Famed Colt historian dubbed the Colt Python as "the Rolls-Royce of Colt revolvers." Considering the long history that Colt has with the production of service revolvers, setting one gun apart in such a way is an honor indeed.
The Python was mass produced for over forty years from 1955 to 1996 with production numbers trailing off until its announced retirement in 1999 after which only a few were produced by Colt's Custom Shop until 2005 when all production activity ceased. Over the span of fifty years the Colt Python service revolver set the bar for the quality that other manufacturers tried to aspire on their own production lines.
In all the years that the Python was produced, it was only ever chambered in the popular .357 Magnum cartridge. It utilized a traditional Single-Action/Double-Action trigger setup and was known for having an extreemly smooth trigger pull as well as very close tolerance for the cylinder lockup.
The gun has always been equiped with adjustable sights and a full barrel underlug and the top of the gun is set with a ventilated rib, full-length as well. These two elements work together to increase the front-end mass of the gun and counteract kick back.
Colt always produced the Python service revolver with special attention paid to the tolerances of the forcing cone, which were always exceptionally tight. This provided a superior connection between the cylinder and the barrel and served to increase the expelled velocity and accuracy each shot. The company was so rabid about accuracy that took an industry-first step in laser boresighting each revlover at the factory to insure that the gun provided peak performance.
Over time the Python revolver was given four different finishes. Royal Blue, Bright Nickel, Satin Stainless, and Ultimate Stainless. It also ended up being made in five different barrel lengths (2.5-inch, 3-inch, 4-inch, 6-inch, and 8-inch) which are all for sale on the used market with the 3-inch model being the most difficult to find.
Until the eventaul changeover from service revolvers to semi-automatic service pistols that characterized the 1990's, the Colt Python enjoyed favor amongst law enforcement departments nationwide. Eventually, it was the lack of sales to these agencies that caused Colt to lose the advantage of economy-of-scale. Colt, which enjoyed a strong relationship to such labor organizations as the United Auto Workers Union, would not consider opening a production facility in a region of low-cost labor. As demand continued to shrink, so did profitability and 2005 was the last year that Colt shipped a new Python.
Reviews of all editions of the Colt Python service revolver are below with the newest reviews at the bottom. If you've had a chance to own one of these guns please share your thoughts on its quality and performance below. Every year thousands of these guns change hands and many are search for info before they make a decision as whether or not to buy one.
The review does have some errors. The Python was made in a 38 Special target version. Have seen one in 41 mag but not sure if this was a factory gun. It was also offered in an E Nick (electrolysis nickel) finish. This is a somewhat rare finish as not alot of them were produced. I own one of these in 8" version, 1981 production. Part of superior accuracy can be attributed to the "bank vault lock up" when trigger is pulled cylinder will lock up to absolutely no play. This revolver also has a very slight taper to the bore which contributes to its stunning accuracy. I love this gun like a little brother, it is argueably the finest production revolver ever made, sorry Smith fans but the truth hurts, a performance center Smith comes close however. Shoot one and it will likley remove any doubts about my ramble. At the time of this writing they are getting very expensive but there are many for sale NIB if you know where to look. Paid $800 for mine in the 90's wish I would have bought the 6" NIB one he had as well.
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