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Discussion Starter #1
Won a python in an auction (pics on separate thread). Gun arrives, and I find that the cylinder release latch sticks. It slides back with a 'click' sound, but does not return unless I push it.

The gun is middle aged (can't bring myself to say old in reference to something which came into this world one year after I did), shows some signs of wear but also could have been sitting on a shelf for 20 odd years.

Is it hard to open up the frame and look inside? It could just be old grease.
 

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The "usual" in these cases is a rusty/gummed up spring and plunger or tunnel in the side plate.
In some cases, the spring is missing or a improper replacement.
Another thing to check is to insure the white nylon stud is still present on the underside of the latch and not worn out.

Removing the side plate is possible but it's very easy to do some damage to the plate or frame.

First step is to buy a couple of Brownell's Magna-Tip gunsmith screwdriver bits. Using standard bit will damage the screws and may damage the side plate.
The correct bits to have for a Colt DA revolver are:
.150-2
.150-3
.180-2
.180-3
.240-2
.240-3
These will fit all the Colt screws on a DA including the side plate, cylinder retention screw, and grip screw.

First, remove the grips.

On the right side of the frame above the trigger is a large screw. This is actually a cap. Under the cap is a small spring nad plunger.
Unscrew and remove the cap and the spring and plunger.

Open the cylinder and rotate it until a flute lines up with the lower left side of the frame, then pull the entire cylinder and crane assembly out of the frame.
DO NOT ATTEMPT FURTHER DISASSEMBLY OF THE CYLINDER ASSEMBLY. Older Pythons require two special tools to disassemble, and even the newer guns are risky.

Remove the side plate screws.

With the screws out, put a finger in front of the cylinder release to prevent it from popping off and use the butt of a plastic screwdriver to give the grip frame below the side plate sharp raps.
This will vibrate the side plate loose. Ideally, you want to vibrate it loose enough that you can lift it off instead of having it come all the way off and possibly chatter-mark the plate and frame.
DO NOT...EVER PRY THE PLATE.

With the plate off remove the cylinder latch and the tiny spring and plunger that are in a tunnel in the plate.
DO NOT COCK OR OPERATE THE ACTION WITH THE PLATE OFF. If you do, the hand that rotates the cylinder will shift out of place.
If you want to observe the action, put a finger on top of the hand and keep it pushed in as you operate the action.

Check the side plate tunnel for goop, using some lacquer thinner or alcohol and a pipe cleaner to clean it out.
Check the spring and plunger for rust, kinks, goop, wrong parts, or damage.
Check the cylinder latch tio insure the white nylon spacer stud is present and not worn down. If it is, a replacement can be made from weed-eater line.
Check the cylinder latch for free movement in the side plate.

Lube everything back up, put the spring and plunger in the side plate and the cylinder release on the plate.

Insert the top of the plate into the frame, making sure the hole in the cylinder latch fits over the pin on the cylinder latch pin in the frame.

Press the side plate down into the frame. USE NO FORCE. If the plate won't seat into the frame, something is out of place.

Install and just snug the rear side plate screw. (It has a flat head).
Install and snug the front screw. (It has a round head).

Fully tighten the rear screw and then the front screw. If the plate doesn't want to snug down fully into the frame STOP, something is out of place.

Reassemble the cylinder assembly and the grips.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Damn. Sound like this gun is going to sit in the safe for a bit.

I've ordered the bits, thank you for a complete list.

Thank you also for your detailed instructions. Sounds like I would profit from the shop manual.

Have you ever considered taking on an apprentice? You are so dedicated to sharing your knowlege and love of all things Colt.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Took it apart the other night. Thanks to your instructions it was fast and easy. The nylon stud certainly does need to be replaced; any idea how to order one?
 

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Options on the nylon insert:

1. Call Colt. They may just send you a couple for free, or may sell them to you.

2. Order a couple from the following sources. You'll have to call to find out if they're available:
Colt Python Double Action Revolver

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

3. Make your own.
To do so buy some white weed eater cord that's about the size of the original insert. Cut off a section longer then needed and sand or file a very slight steep taper on one end. You want JUST enough taper to allow starting the insert into the hole.
Tap the insert into the hole with a small hammer, then use a very sharp hobby knife or razor blade to cut the insert off just slightly longer then needed.
Use a file or an emery board or some fine sand paper wrapped around a file or whatever to sand the insert to the final height.
 
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