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need date on Python

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Hi All,
I have the chance to buy a Colt Python SN 43322, its got proper grips, great fit and finish w/ 95% blue remaining. Can someone confirm 1961 as the date of production?

Thanks,
Ty
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dfariswheel

dfariswheel,

This question may not be allowed by the mods. and if so I apologize now. I'll fire away and see what happens but I'm very interested in finding a nice used royal blued python with a 6" barrel. I have checked on GA and a few others and have found a couple that seem pretty nice but am weary of not being able to see them first hand. Any advice on where to look for one or someone you know you can trust? You seem to have good knowledge of this model Colt. Again, if this is frowned upon by the mods. I'm apologize. You can send me a private response if that's better.

Thanks,
NJ
 

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Pythons are where you find them. I never really found a source that specialized in them, and always had some.

I've never bought a gun online, but I used to regularly buy from the Shotgun News and the Gun List.

Gun shows are a possible source, but frankly, most of them that I attended were smaller, local shows, and what I saw were either over-priced, or worse, were someone's "Problem" that was being dumped on the next sucker.

I'd assume that you deal online in the same way: Try to buy from people who have been around a while, have a reputable reputation, and use credit cards or US Postal money orders.

The online number of sales feature on most auction and sales sites is a pretty good indicator that they've been around awhile and don't have a posse looking for them for fraud.

Always make sure there's an inspection period with a no-BS return policy.

Online you can at least see "something" versus buying sight-unseen from a print-form listing.

There were some sources I had good luck with, but I don't know if they are still around:

Harrison Carroll does Colt's-- 831-663-6486
http://www.harrisoncarroll.com/

Bedlan's-- 402-729-6112
http://www.bedlans.com/

George Weimer sometimes-- http://www.wimers.net/

Since virtually all guns up for sale these days are now listed online, I'd bite the bullet, be very careful, and buy a Python from a reputable online dealer.
 

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Swann,
Another thing to do when buying online is to email the seller and ask for their phone number and a suitable time to discuss the sale. It's no guarantee, but sometimes you can tell a BS artist just from talking to them. Ask for specific and detail pictures. With premium priced items like Pythons gather as much info as you can. An honest seller is usually glad to help you all they can to make the sale. If it's one of the auction sites that you find the Python on then check the sellers feedback and read what other buyers had to say about the seller.
Nothing is certain, but it does lower the odds of getting burnt on a unwanted purchase.
 

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dfariswheel & majic

Thanks for the help guys. I have found two Pythons that I like, both are pricey (over a grand!) but others that are lower priced seem to have a reason as to why (i.e. kinda rough in general) but still they are in the $600 to $800 range. One seems to have numerials only for the serial number (i.e. 75xxx) and the other seems to start with letters (i.e. CKxxx) is this right and if so, what does it indicate outside of the year made and would one be "better" than the other, everything else being equal? What I'm wanting out of this is a nice pistol that I can shoot frequently and still hand it down to my kids. Will the Python be durable and reliable? Even with the mag. loads? Also, one seller is a shop and one is an individual and both are pretty close in price. I know neither. Thanks again for all the help and advice! I certainly need it!

NJ
 

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Also....

...forgot to mention that both are suppose to have the box and papers with them. The individual's is from a private collection also. Does having the original box and paper work boost the price three or four hundred dollars? If your going to shoot it, would having those items with the pistol still be worth the $$$$? Like I said, I'm going to shoot it (plinking and target, no hunting or knocking around with it) and would like to shoot some mags. out of it also. Again, any advice would be helpful!

NJ
 

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The ORIGINAL box and all papers will boost the price by a few dollars, NOT $100.00 or up.

Note that there are "replica" end labels available that can be used to fake up a box as original, and there seem to be a AWFUL lot of Colt's being sold where the end flap on the box that has the label with serial number "just happens" to be missing.
"But it's the original box....trust me".
For a shooter, the box is a non-issue.

Python's from 1955 to 1969 had straight serial numbers.
After 1969, Colt started using letter and number combinations.

Serial numbers from 1969 to 1985 ran like this:
1969-75....E12345.
75-78...12345E
78...12345N and V12345.
79...V12345.
80....V12345, AL12345, LA12345, VA12345, K12345.
81-82-83...K12345.
83-86...T12345.

