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Discussion Starter #1
Alright, another request for opinions:

Have a chance (my name is on the tag already) to buy an original 4" Trooper 357, very good condition, action like glass,$219, but... someone bobbed the hammer. It is blued on the back of the hammer, and it looks fairly professionally done. So the questions are: is it worth it in the first place, and if so, would you leave it alone or have it restored to original, hopefully with an original Colt part?

Did any PDs do this, to anyone's knowledge?

Thanks again - GB
 

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GB, I guess if the hammer has been bobbed, then we can't really call it original. Even with the hammer modification, the low price given makes this an attractive purchase. Depending on what you you consider "very good condition" it may be a steal at $219! In my neck of the woods that's under priced easily by $100 & more.

I happen to love Troopers as I do all J-frames. If it were me, I would buy the gun, & buy an original hammer & retrofit. The hammer is readily available on the auction sites. Just keep your eyes open.
 

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Greetings, GB-AK!
First - No. I wouldn't spend $200 for an original Trooper unless I could satisfy myself its insides were untampered-with. No, it wouldn't have to LOOK like a virgin but it's got to smell like one! You say, "original Trooper," so I'll go with that. The Trooper Mark III came later and has a different action and frame and everything and the hacks leave them alone, generally. The original will have a flat main spring - visible under the grip panels. The J frame/Mk III will have a coil spring. Either way, I've never heard of bobbing the hammer on a police service type revolver!? That, no offense intended, is the indellible sign of a moron. It probably will foul up the DA function and at least will deny you a good fit in some types of thumbbreak holsters. No reason to do it. I don't think much of it on pocket snubbies, either - but that's just me. Between the exceptionally smooth action you describe and the hammer emasculation, I think you've got Inspector Gadget's grandfather's old service revolver! Two seldom-wrong indicators of, "Fungus Among Us!" Caveat Emptor! A popular but often ruinous attempt at improving trigger pull on Colts was for, "Kitchen Table Gunsmiths," to attempt to lessen the strength of the main spring by bending it, filing it ... holding your mouth just so in the right phase of the moon or some such drivel. All they ever did was, at best, make the action very light and wear it out SO much faster than it should have. I've bought one JUST like this and it was unbelievably light and smooth for about a year. Next bad news - myself, I don't KNOW first hand of a good Colt gunsmith in the world. (There's some guys on these pages that I SUSPECT are, but they're certainly not bragging about it - yet alone, advertising.) I'm afraid the days of resurrecting a bargain Colt are gone, for that reason. (Smiths are MUCH easier to work on. It's like the Chevy/Ford thing - ya' know?)And, no - I've never heard of a police agency deliberately ruining nice revolvers! Quite the reverse ... if anyone would have done that anywhere I worked, they would've had to BUY the gun PLUS a replacement and go carry the old one somewhere else, too. I really LOVE the Official Police style revolvers - of which, orginal Trooper is one. But, ... "ya pays yer money and yer takes yer cherce," they used to say. Good Luck!
 

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As far as I know, no police department bobbed service revolver hammers.

A good number of individual officers did, and not all of them were idiots.
The famous gunman Bill Jordon had all his S&W Model 19 Border Patrol service revolvers bobbed.

I used to deal with a "heavy hitter" Homicide cop who carried a 4" Python with a bobbed hammer. It was the same gun he had carried while in uniform.
He'd used it, too.

BUT, these were always individually owned revolvers. In most all police departments, altering a department owned gun is a firing offense.

However, such alterations DO make you suspicious about what ELSE may have been done.

If all that was altered is the hammer, new service or target hammers are still available. Python hammers will also fit the old Model Trooper.

New hammers are available from Gun Parts Corporation.

For good Colt gunsmithing, you can't go wrong with the factory, or with Cylinder & Slide.

A really good company I dealt with for warranty work was Pittsburgh Handgun Headquarters, in Pittsburgh.
I don't know if their still in business, but the Colt factory used to use them for the factories overflow warranty work.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you.

I will not be getting this gun - it has other issues like bad timing and the extractor star loose on the rod. To get it all fixed up would likely cost me more than the gun itself, so I think I will pass on this one. They did have a very nice Officer's Match for $650, but with two recent Pythons in the safe, I need to "chill"...

GB
 

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A wise decision.

When you see any actual alterations on a firearm, your antenna should deploy.

Major changes like these always reduce the value of the gun and it means:

A. A top shooter was increasing the peformance

OR

B. A amateur "gunsmith" was hacking around.

The "B's" far out strip the "A's", as you just found out.

When you find an altered firearm, ALWAYS suspect EVERYTHING, trust NOTHING, and look for other "improvements".
 

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"It has other issues like bad timing and the extractor star loose on the rod." We heard about the bobbed hammer. Hold on a minute.

How was it that you described this in your 1st post as: "an original 4" Trooper 357, very good condition"?

