Colt Python 4" vs S &W Model 27 5"


January 14, 2003, 08:23 PM
I am considering these two .357 as home defense, plinking and range guns--mostly just fun shooting. The Python is so silky smooth that from a double action standpiont it is hard to resist. The Smith's classic looks, especially in 5" is hard to pass up. What should I look for in choosing one over the other. Anything inherently wrong I should know about. How old does the Colt need to be to get the Royal Blue finish. What would I expect to pay for each in excellent condition? If all of my delemas were so fun!!!

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January 14, 2003, 08:27 PM
The python is fairly fragile, the smith is tough as can be. The python has a superb trigger right now, the smith will cost you a little to get it close. For defensive use I would not pick a python, but for drilling paper they are fantastic. I would buy the smith if defense was one of the uses.

January 14, 2003, 08:53 PM
I'd take the Colt Python.
All the breakage stories are over done, IMHO.
The Python has a far better trigger than the Smith, but both are fine weapons.
I'd still take the Python. :D

Standing Wolf
January 14, 2003, 09:46 PM
I own both Pythons and a Smith & Wesson model 27-2. Three of the Pythons are better guns: better triggers and better accuracy. The model 27 is larger, and might, in fact, be sturdier; since I don't put 3,000 rounds a week through my revolvers, however, I don't worry about sturdiness. The 2.5-inch Python is more accurate than I expected, but it's still not quite accurate enough for bullseye shooting. Out of the box, the model 27's 8.385-inch barrel was inaccurate with every load I bought and loaded myself, but having it rebarrelled helped considerably.

Kahr carrier
January 15, 2003, 05:03 AM
I excellent condition Python-$895.Model -27-$425.00. I like the Model 27 because its an N frame and you cant beat the price. But both are great choices you cant go wrong with either one.:evil:

January 15, 2003, 07:53 AM
Ah, the only solution to your dilemma is to buy them both! Seriously it is a tough choice - I have a Colt Python and several N frame S&W's (no .357 though) and like both types of handguns. The Python is as slick as can be had, the S&W N frames are nice guns too - my M57 is just as slick out of the box as the Python. Guess you have to go with which one feels best and points most naturally for you - I don't think you could lose either way. Odessa

Lone Star
January 15, 2003, 08:37 AM
I have owned two Pythons with the six-inch bbl. and several S&W M27's and a M28, also in six-inch form, which I think is best for this frame size. I have had one five-inch M27.

There was NO perceptible difference in accuracy between the Colts and the S&W's. Both shot fantastically well; to reach their potential, you'll need to be a master shooter. When I did everything just right, I occasionally got all six shots from these guns at 25 yards (firing "offhand") into one ragged hole.

The great rub with the Colt is that the mechanism will wear much more rapidly than in the Smith, causing the cylinder to go out-of-time sooner. That's why some say the Python is "fragile". It isn't; it just goes out of time sooner, and is very expensive to retime... if you can find a gunsmith qualified to do the work on Colts.

I doubt if I'd ever buy another Colt revolver, except maybe a SAA, which uses a wholly different action.

The S&W is also much less expensive. In my opinion, it also is easier to shoot well, especially in rapid double-action firing.

I hope this has been of assistance to you.

Lone Star

Gila Jorge
January 15, 2003, 09:18 AM
Galco carries a 5" N Frame holster in the Phoenix model...which is both strong side and cross draw...and is listed as the 25-5inch. Arizona Gunrunner has them under Galco, I just ordered one for my 629 5inch. Oh, I'd go with the Smith.
Don't think there remains but maybe one nationally recognized gunsmith familiar with Pythons according to the folks at Somone there recently asked Taffin a similar question.

January 15, 2003, 10:20 AM
El Paso saddlery makes leather for the 5" N frames.

January 15, 2003, 07:45 PM
I have a Python and a 28 (kissing cousin to the 27), both in 6" and both are amazingly accurate at 25 yards. I love both of them and would be hard put to part with either. I don't think you can make a bad choice here. Just a matter of which one "speaks" to you.

As far as the Python going out of time, I would think it would take an awful lot of shooting before that would be an issue.

January 15, 2003, 09:02 PM
Hay guys, thanks for the input. I already am trying to justify how I can get both. I tthink I'm inclined to go for the Colt first, but I definately want one with the royal blue. Does anyone know the serial # where they quit using that process?
Again thanks

January 15, 2003, 11:33 PM
Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the Python develop it's reputation for being a bit delicate from competition shooters doing a lot, a whole lot, of fast double action shooting with them?

I'd still take the Python, just not for competition.


Grant C.
January 16, 2003, 01:52 PM
For many years now, "knowledgable" shooters have opined that the old-style impinging hand Colt revolvers are somehow "delicate". I've had people tell me that they expect Colts to actually blow up because they're "delicate"!

First things first: the Colt frame and cylinder are as strong as any other revolver of a similar frame size. Period.

