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Old March 28, 2005, 04:06 PM   #1
boa2
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Colt Diamondback(2-1/2" chambered in .357 & .38 special)?

Did Colt's ever make a Colt Diamondback(With a 2-1/2" barrel?)that was chambered in .357 & .38 special?)? If so, what was the story on these? I heard this as a "Rumor"? Please comment?
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Old March 28, 2005, 04:51 PM   #2
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The Diamondback was only produced in 38 spec. and 22 long rifle.
I looked exactly like a scaled down version of the Python.
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Old March 28, 2005, 05:03 PM   #3
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Are you positive? There is a fella, that claims that he has seen a 2-1/2" blued Colt Diamondback, marked with both .357 & .38 special, right on the left side of the barrel!
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Old March 28, 2005, 05:52 PM   #4
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To my knowledge there were none made at the factory. 2.5" is a non-standard barrel length for Colt. Diamondbacks were 22s and 38 Special only. A 2.5" barrel would have to be aftermarket or custom modified to my knowledge.
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Old March 28, 2005, 06:03 PM   #5
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SirWilliam:

Although I have heard of 2-1/2" barrel length, Colt Diamondbacks being made, I had never heard of any of these chambered in the non-standard caliber of .357 & .38 special? If this is true, I'd like to get the facts(If anybody knows)?
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Old March 28, 2005, 08:13 PM   #6
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The Diamondback had standard barrels of 2 1/2", 4", and 6".

The Colt factory never chambered ANY "D" frame revolver, like the Diamondback, Detectived Special, etc in any caliber more powerful than .38 Special.

It wasn't until the mid-1970's that Colt even authorized the "D" frame for .38 +P ammo.

Any "D" framed revolver in .357 is NON-Factory, and I can assure you that alarms would sound and sirens would blare in Hartford if Colt actually got one back for repairs.

IF in fact, theere really is such a gun floating around, it's likely something on the order of the infamous .41 Magnum Python's you see from time to time: A totally unauthorized non-factory conversion, that's unsafe to fire.
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Old March 28, 2005, 08:48 PM   #7
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dfariswheel:

I actually saw this(NIB)2-1/2" Colt Diamondback today. it had the stamping of .357 &(Just before the normal .38 special stamping, on the barrel)! The cylinder was unturned! The box was the two piece cardboard box(Red/white and possibly black also?)with a brown top(Slip over lid)and on the end of the box, was the marking for a 2-1/2" .38 special caliber. But, with .357 & .38 hand written in under the .38 caliber, printed on the box! Inside this mint box, was a note from whomever owned this Diamondback, that this gun was rare and that it was(Theretically)made by Colt's? Also inside this box was a Colt's warranty card dated 1967?

Would this gun be considered to be "Worthless"-or, is there even a "Remote"possibility, that this gun was some sort of a "Prototype"(Or experimental test gun?)etc.? There is a high price placed upon this Diamondback? Please comment again?
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Old March 28, 2005, 09:18 PM   #8
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D'oh! You are correct, I was thinking J frame Trooper due to the 357 chambering. Brainfade. I still think this is NOT a Colt factory or custom shop production. I would rate it worthless.
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Old March 28, 2005, 09:41 PM   #9
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With the permission of the owner you could call Colt and ask. Give them the serial number and just ask. It is possible it is a prototype. If the seller is serious he will allow you to send off for a letter from Colt and sale can be contingent on it's being authentic.

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Old March 28, 2005, 10:07 PM   #10
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Boa, though I WISH it were true, I wouldn't bet two cents on it.......
and I'd be the first in line if they ever were.
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Old March 28, 2005, 10:20 PM   #11
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Boa,

Having owned a 2 1/2" Colt Diamondback I know they made them only in .38 Special. Having said that, I don't doubt you saw what you describe, however.

Did you inspect the markings carefully?
  • Markings are of the same depth
  • The same "typeface" was used for 357 as for 38
  • The spacing between the calibers looks even
  • The numerals 3 5 and 7 are lined up (upper & lower) with 38.
  • The spacing between 3, 5 and 7 look correct compared to 38.
  • Does the word "Magnum" appear on the barrel or frame?

If "no" to any of the above, I'd be highly suspicious. I'd insist on getting it lettered by Colt as was suggested.

The BIG question is -- will it accept a .357 Magnum round in the chambers?
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Old March 28, 2005, 10:48 PM   #12
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BillCA:

1)Although this Diamondback looked good, I was highly suspicious! And, I didn't get a chance to highly evaluate this gun-so, I first decided to consult the forum to at least determine if there was any knowledge about a 2-1/2" Diamondback, ever being made by Colt's chambered in .357(And, with barrel markings like this gun had?)?

