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Old October 17, 2017, 05:02 PM   #26
laytonj1
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And, according to this ad, it is chambered for 357 mag too! Is this a legit prototype or did someone do this aftermarket?
The colt factory letter with it clearly states it left the factory as a 38 Special....
So, without proof from the factory, it's somebody's custom conversion.

Jim
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Old October 17, 2017, 07:16 PM   #27
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The give away on these types of things is the very non-standard way the barrel is stamped.
Since removing the markings and re-stamping would be obvious and difficult, the person doing the conversion just stamps the extra wherever they can fit it on the barrel.

Colt would NEVER mark a barrel like this, prototype or not.
Why would they? They have access to all the barrel roll stamping dies so if they made up a prototype they'd either correctly stamp it or not stamp it at all.

The bottom line is the older "D" frame Colt's like the Diamondback were never made in .357 Magnum for two reasons....
One is the cylinder is too short for Magnum ammo, and two, the size of the frame and cylinder thickness were simply not up to the stresses of Magnum level ammo.
The later stainless steel Magnum Carry was made of stronger steel and had higher level heat treating.

You occasionally see a firearm re-worked for a caliber it was never intended for.
It's hard to get inside the head of the fools who do these things, and what's scary is that often they're working as a "professional gunsmith" who should very well know better.
That may be the problem...they think they know better then the company that made it.
One reason these converted guns are often in brand new looking condition is because they usually go grenade after a shot or two so they don't get worn.

Over the years I've seen or heard about guns like the infamous .41 Magnum Pythons, older S&W M&P 38's reworked to .357 Magnum, old weak design .22 rifles from the early 1900's reworked to .22 Magnum, and I was once told about a 1880's Belgian Damascus barrel black powder shotgun that was re-chambered to (God help us) 3 1/2 inch Super Magnum.
The owner had just bought it and asked the gunsmith if it was okay to shoot steel shot in !!!!!!!

The maddening part is, if a Colt letter is bought and shows this gun shipped as a .38 Special, the owner will probably refuse to believe it and will claim Colt is lying about having made it. That's what one .41 Magnum Python owner claims.
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Old October 18, 2017, 12:35 PM   #28
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Wow....

WOW!

That guy simply can't read the factory letter from Colt.

$20,000?

BBBBBBBBBBBBBBWWWWWWWWWWWWWWHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

I have half a mind to contact him and offer him $500 for it because it's a mangled after-factory, NON-mint Diamondback that has been fired with factory unauthorized ammunition (.357) and is very likely damaged because of that.
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Old October 18, 2017, 05:09 PM   #29
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Well, whatever the hell it is shooting 34,000 PSI 357s in it certainly puts to rest any worries about 18,500 PSI 38 +Ps...
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Old October 18, 2017, 05:42 PM   #30
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I have an Army Special with "DA .41" marked on the barrel. It was rebarreled and chambered when it was new by some enterprising owner, so everything looks like it belongs and it has an even patina. It could be that, or it could be a factory mistake, in which case the paperwork (a Colt Letter) probably won't show that. Either way it's a Franken-Pistol (like mine) and not worth much as a collector piece.

BTW, I have two factory new Python cylinders as backups for the ones I shoot. You may want to post on the Colt Forum. I know tha not long ago Colt auctioned off all their X pistols.

Honestly, I wouldn't touch it for more than $1k without providence.
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Old October 18, 2017, 05:47 PM   #31
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Even if it's a genuine X gun with a letter $20k is absurd.
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Old October 19, 2017, 11:51 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by boa2 View Post
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!
It may have been accidently marked.
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Old October 19, 2017, 02:41 PM   #33
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Colt didn't mark guns ".357 & .38 Special."
It would have been marked ".357 Magnum" by Colt.
Until recently- everyone KNEW .357s would shoot .38s!
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Old October 19, 2017, 04:27 PM   #34
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They will ???
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Old October 19, 2017, 08:08 PM   #35
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Yes! Even "+Ps"!!!
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Old October 20, 2017, 10:36 AM   #36
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Bill, “357’s would shoot .38’s” how can anyone counter this statement? Dimensionally the cartridges are the same other than the .357 being 1/10th inch longer so why would there be doubt that the shorter cartridge would not fit and fire?
As for a factory Diamondback loose that was a prototype .357, sounds like the old “ swamp land for sale” ploy.
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Old October 20, 2017, 11:22 AM   #37
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If it were truly a Colt factory prototype, it might not have been marked with a cartridge chambering at all.

