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Old 09-01-2017, 11:45 AM
xfarfuldog xfarfuldog is offline
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I am a retired police officer. I started out with a model 19 Smith and quali quickly changed to a 4" Python. My department eventually changed to autos and I carried a Sig. I am now 66 and will probably work until I am 70. I work for an armored car company and carry a 40 M&P.

I am starting to get arthritis in my hands and the 40 hurts to shoot. We will be changing to a 9 mm soon. I have a Sig, Beretta, Glocks, and a Shield in autos. I also have my original Python and a no dash and dash 1 686's.

I like shooting the Python the best. The 686's are fine. It not as good as the Python. As I get older I think I will have trouble with the slides on the autos. I may reduce my collection to 1 gun. If I keep and use the Python, will it hold up? I have owned it for over 30 years, only go shooting once a month and generally shoot 38 special.
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Old 09-01-2017, 11:49 AM
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If I was a betting person I would bet the farm that the Python will last longer than you. Larry
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Old 09-01-2017, 12:07 PM
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All the dirt talk about the Python not being able to hold up to 357 magnums is such a crock by the haters and fan boys of other makers.
Yeah if a Python owner shoots their gun tens of thousands of times it just might wear out or get out of timing. But guess what, so will probably any other revolvers made from the same time. For crying out loud the Python was made specially to withstand the 357 magnum pressures. People need get off their hate wagons.

I have a 4" Python made back in 1968 and it shows holster wear so it wasn't a safe queen. Surprise and again surprise it is still timed perfectly and not worn out. Yeah Pythons are such junk yet they are selling for 10 times what they cost new. The Python isn't an Edsel.

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Old 09-01-2017, 12:16 PM
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I had a '75 colt Python 6" barrel in 357mag. I was reloading stout 357 magnum rounds looking for an accurate load. I loaded every bullet weight at the time. The Python seen more than the average heavy use. I used the same rounds in the ruger police service six too. The Python was still in excellent condition when I traded it in. I was dumb at the time figuring I could replace it down the road. The colt Python was the best 357 magnum revolver I ever had. I chose it over the s&w m19 because there's no screws to come loose and it didn't hammer itself apart like the m19 did with magnum loads. It's not a rumor the m19 couldn't take a steady diet of magnum loads.

My most accurate load was the Speer 140gr JHP with 2400 powder with a small magnum primer. She could make pin point shots on the berm at 100 yards with the Python.

Last edited by BigBill; 09-01-2017 at 12:19 PM.
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Old 09-01-2017, 12:19 PM
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As already mentioned the stories of Python failure is way overblown.

Way back when, the Python was the issue gun here as well. Unfortunately been counters caused a switch to the Smith and Wesson model 66


I know I need to reshoot this old photo, I used film

The Ultimate Stainless snubby has a Walt Sherman roller bearing action. I was intending to get into PPC Snubby competitions with it. Still own and shoot both of them to this day.

Enjoy the revolver if it ever needs service then fix it. Hundreds of thousands (or more) of Pythons are out there, we hear of only a handfull of these "timing horror stories"

Let's face it, no matter what the product in this day of Internet it is easy to find a dozen+ folks that had a problem with it.

I never understood the mindset of not using something because it might wear out or break. Would we stop driving our cars so that we did not have to buy tires or fix brakes?
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Old 09-01-2017, 12:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBill View Post
My most accurate load was the Speer 140gr JHP with 2400 powder with a small magnum primer. She could make pin point shots on the berm at 100 yards with the Python.
Was that the OLD Speer bullet that looked like a SWC with a 1/2 Jacket on it?

I loved those in both 357 and 41 Magnums. I have about 1200 of the 41s remaining
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Old 09-01-2017, 12:32 PM
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I have a '75 model shooter that I really like, about 2000
rds thru. Mostly 38 tho. Not to steal your post, but for comparison, I had a Diamondback, D frame that I put 13000 rds thru. Nothing ever broke and timing was spot on. Wish I'd kept it!
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Old 09-01-2017, 12:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xfarfuldog View Post
I may reduce my collection to 1 gun. If I keep and use the Python, will it hold up?
Since any firearm you own may require service at some point, might as well also keep your second favorite choice as a backup.
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Old 09-01-2017, 03:43 PM
xfarfuldog xfarfuldog is offline
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I am considering buying a second Python. I have no idea how many rounds are through it. I was a state and department firearms instructor for many years. My gun was used to demonstrate exercises for our department and basic police academy. Never a problem.