Kind of puts a whole differnt spin on it, doesn't it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
WS32,

Please allow me to clarify. By "original Trooper", I had only meant that it was not a Mark III or V. By "good condition", I meant that the gun had about 90% blue, the grips were in decent shape, the bore was very clean with sharp edges, and the action seemed pretty tight. Since it was bobbed, it was kind of difficult to really hear/feel the cylinder lock as I worked the trigger at the store. I actually bought the gun, brought it home, started to clean and inspect it, and only THEN realized that it was out of time on 3 of the chambers, and the ejector star spun almost freely on the rod. Luckily, the store I deal with has always done the right thing, took the gun back and offered either my money back, or store credit on anything else I wanted instead. So yes, I had thought that this was a nice Trooper in good condition, albeit with a bobbed hammer.

I must say that the action on this gun was like silk. I simply didn't want to deal with the numerous problems I discovered. I am sure someone can bring this otherwise nice old revolver back to a good state of tune and use it for the next who knows how many years.

GB
 

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dfarriswheel, darn it, YOU'RE RIGHT! (Of course.) I even had a copy of, "No Second Place Winner," and read it several times. If memory serves, there were pictures of several .357's Jordan used, a 19, a 27, and even a Python - ALL with the bobbed hammers. And, no, I wouldn't care to dispute ANYTHING with ANYONE that can draw and fire and hit aspirin tablets on a fense rail in the time it takes me to scratch my keister! How about something like, "Why anyone would want to cut the hammer spur off a revolver is beyond me because you mess up the single action capabilities which, I think, is the best part." Besides, that way, I've just said, "it's beyond ME," and there's SO MUCH that IS! <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by dfariswheel:
As far as I know, no police department bobbed service revolver hammers.

A good number of individual officers did, and not all of them were idiots.
The famous gunman Bill Jordon had all his S&W Model 19 Border Patrol service revolvers bobbed.

I used to deal with a "heavy hitter" Homicide cop who carried a 4" Python with a bobbed hammer. It was the same gun he had carried while in uniform.
He'd used it, too.

BUT, these were always individually owned revolvers. In most all police departments, altering a department owned gun is a firing offense.

However, such alterations DO make you suspicious about what ELSE may have been done.

If all that was altered is the hammer, new service or target hammers are still available. Python hammers will also fit the old Model Trooper.

New hammers are available from Gun Parts Corporation.

For good Colt gunsmithing, you can't go wrong with the factory, or with Cylinder & Slide.

A really good company I dealt with for warranty work was Pittsburgh Handgun Headquarters, in Pittsburgh.
I don't know if their still in business, but the Colt factory used to use them for the factories overflow warranty work.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
 

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My old department, at one time, issued S&W snubs to CID officers. At the officers request, the department aromorer would bob the hammer but an officer could not do it himself, nor could he have a `smith do it for him. This was brought to my attention through a series of memos from ranks far above me. I didn't get fired for bobbing a hammer but I knew what would take place if it happened again.

When I "conned" them into issuing me a Python snub, because they needed my Model 60 for a flight crew, I did not attempt to cut the hammer.

rcwambold,

The reason for bobbing the hammer is to reduce the possibility of the hammer spur hanging up when drawing while in "civies".
With great care, the gun can still be fired single action, but it's dangerous.

By the way, Bill Jordan was one of my instructors in the USBP and he was unbelievable. On top of that, he was an all around nice guy and really showed an interest in helping his students,

John


[This message has been edited by JCM298A (edited 11-28-2003).]
 

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JCM298A: rcwambold:

I once saw a photo of Bill Jordan's hand.
He was holding a dime in it.

On closer inspection, it was a QUARTER.

They didn't call him banana fingers for nothing.

This guy was so fast, one of his "tricks" was to hold his hand directly over his holster with a ping pong ball balanced on the back of his hand.

He could snap his hand out from under the ping pong ball and draw the gun from the holster....in time for the ball to drop into the now empty holster.

Another useful gag for a law man: He could do a magician's distraction routine with his RIGHT hand, and draw a S&W snubby from a pants pocket with with his LEFT and pull the trigger on you before you could realize what he was doing.

One of his courtroom appearances had a bailiff holding a cocked revolver on him. He could draw from the holster and pull his trigger before the bailiff could.

As they said about a early black base ball player: "He was so fast, he could turn out the lights, and be in bed before it got dark"
 

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dfariswheel,

One of Jordan's buddies, a former USBP shooting team captain, now retired, used to hang out at the range where I was a part-time rangemaster, after I retired. He could tell tales about the BP that most people wouldn't believe unless you were there. I was "there" for a brief period in my early career, so I now what it was like.

Some Jordan stories are hilarious. His "stunts" with the ping pong ball, aspirin, and the draw with his left hand were great.

My buddy, who will remain nameless, was a better shot but could not come close to Jordan in speed.

John
 

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Come to think about it, I guess the famous, "Fitz," of Colt factory fame must've been the champion of, "altered guns." I've read that Clyde Barrow and Dillinger and Baby Face Nelson were fond of, "altering," guns, too. I guess it's my Puritanical side coming out ... but I can't help it ... To my way of thinking, inside MY head, the good guys DON'T butcher their guns. They all carry revolvers - not automatics. And they still wear white hats! (Say, "Goodnight, Gracie!")
 
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