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Old May 24, 2014, 01:08 AM   #1
navajoRN
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S&W 66/19 or Colt Trooper/Lawman?

I'm looking for a classic .357 shooter to play with at the range using .38s mostly for practice, occasional rounds of .357s. I shot my boyfriend's Colt Lawman snubnose last weekend and loved it. Also considering the S&W 66 or 19 models instead of the Colt line. Thoughts? Pros/cons?
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Old May 24, 2014, 01:17 AM   #2
navajoRN
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Colt Trooper Mark III

Here's a piece on auction through a reputable seller at gunbroker:

For Auction: A Colt Trooper Mark III revolver in good condition (80-85%). Light scratches and handling marks. No Rust. Bore is excellent. Gun has been cleaned. Serial# L7415 – approximately made in 1976.
Features:
Caliber: .357 Magnum/ .38 Special
Nickel Finish
4” Barrel
Adjustable Rear Sight

I'm the highest bidder right now at $375.

Last edited by navajoRN; June 24, 2014 at 06:11 PM.
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Old May 24, 2014, 01:28 AM   #3
navajoRN
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S&W 19-5

And this is another one up for auction I am considering:

"Smith and Wesson Model 19-5 .357 mag Nickel finish, 4in. barrel, large wooden grips numbered 34, 6-shot. Overall good condition. Has many small scratches and has a faint drag line on the cylinder. However, a good cleaning would make this gun shine like new!"

This one is going for $420 right now.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg SW 19-5.jpg (36.2 KB, 48 views)

Last edited by navajoRN; June 24, 2014 at 06:11 PM.
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Old May 24, 2014, 01:50 AM   #4
Model12Win
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Neither.

I own a Colt Python 4" satin nickel, and quite frankly would pick it over both of those revolvers.
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Old May 24, 2014, 07:52 AM   #5
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I would also prefer the Python but they currently sell for $2,000+ so a Python may not be a good choice for a casual range gun.

The K frame S&W (19/66) is a classic revolver. I personally don't like the look of stainless but it is more practical on a working gun.

Be aware there are two Troopers. The pre-1969 Trooper has the same action as the Python. The Mk III Trooper is a completely different revolver. Most Colt lovers prefer the earlier version but the Mk III is a perfectly good pistol.

Comparing the Colt to the Smith most shooters will vote for the S&W. You have tried the Colt and like it. Either will do what you want it to do just fine.

The Colt is built on a larger frame than the K frame S&W, so it's a bit sturdier. But it's also a bit larger and heavier.

Colt prices are insane since Colt pulled out of the handgun market a few years ago. But if you like the Trooper you shot then look for one. Note that the shorter the barrel the bigger the price. The 2" (or 2.5" as the case may be) guns are always in high demand and command more money. A 4" model will be cheaper and easier to shoot. But buy what makes you happy. Life's too short to do otherwise.
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Old May 24, 2014, 08:13 AM   #6
Grant D
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I agree, either one would be fine.
I have a 6" Python, 6" Trooper MK V (the third model Trooper)a 4" Lawman, and a 6" Officers Model Match. Of the four, I enjoy shooting the Officers Model Match at the range the most as it's the most accurate of the lot.
You may be able to find one on Gunbroker for a reasonable price, although they are 38 special only

Oh..and I also have seven Smith & Wessons and enjoy shooting all of them too.
You have good taste in firearms by the way.
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Old May 24, 2014, 10:24 AM   #7
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A Python does not offer $1500 in improvement over the other guns mentioned, besides having a more delicate lock work than the others. I would see what felt the best to me knowing that I could change out the grips to help get the feel I wanted. S&W would give you more options in this area. A nice K frame should suit you very well based on what you plan for it but a Colt has that unique look with that sexy trigger guard.
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Old May 24, 2014, 11:04 AM   #8
Jimmy10mm
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Just IMHO ....... I have a 6" Python and it is a fine revolver. Made on the old Officer's Model frame IIRC, it is about equivalent to a K frame Smith. The Python has the old long action like the pre-war Smiths and some like it and some don't.

The post war Smiths, with the short action are certainly less money and as previously posted, the lock work is less complicated if you ever need to find someone to work on it that knows what they are doing.

I think if I was going for a 66 it would be a 6" bbl for range use. I have a 2-1/2 and love it but never shoot it. A beast with 357 cartridges. The L frame is a nice compromise. Not as heavy as the N frame but enough beef to fire 357s in 'comfortably' and not shoot loose.

The K frames and the Pythons are said to be more fragile. I've never shot one loose myself but maybe I didn't shoot them enough. I have a 5" M-27 N frame that is a pleasure to shoot 357s in. Heavy though if that is a consideration.
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Old May 24, 2014, 11:15 AM   #9
navajoRN
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the S&W has it... for now.