About 4 years ago I sold my stainless Python as well as my Magnum Carry. I really miss both of them. It will be hard to replace them at today's prices.
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Old 09-01-2017, 04:33 PM
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Your Python will hold up just fine. No worries.

First up, someone mentioned the Python was specifically made to handle 357mag pressures. That's not exactly true.

The modern medium framed Colt was the E frame, and designed for the 41 colt and 38spl cartridges. That's all it ever was until Colt realized their folly of ignoring the 357mag round. So they took the E frame and gave it special treating to make stronger. The result was the I frame Colt 3-5-7, then shortly after the Python. The only difference between the two frames is the firing pin location and the heat treating, all other parts are still largely compatible.

As long as you shoot standard pressure ammo, problems will not arise for a long time. By design, the only part that should require attention after high round counts is the hand, which is still easily serviceable today. However, start shooting over pressure loads and watch you gun begin to wear apart.

The only exceptions to this reliability would be a poorly built factory example, or a used example already with issue. Once you get into '70s production and beyond, poor factory builds are very possible, and of course almost all Pythons on the market are used. So there is reason to be cautious. However, when properly built and properly examined for quality before purchasing, they are a great and dependable guns.

The only other caution I have against "strength" is on later Pythons that got the newer cylinder assembly, so '76 and newer. I just don't feel the new assembly holds up well to magnum loads, and I will never buy one with the newer style. There is a reason why Colt switched their smaller D frames to the newer cylinder assembly in the mid '60s but NOT the magnum I frame. I firmly believe the only reason they eventually did adopt it in the I frame was to allow quicker production at a cheaper cost, as it wasn't coincidence this change took place right at the beginning of peak production where half of all 650K Pythons produced were made during a 7yr period. ('75-'81)

Last edited by iPac; 09-01-2017 at 05:00 PM.
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Old 09-01-2017, 04:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xfarfuldog View Post
I am considering buying a second Python. I have no idea how many rounds are through it. I was a state and department firearms instructor for many years. My gun was used to demonstrate exercises for our department and basic police academy. Never a problem.

About 4 years ago I sold my stainless Python as well as my Magnum Carry. I really miss both of them. It will be hard to replace them at today's prices.
Given the Colt snake market and prices nowadays, unless you have a lot of disposable money and don't mind paying more than something is worth, you might want to find a similar S&W. I know a S&W doesn't have the action of a Colt V spring, but unless you're super anal about action designs like I am, a S&W is the way to go.

Especially if you're looking for a STS example. They were the cheapest to produce and finish at the factory, that's why they replaced nickel guns. Yet they are the most sought after and expensive Pythons today. This STS fad was initiated because STS and BSTS models are the easiest to buff/polish back to 99% thus increasing profit by 100s if not 1000s%.

The Colt market is a joke, with Colt specializing online dealers laughing all the way to the bank. If you are serious about buying another one and want to bring your A game, send me a PM and I will share my Python buying guide with you. It's 29 pages with photo references that covers everything you need to know. I even include a digital copy of the Jerry K shop manual as you can't become proficient or expert without having a thorough understanding of mechanics. I've been extensively studying Colt V spring models for years, mainly the Python.

Last edited by iPac; 09-01-2017 at 05:06 PM.
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Old 09-01-2017, 04:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gman51 View Post
All the dirt talk about the Python not being able to hold up to 357 magnums is such a crock by the haters and fan boys of other makers.
Yeah if a Python owner shoots their gun tens of thousands of times it just might wear out or get out of timing. But guess what, so will probably any other revolvers made from the same time. For crying out loud the Python was made specially to withstand the 357 magnum pressures. People need get off their hate wagons.

I have a 4" Python made back in 1968 and it shows holster wear so it wasn't a safe queen. Surprise and again surprise it is still timed perfectly and not worn out. Yeah Pythons are such junk yet they are selling for 10 times what they cost new. The Python isn't an Edsel.
Don't be bashing Edsels either.

All joking aside I wish I owned a Python, passed on several over the years. Don't have to own one though to appreciate fine machinery. If it was me, I would carry it, I am not much of a collector.

As for racking the slide there are accessories that make racking easier. 1911 enclosed recoil spring gives it the ability to be racked using a flat surface edge. Certain sights also can be used for racking the slide. Honestly with a well made semi auto racking the slide is not much of an issue. I would go to a BUG before I would ever mess with clearing a semi in the face of threat. Sorry but I just realized that the 1911 won't go back far enough using the spring plug, but it will using the small part of the slide just above, or the bushing itself against a flat surface.

