New to forum & new to Python ownership


January 23, 2013, 08:36 AM
First off, hello guys! New member here.

I finally bit the bullet and purchased a python. Been eyeing them for quite some time and finally had to scratch that itch. The serial number dates it to 1960. it seems to be in good mechanical shape with some minor cosmetic blemishes in the bluing. standard things for a 50 yr old gun. I am hoping that you guys can help prepare me for the wonderful time I will have shooting this gun. :D

I also hope that I can learn a thing or two on how to properly maintain it so that I will get years of enjoyment out of it. I did stumble upon a post by dfariswheel regarding timing inspection. Can't seem to find it again. I checked the gun out and it seems to be ok from what I can tell execpt for 1 issue.

The bolt retracts as the hammer is cocked.
The bolt releases from each cylinder prior to the cylinder rotating.
The bolt engages each cylinder in the lead ramp.

I did notice that the bolt fails to lock into 2 cylinders if the hammer is cocked REAL slow. The bolt rests just on the edge of the notch and the lead ramp. The slightest touch of the cylinder and the bolt falls right into the cylinder notch. If i cock the hammer back just a tad bit faster, the cylinders all lock up nice. Should I be concerned? Is it safe for DA firing? Thanks guys!

Here she is.:D

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January 23, 2013, 08:44 PM
As long as the cylinder does lock up when the trigger is pulled, it's safe to fire, but it does need repair.
This is the most common "out of time" issue with the old Colt action.

I'd suggest sending the gun in to Colt for correction before it gets worse and possibly causes other problems. The hand that advances the cylinder is a normal service item when it wears and stats failing to fully lock up when cocked.

Again, here's my timing inspection instructions:

To check Colt timing:

Open the cylinder and look at the small "lug" in the bottom of the cylinder window. This is the cylinder locking bolt.
Cock the hammer, and watch as the bolt retracts into the frame and pops back out.
The bolt MUST begin to retract THE INSTANT the hammer begins to move.
There MUST be NO (ZERO) hammer movement possible before the bolt starts to retract.
The bolt should retract smoothly with no hesitation until it's fully retracted, then it must pop back out with a clean "snap".
There should be no hesitation, and no amount of "creeping" back out.

Close the cylinder.
Use your left thumb or fore finger to again cock the hammer, closely watching the cylinder bolt as you SLOWLY cock the hammer.
As the hammer comes back, the bolt will retract away from the cylinder.
The bolt must retract far enough to unlock the cylinder BEFORE the cylinder begins to rotate.
If the bolt is still slightly engaged with the cylinder lock notch, the cylinder will be attempting to turn while still partially locked.
This produces a "catch" or "hard spot" in the trigger pull and will damage both the bolt and the cylinder lock notches.
This often appears as metal "pulled out" of the lock notches, with rounded off and burred notches.

Continue to cock the hammer, LIGHTLY laying your right index finger on the cylinder just enough to prevent "free wheeling".
Watch for the bolt to drop back onto the cylinder. WHERE the bolt drops is CRITICAL.
The bolt MUST drop onto the leade or ramp in front of the actual cylinder notch.
If the bolt drops too soon, (in front of the notch ramp), it will mar the finish of the cylinder.
The bolt should drop into “about” the middle of the ramp.
If the bolt drops late, (farther toward the actual locking notch) the revolver may display "cylinder throw-by".
In this condition, during double action shooting the cylinder may rotate PAST the locking notch, and fire in an unlocked condition.
It's the nature of the Colt action, that a hesitant or jerky trigger pull by the user can induce throw-by in even a properly tuned Colt.
The Colt trigger should be pulled with a smooth, even pull, with no sudden jerks at the beginning.

