NEED HELP WITH COLT MODEL .357 - Pistolsmith

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Old 07-08-2002, 08:36 PM   #1
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I need some help determining what type of frame this wheelgun has. You did read correctly, this is a Colt model .357 chambered for .357 magnum. This is NOT a trooper, python, king cobra, lawman, etc. Apparently this gun was made in 1950s and 1960s. I think it may be based on the I frame, since it was the predecessor of the python, but am not sure. If I knew for sure which frame this gun is, or the models of the guns that have the same frame, it sure would help a lot in ordering speedloaders, grips, and various accessories. Any information you may have would be greatly appreciated. I am hoping an experienced gunsmith will read this and help me. Unfortunately the folks at Colt's customer service could not. Thanks.
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Old 07-09-2002, 03:38 AM   #2
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Sounds like you have the Colt 357 Magnum Revolver which was the predessesor to the Trooper if I remember correctly. They were made from 1953-1961.
Old 07-09-2002, 05:21 AM   #3
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Kuhnhausen's book says the same thing that Jim did.
Old 07-09-2002, 01:13 PM   #4
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The Colt .357 is the "I" frame Colt. This is the same frame size as the old Colt Oficial Police, Officer's Model Match, Trooper, and Python. It is sometimes refered to as a "Pre-Trooper" or Python". About 15,000 of these were made between 1950 and 1961. They were offered with 4 or 6 inch barrels, blued or nickel finish, and choice of target hammer and stocks, or service hammer and stocks.

This was to be Colt's top-of-the-line revolver, post-war. It's an industry first for a number of reasons: The first revolver in .357 in a medium frame. The first target sighted, target stocked post-war revolver. The first appearance of Colt's famous target hammer, and target stocks. The first modern center-fire revolver with a frame-mounted firing pin.

In 1952 Colt responded to a demand for a .357-like revolver, at a cheaper price for police use, by introducing the Trooper guns. These were offered in .38 Special and .22LR. The early .38 models had a hammer-mounted firing pin.

In 1954 Colt introduced the Python, which left the .357 the odd man out.
Departments and individuals wanting a cheaper gun bought the Trooper, and people wanting the best bought the Python.
In 1961 Colt discontinued the .357, and added the caliber to the Trooper line. After this the Trooper was available in .357, .38 Special, and .22LR.
At some point Colt added the frame-mounted firing pin feature to the Trooper .38, and it was a simple matter to chamber the gun for the magnum round.

These old .357's are still one of the finest revolvers ever built, and since only 15,000 or so were made, they are collectable.

It's the one post-war Colt revolver I never managed to get, and I've always regreted it. There are two for sale on in like new condition. Now that I can't afford one, their turning up for sale.

Historical trivia: In the late 60's early 70's the Viet Nam war was on, and new Colt Python's were just unobtainable. Since the Trooper had just been discontinued in 1969, plenty were still available. Some gunsmiths had a neat little industry going, making Phoney Pythons. They were welding the top strap up to a Python profile were it meets the barrel rib. Screwing on a Python barrel, (which was available), and giving it a Python-quality blue job. There are a number of these "Troop-On" guns out there, and I suspect a number of people have what they think is a valuable early Python. Check serial numbers carefully, if you buy an older Python, and take a close look at the front of the top strap. The weld is usually visible.
Old 07-09-2002, 03:27 PM   #5
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Great post! Thanks for all the excellent info.
Old 07-10-2002, 02:52 PM   #6
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Thanks for the great information. Now there's a man who knows his Colt's.

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