So my advice, for what it is worth, carry the Python, and a BUG.

Last edited by Walkingwolf; 09-01-2017 at 05:35 PM.
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Old 09-01-2017, 04:54 PM
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My Dad's New Service .357 from 1938/39 served him well for over 40 years as both a duty gun and centerfire bullseye gun ( King sights and action) and another decade around the cabin in retirement.......I still have it and it still works!!!!

79 years young!

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Old 09-01-2017, 05:15 PM
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Pythons are great revolvers. I still have several and cherish them. The one piece of advice is to put some lube (oil or grease or whatever) on both stages of the hand or pawl and also on the star or ratchet. A little bit of lube there will help it to still be running great many years from now.
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Old 09-01-2017, 06:21 PM
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As noted above, frequent use will result in wear to the hand. The hand is a standard maintenance item and should be checked periodically and replaced if necessary.

Would it keep me from using a Python? Absolutley not.

Should the time come that you need to replace the hand, I can highly recommend Frank Glenn. He did a great job on a pair of Colt "357"s for me.

See post #2 from this thread for how to check out a Colt DA: Educate Me On Colt DAs | The High Road
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Old 09-01-2017, 06:34 PM
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The only problem with the Python is that when one eventually gets out of tune, it's rough to find a gunsmith who knows how to treat the old leaf-spring Colt actions. Easy to find smiths that can work on Smiths and 1911s, but Colt revolvers are now just rare enough that knowledgeable smiths are few and far between.

The one Python I own is supremely smooth with no post-factory work, although I have a Nelson Ford-tuned S&W 625 .45 ACP that comes darn close. I don't use the Python but rarely, while the 625 is used fairly often with no fear.

John



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Old 09-01-2017, 11:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iPac View Post
Given the Colt snake market and prices nowadays, unless you have a lot of disposable money and don't mind paying more than something is worth, you might want to find a similar S&W. I know a S&W doesn't have the action of a Colt V spring, but unless you're super anal about action designs like I am, a S&W is the way to go.

Especially if you're looking for a STS example. They were the cheapest to produce and finish at the factory, that's why they replaced nickel guns. Yet they are the most sought after and expensive Pythons today. This STS fad was initiated because STS and BSTS models are the easiest to buff/polish back to 99% thus increasing profit by 100s if not 1000s%.

The Colt market is a joke, with Colt specializing online dealers laughing all the way to the bank. If you are serious about buying another one and want to bring your A game, send me a PM and I will share my Python buying guide with you. It's 29 pages with photo references that covers everything you need to know. I even include a digital copy of the Jerry K shop manual as you can't become proficient or expert without having a thorough understanding of mechanics. I've been extensively studying Colt V spring models for years, mainly the Python.
Sir, I would like more info on Pythons also. Would you be willing to send me your Python buying guide too? Thank you, Waldo.
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Old 09-01-2017, 11:31 PM
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My 58 Edsel and my Pythons all function fine. But too pricy nowadays to be used on a day to day basis.
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Old 09-02-2017, 01:18 AM
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I bought a pre-owned Python in 1985 and have shot at least two thousand rounds over the years, a mix of .357 Magnum and .38 Special loads and a good old friend of mine liked it and borrowed it for a couple of years, adding about two to three thousand more shots to the round-count.

The Python is still tight and still has excellent timing and I feel confident that it is good for at least 20,000 more .38 S&W Specials.

So, go ahead and enjoy the Python again but should you have the slightest doubt, hang on to one S&W 686, they are fine guns, too.
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Old 09-04-2017, 11:57 AM
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For the python and my ruger to hold up to my magnum reload bashing they have to be made from a better quality steel.
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Old 09-04-2017, 12:28 PM
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I guess I'm swimming upstream......I have a 6" from Colt's custom shop(1980)....I still prefer my Smiths to it......
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Old 09-04-2017, 04:31 PM
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The Python story.
Colt Python: A Complete History
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Old 09-04-2017, 05:36 PM
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I always wanted a Python but the realities of a mortgage and kids got in the way when bumped up against a cops salary. My first off duty was a Colt Cobra, purchased new in 1968 for $85, a lot of money then. I still own that Cobra, shoot it often, and it has not worn out yet.
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Old 09-05-2017, 08:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colt_saa View Post
Was that the OLD Speer bullet that looked like a SWC with a 1/2 Jacket on it?