Thanks, guys. I thought this was going to be my third and last gun. Ha! Famous last words.... I'm two hours out from owning the 4" S&W 19-5. It'll be a good range gun, I'm sure of it. Highest bid right now at $430. Not bad at all.

But.... I am totally in love with the Colt Lawman and Trooper, though. I love the chubby knob of the Colt's classic barrel release of all things. It also has that look and feel of more metal in the hammer and trigger. I decided I really don't like the venting on the Python. I did like the look of the King Cobra too. The old classic cowboy western is what I'm going for with more punch than my Ruger .22 Six Shooter for plinking. The Mark III gives you the .357 option which I want, not just the .38 caliber. I think I did my homework correctly on that. Correct me if I'm wrong.

I decided I want one of each. Go figure. I went with the 19 because I'm partial to the nickel plate. I really want to customize the Colt, though, with a high polish, engraving, and ivory grips. The S&W will be more for regular range use.

Yeah, I feel confident about my choices with all that I've read over the past week on here, wiki (the history of both companies and models are great reading!) and on a S&W revolver forum, too. My .38 S&W Bodyguard that I have for CCW is not much fun to shoot but has it's place in my growing collection and purse. I'm excited about shooting both of these when they arrive. Got both for just shy of $1000. I think I did good.

Last edited by navajoRN; May 24, 2014 at 11:29 AM.
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Old May 24, 2014, 11:54 AM   #10
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Quote:
Thanks, guys. I thought this was going to be my third and last gun. Ha! Famous last words.... I

Yeah, right. "I can stop any time, I really can."

Quote:
Go figure. I went with the 19 because I'm partial to the nickel plate. I really want to customize the Colt, though, with a high polish, engraving, and ivory grips. The S&W will be more for regular range use.
Get the S&W.
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Old May 24, 2014, 11:58 AM   #11
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Be sure to keep the forcing cone clean of carbon and lead deposits. There is a school of thought that build up in this area can cause hot spots that may damage the barrel.
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Old May 24, 2014, 12:01 PM   #12
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Understand going in that all of the models you mention are older guns that are out of production.

Parts, if needed, are drying up for all.
Colt is losing the ability to perform some aspects of service if needed, same with Smith & Wesson.

The 19 should not be fired extensively (I said EXTENSIVELY) with full-bore magnum loads.
S&W has no replacement barrels, and can't replace things like hammers & firing pins on them.

The guns you list are classics, they're not exactly fragile, but they can wear out & when they do repairs are becoming increasingly more difficult.

The older Smiths are typically easier to find parts for.
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Old May 24, 2014, 02:50 PM   #13
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I admire your choice of handguns.

Sure looks like you've done your homework on them. Please tell us how the auctions come out. I'm looking forward to hearing a range report on your guns and hope you keep posting here.

Quote:
I love the chubby knob of the Colt's classic barrel release of all things.
I think you mean the cylinder latch. Please don't take offense it's just that I read a whole book where a certain revolver played a key point and the author kept calling the 'cylinder' the 'barrel' and it drove me nuts.

Once again, welcome to the forum and I look forward to more of your posts, and again I think you have excellent taste in handguns.
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Old May 24, 2014, 03:39 PM   #14
Grant D
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Yes, parts are getting to be a problem.

I dropped off my Colt Lawman with a gunsmith on 6-12-13 and I just got it back on 5-22-14 so, almost a year to get the hammer replaced!
Someone had filed the hammer, so after you cocked it you could literaly blow on the trigger and it would go off
(but I'm a happy camper now!)
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Old May 24, 2014, 04:21 PM   #15
PatientWolf
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If you won your auction, enjoy - the 19 is a great gun. I have a 66 that I really like (although I really wish it was a 686 due to the potential forcing cone issues attributed to the 19/66).

If you didn't win and are still looking, you may want to consider looking into a 586/686.
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Old May 24, 2014, 05:59 PM   #16
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Congratulations on you 2 new classic revolvers!
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Old May 24, 2014, 06:34 PM   #17
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Quote:
The 19 should not be fired extensively (I said EXTENSIVELY) with full-bore magnum loads.
I disagree a bit. The problem appears to have been with really fast 110gr and 125gr stuff. The 158gr loads do not appear to have been the cause of the flame-cutting and forcing-cone problems.

You're correct on the issue of parts, but in the long run, the Smiths will be easier to find parts for. There's also a wider variety of aftermarket grips than there are for the Colts.
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Old May 24, 2014, 07:42 PM   #18
DPris
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Tom,
Knew a guy who had to send his 19 back for rebuilds twice, after which S&W said "Last time, no mo."
It's partly those lightweight bullets, but there can also be frame stretching, cone erosion, cone cracking & so on.

