Colt Revolvers Are Beginning To.....


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SharpsDressedMan
March 10, 2010, 05:15 PM
really annoy me. I have a nice Colt Python that I got slightly used, but my 300-400 rounds is beginning to cause the slightest timing issue (two chambers don't quite lock when cocked slow, but then lock when the hammer falls). It will be scheduled for a trigger job soon with C&S, which will solve that. However, today, my Detective Special started to hit off center on the primer on three chambers, and does not lock up when slowly fired DA, even after the hammer falls. That is no good. I don't want to keep spending gunsmith fees to keep any and all Colts running properly, so I'm beginning to get cold feet. I will probably let Colt address the Detective Special, as they are a little less expensive than C&S. Anyone else suffering these experiences?

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GUNKWAZY
March 10, 2010, 05:46 PM
If you're that annoyed, you should them and get a Taurus or Rossi.

Jeff (GUNKWAZY)

fireside44
March 10, 2010, 06:00 PM
If you're that annoyed, you should them and get a Taurus or Rossi.


You could get a lot of Interarms Rossi's for the money that Colt would bring.:)

SaxonPig
March 10, 2010, 06:57 PM
The Colt revolver was not meant to be fired in "slow DA." Slowly pulling the trigger in DA mode or slowly cocking the hammer to full cock will often result in the cylinder failing to fully index. Try using the guns as intended.

Also make sure the mechanism is clean. Dried grease, lint or other crud in the action can cause malfunctions. I bought an older Trooper last year and it failed to index until I scrubbed out the innards. After that it worked fine.

I have a number of I frame Colts built between 1930 and 1967. All have been used extensively and all work just fine. Unless I try to shoot them slowly...

unspellable
March 10, 2010, 08:09 PM
The old style Colt lockwork was known for going out of time due to wear on the tip of the hand. Only thing you can do to delay it is make sure it's clean and properly lubed and you have no cylinder drag from excess headspaced ammo etc.

As for not being meant to cocked shoot slowly, baloney. If it doesn't carry up all the way when slowly cocked that means its out of time, period. May not be bad enough yet to send for repair but it's out of time.

Black Knight
March 10, 2010, 08:51 PM
Another theory is that they were made with a soft hand (pawl). I have a 1978 made Python that went out of time in 3 years (about 2500 rounds). It was sent back to Colt and they replaced the hand saying when it was installed it was too soft. The hand they put in was harder and I have not had any problems since. I would send it back and have Colt check it and repair as needed.

jad0110
March 10, 2010, 09:07 PM
The following comes from Grant Cunningham's website:

Colt revolvers utilize the hand to lock the cylinder at time of ignition; 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. By the nature of the design, the hand will wear over a period of time and requires occasional replacement. The owner is expected to check the action regularly, and have the hand replaced when it shows any sign of wear. If the gun is used past the point where there is discernible cylinder play, the other parts of the action - the functions of which are all interrelated - will experience uncharacteristic wear, and need to be replaced. This can evolve into an expensive undertaking, and can be prevented by having the hand refit whenever it starts to wear.

http://www.grantcunningham.com/colt-revolver-gunsmithing.html


And here is an even more interesting read: http://www.grantcunningham.com/blog_files/colt_python_delicate.html

L-Frame
March 10, 2010, 09:15 PM
'The Colt revolver was not meant to be fired in "slow DA." ' I've never heard that. I've had more than 1 gunsmith tell me that a lot of rapid fire will create timing issues with a python. So, you can't fire them slow and you can't fire them fast, and you pay a lot for them. I see why I stick to S&W's and Rugers.

Guillermo
March 10, 2010, 09:42 PM
sharpdressedman,

colts are terrible, fragile guns

I am willing to take them off of your hands

harmonic
March 10, 2010, 09:50 PM
The Colt revolver was not meant to be fired in "slow DA

That's absolute nonsense. If the OP's Colt is having timing issues, he's got a problem and the gun needs to be fixed.

SwampWolf
March 11, 2010, 01:31 PM
Agreed. How does the gun know it's being fired slow, fast or in-between?

Magnumite
March 11, 2010, 01:42 PM
Creating a drag on the cylinder and slow cycling is a way of testing for timing issues. Correct, the revolver is out of time.

If the revolvers are slightly used, I'd check with Colt about a warranty repair.

