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Discussion Starter #1
I am new to this forum, just having found it. From some of the messages I have read it seems that there is a great fountain of knowledge available, therefore I ask a question which may have been asked before. I am close to buying my first Python, a 4" SS Elite. From what I have read there seems to be a question of quality of the new Pythons verses the old (1955-19700. Are the latest offerings by Colt up to the standard that the Python name is known for, or should I reconsider and look for an older model? Also, checking the gun shops and web sites, it seems that the Python Elite is a next to impossible firearm to find. Almost every web site that I check shows that this gun is "allocated", thus hard to find. While it is possible to handle several of the same model of most guns in a gun shop, and then choose one, it seems that if I am lucky, the gun shop may have only one Python, thus no comparison is possible, and I must take the one that the dealer is able to get. I don't like this situation, but it seems that nothing can be done about it. Advice from athose of you in the know with experience will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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DnnRe8
 

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This is a debatable subject. Bottom line is you need to go with what appeals to you. Personally I would only consider a 50's model. I own a 56 & 59 model and my palms sweat when I hold the 59 model. 50's models appeal to me because they have unique features and the trigger action is like silk. Features include the high barrel rib, the expensive ($200) full checkered stocks, hollow lug, high polish and the fine hand-fitted craftsmanship. You can buy a 50's 3-digit serial number Python for less money then the Elite and you now own a classic finest post-war revolver ever built. There is nothing wrong with the Elite if that truely appeals to you. Good luck on your quest and welcome to the board.

Vipereater
 

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Ditto, what Vipereater said, and if you happen to be able to fondle a 50's Python first before you buy, it will be all over with. Period.

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Dick

IN GOD WE TRUST,
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Vipereater:
... You can buy a 50's 3-digit serial number Python for less money then the Elite and you now own a classic finest post-war revolver ever built. ...
Vipereater

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

WHERE? Seriously, if anyone has one of these for sale, I'd like to know about it.
 

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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Vipereater:
This is a debatable subject.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Everyone sings the virtues of the older Pythons. I have a model from 1962 and yes it is very well made. I do have a question though, what is wrong with the newer guns? I'm sure not as much detail is put into the newer guns but look at what else is out there.

I'd sooner have a new Python then any Taurus and most of the S&W line. Do you think S&W builds a revolver the way the Python used to be built? Look how many guns aren't even steel anymore.

I wish someone had a gun test of the newer Python. I'd like to know if they still have the tapered barrel and how well they shoot. Actually I'd like to see a new Python.

Don't mean to put anyone down for suggesting an older Python but compare the new one to what else is out there (new).

Bottom line (for me), I'd buy a new Python in a hearbeat if I were in the market for one.

Joed

[This message has been edited by joed (edited 11-14-2003).]
 

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From the "for what it's worth department".

Several months ago, The American Rifleman had an article about one of their editors taking a tour of the Colt factory recently.

He said that the new Pythons he saw on the production line were some of the best he had ever seen.

I would suspect that Colt's production people are getting up to speed on their skills. It takes years to develop the "touch" to do top quality polishing and hand fitting.

I haven't seen a current production Python, but from what I'm hearing from non-biased people is that Colt's over the hump.

In fairness, until I can look at one, the jury is still out.

But also in fairness, I wouldn't hesitate to buy one either.
 

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Also, "for what it's worth, ..." I've owned several Pythons. I think they're the best you can buy. I'd pay $50 to spend an hour with a new stainless one just to see what they're like! Somebody a lot smarter than I once said, "Nobody was ever dissapointed with the best."
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I have looked on the Guns America web site and have found quite a lot of Pythons for sale. Can anyone explain what the significance is of the letters which prefix the serial number, and of the 3 digit or four digit serial numbers? Thanks.
 

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The very early Pythons had a non-prefix serial number. These ran from introduction up until 1969.

Starting in '69 Colt began adding letter prefixes to most of their guns, including the Python.

The post-69 guns used the "E" in front of the numeric serial, and was changed to AFTER the numeric number in 1975.

To further confuse things, Colt moved the letters back in front of the numbers in 1978 where (I think) they've stayed.

The higher the prefix the newer the gun is.
For instance, the prefix used was "E" in '69, "V" in '78, "K" from '80 thru '83, and "T" in '83 up to '85, when published records end.

All Pythons with no prefix are early guns, and bring a top dollar premium. Some of the early prefix guns started with 4 digit serials, but these don't have any extra value.