Many prototype guns never were given a full set of markings because they were intended to be destroyed after testing.
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Old October 20, 2017, 12:09 PM   #38
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YES<> A DIAMONDBACK WAS SOLD WITH .357 Mag/38 Specl CTG stamped on the barrel, and sold from the Jewelbox Pawn Shop in Phoenix Arizona, back in 1968. Colt did some research and only showed 8 or 9 Diamondbacks were shipped to "The Jewel Box" in 1968. It said nothing about .357, but I assure you this gun would chamber SIX .357 rounds, and fire them. I think I have a picture of it somewhere. I live in Phoenix, where this gun was sold, and listed on The Back Page. It says "Diamondback" on the ribbed barrel, and .357Mag/38 Spcl CTG on the barrel too. The assumption was the Diamondback was intended for use by department who forbid the use of .357, and the chambering was discontinued, OR the barrel may have been mistamped, but it would chamber and shoot .357, so that theory holds little water. The owner of the Jewel Box requested more .357 Diamondbacks but to no avail. He passed away maybe 20 years ago. The store's inventory of collectible guns was in the millions of dollars. My father loved to browse in that shop. He was an avid hunter, and even worked as a game warden for a while.

Last edited by Satchmoeddie; October 20, 2017 at 12:14 PM.
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Old October 20, 2017, 12:35 PM   #39
Bill DeShivs
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Right...
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Old October 20, 2017, 01:39 PM   #40
laytonj1
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YES<> A DIAMONDBACK WAS SOLD WITH .357 Mag/38 Specl CTG stamped on the barrel, and sold from the Jewelbox Pawn Shop in Phoenix Arizona, back in 1968.
Well, that makes two different guns, D2856 and D3967. No one is questioning if the guns exist. The $20K question is did the factory or bubba make them. Colt is not the only one with dies and chamber reamers. It is yet to be proven if it came from the factory that way. The factory letter for that gun shows it left the factory as a 38 Special. It's really no different than the 41 Magnum Pythons. Folks claimed they were factory made and had (what looked like) factory markings on them but, IIRC, turns out some outfit in Florida was converting them.

IMO, the fact that the OP's serial number and the one for sale in Phoenix have different serial numbers supports the custom conversion theory.

Jim
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Old October 20, 2017, 02:00 PM   #41
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The marking is very off centered and to me is spurious. I think it was done by a gunsmith and an engraver.
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Old October 20, 2017, 07:01 PM   #42
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Until recently- everyone KNEW .357s would shoot .38s!
Quote of the week...

Worth at least $20,000.00!
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Old October 21, 2017, 11:47 AM   #43
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All the paperwork, from the box to the letter says .38 Special. No mention of .357

The barrel shows ".38 SPECIAL CTG." properly and typically centered under "Diamondback". You can see a good, and also obvious IMHO, copy of Colt numerical style, for the "357&" crowded, without proper spacing, in front of the "38 SPECIAL CTG."

If Colt had decided to experiment with the .357 mag in a D frame---Why do it with a 2" barrel? Why not a 4" or a 6", which were actually more popular barrel lengths at the time for the 357? And why do it in a gun that they did not rate for the 38/44 heavy duty loads?

Fact is they didn't do it.

Someone reamed out the chambers and remarked the barrel. Then someone, maybe the same person, maybe not, decided to sell it as a novel experiment from Colt.

tipoc
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Old October 21, 2017, 11:52 AM   #44
OzeanJaeger
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Good hypothesis. The guy selling is probably not the guy who did it, and he may believe whatever story he was told when he bought it.

If you have collector pieces you need to get providence. I hate to say it, but it is what the paperwork says it is. If it’s an upside down airplane on the stamp you need providence proving it came that way from the printer, and someone didn’t alter it..
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Old August 4, 2023, 01:26 AM   #45
Nick Bangkok
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Another one found in Thailand.

