I want a Colt Woodsman Match Target to keep a Smith 41 and a Hamden HS Citation company. I found a 98% 6" 2nd series and 99% 6" 3rd series model that are the same price. Neither has a box or papers. The 2d series has the grip "adapter" on the back strap. Both come with one original magazine.
I can't afford to buy both. (Heck, I can hardly afford to buy 1 right now...) Both look great to me. Both feel good in my hand. I don't have any preference as to magazine release. That leaves quality as the determining factor.
Is there any quality difference between the 2nd and 3rd series match targets? Are earlier 3rd series any better than later? I know much has been said about quality declines in the 70's, and further decline in 80's for Pythons. I have no idea if that holds true for the Woodsmen, generally, or MT's specifically. Please let me know your thoughts on this. I appreciate it.
You have not provided enough information to give much of a recommendation. The Second Series came out in 1948 and ran until 1955, when the Third Series came out and ran until 1977. Thus, it is possible to have a Second and a Third of about the same age, and thus the same quality period. A 1948 gun generally would be better than a 1977 gun, but they all vary so much from gun to gun that it is hard to say which would be better.
The Match Target triggers were intended to be better than the regular pistols, but they are not always. Again, they vary. The heavy barrel IS the major difference.
If you have a Model 41, I probably would try to get about the same age of Match Target, just for a better comparison. Since the Model 41 came out in 1957, that would eliminate the Second Model.
I generally prefer older guns to newer ones, so I would choose the Second Model unless the other factors mentioned are more important.