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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
New member here and I'm new to Colt revolvers but I'm definitely not new to revolvers. I've got a modest collection of pre-1980 S&W Revolvers. I've always had an admiration for the Python's just never had the opportunity to add one to the collection. A few months back I purchased a NIB S&W M28-2 from an acquaintance who had inherited it from his Grandfather. He mentioned that his Grandfather also left him a Python. He likes guns but he's not a vintage revolver aficionado so he said he "might" be interested in selling the Python as well. In our jobs we have the chance to talk on the phone on occasion, so I've steered the conversation back to guns and the Python a couple of times trying not to seem too interested. I believe he is ready to talk business on the Python. Here is what I've been able to find out. It was his Grandfather's truck gun. Grandpa always carried this Python and a sawed-off double barrel 12 ga in his vehicle, plus a 38 pocket pistol (wish I'd known grandpa- sounds like my kind of guy). My friend has had the gun a "long time" and he "thinks" it's from the 60's or 70's has a 6" barrel and is Nickel plated. I've looked up Blue Book values and looked on GB so I've got some ideas of value but I've still got some questions that maybe you guys can help me with.
  • Are the "checkout" procedures for Colt similar to a S&W? Anything different or special to look for in fit and function on a used Colt?
  • Does the Nickel finish go all the way back to the early years of Python production or did it start later?
  • If the original box isn't included are there any marks or designations on the gun to indicate if Nickel is the original finish?
  • Is the 6" a desirable barrel length? How common is it compared to the other lengths?
  • The "truck gun" designation may mean the finish is trashed- the Blue Book goes to 60% and is STILL valued at $1250. To me 60% is a "shooter" with no collecter value- Is $1250 really a good ballpark number for a shooter?

Any and all opinions will be appreciated. Thanks in advance for your help!
 

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Revolver is a revolver and all checkout is the same as far as cylinder movement and locking. It shouldn't be clanging while walking with it. lets put it that way. It should be tight and no play when you cock it. Typical stuff. I suggest you look up and read what to look for on a Python. It is too long to type in. At least for me.

Nickle finish on them started in the 60's.

6" is the most common since that is how it was introduced. I personally love the 6" barrel. I think it has a certain look to it with Flair and Pizazz. They made them in 2.5,3,4,6 and 8 inch barrels. I don't carry revolvers as a self defense gun so I don't have the need for shorter barrels. I do have a few just for collectors purposes and an occasional shoot at the range.

The box should be marked accordingly to the gun with finish barrel length etc. There is a section here on boxes use the forum and check the Python section. It's great if he has the box but if it's perfectly new I'd be skeptical.

As for the price? That is a question only you can answer. You can buy it as a shooter and send it out to refinish and have a pretty shooter or leave as is and have an ugly duckling that shoots great. If it's a truck gun I would think the finish is not collector grade so the purchase would have to be a shooter. Now you have to consider what are you willing to pay.

Hope this helped some what. It's my 2 cents. Maybe someone will come along and shed more light on this topic for you.
 

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I think KMK hit the nail on the head with everything he said. As far as a price I'd suggest looking through GB and finding something in comparable condition that is the same finish/length/age and going from there. I wouldn't be too hopeful about the condition of its finish if it was a "truck gun" its whole life. Still very worth adding to your collection though. You won't be disappointed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Guys.
I'm not expecting much as far as condition but maybe I'll be surprised. If kept in a holster and in the glove box the nickel may have held up pretty good- but even then the grips are probably dinged and scrathed. Are Colt grips numbered to the gun?

I hadn't even thought about a refinish but that's definitely a possibility if it's already in such rough condition that it doesn't have any collector value.

I'm definitely partial to 6" barrels on revolvers too. I've got 4 of them so far... maybe I'll get lucky and add a Python to the mix.
 

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Holsters are the enemy of guns so I actually kind of hope it wasn't stored in one this whole time; it would have likely eaten some of the finish. Grips are not numbered to the gun and there is a great number of variations to the grip styles of Pythons over its production life. This website has a great deal of information regarding that specific question: Python. In terms of collector value it's always a good idea to match the grip variant to the serial number range of the gun you're looking at. For instance if I check the serial number and it comes back to be 1982 and I see it has the style 1 full checkered grips, I know they are not original and would need to be swapped.
 

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Many wood stocks were numbered to the gun. I don't know when the practice stopped but it was normal for years for revolvers to have the wood stocks fitted and had the last few digits of the serial number handwritten on their backside. This would be for stocks that followed any edges of the frame...stocks that completely enclosed the grip frame wouldn't have been fitted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Great info on the grips- Thanks. I'll do some homework so I'll know the basics of the grip styles for different eras.
 

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If it's Nickel, it may be able to be polished if it isn't deeply pitted or most of the Nickel isn't worn off. Wait to look at it before making a definite decision. Post pics and let us help. I'd buy a worn but not pitted Python for $1200. Barrel condition is important.

Good luck.
 