Continue to pull the hammer back and both watch and listen for the bolt to drop into the cylinder lock notch.
The bolt must drop into the actual lock notch before or just as the hammer reaches full cock.
The most common Colt mis-time situation is the hammer cocks before the bolt drops into the lock notch. (Hammer is cocked, but cylinder isn't locked).
In this condition, with the hammer fully cocked, you can push the cylinder slightly, and you will hear the "CLICK" as the bolt drops into lock.
In my experience, most Colt's leave the factory with the bolt dropping a little late into the leade, but usually wear in to correct timing.
If the bolt drops onto the cylinder early, no real problem, but there will be extra finish wear.
If the bolt drops late (closer to the lock notch) the cylinder may "throw by" or rotate TOO far in double action and this can cause off-center primer hits and firing while unlocked.

Each of these checks should be done on EACH chamber. All of these checks are better done individually. In other words, do the bolt retraction check on all six chambers, then do the bolt drop test, and so on.

A properly tuned Colt will:
Have a smoothly functioning bolt with no sticky or hesitant movement.

Unlock before the cylinder begins to turn.

The bolt will drop onto the middle of the ramp.

The bolt will drop into the lock notch just before or as the hammer reaches full cock.

Have a smooth trigger pull, which does "stack" or get heavier as the trigger is pulled.

January 23, 2013, 08:46 PM
I agree, it's worth a trip to the factory, unless you know someone more knowledgeable. (I don't.)

January 23, 2013, 08:59 PM
Thanks guys! I just purchased the gun and would love to put a few rounds down the pipe before I send it off. Would you suggest to only shoot SA, verifying that the cylinder locks up each time?

I am actually thinking to send it off regardless because I want to shoot this for quite some time and figure after 50 years, it probably needs a good tune up. I tried calling today but only caught the "elevator music". Do you know of an estimated turn around?

January 23, 2013, 10:19 PM
It doesn't matter as long as the cylinder carries up and locks when operated at normal SA or DA speed.

Shoot it like you stole it SA or DA.

Just don't cock it really slow like you borrowed it or are testing the timing on the couch at home.

Just be aware that the longer you wait to send it back to Colt for repair, the less likely they will still have any parts or people to repair it.

I'd Get-R-Done ASAP if it was me.
Or in other words, Get it done, While the Getten is Still Good.


January 24, 2013, 08:32 AM
Thanks guys! That's what I am gunna do. I just plan to send some rounds down range. Then I'll box her up and ship her out. Got a business trip coming up so I will be away regardless. Might as well get it worked on then.

January 24, 2013, 08:59 AM

Expect your gun to be gone for 90 days.

They SAY 60, but that is not the case.

(I know this from current experience w a Diamondback)

January 24, 2013, 09:43 AM

Expect your gun to be gone for 90 days.

They SAY 60, but that is not the case.

(I know this from current experience w a Diamondback)

That is a long time to go without your baby! ;)
But yes I agree... put some rounds through it you will love it then send it off and bake it a cake for when it returns. :D

January 24, 2013, 09:55 AM
please do not misunderstand

I am not complaining about the time, only the lack of forthrightness.

January 24, 2013, 11:36 AM
Yeah 90 days really sucks but I want it looked at by the right people so...

I just got off the phone with colt and was told that all that is required for timing issues is labor. I was unsure if worn parts needed to be replaced but he seemed to think only labor was needed. Your thoughts? The gentleman also told me that I cannot get parts for the gun thru colt but have to go outside. Is that really the case?

If colt fixes the timing, how many rounds before needing to do this again? Should I be concerned with wearing a part out internally to the point of breaking it? I want to shoot my gun.

Thanks guys!

January 24, 2013, 11:52 AM
how many rounds before needing to do this again?


I shot my Python all the time and it is tight as a drum.

January 24, 2013, 12:11 PM
You are not likely going to have to ever do it again unless you make it fully auto and shoot everyday, that revolver is very durable. :)

January 24, 2013, 12:28 PM
Awesome! Well then that makes my decision real easy. Thanks for all of the help guys!

January 24, 2013, 01:35 PM
I sent my Python to Colt some years back, and it was well worth the wait. They do very good work on Pythons. Mine had been VERY mistreated (lost) by the previous owner. The guys at Colt resurrected my gun into a buttery smooth tackdriver.