I'm not sure if members are still interested in this D-back .357 discussion.
A few days ago, I got a Line question about parts for a 357 Diamondback. My first response was ".38 Special, you mean ?"
The guy sent pictures showing a D-back with 357 & .38 SPECIAL marking, a view for six chambered rounds. He insisted it did fire accurately. The serial number is D7273, which according to Colt's handbook signifies 1967 year of production. This gun came to Thailand during the Vietnam war era.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Dback.jpg (210.1 KB, 52 views)
File Type: jpg Marking.jpg (166.1 KB, 52 views)
File Type: jpg 357.jpg (114.6 KB, 47 views)
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Old August 4, 2023, 07:21 PM   #46
Dfariswheel
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As was discussed in this thread, Colt would never stamp an odd centered "357 &" mark on one of their guns, not even an experimental.

A key feature of non-factory conversions is oddly spaced extra markings, and non-factory fonts.
Notice the "357 &" is not centered with the barrel, and is in a different font.
These are clearly hand engraved marks, something Colt just never did, even for an experimental.

If you got an Archive letter from Colt the letter would show the gun shipped in .38 Special.
As said, any fool with a chambering reamer can re-chamber a gun to an unsafe caliber.
Obviously this was someone's idea of a "neat" thing to do, and it's dangerous to fire, NO MATTER HOW MUCH IT'S BEEN FIRED.
It may go a number of rounds, but the frame is being beaten to death and will be stretched if fired much.
The cylinder metal and heat treating was not made for .357 pressures and sooner or later it will blow. It may go any number of rounds or it may blow the very next one.
This is simply another form of Russian Roulette.

Colt themselves say they only made the Diamond back in .22LR and .38 Special, and "may" have made an experimental version in .22 Magnum, but never made or sold any production models.

This causes heartburn because there ARE some Diamondback revolvers clearly marked .22 Magnum.
Colt says this was a factory stamping error where a few barrels were mistakenly stamped with the wrong barrel stamp and weren't caught before being shipped.
In original factory condition these will not chamber the .22 Magnum.
Of course, some people decided to re-chamber them for the .22 Magnum, and will claim their factory guns.

So again, the blatantly fake barrel marks clearly show this is not a Colt factory .357 Magnum Diamondback.

A few years ago, Colt sold their factory museum and prototype collection.
There were a lot of really odd experimental guns, and these all sold with factory letters detailing that they were prototypes and experimentals.
There were no .357 Diamondbacks in the collection.
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Old August 4, 2023, 07:32 PM   #47
Jim Watson
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I READ that Colt tested a Detective Special - same frame as Diamondback - in .357 and while it did not blow up, it did not meet their standards for TBO - Time Between Overhauls.
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Old August 4, 2023, 08:53 PM   #48
Nick Bangkok
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Dfariswheel, I agree with you completely. From the picture we can see the 357 & was engraved, not roll-stamped.
The sad thing is, the .357 Magnum was not designed a little longer so that it won't fit in a reamed .38 Spcl. chamber. As is, it's overall length of 40 mm. is not longer than the .38 spcl. cylinder, thus opening the door for this dangerous and unethical practice.
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Old August 5, 2023, 06:17 PM   #49
Dfariswheel
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Colt did a great deal of prototype and experimental work, most of which never saw the light of day until the big collection auction.
Also, a lot was simply scrapped and was never seen by the public.

Colt often made pistols or revolvers with really weird alterations, but people never understood that they often had nothing to do with pistols and revolvers, but may have been to investigate a function or feature for something like an aircraft cannon.

The bottom line is, once a gun is shipped by the manufacturer it's game on.
Anyone can do anything to it, even grossly unsafe alterations.
It's bad enough in the USA, but far worse in other countries where guns are hard to get and people who want something may attempt to make it themselves.
That's likely the case of this Colt Diamondback that's in Thailand.

And as is common even here in the USA, the person may insist it's a rare, unknown factory gun. He may even believe it.
One owner of a fake .41 Magnum Python swears it's a Colt factory gun even though Colt says it shipped as a .357 Magnum.
The owner tells people that it IS a Colt factory gun, but for unclear reasons Colt is lying about it.
You can't reason with that.
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Old August 31, 2023, 09:23 AM   #50
johnslick
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the movie Brannigan sold me on a Diamondback. Need to get one...
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