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Discussion Starter #1
I am new to Colt DA revolvers so I would appreciate any opinions on the Trooper MK III.
Do you own one.
How does it compare to other Colts or S&Ws?
Would you recommend a Trooper MK III or should I look at another Colt model?
What to look out for in used Trooper & Colt revolvers. (I know how to check timing)

I have been a S&W guy for some time but have always admired Colt revolvers. Unfortunately the Python is out of my budget at this point in time.


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Mike
 

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In 1969 Colt realized that the guns with the original action could no longer be made at a price that could compete in the market.
The older guns required extensive hand fitting even on the "budget" guns like the Official Police.
In 1969 Colt discontinued all the older mid-size frame guns except the Python.

The replacement was the Colt "J" frame series which were the Trooper Mark III, Lawman, Metropolitan Police, Official Police Mark III, and a very few Officer's Model Match Mark III's.

The "J" frame set several "firsts" in the gun business: It was the first gun to use stainless steel springs, "sintered" steel powdered steel parts, and the transfer bar action.
The Colt transfer bar action was so advanced that virtually every revolver designed since uses an almost exact copy of Colt's design.

One area also copied by everybody else was Colt's "no fit" parts design. Older Colt's could have many parts re-fitted and adjusted when they wore.
The new "J" frame used parts that required little or no hand fitting, and this allowed the gun to be made much faster and cheaper.

The parts in the action are mostly molded from "sintered" steel, where powdered steel is injected into a mold and heated. When the part comes out of the mold, other than hardening and bluing, it's virtually finished.
These parts are all case hardened, with a thin "crust" of almost glass hardness. These parts wear very well, but cannot be adjusted or re-fitted.
The "J" frame was the first gun made to have worn parts simply replaced, not re-fitted.

Because of the very thin case hardening, the parts cannot be cut or polished much beyond the way they come from the factory.
Any attempt to alter a "J" frame part will break through the coating, and the part is ruined.

The Trooper Mark III is amazingly well built and finished, especially by today's standards, and considering that it was Colt's "Budget" priced revolver.

The Trooper Mark III was available in 4", 6", and later, 8" barrels.
Finishes were bright blue, bright nickel, and satin electroless nickel, also know as "ColtGuard".

Calibers were .38/.357 Magnum, 22 Long Rifle, and .22 Magnum.

Later, the gun was modified with a different mainspring, the butt was rounded off, and Python-like vents added to the barrel. This was known as the Trooper Mark V. Later still, the gun was produced in stainless steel with a different profile barrel as the King Cobra.

Master gunsmith Jerry Kunhausen is of the opinion that the "J" frame/King Cobra guns may well be the strongest mid-frame revolvers ever built, due to Colt's high-grade forged and heat treated frame and cylinder.

The Trooper Mark III's are very high quality, well fitted and finished revolvers.
I have had several in various configurations, but my favorite has always been the .22LR versions.

The only "weakness" of the Trooper Mark III is a few "possibly" too hard firing pins may have been used. If the gun is dry fired too much a hard pin may break. If this occurs, the gun MUST be returned to the factory for replacement. Any attempt to do a non-factory replacement will mar the finish, and potentially could ruin the frame.
Firing pin replacement requires a special press device and support jigs to remove and replace the firing pin retainer pin and bushing.
If you want to dry fire the gun, use snap caps.

Bottom Line: The Trooper Mark III is not in the same class as the Python (what gun is?).
The action is completely different from the older Colt's, but the gun is an extremely well built, high quality gun, and is very much a step above anything available today.

Accuracy and reliability of the Mark III is always excellent.
These are an excellent buy if you can't justify a Python, and the Trooper has such a strong action design, you will have no problem with many, many, thousands of rounds.

What to look for:
Look for anything that looks "wrong" like scarred up screws, pitting, excessive blue wear, rough or scarred chambers or bore, and signs of altered parts.

Look for excessive "end shake" in the cylinder. Properly fit, the Mark III cylinder should have very, very little fore and aft movement between the cylinder and frame. Look for excessive in and out movement of the cylinder crane in the frame.

Check for proper function of the action. The locking bolt must drop down before the cylinder begins to rotate, and the cylinder must lock up before the hammer reaches full cock.
The hammer must not "push off" when cocked. Cock the hammer and press firmly, but not too hard, on the back of the hammer. It MUST NOT uncock.

The DA trigger and single action trigger pull must be smooth and not too light, too heavy, or gritty.

Unless it's been altered or abused, these guns are pretty much "bullet proof".

[This message has been edited by dfariswheel (edited 01-26-2003).]

[This message has been edited by dfariswheel (edited 01-26-2003).]
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the info. I have several very good books on S&W revolvers but the few Colt books I have found tend to focus on the single action Colts . Would like to learn more about the DA Colts. The Troopers & Metropolitans at the local gun dealer/gun shows could be had for about $300 and up. So far I have found only one beat up Police Positive. Thanks again for the informative post.

Mike
 

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About the best Colt DA info is to be found in Jerry Kunhausen's gunsmithing books.
This is mostly technical info on the mecanical aspects of the Colt revolvers.

Volumn One covers the Colt "D" frames like the Detective Special, and the "E & I" frames like the Python and old model Trooper.

Volumn Two covers the "J" frames through the "AA" frames. This is the Trooper Mark III through the King Cobra.

History wise, there just isn't too much available. I've seen more info in the occasional gun magazine article.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I will look for the Jerry Kunhausen books later this week.

Mike

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Mike
 

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I've got a Trooper Mark III that is really smoooth...now...
I bought it used for $150.00 from a Police officer who used it as a night stand gun, it was really accurate, but the fired cases would not eject from the cylinder. A $50.00 trip to a gunsmith for him to hone and polish and that was cured. It shoots well and the finish is great!

I've only 1 other Colt recolver, and that is an UNFIRED Frontier Scout (nickel) that came with 2 cylinders and the presentation case from 1961. There is a medallion that came with it also....
Now auto's... that is another story!


[This message has been edited by woodsman (edited 02-07-2003).]
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The wood box with the red interior adds a lot to your Trooper photo. I found a Trooper MKIII for about $300. Unfortunatley I am in the middle of changing employment and selling our house. After the dust settles I hope I can buy it.
Thanks for your opinion and Colt photo.

Mike
 
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