Colt Python - is this question unanswerable???


December 27, 2005, 10:47 AM

i have read with interest almost everything that has been posted here about Colt Pythons.

and i understand that when looking to buy a python, or any firearm for that matter, the firearm should be judged on its individual merit or lack thereof as opposed to the year it was manufactured. gems and lemons occur during the same manufacure dates. true.

"just examine it carefully and make an informed decision if you are considering buying one," seems to be the advice given by all the python afficianados.

but the days of the internet make it difficult to do this sometimes.

of the last 7 firearms i purchased, i only held one in my hands before paying for it and having it shipped to me. i had seen pictures, asked questions, required better descriptions and so forth but these days it is rare, for me anyway, to be able to really examine a firearm before buying.

i have read and learned how to test the timing on a python, for example, but i can't do it over the internet.

so (finally) here is the question: can someone breakdown the history of the python into time segments saying soemthing like, "during the years from approx. 1955-1975 pythons this or that"/ from 1976 - 19?? were still finely made but the blued finishes were not quite so lustrous blah blah"/ the trigger pull seems to be heavier and more gritty on pythons made from 19??-19??"/
"the newer python elite...."

i will understand that none of it is written in stone. i just want some general guidelines to help me with these long distance purchases.



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December 27, 2005, 11:13 AM
There are no guidelines, good years, bad years, good serial number ranges or bad serial number ranges. In every manufacturing company, some bad product makes it past the final inspection without identifying a problem. You also don't know how a gun was treated since it was first purchased. Buy every gun based on its own individual merits.

You might check out the Colt forum. Things like this are more commonly discussed there than in this forum.

December 27, 2005, 11:29 AM
It's very much like buying a car over the internet.
No matter how pretty the paint job, you're not going to be able to tell how it handles or how it runs.
Is the steering loose ?
Is the suspension tight ?
Does it pull to one side ?
How does the car run ?
Does it misfire, does it idle nice ?
No 2 cars are the same.
You could buy 2 identical cars and drive them to the track and get 2 different 1/4 mile times driving them with the same gas & same driver.
Anytime mechanics are involved, there's no simple way to tell if something is good or bad by looking at the outside.
Based on Quality control, it all should be the same, but there are tollerances that allow minor differences.
You could have 2 pythons made the same day shoot & feel differently.
What if there are 2 guys doing the assembly that day ?
What if there's a + or - tollerance of say .001 of an inch between the doo-hicky & the thing-ama-bob ? Now say one guy's assembling one that's on the high side of the tollerance and the other is on the low side ?
Both guns are the same in respect to having the same exact parts, but, that .002 spread may feel different when you pull that trigger or when that bullet comes out the the muzzle.
I know that you knew there's no simple answer, and I can ramble on and on.
The hard part is, even the dealer your buying from 99% of the time, can't tell you if it's a good or bad gun.
Most dealers get a gun in and spin it right around with-out any kind of checking at all.
The problem with the internet is surely a hit or miss process with getting a good gun (mechanically).
Good luck, we all need it.


December 27, 2005, 11:57 AM
I recently talked with a gunsmith friend of mine about Pythons. He did not have a high opinion of them. He stated they are very prone to go out of time and are not as robust as say a Smith. That has been my experience too. Now I own both and will not part with the nickeled 6 in Python I have. Call it stigma what have you they are known as the premium revolver. I will admit my 586 will outshoot it but there is nothing like a tuned action of a Colt Python. Maybe the safe way to purchase is to assume a timming job will be needed and include that into your buying decision.

December 27, 2005, 04:15 PM
The Python is perhaps the finest production revolver ever made. I also heard a gunsmith once say they were junk because they wore out but when I asked how many worn out Pythons he had seen he admitted he'd never seen one.

Generally speaking, quality control has faded in recent years. Guns maded in the 1950s tend to show better fit and finish than guns made today. But, I own or have owned Pythons made in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s and all were top flight. I have seen a couple of Colts from the late 1970s that showed serious problems that should have been caught before shipping bur this is the exception rather than the norm.

