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The Keefe Report: The Colt Python is Back!

The most desirable of the “snake guns,” as Colt likes to call them, is back. After a couple of decades of no new sixguns with the name “Python” marked on the side of the barrel—there hasn’t been one in the catalog since 1998—Colt’s in West Hartford, Conn., is once again in the big double-action revolver business.





The new Python has the lines of the classic great from Colt but with some mechanical improvements and simplifications. The original guns were virtually hand-made and hand-finished. If you are looking for that, you shan’t find it here. Colt’s is building them as full production guns. The latest Python, think of it like the “new” Ford Mustang (not the abysmal Mustang II), has the ethos and lines of the original, including that distinctive rounded trigger guard and checkered wooden stocks with Colt escutcheons. Colt advises the new stocks will fit on original guns and vice versa.

Gunsite Academy Rangemaster Ed Head—a man not known for subtlety if he disapproves of something—said, “This is an entirely new design from the ground up, completely different. And they have absolutely improved on the old Python.” Heresy? Perhaps not from the shooter’s perspective, and Ed is a shooter first and foremost.

Chambered in .357 Magnum, the new Python comes in stainless steel with your choice of either 4.25” or 6” barrels with the fully lugged barrels and vent ribs that made the guns stand out from the crowd. The one-piece barrels are machined from bar stock—no barrel sleeves or liners here. Like the new King Cobra, with a simple hex wrench you can change out your front sight

The gun is a new design and frame size—that happy medium built on the heavy end for taming the .357 Mag. cartridgeand the topstrap has 30 percent more material, but inside there are actually fewer parts. Looking at the drawings, it is far less likely to go out of time than the original. Most folks don’t remember that in the current deification of the original. American Rifleman's Joe Kurtenbach went to Gunsite with the new Python and the folks from Colt’s, where they filmed a feature segment for  “American Rifleman Television.” You can check out a preview of the show here, which airs on the Outdoor Channel, and get an idea of the thinking behind this important re-introduction. Colt’s Senior Vice President for Commercial Business Paul Spitale made one of his missions to get back into the double-action revolver business, with the Python as his ultimate goal. He’s so proud of the new gun (rightly so) he should be passing out cigars.

One of the hallmarks of Colt revolver triggers, including the Python, was stacking of the trigger toward the end of the double-action pull. The new gun uses a different arrangement for the mainspring, it’s a leaf spring with a link connecting to the hammer—and here’s some more heresy again—it’s smoother than my original. Price is said to be $1,499 MSRP—not cheap but nowhere near the cost of a NIB Python of yesteryear.

Look for coverage in an upcoming issue of American Rifleman. It’s not often that we go down to the mail room to see what comes in, but we are checking every day for the Colt Python. For more, visit colt.com/python.

Specifications:
Manufacturer: Colt’s Mfg.
Model: Python-SP4WTS
UPC: 098289003287
Caliber: .357 Mag.
Capacity: 6 rounds
Frame: Stainless Steel
Finish: Semi-Bright
Twist Rate: 1:14” LH, 6 Groove
Barrel Length: 4.25”
Overall Length: 9.75”
Overall Height: 5.5”
Overall Width: 1.55”
Front Sight: Red Ramp (interchangeable)
Rear Sight: Adjustable for windage and elevation
Trigger Action: D/A S/A
Trigger Pull (Double Action): 7.0 to 9.5 lbs. Max
Grip: Walnut
Unloaded Weight: 42 oz.
MSRP: $1,499

Model:
Python-SP6WTS
UPC: 098289003270
Caliber: .357 Mag.
Capacity: 6 rounds
Frame: Stainless Steel
Finish: Semi-Bright
Twist Rate: 1:14” LH, 6 Groove
Barrel Length: 6”
Overall Length: 11.5”
Overall Height: 5.5”
Overall Width: 1.55”
Front Sight: Red Ramp (interchangeable)
Rear Sight: Adjustable for windage and elevation
Trigger Action: D/A S/A
Trigger Pull (Double Action): 7.0 to 9.5 lbs. Max
Grip: Walnut
Weight (Unloaded): 46 oz.
MSRP: $1,499

Additional Reading:
A Colt's Python Primer 
A Look Back at the Colt Python
NRA Gun of the Week: Colt Python

 

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