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Old February 7, 2013, 03:06 PM   #26
carguychris
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Isn't 98 about the time S&W started using MIM parts to keep labor and parts costs down?
It was in 1996, so you were close!

FWIW the change to MIM corresponded with the introduction of flat-faced hammers and frame-mounted firing pins on centerfire models. This change was also made to reduce cost. (Rimfire Smiths had used frame-mounted pins for many decades, although the design was slightly different.)

Actually, S&W Performance Center guns and some of the recent "Pro Series" lineup utilize traditional-style forged and hand-fitted lockwork, but this is consistent with the general gist of this thread; these guns are substantially more expensive than standard-production Smiths because production costs are higher, and are only sold in small numbers because relatively few buyers are willing to shell out the extra coin.
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Old February 7, 2013, 05:21 PM   #27
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It is all about bottom line. It is a lot easier to make money making semi-autos. Grab the parts out of box and put them together. A monkey can almost do it. They still sell them for 1000.00 plus each. AND don't forget AR's, same thing.
I'm surprised S&W and Ruger still sell revolvers. Not prices are really rising on them.
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Old February 7, 2013, 06:33 PM   #28
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Winchester, thats a very fine looking 5 screw. You are probably right. I'm unfamiliar with 50's era Smiths. I do have a model 27-2 which is a fine revolver, but I wouldn't put it in the same class as a python.
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Old February 7, 2013, 08:48 PM   #29
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"I think in the 60's and 70's a lot of people thought of the Ruger kinda like they think of the Taurus now."

IMHO, not the same situation at all. When Ruger introduced their first DA revolver, c. 1973, they had a solid reputation for quality and reliability built on their .22 auto pistols, their single action revolvers, and their long guns. Reports of problems with any Rugers were almost non-existent, and few if any quality control issues were ever raised. Not everyone liked the Ruger DA revolvers, but not many warned against them or called them "junk."

Unfortunately, there have been many reports of problems with Taurus guns, and Q/C issues continue to surface. I have little doubt that the majority of Taurus guns are well made and serviceable, but too high a percentage seem to have troubles, and the result is that many prospective buyers shy away from them.

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Old February 8, 2013, 01:57 AM   #30
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TIMES, and tastes change...

High quality (Python) and discontinued add up to collector status. Demand seems high, and prices ARE high, because the supply is limited, and growing every smaller as time passes.

According to some I know (who were there), Colt dropped virtually all their revolvers because of cost vs profits. Colt execs at that time were (according to reports) more concerned with playing golf and their military contracts. They believed they had a lock on making M16s. Turns out they were wrong.

I recall quite clearly in 73 (or maybe it was 74) looking at two revolvers at Moran's Sporting goods in Hudson Falls. One was a Colt Trooper Mk III for $188. The other was a S&W Highway Patrolman for $140. I asked my father what made the one woth more than the other. His answer was "only the letters C O L T". Also at this time, the S&W M29 had an MSRP of $283.50. And you could get one, today, for about $400. OR you could pay the MSRP and wait about 2 1/2 years for delivery.

Colts are nice guns, for the money. The Python is a very nice gun, for the money. N frame Smiths (personal favorite) are great guns, for the money.

Colt let their snakes crawl away, because they didn't think it was worth it to keep making them. Right or wrong, it was a done deal a long time ago.
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Old February 8, 2013, 02:41 AM   #31
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IMHO i think Colt might start making the Snake guns again if all the magazine cap gets past, because if there is mag cap in place, the 6-8 rounds of .357, 44, or 44 Spl. sound more appealing than 10rnd. or less of 9MM, 40 or 45.
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Old February 8, 2013, 05:28 AM   #32
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Ya, if you buy the Python kool-aid. Just about any 5 screw S&W is as good as a Python. The sights were better, triggers are great on the old S&Ws, and let me tell ya, old S&W bluing is just as "royal". I mean come on man, tell me this isn't as nice as a Python (5 screw 357 magnum, shipped 1951):