As long as the seller agrees to an inspection period you don't risk much by Internet shopping.

December 27, 2005, 04:31 PM

As long as the seller agrees to an inspection period you don't risk much by Internet shopping.

yeah, that's one of the problems with this (not even close to a) deal.

he's got a "disclaimer" you could drive a tank through, make that a jumbo jet! this is on all his auction sales. he has good feedback but holy cow! read this thing.

"No warranty or guarantee is made as to their safety. Prior to firing, it is recommended that a professional gunsmith inspect the firearm. I only accept returns if I grossly misrepresent the item, wrong caliber, wrong make or wrong model..ect. For returns you must notify me within 3 days of receiving the item."

to me this says, "unless i got the make, model or caliber wrong in the description, you own it, bro."

is that how you guys read it?

i emailed him about giving me a 3 day inspection period and if there was something mechanically wrong i have the right to return. he hasn't gotten back to me yet.


December 27, 2005, 06:21 PM
Sounds like he's trying to protect himself from any kind of liability lawsuit.

Having said that, if he doesn't agree that a mechanical inspection is allowed, I'd walk away.

I've bought two Pythons over the internet. The first one was lightly used, and had a superb trigger.

The second one is unfired and new in the box. However, the trigger is very heavy. Since it's a safe queen, though, I'm not concerned.

Both were made around the same time, 1980 or so.

Standing Wolf
December 27, 2005, 06:47 PM
is that how you guys read it?
i emailed him about giving me a 3 day inspection period and if there was something mechanically wrong i have the right to return. he hasn't gotten back to me yet.

That's a seller to avoid like the plague. He's going to great lengths to cover his back side in advance of sales. I'd take that as a 99% certain indicator he's hustling junk.

The shift key is your friend, by the way: it helps you appear to know how to communicate well.

December 27, 2005, 08:11 PM
People don't just assume someone is a crook that sells a revolver that has a problem. A timming problem is something most people won't notice unless it is extreme. Some of us are perfectionist and a slight timing problem is an issue for us but is not for the majority. Many revolvers have timing problems. The same goes for the crown or forcing cone. These are not a common knowledge issue.

December 27, 2005, 08:52 PM
hey guys,

thank y'all for your input. if i were a wealthy man i would not be so concerned. but alas, i am not (a wealthy man) and the asking price(s) for a python these days is pretty high to me.

and standing wolf,

you certainly put it nicely, gently but i disagree with:

The shift key is your friend, by the way: it helps you appear to know how to communicate well.

i do not consider the shift key my "friend."

actually, it is quite the opposite. it is a time waster. and my time is limited as is yours. we can't know when it will run out, but it will one day. that is for certain.

i know how to communicate well verbally and utilizing the damned keyboard.

as you can see, i do not care how it "appears." my choice of words and punctuation is near flawless, if not flawless.

if you need "caps" to guide you to meaning, so be it.

are you one of those "appearance" people who mindlessly espouse, "perception is reality," just because it sounds cool?

hey people, reality is reality. that's it. end of story. close the case.

perception is purely subjective, the opposite of objective.

standing wolf, did you ever think your "perception" might be a little "off?"

y'all take care,


December 27, 2005, 09:56 PM
Well, to you, your punctuation might be perfect.
To the rest of us that enjoy the written word, we like our capitalization at the beginning of sentences, for proper nouns, and for effect when necessary.

As for being a time waster, I'm gonna go out on a limb and suggest a typing class.

Purchasing a firearm over the internet, unless it is one heck of a bargain, seems like way too much of a risk to me. My money is important to me. I'd rather have a seller with a good reputation and be able to return it if it was not mechanically sound.

December 27, 2005, 10:52 PM
As for being a time waster, I'm gonna go out on a limb and suggest a typing class.

rock steady, baby,

if you get lost trying reading well constructed sentences simply because of "lack o' caps," may i suggest a reading comprehension class?

i was a newspaper reporter for 18 years. as deadlines approached, i often just pounded away leaving capitalization to the editors. i did, however, provide them with proper punctuation and spelling lest they complain too loudly to their managing editor.

i got away with it because i was good.