Gunfighter123
March 11, 2010, 02:47 PM
I have owned two Pythons and used factory 125gr. JHPs in them for bowling pin and IPSC competition ----- NEITHER lasted for much more then 5000 rds. before going " out of time" etc.

I really LOVE the look , handleing , trigger pull , and the FACT it's a COLT ---- BUT -- for the last 15-20 years , ALL my competition revolvers have been S&Ws . My old S&W 610 and 625 both have WAY OVER 10,000 rds. of IPSC Major power factor loads thru them and still are tight and accurate.

dfariswheel
March 11, 2010, 08:51 PM
Go out and buy a American pickup truck and a Italian Ferrari.

Guess which one needs more maintenance and up keep to run correctly?

The other brands are mass produced guns made to withstand abuse and keep working acceptably while offering good quality and good accuracy.
The Python was a semi-custom revolver specifically intended to be the best quality, best finished, most accurate revolver ever made.

For that level of accuracy and a hand built action it requires more maintenance.
If you take a Ferrari off-roading you'll destroy it, but if you want the fastest most maneuverable car possible you have to accept the higher maintenance needs.
Complaining about the Pythons routine maintenance is like complaining that your Ferrari needs a oil change and new plugs more often than a pickup.

This holds true for any top of the line piece of high performance equipment. The higher performance comes at a price, and its higher maintenance.

L-Frame
March 11, 2010, 09:24 PM
I guess it just depends on how you look at it. I admit, the Python is the most beautiful gun ever produced (in my opinion, of course), but, I have owned a few with really top action jobs and shot more with nice action jobs and will always prefer a nicely tuned S&W. And, yes the tapered barrel and extra time spent on the Python will translate into more accuracy, but as accurate as the 686 and GP-100 are, we are talking about a difference that very few people are even good enough to tell.

Years ago, I went along while a friend of mine shot a 4" Python and 4" 686 from a Ransom rest at 25 yards. The difference was maybe a 1/2 and inch. They're gorgeous and if someone wants to spend $$ for one that's great, but I've never bought the Chevy/Ferrari comparison. In real world performance and action smoothness(S&W) they are too close. Just my opinion.

SharpsDressedMan
March 11, 2010, 09:46 PM
Dfariswheel, I guess I'm missing the "performance". Beauties, they are, but if you owned a Ferrari and it only went 1000 miles before you had to spend money for a tuneup, you'd soon be looking for a car that could look just as nice, but do better. The tuneups would soon double the cost of the car before you wore it out. I guess Pythons were meant to be hung on the wall and admired, rather than shot.

Old Fuff
March 11, 2010, 09:49 PM
However, today, my Detective Special started to hit off center on the primer on three chambers, and does not lock up when slowly fired DA, even after the hammer falls.

If those 3 chambers are one after the other I suspect a sprung crane. The crane is the part the cylinder swings out on, and the condition is often caused by abuse. To see, swing out the cylinder to be sure it's unloaded and then relatch the cylinder. Hold the crane firmly against the frame with the thumb and forefinger of your weak hand while cocking the hammer and pulling the trigger with your strong one. See if the cylinder still fails to rotate and lock up as it should. This test won't fix anything, but it may identify the problem.

Since the middle 1950's I have (off and on) carried a Detective Special. It is slightly smaller and lighter then a similar S&W K-frame snubby, has better sights, and is combat accurate out to 100 yards or a bit more. Also mine still locks up like a bank vault door. I admit it has had some TLC, but it's worth it.

That said, you do need to return it to the factory for a tune-up, and they might do it for free.

unspellable
March 11, 2010, 10:07 PM
The old style Colt lock work will go out of time not because of soft metal in the hand but because the tip of the hand is small and bears the brunt of the work. In the S&W or new style Colt the tip is a bit bigger and does not complete the carry up, the side of the hand does that. Hence the exact timing for the tip of the hand is not as critical as well as wearing slower.

But let's not panic! Just because the old style lock work will go out of time sooner doesn't mean it's going out of time after 50 rounds. I've never had one of my Colts go out of time although I can't say I've put 500,000 rounds through them either.

Guillermo
March 11, 2010, 10:12 PM
The silliness about how delicate Colts are is hilarious. I shoot my Detective Special every month as it is my daily carry and I believe that it behooves me to be competent with it. Maybe only 50 rounds but EVERY time. I would guess that it has 5000 rounds through it since I bought it used. It locks up with no movement whatsoever.