You REALLY want a Python, don't you?
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Old February 8, 2013, 09:34 AM   #33
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IMHO i think Colt might start making the Snake guns again if all the magazine cap gets past, because if there is mag cap in place, the 6-8 rounds of .357, 44, or 44 Spl. sound more appealing than 10rnd. or less of 9MM, 40 or 45.
I wouldn't bet on it. Ten is still more than six, and if many autoloader buyers really wanted more power, 10mm pistols would sell better. Furthermore, most of the recent growth in the handgun market has been small, lightweight, cheap, and easily concealable carry guns, a description that the Snake Series guns most definitely do not meet. IMHO Colt would be better off reintroducing the Dick Special.
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Old February 8, 2013, 12:33 PM   #34
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costs

I'd always heard unionized labor costs, about the same time they lost the M16 contracts too.
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Old February 9, 2013, 11:42 AM   #35
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It was a number of things over years...

The 1940s...
During WWI Colt received a number of contracts from the government and production was geared to war time needs. They had about 15,000 workers on 3 shifts in 3 factories producing over 600,000 1911s, the Colt New service in 45 acp, other revolvers for the war and importantly the M1917 water cooled machine gun.

Before the war Colt had stopped production of the SAA due to low sales. During the war they set the machinery for the guns and the tooling outside in the elements where it was destroyed. Other guns met a similar fate or production of stopped, the M1903 and 1908 pocket hammerless semis, the OMM revolver, the Colt Woodsman 22 and others.

By various accounts Colt management somehow squandered a lot of the money it made during those years and from 1945-47 not much was built. It had alienated it's workforce and many older workers quit. Others were laid off and by the early 50s the company was on the verge of bankruptcy.

The military announced that it would move away from the 1911 and go to a new handgun in 9mm with an alloy frame, a higher round count and da/sa. Colt responded with the Colt Commander which became a commercial success but was not what the Army wanted. Costs kept the military from moving to a new gun at that time but from 1948 on no new 1911s were made for the U.S. military. Colt did not pursue the da/sa concept.

The 50s

Their poor financial performance hurt their ability to compete in the growing police market where they had been neck and neck with S&W for decades. S&W took the lead in law enforcement revolvers and never gave it up. It lost on both sales and service.

Western movies took off like a shot after the war and quick draw and cowboy shooting gained a hold. Ruger and Great Western began selling a lot of guns and the SAA was not in production. Colt lost a share of that market it never regained. When it did return to the SAA it did not innovate.

This allowed Ruger to grow in the da revolver market a few years later and take a bite of Colt's law enforcement market. Just as their Mark I 22s took a bite of that market from Colt.

In 1955 Colt merged with Pratt and Whitney. They also released the Python in a serious bid to win back some of what they had lost. In 1956 they began production of the SAA again as well as runs of commerative guns.

The conglomerate that owned Colt reorganized as Colt Industries.

the 60s and 70s

Robert McNamara shut down Springfield Arsenal. Colt began production of the M16. Production for the wars in South East Asia meant money. It would make over 5 million copies of this rifle and sell them worldwide. Colt developed the AR15 carbine, the SCAMP, the XM148 grenade launcher and more.

It introduced the series 70 1911s. It revamped the design of some revolvers but was still losing share in the law enforcement market. S&W was developing a line of da/sa pistols some of which the military was using in Viet Nam. Law enforcement showed some interest in S&Ws semis. Colt ignored the da/sa market. It's profits were coming from the military.

The 80s

Colt ownership brought in a new management team in the early 80s which according to the court records provoked a strike in an effort to break the union (which had been formed in the post war period). The strike began in 1985. Replacement workers produced enough guns to keep things going in the plant though quality greatly suffered. The union lost the strike on the picket line but won in the courts 5 years later.

The military went to the Berretta 92 which opened the floodgates for the "wonder nines". S&W made a killing in the police market and Colt had nothing to compete with. 2nd and 3rd generation S&Ws were in the holsters of half the cops in the U.S. within a few years. The wheelgun market in law enforcement was done for. A few years later Glock showed up. Colt took heavy blows.

