Well, the guns are certainly real, in the sense that they were made by Colt. What’s not real, though, is they way they came from the factory!
With the prices of collectible Colts going well north of a grand (editor’s note: when this was written in 2006; they’re much higher now!) some unscrupulous sellers have taken to faking the rarer, and more valuable, variations. The most commonly faked is certainly the 3″ Python.
A number of years ago, Colt sold off their remaindered barrels to companies such as Numrich Gun Parts. Amongst the prizes were a number of 3″ barrels – brand new, mind you – for the Python.
When prices started their ascent a few years ago, some enterprising people took more common 4″ Pythons, stuck the 3″ barrels on them, and sold them as the far rarer variant. It didn’t take someone long to figure out that one way to overcome buyer resistance was to include a Colt box that had the 3″ label on the end – of course, the label is a complete forgery, but enough to fool most people into parting with far more money than they should.
Well, the more astute buyers soon wised up to this scam, and started demanding factory letters to prove the provenance of the piece in question. In today’s digital world, faking a Colt letter is as easy as faking the box label – so now there are 3″ Colt Pythons running around with “original” boxes and “factory letters” to calm even the most jittery buyer!
It’s gotten bad enough that I now recommend anyone contemplating the purchase of a 3″ Python to call Colt and order their own factory letter. If the seller shows any reticence to letting you do this, you’ve probably just saved yourself a whole bunch of money!
(I have been approached by a number of people over the past few years to swap barrels on Pythons – replacing a stock barrel with a 3″ tube to be supplied by the client. In each case, I’ve told the caller that I’d be happy to do so, but I would be stamping and indication under the grip panels that the gun was not original. Not too surprisingly, none have taken me up on my offer. I will not be a party – knowingly or otherwise – to fleecing Colt buyers!)
-=[ Grant ]=-