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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys - I'm coming to you all because when it comes to deep knowledge, it seems like this group is heads above the rest. I want to ask something about non-1911s and hope that I can get some fairly basic info here.

I've recently got the urge to pick up a good revolver. What I want is a good one. I'd like one that was hand-fitted by a master gun smith and as solid as the old authentic Colt Pythons. I don't know why but I've been thinking about picking up a 6" Python but can't bring myself to buy the new assembly line gun, nor pay the $3500 price for the old-line, which is what I want. So - in your opinions, what other revolvers would you say competes with the Pythons of old?

My desired "other" criteria: stainless, 6" barrel, .357 magnum.
 

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It doesn't take much to get a K/L/N frame Smith to "shoot the lights out"!

Full disclosure, I'm a revolver guy and have fired a zillion rounds in revolver competition as well as semi-auto. My revolvers include K and L frame DAO Smiths. One of my carry guns in a 2" M66!

I had a 99% Python for years occupying space in my safe, one of many "safe queens"! Shot it a few times. I could not fall in love with that trigger pull! It was a beautiful gun but not a shooter in my opinion. Yes, they can be properly timed and smoothed out but those gunsmiths are few and far between!

The short answer to your original question would be a S&W M686, do it now! Barrel length is dependent on your intended use, 6", target, range fun, 4", 3" 2" for carry. 686 SSR for action pistol competition!



Smiles,
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Exactly what i
the short answer to your original question would be a S&W M686, do it now! 686 SSR for action pistol competition!
Exactly the direction I needed. Thanks John!
 
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The advice you received is spot on. An older S&W revolver is the way to go. Full disclosure: I started out as a wheel-gunner and remain one at heart to this day. As for the Pythons, in my opinion, there's definitely a mystique there, but as I've often said: Pythons are for admiring, S&Ws are for shooting!! Seriously though, you need to gain experience with both before choosing one over the other (and spending the silly amounts of money asked these days) because I've found that more folks take easier to the S&Ws than the Pythons - empirical data to be sure, but it's based on many, many years of experience. Good luck on the hunt!!
 

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I moved this from General sub-forum to this Revolver sub-forum, as I think you'll get more variety of responses. I'm also an old revolver guy, and for DA/SA revolvers my opinion based on many years of experience is that the S&W revolvers are nicer to shoot than the old Colts were. Like havanajim said though, try to find someone with a Python and someone with a L or N frame S&W and find out which feels best to you, then decide.
 

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The Python action will never be as good as a tuned smith action. I have both and you can buy 2 older S&W's in good to great shape for the same price that you can buy a new Python for, if you can find one. The pre-lock S&W's are top notch. The L frame is about as good as it gets in my opinion.
 

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Like you I’ve been hunting for a really good revolver & I currently have a Dan Wesson 715 in my sights- problem is it only has one barrel mounted & no others in the case. Looked around a bit & not finding much availability for putting together my own “pistol pack”.
 

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The new 2020 Python is a totally different gun then the old Python that people claim are "weak".

The new Python shoots as accurately as the old one's and some seem to be even more accurate.
The action feel isn't the same as the Mark III through King Cobra either, it's better.

As for strength, the new Python is actually stronger then the Mark III through King Cobra.
Master gunsmith Jerry Kuhnhausen thought these older Colt's were the strongest medium framed revolvers ever made, and the new Python is even stronger.

The new Python ain't your dad's old Python, it's stronger, tougher, and just as accurate as the legendary original.
Don't sell it short.

If you compare a 2020 Python to a current production S&W made since the lock and use of MIM parts, the new Python comes out ahead.
If you can find an older S&W "L" frame like the 686 made with the old forged parts it will be very good, and can be great with some smart custom action work by someone who knows what's he's doing.
 

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For a DA revo grab a 686/627.

Fora SA revo grab a Freedom Arms 97/83.
 

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I am a S&W guy. Started shooting S&W revolvers in 1973. Shoot a variety of pre lock S&W revolvers but don't limit yourself. A 6" K-38 or Mod 19 is a wonderfully accurate revolver. A Mod 27 is considered the Cadillac of S&W .357 Magnums. A 6" Model 28 while not as pretty as a 27 will shoot every bit as well. The L Frame revolvers are stouter than the K Frame however you might find that you don't care for the under lug and additional weight. None are bad choices and only you will know what is right for you. For tromping around the hills I prefer my Mod 66-1 4". For hunting with a .357 I turn to my 6" Mod 27 or if I am in a blind the 8 3/8" version of the 27. I love them all.
 

