wesson .38 Specials.

Colt and S&W introduced two revolvers apiece, which would ultimately vault the .357 Magnum cartridge into newfound popularity. In 1954, Colt debuted the "357" model; the first affordable service revolver police chiefs perceived as "holster size" for that high-powered round. Until then, only the deluxe, expensive S&W .357 on its massive .44 frame was available.

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Smith & Wesson had, for the first time in the history of their long duel, outsold archrival Colt in the police sector. They couldn't let this magnum challenge from Colt go by. Bill Jordan, famed Border Patrolman, suggested to S&W CEO Carl Hellstrom the firm make a .38-frame .357 with heavy barrel and shrouded ejector. Year 1955 saw the Combat Magnum introduced to instant success. Slightly smaller than the Colt 357 (later named the Trooper) and definitely sleeker, the Combat Magnum instantly took a huge lead over Colt. In the same year, Colt introduced its deluxe, hand-fitted Python, which became the ultimate "status gun" among street cops. S&W also introduced the plain-Jane .357 Highway Patrolman, which tied the Colt 357 for price point at the bottom end of the bid-intensive law enforcement market.
 

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Re: Bill Jordan\'s Combat .357 Masterpiece vs colt .357 as #1?

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Until then, only the deluxe, expensive S&W .357 on its massive .44 frame was available.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Although also a deluxe model, quite expensive, and built on the large frame the Colt Shooting Master was also available in .357 mag.
 

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Re: Bill Jordan\'s Combat .357 Masterpiece vs colt .357 as #1?

majic;Colt also chambered the "standard",fixed sighted, New Service in .357. This chambering was on the ".38 New Service",that usually had a sightly rounder butt(stocks are different) thaan the regular New Service. Came with 4,5,and 6 inch barrels(compared to 4.5,5.5 and 7.5 for the larger calibers)

This was introduced,1932,along with the Shooting Master,then the .357 came in,soon after S&W,in 1936(also made available for the SAA). Fixed sighted New Service was used by some New Hampshire police departments in .357 in "limited numbers". A few unsold specimens,were part of the "panic package",that England bought in 1940,when Nazi invasion appeared to be a reality.

Of course,after the war,New Service was dropped!

Fixed sighted version was cheaper than the Shooting Master .357,whose target front adjustable sights,kinda spoiled it as a rugged duty/holster piece.

Good article,about a year ago,by Leroy Thompson,a writer I respect because "he has seen the elephant",comparing the pre war Colt and S&W .357s. While the Shooting Master was cheaper than the S&W,Leroy said he'd have preferred the S&W due to its better blue job,and the sights. Wish I'd have bought the magazine(think it was a G&A "annual") but it was the only good article in it. Bud
 
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