L-Frame
March 11, 2010, 11:19 PM
In this case delicate is a such a relative term. Compared to a Smith or Ruger, they simply don't hold up as well. There is a reason you don't see competition shooters who shoot a lot of rounds in a hurry use Pythons. I'm not saying they are not worthy guns to own and shoot, and they definitely have an aura that few guns can match. For me, all I'm saying is that considering the action issues (that I've personally experienced) and the prohibitive cost of pythons now days, I simply don't see a corresponding increase in performance to justify that cost. Plus, while not the works of art that pythons are, (externally), the 686 and GP-100 are super handguns at a fraction of the cost.

Gunfighter123
March 12, 2010, 12:10 AM
This holds true for any top of the line piece of high performance equipment. The higher performance comes at a price, and its higher maintenance.

Well , I got to TOTALLY DISAGREE with that statement. I have/had custom hi-dollars 1911s in .45acp , 10mm , and .38 Super built by some of the finest gunsmiths to have ever been born -
Jim Clark Sr. , Bill Wilson { when he was still a 1 man shop } , Steve Nastoff , Jim Boland , and others. These were all full custom , very high performance guns with almost No Colt parts left in them when finished ----- NONE of these guns needed " more maintance " ----- some of them I fired 5000 rds. thru without doing ANY Cleaning , just relubeing every 500 rds. --- almost all of them would shoot 2" at 50 yards -- never bigger then 3" at 50 yards --- out of a proper bolted down Ranson Rest.

Guillermo
March 12, 2010, 12:26 AM
Swerving back to the subject at hand, I do not wish to argue. Sell me those weak, pathetic Colts.

easyrider6042004@yahoo.ca
March 12, 2010, 12:44 AM
Never liked Colt DA revolvers. Sold my 4 inch Python 17 years ago, never regretted it.

Gunfighter123
March 12, 2010, 12:54 AM
There is a reason you don't see competition shooters who shoot a lot of rounds in a hurry use Pythons.

L-Frame got that right !!! In over 20+ years as a Action Shooting competitor , I know of NO ONE above a "C" class shooter who uses a Python.

Guillermo
March 12, 2010, 12:56 AM
easyrider

glad you sold your Python to someone who might appreciate it.

For you to have it would be like Liberace being married to Sophia

SaxonPig
March 12, 2010, 08:43 AM
The Colt lockwork is more delicate than the S&W system. The hand does wear. But I stand by my statement that some of you label as nonsense.

I have seen brand new Colts with zero wear fail to index when the hammer was slowly cocked. They weren't intended to be used that way.

Old Fuff
March 12, 2010, 09:11 AM
I have seen brand new Colts with zero wear fail to index when the hammer was slowly cocked. They weren't intended to be used that way.

Actually they were supposed to latch when the hammer was thumb-cocked - slow or fast, but you are right that some didn't, especially later production.

The design required careful fitting of the hand to each ratchet tooth by an experienced and skilled final assembler. This also took time, and as labor became more expensive, less time was allowed. Then toward the end Coltís management decided to let many of these very important men go so they could be replaced by new hires for lower wages.

Smith & Wesson, Ruger, and Taurus revolvers work entirely differently and donít require this sort of precise fitting, but they also donít offer the kind of bank vault door lock-up that a correctly timed Colt does.

Unfortunately at a critical time Coltís management realized too late that the 1908 era design couldnít be produced the way it had to be and be right, while still selling at a price that was competitive. They believe that the name ďColtĒ was so strong in the marketplace that they could sell theyíre products at any price, quality regardless.

And once again they were wrong. :banghead:

Guillermo
March 12, 2010, 09:39 AM
once again they were wrong.

like their "smart gun" technology

unspellable
March 12, 2010, 06:57 PM
I've seen an assortment of defects in a lot of firearms as they came out of the box. So a Colt coming out of the box that doesn't carry up doesn't prove anything to me except that that particular specimen is out of time..

Over course of time I have been stuck with the following:

S&W: 4 defectives

Colt: 2 defectives

Ruger: 4 defectives

Taurus: 1 defective

Ugartechea: 1 defective

Whitworth: 1 defective

Browning: 1 defective

AMT: 1 REALLY BAD defective

And this doesn't count the ones I caught before I bought them and walked away. You'll have to forgive me, but I'm not an optimist about ANYBODY's QA. So just because a gun does so and so, that doesn't prove it was meant to work that way.

