Yes, Doctors! I concur! But while we're on the subject - why the heck did they do all these things?! The ONLY reason I can think of, as a, "Let's-pretend-marketing-expert-for-Colt," is the allure of the NAMES!? Would that be sufficient? (I'm referring to the name changing on the SAME GUNS.)
It wasn't marketing hype.
The 357 and the early Trooper were NOT the same gun.
The Trooper was actually an Officer's Model Match without the better finish, a non-hand tuned action, and a different barrel.
On the early Troopers, the firing pin was mounted on the hammer, just like the OMM.
The 357 was supposed to be Colt's premium belt gun, with a high grade finish and a tuned action. It had a firing pin mounted in the frame and the special heat treating to handle the .357 round.
The Trooper was to be the budget gun police departments and sportsmen could afford, and the 357 would fill the spot the Python usurped.
The Python "messed" it all up, and Colt found themselves making a series of three guns that were very similar: the premium Python, the budget Trooper, and a sort of in between 357 Model that just didn't fit.
When Colt finally decided to kill off the superfluous 357, they simply changed the Trooper center fire frame to the same as the 357 and Python, but gave it the lesser finish and fitting of the Trooper.
This simplified the line to a budget Trooper in .357, .38, and .22LR, and the Python.
So, the 357 vs. Trooper was more than just a change in "paint and trim". The distinction did get confused by the Python, but in the early 357/Trooper there was a definite difference.
One was a cheap Chevy, and the other was a Cadillac.
dfaris, I thank you, too. Teacher, I'm sorry and I promise I'll pay more attention! You HAVE told us all this before, haven't you!? I'll stay after school and clean your guns, if you'd trust me to! The good news is ANY of these are terrific pieces! Even the most humble of the litter - the first Troopers with the older style firing system is a combat version of one of the best bullseye guns, ever. The OP of the period is far from shabby, too, and it never did get the transfer bar, the target hammer and never even a glimpse of the target stocks. Ya' steps right up, ya' pays the man yer' money and ya' makes yer' choice!