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Discussion Starter #1
This week I got a 4" blued Python from a very reputable gunshop of primarily vintage firearms. I used all the knowledge I got from this forum to judge whether this gun was mechanically sound or not and it appeared to be problem-free. Cosmetically it looked 99%, not a mark other than gun oil & fingerprints. In the shop this Python looked & felt immaculate.

Arrived at a fair price, & I'm happy. Once home I remove the grips & use Flitz gun wax to clean & polish the gun & it looks great until I hold it under a spotlight & I see that the sideplate was a slightly different shade of blue, slightly lighter & steelier looking. That wasn't too bad but what really caused concern were faint streaks on the sideplate that wouldn't come off w/ cleaner or polish. It looked like a wet black car dried in the sun w/ a dirty, wet towel. This problem was only on the sideplate. Under magnification it looked like the plate hadn't been fully polished before blueing. I took it to my gunsmith & he said the sideplate had been replaced & the screws refinished. This problem was only visible under direct spotlight.

I took the Python back to where I bought it & the 2 owners were split in there opinions. One thought it came from the factory that way, the other thought it might have been replaced but couldn't understand why. Python serial # was 762xxE.
They refunded my money & there were no more problems.

What do I come away from this experience with? I'm not certain, other than to be patient, & bring a flashlight. I've bought several used Colt revolvers and almost half of them have problems. I have about the same amount of used S&W's & they're all fine. Is it the same way for everybody?

I understand all about the complexities of the Colt mechanism, and the hand-fitting, etc. When they're working they're fantastic & I prefer them over S&W's. But lately it has been discouraging.

[This message has been edited by shortcut (edited 01-10-2004).]
 

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All's well that ends well since you got your money back. I'm no expert on the finish on Pythons (I'm in the process of buying only my second one) but I have a lot of Colt and Smith revolvers, and in my opinion the art of blueing was more or less lost about 30 years ago, at least as far as revolvers are concerned. This goes for both Colts and Smiths. Although I know on the S&W forum this would bring howls of protest, I have NEVER seen a decent blueing job on a recent Smith. My postwar Colts are generally somewhat better (a result I think of better polishing), but not great, with cloudiness and premature browning. I hate to think this would happen with a gun as expensive as the Python, but my guess is it came that way.

Bill A
 

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That Python was built in 1977 and they were not stellar years, but it does sound like a different or refinished sideplate. Alls well that ends well as you did get your money back.
I really don't think any place that sells guns have bight enough lighting. A trick I use is to carry one of the lighted magnifying glasses. With very little time you can go over every inch of the gun and not be surprised later.
Keep shopping as one is out there for you somewhere. If you steer clear of models with alphabets in the serial number you stand a better chance of getting a really nice blued model, but all should be judged individualy as prime examples pop up all thru the production run.
 

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Usually a replaced Colt side plate can be detected two ways:
1. The serial number is stamped inside the plate, so it should match the frame and crane number.

2. A replacement side plate, (unless one of the great rarities done at the factory) stands out like a sore thumb.
NOBODY can refit a used side plate to look anything like a factory job.

Colt fits each side plate individually at the factory, and the plate and frame are hand polished as an assembled unit. They just don't re-fit properly.

Attempting to fit a used plate to another gun invariably leaves an unlevel plate that either sits too low, or too high, and has obvious gaps between the plate and the frame cutout.

So, what I'd suspect is either a re-blued plate, a plate somebody tried to polish a
mar of some kind out, or a plate that had it's finish damaged by moisture or a chemical.

The "usual" is for Billy Buck Bodine to be trying some product he heard about on his Python, and sees it damaged the finish. So, he tries to "Fix" the damage, only to make it worse.

Not wanting a damaged gun, Billy "repairs" (camouflages) the damage, and trades it in on his next gun with which he will attempt to find out if a mild acid will actually dissolve leading.

As for your bad luck with Colt's:
Often, Colt's that turn up in shows and gun shops are somebody else's "trouble".
They're often guns that somebody damaged or found a problem with, and decided to dump it.

It's not unusual for the store keeper to not know there's a problem. and they just pass it along to you.

In this case, all's well, that end's well. You got your money back.

Keep looking, they ALL aren't trouble.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I forgot to mention that the thickness of the sideplate was a bit shy to the frame. This was especially noticeable above the cylinder release. The fit to the frame was otherwise very good.

Another problem I noticed was the Pony logo on the plate. It had raised edges, as if it had been freshly struck. I thought that if it had been polished w/ the rest of the gun those edges would have been smoothed off, as they were on the barrel rollmarks.

[This message has been edited by shortcut (edited 01-10-2004).]
 

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Shortcut, I don't know what caused it,but I have a 6" that I bought new in 1977 that has a side plate that has those "streaks." never affected it's performance.
f.t.
 
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