The Colt Viper.


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Checkman
January 29, 2007, 08:35 PM
I've never been able to find a satisfactory explanation as to why the Viper was only made for a year - until now.

A few months ago I found an old back issue of Shooting Times from March of 1978. In the magazine is a review of the "new" Colt Viper. The reviewer was Clair Rees - some of you might know him from various gun mags over the years.

Anyway he gave it a good review, but there is a small sidebox column informing the reader that just as the issue was going to press Colt had anounced on December 2, 1977 that it was discontinuing all of it's "D" Series revolvers (Detective Special, Viper, Diamondback, Agent, and Cobra).Colt stated that it intended to totally phase out the production of all "D" series revolvers by October 1978. Colt stated that it had made this cutback because it wanted to focus it's resources on other lines. Sound familiar? Hey lets go to the trouble of introducing an entirely new revolver, introduce it, and then a couple months late we'll stop making it.:scrutiny: That company has been schitzoid for years.

There is the reason why the Viper has become such a rarity.

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dfariswheel
January 29, 2007, 08:53 PM
This was back in the days when Colt was owned by a huge conglomerate named Colt Industries, that found the gun portion that had started it all somewhat embarrassing.

Colt Firearms Division was getting a new president sent down from corporate every year or so, most of whom were "ticket punchers" who knew nothing about firearms, and couldn't possibly care less.

In order to make a splash that would make them look good to the upper management, they'd order guns discontinued, new guns introduced, old guns reintroduced and discontinued again, and the new gun discontinued, often when it was just, or just about to be introduced.

Since they knew little of guns, they often ordered into production guns who's market had disappeared.
The Viper was a nice gun, but unfortunately, law enforcement and civilian shooters were no longer buying 4" barreled, small frame, light weight .38 Special revolvers.

The next president down from corporate saw the numbers and discontinued most of the "D" frame revolvers, and a still-later president in 1986 brought some of them back.

It was this dizzying on again, off again uncertainty as to just what was available or going to be available that really helped put Colt into bankruptcy.

Colt is by no means the only company that's guilty of foolishness like this although for some reason, people take an inordinate joy in singling Colt out.

Checkman
January 29, 2007, 09:31 PM
dfariswheel
It was this dizzying on again, off again uncertainty as to just what was available or going to be available that really helped put Colt into bankruptcy.

Colt is by no means the only company that's guilty of foolishness like this although for some reason, people take an inordinate joy in singling Colt out.

I'm guilty of this myself. Why?

I guess it's because I look at what Colt used to be and what it has become. It frustrates me. For me the way Colt is run is symbolic of what has happened to the United States. The people who are "in charge" seem like they don't give a damm anymore. Which is why China is roaring up on us, but I'm off topic now. Sorry I'll step off the soapbox.

wcwhitey
January 29, 2007, 09:35 PM
Agreed, those years were hard for many manufacturers. This was the beginning of the great outsource. However, I think Colt missed a big opportunity in the beginning of must/shall issue CCW. S&W's revolver lines were not the company's first priority but they were able to take advantage of the small snubby and turn a big profit. Now look at all the "whats old is new again" guns. They are selling well. Who here would not buy a new unchanged Detective Special or Diamondback if it was of the original quality. They are missing the CCW and the "nostalgia" gun purchases. The only thing I can think of is that when such companies are managed by MBA's who are not enthusiats, they don't do so well.

Ala Dan
January 29, 2007, 09:54 PM
I never owned a Colt Viper; but I did sleep in a Holiday Inn last night~!:eek:

No not really, but I did own a Colt Trooper MK-V .357 magnum with the
Colt-Guard finish many, many moons ago. I really feel bad about lett'in
that one go~!:(

Checkman
January 29, 2007, 10:17 PM
Well I own a Colt 3rd Generation Detective Special (mfd. 1975) and a Colt Official Police with a 4" barrel (mfd. 1957). I'm a big Smith and Wesson fan, but I've decided that I'm going to purchase either a Colt Trooper in .357 magnum or perhaps one of the Mk III Troopers or Lawman, before the year ends.

I've signed up to work several special security events (the pay time and a half from a special events budget) and I'll worj the county fair and the local rodeo if at all possible. I've already told my wife that I'm prepared to go as high as $700.00 for a nice Colt revolver. In my area they seem to go for between $500 and $700. The exception being Pythons. They typically price between $800.00 and $1000.00. Sometimes you just have to do these things.

The Colts are going away and it's time. We have a big gunshow in Boise in November and again next January. By then I'll have the money built up in my savings account.

The real challenge will be staying focused and reminding myself of this goal whne I come across a real nice K-22 or a sweet Model 14 with a six inch barrel.:uhoh:

Checkman
January 29, 2007, 10:18 PM
Oops. Double post.

wcwhitey
January 30, 2007, 12:18 AM
Not wanting to badmouth a good Colt Trooper. Mine was pristine, bought it for $200 in 1993. A good accurate gun, fit and finish were all what you expect from a Colt. The problem with the Trooper is that the double action trigger was a bear. The action was not up to a good K frame Smith and for sure a far cry from a Python. I sold it to a good buddy fo $250 a few years later, in retrospect I should have kept it for sheer collector value. I liked it, but just never loved it. The best thing I could say about it and the only real advantage over the other guns was that the blueing was beautiful. I am sure others will differ but on a scale of 1-10 in .357's I give it about a 6. JMHO Bill

Dr.Rob
January 30, 2007, 01:19 AM
The Viper was a nice gun, but unfortunately, law enforcement and civilian shooters were no longer buying 4" barreled, small frame, light weight .38 Special revolvers.

In 1978 we weren't exactly DROWNING in wondernines.

The Python and heavyweight Smiths had more to do with it.

Diamondback
January 30, 2007, 01:59 AM
Who here would not buy a new unchanged Detective Special or Diamondback if it was of the original quality. They are missing the CCW and the "nostalgia" gun purchases. The only thing I can think of is that when such companies are managed by MBA's who are not enthusiats, they don't do so well.
...as much as I share your sentiments the possibility of Colt ever making a D frame again of "original quality is impossible. Most of their accomplished gunsmiths were "retired" years ago......and hand-fitting is a thing of the past. MIM and CCN now dominate the manufacturing process. Even if Colt were to "magically" find a skilled workforce, labor costs would push the production price of an "original quality" D frame close to four figures. This is why Checkman is planning to work overtime to buy a nice used Colt......nothing new will ever be made....sigh !
- Regards

Ala Dan
January 30, 2007, 04:25 AM
And, in reality thats too bad; as the Colt's of long ago are now highly
sought after by all who appreciate the looks and feel of the old Colt
D-frames. That is why I'm buying all that I can afford, to pass on to
my family heirs the beauty of a period long since gone by~!:(

BigG
January 30, 2007, 07:48 AM
Who here would not buy a new unchanged Detective Special or Diamondback if it was of the original quality.

Most cheapskates would not, judging from all the posts concerning cheapy brand revolvers - Rossi, Taurus, Ruger, etc. Colt always was an expensive revolver and the old style DS would cost more than most of the bargain hunters would fork over. JMTC

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