The Best Revolver Ever Made? Colt’s Python–Review

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The Royal Blue Python with a 6" barrel.

The Royal Blue Python with a 6″ barrel.

Hello. My name is David, and I’m in love with a snake. I used to be ophidiophobic, but I’ve begun a steady program of exposure therapy. I now spend a lot of time with a Python, and it has opened my eyes. I guess it should come as no surprise, as Most of the gun-loving-free-world has a soft spot for Colt’s snakes. These badass guns were built in staggering numbers from 1955 until 2005. There are many who believe that the Colt Python is the single best revolver ever to be produced. In a world with a lot of revolvers, many of which are exceptionally well made guns, that is a bold claim. But it hardly stops there. As some of those Python backers also believe that revolvers are vastly superior to automatics, the Python begins to look like to pinnacle of immense handgun pyramid.


This Python, which was made in 1968, has a 6″ barrel. They were made with short barrels (as short as 2.5″) and with longer 8″ barrels, and several in between. The 6″ gun is substantial. The full length barrel lug adds weight to an already heavy design. I’d have to break out a scale to weigh this thing, but to hell with that. It is 3 pounds, easy. This gun was made in the era that appreciated big-block engines and curves on women. There were none of these models that look like tall boys, or hybrid cars. And they weren’t shy about using American steel in guns–there’s more steel in a Python than there is in a 2015 Ford F-150.  The grip (this one is not original to the gun) is huge. The fat flair at the end of the one-piece design forces your hand up on the grip.

The trigger on this one breaks like some of those anemic fashion models, right at 8 pounds in double action mode, and just north of 3 pounds in single action. If poets still wrote romantic ballads, we’d be awash in odes to the Python’s trigger. It is that good. In single action, there is no creep. No take up. No over travel.

The sights are completely adjustable.

The sights are completely adjustable.

The Pythons were originally made in Royal Blue, like this one, and in nickel plated versions. The nickel version was later replaced by stainless steel. The longer barreled guns had full length vent ribs on top, and the sights (both front and rear) are adjustable.

Make no mistake–the Python is a beast. With six rounds of .357, the capacity is on par with most of the competition. The 6″ barrel produces muzzle velocities in the 1,150 FPS range with 158 grain Federal Hydra-Shok JHPs. That’s on the slow end of the .357s, as the bullet weighs more. Basic .38s will leave the barrel anywhere from the high 800s to the low 1000s. That’s not bad, but I’d never carry anything in the Python that wasn’t capable of taking down a moose, so I’m sticking with the .357s.

With the stunning effectiveness of the Python, and the exquisite aesthetics, why can’t you pop into your local FFL and buy a Python?

Most six-guns only hold six. Go figure.

Most six-guns only hold six. Go figure.

No longer in production

This section is going to be filled with some conjecture. I’d be willing to bet that most of it is 100% accurate. But Colt won’t comment, and I think there’s a good reason for that, too. So I’ll stop being vague and get to it.

1. Revolvers used to be popular. The Python, in fact, was carried by a lot of law enforcement agencies. These were standard issue firearms up into the 1990’s. And they were incredibly reliable, accurate, and iconic–everything you’d want from a sidearm except the capacity. So out they went. And as the public’s preference for pistols grew, sales slumped. Bye-bye snakes.

2. These aren’t inexpensive guns. When a lot of other guns are being made of plastic, the snakes start to look like resource hogs. The tooling was antiquated and old fashioned, the materials were pricy, and the market for the guns was not-so-slowly drying up.

So the expensive guns for which there was a shrinking market started were pulled from production. Clearly, we see now, the market hadn’t dried up. Not completely. And the guns are selling for insane prices. I’m going to jump in here with my consumer bias and say that the prices for used Pythons are insane. $3,000? And that’s for a shooter in good condition. You can find a better price, occasionally, and you can take out a second mortgage for one that’s new-in-box, and unturned.

