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Discussion Starter #1
Being new to Colts I have 2 questions:

1. I can understand a blued gun being more expensive but shouldn't SS be cheaper?

2. What is the "Silver Ball" treatment?

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Today, I picked up a "new" revo and was shown a 3in Python marked California Law Enforcement or something similar on the bbl. I agree with everything you say here dfaris. That is one beautiful gun. Deep, deep blue, action so smooth and light that I find it hard to believe that the gun will actually fire. Not even my best Performance Center revo compares. It was steep @ $1100 used but you can clearly see where the money went!

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First, let me say that Mr. dfariswheel is very knowledgeable, and he is very helpful to many, including me.

However, I have always wondered about this Colt / S&W price thing, and here's why: I have Gun Digests going back to 1951, and in the retail section of these annuals, Pythons and the best S&W's like the model 29 (both introduced about the same time period by the way, mid-50's)have the same suggested retail price - in fact, 29's have a slightly higher suggested retail through the mid-60's, when the well documented labor troubles started at Colt, at which time the Python began to outstrip any S&W in price. Maybe this isn't the only reason, but I would think it would be a factor.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
It's interesting that I have shooting books from the 70's with prices. The Python sells for about $150 more then the S&W mod 19 in that year.

I'm looking at replacing that S&W 19 that I bought long ago. The only thing I have to compare between S&W and Colt is the Python and the S&W 686. The 686 costs $550 and the Python $1000 from what I can see. That's a big difference in price and I'm trying to justify it. This is why I'd like to see some reviews of the revolvers.
 

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The only online piece on the Python that I have read is on Chuck Hawk's site. He's a Colt guy though so his review might be a little biased.

A 686 will probably keep up with Colt's constrictor shot for shot, but the snake does it while looking good. There simply is no better looking revolver (or handgun for that matter) IMO. If I had the money to buy a Python I'd get one post haste.

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[This message has been edited by SnWnMe (edited 11-18-2003).]
 

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Stainless steel costs more, and wears out cutting tooling faster. The higher price of the base metal, and the cost of re-sharpening or replacing the tooling ups the price over carbon steel.

The reason the stainless Python still costs more than blue, is that even the satin finish guns are polished better than normal guns. Again, cost of stainless wear on tooling, and hand labor.

The "Silver ball treatment" was and still is a Colt company secret.
After a Python barrel is complete, and before being installed, a mysterious silver ball is forced through the bore with a press.
After this, the Python bore has a brilliant mirror finish.

Just what the ball is made of, the factory won't say, but people who have been allowed to see the process say it isn't lead, or anything they're familiar with.
I'm not sure the factory is still doing this or not.

Another expense factor on the Python, is the expensive to produce tapered bore. This is another reason for the Python's remarkable accuracy.

Bullet Bob:
The reason the top quality S&W's used to cost almost as much as the Python, was S&W also poured hand work into their best guns.

What happened to S&W was, the company was sold to corporations like Bangor Punta, and Lear Sigler.
These %^#*holes used S&W as a cash cow.
Production was speeded up as much as possible, hand work was limited to as little as possible, and quality was deliberately allowed to plunge.

The since hand finishing was kept to a minimum, their price didn't rise as fast as Colt's still-labor intensive Python did.

Once they squeezed as much money out of the company as possible, they sold it to another abusive corporation who did the same thing, at the expense of quality and the unsuspecting customer.

Tompkins Ltd. will go down in history as the company that sold S&W down the drain to the Clinton's, but to their credit, they turned line speed way down, rebuilt and replaced equipment, and put quality back in as a factor.

People complain about the drop in quality of the Python from the 60's to the 90's. You should see some of the horror stories S&W was passing off during the same time frame.

A little remembered tactic of S&W was to reserve the best workman and production output quality for law enforcement sales.

S&W was making most of their money from police sales, and at one point in the mid-70's a S&W executive let slip the statement that S&W didn't need "no stink'in" civilian sales, since the police market would keep them busy forever. He made it clear that civilian sales didn't matter to them, and that S&W didn't need us.

This of course, was BG, (Before Glock).
 

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In what appears to be becoming a regular thing, the question is asked
"Why does a Python, (or other Colt) cost more than my X brand revolver".

Here in is another post from another forum answering that question:

The reasons for the Python's higher price was...hand labor.

People capable of doing the fitting of the action, and the super polishing of the metal for the incomparable Python blue, don't work for minimum wage.

Colt's Python polishers were people who had worked for many years polishing the budget guns, before they were considered good enough to move to the Python line. As highly skilled, long-time employees they were earning top salary.
In the classic book "Colt Firearms: 1836 To 1940" by Haven & Beldan, the authors took a tour of the 1930's Colt plant and were introduced to a Colt Master polisher. The Colt official introduced the polisher as so highly skilled that there weren't 100 men in the entire world who could do what he did.
This quality level endured until the strike and bankruptcies.

Even the "bottom of the line budget gun" the Official Police required the services of a Master fitter, simply to get the gun to work properly.

The top of the line Python's action was custom fitted and polished by Colt's finest, most experienced..... and best paid people.

The high grade Colt barrel was further treated to the mysterious "silver ball" process, again requiring hand labor.

All this produced what by anybodies standard was the finest production revolver in the world. And it all took top wage-earning people to produce.

The Python's quality did fluctuate over the years, but it was always built to the best quality level possible....... under the circumstances.

When Colt was going through the destructive strike and the bankruptcies, they simply didn't have the highly trained people needed to produce the same quality as in past years.

The good news is, Colt people's skill levels are rising, and the current Pythons are reportedly excellent guns. It takes many years to develop the fitting and polishing skill necessary, and Colt basically has had to start over, from scratch.

So, the reason other guns cost less?
Because they're modern designs, intended to be mass-produced, cranked out by machines, and assembled with little hand fitting or care by people who could be assembling cars or making toilet paper.

Python's are a 100 year old-plus design, intended to be produced largely by hand, assembled and fitted by Master craftsman who had spent a life time doing just that. It costs more to do that.

If you just want to know what time it is...buy a watch at Wal-Mart for $9.95.
If you want a little class, you spend more. Rolex's aren't cheap either.
 

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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Just what the ball is made of, the factory won't say, but people who have been allowed to see the process say it isn't lead, or anything they're familiar with.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

That is because this is one of those metals that was found at the Roswell, NM crash site.
 

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ivw e owned 2 1/2 inch python,and a 6 inch python i gave to my dad.very nice guns. if you use them the bluing will come off on the wear spots.. . ive owned also a knickle 4 inch combat magnum s&w very nice gun.. no perciveable difference on the field or in accuracy betwween the three, exept for barrel length helps accuracy. i have a model 60 s and w snubby stainless 38 now and it shoots the pants off most of the other revolvers i have, on paper and at the steel plates at 15 Yards.. youl have to buy several to find what fits/suits/works for you..
.a young man brought in a taurus 45long colt raging bull to pawn in my shop the other day.. i could hardly hold it out it with one hand...he loved it.. so to each his own... .. .. my opinion only.. dave..
 

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heres my testamonial.in 1997 i perchesed a colt anaconda 8 inch for 525 plus tax.they had one in 45 colt also for the same price.today the anacondas run the same as pythons maby a few dollers less.my anaconda has a wonderful trigger and alot of attention to detail is obvious.im sure the new anaconda is its equal in quality.but twice as expensive???in todays is noware near as robust as it was back in 97.go figure?
 

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At the time of its introduction (1935) the Smith & Wesson Magnum Hand Ejector was the most expansive revolver on the market, if I recall correctly. Hand labor was lavished on this revolver also.

Bob
 
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