Seamore2001
March 12, 2010, 11:06 PM
glad you sold your Python to someone who might appreciate it.

For you to have it would be like Liberace being married to Sophia

Ouch. Now that's funny!

BullfrogKen
March 12, 2010, 11:55 PM
Well , I got to TOTALLY DISAGREE with that statement. I have/had custom hi-dollars 1911s in .45acp , 10mm , and .38 Super built by some of the finest gunsmiths to have ever been born -



Apples and oranges.

Revolvers are much more complex machines than autoloaders.


The Trooper was the same internally as the Python. They functioned very well and had great service lives in the holsters of policemen for many years. And policemen generally abused and neglected the hell out of their issued firearm.


Usually I hear the Trooper praised as a very robust gun.


Go figure. <shrug>

OldCavSoldier
March 13, 2010, 12:21 AM
Take it to a gun-show and sell it, then buy a new S&W M27 out of the custom shop......

Just my opinion....I could be wrong!

Gunfighter123
March 13, 2010, 12:35 AM
Bullfrog ----- Apples and Oranges

Go out and buy a American pickup truck and a Italian Ferrari.

Guess which one needs more maintenance and up keep to run correctly?

I am sure you read the post I quoted it from ---- Poster is stateing that Hi-Dollar firearms {Pythons} need more maintinance BECAUSE they are Hi-Dollar etc.

I disagree with his Apple { Python } and my Oranges { custom 1911s }. And still stand by my statement that my S&W competition revolvers have over 10,000+ rounds thru them and my 2 Pythons DID NOT make it to even 5000 rds. before going out of time and needing repair.

EDIT ---- Apples to Apples = my 2 S&Ws 610/625 Vs. my 2 Pythons .

earplug
March 13, 2010, 12:42 AM
Take it apart and use a blunt rounded chisel looking punch on the thin part of the Colt hand. This will stretch it enough so it carries up.
Or buy a S&W like I did after owning several Colts.

Old Fuff
March 13, 2010, 12:42 AM
The Python's great-grandfather was introduced in 1908 and named the Army Special. By then the Army was moving toward a .45 Pistol, so after World War One, Colt renamed the revolver the Official Police in 1927 because it was becoming increasingly popular in law enforcement circles.

After World War Two production of the Official Police continued, and the platform became the basis for the models .357 and Trooper - and of course the Python. The Official Police was discontinued around 1970.

That's not a bad record for a revolver that's supposed to go out of time if you give it a hard look... :scrutiny:

BullfrogKen
March 13, 2010, 12:50 AM
Anecdotes do not equal data.



Much of the later Pythons Colt made were produced with machines and tools far older than those who were assembling them. Colt got rid of the labor force who had the expertise to properly assemble the finely tuned Python. Colt was also not making the necessary capital investments needed to maintain, and in some cases entirely replace the aging equipment and tools the workers used to make the revolvers. Smith & Wesson was making good, serviceable revolvers that didn't require skill the more labor-intensive Colt needed to make.

Lower-skilled assemblers and less precisely made products will always cost less than a product requiring human skill and more precision.


When the institutional knowledge fled, or were let go, by Colt an integral part of the assembly process was lost. With less-skilled workers using worn tools and machines, quality suffered.


The Official Police is a hell of a work horse, and will last a long darn time without any problems. Same lock-work. Same bank-vault action.

The trigger on a Smith will shoot quicker. It has less to travel, and it has less to do. The Colt's trigger locks up the gun when it's pulled. The Smith's trigger doesn't.


Colt revolvers ruled the day when precision was the goal of competition. When speed became more of a concern, Smith's became more popular in those competitions favoring speed over accuracy.

No different than IPSC and IDPA. In the early days of IPSC the 1911 platform simply ruled the world. In IDPA the rules changed, and the different factors make other guns like Glocks and XD's more popular to compete with.