So, any non-prefix serial gun is an early gun, and the lower the number the earlier the Python, and the higher the desirability.
 

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The Python Elite gets premium forgings that are much better then metal of the past. Second, Metal Forging and Final Heat Treatment is so much more advanced then it was 10 or even 20 years ago. Take a typical S&W Chiefs Special. This gun was not able to fire .38 +P. Today, such guns fire .357 Magnum. The CNC machinery is more compact, performs advanced machining operations letting computers do the cuts and "thinking". Firearms tolerances today can run .0274 ("Microinch") with Laser Interference doing to checking. Judging by what I have seen and handled. The Python Elite is manfactured on the very best CNC driven machinery. That machinery makes handfitting by qualified people much easier. I have seen an 80's vintage Pythons innards. Machine and tooling marks galore. Not so with the newest Python Elite. This gun is at least as good or better. Sure, it can be warmed up a bit and tuned some. But this gun is probably better in terms of metalurgy then similiar guns of the past. The price reflects that.
 

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Thought everyone would enjoy my well thought decision. I have a S&W mod 19 that was the worst gun S&W ever put together, owned it 23 years. The first time I ever shot it the cylinder fell out when I went to eject the brass. This weekend while shooting it with 38 spl something happened to the action and now the cylinder turns but the hammer don't cock. There has always been one thing or another wrong with this gun.

OK, the decision. After 23 years of the mod 19 lemon I thought about selling it and buying a S&W 686. Then it struck me this morning, I'm going to look at a new Python!

I have a 4 inch Python from 1962 and it's a great gun but I want to look at the new Colt Python.

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Finding a current factory new Python is a gun shop is rare these days. The guns are very expensive, and production is low, so most shops can't just stock one.

So, if you find one, or order one, please give us a complete report on it.
 

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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by dfariswheel:
Finding a current factory new Python is a gun shop is rare these days. The guns are very expensive, and production is low, so most shops can't just stock one.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


You sure are right about that, I can't find one to even get a price. Had a few used ones offered, makes you wonder. I was only given an estimate on a new Python and that was $1000.

Joed


[This message has been edited by joed (edited 11-17-2003).]
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for all of the information in response to my question about a Colt Python. I found it all very useful. After checking 3 local gunshops, it seems that a new python is almost impossible to find. I have decided on a 4" SS Python Elite. Perhaps the Guns America web site is the the quickest way to buy a new Python. Several are listed on that site as "factory new". I'm wondering if they are really new, or have been bought by an individual but never used, thus being called new. Would the factory warranty cover the purchaser of one of these, as it would if the gun was bought directly from a dealer?
 

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In your case, I'd find a dealer that will order a new Python for you.

If you look around, you can find either a store or a small FFL dealer who will order a new one for you, and charge you a minimum dealer charge, not full list price.

In the "old days" (pre-Bill Clinton) there were plenty of hobby and small-time dealers who would charge $15-20 to order a gun for you. There are still a few left who will do this, but ya gotta look for 'em.

The guns that are for sale on-line or from individuals are almost always "unknown" as to whether their really NIB or not.
In most cases, you will have no way of knowing if Colt would honor a new-gun warranty UNTIL you try to use it.

At least with a factory-new gun, you're covered by a factory warranty, and you know you're the first user.

Since most of the "new" Pythons on the on-line sites sell for very near local store prices, plus you have to pay an arm and a leg for shipping and insurance, I'd start out looking local. If you can't find a good deal in your state, than go on-line, and deal with somebody with a good reputation.
 

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I purchased a new SS Python Elite with a 4" barrel at a Gun Show recently. The action is extremely smooth and it is a great shooter. This gun is every bit the equal to a 70's blued Python I used to own.

UncleDaveH
 

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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by uncledaveh:
I purchased a new SS Python Elite with a 4" barrel at a Gun Show recently. The action is extremely smooth and it is a great shooter. This gun is every bit the equal to a 70's blued Python I used to own.

UncleDaveH
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Can you give me an idea of price? I'm thinking of just about the same gun only with 6" barrel. I've only been able to find a few and that was on Gunsamerica. No one locally sells Colt here.

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I'd really like to see a review on the Python Elite. I was originally comparing the S&W 686 to the Python but I bet the Python is better all around. I was unimpressed with the S&W trigger/hammer and other small parts.

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