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Discussion Starter #1
Just joined the list and discovered how to post a help question. I am considering buying a 4 inch Python of 1980's vintage but the latch that allows the cylinder to swing out is jammed. Is this easy to repair and how? I am not a gunsmith and would like to own the gun but not if the repair is too expensive. Is it suggested to send to Colt?

Sid
 

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Too much depends on exactly what's wrong, which we can't diagnose over the internet.

It could be rusted, badly gummed up, the side plate or latch piece could be bent or distorted, the cylinder locking pin inside the frame could be rusted or damaged, etc..........

Repair could be as simple as someone who knows how to remove the plate without damaging it removing and cleaning it out, or it could be as bad as a damaged side plate.

If you buy it, either ask here and we can give you directions on how to safely remove the cylinder assembly and side plate, or you should send it in to Colt for diagnose and repair.

A lot of this depends on how much the gun is selling for. If it's a good deal, and you can get the price down due to the problem it might be a good buy.
The problem is, you have no idea what the problem is, or worse, what ELSE might be wrong with it.
All this is a judgment call on your part.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I will get the Python for $500.00, blue 4 inch, Pachmyer grips. Some slight finish rubbed off at end of barrel but overall not too bad. It has spent a lot of time in a safe BUT the story goes the gun was stolen in a home burglary and the owner was reunited with it after it sat a few years in a police property room, Hummm. I will try to get the price down due to the latch problem. CAn someone on the list explain how to take it apart as I don't want to make a mistake. I am fairly handy generally but not with revolvers.
Sid
 

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Discussion Starter #6
A Python in New Orleans

Welcome, Sid. Try Gretna Gun Works on the Westbank.
I looked at the You Tube video and it does not "look" too intimidating. If I discover a bent or broken part then where do I order them? Are the parts interchangeable or do they make certain parts for certain serial numbers of guns? I kind of like the idea of DIY first then if I screw it up then I will go to Gretna Gun. I live Uptown and don't mind crossing the river. With guns there is a huge amount of trust involved in having someone work on your gun. While asking also what thing do I need to consider when it is time to buy ammunition. I am assuming the larger the bullet the more recoil? I am using the gun for home defense and don't want to shoot thru the walls of my shotgun house and kill someone outside or in the next house. i guess I am asking about urban defense loads?

Sidney
 

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If you like your Python I STRONGLY recommend you DO NOT follow those "directions" from Youtube. Much of that is exactly how you destroy guns.

The business about unscrewing the ejector with a tee shirt is WRONG, only early Pythons have ejectors that unscrew, and using a tee shirt is a good way to ruin it.

Driving out frame pins with punch and using Vise-Grips and a vise to unscrew a barrel is about the worst thing you could do.

I'd recommend going NO FARTHER then removing the cylinder and side plate.
When removing screws MAKE SURE you use real gunsmith's screwdriver bits. Standard screwdrivers will damage the screw slots and will damage the frame around the screws. This damage isn't correctable easily.

If you take the gun to a local gunsmith, be warned that very few of todays gunsmiths "understand" the older Colt action as used on the Python and it's not at all unusual to get a Colt back with the original problem not corrected and more damage done by attempts to fix something that wasn't the problem.

If you need parts, here's some sources:

Numrich Gun Parts Corp. - The World's Largest Supplier of Firearms Parts and Accessories

Antique Firearms & Colt Parts for Old Guns

Jack First Gunshop - First in Gun Parts - Rapid City, South Dakota

For urban defense ammo, I recommend not using Magnum ammo. All of it will blow through anything short of a brick or block wall.
ANY defense ammo will sail through ANY interior wall.
For good defense ammo the .38 Special +P ammo is very good.

One of the best is the old .38 Special +P 158 grain, lead, semi-wadcutter, hollow point load as used by the police before going to the auto.
This was used by almost all major cities and several Federal LE agencies with excellent results.
This load uses soft lead bullets that expand very well and are less likely to sail through exterior walls.
A good load is the Buffalo Bullet company version that uses very soft lead bullets with gas checks on the base to prevent leading.
http://www.midwayusa.com/product/17...mi-wadcutter-hollow-point-gas-check-box-of-20
Most ammo makers still sell versions of this load.