The Lone Haranguer
January 24, 2013, 02:16 PM
Cocking the hammer slowly isn't a valid test for this action, IMO. The cylinder doesn't lock up until the moment the hammer comes to full cock. When you pull the trigger and hold it back, as long as the cylinder is locked up and with no play, I don't think you have a problem.

January 24, 2013, 02:58 PM
Cocking the hammer slowly isn't a valid test for this action, IMO. The cylinder doesn't lock up until the moment the hammer comes to full cock. When you pull the trigger and hold it back, as long as the cylinder is locked up and with no play, I don't think you have a problem.
Thanks, TLH. I am just unsure of what is correct with reading all the interwebs so I would like a professional to give it a once over. I see no problem with shooting SA right now. I just want to punch some holes in the paper first off. I plan to send to colt for an inspection shortly afterwards.

January 24, 2013, 08:54 PM
I could cry right now! further cleaning, inspection, gawking, I noticed a crack in the forcing cone of the barrel!!!!

What do I do? I plan to contact the seller and discuss the issue with him...but I do not know what to expect out of it. Can I buy a new barrel from Colt and get them to swap it out? Please tell me this is possible.

January 25, 2013, 08:58 AM
Don't know really just how accurate this is but I looked this up and this was posted on another website back in Sept. 2011, so it may give you hope....

I've been pushing some real hot loads without issues in my Rugers. However, I just received a friends Colt Python back from Colt. It was re barreled because of a shattered forcing cone.Edit: I do recall my local indoor range had a Blackhawk with a broken forcing cone at the rental counter. They rented it for years that way before replacing it. That's the only Ruger I've heard of with a cracked forcing cone.

It would not hurt to call Colt... Good luck. :)

January 25, 2013, 09:20 AM
Python barrels come up for sale

look on the auction sites

January 25, 2013, 11:55 AM
I don't know why they kept the Blackhawk for so long broken, Ruger would have fixed it gladly.

January 25, 2013, 01:51 PM
Brnmw, are you saying to shoot it as is?

January 25, 2013, 02:19 PM
This is the crack. Please let me know if this is not supposed to be there.

January 25, 2013, 07:58 PM
The cone is cracked, and in a Colt Python that's usually a sign the gun has been shot with stupidly hot ammo.

In that case, you'll likely find other damage such as a stretched frame and ejector impact peening on the recoil face, excessive cylinder end shake, and other problems.

The gun is NOT SAFE TO FIRE.
When the cone is cracked, there's a chance it may break off a chunk of shrapnel that could really hurt someone, and likely damage the frame ans cylinder.
In most cases, when a revolver barrel is cracked, that's it for the barrel.
Cutting the barrel off and refitting it almost never works because the crack will continue spreading forward.
About the only repair is a new barrel.

I can't tell for sure from the picture, but the frame itself may be cracked. I see something running from the cracked cone down and toward the left on the frame.

The only people I'd trust to look at this gun is Colt. If it's repairable and they have the parts, and it's not damaged elsewhere they can repair it.

January 26, 2013, 08:05 AM
This has been an interesting thread for me. I just put a deposit on a 1966 Official Police 38 that when cocked VERY slowly doesn't quite snap into place until the trigger is fully back. Locks up tight when cocked normally, or in D/A mode, just when as I said, cocked very slowly, that slight little "hitch" before full lock up. Very nice gun otherwise.

I had thought I might have to send it to Colt to have it refinished anyway. I've got a '64 Python that could use a refinish too.

To the OP. Sorry to hear about the cracked forcing cone on your Python.

February 5, 2013, 01:42 PM
Just to let everyone know, I have spoken to the seller. He has agreed to refund my money. Now I need to find another python. Thanks for all of the help!

February 5, 2013, 02:15 PM
Good to hear you got your money back. I had something similar happen to me. He stated it was like new stainless. I got it and it was pitted chrome.

I got my money back too.

Sent from my SGH-T999 using Tapatalk 2

February 5, 2013, 04:20 PM
If it makes you feel any better, it didn't have the right grips either. Those were from a 2nd edition, 1964-1974 Python.

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