I loved those in both 357 and 41 Magnums. I have about 1200 of the 41s remaining
The Speer 38cal 140gr JHP bullets I load were round nose hollow points. I buy them every chance I get the 140gr JHP in any brand to load.

I still have a few boxes of the orginal reloads to try in my m28 & m 27-2.
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Old 09-05-2017, 09:56 PM
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Speer did make available for reloading .38 Special or .357 Magnum, a 146 grain jacketed hollow point. The catalogue/item number was 4205. It was shaped like the semi-wadcutter bullets you see today. The side of the bullet was copper jacketed. The nose portion was lead.

Speer reloading manual number 9 warned not to drop below the velocities listed in the .38 Special data as there could be core/jacket
separation.

I recall reading magazine articles of the day that this was a very effective round. This was based upon the premise that if the exposed lead did not expand, then the blunt shape of the exposed lead nose would cut a wider wound channel compared to a lead round nosed bullet. I can't speak from experience, I'm only parroting what was popular thinking at the time, i.e. late 70's/early 80's.

Apologies for the thread drift.

JPJ
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Old 09-05-2017, 10:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigwheelzip View Post
Since any firearm you own may require service at some point, might as well also keep your second favorite choice as a backup.
I nominate your choice of the 686's as the backup.
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Old 09-05-2017, 11:58 PM
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When I was a young man, a fellow wanted me to sell several handguns for him. One of which was an absolutely mint 6" blue Python, serial #599, and I did manage to sell it for the princely sum of $450.00!
If only I knew then what I know now!
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Old 09-06-2017, 06:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike, SC Hunter View Post
I guess I'm swimming upstream......I have a 6" from Colt's custom shop(1980)....I still prefer my Smiths to it......
You are not alone...........................

My Dad loved his New Service..... but give me a S&W any day for it's grip frame and action!
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Old 09-06-2017, 07:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iPac View Post
Your Python will hold up just fine. No worries.

First up, someone mentioned the Python was specifically made to handle 357mag pressures. That's not exactly true.

The modern medium framed Colt was the E frame, and designed for the 41 colt and 38spl cartridges. That's all it ever was until Colt realized their folly of ignoring the 357mag round. So they took the E frame and gave it special treating to make stronger. The result was the I frame Colt 3-5-7, then shortly after the Python. The only difference between the two frames is the firing pin location and the heat treating, all other parts are still largely compatible.

As long as you shoot standard pressure ammo, problems will not arise for a long time. By design, the only part that should require attention after high round counts is the hand, which is still easily serviceable today. However, start shooting over pressure loads and watch you gun begin to wear apart.

The only exceptions to this reliability would be a poorly built factory example, or a used example already with issue. Once you get into '70s production and beyond, poor factory builds are very possible, and of course almost all Pythons on the market are used. So there is reason to be cautious. However, when properly built and properly examined for quality before purchasing, they are a great and dependable guns.

The only other caution I have against "strength" is on later Pythons that got the newer cylinder assembly, so '76 and newer. I just don't feel the new assembly holds up well to magnum loads, and I will never buy one with the newer style. There is a reason why Colt switched their smaller D frames to the newer cylinder assembly in the mid '60s but NOT the magnum I frame. I firmly believe the only reason they eventually did adopt it in the I frame was to allow quicker production at a cheaper cost, as it wasn't coincidence this change took place right at the beginning of peak production where half of all 650K Pythons produced were made during a 7yr period. ('75-'81)

Good to know.

I had 3 built from 1968 to 1974.

Wonderful guns and the Blue was amazing. However, where I live, there aren't any high level gunsmiths. I'd have to ship them out to Cylinder and Slide. My brother in law coveted my 4" Python. I had an 8" and 6" also. Eventually I sold the 8" since it was too front heavy.

When I got into S&W and Ruger revolvers, I started preferring them on my Colt. I preferred the Smith action and I preferred the higher round count (586 PC L-Comp 7 shot and 627 PC 8 shot). I felt like the Python had been outdated. Plus I shot my Smiths more accurately at 25 yards.

So I gifted my 4" Python to my brother in law. I sold my 6" Python and bought a Smith 500.

I shot only 357 Magnums in 158 and 125 grains in my 357 Magnums. Then again, nowadays, I prefer much larger Magnums.

The OP with have no issues with just 38 specials.




