Also, are the third-generation Colt grips (with checkering ending in a straight line under the medallion) be correct? Or should it have the ones with the checkering curving around the medallions and going up to the medallions' midpoints? I guess I'd like to know what the cut off dates were for the different iterations of Colt target stocks. Thanks!
That SN dates to 1979. I'll bow to other, more knowledgable collectors about the stocks, although I believe they're correct. I have only seen the stocks with checkering to mid-point of the medallions on the less expensive (Trooper, Lawman) models.
As far as I know, generally, your talking about the Farrant (sic) target type grips found on Pythons and Diamondbacks. My experience is; the curved around the medallion, or "snakey" type as I call them, were only found on the "D" frame
Diamondbacks although many were supplied or special ordered with a smaller "straight" line under the medallion grips. If I had a camera I could show that the "straight" type were actual smaller than the "snakey" type. Some people with smaller hands would therefore special order the smaller "straight" line grip. These were also sometimes supplied on the lower caliber 22lr Diamondbacks (no recoil etc.) Now I am no Python expert by any means, but the Python was an "I" frame gun, which being a 357 was a larger frame and all the grips I have seen to fit them were the "straight" line type similar to the smaller "D" frame grip. The "D" and "I" frame grips are obviously not interchangeable. I hope this has been of some help. Dick
Once again I bow to dfariswheel. But what is so nice is I can take what amount of knowledge I have and then add to it on the forum and learn further so I may be able to help someone else in the future. Neat Dick
For that serial number range the grips with the straight checkering border would be correct.
There are at least 5 types of wood Colt Python/Trooper/Officer's Model target grips.
First type: Introduced with the Colt 357 Model, these have the fully checkered panels with the medallion placed slightly higher on the grips, with no "thumb rest". These are often made of rather plain non-figured walnut with a very low-gloss finish, possibly an oil finish.
Second type. These are the model with the checkering pattern wrapped 1/2 the way around the medallion, with the left side having the "thumb rest", (actually a clearance for cartridges). This is NOT a "speedloader" clearance since speedloaders weren't in use until somewhat later.
The medallion was moved down to the location used on all later grips.
The right side grip has the same checkering, but no thumb rest, the top of the grip is simply rounded up to the frame.
A varnish-type finish was used.
Third type: This type has the "thumb rest" on both sides, with the straight checkering border. The top "corners" of the checkering border are slightly rounded off.
During the third type production, the fit of the grip against the trigger guard began to degrade, with later Third/Fourth types leaving major gaps between the grips and the trigger guard.
General tightness of fit of the grip to the frame began to degrade, with larger gaps between the top of grips and the frame sides
The more intricate inletting of the earlier models with the raised fitting "pads" is discontinued.
Fourth type: Exactly like the third type, except the corners on the top straight border are not rounded.
More use of lesser-figured walnut appearing even on Pythons, and wood gets lighter in color.
Repairs to defects in the wood become common, with blemishes on the exterior being filled, and major gaps between the top of the grips and the frame being filled with a light brown patching material.
Fifth type. These are the laminated wood, finger grooved type first issued on the Custom Shop Elite Pythons in the late 1990's.
Colt attempted to follow a "standard" on the target grips. Cheaper guns like the Trooper were fitted with slightly lesser quality walnut, and had silver medallions.
Higher quality guns like the Python and Officer's Model Match were fitted with better figured wood and gold medallions.
On early 1950's guns, most all medallions were silver. I "think" the gold medallions were first used on the Python in 1955.
This standard wasn't always followed. Sometimes better woods were used on cheaper guns.
Hardwood grips were introduced in later production Trooper Mark III series guns, with these later "budget" guns being fitted with very plain, light orange colored hardwoods.
To simplify production, the gold medallion began to be used on all guns.
The fanciest pair of production non-Custom Shop walnut Colt grips I ever saw, are a pair of Mark III series grips with silver medallions, probably from a Lawman Mark III.
These have almost presentation-quality wood.
To sum up: All Colt post-war revolvers that were fitted with target grips used the same grips that were being made during that era.
The only differences were in the color of the medallion and the quality of the wood.
The "standard" of quality of wood and color of medallion wasn't always followed, EXCEPT, no high-quality model like the Python would have left the factory with silver medallions, unless it was a rare factory error.
Dates of use of the types is somewhat unknown but here's what I "think" the era's were.
First type: 1952? to about the late 50's/early 60's.
Second type: Early 60's to early 70's.
Third/fourth type: Early 70's to late 1990's.
Fifth type: Late 90's to current production.
All this must take into account that post-factory owners regularly "switched and swapped" both grips, AND colors of medallions.
It's common to find a "budget" gun like an old model Trooper fitted with post-factory target grips, and better figured grips have had silver medallions removed and replaced with gold or even Custom Shop medallions.
I recently saw a later production model Trooper .38 fitted with First type grips, and 150th Anniversary gold medallions.
Not exactly factory, to say the least.
Thanks for the info, I would assume from what you say that the Diamondbacks, since they were made from 1966-1986, would have the type 2,3,and 4 style grips for that time period. What I have noticed on some of my Diamondbacks they have the Gold medallions and on a couple the Silver, always wondered about that. I can also see what you mean about the color and quality of the wood as I have one circa 1972 with the rounded top corner of the checkering and the wood is a.) not attractive and b.) pale in color as compared to some of the first and second year,1966 and 1967,guns. If you hadn't pointed out the small variations and nuances I would still be calling them the "snakey" and the "straight" line type.
The above info is valid ONLY for the "I" frame guns like the Trooper and Python.
The Diamondback target grips "seem" to have two types.
First type has the checkering pattern wrapped about 1/2 around the medallions.
Second type has the straight line border under the medallion. I don't recall seeing any with the rounded corners on the border, but it's very possible these were made that way.
The quality of the Diamondback grips didn't slide as badly as the Python grips, since the Diamondback was discontinued before Colt started the decent into bankruptcy.
For instance, I've never seen a Diamondback grip that was patched or repaired.
The "standard" seemed to be Gold medallions on the blued guns, Silver on nickel guns.
In all cases, remember, Colt grips regularly get "switched and swapped", and the factory was know to use whatever was at hand when needed.
Back to you. I definately have some of the "D" frame smaller "straight " line grips and two are pointed and on has the rounded corner. I tend to agree with the quality part, as I have none with patched or filler to make them fit but I have seen that on Python grips with tape or glue around the grip pin or woodfiller or whatever to make fit. I also noticed Colt never seemed to number their grips to the frame like Smith, probably so they could switch, mix or match. Thanks Dick
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