Side note: I got schooled in revolver valuation recently, and I’d like to pass on this nugget. “Unfired” is easy enough to fake. I can take a gun in reasonably good condition and spruce it up so it looks new. “Unturned” means that the cylinder shows no marks from rotation. This is a better way to evaluate the wear on a revolver. A truly pristine, unturned, unfired Python will fetch a very high price–so high that it is worth the risk for some to attempt to pass off fakes. Caveat emptor.

Six inches of solid steel. These things had to be expensive to produce, even in 1955.

Six inches of solid steel. These things had to be expensive to produce, even in 1955.

3. New Snakes? So let’s entertain a third option for Colt’s decision to pull the Python. They may have seen the downward slope of the supply/demand curve. What to do? Continue to flood the market with expensive pistols? Hell no. Cut supply. Immediately. Let the demand build. Watch what happens on the secondary market and figure out where your price-point should be. Judge that delicate balancing point between supply and demand that will allow you to charge a premium for a product produced in limited numbers. Colt may be sitting on the snakes, biding their time, waiting–somewhat snakelike–for the right time to strike.

As guns are a popular topic of conversation here at GunsAmerica, we’ve had numerous conversations around the virtual water-cooler about Colt. More than Colt would like, I think. But we all love the snakes, and can’t see why Colt doesn’t jump on the new-found popularity of the revolver. Retro revolvers.

I jacked up the focus on this photo, but the clean hole is still visible behind the gun. That's six from 25 yards, double action.

I jacked up the focus on this photo, but the clean hole is still visible behind the gun. That’s six from 25 yards, double action.

Shooting Snakes

You should take what I say about economics with a grain of salt. I’ve got a Ph.D., but it isn’t in economics. And this is a review, so I’m much more interested in how this thing shoots. I’m not one to put away shiny collectables. I’ve got a seven year old boy, so I can’t use a python as a coffee table set-about. If I can’t shoot it, it doesn’t stick around long.

This one, though, shoots straight. It shoots better than any revolver I’ve ever owned or shot. You’ll see what I mean when you look at the target pics. I’m not that good with a revolver, but this one made me feel like I could be a rockstar. And I did better with it in double action than I did in single action, defeating my own long-held belief that single action is superior. I used to take a constant ribbing from Bob Lawman, a revolver expert, about my half-assed revolver technique. He swore I would shoot better if I just learned how to shoot a double action. Well Bob, I get it. The trigger on this Python is smooth, light, and easy to stage. I can rock the hammer back with the trigger and hold it all day long.

In single action, I kept dropping the trigger a bit unexpectedly. The pull is light enough that I’d drop at least one round early. But the double action pull was gratifying and has inflated my ego.

Same gun, same drill, different shooter. He didn't have the double-action touch.

Same gun, same drill, different shooter. He didn’t have the double-action touch.

But I can get all six inside the trigger guard. Not that I'm bragging or anything, but I can shoot this gun.

But I can get all six inside the trigger guard. Not that I’m bragging or anything, but I can shoot this gun.


It is a revolver. What could possibly go wrong? According to the wisdom of the internet, the Pythons are prone to timing issues as their round counts escalate. Maybe so. The cylinder locks up tight to the forcing cone on this one, and I had no issues with the timing. That said, I would estimate the round count on this one to be very low. The timing works fine.

If a Python were to get out-of-time, the cylinder would lock up with the forcing cone–but not perfectly. This allows gas to escape. It can even shave off bits of lead. I’ve fired revolvers and had to perform basic first aid after. But that’s tremendously unlikely on a gun as well built as this. A more likely scenario is that you’d sacrifice a bit of accuracy and see more soot on the cylinder.

Teaser: How will the Python stand up to my 686? That's coming next week.

Teaser: How will the Python stand up to my 686? That’s coming next week.

Final thoughts?

