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Colt Trooper Mk. III

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Grampa, Nov 15, 2004.

  1. Grampa

    Grampa Well-Known Member

    I read a lot of threads here on S&W's, Rugers and an occasional Taurus, but not much on the Colt revolvers. I have an opportunity to get a Colt Trooper Mk. III, blue (were they all blued?), 6" barrel, .357 Mag. This one I figure was made in the early to mid seventies, and has been used, but has mostly been a safe queen. There are a couple of spots where it has rusted, but it looks as if they'd rub out pretty well with 0000 steel wool and oil. It is remarkably tight.

    So, how good was the quality on these Colt DA revolvers? It looks very well-made. Any technical problems with them? The ejector rod looks anemic compared to my Rugers and Smiths, so am curious about that.
  2. thatguy

    thatguy Well-Known Member

    The Trooper Mk IIIs were also made in nickel. Nothing wrong with them. Decent guns but lacked aura of the Python. I had a pair in 357 and 22 but sold both many years ago. Prices on these have recently shot through the roof and I can only guess it's because all Colt wheelguns are getting scarce.
  3. Grampa

    Grampa Well-Known Member

    So $300 might not be a bad price? :)
  4. farscott

    farscott Well-Known Member

    I have a blued six-inch Trooper Mk III in .357 Magnum, and it has been a very good revolver. The action is very good, and the revolver is quite accurate. The Mk III lockwork used a sintered hammer, and the firing pin can only be removed by Colt. Check the firing pin before buying. Like many Colt revolvers, competent smiths are hard to find. I had a nickel .22 LR Trooper Mk III that needed a return trip to Hartford.

    $300 is a decent deal. I saw one not too long ago for $350.
  5. stans

    stans Well-Known Member

    Sounds good to me, the Colt Trooper Mark III is a very strong 357 magnum, they are usually very accurate, but lack the finish and trigger action of the Python.
  6. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    I'll always rue the day I left my ex-wife with my Trooper Mark III. It was a fine shooter with an excellent action.

    The slender extractor rod is as strong as it needs to be to shove cases out of the chambers: the cylinder locks up at the back, not the front.
  7. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Well-Known Member

    The Trooper Mark III is astoundingly good quality, especially considering it was Colt's "Budget" revolver at the time.

    The bluing makes anything done today look really bad.

    The Trooper III was available in blue, bright nickel, and in satin Electroless nickel, also known as "Coltguard".

    Calibers were .357 Magnum, .22LR, and .22 Magnum.

    Barrels were 4", 6", and 8".

    The Trooper Mark III and the versions of it like the King Cobra were considered by Master gunsmith Jerry Kuhnhausen to be probably the strongest mid-frame revolvers ever made.
    Kuhnhausen thought this was due to Colt's superior forging and heat treating of the frame and cylinder.

    As above, an "occasional" firing pin MIGHT break if the revolver is dry fired extensively, and this requires a trip back to the factory for replacement.

    To solve this possibility, use snap caps for dry firing.

    The S&W ejector pin must be bigger in diameter, since the cylinder latch pin is inside.
    The Trooper Mark III pin is plenty strong enough.

    The Trooper Mark III was the world's first "machine fit" revolver, in which parts were made to close specs, and the factory selected parts from bins to assemble a working revolver.
    The older guns had parts that were filed and stoned to a fit.

    To repair the older guns, parts could often be re-fitted to repair problems, but the Trooper Mark III simply has a new part installed.

    One caution: The parts in these later Colt revolvers have parts that are case hardened. DO NOT polish, grind, or attempt to alter ANY parts, especially in attempting to improve the trigger pull.
    ANY amount of this will break through the case hardening, and the part is ruined.

    If you want to improve the trigger, buy a spring kit, which has a lighter mainspring, and trigger spring.

    In total, the Trooper Mark III/King Cobra series guns are absolute tanks, and about the only problems are caused by abuse.
  8. CRridermike

    CRridermike Well-Known Member

    when my grandpa passed on i got his Colt Trooper Mk III 6 incher in .357 mag. and my brother got his Colt Anaconda .44 mag. i had first choice but i picked the .357 cause it was older, he actually used it and its alot cheaper to shoot. i have put about 500 shells through it and it never skipped a beat. Its more accuarte than i am. its a good gun, wish i had one with a 4" barrel.
  9. Grampa

    Grampa Well-Known Member


    This is great information, especially from dfariswheel. The bluing on this one is very deep (certainly the nicest finish on any of my handguns), and the action shows very little wear. The firing pin is functioning fine now, but I will get some snap caps for it.

    I normally don't think of Colt when considering a double-action revolver, but this one seems to be a keeper.
  10. jed

    jed Well-Known Member

    Trooper Mark III

    I consider these models as the best for anywhere near the money double action revolvers. Mine is a 4 inch bbl model and is a delight to shoot. Two of my friends would like to buy it from me, but I will not sell it!!!

    Mine was purchased in like new condition for $300.00 and is the best money I have ever spent on a revolver.

    Since I reload, I can make some really great ammo for it.

