These days everyone is obsessed with the collectible Colt “snake guns” of the 1950s-80s. You know, the Pythons, Diamondbacks, Anacondas, Cobras and the like.
Well, the thing is, Colt also made a great six-shooter alongside all of those in the same factory and it remained popular enough at the time to see widespread use with not only police but also the consumer market.
This circa-1965 Colt Trooper is a good example of the I-framed 4-inch .357 Magnum variants offered at the time.
More in my column at Guns.com.
So Colt brought the Python back from retirement after a 15-year hiatus. The old I-frame was a hand-fitted full-lug .357 with a tight lockup and superb finish.
The classic Python…
The new gun is different.
I handed several models both on the floor at SHOT Show and at the range on media day and I have to admit: the new gun looks like a Python and shoots like a Python but it just isn’t. Arguably, it is better, with modern CNC techniques producing a wheel gun reportedly stronger, more durable and made to tighter tolerances than the Python of old.
Changes that came as part of the reboot included re-designing the internals to trim the number of parts (14 less to be exact), thus streamlining the trigger group, while improvements were made to reinforce the new Python through the use of stronger stainless steel alloys. The results say Colt, is that the upcoming Python has a smooth-as-butter trigger, and is more reliable, easier to maintain, and more robust.
The “semi-bright” stainless finish on the new Colt Python after running hundreds of rounds on Industry Day. Colt tells us they fed the two shooting models on hand Monday over 4,000 rounds with no issues. (Photos: Chris Eger/Guns.com)
More in my column at Guns.com
Colt first introduced the full-lug six-shot heavy target style revolver in 1955 as something akin to the Cadillac of wheelguns. The big “I” frame .357 Magnum (although some .38 Special target models were made) was king of the block when it came to wheelguns for generations, which caused prices on used snake guns to skyrocket when the Python was put to pasture in 2005.
Now, after a 15-year hiatus, the Python is back in a 4.25-inch and 6-inch variant.
Importantly, the new Python has a lot of changes, which Colt says gives the revolver a smooth-as-butter trigger, as well as being more reliable, easier to maintain, and more robust.
Well, it sure looks like a stainless Python from the outside, anyway.
More in my column at Guns.com.
I’ve always had a soft spot for P-38s (the guns, not the can openers, as I find the longer P-51 type a much better form of the latter and don’t even get me into the P-38 Lightning) since I was a kid.
With that, I had the great opportunity recently while in the GDC Vault to find examples made by all three WWII makers– Walther, Spreewerk, and Mauser– as well as some Cold War-era West German Ulm-marked guns.
There you go…
For insights into how to tell them apart and what to look for, check out my column at Guns.com. https://www.guns.com/news/2019/12/04/the-world-of-german-p-38s-walther-mauser-spreewerk-and-otherwise
When it hit the market in 1955, the Colt Python was perhaps a high-water mark of sorts when it came to combat wheelguns and to this day was one of the few hand-fitted modern revolvers to be factory produced for the commercial market. Early Colt advertisements characterized the beefy .357 Magnum-caliber six-shooter as, “A finer gun than you actually need,” and its list of standard features set it apart from many of its pencil-barrel contemporaries.
(Photos: Richard Taylor/Guns.com)
Featuring a full underlug with a shrouded ejector rod, ventilated rib barrel, and adjustable sights, Pythons are distinctive and quickly identified at a glance. The first catalog price on the guns was $125 — about three weeks pay at a time when the price of a gallon of gasoline was 23 cents.
Sadly, Colt began trimming back on making the big I-Frame in 1996, switching from standard production of the classic model to the more limited Ultimate Python and Python Elite models. These late models soldiered on for another decade in declining numbers until the vaunted snake gun fell from the company’s catalog altogether after 2006.
However, we had a bunch of them in the warehouse lately at GDC so I put a piece together on them, which led to the usual gratuitous Python spread…
Rock Island Auction has over 500 Colts up for their September Auction including 40 Pythons (!) and a bunch of really nice rares such as a Third Model Hartford London Dragoon, “D Company” Walker Model 1847, and a set of Model 1851 Navy “Squarebacks.”
This is my favorite, though:
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Stamped with “U.S.” marks and a silver-gray patina, this Single Action Army in .45LC includes a rare “Ropes” type flap holster of the type used during the Spanish-American War. If a gun could talk…