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Posted: 8/10/2001 11:26:47 AM EDT
Sorry to put this on AR15.com, but I can't find the answer anywhere on the internet. I'm looking for information on a newly acquired blued 4" Python. The serial # is K45***. I want to know when it was made. Does anyone know or know of a website with the information? Also, I'm interested in the value. It is in almost perfect shape. Just a faint line in the cylinder and some blueing wear on the back face of the cylinder. Other than that is is about perfect. Any idea on the value? I bought it for what I think was a good deal and I'm wondering why the store let it go for so little. It does not look like a re-blue job. All lines are distinctly visible. Ideas? Email @ ba291@home.com . Thanks. BR
Link Posted: 8/10/2001 12:54:19 PM EDT
Contact Colt's page, I think they will tell you. They might not even charge you. You can at least determine the range of what year of production it is by whether the letter precedes the number or is after the number. I am at the office now so I can't remember what I figured on mine or how except that it was early 1970s production. I don't remember where I found this out, either. Somewhere on the web. Some help I am, huh? But hey, I am trying. As to value, in the condition you describe, probably $600 up. How much did you pay? Email me and later I will try to give you an idea based on the two Pythons I have access to and how far from yours their serial number is.
Link Posted: 8/10/2001 1:14:51 PM EDT
Per Wilson's "Colt: An American Legend" your Python was made in 1981.
Link Posted: 8/10/2001 6:16:47 PM EDT
Python I had hated hot loads. I had a hard time trying to eject them from the cylinder. Best looking wheel gun I ever owned though!
Link Posted: 8/10/2001 6:42:29 PM EDT
Thanks For the info guys. I paid $410 plus tax for the thing and I'm wondering why a shop would let it go for that low. It looks beautiful. Is the book "Colt: An American Legend" available or out of print? I looked in a few gun stores for some reading material on Colt's, Brownings etc. today. I guess I need to look at a gun show. Funny about it being 1981 though. I recently got my hands on a nice Hi Power (also in the same price range) and it is a 1981 also. Do you guys know if 1981 was a good time for production quality for Pythons? Would the wood grips I got with it probably be original? They look like any other Python wood grips I have seen. It came with rubber "Colt" grips on it and the wood ones in the box. Thanks for any more info.. Brian
Link Posted: 8/10/2001 7:00:20 PM EDT
Original wood grips should have the gold colt emblem on each w/ checkering.
Link Posted: 8/10/2001 7:15:22 PM EDT
Is this Python a 357mag or is it a very desireable 38 spcl made for a rather short run?
Link Posted: 8/11/2001 7:31:18 AM EDT
It is a .357 and the wood grips have the emblem. I'm still curious to see if anyone knows of a website dedicated to or at least partially dedicated to the Python. Historical facts and such. Thanks again for everyones help. Brian
Link Posted: 8/11/2001 11:28:25 AM EDT
Here's an email I got when I was researching on if I should buy a Python : The Python is traditionally one of the true "Cadillacs" (we don't use that term much any more to indicate top-drawer quality, do we?) of the gun world. You can (already did? ) figure out much of what is nice about a Python from handling it -- the triggers are typically wonderful, and for many people the fit and balance are also wonderful -- just the same way I feel about my 228s . It is also a very accurate revolver when in good repair because (unique among revolver locks, to my knowledge) the hand engages the rear of the cylinder right up through the moment of discharge. This means that the cylinder is precisely positioned, and positioned in precisely the same place, relative to the forcing cone. However! -- the lock itself is not as strong as an N-frame, and if you shoot alot of full-house loads, you will wear the hand and lose some of the potential accuracy. This is not fatal, but you'd need a good (and I mean GOOD) gunsmith to fit a new hand if you wanted to restore the full potential accuracy of the lock. I shoot mine mostly with .38 Sp-equivalent target loads for this reason...it's