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Discussion Starter #1
DFariswheel,
I just got back from a gunrange where this gunsmith and I were discussing old revolvers upon his admiring my S&W Highway Patrolman and Colt Official Police. I ask him if he was able to work on Colts because a lot of gunsmiths I had run into didn't like to touch them because they were so complicated.
He said that Colts are complicated and they are hard to work on but it just takes time to work with them. He told me of a man he knew of that liked to shoot a Python in competitions. The first time he used the Python, the paw broke or wore out which happens frequently on pythons. The gunsmith fixed it, it did it again the next time the gun was used. In a nutshell he said the Python gun was with the gunsmith being fixed more than with the shooter at the range. He furthermore told me that most police forces won't let you carry a Python because they are so fragile that if you fall in a struggle with a punk and you hit the cylinder you could knock the gun out of time and it could lock up. He said that as a shooter it was a fine gun but as a service gun it was a pain.

Now, he was a nice fellow and interesting to chat with and I'm sure this gentleman knows his business and better than I do since I'm not a gunsmith, however I have some doubts considering past postings of yours with me and other people in Coltforum and Firingline.com I know Colts (really any gun)won't take extensive abuse but are Pythons and Official police guns really that fragile? You own a python that you say you have put something like 5000 rounds through it and have owned it for somthing like 10-15 years and it is still as good today as the day rolled off the assembly line or in a colt's case put down by the hand that fitted it. Police have carried the Official Police for nearly 100 years and have been struggling with punks for that long too. I would think that any gun that was that fragile would get knocked out of time every time you fired it if your falling down and landing on the side of your holster knocks it off and locks it up. As to the Python that's paw kept getting broke or worn out I would think that there must have been something else wrong with the gun besides just the paw, besides I shoot my OPs all the time and don't encounter paw problems and from what you tell me about your Pythons I gather you don't either.

As far as most Police departments not letting you carry Pythons, most won't let you carry any revolver anymore.

What are your thoughts?

[This message has been edited by Doug.38PR (edited 06-15-2005).]

[This message has been edited by Doug.38PR (edited 06-15-2005).]
 

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In the old days, it was common for a rookie cop to be issued or buy a new Colt Official Police in the academy, and to still be using it the day he retired 30 years later.

Of course, in those days you had BETTER take good care of your gun, because guns were expensive, and pay was low. If you broke it, you bought a new one out of your own pocket.

Back then, departments didn't issue new guns to the entire department or change brands or models every few years, so often it was one to a customer, for his entire career.

Colt's were actually MORE fragile back then, with cranes made of fairly soft steel that bent rather easily.
Drop one or fall on it and the crane often got bent.

This didn't cause timing problems, it caused alignment problems. It also didn't cause the gun to just "lock up".
Dropping a revolver will cause problems with ANY revolver, no matter what brand.

We don't hear too many stories about "weak" S&W's "locking up" after a drop.

Surprisingly, there really were a few police departments that actually issued Pythons.
I remember a batch of used ex-police Pythons sold by a big distributor back in the early 1980's.

Of course MANY police and FBI agents carried personally bought Pythons.
The 2 1/2" Python was an "in" gun with the FBI, and many cops liked having a premium gun.

As an indication of just how many did, it was police demand that got Colt to bring the 4" version of the Python out.
These early 4" guns were called the "New Police Python" in Colt advertising, although that was not stamped on the guns.

The old Colt action was and is more delicate than guns like the Ruger and S&W, but considering the number of Official Police, Trooper, 357, and Pythons issued and used by cops over the years, you'd think the streets would be littered with broken parts from damaged guns.

The Official Police was THE cop gun from 1927 through the 1950's, and the Trooper was heavily used, especially by Sheriff's departments in the 50's and 60's.

Hang around guns shops, ranges, guns shows, or the internet and you'll hear plenty of tales of "weak Colt's".

I saw a lot of Colt revolvers that were carried by cops.
I have to say that most of the problems I saw were primarily caused by the abusive treatment only a street cop can give a gun.

I also have to say, that most cops that spent the kind of money needed to fund a Python took much better care of the gun than other cops took, and cops who buy their own gun took better care than did cops who were issued a gun.

I do have to say, I've never personally heard of a police department that prohibited police from using a Python.

As for the tale of broken hands ("Pawls") I saw only a very few actual broken hands.

Every body has their own opinions and so did your gunsmith.
His experience was likely different than mine.

