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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

I have been on the fence for quite some time about the new Python. I really like how Colt has combined elements from the original I frame guns and the Mk III/V revolvers. However, there is one element of the new design that I find to be intriguing. This is the way the cylinder hand is held in place. Pressure from the sideplate alone holds the hand in place. However, the new Python is made from such a high quality steel that the sideplate screws do not swage into place like on other revolvers. This means that threadlocker is obviously required to hold the side plate screws in place.

The idea of threadlocker being one of the main differences between your revolver going bang or malfunctioning is very interesting to say the least. I was wondering if it was possible for Colt/CZ to possibly place the hand on an added retaining pin, so that the gun could still theoretically function even if the sideplate slightly loosens. Would some other retaining mechanism be possible? This might be considered overkill, but revolver manufacturers have a long history of making slight revisions during the production of gun that can potentially add to its reliability.

I was wondering what other members of the forum thought about this topic.

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
The famed Manurhin MR 73 is known for using a high grade tool steel frame. One of the things done in that design the avoid this potential issue is to secure the hand via a pin to the trigger and the gun also appears to have a "hand window/slot" in the frame like a Smith and Wesson revolver. I have nothing against the use of threadlocker on a firearm. However, threadlocker being the main thing that keeps a revolver revolving is a bit ... different. The new Python is very nice, but I think Colt would really be flirting with revolver perfection if they made a slight revision to keep the hand in place if the sideplate slightly loosens.
An image of the MR 73 internals can easily be found on google images.
 

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Colt has used the side plate to retain the hand since they invented the swing-out cylinder revolver in 1889.
All later Colt's used the side plate retention, and with the Colt Mark III series of 1969 the hand retention was entirely done by the plate, to the extent that reassembling the action can be difficult because the hand and transfer bar are positioned by small pins, and under the transfer bar spring tension they tend to pop off the pins easily.

In short, like all guns the design is intended to work when properly assembled. In revolvers using a side plate it has to be snugly in place or it doesn't work.
The new 2020 Python is nothing new in this regard, the only new feature appears to be non-binding sideplate screws used for some reason.

So, bottom line the new Python is what it is, and works perfectly as long as it's correctly assembled.
It's really not a "thing" to build a commercial firearm specifically designed to work when NOT assembled correctly. That way lies lawsuits.
 

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Like dfariswheel said, it's perfectly normal and not unique to the new Python. Just about everything in the action (old as well as new) is retained by the side plate, and if you take it off you can pretty much shake the action parts out of it. The side plate screws (and other screws as well) will often come loose on revolvers, and if you shoot a lot you have to either check them every now and then or use thread locker. Checking the screws and keeping them tightened is simply a part of routine maintenance.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with thread locker, it allows for good retention without gorilla tightening the screws and it's commonly used in applications (guns, engines, etc) where vibrations can make fasteners come loose. Really, it wouldn't have hurt if Colt had used it in the old revolvers as well. Many of them have an extra turn line on the cylinder, and that's from a side plate screw that happened to back out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hello,

Thank you both for your responses. I am very aware that older Colt designs use pressure from the sideplate to hold the hand in place. There is nothing wrong with that design at all. Also, you should always check for loose screws on any revolver as that is certainly a part of routine maintenance. Threadlocker is a great thing and I have no problem with its use on a firearm.

What makes the new Python unique is the combination of the hand being held in place with pressure and the grade of steel being used. Such a hard steel can prevent the sidepate screws from swaging into place like on a slightly softer steel. The screws simply need more torque than can be provided by a typical screwdriver. This makes the sideplate screws far more likely to come loose on a regular basis than on older Colt revolvers. This creates a unique scenario where a chemical substance is necessary for the function of a revolver. In my mind the function of a $1,499 msrp revolver designed in the 21st century should not be solely dependent on a four dollar bottle of loctite.

I still like medium frame double action revolvers as defensive handguns and this does not inspire confidence. With that being said, what one man considers to be a design flaw might not bother another at all. I simply want the Colt brand to flourish and become relevant with a new generation of shooters. Small changes, like this, or changing the widely panned rear sight assembly and going back to the original hammer shape might win over even more potential customers that are slightly apprehensive about purchasing a new Python (myself included). As it sits, the new Python is not my cup of tea. However, I hope that all new Python owners are happy and that their revolvers provide them with many years of enjoyment.
 

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'This creates a unique scenario where a chemical substance is necessary for the function of a revolver. In my mind the function of a $1,499 msrp revolver designed in the 21st century should not be solely dependent on a four dollar bottle of loctite.'