Anyway, it sure is interesting that we can revisit an argument guys had 50 years ago. Arguing Smith's vs Colt's is kind of like the 9mm vs 45 argument.

oldfool
March 13, 2010, 03:09 AM
doncha' "just wish that everything was made like Rubbermaid".. (except that even Rubbermaid is not made like Rubbermaid anymore)

The old Colts when done right.. none better than
(just like I used to be in the way-back-when)
The Pythons, as 1st done, were just maybe that
but pretty is, as pretty does

after the 1st 5,000 or 10,000 rounds or so, I went out of time... and so do the "later" model Colts..
(just just like me, still real pretty, but prone to malfunction far too soon)
mebbe like a comp-class race gun vs. a cheapo single shot smoothbore, I dunno

the guy at the local shop with that pretty $1100 Python last year posted a note in front of it, "don't tell me what's wrong with it, just find one on gunbroker for the same price"
that impressed me so much, I did not look at it real close, nor tell him why, much less buy it, didn't even pick it up... (not something you see under glass around here, either)
because he still waves me on over when I walk in there, if he has an old workhorse non-pretty old S&W, knowing I will look at it

me, I just wish Dan Wesson still made revolvers, and I wish I had looked at lot harder at that DW 357 w/ 4 barrel set for same price as that Python..
but if I had, I wouldn't have a couple or so of ugly k-frames, not quite as old as that Colt, with a few scars on 'em, that will keep on hitting "X"s for another 30 years
(not saying that all S&Ws will do that, just because I like 'em, don't mean I don't look before I buy, no matter what the "woobie" factor is)..

but if I had any brains left at all, I would shoot Glocks anyway, preferably after dropping 'em out of airplanes.. go figure

Gunfighter123
March 13, 2010, 02:13 PM
Anyway, it sure is interesting that we can revisit an argument guys had 50 years ago. Arguing Smith's vs Colt's is kind of like the 9mm vs 45 argument.

Hiya Bullfrog,
Your above quote is correct in every way ------- So , lets all argue about Fords vs. Chevy , Brunettes vs. Redheads , or Apples vs. Oranges:neener:

Just jokeing with ya Ken:D

Vern Humphrey
March 13, 2010, 04:20 PM
How does the gun know it's being fired slow, fast or in-between?
By intetia. The cylinder is a relatively massive piece of steel. When it's moving fast, it has plenty of inertia, so that a gun that is out of time will often "carry up" when shot fast, but not when shot slowly.

Magnumite
March 13, 2010, 05:09 PM
I've never heard the 45 vs 9mm argument. I thought the 9mm guys were just cryin'.:evil:

rogertc1
March 13, 2010, 06:39 PM
Just send it back to Colt for warrentee work. Shipping would be free.

ziglew
March 13, 2010, 06:54 PM
I know nothing of IPSC,IDPA or any other "action comp", with the exception
of Cowboy Action. All my experience was bullseye, iron sights, only one
hand touching the weapon, no artificial support. Started doing this in 1957
( USMC 1950 to 1974) and lasted untill 1994 when I joined in the Cowboy shoots.

All of you have valid arguments for your joice of weapon, however if I could
transport you back to the days I competed in bullseye you would see that more of the top shooters were using Pythons than any other make.

I guess my mind set is still in that mode, you see, if some one comments about a 3 gun comp, I automatically invision .22, centerfire (generally 38spl either Colt or S&W) and 45ACP (Colt of course). Each of these marcs had their detractors but to make a blanket statement that any one brand is junk
just does not hold water.

Hold em tight!!

Fred

S&Wfan
March 13, 2010, 08:37 PM
The Python is a prom queen, not a rough and tumble country girl . . . and lasts/looks best if kept as a safe queen. Purdy guns . . . but Colt got out of the handgun business partly because they were too expensive to make for what you got (long-term performance wise) . . . and timing issues aren't easily fixed anymore since so few gunsmiths still work on 'em.

Jim K
March 13, 2010, 11:32 PM
The old Colt action uses the lower "finger" of the hand to lock the cylinder tightly against the bolt (cylinder stop). The hand is attached to the trigger and MUST have enough play after locking the cylinder to allow the trigger to move out of the hammer notch. So it is common for a Colt DA cylinder to not fully carry up if the hammer is cocked very slowly. But in normal operation, the final movement of the trigger will ALWAYS move the cylinder into lock just as the hammer falls.

If that doesn't happen, and if firing pin strikes are off center, then the gun is not normal and needs work. But be sure which way the strikes are off. I recall one customer telling me that his revolver (I am not now sure of the make) was out of time because the strikes were off center, and he showed me a handful of fired cases to prove it. But when I test fired the gun, and made sure of the orientation of the cases, I found the strikes were not to the side, they were high due to a problem with the firing pin. Off center, yes, but not due to timing.

