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Thank you David. When all my smart friends say, "Don't do that" it behooves me not to do that!

Now I need to let my buddy down gentle. I'm not going to talk about value or condition or belittle his gun. I'm just going to say that I'm afraid I would regret giving up the rifle so I better not to do it.

Frank
Exactly, you got input from some reputable proven collectors and more importantly shooters here, and the rifle has good history that you are part of, that carries weight, and I'm glad you will be keeping it.

Sent from my SM-S906U using Tapatalk
 

· Gaucho de Gatos
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7,439 Posts
Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Well that worked out perfect fellas! I handed back the Diamondback to my pal this morning and he was actually relieved. He needs the money!

Don't be surprised to see it pop up on GB before long. He's going to ask $2k and settle for $1500 and I said nothing to dissuade his optimism 🤠

He's a good guy and we've traded a lot over the last 45 years. I traded him a pristine in box SS Ruger Single-six convertible for that S&W 617 in the picture above 10 years or so ago.

I came out ahead on that one but it's gone the other way several times too.

All's swell that ends swell!

Frank
 

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I'm glad you're happy with the outcome.

I know this will be viewed as blasphemy, but I have never felt the Pythons and Diamondbacks were ever really that great, especially regarding durability and tunability. Fit and finish were usually very good, but no one I knew shot them very much. The Python, in particular, would need work after a steady diet of .357 loads. Some believed this was intentional in the design.

In gunsmithing school, there were the usual Python fanboys, of course, but nobody really bothered with the Colt's, meaning using one as a basis for a full-blown custom build. There was an occasional "exceptional" Python, trigger action wise, but everyone focused on Smiths. Granted, these were the days of Dirty Harry and outrageous prices for M29s, with a coattail effect on the other Smiths, but the Python's full lugged, ventilated rib just looked cool. The fundamental design was nothing exceptional.

Do I wish I owned a bunch of Pythons? Absolutely! But all would have been sold when the prices went crazy.

Just my experience
 

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381 Posts
I have 2 similar Swiss Peabody Martinis, but in 7.5x55 and 10.4x38 centerfire. All of these rifles are custom builds by skilled European (usually Swiss) gunsmiths and are for all extents and purposes one-of-a-kind. Typical starting asking prices WITHOUT the scope are in the $1000-1400 range depending on caliber, wood, engraving, sights, and other features, and often higher. The .22RF versions often bring more due to the ease of finding ammo and shooting them.

That scope will get at minimum $600, but probably much more as long as the crosshairs are not split or frayed, a common occurrence on older versions. I have not seen a long Unertl under $600 in over 10 years.

A Colt Diamondback is not uncommon, and the example you show is not pristine enough for a collector, so "Snakegun Mania" should really not be an issue. If you must have a great target revolver, I would say look for a classic S&W 17, 18, or a pre-lock 6-shot 617. I have 2, a 3T 617 no dash 6" and a 617-1 4". The 6" is the most accurate .22RF handgun I own.
 

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welcome

i havent read all of the replies...but my take...take or leave...

whats you endgame? its not for me to know, but for you to and do as you need or want.
to me, the deal is between you two. Not anyone else and their opinion.
if you want to look at DOLLAR VALUE, thats your choice. but do you have a need/want for the DB? If not, then you know where to go from here.
good luck
 

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360 Posts
Nah, I agree with the others here I don't think I'd do that trade. But I do have a question about the comment .."less desirable 6" barrel"...??? I don't get that. I, for one, would always rather have a 6" barrel for the added velocity and longer sight radius.

And another comment was made about the quality of the DA ... again I don't get that either ... for me DA in revolvers is for fast shooting defensive guns, not long barreled target .22s. I have a 6" S&W Model-17, .22 and I don't think I've ever fired a single round DA, that's not what I got it for.

But I guess we all shoot different things for different reasons ...no issue ... just curious. But I would keep the rifle.
I'm with you on the frequency the DA features of a revolver have been used. My S&W 17-3 came from the factory with a TT, TH, and functions in single action only.
 

· Gaucho de Gatos
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7,439 Posts
Discussion Starter · #29 ·
Thank you for the welcome Bangbang, I am kind of newish compared to you long timers :banana:

I have no endgame other than loving guns and having more wants than wallet! A fairly common predicament.

I wouldn't ask opinions if I didn't want them, and I also thought some of our members might find it an entertaining thought exercise.

And of course I want a Diamondback and I may yet have one. Just not this one.

Frank
 

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381 Posts
I have 2 similar Swiss Peabody Martinis, but in 7.5x55 and 10.4x38 centerfire. All of these rifles are custom builds by skilled European (usually Swiss) gunsmiths and are for all extents and purposes one-of-a-kind. Typical asking prices WITHOUT the scope are in the $1000-1400 range depending on caliber, wood, engraving, sights, and other features, and often higher. The .22RF versions often bring more due to the ease of finding ammo and shooting them.

That scope will get at minimum $600, but probably much more as long as the crosshairs are not split or frayed, a common occurrence on older versions. I have not seen a long Unertl under $600 in over 10 years.

A Colt Diamondback is not uncommon, and the example you show is not pristine so "Snakegun Mania" should really not be an issue.
 

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149 Posts
Hi Paul you bring up some good points and let me clarify I love Colt's...well, who am I kidding, I love all guns but there are definitely some ponies in my stable and obviously the Diamondback .22 is a grail gun for me. Just not this one.