I have thought the same thing to be honest.

Loctite is all well and good, but what if I have to disassemble the gun for some reason in the field and no loctite is available upon reassembly?

On the other hand, some firearms won't really operate without oil, which is chemical substance, so what can you do.
 

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Loctite is all well and good, but what if I have to disassemble the gun for some reason in the field and no loctite is available upon reassembly?
Just reassemble it...tighten the screws and and wait until you're home to use some Locktite. You could also keep a small tube of Locktite in your field kit along with other items. If you have a screwdriver for field use...have Locktite with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
'This creates a unique scenario where a chemical substance is necessary for the function of a revolver. In my mind the function of a $1,499 msrp revolver designed in the 21st century should not be solely dependent on a four dollar bottle of loctite.'

I have thought the same thing to be honest.

Loctite is all well and good, but what if I have to disassemble the gun for some reason in the field and no loctite is available upon reassembly?

On the other hand, some firearms won't really operate without oil, which is chemical substance, so what can you do.
That is one of the many reasons that this bothers me. Colt actively discourages the consumer from taking the sideplate off for any reason. If the gun is dropped in a stream or mud, one would obviously want to take out the internals to clean everything and prevent corrosion.

Oil, grease, gun scrubber, etc... are all "chemical substances." However, having to put oil or grease on something isn't really as ... unique as what we have here. This is an expensive, modern revolver design that requires an adhesive to function.

Colt is not the only one that has design elements on a modern revolver that are questionable. For example, the S&W Model 69, 66-8, and new model 19 revolvers do not have gas rings. However, if Colt were to make a true revision that addressed this, it would provide the consumer with a greater peace of mind.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Doesn't bother me in the least; I see this as much ado about nothing. Assemble it properly, shoot the hell out of it.
That is great. As I stated in a previous post, what one person considers to be a horrible design flaw another might not care about.

However, this will obviously bother some people (especially if you use a revolver as more than a range toy). Constructive criticism that can improve a product, and make it more appealing to more people is not a bad thing.
 

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Any revolver with screws will eventually shoot the screws loose, that's a normal maintenance thing. If you shoot them much, this will happen. If you assemble correctly, your Python will be good for several thousand rounds before you have to worry about screws backing out. So if you are using your Python for defense, and you have a screw back out, it's likely due to your own negligence, not some fault of the gun.
 

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For the most part I’m fine with using loctite on the new Python. I’ve told myself if I really have a problem with loctite just remove it and check the screws periodically for looseness. I admit that is easy for me to say since I don’t plan on employing a new Python for defense purposes.

What I don’t have a good feel for is how loose do the screws need to be before a malfunction occurs. Half turn loose? Full turn? Snug, kind of snug? Also, under what conditions can the hand be damaged?
 

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My 1960 nickel Python had a very noticeable second turn line due to a previous owner allowing the side plate screw to back out. It sat in a gun store in AZ for a quite some time with no buyers. By the time I came along the price had been lowered and I was able to negotiate an even better deal. They had originally asked $2400 for it and I ended up getting it for $1800...buying a .45 Anaconda at the same time helped seal the deal...and they agreed to pay shipping to my LGS. It seems if a Python wasn't perfect no one wanted it.

When I got it shipped home I took some Flitz and went over the revolver...the turn line is still there but not very noticeable anymore. And yes...I used some Locktite when reassembling the Python to make sure the screw doesn't back out again.

 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
For the most part I’m fine with using loctite on the new Python. I’ve told myself if I really have a problem with loctite just remove it and check the screws periodically for looseness. I admit that is easy for me to say since I don’t plan on employing a new Python for defense purposes.

What I don’t have a good feel for is how loose do the screws need to be before a malfunction occurs. Half turn loose? Full turn? Snug, kind of snug? Also, under what conditions can the hand be damaged?
Thank you for your post. I also appreciate you disclosing your intended use for your revolver.

I wish I had an answer for your question. It does not seem to be much, as tolerances are very tight. That is another thing that compounds this issue. It seems during the trainwreck of a launch, there were a lot of folks that were having this issue that could not see the sideplate was loose just by looking at the gun. Also, Colt has publicly stated that they want to personally inspect any gun this happens to, as it can damage to hand or ratchet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
My 1960 nickel Python had a very noticeable second turn line due to a previous owner allowing the side plate screw to back out. It sat in a gun store in AZ for a quite some time with no buyers. By the time I came along the price had been lowered and I was able to negotiate an even better deal. They had originally asked $2400 for it and I ended up getting it for $1800...buying a .45 Anaconda at the same time helped seal the deal...and they agreed to pay shipping to my LGS. It seems if a Python wasn't perfect no one wanted it.