Incidentally, before folks praise the Colt system too much, it is very possible for wear to allow the hand to force the cylinder PAST proper alignment. That force can also create excess wear on the bolt, the stop notches, and the ratchet.

FWIW, in "the day", the Colt was highly praised as being rugged, reliable, and nearly impossible to wear out. The S&W, on the other hand, was derided as too delicate, full of small parts, and prone to break at any time. There is some truth to that; the Colt action has fewer parts while the older S&Ws had a lot more parts than the new ones. And the Colt parts are large and rugged, but the interaction among them is so complex that the advantages are negated, and any problem becomes part of a chain that often defies correction.

Jim

JohnBT
March 14, 2010, 09:01 PM
"and lasts/looks best if kept as a safe queen"

That's just plain silly.

John

Guillermo
March 14, 2010, 09:15 PM
John

don't feed the troll

Hawk
March 15, 2010, 11:13 AM
Unfortunately at a critical time Colt’s management realized too late that the 1908 era design couldn’t be produced the way it had to be and be right, while still selling at a price that was competitive. They believe that the name “Colt” was so strong in the marketplace that they could sell they’re products at any price, quality regardless.

When the institutional knowledge fled, or were let go, by Colt an integral part of the assembly process was lost. With less-skilled workers using worn tools and machines, quality suffered.

I would infer from the above that there is no definitive "old action Colt" - they were not all of identical quality of fit or robustness.

Hence, it is reasonable to assume that one poster's report of a bank-vault lock-up workhorse is 100% accurate as is a different report of an example that is a bit more, shall we say, temperamental. It seems reasonable that both types can exist resulting in widely varying first-person anecdotes.

One part of the "Ferrari vs. F-150" analogy, while not inaccurate, is mildly misleading: A Ferrari can still be competently serviced in nearly every major metropolitan area with a turn around time under one week. While this may have been the case with Colt at one point it appears to no longer be so. It will usually have to be sent out of one's state of residence and will take well over one week to put back in service.

I've had both types of Colts (Colt's?) and had to learn the hard way that the local "garage" may just ruin the thing despite a claim of competence in the brand being made. It's not enough to sour one on the brand but concern over the availability and timeliness of maintenance is not unreasonable nor does it constitute a "bash" on the brand. It's a legitimate concern. Moreover it will not be trumped by personal anecdote when someone like Grant Cunningham draws a distinction between "delicate" and the need for Ferrari maintenance rather than pick-up truck maintenance.

However, "Ferrari" implies that service is easier to get than it actually is. It might be closer to Pierce-Arrow autos or Vincent motorcycles. Both Pierce-Arrow and Vincent were the hand-built uber quality products of their day but getting one worked on in 2010 is a challenge. Granted, neither Pierce-Arrow nor Vincent owners have the option of sending the product to the manufacturer - perhaps it's more of an "average" between Ferrari and Pierce-Arrow.(?)

BTW, I'm old enough to remember Vincent - anybody on this board claim to be able to remember Pierce-Arrow?
;)

MachIVshooter
March 15, 2010, 11:47 AM
That's where S&W got it right. Offer standard production model guns that are more forgiving for those who will never realize the 1/2" difference in precision at 50 yards, and have a high performance line for those who do.

If Colt had done that, they might still be a serious competitor in the DA revolver business. Instead, they offered the beautiful but somewhat tempermental python that had greater precision than the average shooter needed and at a cost of higher maintenance, while not being up to par with the performance center S&W's that were similar in price for the competition guys.

Big Wes
March 15, 2010, 12:32 PM
Are you FLICKING/Snapping the cylinder closed with your wrist??

Flicking/wrist snapping the cylinder closed like seen in movies will knock the timing out and shouldn't be done with any revolver. Don't let ignorent friends handle your revolvers because they'll flick/wrist snap it every time. Don't ask me how I know!

