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Thread: Colt Python

  1. #1
    Forum Moderator eddsako's Avatar
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    Aug 2015

    Colt Python

    he Colt Python is a .357 Magnum caliber revolver formerly manufactured by Colt's Manufacturing Company of Hartford, Connecticut. It is sometimes referred to as a "Combat Magnum".[1] It was first introduced in 1955, the same year as Smith & Wesson's M29 .44 Magnum. Now discontinued, the Colt Python was intended for the premium revolver market segment. Some firearm collectors and writers such as Jeff Cooper, Ian V. Hogg, Chuck Hawks, Leroy Thompson, Scott Wolber, Renee Smeets and Martin Dougherty have described the Python as the finest production revolver ever made

    Colt Pythons with 6-inch (15 cm) and 4-inch (10 cm) barrels and nickel finish

    Type Revolver
    Place of origin United States
    Production history
    Manufacturer Colt's Manufacturing Company
    Produced 1955–2005
    Variants 2.5-inch (6.4 cm), 3-inch (7.6 cm), 4-inch (10 cm), 6-inch (15 cm) and 8-inch (20 cm) barrel
    Weight 38 ounces (1.1 kg) to 48 ounces (1.4 kg)
    Cartridge .357 Magnum
    Action Double-action
    Maximum firing range 200+ yards
    Feed system Six-round cylinder
    Sights Rear adj.; front ramp

    The Colt Python is a double action handgun chambered for the .357 Magnum cartridge, built on Colt's large I-frame. Pythons have a reputation for accuracy, smooth trigger pull, and a tight cylinder lock-up. They are similar in size and function to the Colt Trooper and Colt Lawman revolvers.


    The Colt Python was first introduced in 1955 as Colt's top-of-the-line model and was originally intended to be a large-frame 38 Special target revolver. As a result, it features precision adjustable sights, a smooth trigger, solid construction, and extra metal. Pythons have a distinct appearance due to a full barrel underlug, ventilated rib and adjustable sights. Colt originally manufactured Pythons with hollow underlugs but left them solid to work as a stabilizing barrel weight. When the revolver is at full cock, just as the trigger is pressed, the cylinder locks up for the duration of the hammer strike. Other revolvers have a hint of looseness even at full-cock. The gap between the cylinder and forcing cone is very tight, further aiding accuracy and velocity. From the 1970s each Python revolver was boresighted at the factory with a laser; the first mass-produced revolver for which this was done.

    End of production

    In October 1999, Colt Manufacturing Co. announced that it was ceasing production of Python revolvers. In a 2000 follow-up letter to distributors, the company cited changing market conditions and the costs of defending lawsuits as the reasons for the discontinuation of the Python line, as well as a number of other models. The Colt Custom Gun Shop continued making a limited number of Pythons on special order until 2005, when even this limited production ceased.

    Models and variants
    Colt Python rollmark on the barrel.
    Colt Python Target, 8-inch barrel .38 Special.

    The Python was originally available in two finishes: Royal Blue and Bright Nickel. The Bright Nickel model was discontinued with the introduction of the more durable satin stainless and mirror-polished Ultimate Stainless models. The stainless steel and Royal Blue finishes were offered until 2003 by Colt on the Python "Elite" model.
    Pythons were available with 2.5-inch (6.4 cm), 3-inch (7.6 cm), 4-inch (10 cm), 6-inch (15 cm) and 8-inch (20 cm) barrels. The six-inch model was the most popular generally, and the 8-inch model was intended for hunting. A 3-inch barrel version is very collectible, although not rare.
    The Python Hunter model, with 8-inch barrel and factory-installed 2X Leupold scope, was made in 1980. The Python Hunter was the first field-ready handgun hunting package made by a major handgun manufacturer. The scope was mounted on the barrel using Redfield mounts and the gun was packaged in a Haliburton case. It was discontinued by 1990 and briefly offered as a "Custom Shop" model afterward.. A Python Target model was made for several years in .38 Special only, in blue and nickel finishes.
    Two variants of the Python were made in small numbers by Colt. The first was the Colt Boa of 1985, a limited production .357 Magnum revolver, made for the Lew Horton Distributing Company in Massachusetts. It used a Python barrel mated to a Trooper Mk V frame. Six hundred 6-inch revolvers and 600 4-inch revolvers were made, of which 100 were matched sets. Though it resembles a Python visually, it is substantially different internally. The second was the stainless steel Colt Grizzly of 1994, another limited production .357 Magnum revolver. It used a Python barrel mated to a Colt King Cobra frame. 500 of these revolvers were manufactured, with 6-inch Magna-Ported barrels and smooth, unfluted cylinders. The ported barrel includes a bear footprint. Similar to the Grizzly was the Colt Kodiak, which was a Colt Anaconda with a Magna-Ported Barrel and an unfluted cylinder. Approximately 2000 Kodiaks were manufactured.

