Tuesday, September 30, 2014

On Grail Guns...

Over at my blogson's, ASM826 is blogging about grail guns. Naturally, this got me thinking (for the record, his is also mine; albeit strictly in the "if I won the lottery" sense)...

Right now, I have a couple grail guns extant; one is attainable, the other not-so-attainable. The attainable one is a Smith & Wesson model 29 (.44 Magnum) with 8 3/8" barrel, target hammer, target trigger, and target grips. I have the Model 17 (.22 LR) and 27 (.357 Magnum) already, I'd like the .44 Mag. to complete the set. The not-so-attainable one is a 6" barrel, blued Colt Python.

I went to The Nation's Gun Show this past weekend and found both grail guns. Only saw one model 29 in the proper configuration; the seller wanted $1,200. I've seen them for considerably less, so that was easy to pass on. The Python, though, is much harder. There were several at the show in the configuration I desire, ranging in price from $2200 to $4K. I suspect, although I'm not sure, that the less-expensive one is probably a later-run version, when the quality was, shall we say, a mere shadow of the former glory.

Of course, I can't help but remark about "the one that got away" - the 6" barrel, blued steel Python that a friend offered me when he was in a tight spot financially and needed to convert some firearms into cash. The price he wanted was ridiculously cheap for a Python, but still well above what I could afford at the time. Looking back, I certainly wish I'd gotten rid of a couple other guns to buy it...

So I started thinking about the Python for $2200 at the show. I've got a Colt Lawman that I picked up a few years ago hoping it would scratch the Python itch, but no luck - partially because it has a 2" barrel. Looking on GunBroker/GunsAmerica the Lawman with 2" barrel looks to be running about $750 for a good example. That's a third of the way there...

I also have a Colt Detective Special with a 3" barrel, in excellent shape, that's been sitting in my "never use" gun safe (doesn't everyone have one of those?) for the better part of 10 years. Looking for pricing on that one is harder - for example, on GunBroker there are 194 hits for "Colt Detective Special." Adding in [3"] to the search box narrows that field to 6 (only four guns) with a spread from $525 to $1,600.

The place with the Python does take guns in trade. They specialize in rare, out-of-production guns, so the two Colts I have would be right up their alley. I don't know that I could make an even trade for the Python, but I could certainly get close enough - if they low-balled the Lawman and the Detective Special it's easy to walk. So, is it worth two guns I never shoot to get one I might shoot on rare occasions? That's the rub...

Especially because of the S&W model 27. That gun shoots better than I ever will, no doubt about it. I have run a steel gong at 100 yards with that gun - 10 out of 12 shots, even. Is it worth divesting of two rare pistols to get something that *might* shoot a little bit better? Or am I trying to talk myself out of it knowing that I truly want one?

So, what's your grail gun, and would you get rid of two pretty darn nice guns to get it?

That is all.

11 comments:

Glenn B said...

Do not trade the two other Colts for the Python - you will regret it if you do so. Instead of that, scrimp and save for the Python.

Dave H said...

I'm with Glenn. I think those Colts are keepers, especially if they're rare and out of production. Like they (used to) say about investing: "Buy real estate. They're not making it any more."

libertyman said...

Well, I am amazed at Python prices. My nephew bought one about ten years ago for $400.00. I paid $250.00 for my first one, which was my first handgun I bought with my own money. I forget what I paid for the others, but it wasn't a third of what is being asked now. At Amoskeag Auctions I was told investors buy them up at auction and sell them, much like coin speculators.
You are , of course welcome to shoot mine, the Python is the nicest revolver I know of.

Angus McThag said...

The main problem with grail guns is there's never an end to them.

The grass is always greener on the far horizon.

Anonymous said...

Jay, my 6" Ruger Security Six will ring that gong 5 out of 6 times, if the shooter's doing his/her part. So will a S&W 27, as you've pointed out. As for the trigger, well, the S&W 19 snubbie I'm carrying has as good as, if not better, a trigger than any Python I've handled or shot.
The only thing I see that Python being better at is being more expensive. Get it if you like, but I think you'll find it lacking.

As for my grail gun, I doubt I'll ever see one, but I can't see letting go of useful "shooter" guns to acquire a gun I'll never shoot. Finding a short-rail CZ 75 state-side would be a tremendous thrill, but it would be as a collector only, and therefore of less use.

NotClauswitz said...

The main problem with Colt Pythons is that they came in more than ONE barrel-length! 8-inch, 6-inch, 5-inch, 4-inch, 3-inch...where do you stop? And it's not about "need."

Jim said...

One did not tend to see N frame Smith's lying in tattered, forlorn, shot-out pieces on some gunsmith's bench.

Which was all too common with the Python, as it just wasn't robust enough for sustained Magnum fire. Most commonly failing immediately around the firing pin bushing in the frame.

Smith's comparable frame size (before the L frame), was the Model 19. It too, wasn't such a good Magnum platform, sometimes developing cracks in the frame around the barrel threads. Which is why S&W beefed up that area in the L frame.

And, I'll concur with a previous comment. A Python has nothing on a well-tuned Smith, be it trigger feel or accuracy, and the Smith has it going away on durability.

Hell, you OWN the durable Colt... Trooper MkIII, they don't come much tougher than that!

Now, if Ruger's trigger could be brought up to the territory of Smith & Colt, they'd really be on to something.

I'd love to see some intrepid gunsmith bring a Ruger GP-100 or Security Six, up to a Model 27-2 or Python level of fit, finish and tune.

Wouldn't that be something?


Jim
Sunk New Dawn
Galveston, TX

Stretch said...

My Grail Gun is a '03 Springfield match rifle from the inter-war years.
The one I lust after was in a Minnesota gun shop. Front sight had an vertical inlayed PLATINUM wire and the rear peep was as fine an example of the machinist's craft as you'd want to see. And the trigger ... I still have dreams about that trigger.
Oh don't look at me like that. As if you haven't!

The Neon Madman said...

Grail guns? Hell, I've got a list, and not a short one either. It has names on it like Holland & Holland, Parker, Sharps, etc. If you're going to dream, you might as well dream big.......

DJ said...

My grail gun: S&W model 45, .22 K-frame.
Can't really explain it, either.
I just want one.

On your proposed trade: if you got within $300-$400 of the Python, I'd say do it, but I'm guessing (BIG guess, not having seen any of the gun involved) that they're going to want closer to $900-$1000 cash to boot, which is gonna cause all those veins on your forehead to stand out and start throbbing (just to warn you).

Beaumont said...

The Python at its best was the firearms equivalent of the 1960s Jaguar. Everybody wanted a Jag, but those who bought them had them in the shop more than on the road.

Keep your Colts, and get the M29 when you can.