Another good load is one of the .38 Special +P 125 grain jacketed hollow point loads.

In any case, whether you shoot lead or jacketed ammo to keep the bore and especially the critical forcing cone at the rear of the barrel clean buy a Lewis Lead Remover kit from Brownell's. This kit has a special tool to clean the forcing cone.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
If you like your Python I STRONGLY recommend you DO NOT follow those "directions" from Youtube. Much of that is exactly how you destroy guns.

The business about unscrewing the ejector with a tee shirt is WRONG, only early Pythons have ejectors that unscrew, and using a tee shirt is a good way to ruin it.

Driving out frame pins with punch and using Vise-Grips and a vise to unscrew a barrel is about the worst thing you could do.

I'd recommend going NO FARTHER then removing the cylinder and side plate.
When removing screws MAKE SURE you use real gunsmith's screwdriver bits. Standard screwdrivers will damage the screw slots and will damage the frame around the screws. This damage isn't correctable easily.

If you take the gun to a local gunsmith, be warned that very few of todays gunsmiths "understand" the older Colt action as used on the Python and it's not at all unusual to get a Colt back with the original problem not corrected and more damage done by attempts to fix something that wasn't the problem.

If you need parts, here's some sources:

Numrich Gun Parts Corp. - The World's Largest Supplier of Firearms Parts and Accessories

Antique Firearms & Colt Parts for Old Guns

Jack First Gunshop - First in Gun Parts - Rapid City, South Dakota

For urban defense ammo, I recommend not using Magnum ammo. All of it will blow through anything short of a brick or block wall.
ANY defense ammo will sail through ANY interior wall.
For good defense ammo the .38 Special +P ammo is very good.

One of the best is the old .38 Special +P 158 grain, lead, semi-wadcutter, hollow point load as used by the police before going to the auto.
This was used by almost all major cities and several Federal LE agencies with excellent results.
This load uses soft lead bullets that expand very well and are less likely to sail through exterior walls.
A good load is the Buffalo Bullet company version that uses very soft lead bullets with gas checks on the base to prevent leading.
38 Special +P 158 Grain Lead Semi-Wadcutter Hollow Point Gas Check Box of 20
Most ammo makers still sell versions of this load.

Another good load is one of the .38 Special +P 125 grain jacketed hollow point loads.

In any case, whether you shoot lead or jacketed ammo to keep the bore and especially the critical forcing cone at the rear of the barrel clean buy a Lewis Lead Remover kit from Brownell's. This kit has a special tool to clean the forcing cone.

I just ordered a set of gunsmith screw drivers. Thinking about the cylinder latch being stuck, I wonder if I can still remove the side plate?

Sid
 

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Sidney, why re-post all of what DFW had posted? Re-posting entire posts wastes space and uses up bandwidth. If there is a particular phrase or sentence that is relevant to your next post, when you reply using "Reply with Quote," merely delete the irrelevant parts, being sure to leave the brackets around the word
at each end of the quote.

Now, in regard to the more important subject at hand, removing the side plate is easy. Just remove the screws with properly-fitting screwdriver bits, strike the butt frame sharply with a wood hammer handle or the like repeatedly until the side plate vibrates off. That will allow access to the cylinder latch, which I suspect has a jammed or broken spring. I doubt that the side plate can be reattached without the internal stud being properly inserted into the exterior latch, but perhaps that is the cause. Fix whatever is wrong with the latch and reassemble the side plate and latch.

The only "trick" to reassembling the side plate is getting the external cylinder latch properly attached to the internal stud. Get the external latch started on the stud and pull back on the latch until the side plate can be started into position. As the side plate is lowered into position with finger pressure, be sure the latch is free to move. If it is, then tap the side plate back into position, using something that will not mark the side plate finish. Do not use the screws to "pull" the side plate down, except for the last tiny bit of travel. The cylinder latch should be free to move (against its spring pressure of course) at all stages of snugging down the side plate.

I am not familiar with the video referenced, but DFW is right about the bad advice in the video. Get a Kuhnhausen manual for correct information on servicing the Python.
 

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Sidney, why re-post all of what DFW had posted? Re-posting entire posts wastes space and uses up bandwidth. If there is a particular phrase or sentence that is relevant to your next post, when you reply using "Reply with Quote," merely delete the irrelevant parts, being sure to leave the brackets around the word
at each end of the quote.