When I got it shipped home I took some Flitz and went over the revolver...the turn line is still there but not very noticeable anymore. And yes...I used some Locktite when reassembling the Python to make sure the screw doesn't back out again.

That is a gorgeous revolver. Those full checkered stocks are about the best looking to ever grace a sixgun. You should be very proud to own that one.

With that said, constantly comparing the new to the old is a bit of a red herring. The combination of the hand retainment method AND the hard steel makes this an issue on the new gun. Also, I will continue to say that I have nothing against threadlocker or loctite. They make a great product. However, Colt had years to get this design right. There should have been no surprises. Loctite is not bad, but a 1,500 dollar, modern revolver should not mandate its use to go bang.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Any revolver with screws will eventually shoot the screws loose, that's a normal maintenance thing. If you shoot them much, this will happen. If you assemble correctly, your Python will be good for several thousand rounds before you have to worry about screws backing out. So if you are using your Python for defense, and you have a screw back out, it's likely due to your own negligence, not some fault of the gun.
I agree with the first part of your post. I even said that in a previous post. However, no one is perfect. Having a screw come slightly loose, while carrying a revolver, is not what I would consider gross negligence. It is also not something that should cost someone their life when they are carrying a 21 Century designed revolver. The combination of the side plate alone holding the hand in place AND the hardness of the steel (which makes screws more likely to back out) mandates the use of an adhesive for the gun to work. That is a fault of the gun's design and that is a band aid fix, in my humble opinion. It might keep your gun working for two thousand rounds, or it might not. I would not bet my life, or any one else's life on that.
 

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Few if any revolvers were ever designed to be disassembled by anyone but a gunsmith.
One of the few are the Ruger's like the SP-101 series that can be field stripped for cleaning, but still are not intended to be fully disassembled.
Like most gun brands, disassemble a new Python and you've just voided any warranty.

If you dropped a new Python in the mud, you're no worse off then if you dropped a 1888 Colt New Army in the mud. You're not going to be able to disassemble it to clean it out.
The only viable field option would be to swish it in a stream to flush out the mud and squirt in some lubricant.

In the 21st Century, MOST gun makers make some used of Loctite type lockers to secure key parts in place.
The new Python is intended by Colt to use a locker, and the benefit of that is a more durable gun that apparently uses a tougher, harder steel.
Colt used a locker at least as far back as the Mark III models of 1969 that used a locker on the Allen screw in the trigger that was used in the factory to set overt travel in the action.

Bottom line, It is what it is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Few if any revolvers were ever designed to be disassembled by anyone but a gunsmith.
One of the few are the Ruger's like the SP-101 series that can be field stripped for cleaning, but still are not intended to be fully disassembled.

In the 21st Century, MOST gun makers make some used of Loctite type lockers to secure key parts in place.
The new Python is intended by Colt to use a locker, and the benefit of that is a more durable gun that apparently uses a tougher, harder steel.
Colt used a locker at least as far back as the Mark III models of 1969 that used a locker on the Allen screw in the trigger that was used in the factory to set overt travel in the action.

Bottom line, It is what it is.
I agree. Disassembly of most revolvers is something that should be done in an emergency. However, one should at least take the internals out, even if they cannot get it back together, if the gun was submerged in water to prevent rust. Youtube is a blessing in that regard.

Once again, I have nothing against loctite or its use on firearms. However, thread locker should not be the one link the gun relies on to go bang. No person should bet their security on a medium strength adhesive. Also, comparing the new Colts to the old is a red herring. The new Python is unique do to a combination of factors that I have discussed above.

The "It is what it is" mentality is a microcosm of what is wrong with Colt. If revolver producers had this mentality, there would have never been any positive design developments. A newly designed $1,500 dollar revolver should not require a glue to function
 

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What is the functional advantage of using harder steel for the screws themselves? It seems that Colt didn't plan for anything special with the screw material since they were caught flatfooted with the loose side plate issue initially in the pre-loctite production days.
 

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You seem to be missing the fact that regardless of securing process, you'll have to tighten screws on any revolver that has them.
Do you know for a fact that a medium grade thread locker is somehow inferior to a friction fit in an older revolver? Is it within the realm of possibilities the new revolver will actually go longer without having to tighten screws?
My 2018 SAA has thread locker, and I have had zero problems thus far.
 
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