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Many wood stocks were numbered to the gun. I don't know when the practice stopped but it was normal for years for revolvers to have the wood stocks fitted and had the last few digits of the serial number handwritten on their backside. This would be for stocks that followed any edges of the frame...stocks that completely enclosed the grip frame wouldn't have been fitted.
So pretty much only snub Pythons with "service" stocks. Those are the only ones I have seen with the serial grease penciled on the inside. All the target grips don't. However, the later target grips do have stamped numbers, but I don't think they are the serial.

Be extra cautious when examining Colt V springs. I have found they do differ from S&Ws, in the sense that I rarely see any of the "wear and tear" signs on S&Ws that I see on Colt V springs, like ratchet seat peening, or cylinder collar peening of the frame. This is due to the design, which it helps to be familiar with. Even refinishes, it just seems refinished Colts are way more common than S&Ws.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So pretty much only snub Pythons with "service" stocks. Those are the only ones I have seen with the serial grease penciled on the inside. All the target grips don't. However, the later target grips do have stamped numbers, but I don't think they are the serial.

Be extra cautious when examining Colt V springs. I have found they do differ from S&Ws, in the sense that I rarely see any of the "wear and tear" signs on S&Ws that I see on Colt V springs, like ratchet seat peening, or cylinder collar peening of the frame. This is due to the design, which it helps to be familiar with. Even refinishes, it just seems refinished Colts are way more common than S&Ws.
Thanks for the info.
 

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When I look at revolvers I check to see if they are in time, check to see if the forcing cone is cracked and with older Pythons check to see if the barrel has the hollow underlug. I'm certainly no expert but these are some of the things I look at.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
When I look at revolvers I check to see if they are in time, check to see if the forcing cone is cracked and with older Pythons check to see if the barrel has the hollow underlug. I'm certainly no expert but these are some of the things I look at.
Is the hollow underlug a design change?
 

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pythons 1955-66/67 had hollow underlug barrels later barrels were solid....early barrels right side roll mark were also marked CT vs later marked CONN for conneticut......next major barrel change was 1990ish which was a change in threads and is outwardly identifiable by a single pin frount sight
 

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I bought a 6" Nickel shooter grade Python that had surface issues from being stored long term in a leather holster. There was copper pitting/marks showing around most of the Cylinder and crane area. I wanted it perfect so off to Fords it went. $400 and 5 months later I got back a gun that looks like the day it came from Colt. I couldn't be happier with the results to my now pristine Python. I also have a 6" Stainless Python that is my shooter because I can clean it up spotless so the Nickel one is my show piece.
 

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I just saw this–– look close at the pic. Make sure the VP (verified proof) and rampant Colt stamps are SHARP,fast way
to spot refinish.


 

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I just saw this–– look close at the pic. Make sure the VP (verified proof) and rampant Colt stamps are SHARP,fast way
to spot refinish.
Judging a refinish on the stamps and rollmarks alone is NOT a good evaluation of a refinish or refresh. Do a ton of studying on these Colts, and you will see what I mean. The stamp and rollmark appearance has very little to due with whether refinished or not, unless completely obvious and out of the norm.

For instance, your rampant Colt stamp isn't completely sharp. The front legs are weak and faded. There are a lot of variances in markings that are all completely normal for factory. Same thing with sharp edges. Once you get to peak production of the late '70s, the rushing of completion left many Pythons over-polished and rounded, and this rushing even affected the stamps due to doing it in haste. So there is really no hard set rule for refinishes/refreshes.

In my Python buying guide, I have an entire refinish section and explain all of this very well. You pretty much have to examine the gun and take all signs of a refinish/refresh and put them together for a final decision. No one area can determine a refinish 100% of the time. Only after you become really really good at spotting refinishes can one take a quick look and know right away. Took about 5yrs for me, and I can spot a refinish almost immediately 95% of the time.

Just for giggles, there have been more than a couple factory Pythons that were so poorly built and finished that I thought they were refinishes/refreshes for quite a while. Eventually I figured them out, after long study and referring to other professionals. Most were of them were early '80s pre-strike era and actual strike era guns.

To clarify, I use the term "refinish" for blue and nickel guns that need the original finish stripped and reapplied. I use the term "refresh" for stainless and bright stainless guns that just need "freshening up". Doing STS and BSTS is cheaper and easier, one reason why they were hyped more than any others, and one reason certain dealers even got into the polishing game. What everyone is blind to would amaze.
 

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Judging a refinish on the stamps and rollmarks alone is NOT a good evaluation of a refinish or refresh. Do a ton of studying on these Colts, and you will see what I mean. The stamp and rollmark appearance has very little to due with whether refinished or not, unless completely obvious and out of the norm.
Your points are well taken,especially when describing late Python production. I understood that VP was the
Last stamp applied after the gun was finished—-maybe this is incorrect because there are always exceptions or anomalies to anything. When you see that stamp in the white with some burnishing
Around the edges and remains undisturbed it seems to indicate an original finish to me. There are other
factors which you point out but to me the VP is a good starting point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks for the good info. I spoke to my buddy who owns this gun. He's going to try to get it out and let me take a look at it over the holidays. If I acquire it I'll definitely post some pics.
 
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