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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
New shoes for my 4\" .357

I bought this 1954 4" ".357" model several years ago. Finish is at least 95%, but the only thing wrong with it was someone had replaced the target stocks with Pachmeyers. This has bugged me since I've owned it, and I have been searching for an original set of fully checkered targets (that I could afford) for it ever since. I know it had target stocks because it has the target hammer, and above the Pacs, there was a small line in the side plate where the wood stocks once were. Also, the side plate screw that is covered by the grips is of the flat-headed type. Yesterday, I found this set of smooth targets in the grip drawer of a local dealer. I am pretty certain that they are of proper vintage for a 1954 gun because there is no cartridge ejection relief cut in the top. My question is, have you guys ever heard of Colt smooth targets during this time period? I had never seen a pair until yesterday until yesterday. Am I correct about the vintage? I paid $38 for them, which I thought was a good deal. Here's a pic, it appears my search is over!
 

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Re: New shoes for my 4\" .357

N Frame; The 4" "357" IS the gun that should HAVE been THE "Carry .357" for LEOs in the mid 1950's-NOT the S&W M-19 "Combat Magnum". But with Bill Jordan "touting" it on the old TV show,"You Asked For It",upon its introduction, "racier lines" and a much better marketing job by S&W,the M-19(after 1957 called that) became the hot seller.

Very rarely do I "flame" S&Ws here(and vice versa on the S&W Forum),but the "357" was/IS clearly a better gun!! Weight is within an ounce,and it took 10-20 years,but the M-19 and other K frame "magnums" began shooting themselves "loose". Hence,the L Frame!-and it just wasn't the introduction of 125 jhps,Super Vels etc.

Anyway,sorry for the rant! I have a 4" like yours,3 digit serial,a former P.I.s gun. He had a King Cockeyed hammer installed,and the gun has seen a lotta use/carry-BUT still as tight as the day it left Hartford in 1954!

As far as the stocks,I don't recall Colt making these a factory option,and they probably were via the "Custom Shop",later on,

IF they are Colt MADE,the escutcheon and screw should be blued and a very small diameter screw. I say this,because,it is not that hard for someone with patience to hand sand the checkering off factory Colt stocks,then restain them. Ironically,a prewar pair that had this done to them came with that 4" #357",as well as the factory full checkered target stocks(that were numbered to the gun!),but the P.I had "carved" a relief for his speed loader in these-so I sold them to a guy,along with instructions on how to adapt them to a Colt New Service.

The wood DOES NOT look like Colt with that nice "pattern",and there are plenty of aftermarkets out there-but IF it has the Colt screw/escutcheons,then it could be "factory made" later on-or checkering removed(some guys with "tender palms"-can't deal with the "rasping effect" of checkering under stout recoil!)

Nice gun,as was the .357 old model Trooper. Too bad they never sold in the amounts they deserved to,but I also give Colt a share of the blame for naturally pushing the more expensive Python!

Even though I own just as many S&Ws,and love them equally as Colts-I will never buy a K frame .357. Just wasn't strong enough for sustained .357 Magnum firing. Sort of like D frames,including the steel frames,using an exclusive diet of +Ps.

Bud /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
 

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Re: New shoes for my 4\" .357

Lookin’ pretty good there, N-frame! Congrats on finally finding some nice grips. /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Re: New shoes for my 4\" .357

Thanks for the kind replies!

Bud,
The screw is a small diameter, not much fatter than a pin, both the screw and the escutcheon are blued. Does the presence of the bluing mean that they weren't sanded?

BTW, I forgot to mention that mine has the two-tone finish. The cylinder flutes, topstrap, underside of the triggerguard, and grip frame are matte, the rest of the gun is polished. Mine has a four-digit serial, 63xx.

P.S.
I also got a newer pair that has the ejection relief, but it needs a screw. I tried a screw from a worn-out pair of O.P. service stocks, but it was too short. Any idea where to get a screw?

Thanks!
Paul
 

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Re: New shoes for my 4\" .357

It's not unusual to find aftermarket stocks that have been milled to accept factory medallions.
 

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Re: New shoes for my 4\" .357

My 3 digit 4" has the two tone or "duo tone" as you described,which is correct-but my 6" 1957 "357",as close as I have to a safe queen!,is all blue.

Traded an almost new S&W M-586,4" that my wife had bought me in 1984-dead even for the 30 year old "357" in 1986!! Wife never knew(I think). Always wanted a "357" as a teenager. Don't have to tell you which of the 2 is worth more today!!!--and the "357" never got recalled either /forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif /forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif

Seems as if Colt got more than a few "complaints" about the "duo tone",and went back to full blue around 1954 ish,as my Marshall is all blue.

Just checked to see if I had any longer stock screws,to help you out,but I don't,as few of my revolvers have the full target grips;unless they are the "kickers"! /forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif

Bud
 

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Re: New shoes for my 4\" .357

I'm about 99% sure those are Colt factory First Type Target grips with the checkering sanded off.

First, note the position of the Silver medallions.
The medallions are placed just slightly higher and farther forward on First Type grips, and I've never seen a non-Colt copy position them there.

Second, note the slightly rounded edges. This is a classic sign of a sand job.

Here's a pair of original un-sanded First Type grips.
Note the position of the medallion:


Here's a pair of Second Type.
Note how the medallion is moved down and back slightly.
Every Colt grip of this type and later, and all copies I've seen position the medallion here:


What you could do is have someone re-checker the grips with the original type checkering to restore them to original form.
This would be a lot cheaper than trying to find and afford a set of original First Types.

However one note about this: Don't be surprised if you remove the finish and find the wood is NOT walnut, but some softer yellow-white wood.

On the First Type Target grips for the cheaper guns, like the Trooper, Colt sometimes used this odd wood and put a very dark, almost black-brown stain on them with a dull oil-type finish.
Colt also sometimes used it on the Second Type grips for the Troopers, but with a more natural walnut color and a thin satin finish.

Whatever this wood is, it has a yellow-white color, is softer than American Walnut, and tends to get "fuzzy" when sanding or checkering.
 

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Re: New shoes for my 4\" .357

[ QUOTE ]
but my 6" 1957 "357",as close as I have to a safe queen!,is all blue.

[/ QUOTE ]

Thought I'd throw these pics out again. Same as yours lonewolf, a 1957 six inch, easy 99% "safe queen", s/n 11351:


 

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Re: New shoes for my 4\" .357

[ QUOTE ]
I'm about 99% sure those are Colt factory First Type Target grips with the checkering sanded off.

... What you could do is have someone re-checker the grips with the original type checkering to restore them to original form...


[/ QUOTE ]

That's an excellent idea dfariswheel. I would do that in a heartbeat. Be sure to choose an experienced and good checkerer, though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Re: New shoes for my 4\" .357

Thanks to all for the info.
dfariswheel,
I see what you mean about the position of the medallion. I was sure that these were first type grips. I don't think I will go through the trouble of having them recheckered. Whatever that would cost could go towards paying for an original set. At least they're period correct though!
 

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Re: New shoes for my 4\" .357

1)Nframe is no1 and manderson: Both of your Model .357's are very nice, indeed!

2)Since you don't ever see many Colt .357's, I'm throwing my ".357" in the mix here! This is the only .357 that I have ever seen(And found!)and I agree with everyone who believes that these are very nice revolvers(And, superior to the "Famed" S&W M19's and M66's in strength!)!

 
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