I said CAN be, no flames on the durability of the 19, please.
Good guns, genuine classics, just not built for HEAVY use of full-bore .357s.
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Old May 24, 2014, 08:50 PM   #19
Tom Servo
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Quote:
Knew a guy who had to send his 19 back for rebuilds twice, after which S&W said "Last time, no mo."
Perhaps there was a date range in which guns were made that were more susceptible to the problem. Just a theory. For the most part, the issue seems to be rare.

That said, they are getting low on K-Frame parts, but most gunsmiths have a junk drawer full of them.
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Old May 24, 2014, 09:42 PM   #20
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Those older Colts have no home and no good source for spare parts. Colt will/can no longer repair them and few other companies or gunsmiths will/can either. For a using gun, go with S&W or Ruger.

Jim
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Old May 24, 2014, 11:20 PM   #21
Webleymkv
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The S&W M19 and 66 are fine guns and while certain parts such as barrels are no longer available, those parts are commonly worn out or broken with normal use. So long as you don't abuse the gun and keep Magnums with bullets lighter than 140 gr out of it, you're highly unlikely to ever have a problem that a competent gunsmith or the S&W factory couldn't fix as common wear parts like hands and cylinder stops are interchangeable with other K-Frames.

The Colt Trooper and Lawman, as have been mentioned, are also excellent revolvers but I'd be a bit more hesitant to recommend one for a "working gun" over a S&W for a couple of reasons. First, there is more than one version of both revolvers and while they share names, they are actually very different internally. The original Trooper and Lawman used Colt's older double-pawl lockwork much like the Python and Official Police. While these guns are not as delicate as some claim, they are slightly more prone to timing problems than a S&W or Ruger. Also, they lock up differently and conditions like slight rotational play in the cylinder at full lockup, which would be perfectly normal and acceptable on a S&W or Ruger, are indicative of major timing issues which require the attention of a gunsmith.

Starting with the Trooper/Lawman Mk. III and continuing through the Trooper Mk. V and King Cobra, Colt changed their lockwork to a simpler design more akin to a S&W or Ruger. While Colt enthusiasts don't find these guns quite as desirable as the earlier versions, they are in fact very good guns that are probably stronger and more durable than their predecessors. I personally have always liked the look of the Mk. III in particular due to their half-lug barrels (probably because I'm a S&W guy). One important caveat, however, is that these revolvers should not be dry fired without snap caps as they are prone to break firing pins if such is done and Colt are the only ones with the tools to replace them.

With any Colt DA revolver, my main concern would be the availability of parts and the fact that few gunsmiths are qualified to work on them. While they are fine guns that I certainly wouldn't mind owning and shooting occasionally, for a gun that will be shot and/or carried regularly I'd personally prefer one that can be readily serviced if need be.
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Old May 25, 2014, 12:11 AM   #22
DPris
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Tom,
I dunno on date range, they just told him they couldn't correct endshake & BC gap again, frame had stretched too far.
There have been similar issues with 19s elsewhere.

Otherwise, I did say you're better off with S&W for parts.

And every time I mention the Colt parts & service issue, I get Colt fans getting irate & telling me they run forever, no problem, get the Colt, you'll love it.
In trying to explain it to people considering buying a classic Colt & shooting it heavily, it invariably brings on "No, you're wrong, they'll outlast you", and so on.

I have a small stock of spare parts for my older Smiths, and a few for my older Colts.
The Colts just don't get fired nowdays.

But, hope you enjoy your 19, NRN.
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Old May 25, 2014, 11:33 AM   #23
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Your friend must really like shooting heavy .357 loads through his M19 to have stretched the frame on it that badly. I have found that over the years the lighter loads are not only more pleasurable to shoot, they put less stress on the gun.

It seems that the K frames just don't like a constant diet of full power .357's. When the .357 was first developed, the N frame was the only gun that S&W marketed in that caliber. There was even a hot .38 Special load that was recommended for the .38-44 Outdoorsman or Heavy Duty.

I have a couple K frame .357's and I generally only shoot .38 Specials through them. I believe that with this kind of use, they will last me forever.

Last edited by highpower3006; May 25, 2014 at 01:21 PM.
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Old May 25, 2014, 12:01 PM   #24
DPris
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The K-Frame .357s were built during an era where .38s were used for practice & .357s for carry, in general.
Jordan had a great deal to do with the introduction of the 19 & he acknowledged it was not generally used with high-volume magnum loads.
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Old May 25, 2014, 05:22 PM   #25
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I have both, as others have noted the M-19 is really a 38 that can shoot 357s when needed, the Trooper-both models-is a true 357. The S&W L frame was meant to compete with the Python. Yes, parts for the older Colts are hard to come by.
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