This is my first Python. And I love it. Every time I look at it, I see the 1970s. I’ve seen a few episodes of The Walking Dead, but I’m not a zombie obsessed. I have a hard time suspending my disbelief long enough to believe anyone (let alone roaming the countryside in world where ammo is no longer being manufactured) would carry anything other than a 9mm. But if I had Hollywood’s unending supply lines and an steady stream of slightly lethargic targets that wouldn’t shoot back, I’d carry a Python, too. Hell, I’d carry two. With a double action trigger like this, I’d be dual-wielding like a maniac.

In the real world, though, I’m faced with a dilemma. While there is a limited supply of Pythons, Colt’s competitors continue to push their own, completely capable .357 revolvers. I have a hard time carrying a gun this precious when there are less expensive guns that work (I almost said just-as-well). If I were ever to use this in a defensive situation (where it would no-doubt be confiscated), or if it were stolen, I’d feel the loss. I’d have a huge Python shaped hole in my revolver-loving-soul. Would it not be better to carry a Smith 686, or a Ruger? Not that I wouldn’t pine at their loss, but I might not pine as much.

I think the only thing to do is put it to the test. Head to head. Gun vs. Gun. The Python vs. The Smith & Wesson 686. How will the the snake stand up to the Smith? Stay tuned.

The back of the one-piece grips.

The back of the one-piece grips.

No matter what you think about revolvers, you have to admit that the Python is a handsome gun.

No matter what you think about revolvers, you have to admit that the Python is a handsome gun.

The long hammer spur makes cocking the gun easy.

The long hammer spur makes cocking the gun easy.

The cylinder opens when this latch is slid back.

The cylinder opens when this latch is slid back.

The plunger tucks neatly into the barrel lug.

The plunger tucks neatly into the barrel lug. Apologies for the dust on the gun. That blue shows every spec of dust!

The rear sight is simple and effective.

The rear sight is simple and effective.

The Python bears the Colt stamp.

The Python bears the Colt stamp.

An aside. When I was typing up this review, I invented a new word that I think we should add to the lexicon. Pythong. Is there a better word for a G-string that grips you too tight? Not that I'd know from experience. Dammit. Just keep digging this hole deeper.

An aside. When I was typing up this review, I invented a new word that I think we should add to the lexicon. Pythong. Is there a better word for a G-string that grips you too tight? Not that I’d know from experience. Dammit. Just keep digging this hole deeper.

{ 203 comments… add one }
  • Fidd Elmore January 30, 2018, 1:25 pm

    Both sights are adjustable, huh? I can’t quite sort out how to adjust the front on mine as it is solidly pinned into its mount. Would you help me out here?

  • Jerry Moran September 10, 2017, 4:10 pm

    David, My wife and I enjoyed your comparison of historical cultural styles and composition of American made steel. For my part I redesigned,throughly tested, built custom Pythons for decades and continue to
    shoot one that has fired 100,000’s of rounds from wadcutters to freedom arms type loads. I stretched the hand
    once in 1980’s after thousands of silhouette rounds. Since that time it still clicks away like a well designed
    watch; still keeping time. Precision of assembly with an attitude of realibility to protect lives remains the
    benchmark in any firearm. I always appreciate a well rounded story about the most iconic revolver of modern
    times. Python. Körth, Manurhin,Smith&Wesson, Dan Wesson, Taurus, Ruger, and whomever else decided
    that the PYTHON LOOK ( full under barrel) was the classic look that a revolver should reveal classic design.
    However, in the 1930’s King Gun Works installed vent ribs, target sights, and underlungs that predate the
    Python look by 20 years. Your article inspired my writing this comment keeping the legend alive.
    While no longer delving into gun smithing as an occupation, my mind and hands remain occupied in design.
    Whatever I was able to accomplish came from the CREATOR OF ALL WISDOM AND DESIGN.
    Chauncey JERRY Moran.
    Python redesign and precision assembly. MORAN CUSTOM PYTHONS ACCURACY WITH REALIBILITY PERIOD!

