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Discussion Starter #1
I'm new to this forum...here's why. I was just given a like-new Colt Diamondback .22LR revolver (blue, 4" barrel) that's been locked away and unfired for nearly 30 years. The owner was not a gun person and it came w/o a manual. I want my wife, a new shooter, to use it to inexpensively reinforce shooting fundamentals while she masters the more potent weapons in my semi-auto arsenal. As a semi-auto guy up to this point, I know virtually nothing about revolver upkeep. Can anyone point me toward a good revolver "care and feeding" reference? Does anyone know how one gets a Colt owner's manual for an out-of-production gun like the Diamondback? This gun is a beauty and I believe it has a good reputation as a plinker. I intend to use it myself for the sheer enjoyment of it. Out of curiosity, does anyone know the approximate value? I'd assess the condition to be 95% or better. I would hazard a guess that it might be worth $500-$600. Am I close? I'd love to hear from you Colt fans who have a stable of revolvers.
Deke
 

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William,
Thank you. I'll do as you suggest and get that book. Getting the Diamondback has opened up a whole new wheel gun world that I have somehow neglected. The workmanship on this older Colt revolver is superb. Makes we wonder why Colt stopped making the Python, et al. I'm not familiar with Colt's recent history, but someone told me that they fell on hard times financially and lost market share, etc. My curiosity has been aroused, and I'll do some research. Any recommendations along those lines? Thanks again for your help.
Deke
 

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Deke,

More so than most 22 revolvers, Diamondbacks tend to exhibit strong preferences in ammunition. Be patient, and test everything available. When you find what it shoots well, I think you'll truly be pleased with your acquisition.

And don't be too aggrivated with ammunition failures, dissapointing results are all too normal. For instance: one current lot of Winchester T-22 won't fire in my Diamondback. It also won't fire in my Hi Standard Victor or my S&W M 41. Oddly, this product functions flawlessly in both 3rd generation Woodsman Match Target pistols, and all of my rifles.

Oh, the manual. Hope this helps.















BTW. I'll second the recommendation re the Kuhnhausen book. Be sure that you get the correct one. The Diamondback is a "D" frame. It is covered along with the "E" & "I" frame revolvers.

Bob


[This message has been edited by bfoster (edited 02-26-2002).]
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Bob,
Thanks for the tip on ammunition preference. It's certainly best to know going-in that my Diamondback might be a little tempremental. I would hate to get down on a gun prematurely and mistakenly when it's this gorgeous. And thanks, too, on seconding the book recommendation. I'm having trouble with your post. What may be pictures are simply four squares with red "x's." Double clicking on them doesn't bring anything up. What have I missed?
Thanx,
Deke
 

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Deke,

Mea Culpa. For some reason (United forum webmaster are you reading this?) this server won't display pics which don't have "write" permission. Leaves the pix open to vandalism. I knew this & forgot to "chmod 777". Anyhow, clear your cache & history then relaod. The pix are OK now.

regards,

Bob
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Bob,
Got it...great pictures. Like a taste of history. I called Colt and for $10, they're sending me a Diamondback Owners' Manual. That, with the book you recommended, should get me started in the brave new world of Colt revolvers. Should I start looking for a good Python now?...I think this could be addicting...like 1911s. I'll keep you posted on the ammunition the Diamondback likes and how she shoots.
Regards,
Deke
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Bob,
Thanks again for posting the Diamondback Owners' Manual. I says, "Practice with the firearm while it is unloaded will help immeasurably in perfecting proper trigger squeeze." Can I infer from this that it's okay to dry fire without damaging the weapon? Some semi-autos require snap caps, others don't. My Sigs don't. If it's okay to dry fire the Diamondback without snap caps, is that characteristic of all Colt revolvers, say, the Python? Thanks again for helping a new guy to revolvers.
Deke
 

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Deke,

A man can't say enough good about Pythons, in particular those made prior to say 1970. The workmanship is simply superb. If you like postwar revolvers, look at the Officers Model Match also.

I always use snap caps. While the firing pins in Colts and Sigs are very sturdy, breakage is, in the case of both arms, not unknown. I speak from narrow experience regarding Sigs, having only a P 210.

Forgot that your Diamondback is a 22. The firing pin shouldn't touch the cylinder. I do use empty 22 cases, stuffed with a tuft of cotton to keep the grit inside the case. It is my opinion that this is easier on the mechanism on the revolver. In this I'm in agreement with Kuhnhausen. Perhaps this is the conservatism of a mechanical engineer.