In the late 80s reveling from blows Colt was on the verge of bankruptcy. The union, the state of Connecticut and a group of investors (led by the Zilkha group) bought out Colt and rescued it.

Colt lost the M16 contract to FN but retained the lucrative contract for the M4.

The Zilkha group brought in new management which tried to get into the da/sa market with the Colt Double Eagle and the All American 2000. Both flopped.

The 90s

By 1992 Colt was again near bankruptcy and in 94 was bought out entirely by the Zilkha Group. They brought in new management in the form of Rod Stewart brought over from Chrysler with no gun experience. They spent millions on trying to develop "smart gun" technology and pandered to the anti gun forces.

Stewart replied to criticism of the money lost on "smart guns" by saying he was not a "gun nut" this provoked a boycott by the NRA and others which hurt Colt badly for years. Stewart was fired.

The rise of the action shooting sports had led to many, many requests from shooters to upgrades to the 1911. Colt ignored these. In the late 1990s an outfit called Kimber began producing 1911s with many custom add ons at a reasonable price and began eating Colt's lunch so to speak. Springfield followed. Colt was hurt badly.

The da revolvers were falling by the wayside. Colt had tried to upgrade (simplier designs, lower cost as with the Lwman) but too many mis-steps hurt them. Production of the Python was transferred to the Custom Shop.

In 2004 Colt reorganized again. Still owned by the Zilkha Group Colt was split into two companies. One military and law enforcement the other for the civilian market. Both sides, particularly the military, make money.

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Old February 10, 2013, 03:50 AM   #36
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Wow. I've heard some of that before, but never in that much detail. With that much incompetent leadership, it's a miracle they're still around at all.
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Old February 10, 2013, 10:07 AM   #37
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I don't know, I think S&W is more than capable of bluing a revolver just as deep and lustrous as any of the snakes.

Two examples below that are excellent revolvers, affordable, deeply blued and only lacking the mystique of the snake series.



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Old February 10, 2013, 11:11 AM   #38
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The strike began in 1985.
And Colt discontinued the majority of their old DA revolver line in 1986. We have seen what labor unions can do to companies. Hostess is one of the more recent examples.

S&W was also struggling during this time period.

Quote:
I think in the 60's and 70's a lot of people thought of the Ruger kinda like they think of the Taurus now.
I was one of them. I was never impressed with their semi auto 22 during the early years. Use of the terms sheet metal completely turned me off even considering buying one. It wasn't until the GP-100 was released that I gave Ruger a try. They have earned their reputation in the handgun market.

Now I am waiting for Taurus to up their QA/QC and consistantly produce a high quality product. Then they can begin to move up into the ranks of Ruger and S&W with revolvers.

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Old February 10, 2013, 05:54 PM   #39
tipoc
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Wow. I've heard some of that before, but never in that much detail.
I left a lot out. What's there is a very short version. Google "Colt and the Zilkha Group" and you can see a good deal more.

The boycott against Colt after it's President denounced "gun nuts" and the debacle of the smart gun really lasted for years. It hurt their overall income and caused them to jettison guns that were not selling well.

Colt did not have the money to advertise in the gun mags for several years from about 2000 to 2011. This hurt them. Some magazines simply did not review new Colt guns for years. The rumor was spread that Colt was out of business or had gone bankrupt. The rumor was deliberately spread. Look in the archives here or on the 1911 forums etc. under "What happened to Colt?" or "I heard Colt closed" threads.

Quote:
And Colt discontinued the majority of their old DA revolver line in 1986. We have seen what labor unions can do to companies. Hostess is one of the more recent examples.
They did not drop the majority of the line in 86. That was gradual. It was also the case that Colt management desired a strike and provoked it. Court records proved this. While the union leadership and demands for pay and benefits may have played a role it was only one factor in what happened. The owners of Colt like the owners of Hostess bear the major part of the burden.

