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I would call the Colt Archive service for a phone records check it would cost you $200, but I think it is worth it I have seen letters that I think dealers have fooled with.
 

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[ QUOTE ]
I am looking at a Shooting Master in .357 Magnum, which is claimed to have been delivered by Colt in a Parkerized finish. How plausible is this variation?

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I think the odds that it is the original finish asymptotically approach zero. The one shred of hope is that the 1936 annual report from Springfield Armory mentions testing .357 Magnum revolvers from both S&W and Colt but, even if the Armory got a Shooting Master (it was more likely just a New Service) there is no reason to believe Colt would parkerize it prior to submitting it for testing. (see Pate, pp. 95-96.) I guess it could have been a special order (not necessarily military) but you would need a factory letter to verify it.

Can you share the serial number?
 

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[ QUOTE ]
I am looking at a Shooting Master in .357 Magnum, which is claimed to have been delivered by Colt in a Parkerized finish. How plausible is this variation?

[/ QUOTE ]

I've been burned in the past when sellers pass along refinished guns. I now listen much closer to their words as they deliver their sales pitch. "delivered by Colt"....I'd be careful with this one as I believe someone used parkerize to cover up a poor finish. It's amazing to what extent butchers will go to in an effort to "revive" a guns finish.

Do you have a photo?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
According to the seller, he has a letter from the original owner indicating that the revolver had been ordered from Colt in Parkerized finish. A factory letter is on its way, but the advance word is that Colt's archives do not include information on the finish of their guns.

I am also looking at a New Service in .357 Magnum. I would not know how to price either one in an "original parkerized finish", except as 0%. For blued guns my top end baseline is Lot 1154 of the April 2006 Kull and Supica auction, with a .357 Magnum Colt Shooting Master selling for $2,420.00, including the buyer's premium. Whereas a .357 Magnum Colt New Service "in the scarce round butt configuration" sold for $1,320.00.

Here are the pictures of both guns:

Shooting Master cylinder

Shooting Master rear sight

New Service cylinder

New Service rear sight

More images can be found here. I am guessing that Parkerizing is a recent refinish.
 

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Factory letters do list the finish, but often not the type of stocks. Beware.

It would be hard to envision someone special ordering Colt's top of the line model in .357 Magnum and wanting it Parkerized. Maybe the letter will show it was shipped to Gen. Dwight Eisenhower at an APO address in 1944 (sorry, couldn't resist /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif).

Lots of parkerized NS's have shown up in the last few years and the majority are Frankenguns that got the dip treatment in the back room of some gunshop. Unwittingly, these folks have destroyed any collector value.
 

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I can't see a premium Target revolver from Colt being parkerized from the factory although special orders would net you just about anything back then. They had what amounted to a true custom shop back then. Not like today where the factory builds what it likes and sells it to the public as if it's custom. Like noted above factory letters do list the finish.
 

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I own a blue finished war time Commando. Will it letter as blued...probably not but it’s a great conversation piece. If I ever decide to sell it I'll be able to recoup my cost from some unsuspecting individual as I did with my butchered 3" Python. I wonder how many times these unusual variations get repeated letters from the Colt achieves. I will bet MANY.
 
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