BUT, basing his opinion on "Locked up" Pythons and "broken hands" on ONE shooter who probably was treating his Python abusively doesn't strike me as a good data base to make a negative judgment of the Colt's.

In short, 75 years of cops can't be wrong. If the Colt was that weak and prone to "locking up" you'd have heard it from plenty of sources, and no police department would have issued Colt's.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I remember a gunsmith telling me about a policeman he knew that drove up to a scene back in the 1990s with two men fighting. The policeman was carrying an old Official Police. In breaking them up he was forced to gunwhip one of them over the head to knock him out. To his amazement this visibly bent the frame of the gun. I figured the guy must have had a steel plate in his head or an incredibly hard head.
 

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To quote Col. Jeff Cooper:
"Don't use your pistol as a sap. If you want a sap, buy a sap.
Use the pistol for it's intended purpose, which is shooting".

To which I'd add, "You don't throw a jack at people, so don't hit people with your gun".

Unfortunately, in the real world you sometimes have no choice in these things.
A lot of police officers and many ordinary people have been in a situation where beating someone with the gun is the only choice.
 

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Doug.38PR,

My first issue gun was a Colt. As soon as I could, I bought and carried a 4" Python, bought NIB. The dealer told me that it was the first 4" Python sold in Texas. I have no idea if that is true but it was the best Python I've ever handled. Unfortunately, I had to sell it when I went into the Army.

In `65, I bought my second Python and carried it for ten years in uniform and ten years in plain clothes, although it was not my normal carry gun in the plain clothes assignment. During that 20 year period, I have no idea how many rounds I fired through it. It fell out of my holster once as I rolled head-over-heels down the side of a hill after diving out of the way of a stupid driver. The rear sight blade did get bent and there were a few scratches on the finish but the gun still functioned properly. Our armorer was able to straighten the blade for me.

In the early `80's, I conned the department into issuing me a 2 1/2" Python which I carried for a number of years as a BUG. (The details of my conn job are another story.)

In `85, I was forced, kicking and screaming, to transtition to a Sig. I chose a Sig 220. The small Python was still my issued BUG.

Since I could no longer carry the 4" I had it re-blued by a local `smith, who was also a good friend. His work was as good as the factory at that time. During the time I had to carry the Sig, I always made sure that I could qualify with both Pythons and the Sig. All three guns always kept me in the top scores of the department.

I never had a problem with any of the three Pythons I've carried. When I retired in `90, I had the opportunity to buy the Sig or the small Python, but I could not buy both. I chose the Sig since I already had a Python. Sometimes I wonder if I made the right decision.

I have had contact with LEO's from all over the US, Canada, and Mexico. I've never heard of any department that authorized use of personal guns that would not permit use of Pythons. Some departments did require that the officer carry issued .38 ammo instead of .357. (That's another story that will not be discussed here)

I know a number of LEO's that carried Pythons and I don't know of any that had a problem.

John
 

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I have been shooting BOTH Colt & S&Ws seriously for over 25 years,and most are "pre owned" guns,that I can't verify as to how their original owner(s) treated/maintained them(other my refusal to buy a badly functioning and obviously mistreated or "molested".)

There has NOT been a wit of difference in them getting out of time,or in parts breakage. I wish I could say that about the "newer guns",from stories I read,especially on the S&W Forum. I don't know about you,but when I purchase a used vehicle,I kinda expect a little trouble with it-but not a new one,and I am reading about a lot of new gun problems over there.

Many S&W guys,view all D.A. Colts as "weak" and fragile. Much as I love my S&W Triple Locks,and still consider it the prime example of an era when America was the world leader in technology/workmanship in factories,give me a Colt New Service any day to fight in the mud conditions of war.

I also think,and have seen this first hand,that fast D.A. cycling of any Large Cylinder revolver is not good for it. I once bought a 4" S&W 38/44 H.D. that was so out of time from its cop owner "dry firing it",that I converted it to a .44 Special,with mostly new internals,plus barrel and cylinder. To stop,and "lock" that huge cylinder,even empty,requires a lot of force to overcome inertia. Same with the Colts. Interestingly,you don't hear of this problem as much with bigger bores,as the cylinders are lighter,with more metal bored out. My mentor was dead set against "snapping" any gun,and the old lessons he taught me,won't leave.

Try using "disc brakes" on a 40 ton semi,and see how long they last,with just that one set of calipers and small contact area of the pads on those huge rotating rotors,wheels,tires. Lousy analogy,I know,but I just woke up,and the American Bobtail cat,"Stubbie" is up here on the desk bugging me for his breakfast!!!

