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From: gmk@falstaff.MAE.CWRU.EDU (Geoff Kotzar)
Subject: Re: advice on gun purchase
Organization: /etc/organization

In article <> (Robert D. Houk) writes:
#   #     Huh?  Where do you get the idea that the Python will need considerable
#   [...]
#   At least two people who carried them as IPSC revolvers had to have
#   major work done on them.  Those Major Caliber .357 loads with 160gr
#   bullets give a gun a beating.
#Are you sure you don't mean IHMSA? The .357 pretty trivially makes Major
#as I recall, certainly no need to "push the envelope" with it! I do re-
#member the S&W M29 got a pretty bad reputation in IHMSA circles because
#it couldn't stand up to the zillions of 55lb-Ram-Knockdown loads used

The statement that I have highlighted is correct according to the factory
warranty gunsmith we have(had) here in Cleveland. The reason for the problem
is the way Colt achieved the fine accuracy for which the Python is noted.
The Python, unlike other models in Colt's line, uses a two stage hand to
rotate the cylinder. The first stage does the rotating and the second stage
actually transfers finger load from the trigger to the cylinder and then
to the cylinder stop bolt. Effectively this rigidly locks the cylinder in
place behind the breech end of the barrel at the moment of firing. In fact
you may in the past have seen someone thumb cock a revolver while checking
it out, lower the hammer, and while holding the trigger fully to the rear
try to rotate the cylinder, actually rock it back and forth. On any gun
but a Python it is pretty much meaningless. For instance on S&W revolvers
the hand only lies alongside the ratchets and does not really bear on them
with the trigger in the fully fired position.

With the Python, you can imagine what happens when a heavy load, relatively
speaking, is fired and the position of the cylinder is rigidly locked
between the second shelf on the hand and the stop bolt. Accuracy is excellent
until the second stage gets battered, which happens eventually, and then
deteriorates. According to Bud Brown, before he retired, he had to re-tune
Pythons to correct for the battered hands fairly frequently. When .38 Special
target loads are used Pythons will go for a long long time without a loss of
accuracy. But as soon as .357 level loads are used with any frequency things
start getting loose rather quickly.

There is an additional effect that can exacerbate the problem. For "normal"
use, the gun is cycled slowly, but for speed events where the gun is cocked
rapidly either by SA or DA methods the angular momentum of the cylinder will
cause some battering of the load bearing surfaces of the cylinder stop bolt
and the bolt cuts in the cylinder. I have seen evidence of this in S&W .357
revolvers of all frame sizes and Ruger GP's where the bolt stop cuts show
peening of the trailing edges. And while replacing the hand and the stop bolt
are fairly easy and relatively inexpensive, correcting the concommitant damage
done to the ratchets and the peening of the bolt cuts in the cylinder may be
quite costly.


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