    According to Colt historian, R.L. Wilson, Colt Pythons have been collected by Elvis Presley and various kings in the traditional sense: "H.M. (His Majesty) Hussein I of Jordan ordered a limited number of Pythons with 4-inch and 6-inch barrels, as gifts to his selected friends. Casing and barrel were embossed with His Majesty's crest. The Python for King Juan Carlos of Spain bore his name in flush gold on the sideplate. Among other celebrated recipients: King Khalid and Prince Fahd (Saudi Arabia), King Hassan (Morocco), Sheik Zayed (United Arab Emirates), President Anwar Sadat (Egypt) and President Hafez Assad (Syria).
    Colt Pythons with 8-inch and 6-inch barrels and royal blue finish

    The Python immediately made inroads into the law enforcement market when introduced, with the 6-inch barrel being popular with uniformed officers and the 4-inch barrel considered optimum for plainclothes use. However, it has since fallen out of common use (along with all other revolvers) due to changing law enforcement needs that favor semi-automatic pistols. When law-enforcement agencies realized that the 9 mm semi-automatic pistols fire a round with similar characteristics to the .38 Special with higher capacity, they began a migration to these, and other, semi-automatic pistol cartridges. The move away from the Python is also being driven by the increasing number of law enforcement agencies which require officers to carry department-issue weapons (as a way to reduce liability).

    The Colorado State Patrol issued 4-inch blue Pythons until their switch to the S&W .40 caliber autoloader. Georgia State Patrol and Florida Highway Patrol issued Pythons to their officers.

    A Python, loaded with .357 Magnum semiwadcutter bullets, was used to murder Irish crime reporter Veronica Guerin in 1996, an act which resulted in the creation of the Criminal Assets Bureau.

    Colt's Python revolvers are still popular on the used market and command high prices.

  2. #2
    Forum Moderator eddsako's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    From its birth in 1955, all other revolvers were second best. Out of the box the Colt Python trigger pull has no equals. This not only true then but today as well. If you have never squeezed the trigger on one of these guns, then your life is incomplete. Shooting one is a near religious experience for a gun nut.

    That same year another iconic revolver made its appearance, the Smith and Wesson Model 29 Combat Magnum. The Model 29, however, was in the massive .44 Magnum, which made it impractical for civilian urban law enforcement, unless you were Dirty Harry. A high-water mark year for revolvers and the Chevy Bel Air, the best there ever was as well.

    1955 Chevy Bel Air, The Best There Ever Was

    If not for the price at the time, the Python should have been coiled in the holster of every police officer from the mid-1950s through the 1980s. When a Smith and Wesson Model 10, 15 or 19 went for $200 – $350, the Colt Python was going for about $700. It is as though every single one was custom made.

    Why the vented rib along the top? I will tell you why-because it was so cool. Smith and Wesson’s front sight was very practical but it always looked like it was a weather vain on the front end of the barrel. If a vented rib looks good on a shotgun why not a handgun? This brought the front sight up with style. Frankly, any gun awesome enough for Samuel L. Jackson, is good enough for me.

    Samuel L. Jackson with Python in the Other Guys

    Available in Royal Blue, Bright Nickel, and later Satin Stainless as the nickel was a little too bright, impractical and marred easily.

    Unfortunately, like many things we enjoy, the lawsuits continued to mount against Colt and other gun makers in the Dark Ages of constitutional reason, the late 1990s. Colt saw fit to eliminate this piece of art in 1999. If you were lucky enough to own one you have seen your investment in art rise and at least double in price. You own the end of an era when things were made by artists in the industry, not by accountants. Yes kids, those were the days.Samuel-L-with-Python.jpgTwo-Colt-Pythons.jpg

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