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Open the cylinder and look in the grove that the ejector rod sits in if it's stainless there will be an "S" stamped in the shroud.there will be one under the extractor also.If not then it's nickel.With an 81 date chances are it's nickel.Stainless started in late 82.D*
 

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Being a 1981 mfg, I would almost say it is a nickel gun. The stainless manufacturing didn't appear until late 1982 and uses the high K series numbers. The reported python is a mid range K serial number. As such, most likely nickel on serial number and date of manufacture.

On the other hand, your gun could be Royal Enickel or Royal Coltguard ... or nickel.
 
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