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Colt Trooper .357

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by RNG, Mar 22, 2008.

  1. RNG

    RNG Well-Known Member

    Greetings everyone.

    About 10 years ago my Dad passed his old police duty weapon down to me and I'm trying to get a little information about it(primarily history on this particular model). On the barrel it has TROOPER .357 and under that is .357 Magnum CTG. I believe he bought it new around 1968 or 1969 and it has a serial # of 80xxx. It still shoots great and is in pretty good shape considering he carried it for almost 30 years. From what he tells me it has better than 10k rounds through it.

    The bluing is somewhat worn but not rusted. Would it be worth sending it back to colt and having it reblued or is it worth more AS IS? I'm not interested in it's value with respect to resale as I don't intend to ever sell it but rather pass it down to my son.

    Any and all input is encouraged and welcome.

    Many Thanks in advance.

    Kindest Regards,
  2. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

    Two forms of the Colt Trooper existed, a MK-III made between 1969
    and 1983. MK-III's were available in the following caliber's: .22LR, .22
    magnum, .38 Special, and .357 magnum; with a 4, 6, or 8" solid rib
    barrel. The condition of each firearm is dependent on its value, from
    a low of $150-to a NIB price of $475 for a nickel variant. In 1982,
    Colt came out with a redesigned Trooper called the MK-V; along
    with a new finish called Coltguard. It had a redesigned MK-III type
    action, with a vent rib barrel. A few were made with the solid rib,
    as well. They did not sell very well, and were promptly discontinued
    in 1986. Pristine MK-V's are hard too find, and even so they don't
    demand a higher price than a nice Colt Trooper MK-III~! ;)
  3. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Well-Known Member

    Does it look something like this?


    This one is 80600 so it's really close to yours. The 4" and 6" barrels are generally what we see on these.

    These models (as Ala Dan noted replaced by the redesigned Mark III in 1970) feature the classic Colt action. The Trooper is in fact identical to the Python inside and stocks will interchange.

    The values on all Colts have soared in recent years as Colt sort of stopped making revolvers. I think a decent 357 Trooper (they were also made in 38 Special caliber) would fetch $400-$600 depending on condition.

    I would advise against refinishing for two reasons.

    1. It's almost never economically feasible. With shipping a good refinish will run close to $300. Refinishing reduces the value of the gun. You spend nearly $300 to reduce the value of the gun. Does that make sense? The exception is a gun that is in such bad shape that it needs to be saved.

    2. The gun has much more value as a family heirloom than it does as a working revolver. All the wear on that gun was caused by your dad carrying it and handling it. He has become a part of the gun. If you refinish it you remove the evidence of his ownership. Why would you want to remove his influence from a keepsake you plan to pass on to your son? If it were me receiving the revolver, I would want it as is, with the wear and handling marks intact as a testimony to granddad's having owned and used it.
  4. RNG

    RNG Well-Known Member

    Thank you for the quick replies.

    Yes, that is the gun, only mine has a 6" barrel. My serial is 80476 so were VERY close.

    Below are some pics. Wish they were better.






    Kindest Regards,
  5. wilson

    wilson Well-Known Member

    I have one just like that SaxonPig. I got mine from my dad after he passed away.
  6. DPris

    DPris Well-Known Member

    I paid $600 for a very minty four-inch Trooper .357 not long ago, without box or papers. I was happy to pay it. :) Serial puts it about 1966.

    Totally different guns from the IIIs & Vs.
    Refinishing would affect value, but if you don't plan to sell it, you may want to consider sending to Colt for a re-blue & have them check the action. If it's that old & has that many rounds through it, a timing check at least is indicated.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2008
  7. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

    Do NOT send it to Colt. They are almost out of business. You don't want a fine revolver like that caught in any business/government crossfire.

    Repairs on single action armys are taking 9 months. Better be in for the long haul if you want an engraved gun.

    The finish looks decent enough in the pics. I would use the less than pristine coating as an opportunity to use it a lot. I have a 100% Python that would get a lot more use if it had some wear.

    Just enjoy it, or better yet, sell it to me!
  8. jack the toad

    jack the toad Well-Known Member

    Not to hijack but I have a Colt Lawman Mk III that looks similar.
    Can anyone tell me about them?
  9. RNG

    RNG Well-Known Member

    Thank you to all who responded.

    SaxonPig; Do you happen to know when yours was manufactured?

  10. bannockburn

    bannockburn Well-Known Member


    It was probably made in late 1968. From your pix, the overall finish looks very good; if it were mine, I don't think I would have it refinished. It could possibly be in need of a slight tune-up, but I don't know about sending it to Colt for that. Maybe ask around to find a qualified gunsmith who works on older Colt revolvers (like the Python), to have it checked out for worn parts or timing issues.
  11. RNG

    RNG Well-Known Member

    bannockburn; Thanks for the reply. I checked with my dad today and he couldn't remember exactly when he bought it. I just spoke with him again and mentioned 1968 and he said thats about right.