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Old February 10, 2013, 07:35 PM   #40
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You REALLY want a Python, don't you?
Pilot,

No hablan ingles? I owned a Python and I've handled many. They're not what they're cracked up to be. Its people who are new to revolvers who insist that the Python is the pinnacle. 5 screw 357s are harder to find than Pythons, therefor many people know less about 5 screw 357s. I definitely like pre 27s better.

However, I do want an early first generation Python, only because its a collectors item, not because its the "Rolls Royce" of revolvers.
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Old February 11, 2013, 02:26 PM   #41
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Grant Cunningham and Massad Ayoob send hugs to Python's haters:

http://www.grantcunningham.com/blog_..._delicate.html

http://www.grantcunningham.com/acc-rifle.html

Honestly, I'm ashamed to read some things that have been written here.

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Old February 11, 2013, 03:25 PM   #42
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Netto, this is Python Haters Central. I ignore them all the way to the bank every time my snakes keep increasing in value. The market has spoken loud and clear.
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Old February 11, 2013, 07:16 PM   #43
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Netto, this is Python Haters Central. I ignore them all the way to the bank every time my snakes keep increasing in value. The market has spoken loud and clear.
No one said intelligent people drive the market. My main point is that the Python is a nice revolver, but nice and best are two different things. I don't think they suck, but then again, do they live up to their rep?

I don't hate Pythons and I actually collect Colts. My opinion is simply to give credit where credit is due.
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Old February 11, 2013, 07:17 PM   #44
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Netto

Thanks for sharing biased opinions on Colt DA revolvers. That really added to the discussion.
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Old February 11, 2013, 07:43 PM   #45
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Winchester73,

And your opinion, does it add something?

Cunningham and Ayoob have years of work recognized by several police officers around the world, and you?

Please tell me your qualification because I'm curious.

By the way, I'm a Police Officer and a Happy User of Colt Pythons.

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Old February 11, 2013, 10:38 PM   #46
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Cunningham and Ayoob have years of work recognized by several police officers around the world
Even when police officers still had revolvers, they mostly had S&Ws. I'm sure even you know that. Why pay more for less?

Quote:
Please tell me your qualification because I'm curious.

By the way, I'm a Police Officer and a Happy User of Colt Pythons.
Well I guess I have no qualifications, because after all, its the internet, and how could you trust that I probably own more revolvers than you have guns, I read a lot, I own many books on revolvers and my opinion(s) came from experience, not my Uncle Billy who loves Colt and let me shoot his Python once. But then again, I could be a 13 year old with a vivid imagination... cause its the internet, and you just never know.

Most police officers know almost nothing about guns. Just like many dealers don't know a lot of things. Just because you carry an H&K, Sig or Glock, and you have to qualify once per year, does not mean you know anything about this subject. I suppose you enounter a lot of naive people who assume you know revolvers because you carry a polymer auto; well I'm not most people.

If they were as good as you say, why would Colt cease production? Its like a mystery, until you think about it...
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Old February 11, 2013, 11:41 PM   #47
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I despise that article by Cunningham. He pretty much states, "Pythons aren't high maintenance, they just require more care, the occasional tune-up by a gunsmith and a little babying."
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Old February 11, 2013, 11:45 PM   #48
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I despise that article by Cunningham. He pretty much states, "Pythons aren't high maintenance, they just require more care, the occasional tune-up by a gunsmith and a little babying."
How dare you criticize any drawback regarding Pythons! That is pure blasphemy. Pythons are like Ferraris, you know cause Ferrari is over rated, not made anymore, and lost out to Masserati, right? In addition, everyone stopped buying Ferraris because they were the fastest highest quality car on the market! It only makes sense.
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Old February 12, 2013, 06:13 AM   #49
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I read the Cunningham article and while there is a difference, it's still a pretty fine line between "requires regular maintenance because the parts wear out" and "delicate".
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Old February 12, 2013, 08:45 AM   #50
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Add me to the Pythons are overrated crowd. I've owned several and they were beautiful guns, but the lockwork takes a backseat to S&W in my opionion. S&W lockwork just holds up better. I've seen far more timing issues with older Colts than S&W's of the same vintage.
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