Any other serials are post 1986 so the "CK serial gun would be a fairly recent gun.
The 75XXX gun would have been made in 1968.

You can't buy a gun of any type based on what year it was made.
Great guns are made in "bad years" and crap is made in "good years".
You have to look at the individual gun and judge it on it's own merits.
Most people think the number-only earlier guns are better, with the 1969-75 "E" series also preferred.

LOOK at Pythons.
When you see one that looks good...BUY IT.

The Python is like an super-expensive Italian sports car.
You don't take a Ferrari off-roading, and you don't abuse a Python shooting it as hard and fast as you can jerk the trigger, or by force cocking the hammer by yanking on it hard.
It will not take the kind of abuse other, lesser guns will take.

Most of the stories about the "delicate" Python's action are due to unintentional abuse.
Treat it like you would a expensive precision instrument and you're great grand kids will be shooting it.

The use of Magnum ammo increases wear and tear on ANY gun, but the more massive Python frame and cylinder stand up quite well.
 

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I hate to keep taking up time with these same type questions but just trying to "get it right" the first time so to speak. Without being able to "hold them in my hands" until after a purchase (this is on-line type of purchase) and with them seemingly to be of equal quality and close in the price range, would you purchase one made in the 60's or one made in the 80's?

Thanks,
NJ
 

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Taking the plunge

Well I've decided on a '68 model python. It is a 6" blue model in very good shape. I haven't held the pistol yet, buying it on-line so there is some anxiety on my part about it being the "real deal" but everything seems to check out so far. When I get it and know more I'll check back in. I do have a question though and that is what needs to be done in order to take care of the blueing? I live in the south and it does get humid in the summer months and I do have a safe with a de-humidifier rod in it.

Thanks,
NJ
 

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The best treatment for a fine blued finish is to keep a THIN coat of CLP Breakfree on the metal.

CLP is one of the absolute best rust preventing lubes made, and is always at or very near the top of rust tests.

Shake the DICKENS out of the bottle to thoroughly mix the components, and put a few drops on a clean gun patch.

Wipe the metal to put a thin coat on it, then pitch the used patch.

Treated this way, you should never have to worry about rust, and the CLP will clean any old oil or dirt off the metal, and will make the Python shine.
 

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soon to be here!

Well my python should be in my FFL guy's shop tomorrow. Can't wait! dfariswheel or anyone else, what ammo would you suggest to run through it first? 38's or 357's? Lead or jacket? Of course I'll be sure it is in fine working order first but I really expect it to be and if it is, what would be a good suggested ammo to start off with? I have a couple of 44 mags and .45 acps so recoil shouldn't be an issue.

Thanks,
NJ
 

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What ammo really doesn't matter, but for a first time, I'd probably go with a 158 grain, hollow point or soft point.

The reason is, you want to see how it handles full power ammo, which will make it easier to spot any problems.

Later, you can shoot cheaper lead bullets, for which you should buy a Lewis Lead Remover.

To check it out throughly, here's my instructions on how to check the timing of a Python or other old-style Colt:

To check Colt timing:

BOLT RETRACTION AND "SNAP BACK".
Open the cylinder and look at the small "lug" in the bottom of the cylinder window. This is the cylinder locking bolt.

Cock the hammer, and watch as the bolt retracts into the frame and pops back out.

The bolt MUST begin to retract THE INSTANT the hammer begins to move.
There MUST be NO (ZERO) hammer movement possible before the bolt starts to retract.

The bolt should retract smoothly with no hesitation until it's fully retracted, then it MUST pop back out with a clean "snap".
There should be no hesitation, and no amount of "creeping" back out.

CYLINDER UNLOCKING.
Close the cylinder.
Use your left thumb or fore finger to again cock the hammer, closely watching the cylinder bolt as you SLOWLY cock the hammer.

As the hammer comes back, the bolt will retract away from the cylinder.

The bolt MUST retract far enough to unlock the cylinder BEFORE the cylinder begins to rotate.

If the bolt is still slightly engaged with the cylinder lock notch, the cylinder will be attempting to turn while still partially locked.

This produces a "catch" or "hard spot" in the trigger pull and will damage both the bolt and the cylinder lock notches.
This often appears as metal "pulled out" of the lock notches, with rounded off and burred notches.