"we've talked to him about it," said the big dogs. "he won't change. leave him alone, he usually gets it first and he always gets it right," was what the new, peach fuzzed, baby faced editors were told when they griped.

i'm too old to change now and a tad lazy too.

i've earned it.

try the comprehension class. it will help you earn that GED.

sorry, that was uncalled for. but i did use "caps," to prevent you from scurrying to your paperback dictionary to look up "ged."

do a little "googling" and see if you can find others who just "bang away" without touching that shift key.

you'll be amazed. i'm in good company.

if you truly enjoy the written word, rockamundo, you're smiling now. and if you're not smiling, shove a piece of coal up your... where the sun don't shine and soon you'll have a diamond.

your friend in letters,


December 28, 2005, 02:22 AM
Hey Mike,

I'm not sure you deserve a Python. You sound more like an Charter Arms guy.

December 28, 2005, 11:50 AM
Gunsmith's love to knock the Python because most of them can't, and don't, fix them. It's a handmade, handfitted gun and those that have mastered it are few and far between.

December 28, 2005, 01:28 PM
I have bought about 50 guns via Internet sales and so far 2 have been less than expected. I kept one and returned the other for exchange. Maybe 10-12 guns were actually better than what the seller indicated. Not a bad record.

Pythons are not hard to find. Look until you find a seller you trust.

Peter M. Eick
December 28, 2005, 03:25 PM
Here is what a Python can do with decent reloads (ie I was blasting with it a few hours ago).
50 shots, 15 yards, offhand with a hot load of 2400.

I have taken the attitude that my Python is for shooting and not worrying about. I am not abuseing it, rarely shoot it double action and mostly just play with it. You can see I was having a bit of problems with the grip moving during recoil, but it was a lot of fun to shoot.

December 28, 2005, 06:14 PM
Peter M. Eick, I stand in awe of your shooting abilities.

Peter M. Eick
December 28, 2005, 07:55 PM

Here is 50 shots with a bit more then book max of trailboss under a 158 Lasercast at 15 yards offhand. I shot this one this morning, but had trouble posting the picture from my ftp site.

Thanks on the compliment. I was looking at my notes and I see I have only shot around 17000 rounds this year. I am distinctly off from my best. Age, eyesight and time are getting the better of my shooting skills.

December 28, 2005, 10:31 PM
Hey Mike,

I'm not sure you deserve a Python. You sound more like an Charter Arms guy.

charter arms? don't low rate me, sir!

give me a shot of bushmills (maybe two) and a shillelagh for the likes of these apes who can't read without road markers to guide them down the path of literacy.


December 28, 2005, 10:47 PM
Peter M. Eick, I hate you. ;)

December 28, 2005, 11:34 PM
Mr. Eick,

You sir, deserve caps.

Would you please tell us a bit about that Python? Any modifications?

When was it built? Did you pick it up new or used and so on.

Man that thing punches some neat holes. They look as if they were traced with a compass and carved out with an Xacto knife!



December 29, 2005, 01:18 AM
Peter M. Eick, I hate you. ;)

If you hate him now, don't let him get started showing you his Smith and Wessons or his 10mms!!!:what: :)

Peter M. Eick
December 29, 2005, 08:10 AM
The Python is a 1978 piece of garbage that had the worst trigger I have ever seen or felt on a python ever. It was in my local favorite gunstore and the owner pulled it aside for me just to see. He offered it to me for $550 (? if I remember it right) with the box, manual and factory grips. His comments were along the line of great blueing job, almost never shot and great lockup. It just needs a trigger job. Boy was he right.

I took it to Teddy Jacobsen down in Sugarland and he worked a miracle on it. The trigger now is far better then my 68 python was on its best day. Teddy jeweled a bunch of stuff, and polished the rest and finally rubbed Pixie dust all over the insides. Then I swear he switched my gun with someone elses because it was night and day difference in quality. That is the only work done to the gun. Now I just shoot it.