regards,

Bob

[This message has been edited by bfoster (edited 02-27-2002).]
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Bob,
As always, thank you. Well, let me say that your "narrow" Sig experience is at the top of the line with the P210. The new Americanized P210-8 (at $4K, wow) is a gun I can only dream about. A P210-6 is more within the realm of possibility. I'm partial to single action and it doesn't get any better than the 210. The Swiss got it right. The March issue of Gunworld has a great article on the P210-8.
I'll follow your advice and use spent casings when I dry fire the Diamondback. Interesting story. As a young Marine 1stLt in Vietnam in 1965-66, I carried a Python...our leadership was fairly liberal about carrying personal weapons then. I couldn't get .357 Magnum ammo, but could scrounge .38 Special from my pilot buddies. I probably would have had trouble getting the gun out of country, so I sold it to a Sgt who worked for me. That was my last revolver experience. I guess I've gone full circle. I now think I want to replace that Python. Are good ones of late 60s vintage hard to find? I'm in California, so I don't know if that poses legal complications or not. Again, I welcome your sage advice.
Regards,
Deke
 

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Deke,

I don't know about general availability of Pythons in California. I did visit the CA DOJ's website, and note that Pythons are not on the approved list. Of course this could change. Don't take this as legal advice, but I believe that means you would have to find one available for private transfer.

In general, Python availability is good. It may take a bit of patience to find what you are looking for (so many nice Pythons, so little money), but production was high through this period.

My current P 210 is a -8. I upgraded when this model came out. I'm not disappointed.

regards,

Bob
 

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Deke-
In the past few weeks I spotted two Python's, one nickel, the other blued in two gun shops here in Philadelphia. Both were going for about $800 - $900. I know that doesn't help you in CA, but they are available. I bought a Colt Single Action in .45 colt instead.

My .357s are S&W (Model 60, 2 1/8" barrel and Model 13-2 (4 in barrel).
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks, Bob and William. I too checked the CA DOJ listing and came to the conclusion that a Python purchase here would have to be a private party transfer. I believe a FFL has to broker the transaction, but I'll have to check up on that. I'm glad to hear that the older Pythons are out there; I'll just have to be patient. With Colt now reintroducing the Python in 6" stainless, perhaps some of the price pressure will subside on the older ones. And Colt may provide CA the weapons needed for safety testing so the new Python may be purchased here. But, Bob, as you've suggested, maybe the smithing of today's Pythons won't duplicate that of the 60s and early 70s models. Got thoughts on that? William, thanks for helping me establish a price framework. What was the condition of those you spotted?...NIB, LNIB? Or am I dreaming that I can get that condition for $800-$900? And finally, Bob, enjoy that P210-8. I've told my wife that Santa really should leave one of those under my tree, but I'm afraid I'd have to move the tree out of state. It's tough being a Californian. Thanks again to you both.
Regards,
Deke
 

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Deke,

Can't speak to the newest Pythons directly. My wife picked up a Python Elite in the late 1990's (a Custom Shop revolver). She has been gracious enough to allow me to shoot her Python a few times. This is a very good revolver, but it lacks the buttery smooth DA of the best. Smoother than a well tuned Smith, but not by much. It does shoot very accurately.

On the other hand I picked up a Colt custom shop 1911 in 38 Super last year. I don't know if this gun was a fluke or what the deal is. The fit up is simply stunning. It is fully the equal of any hand fitted 1911 I have used, by any maker, bar none.

BTW, if you want a Python tuned by the best, Reeves Jungkind still practices this art.

I sympathize with sensible Californians. The CA AG's page looks like a nightmare. I wonder what those folks would make of my county sheriff. Had a cup of coffee with him a couple years back. Offered, unsolicited, to sign off on class III items for me if I wanted any... Well, it is peaceful here in rural Ohio.

regards,

Bob
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Good morning, Bob. Well, your wife is obviously the accomplished shooter my wife would like to become. I'm hoping the Diamondback will accelerate the process. Awfully nice of your significant other to "share" her Python Elite. Some women are soooooo possessive. May I ask if her late 90s acquisition was a rare find, or are guns of that type (Custom Shop) not too hard to find if you dig for them? And thanks for the tip on Python tuning...I'm working myself into a lather thinking about returning to my Python ownership days of yore. With so many great shooters in your collection, how do you find time to do them justice? It doesn't sound like they're "safe queens." Again, thanks for your patience in bringing me along in this renewed acquaintence with Colt revolvers. Yeah, it's frustrating being a sensible Californian....got room in rural Ohio? I like your sheriff. My kinda guy.
Regards,
Deke
 

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For a few years before Colt made the decision to minimize corporate legal exposure by limiting the models of arms sold to the general public, the Python was produced in the custom shop only. These revolvers are the Python Elite model. I don't know what the new production will be called.

I make time to shoot every day. I'm self employed, my wife is a CPA. The kids are grown up, and have left home. Because shooting demands absolute focus, it's a great way for us to leave the tension and problems of the day behind. If the weather is really nasty we'll shoot 22's inside.

No safe queens here. Used with care, wear & tear on firearms is very minimal. I've never seen the sense in owning a gun I couldn't shoot, so that even 150 year old specimens are exercised regularly.

People are sometimes harder to convince in the matter of how well old arms work than animals. On a ringneck hunting trip this past autumn my buddy's lab seemed to figure out that the black powder smoke from my Colt M1883 wasn't much of an issue faster than my buddy did.


Bob
 
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