BOLT DROP TIMING.
Continue to cock the hammer, laying your right index finger on the cylinder just enough to prevent "free wheeling".

Watch for the bolt to drop back onto the cylinder. WHERE the bolt drops is CRITICAL.

The bolt MUST drop onto the lead or ramp in front of the actual cylinder notch.
If the bolt drops too soon, (in front of the notch ramp), it will mar the finish of the cylinder.

The bolt SHOULD drop into the MIDDLE 1/3rd section of the ramp.

If the bolt drops late, (farther toward the actual locking notch) the revolver may display "cylinder throw-by".
In this condition, during double action shooting the cylinder may rotate PAST the locking notch, and fire in an unlocked condition.

It's the nature of the Colt action, that a hesitant or jerky trigger pull by the user can induce throw-by in even a properly tuned Colt.
The Colt trigger should be pulled with a smooth, even pull, with no sudden jerks at the beginning.

CYLINDER LOCKUP.
Continue to pull the hammer back and both watch and listen for the bolt to drop into the cylinder lock notch.

The bolt MUST drop into the actual lock notch BEFORE the hammer reaches full cock.

The most common Colt mis-time situation is the hammer cocks before the bolt drops into the lock notch. (Hammer is cocked, but cylinder isn't locked).

In this condition, with the hammer fully cocked, you can push the cylinder slightly, and you will hear the "CLICK" as the bolt drops into lock.

In my experience, most Colt's leave the factory with the bolt dropping a little late into the lead, but usually wear in to correct timing.

If the bolt drops onto the cylinder early, no real problem, but there will be extra finish wear.

If the bolt drops late (closer to the lock notch) the cylinder may "throw by" or rotate TOO far in double action and this can cause off-center primer hits and firing while unlocked.

Each of these checks should be done on EACH chamber. All of these checks are better done individually. In other words, do the bolt retraction check on all six chambers, then do the bolt drop test, and so on.

A properly tuned Colt will:
Have a smoothly functioning bolt with no sticky or hesitant movement.

Unlock before the cylinder begins to turn.

The bolt will drop onto the middle 1/3rd of the ramp.

The bolt will drop into the lock notch before the hammer reaches full cock.

Have a smooth trigger pull, which does "stack" or get heavier as the trigger is pulled..
 

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dfariswheel

Got it! Man is it a good looking revolver! The guys at the shop were really digging it, especially the older ones. I have been through your check list and it seems to pass every one fine. My only question is on the bolt and the hammer locking. With mine it seems that the bolt locks into the cylinder lock notch at the exact same time the hammer locks into place. Is this O.K.? And the bolt does seem to come into the ramp a bit before the middle 1/3 but it is "in" the ramp when it makes contact, not before the ramp or on the cylinder itself. Am I correct to assume that both of this are O.K. and it is in time?
I can't wait to shoot it. Bought a box of .38's (130 grain full metal jacket) and .357's (158 grain jacketed soft point) American Eagle brand. One guy at the store (he's LEO) said if I wanted a self defense load for it to go with the Cor-Bon's 110 grain jacketed hollow points. Would those be alright to shoot in it? Even a few times just to get the feel for it if I did decide to use it some as a home defense weapon?

Thanks again for all of your help!
NJ
 

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Timing sounds fine.
As long as the bolt drops into the cylinder locking notch with or just before the hammer reaches full cock, you're OK.

The bolt dropping slightly early is also NO problem.

I'd be careful of the lighter bullet Magnum loads.
The most effective of all the Magnum ammo in police use was the 125 grain, jacketed hollow-point.

They got a reputation for causing erosion and even cracking of S&W forcing cones, when the police started shooting ONLY full-charge Magnums, even for practice.

For range shooting, I'd use either standard .38 Special, the +P .38 Special, or the 158 grain Magnum loads, just to take it easy on the gun.

For "business" use, I've always used the Remington 125 Magnum loads in my Python, since these were pretty well proven to be the best load "on the street", in actual police shootings.
 

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Holster & Speed loader?

What is a suggestion for a holster for my blued 6" Python? One that will be the least wear on the gun? Not planning on CCW or anything but just for random times that I would like to holster it. Speed loader advice? Brand and place to look for them? I love the Python! A true blast to shoot! A well made handgun for sure! Thanks for the help and advice as always!

NJ
 
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