2)I'm now going to go back to thoroughly investigate this Diamondback, get the serial number, and then, to contact Colt's to see what they might have to say? I'm also going to take my magnafying glass with me, so I can(Read)and, scrutinize all of the markings on this gun-and, I'll write everything down, to give to Colt's and to report back here for further observation of this data?
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Old March 29, 2005, 08:29 AM   #13
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I'd have to check to be sure, but I believe the D frame cylinder is too short to allow use of the 357 magnum cartridge. The factories do and did turn out experimental things so who knows?

Dfariswheel, in 1940 Colt advertised the Detective Special as being able to use the 38-44 Hi-Speed ammo. This load was much hotter than current +P loads so it wasn't the gun that made them wishy washy it was the lawyers. I would not hesitate to use ANY factory ammo in a D frame gun with a steel frame.
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Old March 29, 2005, 11:41 AM   #14
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When I was in business, I had to be responsible legally, (and morally, which was more personal) about what I advised people.

While the .38-44 was ONCE OK'd for use in the "D" frame revolver, COLT later said "No", which a smart owner heeds.

Pleading "But they USED to say it was OK" doesn't wash.

I know the lawyers have taken over, but NOBODY knows more about a gun than the people who made it.

Ignore their specific instructions, and you're on your own.

For examples of what can happen when you do use hot ammo, see Jerry Kuhnhausen's book "The Colt Double Action Revolvers: A Shop Manual, Vol. One".

Shown are pictures of Detective Special's blown to bits by shooting as little as a single round of +P+ ammo.

Again, you're on you own.

Getting back to the subject of this post, anyone who would rechamber a Colt "D" framed revolver to .357 Magnum is insane.
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Old March 29, 2005, 01:43 PM   #15
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Well, as late as the 1970s Speer was duplicating the 38-44 load with no warnings about D frames. Or J frames, for that matter. Of course Colt says don't use hot loads. Their lawyers prefer you never shot the gun at all. I don't fault you for being cautious but there had to be something wrong with a gun that blows up on a single round. The problem with these warm loads is wear and tear not an explosion. Something wrong with that one, for sure.
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Old March 29, 2005, 03:12 PM   #16
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Although, I'm suspicious of this Diamondback, being marked on the barrel as having been chambered in .357 & .38 special, it does look to be as new as if it was just built yesterday by Colt? And, it appears to never have been fired(As well as the cylinder not even having been turned)? If someone did(In fact!?)rechamber this Diamondback in the more potent .357 magnum caliber-then I'd certainly question the "Sanity" of that person? On the other hand, in view of the mystery of this revolver, I can't help but to wonder(What if?)this could have been some sort of an Colt "Prototype" that could have belonged to an Colt's employee or otherwise(In some way(Although unauthorized!)?)ended up in the hands of the public? If so, wouldn't this gun then be somewhat valuable as a "Collectible" Colt Diamondback?
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Old March 29, 2005, 04:24 PM   #17
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OK, I understand your attraction; I am also intrigued........BUT - even IF it is a "collectable prototype", wouldn't it have been AT LEAST proof-fired??? Evidence of such being lacking, I remain EXTREMELY suspicious of authenticity, and at this point unconvinced by anything EXCEPT authentication by Colt...........YMMV
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Old March 29, 2005, 04:32 PM   #18
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If it's any help in solving this "Riddle", I just found out that the serial number of this (.357& .38 special)Colt Diamondback is, D2856.
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Old March 29, 2005, 07:56 PM   #19
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That number comes back as a 1967 make.
The numbers started off that year at D2600 and went to around D14399 by year's end.

The ONLY way you'll be able to resolve this is to contact Colt.
They will give you the year made over the phone, but no other info.

What you'd have to do is pay for a Colt Historical Letter, which costs around $100.00.

I can pretty well assure you that it will come back as a standard .38 Special Diamondback.

One more time: Under NO circumstances did Colt ever chamber a "D" frame revolver in .357 Magnum, even as an experiment, much less allow such an unsafe gun to ever leave the factory.

The key here is the double stamp of the caliber.
If someone removed the .38 Special marking, then restamped it with the Magnum stampings it would have been immediately obvious that metal had been removed and would quickly ID it as a non-factory hack job.

By stamping ".357 Magnum" under the original marks, it can SEEM to be at least possibly a factory job.

Fair warning, and I'll say no more: This IS NOT a factory job, and it's grossly unsafe to EVER fire.

It has NO VALUE, as anything other than a firearms curiosity since it's can't be fired.
The person selling this thing to whatever unfortunate who actually fires it, is WIDE open to a whopper of a law suit.
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Old March 29, 2005, 09:17 PM   #20
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More than likely this gun is nothing more than a mis-stamped barrel from the factory that got by quality control. Its unlikely that the gun will chamber a 357, and would of course be unsafe to fire if it did chamber.

However, there should be no prblem using 38 specials in this gun.

