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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, all-

I've been lurking out here for quite some time, and enjoying the ebb and flow of the discussions. What a knowledgeable group!

I have a question for the diehard experts out there. What are the real differences between the 357 Magnum and the 357 Trooper (the '50's-'60's series)? Side by side I haven't spotted the mechanical differences (if any). They are both superbly fitted, and the ones I have fired out at the range are remarkably accurate. And that leads to the next question, if they are essentially the same gun, why were both kept in production simultaneously? Did the barrels have the same muzzle taper as the later Python, and did they also undergo the secret Silver Ball burnishing treatment? (Calling D. Feriswheel!).

Finally, does anyone have any production numbers and years for the series?

I just picked up a beautiful little-used 4" 357 Magnum with the correct (I'm told original) walnut grips with the half-moon cutout checkering around the silver medallions. The serial number (30xxx) indicates a manufacture date of 1961, yet, I was under the impression the 357 was phased out in the late '50's. T or F? Comments?

Thank you for the opportunity to post.

Regards,

Sourdough
 

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The "Three Five Seven" was dropped in 1961. As it was considered a target model it had the hand polished action tuning that the target models of that time period always received.
The Trooper was the service grade revolver. It didn't have the hand tuned action of the target models. It was also chambered in .38sp. The Trooper didn't chamber the .357 magnum round till they decided to drop the "Three Fifty Seven".
So they were the same basic revolvers. One had target qualities and the other had the service treatment. They came in 2 different chamberings. The "357" was made from 1953 to 1961, and the Trooper was made from 1953 to 1969 (with the .357mag chambering first appearing in 1961).

[This message has been edited by Majic (edited 07-27-2004).]
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Majic-

Thank you for the info - that is just what I was looking for. I vaguely recallled that the Trooperin 357 Mag. had an earlier 38 Spl. incarnation. My 1961-era 357 obviously was from the last year of production. It's a true sweetheart of a Colt, and will take its rightful place next to my battery of Python's.

Regards,

Sourdough
 

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majic,as usual,nailed the differences. I have 2 ".357s" a 4" and 6" and they have smoother actions than my .22 Trooper(yes,an early one,sort of a 4" Officers Target) that Ive smoothed out and a 5" exFHP,that does have a heavier pull. As was said,these are wonderfully fitted & finished guns,certainly the equal to the K frame S&Ws that outsold them by a wide margin,especially to the police depts. Enjoy,and I am glad I purchased most of mine(used) years ago,when they were not considered collectible and were usual priced lower than S&Ws on the used gun market. Bud
 

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On the 357 and the .357 Magnum Trooper, the only real difference was the quality of fit and finish, which is the main reason Colt dropped the 357 in 1961.

The real difference between the 357 and the .38 Special Trooper was, the early .38 Trooper and the .22 Trooper were basically nothing but an Officer's Model Match with a different barrel.

The early .38 Special Trooper had the firing pin mounted on the hammer, while the 357 had it in the frame.

When the 357 was dropped, or "rolled into" the Trooper line, what really happened was, the hammer mounted firing pin .38 Trooper was the gun that was actually dropped, and the finish of the 357 was lowered to Trooper standards.

The Post-357 Trooper was actually the firing pin-in-the-frame 357 with Trooper markings and finish.
The hammer mounted firing pin was used only on the .22 versions after this.

As to why the 357 and Trooper were kept in the line up for so long?

The Post-1950's Colt line was to feature the 357 as the premium adjustable sight holster gun, and the Trooper was to be the budget version for police use.

The unexpected introduction of the Super-premium Colt Python in 1955 confused the issue.

Colt now saw a market with the budget Trooper for police departments and cheap sportsmen, the 357 for those wanting the best holster gun, and the Python for the target shooters.

Police and sportsmen loudly demanded the Python with a 4" barrel, and Colt brought one out featuring the name "Police Python" on the advertising. (Colt never actually marked this name on the guns).

As time went by, the cost to make the older Colt actions began to skyrocket to the extent, that the 357 was costing nearly what the Python did.
So much so, that rather than buy the 357, people were spending a few bucks more and getting the Python.

All this left the 357 as "odd man out", and in 1961 it WAS out.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
DFeriswheel-

Wow! Thank you for this excellent delineation of the differences in the two lines. This is why I turn to the Colt Forum.

Final question: Did the 357/357 Trooper have the Python bore taper at the muzzle, like the Python, and werre the barrels subjected to the final magic Silver Ball treatment?

Thank you and Regards,

Sourdough
 

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No, only the Python had the tapered bore and the Silver ball treatment.

Remember, the Python was the "Super-gun" built for target shooters.

The 357 was the top-of-the-line holster gun.

The Trooper was for Law Enforcement and cheapskates.
 

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Sourdough Sam: Here is my Colt "357" made in 1960:






How about posting some pictures here, of your Colt 357? Thanks!

[This message has been edited by Colt38 (edited 11-16-2004).]
 
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