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Last edited by CDR_Glock; 09-06-2017 at 07:04 AM.
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Old 09-06-2017, 07:32 AM
S&WsRsweet S&WsRsweet is offline
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You could do a lot worse than a 4 inch Python as a 1 handgun option ,but I would second tne idea of keeping the 686 it is a fine gun in its own right and if thevPython ever needed work your 686 would be waiting and ready.
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Old 09-08-2017, 10:59 PM
Topsarge Topsarge is offline
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I am a retired police officer. I started out with a model 19 Smith and quali quickly changed to a 4" Python. My department eventually changed to autos and I carried a Sig. I am now 66 and will probably work until I am 70. I work for an armored car company and carry a 40 M&P.

I am starting to get arthritis in my hands and the 40 hurts to shoot. We will be changing to a 9 mm soon. I have a Sig, Beretta, Glocks, and a Shield in autos. I also have my original Python and a no dash and dash 1 686's.

I like shooting the Python the best. The 686's are fine. It not as good as the Python. As I get older I think I will have trouble with the slides on the autos. I may reduce my collection to 1 gun. If I keep and use the Python, will it hold up? I have owned it for over 30 years, only go shooting once a month and generally shoot 38 special.
I'm a retired Sgt. I carried a 6" Python as my duty weapon. Held up for a long time. Best revolver I've ever shot. It will outlast you and many more. Feel confident with it.
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Old 09-08-2017, 11:39 PM
Richard M Richard M is offline
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Given the Colt snake market and prices nowadays, unless you have a lot of disposable money and don't mind paying more than something is worth, you might want to find a similar S&W. I know a S&W doesn't have the action of a Colt V spring, but unless you're super anal about action designs like I am, a S&W is the way to go.

Especially if you're looking for a STS example. They were the cheapest to produce and finish at the factory, that's why they replaced nickel guns. Yet they are the most sought after and expensive Pythons today. This STS fad was initiated because STS and BSTS models are the easiest to buff/polish back to 99% thus increasing profit by 100s if not 1000s%.

The Colt market is a joke, with Colt specializing online dealers laughing all the way to the bank. If you are serious about buying another one and want to bring your A game, send me a PM and I will share my Python buying guide with you. It's 29 pages with photo references that covers everything you need to know. I even include a digital copy of the Jerry K shop manual as you can't become proficient or expert without having a thorough understanding of mechanics. I've been extensively studying Colt V spring models for years, mainly the Python.
Last year a friend told me he was selling his dad's old 6" Python for $600 and if I wanted it. I didn't have the money and told him it was worth at least double. He didn't believe me and took it to a gun show that weekend. He was offered and took $800 before he walked past the first table. Before he left the show, 3 hours later, he found out the guy sold it for $2000.
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Old 09-09-2017, 12:09 AM
shawn mccarver shawn mccarver is offline
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Originally Posted by xfarfuldog View Post
I am a retired police officer. I started out with a model 19 Smith and quali quickly changed to a 4" Python. My department eventually changed to autos and I carried a Sig. I am now 66 and will probably work until I am 70. I work for an armored car company and carry a 40 M&P.

I am starting to get arthritis in my hands and the 40 hurts to shoot. We will be changing to a 9 mm soon. I have a Sig, Beretta, Glocks, and a Shield in autos. I also have my original Python and a no dash and dash 1 686's.

I like shooting the Python the best. The 686's are fine. It not as good as the Python. As I get older I think I will have trouble with the slides on the autos. I may reduce my collection to 1 gun. If I keep and use the Python, will it hold up? I have owned it for over 30 years, only go shooting once a month and generally shoot 38 special.
The Python will last, but it may need occasional service, and parts are getting rare and expensive, not to mention qualified gunsmiths who know the Python action.

Seems to me that for a regular shooter, something else is a better choice, while the Python can be shot occasionally and admired. Just my thoughts.
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Old 09-09-2017, 10:35 AM
CDR_Glock CDR_Glock is offline
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Originally Posted by shawn mccarver View Post
The Python will last, but it may need occasional service, and parts are getting rare and expensive, not to mention qualified gunsmiths who know the Python action.



Seems to me that for a regular shooter, something else is a better choice, while the Python can be shot occasionally and admired. Just my thoughts.


That's why I sold my last Python for $2000. Hahahahahaha


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Old 09-10-2017, 12:49 AM
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I shoot with a friend who has shot about 100 rounds or so per month for many years out of his early 80's Python and has not had any problems at all. Since he is not a reloader, he is shooting strictly factory 158 grain lead RN ammo. I've not seen any degradation issues with it either.
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