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View Full Version : Colt Python .357 or .38 special... both?


EvoJohn
04-13-2011, 11:33 AM
I inherited two Colt Pythons and have been doing lots of research about them. Sadly, my uncle never went over his gun collection before he passed.

I found in his safe .38 special and .357, while all he had were two Colt Pythons in that caliber range.

Is the Colt Python configured to fire both? Everything I've found so far indicate they are the more common .357 Pythons.

Thanks

Jel
04-13-2011, 11:38 AM
If both of those are now going to be yours, I would keep both of them especially if they are in mint condition. Colt no longer makes Pythons and the only way to get one nowadays is through the used market.

The .357 can definitely fire .38 special but not vice versa. I _think_ there was a .38 special target model but I'm not positive.

EvoJohn
04-13-2011, 11:44 AM
They are in mint condition, with box.

I keep one loaded in a handgun safe next to my bed and the other I transferred to my father.

There was a .38 special target model, but I wanted to make sure that .38 special can be fired in the .357 chambered Colt Python. I've run a dozen rounds of .357 through them, but I have easy access to a lot of .38 special and would like to fire that instead.

Jel
04-13-2011, 11:49 AM
They are in mint condition, with box.

I keep one loaded in a handgun safe next to my bed and the other I transferred to my father.

There was a .38 special target model, but I wanted to make sure that .38 special can be fired in the .357 chambered Colt Python. I've run a dozen rounds of .357 through them, but I have easy access to a lot of .38 special and would like to fire that instead.

Agreed. Much cheaper as well. Congrats on your inheritance!

bjl333
04-13-2011, 12:06 PM
They are in mint condition, with box.

I keep one loaded in a handgun safe next to my bed and the other I transferred to my father.

There was a .38 special target model, but I wanted to make sure that .38 special can be fired in the .357 chambered Colt Python. I've run a dozen rounds of .357 through them, but I have easy access to a lot of .38 special and would like to fire that instead.

Yes, the 357 mag chamber will handle 38 specials.

Godspeed to your uncle!! Congrats on the Pythons. Kudos for sharing with pops!!

SAR_boats
04-13-2011, 12:37 PM
All .357 wheel guns can fire .38 spl

dfletcher
04-13-2011, 12:43 PM
I have an 8" Python in 38 Special only, it's their target model. I bought it new from Kittery Trading Post in ME about 1978 or 79. Although stamped 38 Special Ctg it also happens to chamber 357. I called Colt shortly after buying it and they asked me to send it back to them. I'd expect at the factory someone attached a 38 Special stamped barrel to a 357 or a 357 cylinder to a 38 Special gun - no idea which but I'd figure the cylinder, not having the caliber stamped on its side, is easier to mix up. Since the anomoly is easily done by anyone outside the factory I'd presume it does nothing for value.

Can't buy anything here
04-13-2011, 1:06 PM
Just to clarify....the Python was only made in .357 but it can shoot .38s...Colt also made the Diamondback which looks just like the python but was chambered in .22 or .38 only.

fennecfrank
04-13-2011, 1:33 PM
Just to clarify....the Python was only made in .357 but it can shoot .38s...Colt also made the Diamondback which looks just like the python but was chambered in .22 or .38 only.

There were a few of the pythons made in .38 special called the Target Model

Can't buy anything here
04-13-2011, 3:19 PM
There were a few of the pythons made in .38 special called the Target Model


Thanks, I did not know that..I bet it's worth quite a bit... a regular Python in mint condition can fetch over $1200....

here's an auction for one that ended..

http://rockislandauction.com/viewitem/aid/50/lid/3577

westcoast362
04-13-2011, 4:24 PM
Here is a pic of my .38 special Python. I think that they were all made in 1980 and 1981, with eight inch barrels.
http://i208.photobucket.com/albums/bb58/westcoast362/IMG_0176.jpg

fennecfrank
04-13-2011, 8:28 PM
Thanks, I did not know that..I bet it's worth quite a bit... a regular Python in mint condition can fetch over $1200....

here's an auction for one that ended..

http://rockislandauction.com/viewitem/aid/50/lid/3577


yeap, pythons are expensive. There are 2 at a gunshop that i always go to. One is for $1,800 and the condition is not as good as the one in the for sale section going for $1,200 in Fresno. The other one is in 99% condition and it's going for $2,000.....

If my memory serves me right, the Target Model is only offered in 8-in barrel. Just like westcoast362's (nice gun!! congrats!)

