by Joe Gorman
No revolver has captivated the collective heart and soul of wheel-gun shooters like the Colt Python. Even die-hard Smith and Wesson guys would buy them back in the day, just because. What it represented to wheel-gunners was the sex appeal of a Ferrari 250GT with its amazing lines (ventilated rib on top of a smooth, full length underlug).
Right out of the box the Python looked lovely from any angle. The Python was Sophia Loren in 1965. It also had a uniquely smooth (if stacking) double action trigger pull. Much like the Ferrari 250GT, it also represented status, much like the way a Rolex Submariner represents status.
The Python was no mere revolver. The deep royal blue and the meticulous fit put it at the top of most enthusiast’s wish lists. This was the KING of revolvers! Pulling out a Python from your carry case at a shooting event would always cause strangers to introduce themselves to you and start a conversation about your revolver. Not to say that all was perfect in the land of Python. There were some problems.
The trigger stacked weight toward the end of the pull and the action could be shot out of time with a steady diet of magnums etc. Also, if you were a Smith and Wesson guy, the damn cylinder release was backwards (you pull it back to release it rather than push it forward) and the cylinder itself rotated clockwise!
Still, none of that mattered to many people, including me. I bought my one-and-only Python in 1986. It was a nickel 4” that was a few years old. Yes, I too shot mine out of time and it had to go back to Colt. Much like that Ferrari, when you’re operating a machine with lines this beautiful, your bond with the machine is more emotional than rational. Bella. Somehow, I was convinced to trade my Python for a 1989 Smith 627 Model 1989. I kicked myself almost instantly. The 627 could digest super-hot .357 magnums and stay in time but it did not have the Elan of the Python. I told myself I could always buy a new Python. And then one day I couldn’t!
The Python stopped regular production in the 90s and was available for a few more years as a custom shop gun. Then production stopped all together. The prices for a decent used Python started to creep up. I thought I would never again be able to afford a Python. When I heard the announcement that Colt would reintroduce the Python this year I was excited. When Justin Baldini (Product Director at Colt) showed one off at SHOT, I watched the video twice. The King was back and I was happy about it.
The lines weren’t exactly like the old one, but Python 2020 was close enough to the naked eye and the look was classic Python. Life was good. With a retail price of $1495, this made the prospect of my acquiring a new Python a reality. Over the intervening weeks, following the SHOT show, the internet began buzzing with stories of problems with the new Python. I saw Hickok 45 experience failure for the cylinder to rotate, and others had reported the same thing. I saw reports of light primer strikes. Colt took these revolvers back and evaluated the failures. This led Colt to make a couple of small changes (they lock-tited the side plate screws and changed the mainspring) to their production going forward.
Colt sent me a 4.25” to evaluate. To date, I have shot over 1,500 rounds of .357 mag ammo and .38 special ammo shot double action quickly (combat style not bullseye shooting) and seeing if I encountered any of the issues that Colt said they’d fixed.
I did encounter the front side plate cover screw loosening but a quick application of loctite fixed that. The cylinder always turned and I experienced no light primer strikes. I can report, with initial testing, that the new Colt Python 2020 currently shipping seems to be 100% reliable if my example is any indication. The double action was very smooth and out of the box at least as good as any of my old Smiths. The single action pull was a little heavy with a touch of creep, but I don’t shoot revolvers single action, save my 1873 Colt Single Action Army. Shooting fast triples, even with full power .357 magnum ammo feels like I’m not doing enough work. It’s smooth and easy to maintain a sight picture. This really is a wheel-gunner’s dream magnum.
Final analysis: Colt is making great guns these days!
|Model||Caliber||Capacity||Slide and Frame||Barrel Length||Overall Length||Overall Height||Weight|
|Colt Python||357 Magnum
|6-rounds||Stainless Steel||4.25 inches||9.75 inches||5.5 inches||42 ounces|