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The answer is an N Frame (Large) S&W. I just recently took out this guy (mid 1960s model 27-2 in .357magnum) for the first time and it's my new favorite revolver. Certainly the most accurate "out of the box" revolver I own. You can't go wrong with a 25-2 or a 625 (.45 ACP). I shot a 625 once at the range- guy in the next lane offered it up and it was a tack driver. The .45ACP revolver also has the benefits of moon clips- which you'll hear people love or hate. I, personally love them. (People complain that you have to go buy moon clips and a moon clip loader if you want it to be easy to load them. Well, I just got a cap and ball revolver and the money I ended up spending on all the tools, powder, caps, molds, etc. was almost as much as the gun).

All of my S&W N Frame talk assumes Pre-Lock at a minimum, and preferably pinned barrel and (if a magnum) recessed chambers and you'll never lose money.
 

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The Colts are bad about getting out of time if you shoot them a lot. I've had a couple and they looked really good but ended up being safe queens, and were sold
I never owned a S&W revolver that did not shoot good. The trigger can easily be slicked up and the Miculek hammer spring kit will get the double action trigger pull in the 6-7lb range. It doesn't get much better than that. The stainless models are very easy to clean. I've had a couple of blued revolvers, but I was always scared of getting a scratch on one, thus they lived in the safe.
 
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As usual I'm the odd man out here. I say Ruger gp100 as I am a ruger fanboy. The gp100 is a stout gun that with a little work can be a great gun. On mine I replaced the springs with 1 step lighter wolff springs polished the internals and shimmed the hammer. Also sent out the cylinder to have all the throats reamed. The most expensive part was the cylinder @ $70 shipped both ways. Adding in springs and shims it was still only$100 on top of a $600 gun new. DA is just under 9lbs and smooth SA is 2lbs 8oz.

In my backyard I have an 8 inch steel plate at 60 yards and I can hit it all day long in DA.
 

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There are only two revolvers that I know of that can compete with the quality of the old Colt Pythons. The French Manurhin MR73 .357 magnum and the German Korth Combat .357 magnum. But, the Korth will cost you twice the price of an original Colt Python and the Manurhin is probably very close to the price of an original Python. It sounds like you want an item that is out of your price range. Also, not all Colt Pythons are equal.

The average Colt Python has a very good trigger/hammer double action that is very tight and very smooth. However, the few Colt Pythons that were made with the special Colt factory tuned action are fantastic. I had the opportunity to pull the trigger/ dry fire one with that special tuned action that was in a pawn shop back in the 80's. It was amazing. The D/A trigger pull was light (probably 3 to 4 lbs), buttery smooth to the point that the hammer went back and dropped as if the trigger and hammer were one solid piece. I have never handled another Colt Python with that specially tuned action. I bought a brand new one back in 1985 and just last year I bought a Python Elite with that Brite Stainless finish. Neither of my Pythons had that special tuned action.

My Brite Stainless Python.

597186
 

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If you compare a 2020 Python to a current production S&W made since the lock and use of MIM parts, the new Python comes out ahead.
First, the current generation of Smiths are better timed from the factory than any of the older guns. You may hate the lock, and no they don't polish them the same any more, but people forget that many of the old guns you buy used have been fixed already.

Second, most people I know who shoot double action exclusively prefer the Smiths. If you cock the hammer for every shot, it doesn't matter what you buy.

--
Pat Jones
Firestone CO
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks for all the feedback. I have really enjoyed reading the opinions and weight given to the guns but I've made a decision and picked up a SW 686-3. Excited to get it and see it in action.

One follow up question that's really hard for me to try to put it in to a question that's readily answerable: A "-3", was manufactured approximately in 1988. At this point in time, were these mass produced in an assembly line? Or were they allocated to specific G-smiths who finished each themselves? Is much of the internals MIM? I don't have a specific point I'm aiming for here. Just looking to know these guns better for this particular time period in SW history.

This is the actual gun being shipped out to me:
S2.JPG
 
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Congratulations. -3 just meant that it was the third change or revision. Not sure about MIM but a pre-lock 686 would be high on my list, too. A friend has one in 4" and I could not "feel" a noticeable difference between that and my 4" (N Frame) 28-2.
 
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