It was 1955 when Colt unveiled its soon-to-be-classic Python. The .357 Mag. chambering caught the attention of enthusiasts everywhere, but it was the timeless look and the company’s famed top-notch craftsmanship that made it destined to become a classic.
“No regular-production handgun ever got so much detailed attention as did the Python,” Wiley Clapp wrote for American Rifleman. “It was put together by the most skilled technicians in the Hartford factory. These were experienced Yankee craftsmen who took a bare frame and carefully fitted together oversized parts—made in house—using the files and stones on their benches.”
In 2005—five decades after the original appeared and five years after the model was relegated to special-order status—the company made the unpopular decision to cease production of the labor-intensive revolver. Prices for used specimens soared and more than a few aficionados resigned themselves to never owning one. The originals wore either 2.5", 3", 4", 6" or 8" barrels. The double actions came in a blue, nickel or satin or mirror stainless finish.
In January of 2020 a new Colt Python rolled out of the factory and it was the No. 1 selling revolver among FFLs using the services of GunBroker.com in 2020. Rising to the top in a single year is rare in the annual rankings, another testament to the original’s legacy.
Last year’s introduction is strikingly similar in appearance to the classic, but wears some subtle changes. “It is obvious that every dimension and contour on the new gun closely follows what was used on the original,” Clapp wrote. However, he added, “The top, front corner of the frame, where the lines of the barrel flow into it, are a little different. On the hammer, the cocking surface is laterally serrated and not checkered. And the muzzle crown is a little different.” It’s also been beefed up to handle today’s hotter loads. The wood grips are laminated, although they still sport the Colt Medallion. Clapp also found during testing that the double-action trigger is better than that of the original.
A visit to Colt’s website as this was written shows both the 6" and 4.25" barrels models are sold out. When the stainless steel double actions are finally back in stock, expect an MSRP of $1,499, although retailers factory-fresh inventory are currently commanding higher prices.