Colt Rising


Like the proverbial Phoenix rising from the ashes, I’m seeing more and more fine old Colt revolvers coming out of drawers, gun cabinets, estates and other little hidey-holes where they have been sitting unused for many years. Colt Pythons and Diamondbacks, two all time favorite revolvers, are showing up in my shop in unprecedented numbers these days. Most have been very well cared for and are still in their original factory boxes, which alone are worth over one hundred dollars depending on condition. These fine old American revolvers with their dreamy deep blue, high polish factory finishes and velvet smooth actions are the finest examples of the pride and skill American gunsmiths and craftsmen used to exhibit on a production basis. That skill and pride still exists in the custom gunsmith industry.

We few gunsmiths privileged to work on the beautiful old Colt Pythons, Diamondbacks and others are very fortunate to be able to hold these masterpieces of American history in our hands and bring them back to original working condition. For the novice gunsmith or tinkerer the Colt revolver is fraught with gremlins and black holes from which it’s difficult to climb once committed. If you do not have training or vast experience working on these treasurers please don’t even think about “doing it yourself.” I don’t care how many gunsmith books you have read, experience and on the job training can never be replaced when working on a Colt revolver.

One of the major problems you will run into is parts availability. If you screw up a part or lose a piece of the complex internal linkage you may or may not be able to just pick up the phone and find a replacement. Parts for all Colt double action revolvers are getting extremely difficult to find and when you do find one it will be used and possibly unsatisfactory for replacement.

Solid Investments

For those of you who want something very special for a special presentation, speculation or solid investment, any of the Colt Diamondbacks or Pythons present the perfect platform. The engraved Diamondback shown was restored, engraved and nickel plated by Weldon Lister of Boerne, Texas and was created for speculation. It sold within a few days of completion for $7,500.

The splendid, cased Python shown was also created for speculation as one of five. I cut a 4″ barrel down to 3″, relocated the front sight, polished out the lettering on the barrel and had Jere Davidson of Rustberg, Va. engrave “Texas Rangers” on one side and “One Riot, One Ranger” on the other. These special Pythons commemorating the infamous Texas Rangers and Texas cattle brands were ivory-gripped by Paul Persinger of El Paso, Texas, cased by Les Yoder of Brookfield Cases and belong to Tom Sheeran of San Antonio, Texas. Four sets sold for $5,500. The final cased Ranger Python has never been listed, but Mr. Sheeran will sell this special creation for $5,800. You can call Tom at (210) 317-5722.

This Colt Diamondback in .22 was restored and engraved to
sell on speculation. It sold within days of completion for $7,500!

A Python barrel on a Colt Police Positive. Alex feels it looks
awkward and not quite right. We think he’s correct.

Colt Bits

The best source I’ve found for most obsolete Colt parts is “” where you will find both original and some reproduction parts for most Colt revolvers. They continue to be a valuable source for me and many Colt collectors, but be prepared to pay high prices for these rare parts.

A popular gunsmithing request for Colt revolvers has to do with the fabulous, accurate barrels Colt produced during their glory years. Installing Python barrels on S&W revolvers used to be a very popular endeavor, but with the scarcity and high price of Python barrels this is no longer a practical conversion. Cutting the big 8″ barrels down to 6″ and 4″ or shorter is a popular request. I have also installed Python barrels on Police Positive revolvers and others, but some, like the one pictured, come out looking a little out of balance.

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