Colt Forum banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have just started my Python collection and will be picking up a 1960's and 1979 Royal Blue later this week. One revolver is in LNIB condition and it's almost seems a shame to start wearing it in after all these years, but I buy my guns to shoot.

That said, anything I need to be careful about with the older Pythons? Will they hold up well to 3000 rounds or so a year with proper care? All the other guns in my collection are late model pistols, so any advice greatly appreciated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Is this because the lighter bullets higher velocity causes greater wear and tear on the revolver?

Also, can you tell me what "tapstrap erosion" refers to?

Thanks, -UD-
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,483 Posts
I think diamondback meant TOPstrap erosion & had a "typo". Hot loads can sometimes cause "gas or flame cutting"in the front of the top strap of the revolver(what the sights are mounted on),just above the barrel where it comes through the frame. Many revolvers had(have) an oval shaped indent there to try & combat this. The Ruger Blackhawk had this problem,in .357 MAXIMUM caliber some years ago,and Ruger took it off the market. You should be able to shoot this gun as much as you want with 158 gr LEAD bullets,but keep around 1000-1200 fps,to avoid erosion(and leading up the barrel!) Bud
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
My indoor range does not allow lead ammo, only FMJ/TMJ. Any issue with running that through a Python vs. soft lead?

Learning a lot here, good stuff and much appreciated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
265 Posts
My Python was bought NIB in `65 and carried as a duty weapon for 20 years until I was forced to switch to a Sig. It is now 39 years old and still shoots as well as the day I bought it. I have no idea how many rounds have gone through it.

FMJ/TMJ may cause more wear than lead,

John
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,971 Posts
I will let the experts chime in here, but I would not think that many should hurt the gun provided they are 158GR. What I would not do is fire lots of 125GR stuff through it or you will see tapstrap erosion.
Just my HO.

------------------
Dick

IN GOD WE TRUST,
BUT KEEP YOUR POWDER DRY,
JUST IN CASE!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,971 Posts
Tapstrap???, either I had brain inversion or I have coined a new word in the artillery lexicon. I'll go with the first.....so much for proofreading.

------------------
Dick

IN GOD WE TRUST,
BUT KEEP YOUR POWDER DRY,
JUST IN CASE!

[This message has been edited by diamonback68 (edited 02-24-2004).]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
132 Posts
In my mind no question that jacketed bullets will (in the pretty long run)cause more wear than lead. With lead and with reasonable loads, barrel life should be more or less infinite, as with a rimfire.

Another question, and one I asked once in this forum, is the effect on the gun of shooting lots of full-house 357 loads (as opposed to 38's). When I put one of my Pythons next to one of my postwar Officer's Models, I see no difference in frame or cylinder.

Best,
Bill A
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,971 Posts
Bill A

As you probably know, since you've bought used guns, you can't "see" the difference, but how about checking the rotational play, the cylinder end play, the endshake, the B/C gap tolerences and the timing?
These are the things I check out real close when buying someone else's gun to see if the gun has been riden hard and put away wet. I don't know of a way you can tell by just looking at a gun to see if it has been used a lot.

------------------
Dick

IN GOD WE TRUST,
BUT KEEP YOUR POWDER DRY,
JUST IN CASE!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Dick:

I have been buying some stuff off the Internet recently and as a newbie I'm screwed for knowing how to check any of that... Much less know what any of it means. My rule of thumb is if it looks exceptionally clean and generally tight it should be "OK". Should I be taking my Pythons to a local 'smith to have them checked out?

I have purchased firearms many times over the Internet, but almost always new. The one used gun I did buy (HK P7M8) was in OK shape, but I *know* what to look for on those.

The trouble with buying locally is that the supply just isn't there. I have been looking in the Seattle area for months and have only come across basket cases (even to my eyes) and King Cobra's.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,971 Posts
uberdog, there is no way you can be 100% sure when buying off the internet, and you mainly have to go by description and photos and faith, that's why a three day return policy is a good idea.
What I look for when shopping for a gun is rotational play or with gun in hand and hammer down how much slop and how loose the cylinder is allowed to rotate (how tight is the lock-up or the locking bolt). End play is does the cylinder move too much back and forth across the frame at the B/C end such as loose or worn extractor rod. Endshake is pushing and pulling the cylinder for and aft and how much movement you feel. My rule of thumb is, if the endshake increases or decreases the B/C gap more than .005 I will not buy. On Smiths this can be remedied with shims, with Colt's, I don't know and I don't mess with them. Timing is a whole nother subject I would prefer not to get into right now as it is science in itself (at least on Colts).
If in general your guns have a pretty tight lock-up and you are happy with them then NO you don't need to take them to a gunsmith, besides it seems you already know a basket case when you see one.