not a carry or hunting gun, so that doesn't bother me at all. I load these into .357 Mag cases to avoid putting carbon rings into the cylinder walls, btw. I used to know a little more about the years than I do now. I think the '85 falls in the "strike years" at Colt. During a fairly long period in the mid-80s, IIRC, the Colt unionized employees were on strike. The custom shop was not unionized, and Pythons (and others) were assembled by custom shop staff. This sounds like a great thing, but in my personal experience it does not necessarily guarantee a "custom" level assembly and fitting job. In fact, mine had to go back to the factory at least once because the timing was off. I have no idea what Colt's labor relations and quality issues were in 1992; maybe someone else does? Since you have two to compare, and since generalizations don't really prove how a *specific* revolver functions, I would compare the two you've got carefully. One little prejudice. I bought mine in "Ultimate" SS, but I actually think this was possibly the worst choice. The Ultimate (highly polished) Pythons, at least in that period, were polished after all the stamping was done, and the polishers did not use care to avoid washing out the stamping, so it is not as crisp as the blued Pythons or the matte SS. I think in later years the polishing was better done (maybe because the custom shop folks had no polishing training?). It is also sometimes felt that the carbon steel Pythons are smoother than the SS versions -- you can make up your own mind on that. If I were buying a Python (or any revolver), I would check the following things, in addition to all the usual. If I weren't really sure that I knew what I was doing, or if the dealer isn't going to stand behind the purchase 100%, I'd get a qualified professional gunsmith's opinion first. Since you've got two to compare, so much the better -- compare and buy the one that is in better tune. (Continued next entry)
Link Posted: 8/11/2001 11:29:28 AM EDT
(continued from previous post) First, I'd check the triggers, SA and especially DA: which is smoother, lighter, stacks less on the DA pull? Second, I'd cock it and gently try to rotate the cylinder clockwise and counterclockwise, which will tell you whether there's wear in the hand. This is most likely not a safety problem, just a question of whether it's likely to live up to its potential accuracy without needing some work. It should be tight, ideally with zero movement. Third, I would check for fore and aft play in the cylinder and check the flash gap; less is better. Fourth, I would check to make sure that (a) the crane isn't sprung or bent. Is the crane tight against the frame when locked, or is there a gap? If you push gently on the cylinder, does it move much away from the frame? Bear in mind that Colts lock only at the rear...I have never thought this was a big disadvantage vs. S&Ws, but there are plenty of clowns out there who like to do the movie thing with revolvers -- snap the cylinder open with a flick of the wrist -- and this will bend the crane and can wreck accuracy and even (at the far end) safety.
Link Posted: 8/11/2001 11:30:38 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/11/2001 11:54:15 AM EDT by Striker]
Here's another one: For all intents and purposes, the Python was Colt's flagship for most of the 1980s and 1990s...I don't think you could go wrong on either gun. If it were me, I'd go for whichever gun felt the smoothest and showed the least wear. I'd have them both checked out by a local gunsmith, if possible, for such things as lock-up (when the hammer is cocked, how loose is the cylinder?) and play in the cylinder when it's open. The Python is pretty much bullet-proof, even if it has been fed a steady diet of maxed out .357s (unlike the S&W K-frames, which suffer under such poundings). Thge late 1980s and early 1990s were transitional years for the gun industry. Some of the mid-1980s guns (such as the Gov't Model) really sucked, as they were built on antique machinery. These days, I Editor of GUNGAMES magazine (our website is[url]www.gungames.com[/url]); also, take a look at my friend Dane Burns' new site,[url]www.gunrag.com[/url], which has some of the top self-defense trainers in the country writing for it.