As far as 6" versus 4" barrels I too prefer longer barrels but for whatever reason the 4" Diamondbacks command a premium with collectors. So I mentioned it as 1 criteria as I was trying to compare value of the 2 very different firearms.

As to quality there is no doubt that old Colt represents quality. The comment I heard most often from friends in the know on Diamondbacks was "they are somewhat delicate." It's easy to knock timing off and start shaving lead.

Thanks for the comments...and here's what a 6" Diamondback would be a companion to 🤠

View attachment 359311
2 cents
The short answer, IMO - You shouldn’t trade something that isn’t replaceable for something that would be. What’s the price of something that’s not for sale?
 

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139 Posts
I'm glad you're happy with the outcome.

I know this will be viewed as blasphemy, but I have never felt the Pythons and Diamondbacks were ever really that great, especially regarding durability and tunability. Fit and finish were usually very good, but no one I knew shot them very much. The Python, in particular, would need work after a steady diet of .357 loads. Some believed this was intentional in the design.

In gunsmithing school, there were the usual Python fanboys, of course, but nobody really bothered with the Colt's, meaning using one as a basis for a full-blown custom build. There was an occasional "exceptional" Python, trigger action wise, but everyone focused on Smiths. Granted, these were the days of Dirty Harry and outrageous prices for M29s, with a coattail effect on the other Smiths, but the Python's full lugged, ventilated rib just looked cool. The fundamental design was nothing exceptional.

Do I wish I owned a bunch of Pythons? Absolutely! But all would have been sold when the prices went crazy.

Just my experience
 

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6,860 Posts
I've always heard some Python fans say that nothing compares to the feel of the Python double action when tuned right, but no one ever handed me one to try; it was always a gun owned by some friend whose gunsmith could perform the supernatural tune. I don't doubt the fine hand-fitting some claimed was done on Pythons, and that those craftsmen are gone, but, with the fragility of the tune and the action, that's exactly why we stayed away.

It was represented as some kind of unreproducible black magic, so what does one do when there is wear? And how many times can one retune without new parts, assuming that's even possible by us mere mortals? I know the hand holds the cylinder against the bolt, but that's usually where the wear and sloppiness develop. Did Colt mean for the hand to be replaced regularly? I've read that it did, but that sounds like excuse making to me. I guess it doesn't matter, though, with nice examples now bringing $3K or more, there won't be any wearing out happening, and what was once functional art is now just art.

I do agree with the quality of the fit and finish. I just sold a fairly well-worn Colt Second Issue Woodsman MT, and you really could see the jewel-like finish and feel the buttery smoothness.

Don't get me wrong. I never coveted a Python, but there was a time I would have given certain genitalia for a nice Diamondback .22 LR, but revolvers in general have critically fitted parts with relatively small surface areas, and until the advent of the robust Rugers, and then the incomparable Freedom Arms revolvers, they always seemed to me to be fairly fragile firearms exhibiting poor leverage.

I have been Jonesing for one of those M97 .22s with the match chambers...they're about $2500...hmmm...
TBR
 

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A dear friend and co-worker has offered me his Colt Diamondback .22 in exchange for a target .22 rifle I'll show you in a minute.

His pistol has some bluing wear and is unfortunately missing a chunk out of the top of the left side original grip. It's also the less desirable 6" barrel. Timing seems OK and no noticeable end shake. I'm far from a Colt expert but I'm guessing from completed GunBroker sales that with the condition issues it's a $1200-1400 pistol.

Hard to see but besides the muzzle bluing issues there's a small oval strip of bluing missing just to the right of the "K" in Diamondback. Other than that it shows well. 1980 vintage or so.
View attachment 359097


View attachment 359098

My rifle (2nd from the top in the image below) is a late 50's-early 60's J. Blattman Peabody Martini single shot target rifle with a Unertl 1.5" 15X target dot scope.

I bought it from another older friend who won several Colorado state smallbore championships with it. My friend with the Diamondback and I have both shot it and it is giggle accurate and also extremely unusual. I've never seen another outside of the NRA Museum website.

I paid $800 for the rifle and $400 for the scope around 10 years ago. There are no comps to get current value on the rifle but I did see a sale on the same Unertl for $1000 on Gun broker last month.

View attachment 359099


Now, spoiler alert. I've already gotten some good input from Flysalot and Dbr65 which has about convinced me not to make this trade but I'll throw it out here for your comments as well. All opinions welcome, it's a weird deal and I won't take offense. 🤠

Frank
Just my 2 cents bout are Valuble but as you have said the Rifle is something you will never see again , probably will grow more in value than the Diamondback
 

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763 Posts
As a Diamondback owner (formerly NIB until I got a hold of it) you were wise to pass.

That Diamondback was the most disappointing gun I have ever purchased. The one thing it taught me was how to work on D-Frames again after over 30 years.

I DID get it smooth and running great but it was a journey. The chambers in the cylinder were so rough I I had my friends at Brush Research make .22 chamber hones for me so I could clean them up.

The action looked like it had been assembled from every reject Detective Special part they had on hand. Lance from Trigger Shims.com and I got together and did the research on making D-Frame shim kits so I could get the hammer and trigger to actual stay aligned during the firing cycle.

THEN I had to fit a new hammer spring because the OEM one couldn't light off rounds in double action.

It was honestly, pathetic.

Fortunately my determination and the help of great friends in the industry helped me make it a serious shooter. It IS as accurate as any of my M17s. Over Xmas, I was chasing cans out to 50 yards with ease.

It should have been that way out of the box.

I will NEVER buy another Diamondback.
 
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