SharpsDressedMan
March 15, 2010, 12:44 PM
Big Wes, that's a no. I got this revolver in great shape and have babied it. I didn't get 500 rounds through it, and the timing crapped. It was previously owned, but not used much. It does still index well when brought to full cock, but if you DA slow, it will fail to fully index before the hammer drops, and relies on a further travel of the trigger rearward to completely index. The hammer falling from the slow DA pull does not throw the cylinder over to the bolt/cylinder stop.

mec
March 15, 2010, 12:51 PM
but you are right that some didn't, especially later production.(carry up)

Very common from the 1960s forward- right from the box. From time to time, Colt has solicited high skill custom gunsmiths to provide input about their revolver line. One such advised them to dump it. The Double action dates from the late 1880s and is problem-ridden. When pythons were popular, the more honest gun scribes would advise that the hand could be peened/streched one time before it had to be replaced- then a skilled gunsmith , and not just a schizoid nut with wierd theories, would have to fit a new hand and go throught the entire action to get it properly timed. Trinidad trained gunsmiths(or at least one that worked here) were told that colt actions had to be retimed every 7500 cycles regardless of ammunition used. That seemed very ambitious at the time.

Old Fuff
March 15, 2010, 12:53 PM
Please post the serial numbers of you Colt's. You can use xx for the last two numbers. I'm interested in seeing when they were made, as that can make a difference.

Also if the revolver is in the condition you describe I'd suggest that you return it to the company and ask for warrantee repairs. It is obviously not what it should be.

Big Wes
March 15, 2010, 12:57 PM
I strongly suggest you just send it back to Colt and they'll hook you up. I have a Det.Spl. that gave me trouble a long time ago the timing was off and the barrel kept coming loose, brought it to a local gunsmith per Colt's recomendation, Local gunsmith shimmed the barrel but it would still come loose. I sent it in to Colt factory, they repaired it and it's been good ever since.

Note to the wise.

Gunsmiths that know how to work on Colt's are hard to find, that's why I recomend sending them back to Colt.

Good Luck Sharp Dressed Man.

GRIZ22
March 15, 2010, 01:05 PM
This holds true for any top of the line piece of high performance equipment. The higher performance comes at a price, and its higher maintenance.

I think your analogy is wrong. People buy high quality to avoid higher maintenance and break down. Compare a Yugo to a Mercedes diesel sedan. Change filters and fluids on the Mercedes and it will last you 500,000 miles plus. I did know one guy who was satisfied with his Yugo.

By the way I'm happy with the Colt revolvers I own but don't think they are the hallmark. I have also seen "handfitted Pythons" come with timing and other problems new.

Gunsmiths that know how to work on Colt's are hard to find, that's why I recomend sending them back to Colt.


This is true.

Old Fuff
March 15, 2010, 01:33 PM
The Double action dates from the late 1880s and is problem-ridden.

In 1889 Colt introduced a new mid-frame hand ejector revolver that was quickly adopted by the U.S. Navy. In 1892 they improved it, and it was adopted by both the Army and Navy. With various internal improvements it remained the official U.S. Service revolver until the adoption of the 1911 Pistol. Even so these .38 revolvers remained in limited service well after World War One.

In or about 1908 Colt completely redesigned this line of hand ejector revolvers, and this basic format was incorporated into all Colt hand ejector revolvers made from then to 1970, when again they started with a clean sheet of paper. The two exceptions that remained were a revised Detective Special, and of course the Python.

While these revolver, especially those made between 1889 and 1908 had problems, they were not serious enough for the U.S. Armed Forces to abandon them, even though the Smith & Wesson Military & Police .38 was available. Both the Army and Navy bought 1000 of the new Smith & Wesson's but then didn't go any further.

While the revolvers under discussion do have issues, it should be remembered that most of them were discontinued in 1970, some 40 years ago. Without question new parts and skilled repairmen are important issues. But if these revolvers were so fragile and prone to go out of time as some suggest, it seems unlikely that the early ones (1889 - 1908) would not have been quickly discarded and replaced by a superior S&W, nor would the 1908-1970 models remained in production for as long as they did.

Sniper X
March 15, 2010, 01:56 PM
post by SaxonPig, The Colt revolver was not meant to be fired in "slow DA." Slowly pulling the trigger in DA mode or slowly cocking the hammer to full cock will often result in the cylinder failing to fully index. Try using the guns as intended.


I have had Colts all my life and never heard that. Plus you stated it in a bit of a matter of fact way.....can you provide ANY documentation on this?

Magnumite
March 15, 2010, 05:58 PM
Ever have an older souped up or original musclecar? Those required at least monthly attention to stay in peak form. Been there, done that.

