357 Colt Python: Stainless or Plated?

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    1. #1
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      357 Colt Python: Stainless or Plated?

      I have a 357 Python Magnum. Up to this point I always thought it was stainless. It has a satin finish, not the reflective shine of plating. I decided to see if it was magnetic since in general stainless is not, and it is. They do make a magnetic type stainless but it is very expensive so I do not see it being used in manufacturing. I'm in the sheet metal industry so you would think I would know, but it is not a easy call. The serial number is { T19702 } if this helps. Does anyone have any ideas? Is this magnetic stainless or plated?

    2. #2
      Senior Member Baldy's Avatar
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      Thumbs up

      I would call Colt tomorrow and see what they say. Here's the number.. Tel: 800-962-COLT

    3. #3
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      Mr. Python:
      1. Are you the original owner of this magnificent revolver???
      2. Was the magnet attracted or repelled to the revolver????

    4. #4
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      357 PYthon

      Quote Originally Posted by GURU1911 View Post
      Mr. Python:
      1. Are you the original owner of this magnificent revolver???
      2. Was the magnet attracted or repelled to the revolver????
      Sorry it took me this long to get back to you. This is actually a new site for me so I forgot about the post. I purchased this weapon in 1989 from a gentleman I worked with. The magnet was attracted. To look at the gun you will think it is stainless with a nice satin finish but when I put a magnet on it, I was really surprised. I hope I did the reply correct. I was thinking about selling it and I did not want to present it as something it is not. Thanks

    5. #5
      Member Overkill0084's Avatar
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      I had to hunt around for a while but I found this:

      Here is a listing of Python serial numbers and the years of production up to 1985:

      Year Serial Number
      1955 1
      1956 300
      1957 1650
      1958 5550
      1959 7050
      1960 9100
      1961 13100
      1962 18800
      1963 24800
      1964 30800
      1965 41400
      1966 50500
      1967 61000
      1968 73800
      1969 90000-99999 90000, Start "E" series-- E1001
      1970 E6301
      1971 E21201
      1972 E38001
      1973 E53501
      1974 E61001
      1975 E83701-E99999, 01001E to 15000E
      1976 15001E-48300E
      1977 48301E-86200E
      1978 86201E-99999E, 01001N to ????, V01001
      1979 V36737
      1980 V88374 to V99999, AL0101 to AL9999, LA0101 to LA9999, VA1001 to VA9256. K01000 to ????
      1981 K16266
      1982 K75748
      1983 K99999. T01001 to ????
      1984 T27541
      1985 T34453

      It's not entirely impossible that it was plated in some form of electroless nickel or some other aftermarket process. Sort of like taking your Bently to Maaco, but anything is possible.

    6. #6
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      The stainless that firearms are made of is magnetic, it has a lower nickel content than most stainless. Necessary, I believe, to make the gun strong enough to withstand the pressure of being fired. All my stainless guns are attracted to a magnet.

    7. #7
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      400 series stainless is magnetic. 300 series stainless is non-magnetic. Some 400 series stainless steel can be heat treated, and all of them can exhibit tiny bits of corrosion that will wipe off with an oily rag.

      While 400 series is magnetic it is not nearly as magnetic as carbon steel is. So if you compare the adhesion of the magnet with steel that you know is carbon steel you can make a fairly sure guess. It it sticks as well on both then the gun is probably plated; if it sticks less well on the gun then it is probably 400 series stainless.

      Another test is the color. There are basically two plated finishes on handguns: nickel and hard chrome.

      Nickel has a distinctly yellowish caste to surface; chrome has a distinctly blue-ish color to it. Stainless steel is closer to nickel in color than to chrome.

      Take something that you know is chrome plated (a Cross pen, for example) and hold it against the gun and compare the colors. If the pen barrel looks quite blue in comparison then the gun is either nickel plated or is stainless steel. If the gun matches the color of the pen barrel then it is almost certainly chrome plated steel.

      If you can identify something you know is nickel plated you can compare the colors too. The nickel will be yellower than the stainless. (Don't use a 5¢ coin, which is a nickel/tin alloy).

      You can also take the grips off the gun and file a tiny area inside the grip frame (where it will not affect function or fit). If the base metal is the same color as the surface then it is stainless. (Note: only do this if you are confident that you are not damaging the weapon. It will not show once the grips are in place.)

      Or ship it to me and I'll advise you. (I've always wanted a Python.)

    8. #8
      Junior Member PAWPAUL's Avatar
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      The stainless steel Colt Pythons were first introduced in 1983 ......... I found a copy of a letter ( From the Colt Company) sent to a gun dealer in November of 1982 , stating quite plainly that the Python would soon be offered in stainless steel .
      Last edited by PAWPAUL; 03-08-2012 at 03:17 PM. Reason: edited to correct year : 1983

    9. #9
      Junior Member PAWPAUL's Avatar
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      ....I wonder how many Bright vs. Satin
      stainless steel Pythons were manufactured between 1985 and 1990 ;

      and how many sub noses, 6" and 8" barrels of each etc ........

      What smart person or group know of such things ?

    10. #10
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      Stainless

    11. #11
      Junior Member GUNMANSUPERSTAR's Avatar
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      Pics??

    12. #12
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      I have just joined---and just want to say hi----
      also good info in this thread-----i have had folks buy colt pythons off a couple of auction sites in the last couple of weeks and had them sent to my ffl-----both of which were advertised as "satin nickle" ---both of which were chrome plated. The buyers were not happy! The problem lies in the fact that are so many people out there who are legit dealers that simply are moving guns! They are not really "gun people"--they just don't know the difference in the finishes. I have been in the business of plating and bluing for more than 35 years and it is easy ----if you know. I recommend ---especially in the collector end ---have someone help you with your purchase if you are not sure -----and dealers---get a consultant---after all it is your reputation.
      And please forgive my "all caps style" i am not yelling --just lazy.---KOOL---I JUST FOUND OUT THIS CORRECTS MY CAPS.
      Last edited by PISTOLDOC; 09-02-2012 at 09:15 AM. Reason: ADDED INFO

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