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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Greetings, I've been cataloging almost every set of Colt Python Target Stocks that I come across, and I'd like some help in establishing when each set was made/used (19XX-19XX) and hopefully more people can help by adding pics of variants and generations that I don't have. (I've been unable to photograph any Gen I Stocks)

I understand that this may prove fruitless, but I've got all these photo's archived and I think it might help folks better acquire the period correct grips for their Python.

If you've got any suggestions, concerns or additions by all means let me know.

Here's how it should work... Each set of grips should have four pics (some are lacking a few pics)
- A Pic of the front of both grips side by side (with screw if avail)
- A Pic of the reverse of both grips
- A Pic of the base
- A closeup of one of the medallions

I'll label each grip with a number (IE. #1), and if you can identify it based on a reliable source or a similar NIB Python please post the following (below) and I'll update my original post to include the info.

- Grip number (IE. #2)
- Grip Type (IE. GEN III)
- Grip date produced/used (IE. 19XX-19XX)
- Unique grip identifiers and source for your dates (IE. Rounded edges on checkering and oval base, produced by "XX Company", Verified that grips match 1978 NIB Python)
- Further amplifying data.

Ok here goes (photo intensive)

#1



#2






#3
Gen 3 with Post 150th Medallions 1987-????





#4





#5
Showing tan patching material on backside of grips.





#6





#7





#8
- Gen III
- Manufactured - 1980
- Source - Python S/N V898XX, Thumb rest groves taper into points.




#9
Gen 2 with U shaped checkering or "Smileys" 1960-1974





#10
Gen 2 with U shaped checkering or "Smileys" 1960-1974





#11
-Very Early Gen II
-Date of Manufacture - ????
Source - Python SN 112XX, Oil finish, vice Poly/Lacquer finish




That should get us started...
 

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The MVP done covered some of this.
http://www.coltforum.com/forums/col...wood-grips-python.html?highlight=Python+grips

This is a good thing to do. I am sorry I don't have any of my grips photographed, but can help with the years I believe. I will post on this again later. I do have pics of a set of the rare 3rd series Transition grips you can use (that I sold which is why I have the pics lol). Will post later.
Edit: As far as the years listed go, these could be argued up to a year or so difference on some. I don't think anyone can pinpoint it exactly. Also different Ship dates (especially the early ones) would affect this also, meaning a gun with a lower serial number wasn't shipped until after a transition had already happened.

Gen I Full Checkered with old style medallions 1955-early 1956
Gen I Full checkered with new style medallions Early 1956-end of 1959
Gen 2, with U shaped checkering or "Smileys", 1960-1974
Gen 3 Transitional (look like the 2nd Gens with U shaped checkering but with the cutout on both sides like the 3rd gens), which I posted in post #17, very early 1974 only imo.
Gen 3 early type early with rounded edge of checkering at top, 1974-1978 (like your pic #7)
Gen 3 regular type 1979-1985, then again 1989-early 90's when wood ended on Blued Pythons (like your pic #1,2,6, and 8: these had very slight differences which I don't think anyone could ever possibly pinpoint, if so it would take someone far more experienced than me to do so)
Gen 3 with 150th Medallions 1986-early 1987 (look virtually identical like your #3 BUT has a very little 150 under the "Colt")
Gen 3 150th style WITHOUT the 150, Early 1987-1989 (like you pic #3)
From Early 90's through 1996 (last 3 or 4 years), I think everything was rubber until the Smooth Laminate Wood Grips started with the PYTHON ELITE in 1997.
NOTE these could vary, and may not be 100% Correct (have to be very close, like I say within a year or so, if not). This is just my best guess from info I have obtained through the internet, the many Pythons I have seen and the ones I have owned.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the info big_gus, I've populated some of the info to a few of the grips and I'll await your future post.

Can you describe the Early Gen 3 (1974-1978), do I have any examples already shown?

I also think that there must be several variations of the Gen 3 Regular type, or multiple makers, I'll need someone to educate me on the differences of the Medallions, I can see subtle changes, but I think some of that is due to wear and patina (will search the old/archived posts as it has most likely already been discussed).

I think I have the following pictured so far from your list:
Gen 2 with U shaped checkering or "Smileys" 1960-1974
Gen 3 early type early 1974-1978 (need to identify which one)
Gen 3 regular type
Gen 3 with POST 150th Medallions "Big Pony" 1987-????

