Colt Diamondback with Satin Nickel finish


April 8, 2007, 12:54 PM
I got a Colt Diamondback from a widow and paid her $375 for it because it had surface rust and the hand was chipped. It is a 4" 38special in satin nickel. I didn't think they were ever made in a matte nickel finish...looks like a French Gray finish. The guy who this belonged to didn't stike me as someone who would special order a gun from the factory or care enough to get a gun refinshed. Also after a judicious amount of kroil and elbow grease the surface rust came off and under all the years of crud the gun is in excellent+ condition. Doesn't looked refinish as the markings are all deep and crisp. The grips look correct but there are no medalions in them. It was made in 1970. What do I have?


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Jim Watson
April 8, 2007, 01:04 PM
Grips look like Herretts - Trooper if the backstrap is covered, Shooting Star if open.

Never saw one with a matte nickel finish, but they did some strange things with parts cleanup before they discontinued the model.

April 8, 2007, 09:28 PM
Looks to me like ColtGuard; an electroless-nickel finish.

Colt discontinued bright nickel and ColtGuard after the introduction of stainless steel in 1983-84.

Standing Wolf
April 8, 2007, 09:58 PM
Yep. Those look like Herrett's stocks to me.

April 8, 2007, 11:14 PM
I also have one of those colt guard (satin Nickle) finsihed Diamond backs in a 4 inch barrel. Bought mine new in San Jose, CA in the early 80's. As I recall, Colt made the same revolver in 22LR, also.

April 9, 2007, 11:37 AM
The Coltguard finished Diamondbacks are most uncommon and were distributed through the Custom Shop. There are 38's and 22's around with the finish. That was quite a good price on the gun.

1970 seems a bit early for this finish. You have the first few digits of the serial number to verify approximate manufacture date?

As said, the stocks are not Colt original.

April 9, 2007, 06:32 PM
The serial number is D396XX I looked up the serial number range on wikipedia.

April 9, 2007, 06:56 PM
That serial number places it at a 1970 manufacture as you said. Look closely to see if it is a refinish job. The coltguard/electroless finish appeared around 1980. Bright nickel was around in the 70's. I don't recall seeing any revolvers finished in "satin nickel". That was mostly autos.

April 9, 2007, 07:32 PM
As far as I can tell all the areas that should have machine marks still have them, like the inside of the yoke, and the letters are all crisp and the edges of the letters are not "dished" out or rounded out. I'm not an expert at any rate but if it is a refinshed gun...whoever did it sure can fool me. I hope it isn't so collectable that I can't shoot it.

April 9, 2007, 08:07 PM
I did some research on the COlt Forum website and it appears they did in fact make a Satin Nickel finish Diamondback. Here is a link to the page I found it on. You got one hell of a deal on that pistol, by the way. IT is a very rare bird.

April 9, 2007, 08:13 PM
Looks like Armalloy to me. A friend of mine had one done years ago. After he passed away if floated around town for quite a while. The last time I saw it for sale, it brought $600! I think you got an excellent deal!

April 9, 2007, 09:15 PM
The last time this was taken out of the closet was in 1980 somthing. This guy didn't care enough about his guns to get a custom finish on it, nor did he use it enough to wear the finish off of it.

April 9, 2007, 09:31 PM
Getting a Colt letter will settle the entire issue. Sounds like it may well be worth the effort. The historical letters are available from Colt for a fee. If it is factory, it will increase the value considerably as it will be a rare bird.

April 10, 2007, 07:53 PM
The last I heard they were charging $75 for a Colt letter.... but I've been wrong before.

April 11, 2007, 12:48 AM
So, since I have one of these satin nickle Diamond Backs that I purchased NIB at a retail store, how rare is it?? It has very little mileage on it, no box, so what might it be worth?

April 11, 2007, 08:56 PM
Is it .38 or .22LR ?? I'd guess around $1200 to $1600 depending on condition box, papers etc..

April 11, 2007, 09:52 PM
I don't know much about what the Colt factory would have done, but it seems to me that just about every time a factory nickel or chrome finish is seen, the rear sight is left blued. Never seen a factory job where the adjustable rear sight was nickeled as well. Front sights are usually the same as with the rest of the gun unless they are pinned, but the Diamondback looks integral to me.

Sundles: is the rear sight on your gun finished the same as the rest of it?

I like Diamondbacks and wish I had grabbed a few when they were much cheaper. Might be worth getting that letter.

BTW, getting a nice set of original grips for that gun is going to set you back about $100. Man, these things have gone wild lately.

April 11, 2007, 11:46 PM
I dont have mine sitting in front of me. It is at the factory in one of the safes, but I'm sure the back sight is black.

April 12, 2007, 09:20 PM
actually my nickel Python does NOT have blued sights, granted it's not a Diamondback but it is a factory nickel gun (

April 12, 2007, 10:41 PM
Did the guy who had this own a beadblasting outfit?


April 13, 2007, 10:51 AM
Sundles, there is a substantial difference is the market values between the 38 and 22 coltgurard/electroless diamondbacks. Both are uncommon, but the price differential on the 22's is carried over to the electroless ones.

RSVP2RIP: You can find photos of the electroless Diamondbacks over on the Colt forum if you use the search function. I would suggest you look at the photos and compare yours.

April 13, 2007, 11:13 AM

Thanks for the info. Mine is a 38 SPL. I bought the thing because it was a cool 38. Never did much with it though.

April 13, 2007, 05:28 PM
I checked out the colt forum post and it was interesting. No the former own (god bless him) didn't own a sandblasting outfit, plating factory or genie in a bottle. He was a farm manager, what ever the hell that is. Colt would do a letter for $75, sounds a bit steep since I don't plan on selling it in the forseeable future. I think I might actually shoot it first (sacrelidge?). And yes the rear sight is got Coltguard on it, even all the screws. The only things that aren't plated are the roll pin that the rear sight pivots on and the springs.

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