    If I saw a 6 inch for $300.00, it would be mine right away!!
  11. Checkman

    Checkman member

    I owned a 6" Colt Trooper MK III with the electroless satin nickel finish. I held onto it for twenty years, but last December it was traded in for a 5" S&W M27. It was a good revolver, but I wanted that 27. Nevertheless that satin nickel finish was nice. For several years I thought it was stainless steel. It wore like iron. The gunshop that took it in sold it within two weeks for $475.00. I don't regret trading it, but you have a nice six shooter there.
  12. pythonguy

    pythonguy Well-Known Member

    Hi All,

    I was just at the local gun shop browsing the cases looking to burn some of my bonus money, when I came across a trooper is gorgeous condition, is was finished in bright nickel. I had checked a few S&W .357's while there, the 686 in various forms, and some older models (27 and 28) prior to picking up the Colt. I am a big Python fan owning 3 of them now,I am not against S&W or any other company, but I have to say I was disappointed in the feel, and finish of the Smith's. I tried them in single and double action, they were alright, but the Trooper was at least as good in double action, and INCREDIBLE in single action. The trigger fell as if by magic, no creep or hanging. I couldn't resist, for $400.00 I bought the gun, and have to get the purchase doc's from the local P.D. tomorrow, today is Sunday, so I can pick it up. Nickel guns aren't usually my thing, but the finish was 98% and beautiful, the barrel clean and the rifling deep. I won't feel bad using the gun and saving my Pythons, two of which are unfired. This local shop has been around for at least 30 years and gives a one year guarantee on all used guns, there is also a test target included. So an early present for me, the wife doesn't have to even know!!! hahaha MERRY CHRISTMAS to ME!!! AND ALL OF YOU TOO!!! :)
  13. Grampa

    Grampa Well-Known Member

    My Trooper

    My Trooper Mk III doesn't sound nearly as pristine, but it was only $300. With a Safariland holster (right-hand, and I'm left-handed), and a cartridge belt (that I may have been able to wear when I was twelve...).


    Still, it's nice and tight, and the trigger breaks very crisp. It's definitely a shooter!
  14. pythonguy

    pythonguy Well-Known Member

    Hi Grampa,

    Thats a great looking Trooper you have there! I keep mine in the silicone gun socks, then in a soft case for storage. On the Trooper Mark V, if you do the test for cylinder lock-up, does it move slightly right or left with the trigger back and the hammer let down? Mine has no end shake but, unlike my Pythons, has a bit of slack if I move the cylinder around its axis. Any thoughts on this Dfariswheel? Standing Wolf? others? I read that although the Python has total lock-up with trigger back and hammer down, the Trooper mark V among other revolvers doesn't work that way.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2004
  15. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Well-Known Member

    The famous Colt "Bank vault" lockup ended with the introduction of the Colt Trooper Mark III series.

    These newer guns like the Mark III, Mark V, and King Cobra DO NOT lock up the cylinder like the older guns like the Python.
    In this, they are like S&W, Ruger, Dan Wesson, Taurus, and all other modern revolvers.

    The older Colt's cylinder's were tightly locked in perfect alignment with the bore at the instant of ignition. The problem with this was, it required a lot of hand fitting to accomplish this, and everything had to STAY in perfect adjustment.

    Newer designs are allowed to have a slight amount of rotational play in the cylinder at ignition.
    This allows the cylinder to align itself when the bullet enters the forcing cone in the barrel.

    This design requires much less hand fitting, and things can get slightly out of adjustment and still work acceptably.

    The down side is, since the on the older Colt's the bullet entered the barrel perfectly aligned with the bore, there was no distortion of the bullet, and accuracy was enhanced.

    On the other revolvers including the Mark III and later Colt's, the bullet doesn't enter the bore in perfect alignment, and gets distorted to some extent.
    Accuracy potential isn't as good.
  16. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    Once again, dfariswheel has pretty much nailed it. I can't speak for all Mark III Troopers, but can say that both I owned locked up tighter than Smith & Wessons. They weren't quite so tight as Pythons, but the rotational play was noticeably less than in assorted Smith & Wessons of the time, (late 1970s.) If it need be said, both of mine were superbly accurate. I sold one at a very good profit, and let my ex-wife have the other when we went our separate ways. If I ever find another Mark III Trooper in good shape at a reasonably good price, I'll definitely snap it up.
  17. pythonguy

    pythonguy Well-Known Member

    Thanks again, dfariswheel and Standing Wolf, that explains a lot and makes me feel better actually. I will be using the Trooper V for plinking at the range, and now I don't have to feel guilty that I am abusing a "collector gun", like my Pythons. I bought it because it still feels better in my hand then the S&W's I had tried, and for me its more accurate. Just like a Kimber fits me better then a Springfield or Colt semiauto, I feel like a Colt was made for my hand. I am NOT slighting the other guns, I have interest in all firearms for curiosity sake, but I love the feel of a Colt revolver. Nothing else like it for me!!
  18. larryf1952

    larryf1952 Well-Known Member

    Grampa, as yet another 6" Trooper MK III owner, I must offer my congrats to you on your selection of a fine firearm! I acquired my Trooper in 1980...I traded a new Mauser Luger to a dealer for it "straight up". I wanted a gun that I could shoot, instead of one I'd have to worry about. Even so, my Trooper is still as pristine as the day that I took delivery, at an easy 99% plus. The blue that DFariswheel describes is evident on my gun...it almost lights up the room. I also have a Python, and I have to work real hard to tell the difference in smoothness between the 2 actions. You found a gem, have fun! :D
  19. pythonguy

    pythonguy Well-Known Member

    Hi, hope all that celebrate are having a Merry Christmas and have gotten great gifts. Here are a few pics of my new Trooper, although I'd rather be shooting it, then the camera.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 25, 2004
  20. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Well-Known Member

    You have a Trooper Mark V.
    This was a refinement of the Mark III.

    The major differences are:
    The hammer and trigger were changed to cast steel from the Mark III sintered.
    The hammer assembly was changed to a "short action", Colt's first.
    The mainspring assembly and it's seat were changed to give a better DA trigger.
    The barrel was changed to a vented design.
    The frame's grip was changed to a rounded, "stubby" design.

    Later, Colt put a different barrel on the Mark V and re-named it the King Cobra.
    Other than the barrel, the Mark V and the King Cobra is the same gun.

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