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Early - mid Pythons (and New Frontiers) have a distinct blue color to the tint of the bluing. Later guns have more of a black appearance. All of them are shiny.

What changed to make the guns go from blue to black?
 

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The amount of polish the guns received in bare metal.

In the mid 80s they ramped up the amount of polish and started to produce "Black" guns although the same Royal blue was being used. This Black color is prominent on the internet sites on guns that were produced in the 50s, 60s, and 70s which is a strong indicator of a recent refinish. They still Buff them to a mirror shine before the bluing process today.
 

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My understanding is that at some point Colt started using a new formula of bluing salts which gave the metal a blacker color.
This seemed to happen about the same time the Mark III series was introduced, which was when Colt revolvers bluing changed from the older more blue to the newer more blue-black which was used on the Mark III and later revolvers.

Since the level of polish for the Colt Royal Blue stayed the same, the color would have remained the same. It was the change in formula that caused the slight color change.
 

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My understanding is that at some point Colt started using a new formula of bluing salts which gave the metal a blacker color.
This seemed to happen about the same time the Mark III series was introduced, which was when Colt revolvers bluing changed from the older more blue to the newer more blue-black which was used on the Mark III and later revolvers.

Since the level of polish for the Colt Royal Blue stayed the same, the color would have remained the same. It was the change in formula that caused the slight color change.
This was my understanding. There were ingredients in the old bluing formula that were antiquated and deemed extremely detrimental (most stuff is still pretty toxic) to workers. I believe there is a thread back a few years ago concerning this but I'm not A1A, "The Searcher", and have a hard time finding my truck keys ;)
 
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