The lockwork, which is what usually comes in for criticism, is different than the dominant S&W design. Note the word "different" - this is critical to understanding, as the misconception seems to stem from an ignorance of the differences.

S&W lockwork allows the cylinder to rotate slightly when locked. The amount of play will vary from gun to gun, depending on a lot of factors (generation of construction, condition, abuse, etc.) The point is that even a very tight S&W has just a bit of play, and that is perfectly acceptable in the design. A S&W will in fact work well with a noticeable amount of play as long as it locks decisively.

The Colt lockwork, on the other hand, uses an impinging hand - the hand pushes the cylinder against the bolt, locking it solidly in place. A Colt cylinder, when in full lock, should NOT MOVE AT ALL. This has been referred to as the "bank vault lockup", and is what made the Colt DA revolvers famous.

This impinging hand, by the nature of the design, will wear over a period of time. The wear can occur on the cylinder ratchet, but the hand is slightly softer and will generally wear first (surface wear and compression.) This is normal, and requires occasional replacement. The user is expected to check the action regularly, and have that part replaced when it shows any sign of wear.

Now, we have Mr. S&W who decides to buy a Colt. He shoots it a bunch (and, if it was previously owned, may have already been shot a lot), and the hand starts to wear; the cylinder loosens ever so slightly. However, our shooter assumes (you do know how that's spelled, right?) that because it's still tighter than his S&W it must be OK. It's not!

If the gun is used past the point where there is noticeable cylinder play, the other parts of the action - the functions of which are all interrelated - start experiencing uncharacteristic wear, and need to be replaced. This is an expensive undertaking; Colts aren't easy to work on, and replacing the bolt alone is a painstaking task. The owner, never having even heard of anyone needing to spend that much to fix an S&W, concludes that the Colt is somehow "delicate" compared to his Smith!

If you own a Colt, learn how to do preventative maintenance. Check the cylinder lockup properly. Keep the ratchet area clean. Have the hand replaced at the earliest sign of wear. Do these simple things, and your Colt will happily digest thousands and thousands of rounds without a hiccup - mine have!

-=[ grant ]=-

Standing Wolf
January 16, 2003, 09:53 PM
I like Smith & Wesson's round butt grip frames better than the Colt I frame's square butt. I can still do action jobs on Smith & Wessons, but turn my Pythons over to professional gunsmiths with plenty of Colt revolver experience: they're just too easy to hash up. My carry gun is a (used) Smith & Wesson.

All that saidâ„¢, I'd still rather have a Python.

I hope the picture goes through.

4v50 Gary
January 17, 2003, 12:01 PM
You don't replace parts on an older Colt. They're 4140 steel and can be peened to lengthen them to fit. This especially applies to the hand. Colt parts cost more, but rarely require replacement. Smiths are easier to work on than the older Colts. If you got the $, go Python. They hold their value.

January 17, 2003, 12:12 PM
Six of one, half-dozen of the other. You need BOTH to make an even dozen...

Grant C.
January 17, 2003, 12:32 PM
Only partially true.

The hand is the only part that can be peened to affect fit. Unfortunately, the peening only works within limits (it won't correct for major lockup problems), and only once. Because most people let the problem go too far, past the point where peening is viable, I've had to replace more hands than I've been able to peen.

Once the hand has been peened, the front surface must be refinished. If the peening was significant, there will be a large "ridge" of metal that must be removed and the surface polished. I've seen "hack jobs" of peening where this was not done, resulting in a) rough action and b) increased wear where the hand rides upward on the frame.

Hand wear affects other parts; once it has progressed the bolt is subjected to more impact, enlarging the bolt window or deforming (peening) the bolt itself. There is no remedy other than bolt replacement at that point.

Extreme cases of bolt wear will loosen the fit of the bolt screw, allowing the bolt to move sideways against the cam surface of the rebound lever. This wears the surface, sometimes actually cutting a groove in it. The cam must then be resurfaced; if there isn't enough metal left on the cam face to maintain the bypass bevels, the rebound lever MUST be replaced.

If the wear is slight, one can simply refinish and arch the rebound lever to contact the bolt - the ONLY other instance where hitting a Colt part with a hammer is acceptable. Trouble is, you can only do this once - any greater increase will usually result in insufficient hammer rebound, which means (again) replacing the rebound lever.

As you can see, wear on a Colt action is progressive. Let one problem go, or do an incomplete job, and the work required to put it "right" increases dramatically. The bottom line: take care of your Colt; if any repairs are needed, have them done the right way the first time. You'll save money in the long run.

January 17, 2003, 08:00 PM
Back to the two. My Python was absolutley fantastic and I should never have let it go. But my M-27s were perfect and I never let one of them go.

The trigger on both was beyond reproach. The Smith simply felt better to me, but that is most likely because I shoot more Smiths than Colts. Try them both. You certainly can't go wrong with either and IMHO, the Python and the M-27 simply stand together at the top of the pile when speaking of 357s.

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