Although mis marked guns are rare they usually won't bring a premium as most people see this as an indication of possible quality control problems in other areas of the particular guns manufacture.
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Old March 29, 2005, 10:14 PM   #21
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dfariswheel:

First, I wish to apologize to you, if I had seemed to disbelieve you, about this Colt Diamondback not being "Genuine" and therefore, not being produced by Colt to chamber the .357 magnum round! I know that you are a Colt "Expert" and, I also know that you wouldn't have told me this negative information, unless it was absolutely true! My mind, just didn't want to believe that this Diamondback wasn't really some type of special Colt gun! However, based upon all of the true facts that you have given me in this thread, I'm now convinced that it would just be "Futile" to spend for a letter from Colt, regarding this "Frankenstein" monster gun!

Based upon the time frame of this very early production Colt Diamondback in 1967, if Colt's would have built prototypes of these early "D" frames, that would have safely fired .357 magnum's-then, it seems reasonable, that Colt's would have started producing these guns for the gun public, long before the later, "Stainless"(Magnum Carry)ever came to be a reality!

I'm now, going to proceed, with giving all of this sad news, to the seller of this Colt Diamondback, in an effort to convince him that this gun is a "Dangerous" weapon and should not be fired by anyone(Unless, of course, that it turns out that this gun will NOT chamber a .357 round?)! It will be my desire, to help to prevent anyone else from becoming harmed, by purchasing this weapon, thinking that it would safely, fire .357 magnum ammunition!
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Old March 30, 2005, 12:55 AM   #22
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You most certainly own me NO apology.

The point is, Colt experiments usually get talked about, and we know all about the experimentals like the .256, .22LR, and .41 Magnum Pythons.

There's not one word on any .357 Diamondbacks, plus Colt was always very specific about over-stressing the "D" frame guns with hot loads.

ALL the experimental Colt's are VERY closely controlled, and are still locked up in Colt's fabled Pattern Room safe.

The idea that Colt would not only build a .357 Diamondback AND allow it to escape custody is just not likely.
Plus, such a super-rare gun would be worth a good-sized fortune, and would be in some advance collector's collection.

I'd recommend taking a CLOSE look at the "357 Magnum" stampings, and I'll bet you'll see a definate difference in the factory stamps.

If this runs true to my experience, the owner will:
A. Disbelieve you when you tell him it isn't a Colt factory gun.

B. Disbelieve you when you tell him it's not a safe conversion, and WILL explode if fired, possibly not immediately, but soon.

C. Will politely refuse to accept that this is no longer a valuable Colt Diamondback, but is now really nothing but a wall-hanger or conversation piece.

D. Will assume you're either trying to cheat him out of the gun, are stupid, or just don't know what you're talking about.

After many years in the business, and many cases of things like this, I reluctantly came to the conclusion that you do the best you can and if they don't listen, you tried.
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Old March 30, 2005, 01:22 AM   #23
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dfariswheel:

1)Thanks!

2)I'll do what you have recommended in observing the stampings on this Diamondback?

3)I really was trying to "Cling" to this gun-because, I was afraid that if this gun was very special(And, legit!)I'd be a big "Loser" if I let it slip out of my hands, to go to another interested party?

4)Actually, the stamping of ".357 &" was placed just in front of the factory stamping of .38 ctg(And, this looked kinda funny to be on the very front of the short(2-1/2")barrel? Yet, I thought that if this Diamondback actually was a "Prototype" then maybe, anything could be possible(Since this gun, would never have been mean't for the general public, to ever see it!)?

5)Well, you have always been of great help to me, with your "Expert" Colt information! I have learned alot from this-and, I do appreciate it! The knowledge that I have gained from you, has resulted in my discovering some very nice Colt revolvers! I'll always look forward to whatever you might have to say about the various Colt's!
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Old March 31, 2005, 09:47 PM   #24
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When you go look at this gun again, take another 38sp Diamondback with you to compare the markings and so forth. (I believe you have one.) Everything is the same with these guns (except stocks on the 2.5") between guns. If there were modifications you should be able to recognize them with the reference gun.

Dfariswheel: Do they blue the guns before or after the roll marks are placed on the barrel? I assume that the bluing is done afterwards so no marks would be visible and the bluing would be consistant between the barrel and the inside of the markings.

It could simply be a mismarked barrel. It could also be a 38spl DB that someone "professionally" roll marked after the fact???
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Old October 14, 2017, 07:28 PM   #25
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Holy thread revival, batman!

Sorry, but this is the only discussion I could find on this gun. A very similar gun to what is being discussed here is for sale on my local backpage. I figured it was the same gun, but the serial numbers are different. And, according to this ad, it is chambered for 357 mag too! Is this a legit prototype or did someone do this aftermarket?

BTW, I have no dog in this hunt - the gun isn't mine & I have never met or corresponded with the owner.

http://phoenix.backpage.com/SportsEq...nd-38/61699067
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