Info. on Colt Trooper MK.III - Pistolsmith

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Old 06-03-2004, 07:53 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 11
Info. on Colt Trooper MK.III

Where is the best place to get information on the Trooper MK.III. I have over 200 gun magazines and I don't have anything on the Trooper MK.III. I've done some searches on Google and not found much. Thanks in advance.
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Old 06-03-2004, 09:55 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 1,800
Here's info I posted on another forum about the history of the Trooper Mark III.

In 1969 Colt realized that the guns with the original action could no longer be made at a price that could compete in the market.
The older guns required extensive hand fitting even on the "budget" guns like the Official Police.
In 1969 Colt discontinued all the older mid-size frame guns except the Python.
The replacement was the Colt "J" frame series which were the Trooper Mark III, Lawman, Metropolitan Police, Official Police Mark III, and a very few Officer's Model Match Mark III's.

The "J" frame set several "firsts" in the gun business: It was the first gun to use stainless steel springs, "sintered" steel powdered steel parts, and the modern transfer bar action.
The Colt transfer bar action was so advanced that virtually every revolver designed since uses an almost exact copy of Colt's design.

One area also copied by everybody else was Colt's "no fit" parts design. Older Colt's could have many parts re-fitted and adjusted when they wore.
The new "J" frame used parts that required little or no hand fitting, and this allowed the gun to be made much faster and cheaper.

The parts in the action are mostly molded from "sintered" steel, where powdered steel is injected into a mold and heated. When the part comes out of the mold, other than hardening and bluing, it's virtually finished.
These parts are all case hardened, with a thin "crust" of almost glass hardness. These parts wear very well, but cannot be adjusted or re-fitted.
The "J" frame was the first gun made to have worn parts simply replaced, not re-fitted.

Because of the very thin case hardening, the parts cannot be cut or polished much beyond the way they come from the factory.
Any attempt to alter a "J" frame part will break through the coating, and the part is ruined.

The Trooper Mark III is amazingly well built and finished, especially by today's standards, and considering that it was Colt's "Budget" priced revolver.

The Trooper Mark III was available in 4", 6", and later, 8" barrels.
Finishes were bright blue, bright nickel, and satin electroless nickel, also know as "ColtGuard".

Calibers were .38/.357 Magnum, 22 Long Rifle, and .22 Magnum.

Later, the gun was modified with a different mainspring, a "short action" hammer and trigger, the butt was rounded off, and Python-like vents added to the barrel. This was known as the Trooper Mark V.
Later still, the gun was produced in stainless steel with a different profile barrel as the King Cobra.

Master gunsmith Jerry Kuhnhausen is of the opinion that the "J" frame/King Cobra guns may well be the strongest mid-frame revolvers ever built, due to Colt's high-grade forged and heat treated frame and cylinder.

The Trooper Mark III's are very high quality, well fitted and finished revolvers.
I have had several in various configurations, but my favorite has always been the .22LR versions.

The only "weakness" of the Trooper Mark III is a few "possibly" too hard firing pins may have been used. If the gun is dry fired too much a hard pin may break.
If this occurs, the gun MUST be returned to the factory for replacement. Any attempt to do a non-factory replacement will mar the finish, and potentially could ruin the frame.
Firing pin replacement requires a special press device and support jigs to remove and replace the firing pin retainer pin and bushing.
If you want to dry fire the gun, use snap caps.

Bottom Line: The Trooper Mark III is not in the same class as the Python (what gun is?).
The action is completely different from the older Colt's, but the gun is an extremely well built, high quality gun, and is very much a step above anything available today.

Accuracy and reliability of the Mark III is always excellent.
These are an excellent buy if you can't justify a Python, and the Trooper has such a strong action design, you will have no problem with many, many, thousands of rounds.

What to look for:
Look for anything that looks "wrong" like scarred up screws, pitting, excessive blue wear, rough or scarred chambers or bore, and signs of altered parts.

Look for excessive "end shake" in the cylinder. Properly fit, the Mark III cylinder should have very, very little fore and aft movement between the cylinder and frame. Look for excessive in and out movement of the cylinder crane in the frame.

Check for proper function of the action. The locking bolt must drop down before the cylinder begins to rotate, and the cylinder must lock up before the hammer reaches full cock.
The hammer must not "push off" when cocked. Cock the hammer and press firmly, but not too hard, on the back of the hammer. It MUST NOT uncock.

The DA trigger and single action trigger pull must be smooth and not too light, too heavy, or gritty.

Unless it's been altered or abused, these guns are pretty much "bullet proof".
Old 06-04-2004, 12:19 PM   #3
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 11
dfariswheel, Thanks for the information, you sound very knowledgable on the Trooper MK.III. How does the MK.III compare to the MK.V. Seems to me that I read where the MK.V's were only made for 2 years before they stopped production on them, and started making King Cobra's. Thanks again.
Old 06-04-2004, 06:36 PM   #4
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 1,800
The Trooper Mark V was just an upgrade model.
Colt got complaints about the new Trooper Mark III trigger, so Colt did a minor redesign of the lock work.

The hammer and trigger were changed to a "short action" design, (the first Colt ever, with one), and the coil mainspring was changed to a longer spring.
The new hammer and trigger design was also changed to a cast steel, instead of the "sintered" moulded steel used on the Mark III.

The barrel was changed to a ventilated rib design, and the butt was shortened and rounded off. On the new Mark V, the grips wrap completely around the grip frame.

There were three guns in the Mark V series: The Trooper Mark V, the Lawman Mark V, and the Peacekeeper.

The Peacekeeper was nothing more than the Mark V, with a flat black, unpolished finish. This was made for a few years when the big Colt strike was on.
Colt didn't have enough workers able to do high quality polishing, so they were used mostly on the premium guns like the Python.

Colt introduced a series of guns that had a rough, unpolished finish, with a black parkerized finish.

In this short lived series, was the Peacekeeper, a Detective Special model known as the Commando, and the Cobra and Agent.

The Trooper Mark III was introduced in 1969, and discontinued in 1884.
The Mark V series was introduced in 1984, and discontinued in 1986.
The King Cobra was intro-ed in 1986 and made until the early 2000's.

The King Cobra is nothing but the Mark V with a different profile barrel, and made in stainless, although a year or two later, Colt brought out a blued King Cobra.
Old 01-17-2013, 10:45 AM   #5
Junior Member
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Olive Branch, Ms
Posts: 3
Hey I have a Colt Lawman Mark II I just bought..but it has a 2 1/2 inch barrel..
SN#L19569. Anyone know when it was made or how many of the 2/1/2 verisions they made?
Old 01-19-2013, 04:21 PM   #6
Junior Member
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Southeast Michigan
Posts: 3
Originally Posted by obcop View Post
hey i have a colt lawman mark ii i just bought..but it has a 2 1/2 inch barrel..
Sn#l19569. Anyone know when it was made or how many of the 2/1/2 verisions they made?

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