Perhaps other members can provide:
Gen I Full Checkered with old style medallions 1955-early 1956
Gen I Full checkered with new style medallions Early 1956-end of 1959
Gen 3 Transitional
Gen 3 with 150th Medallions "Big Pony w/150" 1986-early 1987
 

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This is a great start, but there are additional variations, probably at least eight total, maybe more, some of which were addressed recently in this thread:

Type 1 Python stocks just sold for $780 on ebay


I would mention that the Generation I full-checkered stocks ran into 1960. Remember also that Generation II stocks come in at least two variations - the early style with a thumb rest only on the left panel and the late style with thumb rests on both panels - and that does not consider whether the backside is routed out for a "fitting ledge," thus perhaps doubling the number of Generation II variations.

One thing this thread has already done is to prove to me that even some Generation III stocks have the "fitting ledge." Another thing it has done is reveal that the most subtle variations are found in the Generation III stocks, thus fracturing what I had assumed was the single most common style into many variations, some of which are probably about as scarce as Generation I stocks (of either variation).

(Apologies to anyone offended by my "delivery.")
 

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Remember also that Generation II stocks come in at least two variations - the early style with a thumb rest only on the left panel and the late style with thumb rests on both panels - and that does not consider whether the backside is routed out for a "fitting ledge," thus perhaps doubling the number of Generation II variations.

(Apologies to anyone offended by my "delivery.")
This is going to be a "working" thread that may take some time and require the contributions of many. I look forward to participating.

JudgeColt, there is an interesting sub-set of the early Type II Stocks that I will mention here. My Python SN 112XX is likely one of the earliest fitted with Type II Stocks. Interestingly the stocks were not lacquer or poly finished but seem to have an oil finish. Very soon thereafter, the Type II Stocks took on the customary poly finish.


 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks Kanatak, I've added your pics/info to the list.

I've determined that I can put the following info to #8 based on one of my Pythons (grips look almost identical)
#8
- Gen III
- Manufactured - 1980
- Source - Python S/N V898XX, Thumb rests groves taper into points.
 

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kanatak, when did your Python 112XX ship? Is it a 6-inch or 4-inch? I have 4-inch Python 128XX that shipped December 15, 1960. Its "half-moon" stocks have the customary finish, not the oil finish.

It will be interesting to know when 112Xx shipped, since many have been trying to pin down the transition from full-checkered to the wrap-around style. My investigation had concluded that the transition took place in 1960. Of course, unless you owned it since new, there remains the possibility that the stocks are not original to the gun.

(My apologies to anyone offended by my "delivery.")
 

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There are so many tiny, almost unnoticeable variations on Colt Target grips, this is going to be a near impossible job to ID them all, but it's a very worthwhile effort.

One type I haven't seen posted yet are the very late Third Type grips in which the front of the grip began to be more or less cut off, leaving a wider and wider gap between the grip and the rear of the trigger guard.
Another "variation" if it is that, are the lated grips with tan colored patching material used to correct poor fit or to patch defects in the wood.
Some VERY late grips I've seen were an actual light blond color. A lot of later American guns used cheaper walnut that didn't have the brown color of better quality wood. You see this in the later Marlin 39-A where the wood got lighter and lighter.
Some of these very late Colt grips had walnut grain, but were a true light blond.

One type of Colt Target grip I've never been able to nail down as genuine Colt are the hardwood target grips.
I've seen these in First Type fully checkered and Second Type.
These were EXACT, and I mean EXACT copies of Colt factory walnut Target grips, with Silver genuine Colt medallions.
I've never see a set with Gold medallions that I was sure were original and not switched.

The First Type were stained a very dark brown, almost black color, with an oil finish.
The Second Type had a reddish-brown stain-finish to give a walnut color to the very light wood.
These were made of some sort of not so hard, hardwood. The wood under the finish is a yellow-white color with little grain and no real figure, and if sanded or worked gets a "fuzzy" surface.

I've never seen these on a gun that was verified factory original.
I suspect these were after market, possibly by Jay Scott, who was once owned by Colt, and who made exact replicas of Colt factory grips.
You have to look very close at these to see that they aren't walnut factory grips. The only "give away" is the wood under the stain has little grain and no figure.
On the First Type the give away is the almost black stain concealing the wood grain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Starting the second post of pictures (size limit exceeded for the first post)

#12
Smooth Grips (user modified, Wooden circles on backs of grips are user added), showing tan colored patching material (Patching material appears to be user added).