    With the overwhelming recommendations to LEAVE IT ALONE, I'll do just that. I've been shooting this .357 quite a bit recently and it still shoots great. I've already broken the gun all the way down, cleaned and re-lubed. Much different than the Smith and Wessons that I was used to working on many years ago. Timing seems to be spot on and the action is unbelievably smooth. I guess 40 years and more than 10k rounds will do that to the action.

    Thanks again,

  12. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

    Att: jack the toad-

    Not to corrupt the thread of our friend RNG; but the Colt Lawman
    was also a very nice, fixed sighted old Colt handgun. The MK-III version
    was available in .357 magnum caliber, with 2" or 4' unshrouded or with
    shrouded ejector rod (for 2" barrels only), and with checkered walnut
    grips. Also made between 1969-1983. Prices run from a low of 'bout
    $150 for a well worn 60% blued model; to a high of 'bout $450 for a
    nice unfired 100% nickel model. I don't have the exact weight for the
    Lawman MK-III, but its down right heavy IMHO. BTW, it was the very
    first 4" .357 magnum that I ever laid eyes on' probably a'round the early
    70's at AeroMarine Supply Company in Birmingham, AL' infamous for the
    sale of the rifle that killed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis in 1968.

    Also, there was another version called the Lawman MK-V in .357 magnum
    caliber, with an improved version of the MK-III action; and made in 1984
    and 1985 only. Prices range from a low of $150 (60%) for a well worn
    blued model; to a high of $550 for an unfired (100%) NIB model.

    Sorry folks, but I thought this was appropriate too post this in this thread;
    as I did not mean to impose on another posters thread.

    Just as a side note, I recently passed on a 4" Colt Trooper MK-III in .22LR
    that was a pristine (98% or better) trade in at our shop. It was without the
    original box and docs, and sold for a mere $329. I'm good friends with the
    police LT. that purchased it, so I may get a chance to get it back~!!
  13. cherryriver

    cherryriver Well-Known Member

    The Trooper is the descendent of the .357 Magnum, commonly called the ".357 Model" to avoid some confusion. It is not in any way the same gun as a MkIII or MkV.
    The line originated in 1954 when Colt took their E-frame line (typified by the Official Police and Officers Model lines) and improved it for the new .357 caliber.
    After a short while, the .357 Model was upgraded to the Python with an underlugged barrel, better finish, and perhaps better fitting.
    The .357 Model carried on but was overshadowed by the sensational Python. In time, Colt redid it very slightly to get the Trooper model, intended as the name suggests for the workaday law-enforcement market.
    I have two .357s and a Trooper and there isn't all that much difference in finish. What I do know is that one of the .357s, the four-inch, has a superior action to any Python I ever had, yet I believe it was never worked on after manufacture.
    You can find a wealth of information on these (formerly) underappreciated guns over at the Colt Forum, where this model is much-loved.
    You will also find that a good number of that forum's members have returned their E/I frame revolvers to Colt for refinishing and adjustment with considerable success. Based on what I have read there, turnaround time runs about four weeks, but that is second-hand information. I know I am sending my beater Python back for a refinish soon. It is missing a lot of finish and really has little collector value, especially since I shoot it a lot- a real lot.
    I would say that yours is not quite to that point, though, and is a bit rarer, should you decide you're a collector.
    Out in the real world, you will often hear the .357 Magnums referred to as "pre-Troopers", and I understand that name. They are so closely related as to be almost indistinguishable.
    The Trooper is a superior revolver, exceptionally strong and accurate. You are fortunate, indeed.
  14. jack the toad

    jack the toad Well-Known Member

    Thank you Ala Dan for the info and sorry folks for the hijack.
  15. aryfrosty

    aryfrosty Well-Known Member

    I have a Trooper MkIII 6" and a Metrpolitan Mk III 2". One of my favorites from Colt has always been the .357 Mag and the Old Style Trooper. I have owned 3 of them, with the last one I went to Numrich and bought a 3" Python barrel and mounted it on the Old Trooper and had a nice 3" Python. Perfect mate up. All needed was the TIG up the top front of the revolver frame to Python countours. I will fairly tell you that if I find another Pre-MkIII Trooper I will hurry to shell out 500, 600 and add it to my safe.
  16. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Well-Known Member

    The Python barrel on a Trooper started during the late 1960's.
    The Vietnam War was on, and Colt was busy with military contracts.

    At the time, it was near impossible to get a new Python, but for some reason, you could get Python barrels.
    The Trooper was still easy to find NIB, so several custom gunsmiths welded up the top strap to match the Python rib, fitted a Python barrel, gave it a Python super-polish blue job, and a trigger and action job.

    This was written up in several gun magazines, and their orders exploded.
    The resulting guns were known as "Troop-On's" or "Pooper's".

    To this day, an occasional owner of a "fine early Python" is OUTRAGED to be told their "fine early Python" is actually a Trooper with a Python barrel.
    Some refuse to believe it even after a serial number check.
    One owner refused to believe it even after Colt themselves lettered it as a Trooper.

    These can be identified by a serial check and by a close look at the top strap.
    You can usually make out the slight color difference between the frame and the built up weld under the blue.

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