The set that I want to get is called the Colt Double Diamond which consists of a python and an Officer's ACP. About a few years back, there was one set on gunbroker for $3,000. now....it's $4,500: http://www.auctionarms.com/search/displayitem.cfm?itemnum=9516916
http://picturearchive.auctionarms.com/1175170848/9516916/picture%20007.jpg_thumbnail1.jpg
Even if I had the money back then, I could not buy the set due to that lousy CA roster....

fennecfrank
04-13-2011, 8:31 PM
my apology, didn't see that was an auction that ended last year. here is a recent one:
http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=217919422

darn......$5,000+

Andy Taylor
04-13-2011, 8:31 PM
I inherited two Colt Pythons and have been doing lots of research about them. Sadly, my uncle never went over his gun collection before he passed.

I found in his safe .38 special and .357, while all he had were two Colt Pythons in that caliber range.

Is the Colt Python configured to fire both? Everything I've found so far indicate they are the more common .357 Pythons.

Thanks

Any .357 Magnum revolver will fire both .38 Special and .357 Magnum ammo. .357 is just a .38 with a slightly longer casing. A .38 Special Revolver will not fire .357 Magnum ammo. Most Pythons are .357. Some were made in .38. The caliber should be marked on the side of the barrel.

Mickey D
04-14-2011, 4:56 PM
There were a few of the pythons made in .38 special called the Target Model

That is correct, and they can bring a premium on the market.

racinginthestreets
04-14-2011, 5:44 PM
Congrats on the two Pythons. You can identify a .38 Python Target by opening the cylinder and look around where the ejector and cylinder meet (on the inside of the cylinder where you load the bullets). Usually it's stamped ".38 special" there. Also, a target model is not stamped on the barrel .357. One note is that the cylinders on both the .357 Python, and a .38 special Target Python, are the same in size. The wall thickness on a .38 Target are actually thicker because of the slightly smaller bore. You can bore the cylinder (by a very qualified gunsmith or send to Colt) to accommodate a .357 cartridge. Since you have both I would enjoy them for what they are (The best revolvers made:)

fennecfrank
04-14-2011, 10:16 PM
just saw this:
http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=224564291

in San Diego and available for PPT!

http://pics.gunbroker.com/GB/224564000/224564291/pix019727786.jpg

Oceanbob
04-15-2011, 7:09 AM
That you take steps to not fire or shoot these two weapons.

These are highly desired collectors items.! If you want to shoot .357 go out and buy a Ruger or Smith and head for the range.

Get those two Pythons cleaned up and back in the boxes.! Save them for the day you need cash for something special.

Everytime you work the action or shoot those Pythons the value decreases.

Keep them MINT.

JMO

Be well
Bob :D

dfletcher
04-15-2011, 9:22 AM
Congrats on the two Pythons. You can identify a .38 Python Target by opening the cylinder and look around where the ejector and cylinder meet (on the inside of the cylinder where you load the bullets). Usually it's stamped ".38 special" there. Also, a target model is not stamped on the barrel .357. One note is that the cylinders on both the .357 Python, and a .38 special Target Python, are the same in size. The wall thickness on a .38 Target are actually thicker because of the slightly smaller bore. You can bore the cylinder (by a very qualified gunsmith or send to Colt) to accommodate a .357 cartridge. Since you have both I would enjoy them for what they are (The best revolvers made:)

I have a nickel 8" 38 Special target model. The best way to identify it is by the 38 Special stamped on the barrel - I haven't looked in a while but don't recall the cylinder stamp. Beyond that a letter from Colt works best.

Where do you get the information there is any difference in the chambers (other than being longer for the 357) between the two? Case diameter and bullet diameter of the 38 & 357 are the same - why would it be any different in the Python?

Regardless of its effect on dollar value, I have no idea if the heat treatment on a 38 Special cylinder or if the barrel forcing cone on a 38 Special Python is the same as the 357. I suspect it is and in my younger dumber days, having received from the factory a 38 Special target model with a 357 cylinder (accidents happen at Colt I guess) I did fire a few about 30 years ago. I won't do that now, I think reboring a 38 Special cylinder to 357 Magnum is a mistake.

41M
04-15-2011, 9:48 AM
Glad to see such quality firearms being passed down within your family. As far as keeping it ready for home defense, I would recommend getting yourself another handgun for that use. I am sure the Python would serve the purpose, but even in a justified shooting the pollice may need to take the firearm as evidence while the shooting is being investigated. I don't necessarily think your Python should become a safe queen, but using another firearm for home defense avoids the possibility of damage to your Python while in police custody as evidence.