------------------
Dick

IN GOD WE TRUST,
BUT KEEP YOUR POWDER DRY,
JUST IN CASE!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,064 Posts
Pythons are pretty rugged handguns. They can take most any .357mag load except for the nuclear overloads some people like. Where they have a weakness is in a lot of fast double action shooting. The hand and bolt takes a beating moving and stopping that heavy cylinder. The hand more so as only the very tip, which is the thinnest part, does all the work. The older classic Colt action depends heavily on the hand for it's lock up.
Pythons were built as a deluxe target gun, but has served well in all duties. Get it in time, treat it repectfully (though you don't have to baby it), and it will last alomst indefinately.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
132 Posts
diamondback68--

Yes, I check all of those things and never buy a gun that isn't up to snuff. What I mean is, given a Python that starts out in good condition, how much (nonabusive) shooting of full-power 357's will the gun take?

I ask this because the Smith K frame Model 19 has a rep around here for "shooting loose." I've heard the Python referred to as a "beefed up" Officers Model(the equivalent of the Smith Model 14, the K-frame 38), and I'm wondering, "where's the beef" on the Python? If the Model 19 shoots loose, why not the Python, similarly built on a frame used for a 38 cal target revolver? I know the frame was originally built for the old .41 LC, but that ain't exactly a high-intensity cartridge either.

Not that I don't like the gun: last time I asked this question I was accused of claiming the Python might have a "design flaw" or something. Not at all: but it is a medium frame revolver, and so I was just curious to hear from someone who had really put A LOT of 357's through his gun and so knew the empirical truth.

Hope this makes some sense. . .

Best,
Bill A
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,483 Posts
I agree with Bill A. about the size of the Python. The extra weight,that makes it compare to the N Frame S&W,is in the full lug. I do not own a Python,and am happy with my 2 vintage 1954 Colt .357s. Same size frame/cylinder but without the full(or any lug) they weigh nearly 6 oz. less. This gun,and the "Trooper" that replaced it in .357(not the later Mk.IIIs etc in 1969)shouldve been "winners" for a lighter weight .357 than the S&W N Frame,but Colt didnt market them well-AND-I am old enough to recall it-Bill Jordan went on the T.V.Show,"You Asked For IT" around 1955,with one of the first S&W "Combat Magnums(pre-M-19)and the S&W "took"off! Later,with "super vels" & the 125 gr.H.P.,many shot loose,the "L Frame S&W" was the result. The Python was and is a premium gun,versus an issue gun. Bud
 

·
*** ColtForum MVP ***
Joined
·
14,899 Posts
I'll try to help out here.

Where "the Beef" is in the Python is in a more massive frame, and a cylinder much larger and thicker than the S&W "K" frames.
The S&W "K" frame is just simply a less massive gun.

In the Colt, the bolt lock notches are off set over the thickest part of the cylinder, while the S&W design places the notches over the thinnest part.

The main "Beef" of the Python over the old .38 Colt's is in Colt's extremely high quality heat treating.

Many people often ask why they can't re-chamber their .38 Special old model Trooper to .357 Magnum, "Since they're the same gun".
Not even close.
The Magnum guns have a much higher level of heat treating to allow handling of the higher intensity Magnum round.

The stories about Colt guns being "weak" concern the ACTION, NOT the strength of the frame and cylinder.
Colt's "I" frame Magnum revolvers are famous for their strength.
When S&W began to have problems with the Magnum "K" frames, it was solely due to the smaller size of the frame and cylinder.

When S&W developed the "L" frame 686, they more or less copied the Colt cylinder size, frame thickness, and included a larger diameter rear portion of the barrel.

One reason Colt's have fewer problems with cracked forcing cones, is because their barrels were thicker in the threaded area to start with.

If you do have any problem with a Python, it's likely to be timing problems.
The only time I ever saw frame or cylinder damage or real wear was on guns shot with "blow down the barn door" massively overloaded reloads.

To check timing, do a search in this forum for my post on checking Colt timing.

For cylinder end shake, any discernible movement, back or forward, of the closed cylinder is cause of suspicion.

If your going to fool around with Colt's, as a shooter or collector, I suggest buying Jerry Kuhnhausen's book "The Colt Double Action Revolvers: A Shop Manual".

I consider this mandatory equipment for any Colt owner, and it addresses how to inspect a Colt.

Usually, the standard tell-tales of dinked up screw heads, end shake, out of time, excessive side play of the crane, and ejector impact marks in the breech face are the best indications of an abused or heavily used gun.

I've seen cop's guns with about 0% finish and wood grips worn baby-butt smooth that were in 100% condition.
I've also seen guns with 99% finish that were wrecks.

Merely shooting a Python MAY, possibly result in a need for a re-timing some day, but it WON'T wear it out any time soon.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,351 Posts
Majic summed it up well. Lots of heavy handed double action shooting, is rough on any revolver, but in most opinions, more so, to the Python, because of it's more complex action design, to obtain a solid lockup. Follow Majic's advice, and avoid excessive loads, and your Python will last longer than you. I've had most of mine for 30+ years, and at age 60, I'm going downhill much more rapidly than they are...
)
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top