Now, in regard to the more important subject at hand, removing the side plate is easy. Just remove the screws with properly-fitting screwdriver bits, strike the butt frame sharply with a wood hammer handle or the like repeatedly until the side plate vibrates off. That will allow access to the cylinder latch, which I suspect has a jammed or broken spring. I doubt that the side plate can be reattached without the internal stud being properly inserted into the exterior latch, but perhaps that is the cause. Fix whatever is wrong with the latch and reassemble the side plate and latch.

The only "trick" to reassembling the side plate is getting the external cylinder latch properly attached to the internal stud. Get the external latch started on the stud and pull back on the latch until the side plate can be started into position. As the side plate is lowered into position with finger pressure, be sure the latch is free to move. If it is, then tap the side plate back into position, using something that will not mark the side plate finish. Do not use the screws to "pull" the side plate down, except for the last tiny bit of travel. The cylinder latch should be free to move (against its spring pressure of course) at all stages of snugging down the side plate.

I am not familiar with the video referenced, but DFW is right about the bad advice in the video. Get a Kuhnhausen manual for correct information on servicing the Python.
Ditto

John Fugate :p
 

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Now, in regard to the more important subject at hand, removing the side plate is easy. Just remove the screws with properly-fitting screwdriver bits, strike the butt frame sharply with a wood hammer handle or the like repeatedly until the side plate vibrates off. That will allow access to the cylinder latch, which I suspect has a jammed or broken spring. I doubt that the side plate can be reattached without the internal stud being properly inserted into the exterior latch, but perhaps that is the cause. Fix whatever is wrong with the latch and reassemble the side plate and latch.

If the gun is gummed up from bad storage what makes you think your little mallet dance is going to pop that sideplate off. Odds are he'll have to pry and that's how people ruin the plate to frame joint. Judge not Judge lest your Judgeness be Judged. Just like car repairs it's all fun and games 'til Joe amature strips the first bolt. For the price you paid you can afford to get a smith to look at it. Or you could shoot a can of WD40 in there and yank. By the way, can you get any motion out of the cylinder ,trigger and hammer, I shure hope you do.
 

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About the only thing I'd add to all this is it's better to use a hard plastic screwdriver handle or a small plastic hammer to vibrate the side plate off the frame.
Rubber and wood don't give the sharp vibrations needed as well as hard plastic.

Also, just vibrate the plate off enough that you can lift it the rest of the way out with your fingers without prying.
If necessary keep a thumb on the plate to prevent it from bouncing all the way off.
If it comes completely off it'll bounce on the frame and both the frame and side plate get chatter marks that mar the finish.

Last, all Colt owners owe it to themselves to spend the few bucks to buy a copy of the Jerry Kuhnhausen shop manual on the Colt revolvers. Volume One covers the older Colt action guns like the Detective Special and Python. Volume Two covers the later guns like the Mark III through King Cobra.
These manuals are all new info that was written as training aidsd for new gunsmiths. Since Kunhausen trained gunsmiths for the industry, all the info is how the factories do repairs, not the usual gun butcher techniques shown in old books.

In the case of the Colt's, the book is invaluable even if you have no intention of ever working on or disassembling a Colt.
The value lies in being able to determaine if a Colt is in proper working order and in proper timing, which in the older Colt's is critical.

You can buy these from Brownell's, Midway, and direct from the publisher:

Brownells Search : Search Results for "shop manual" - World's Largest Supplier of Firearm Accessories, Gun Parts and Gunsmithing Tools - BROWNELLS
 

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If the gun is gummed up from bad storage what makes you think your little mallet dance is going to pop that sideplate off.
Experience. I have never seen a side plate that did not pop right off with a few sharp blows with the hickory handle of my shop ball peen hammer. If I were to encounter one that was reluctant, I could indeed move up to a hard plastic screwdriver handle as DFW suggests, but that has never been necessary on any Colt side plate I have encountered.