Link Posted: 8/11/2001 11:35:00 AM EDT
And another . . . . A Python is perhaps the most precision made pistol on the market. A used one should be next to flawless. Cock the hammer and let it all the way down with your thumb while pullilng the trigger. With the trigger still depressed, see if you can get much slop in the cylinder. With the trigger depressed, the cylinder lockup will be at its tightest. A Python should be almost air tight, with hardly any noticable slop. Check all the chambers. Cock the gun hard on each cylinder to see if the stop lever engages each chamber properly, not allowing the cylinder to turn past propper alignment. Also: sometimes one of the advancement cams will be defective and won't work as well on one cylinder Look at how the frame comes together between the two pistols; Pythons have a tight fit. Which one is best? Which one has the best bluing left? How do the sights look? and do they look tampered with? How do the assembly screws look on the pistols? How does the Python fit your hand. I have always had a great deal of trouble in this area with a Python, and have never really been able to solve the problem completely. Which of the two has the best grips FOR YOUR HAND? Remember, if the other gun checks out the best of the two, you can always purchase the same grip most likely for it. The person selling might even be talked into trading the grips over to the one you like the best. Under double-action fire which is the smoothest? Again, don't dryfire it but control the hammer drop with your thumb. As you work the guns action, which sounds the best? No squeeks, and it should sound very precise, crisp, and cleen. Check for total operation including opening the cylinder and ejection, etc. Which gun looks generally the best cared for? Don't forget to inspect the rifling... I have owned two Pythons; one of which I still have. Odd, but I have almost the same gun in a 44-Magnum Kodiak and its grip fits and works in my hand perfectly. It may be due to a slight change in balance as the cylinder is considerably heavier in the Kodiak.
Link Posted: 8/11/2001 12:18:52 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/11/2001 2:15:31 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/13/2001 6:33:13 PM EDT by Stronghorn]
Striker, your Python was made in the mid-70's. I have one in the same range made in 1975. The best ones are those without a letter pre-fix or suffix, just a number. I have one made in 1964 and the quality walks all over my 1975 and 1981 model. Yes I have three of them, I'm a python nut 4" blue, 6" blue and 4" Colt royal electroless nickle (my beater).
Link Posted: 8/11/2001 2:24:37 PM EDT
Anyone seen the Python Hunter.......i was lucky to get the one my Dad had in his gunshop when he died.....it is one sweet revolver
Link Posted: 8/11/2001 2:26:31 PM EDT
and another from Chuck Taylor - email me if you want a copy of the article he refers to: Attached is a copy of the original manuscript of the Python article. No pics, however, since they were B&W prints sent with captions to the publisher along with the 'script. I don't use telescopes on hunting handguns (am somewhat of a purist and the eyes are stil holding out...so far!), and so can't really recommend any kind of handgun glass to you. The Python, like any other good quality DA revolver, can benefit from a good action tuneup, smoothing and so on, but without substantially reducing the power of any of its springs. Removal of sharp edges from various places on it, rounding, narrowing and smoothing of the front of the trigger face and a good corrosion/wear resistant finish are all recommended. As for stocks, the factory ones are relatively useless for combat work, but adequate for general field carry and shooting, but some kind of custom type would be better. Just don't let them be too large. The 4-inch really doesn't generate enough velocity to expect terrific JHP expansion, so I prefer to handload, my two most useful loads of this type being in the mid-1300 fps bracket, but very accurate and as effective as a .357 can be for medium game. However, they DO recoil and muzzle flash is quite noticeable. Crimp is medium. 1. Hornady XTP 140-grain JHP, 16.0-grs. #2400 -- magnum primer. 2. Cast from linotype Keith SWC (Lyman mold #358421; Bullet comes out at about 159 grs. although rated with #2 alloy at 170-grs.), 15.0-grs. #2400 -- magnum primer. For small game, I use anyone's 110-gr. JHP and 18.0-grs. of #2400 with magnum primer. Velocities are in the high 1400 fps bracket and blow heck out of small critters but with relatively light recoil. Muzzle blast, though, is pronounced. Hope have been of some help. Warmest regards, Chuck Taylor
Link Posted: 8/11/2001 2:29:16 PM EDT
And finally, this gentleman was able to let me know what year of mfg. my Python's serial number corresponded to: UserPeter34@cs.com Don't know if it is still a valid address, though.
Link Posted: 8/11/2001 4:32:24 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/11/2001 6:18:26 PM EDT
Striker,, glad I could help. The Python has and always will be my favorite handgun. I've kept pretty good track of the changes and models up to around 1985. The quality took such a dive after that, as far as finish and actions.
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