The way I get very sharp holes is to use Lasercast's 158 grn SWC's from Oregon Trail. Then I put my Midway target on a cardboard backer prior to putting them on the target holder at the public range I shoot at. This holds them very well.

My original goal yesterday was to see which I liked to shoot more the Python's or my Registered Magnum. Here is my 1939 Registered Magnum:
Again, 50 shots, 15 yards, offhand. This was with 14.0 grns of 2400 and I was having a bit of grip slippage from the Magna grips during the 50 shot string.

My answer is simple. I love to shoot my Registered far more then my Python, but for raw shooting, the grips on the Python are much easier to hold steady on target during long strings then the Magna grips are.

March 7, 2006, 12:14 PM
This morning I saw a nickeled 4 inch Python for $750. Tempting- but no funds yet. COME ON BONUS!! It could have been bright stainless- I dared not fondle it for fear it would follow me home.

March 7, 2006, 06:19 PM
Grayrock, $750 for a 4" nickle Python is a fair price.

If it's polished stainless, it's a Python Ultimate. Don't see those too often, so I have no idea if that's a good price or not.

I'm still marvelling at Peter M. Eick's shooting skills.

Peter M. Eick
March 11, 2006, 06:21 PM

Don't marvel. Somedays like last weekend I shotgun them just like everyone else. Here are 2 targets I shot last weekend on the 15 yard range. 50 shots as usual, but the top gun is a 1930 38/44 heavy duty, one of the first hundred made and first weeks production. The bottom is my 1934 beater shooter gun. It is a beast!, but I love to shoot it.

The sight picture was my problem on these targets and bad eyesight. Yes I even broke down and went to the eyedoctor. Dags! I have to get bifocals this fall!

Getting old stinks!

March 11, 2006, 11:07 PM
Beautiful revolvers & beautiful groups. Envy has no place when admiring such handiwork.

March 11, 2006, 11:30 PM
When I encounter someone with some socially contrary habit or trait (unkempt hair, body odor, gutter language in a professional setting, attire inappropriate for the occasion, etc.), I usually give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they don't know any better.

I can't give you the benefit, as you have dispelled all doubt:
1. You post a question, hoping that someone will read it and respond.
2. Others (22-rimfire, GUNKWAZY, JMusic, thatguy, Monkeyleg) are kind enough to do so, taking time out of their day to give you the benefit of their experience.
3. You make certain we all know that you hold them in contempt by stating why you write in the manner you do, but changing your style when PME shows up with his wondrous revolvers and targets.

Jack Welch had a term for folks like that.

Enjoy your future Python. Why do I get the impression that it will likely be a solo range outing, once you obtain it?

March 24, 2006, 07:25 PM
Does anyone know if you can still get a Python re Nickled from Colt? If not any recomendations?

March 24, 2006, 09:56 PM
I'd just like to say that certain posts on this forum (especially those of the original poster) are not in accordance with THR etiquette. Please, gentlemen, if you have a disagreement of a personal nature I encourage you to take advantage of the "Private Message" feature of this forum. To use this please click on the name of the member you want to "PM" and a menu will appear with "send a private message (paraphrasing) " I hope you can figure the rest out by yourselves. Reading childish squabbling is truly a "waste of time" and unbecoming to THR members. ~Nathan
PS I am not a moderator; I just want to read about guns, not caps/grammar.

March 25, 2006, 01:22 AM

Colt still offers top quality plating and bluing.
However, Colt no longer does the plating in-house due to EPA regulations and harassment.

They send the plating work to an outside service, but it's as good as any ever done in the Colt plant.

I recommend them highly. The recent re-blue and re-nickel jobs I've seen are absolutely first rate.

March 25, 2006, 04:41 AM
I got lucky with mine, being in the right place at the right time. The stainless is a Ultimate Python with the smoothest trigger out there. The blued one is just a Python very nice but it aint the Ultimate.
Their are good and bad one's but I don't believe you can break it down by years. The Ultimate is a 82 and the blued one a 75.

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