DFW's suggestion of holding one's thumb on the side plate to prevent it from doing any damage when popping off is a good one to emphasize. I have always done just that and should have mentioned it, even though it is common sense.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
A Python in New Orleans

Sorry about the posting, I am kinda new to this. I want to thank the list members for helping me. Although this is not my first handgun it is the first time I will attempt to do a major disassembly.
I ordered a set a gunsmith screw drivers today and will probably get the gun. The story behind the cylinder not opening is the gun was stolen from my friend and years later when he recovered it from the police property room the cylinder release latch did not move. He put it away thinking one day to send it to Colt for repair. Now he has lost interest and knew I like the piece so he called me. The gun is not perfect, some blue rubbed off here and there but if I can fix it I will have fun shooting it, it feels great in my hand and that action is so sweet- hard to describe. Again, to be sure. I can remove the side plate screws and with some tapping it will come off even though the cylinder latch will not move, correct? I am a little nervous and want to make sure. What cleaners and lubes should I use on the action?


Sidney
 

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As above, you first remove the grips and the cylinder assembly, then the side plate.
Even if the cylinder latch is rusted solid, the side plate will come off.

What you can do to help things along is to use some Kroil, CLP Breakfree, or any good penetrating fluid to put a few drops around the side plate.
Let soak a day or so to loosen any crud or rust before removal of the plate.

To clean the action out you can use a gun scrubber spray to blast out any old lube and fouling.
Allow to dry completely then apply whatever lubricant you want to use. I usually use a small screwdriver to put a small dab of a good grease on the areas listed below.
This makes a smoother trigger pull.

I suggest that if you want to operate the action, use a finger to push in and hold the hand that rotates the cylinder. If you don't it'll slip out of place and the side plate won't go back on.
Also, when replacing the side plate, insert the top edge first while pulling the cylinder latch slightly to the rear so it slips over the pin on the cylinder latch pin.

Here's a typical Colt schematic the same as the Python action:

http://stevespages.com/ipb-colt-officialpolice.html

The hand is part number 12. Don't let it move out.
The cylinder latch pin is part 28. Note that the small pin must interlock with the cylinder latch part 25.

Apply a small amount of grease to the trigger top, bottom and face of the sear ledge.
Grease the hammer sear and the front and back of the strut, part 5.
Apply a dab on top of the rebound, part 19 where the main spring lower leg rides.
Grease the face of the hand, part 12 and it's front edge.
Put a dab of grease on the rear "leg" of the bolt, part 16.

Pull the crane out from the front of the cylinder and wipe the shaft off, then put a drop of lubricant on the shaft. Note that Colt cylinders don't freewheel like S&W or other revolvers. It will seem a little tight.
DON'T attempt cylinder disassembly. Some Pythons require two special tools to disassemble and you can easily ruin it even with the tools. Just slide the crane out as far as it'll come and wipe and lube.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
A Python in New Orleans

[


Pull the crane out from the front of the cylinder and wipe the shaft off, then put a drop of lubricant on the shaft. Note that Colt cylinders don't freewheel like S&W or other revolvers. It will seem a little tight.
DON'T attempt cylinder disassembly. Some Pythons require two special tools to disassemble and you can easily ruin it even with the tools. Just slide the crane out as far as it'll come and wipe and lube.[/QUOTE]

Am I reading to remove the cylinder and crane? and if so do I remove the screw and pin holding the crane in or are you telling me to clean the ejector rod. I am very new to this and dont want to assume anything.

Sid
 

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Before you can properly remove the side plate you need to remove the cylinder assembly.
To do that, remove the large screw on the right side of the frame just above the trigger.
This is actually a cap. Under the cap is a small spring and hollow plunger. Remove them.

Open the cylinder and rotate it until a flute lines up with the lower left side of the frame, then pull the cylinder and crane forward and out of the frame.

To clean the cylinder crane, pull the crane forward as far as it will go and hold it there while you wipe off the shaft to remove any dried or dirty lubricant.
Apply a little liquid lubricant like CLP Breakfree to lube the shaft and cylinder.

Then apply just small amount of lube to the ejector rod shaft and pump it in and out a few times. Wipe off the excess.

THEN remove the side plate.

As you use the gun, when you clean it, once in a while put a very small drop of lube in the front of the cylinder where the crane shaft enters it. This will keep the cylinder properly lube so it doesn't get sticky.
You don't need to remove the cylinder and crane assembly to do this, just open the cylinder.
 
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