#13
Early 3rd Gen Transitional/Late 2nd Gen Transitional
Cutout on both sides like the 3rd Gens.





#14
GEN II
Grips are from a 6 inch c. 1960.
S/No 10357
This Python is located in Australia

 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
DFW, I think #5 and #12 have some of the patching material.

Weagle99, #9 has the nickle hardware, I have seen nickle escutcheons with blued screws and vice versa, but I don't know that they weren't mixed and matched through the years.

A lot of good info surfacing...
 

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A pretty good indication grips have had the checkering sanded off is when the grips are standard figured walnut.
Usually Colt only made smooth grips for limited edition guns and the grips were almost always fancy figured woods.
When you see standard walnut grips that are smooth, you can pretty well figure they've been sanded.

Another is when the grips show irregularities from the sanding. Grips #12 show these irregularities from sanding.

The patch material Colt used was a weird lighter tan than #12, and they didn't use nearly that much.
They also used small amounts on the outside to patch knots and holes.
If the outside was too bad they probably rejected them, since the patching material was rather obvious.
 

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kanatak, when did your Python 112XX ship? Is it a 6-inch or 4-inch? I have 4-inch Python 128XX that shipped December 15, 1960. Its "half-moon" stocks have the customary finish, not the oil finish.

It will be interesting to know when 112Xx shipped, since many have been trying to pin down the transition from full-checkered to the wrap-around style. My investigation had concluded that the transition took place in 1960. Of course, unless you owned it since new, there remains the possibility that the stocks are not original to the gun.

(My apologies to anyone offended by my "delivery.")
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
DFW, thanks for the info, I've updated #5 and #12 to show that the patch material on those two was user added, I've also added another pic to #2 which shows the left hand side medallion area close up, it looks like there may have been a small inclusion/knot in the wood that was patched.
 

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Kanatak, your 6-inch Python is a fairly late 1960 gun, and mine is even later, but both are 1960 guns. I still believe the transition from full-checkered to the curved checkering pattern occurred sometime in 1960, but still do not know when it began or ended.

(Apologies to anyone offended by my "delivery.")
 

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kanatak, when did your Python 112XX ship? Is it a 6-inch or 4-inch? I have 4-inch Python 128XX that shipped December 15, 1960. Its "half-moon" stocks have the customary finish, not the oil finish.

It will be interesting to know when 112Xx shipped, since many have been trying to pin down the transition from full-checkered to the wrap-around style. My investigation had concluded that the transition took place in 1960. Of course, unless you owned it since new, there remains the possibility that the stocks are not original to the gun.
Good point about my Python 112xx not being purchased new by me, and the possibility that its "half moon" stocks may not be original. However, this Python was in a single shipment to Mr. Joseph Lorch in Washington D.C. A member here once told me that Mr. Lorch was a well known arms dealer in DC after the War (II) and was known to the Colt community. I acquired the Python from a dealer in the D.C. area about 4 years ago and it possessed some of the best conditioned Box, Target, Brown Oil Paper and Manuals that I have seen from this era; all complete and original. While there is no possibility to prove the originality of the stocks, the condition of the Python (near new) and accouterments lead me to conclude they are original. It seems this Python never left the D.C. area and was not bought and sold and shipped through many owners, and possibly just Mr. Lorch and me, through my seller in D.C.




Kanatak, your 6-inch Python is a fairly late 1960 gun, and mine is even later, but both are 1960 guns. I still believe the transition from full-checkered to the curved checkering pattern occurred sometime in 1960, but still do not know when it began or ended.
I agree with this, based on my interest in 1960 Pythons. I have seen photos of 1960 Pythons with full checkered stocks but failed to record serial numbers or save the photos. I will be on the lookout for 1960 Pythons.
 

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Early 3rd Gen Transitional Or late 2nd Gen Transitional, which term you prefer

Early 3rd Gen Transitional Or Late 2nd Gen Transitional, which term you prefer to use. Notice They look like 2nd Gen as far as the checkering goes, BUT have the cutout on BOTH sides like the 3rd Gens:

Metal Wood Copper Wood stain Wood Wood stain Wood Metal Wood Brass Metal Wood
 
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