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Python parts

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Robo_Railer, Dec 20, 2006.

  1. Robo_Railer

    Robo_Railer Well-Known Member

    Of course now I can't find the thread, but a few weeks back there was a discussion that got around to timing problems on Pythons. On one chamber, my 1967 edition will occasionally put the dent on the edge of the primer pocket instead of in the center of the primer. The resulting click-no-boom might be better than having it shave lead, but has its own set of problems.
    I thought someone said it could cost $400 and require six months to get replacement parts, if you could get them at all. Is it really that hard to get Colt revolver parts? :eek:
    That beautiful blue 4" Python was my first handgun. I think it might end up as my duty weapon again, at least for awhile, unless a new employer wants to issue me something else.
    Having a six-shot that could randomly convert itself to a five-shot is not a good feeling, but I don't expect to be retiring the old girl anytime soon. (Had to sell my old 1911A1 years ago. My Detective Special makes a great backup, but isn't the greatest for uniform duty.)
    Upgrading the sights and having it refinished (I like the idea of hard chroming to prevent future action wear) now seem like "easy beans" compared to having that ejector star replaced.
    Thoughts, anyone?
  2. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Well-Known Member

    Finding new parts is not a real problem, finding someone QUALIFIED to install them is another matter.

    There are VERY few pistolsmiths around these days who really understand the older Colt action and are qualified to work on them.

    A fast way to ruin a nice Python is to take it to the local gunsmith.
    He may be quite good on S&W and Ruger's, but the old Colt action really is different, and he's almost certainly NOT qualified on them, even if he says he is.

    I can recommend the Colt factory and Pittsburgh Handgun Headquarters in Pittsburgh.
    Cylinder & Slide is great, but they're mostly a custom shop and their prices and turnaround times are high.

    Bottom line, if your Python needs work, send it to Colt. They have all the new parts needed, and people who know more about the Python than anyone.
    They'll properly repair your Python, and it won't cost $400.00 and take any six months.

    If you'd like to spend more, they'll also give it a factory-new refinish, or hard chrome job, and can give it a tuned action for a nicer pull.
  3. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    "Ocasionally" is a problem, because it isn't consistant. This may be a problem with the cylinder bolt skipping the notch and the cylinder turning too far, or a problem between the hand and ratchet causing the cylinder to not rotate far enough. Careful observation may reveal which it is. I suggest you contact Colt for an approximate quote. I would expect it to be under $150, not $400,
  4. Robo_Railer

    Robo_Railer Well-Known Member

    I'm pretty sure the timing problem is because of one little "notch" on the ratchet. Under close examination, you can see where that one's worn differently than the other five.
    Maybe I'll just go with Colt for the repairs, although I was considering a matte black finish for it, something rugged that wouldn't end up with those stripes along the side of the muzzle. (I know, "matte black" and "Python" don't belong in the same sentence. :evil: )
    Thanks for the info. I feel better already! ;)
  5. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    One thing. If you do decide to change the finish, and especially a plated finish, do it before you have the timing condition corrected. Otherwise you may find that after the new finish is applied some other problems with the timing might crop up. Colt offered the Python in nickel plate, but they were always fitted up after the plating was done.
  6. Robo_Railer

    Robo_Railer Well-Known Member

    Okay, but wasn't one idea behind black-chroming (or whatever) the moving parts to help reduce that infamous wear-and-tear that causes the timing problems? :confused:
    I thought all new parts (and my Python will be getting a sight upgrade, too) were supposed to be added before the refinishing, so everything got the same treatment.
  7. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    On a nickel plated Python (or for that matter most other Colt revolvers) only the hammer and trigger are plated. Most of the "wear and tear" you refer to isn't wear, it that the hand and cylinder bolt get misaligned with other parts because of battering. Also a sprung crane (the part the cylinder swings out on) can be a major contributor to timing problems. The cylinder bolt (the part that locks the cylinder in alignment with the barrel) is a leaf spring, and plating could inbrittle it.

    But not too worry. A call to Colt's service department will get you sound advise on what you should or shouldn't do relative to having the revolver refinished, and when to have it done. :)

    As an aside: Once had an Army Special (The Python's grand-daddy) that used lockwork similar to the Python. On examining it I find that: (1) it is badly out of time, and (2) the crane is sprung. So I get my big hammer :eek: and hit the cylinder a few times to fix the crane. Well O.K. the "hammer" had a plastic head, and there are better ways too do this, but the hammer was handy. With the crane fixed the lockwork timed perfectly. Time expended: 5 minutes. New parts required: none.

    As dfariswheel said, very few people are left that understand how to fix an older Colt hand ejector. But they will be found at the Colt factory. This style of action was introduced around 1908. If it were prone to going out of time when somebody gave it a hard look it wouldn’t have remained in production across the Colt line until the late 1960’s – early 1970’s. What ended them were high labor costs and the requirement that revolvers be individually hand fitted.
  8. Robo_Railer

    Robo_Railer Well-Known Member

    Then I guess maybe my best bet is to just send it off to Colt and say "Handle it; handle it." :D Any more advanced fix-ups can take place somewhere further down the road.

    Whew, you kinda lucked out with that crane "adjustment," eh? ("That wasn't luck, that was skill!" :p ) I've pretty much gotten away from the "get a bigger hammer technique" over the years. Good thing, too, because I only own one non-marring type, and even that could be dangerous under the right circumstances.

    Thanks for the advice, guys. :cool:
  9. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    Naw, that wasn't me... It's a very smart hammer, in fact it has a local reputation that far exceeds mine. :D

    I would still check with Colt. They might tell you to have it refinished first, but to not send in the internal lockwork other then the hammer and trigger.

    Another problem: To disassemble and reassemble the cylinder assembly takes a special wrench to remove the extractor star. If you want one they can be obtained from Brownells (www.brownells.com). They aren't particularly expensive and include a .45 1911 barrel bushing wrench.
  10. Robo_Railer

    Robo_Railer Well-Known Member

    UPDATE: No wrench needed, after all

    I probably would've had sense enough not to try messing with it without adult supervision, but my Python will definitely be getting "professional help." W.L. Johnson's Enterprises carries original Colt parts. Just for the heck of it, I was looking at the Python exploded drawing/parts list on their site, and guess what's the one item "Not Sold Separately." Yup, "RACHET & STEM, EJECTOR." No part number, no price.

    Oh, well. Good chance to have all that other "Elite" stuff done to it, too.
  11. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    Colt has a good reason to not sell those parts. They are both fitted to an individual cylinder, and it is unlikely a home mechanic will the necessary tools like a chamber finishing reamer. In addition, the ratchet teeth have to be fitted to the hand (or the other way around). All of this skilled hand fitting is what made the Python so expensive...

    It's also what made the Python a legend among revolvers... :cool:
  12. Robo_Railer

    Robo_Railer Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I guess that would be the up side to it being kinda "difficult" after awhile.
    "Home mechanic" is putting it nicely. [​IMG]

    The more I look at the grips they're putting on the Elite, the more willing I'd be to retire the Pachmayr Presentation that's on there now. The original wood grips were probably lost "many moves ago."

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