Bud
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Okay,
let me ask y'all this. if Colt and other revolvers were fragile why didn't Police Departments issue 1911s back then prior to the 1980s?

My question boils down to this: What are some downsides of the Automatic in regard to duriblity (excluding the Glock of course). Except for the glock, I always thought Revolvers were more durable because of their simplicity than Automatics.
 

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Doug38PR; My take on your last post is that,First,as far as issuing "revolvers",it was "safety"(one can see if its loaded quickly)-and to carry a 1911,ready to fire,it best be cocked and locked,not the best for "safety",and the D.A. pull is much heavier than most autos in the S.A. mode,like the 1911. Ever wonder why so many P.D.s went to D.A. ONLY revolvers;accidental discharge in S.A. and this includes "covering suspects".

Secondly;it was probably the average Americans' familiarity with revolvers vs. autos.

Third; most PDs saw the .45 acp(and super 38!) as too powerful!

For every current and former LEO's who post on the Forums, who are familiar with firearms,and enjoy them,there are hundreds of others who view it,as just another "tool" for the job. Recent figures say more LEOs are being killed on the job,in pursuit chases than by "armed encounters". While they all(I hope) have had to learn pursuit driving,how many stay current in it???


Finally,I hate to admit it,but revolvers can be very easy to "tie up". They have very finely fit internals,a grain or 2 of unburned powder under the ejector star,has disabled a few of my guns. S&W ejector rods can and do,loosen up,trying up the gun. Autos,like a Luger I had,never jammed with surplus German ammo,but let it get the least bit dirty,and it was jam time. While I carried a revolver as a A.F.Security guard in 'Nam,had I been in the jungle,one of those old loose tolerance .45 autos(maybe a 6" group at 25 yds,on a good day!),but never jam,even when dropped etc. wouldve been my choice,not my issue S&W M-15.

BTW,I currently have NO autos among close to 100 Colts and S&Ws!!! Hate chasing brass,and only have to worry about accuracy and safety when I reload,not IF the auto will function with my handloads. Bud
 

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Discussion Starter #10
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by lonewolf:
Doug38PR; My take on your last post is that,First,as far as issuing "revolvers",it was "safety"(one can see if its loaded quickly)-and to carry a 1911,ready to fire,it best be cocked and locked,not the best for "safety",and the D.A. pull is much heavier than most autos in the S.A. mode,like the 1911. Ever wonder why so many P.D.s went to D.A. ONLY revolvers;accidental discharge in S.A. and this includes "covering suspects".

Secondly;it was probably the average Americans' familiarity with revolvers vs. autos.

Third; most PDs saw the .45 acp(and super 38!) as too powerful!

For every current and former LEO's who post on the Forums, who are familiar with firearms,and enjoy them,there are hundreds of others who view it,as just another "tool" for the job. Recent figures say more LEOs are being killed on the job,in pursuit chases than by "armed encounters". While they all(I hope) have had to learn pursuit driving,how many stay current in it???


Finally,I hate to admit it,but revolvers can be very easy to "tie up". They have very finely fit internals,a grain or 2 of unburned powder under the ejector star,has disabled a few of my guns. S&W ejector rods can and do,loosen up,trying up the gun. Autos,like a Luger I had,never jammed with surplus German ammo,but let it get the least bit dirty,and it was jam time. While I carried a revolver as a A.F.Security guard in 'Nam,had I been in the jungle,one of those old loose tolerance .45 autos(maybe a 6" group at 25 yds,on a good day!),but never jam,even when dropped etc. wouldve been my choice,not my issue S&W M-15.

BTW,I currently have NO autos among close to 100 Colts and S&Ws!!! Hate chasing brass,and only have to worry about accuracy and safety when I reload,not IF the auto will function with my handloads. Bud
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hmmm. It's been my experience and have been told that the advantage of the revolver is it is more dependable than the auto. Jamming is more common in autos, misfires don't cause problems in revolvers, safety isn't a worry, etc. In a nutshell as my dad put it "for everything that goes wrong with a revolver, 10 other things can go wrong with an automatic." He used a 1911 in the Marines and hasn't cared for autos since and to this day he carrys a S&W M10. Fewer things can go wrong with a revolver. I have occasionally experinced problems such as you named with my revolvers with powder under the ejector but it didn't stop the gun from firing, just gave it a little snag in rolling the cylinder through.
 
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