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Discussion Starter #1
1)I know where there is a very lightly fired, older Colt .357(1953-61)in a four-inch barrel(Looks virtually new-but, no box)! The Dealer, will sell this gun,(Out the door)for $500. Is this too much to pay(See below, before answering this!)?

2)The problem(If this is a problem?): Although this Colt .357, looks very close to being new, this gun, has been engraved(Very tastefully!)however, this engraving, was not done by the Colt factory? And, would this fact, degrade the value of this gun(Or, not?)? Would this be cause, to pass on this gun? It is "Pretty" to look at, no doubt!

3)Otherwise, how good, was this early, Colt .357? I had never seen one of these guns before? was it built on the "I" frame-or?

4)What else, can be told, about these old, Colt .357's?
 

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No you shouldn't buy it - give me the phone number of the owner, and I will! The .357's are on the same frame as the Python's, which came later. Do a search on this forum and you will find all the info you want on the gun.

Now, about that phone number ....
 

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WOW, Colt 38! There's your collection! And a one-of-a-kind, too. IF you like the engraving and that's about the only, "if," I can find. I paid almost $500 for mine - no box, no papers and obviously used. (That's a 6" blue .357, from 1957 w/target stocks.) I think you're right about the factory engraving - other than factory, and it seems like engraving DETRACTS rather than ADDS to the value. I'm thinking, your Match Special and a vintage .357 ... If I was in your shoes, I'd certainly get the .357, IF I liked the engraving. I've never owned an engraved gun, but not because I don't admire them - it's just never come up. The Special is a super bullseye gun, the .357 a super carry/holster/primary defense piece and they share frames and, I guess, ALL the parts! You can swap grips, hammers, triggers ... (I don't dismantle Colts but a lot of guys do.) Now, for some pipe smoke, ... put an Officer's Model Match .22 with that and you've got I/E frame heaven! You COULD do these and put a new Python Elite in stainless along with 'em to show what they, "grew up to be!" How about a 2" Official Police? (The, "snubbie," version of the clan.)I just LOVE spending other people's money! Ha!! There's several threads on these pages about the .357 Colt. In fact, there'e been a regular rash of them lately. All of them are Official Police's with, "tricks." dafariswheel wrote about an guy in post-war Berlin with one. Recently, we read about the Florida Highway Patrol using them - and don't forget Dick Tracy! I guess the main claim to fame is this gun was the first medium-frame .357. Prior to it, there were the magnificent S&W 27's and Colt New Service/Shooting Masters which are HUGE guns. Later came the S&W 19, which ain't too shabby, either. Enough from me ... I'll let someone else in that shoots straighter than I do! Happy Shooting!
 

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Trying to "second guess" engraving is tough.

By that, I mean trying to determine if it's factory or aftermarket, and who did it.

The Colt factory was famous for it's engraving, which ranged from magnificent gold inlaid masterpieces to just a little tasteful embellishment....whatever the customer wanted and could pay for.

Many guns are engraved by non-factory people, and these run from...magnificant gold inlaid masterpieces, to absolute junk done by hammer mechanics, to something put on by a jewelery store pantograph machine.

IN MOST CASES, real, good quality engraving increases the value of a firearm.

Depending on what you have, the $500 is a real steal for an engraved Colt, to a fairly good deal on a lightly used .357, that just happens to have some kind of engraving on it.

Strange things do happen, and it could turn out this is a factory gun, or something done by a famous Master engraver, in which case you fell into a fortune, or this may be just a good shooter you can use as a BBQ dress gun.

Without seeing it, there's no way to tell.

As for the 357 Model itself: This is one of the finest revolvers ever made. The 357 was built on the Colt "I" frame, and is rightly seen as a "pre-Python", in both design and quality.

[This message has been edited by dfariswheel (edited 03-23-2004).]
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well, there is an Officer's Model Target, in the same Gun Shop(The OMS, Colt .357, OMT!)however, I couldn't afford to spring for all three guns, at the present time! However, although the OMT, is probably worth more than the OMS, the OMT, isn't as nice, as the virtually, NIB, OMS! And, the engraved, Colt .357, looks very appealing to me! If I could, I'd want to get these two guns!

If there is more, that can be inputed, about the seemingly, "Overlooked" Colt .357, I'd like to hear about it?

Also, I haven't found, very much, on this forum, about the Colt .357? Am I not looking in the right places?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The serial number, on the engraved, Colt .357, is 784XXX. Can anyone indicate to me, what year this gun was made? I don't have any Colt reference books!

[This message has been edited by Colt38 (edited 03-23-2004).]
 

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Colt38

That serial numbers don't match, the 357 was from 1953-1961, as noted, and the serial numbers ran from 1 to 28000, not a six digit number. Is it possibly someone restamped the barrel when the engraving was done?

The only two with that high a S/N is the Official Police and the Police Positive Special (who's frame is too small).

And don't you think it's strange that the serial number 784XXX is the same as the OMS you have posted in the other thread?

Double check that serial number again and get back to us.


------------------
Dick

IN GOD WE TRUST,
BUT HANG ONTO ONE GUN,
JUST IN CASE!

[This message has been edited by diamonback68 (edited 03-24-2004).]
 

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This is a short history of the Colt 357 I did for an older post:

The Colt 357 was one of Colt's first totally new post-war guns.
It was introduced in 1954, and was a "first in a number of ways.

It was the world's first mid-frame .357 Magnum gun. Before it, all .357's were large frame models like the Colt New Service or S&W's "N" frame models. It would be years before S&W would respond with their Model 19.

It was the first modern revolver to use a frame-mounted firing pin.

It was the first appearance of Colt's now famous target hammer and target stocks.

Available in 4" or 6" barrels, and bright blue finish, it also was available with "service" type hammer and stocks.

Colt made about 15,000 between 1954 and 1961.

As soon as Colt introduced the 357, budget minded shooters and police departments asked for a less expensive version, and Colt responded with the Trooper models.

The early Trooper's were available in .38 Special and .22LR. The early .38 model used the standard hammer-mounted firing pin of the Officer's Model and Official Police.

In 1954 Colt introduced the Python and things got complicated at Colt's. They were making a Trooper and 357 line that were very similar, and the Python.

Shooters wanting a budget adjustable sighted service revolver were buying the Trooper, and people wanting the best bought the Python.

This left the 357 as "odd man out", and since sales were flat, Colt discontinued the 357 in 1961. The Trooper line was modified by changing it to the same frame-mounted firing pin design the 357 and Python used, and offered in a .357 Magnum chambering.

At this point the Trooper was available in .357, .38 Special, and .22LR, although the .22 still used the hammer-mounted firing pin.

The 357 is a good "sleeper" gun for Colt-aholics, since most people assume it's just a Trooper and pass over it.

Until the Python "Super Gun" was brought out, the 357 was to be Colt's premium top-of-the-line revolver. Quality of fit, finish, and bluing is very high , and the guns are sought after by smart Colt people.

It's not unusual to find 357's that have had both the target stocks, and occasionally the target hammer "robbed" for other guns.

All in all, one of Colt's very best efforts, and an excellent gun to own by anyone's standards.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Diamonback68: It looks like the Gun Shop, erroneously, wrote down the serial number(784XXX)for the OMS,twice, and gave it to me, without giving me the S/N for the engraved, Colt .357? Thanks, for pointing this out to me! I'll have to get the correct S/N and post it back here, later?
 
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