New technology...longevity and state of tune is much better. But....power = wear. You can have similar quality for lower end and high end performance...but the great power always wears out first when it is "used".

BUFF
March 15, 2010, 06:33 PM
Wow!! You guys are making me completely paranoid in regards to my python...Should I lock it away never to be fired again? I treat it like a Faberge egg as it is..A few rounds occasionaly (.38 target loads only), clean, back in the rust prevent bag, etc. How do you know when it may be slightly out of time? My cylinder has very slight play at full cock and zero play as the trigger is pulled. The strike on the spent casings seem closer to center than anything else I own. I would hate to have to ship it to anyone (including Colt).

SharpsDressedMan
March 15, 2010, 07:07 PM
This has been a wealth of Colt info. As I stated, some of my guns are starting to make me wonder. I will let Colt sort some of it out. I think I am going to get Cylinder and Slide to do an advanced action job on the Python, as I was intending to keep it as my sole .357 (I find .44's & .45's work better for me in the self defense role). I have two Detective Specials, and a S&W 10 for .38 plinking and for a smaller SD gun. I know I would dearly love the Colts to have perfect timing. There was a time when people just bought a gun, shot it a little, then it served them for 20-40 years. I think we do a lot more recreational shooting these days. I know I have a lot more "disposable" ammo than my dad ever did. I reload, and am an avid shooter. He did not reload, hunted occasionally, and didn't plink that much. I think the war probably made him like guns less than he would have if war had never become a part of his life experience. I imagine there were a lot of people like that after each big war. His guns easily lasted his lifetime.

BUFF
March 15, 2010, 07:29 PM
Great points SharpsDressedMan..sounds a lot like my uncle talking. He has a great, yet smaller collection of guns that get fired very little. It's just a different generation, I guess, they didn't waste ammo and took care of what they had. He hunted and that was what the ammo was for...food!

Hawk
March 16, 2010, 08:35 AM
There was a time when people just bought a gun, shot it a little, then it served them for 20-40 years. I think we do a lot more recreational shooting these days. I know I have a lot more "disposable" ammo than my dad ever did. I reload, and am an avid shooter.

My search-fu is weak this day but I believe you'll find a very similar observation posted on Cunningham's site. It seems intuitively plausible that a "Joe Average" shooter in 2000 fires more rounds than his grand dad did. Grant, IIRC, actually had some back-up for the notion.

It's probably not altogether unreasonable to suppose that the "rough and tumble service revolver with bank-vault lock-up" was a happy confluence of being made when Colt still had the juice to execute them not only properly but consistently and the fact that the uncommon marginal product was simply not stressed to the point that a problem would surface.

Post the serial numbers - when I posted numbers on a problem child S&W, Old Fuff had some startling input on what exactly was going on when mine was built - he claims not be psychic but sometimes I wonder... :eek:

Old Fuff
March 16, 2010, 03:33 PM
Old Fuff had some startling input on what exactly was going on when mine was built - he claims not be psychic but sometimes I wonder...

Sometimes yes and sometimes no. ;)

In the case of these Colt's under discussion, it has to be admitted that during recent memory the company had some pretty inept management. Many of the top dogs were either MBA's or bean counters with no firearms industry experience.

So they tried to improve they're spreadsheets by laying off or firing experienced assemblers and other long-time employees who knew what they were doing so they could be replaced with new hires for less money. Considering the nature of their products this was an exceptionally foolish move, but the ones who made the decisions knew next to nothing about guns, and I know because I talked to some of them.

Then those experienced workers that remained were pressured to turn out more work in less time, which was something that didn't work well when the nature of the product made it labor intensive. It didn't help when worn tooling wasn't replaced when it should have been.

If one has the opportunity to disassemble and examine Colt hand ejector revolvers made over a long period of time it becomes obvious that all weren't created equal. There are of course exceptions to the rule.

Also Colt's weren't the only ones that slid down a slippery slope, it's just that they're products were the most vulnerable.

PRM
March 16, 2010, 07:08 PM
When I became a LEO in 1977, we had to furnish our own weapons. We also had specific guidelines - they had to be a S&W or Colt, 4 inch, 357 or .38 Special. I have been carrying and shooting Colt revolvers for over 3 decades now and have experienced very few problems. I still carry a Detective Special on a daily basis.

They were made to use - shoot them - shoot them often - use the ammunition they were designed for and they will last you a lifetime.

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