  • Gilbert March 24, 2017, 10:18 am

    I am Ex law enforcement and have always been issued s&w Revolver’s until we switched to Autos, but I must say
    My Off duty has always been a Colt Revolver .

  • Larry Abrams March 24, 2017, 8:35 am

    As long as people are telling about their Python just as well tell mine.. As a 22 year old Police Officer in a small S.D. Town. We had a big get together at the range with other officers from other states. A big Az Deputy showed up wearing one of the best looking rigs I ever saw. Black shined up western rig with fast draw holster with a 4 inch nickel finished Python. He went head to head with some of our best shooters and took a lot of the trophies. I of course asked him if he ever would sell the Python. He said “Nope” but if I ever do will give you first chance”. Ya. Sure.. 🙂 A year later I get a call that I had a visitor at the station. I walked in and there was the Deputy who informed me he was on his way to Montana to start a new Law Enforcement job and that they were going to furnish him with his sidearm and if I still wanted the Python? I almost cried because I was dead broke. and we had never discussed price.. I said “Yes but what do you want for it? He said “One hundred twenty five dollars” He went with me to the bank and I begged the loan manager for a signature loan of $125.00 . I got the money paid him expecting to just get the sidearm. He open the trunk gave me his complete rig along with two boxes of ammo, a pair of cuffs and a spray bottle of Dell Defend. I carried the Python for years and just recently passed it on to my son because he loved the gun and when I pass into the spirit world I want to know that my Python has a great home.

    • Thomas Scott April 10, 2017, 6:08 pm

      I hear you! I love some of my guns that I’ve gotten over the years, including my 6″ Nickel Colt Python, that I’m leaving them to my Children. They will have good homes.

    • Kerry May 19, 2017, 2:34 pm

      you lucky dude! that gun is worth thousands now

  • saranya February 9, 2017, 5:17 am

    Hii…Your posting about the python is really very informative…Thanks for updating these types of informative…

  • PDM August 17, 2016, 6:44 am

    Used a 4″ and 6″ Pythons for duty as a deputy sheriff in the 1980’s. I always liked the trigger pull but they will stack up if you fire them too quick between rounds. Also had to send one back to the factory for timing issues at one point and currently the other sits because it somehow (?) has a bent yoke after a bunch of magnum rounds. If I had to do it again, I would have bought 4 different S&W’s for the price of the Colts and had actions jobs done on all.

  • STEVE LACEY May 18, 2016, 8:27 am

    I was looking for a nice,really good working S&W MOD. # 13 3 1/2″barrel but a 6 will do. prefer a nickel plate but will be happy with a blue. I have a pretty extensive collection of handguns and I need that one that would help the S&W’s. E-mail to contact me.ONLY serious contacts. EX Navy Seal, so take it from there! Steve

  • Bob H. April 18, 2016, 1:09 pm

    Prior to joining a police dept . in Calif . I had my choice of a Colt or Sw. I went to three gun smiths to find out which revolver I should buy. All three said the Smith was better looking but the Colt had one less part than the Smith. I figured that one less part ment to me it was less parts to break or misfire. Even if it was a million to one chance of something to go wrong I wanted that odds on my side. I bought the 4″ barrel Colt and was happy for it

  • Ed Manigault April 1, 2016, 12:09 pm

    Where’s the article comparing the 686 to the Python?

    • American June 24, 2016, 10:18 am

      There’s no comparison The COLT Python is an out dated design going back to 1901. The COLT Officer Models have the same basic action,slick yes smooth yes weak yes.had one yes.

  • Brian Valentine February 28, 2016, 5:17 am

    I have a Python, I have A ’63 Colt Trooper, I have a Korth. The Korth is far and away a more superior firearm, the Trooper is better balanced and shoots more accurately than the Python, the Python is a fine looking firearm but there are other kings out there. Hell, there’s even a Frenchy revolver that I heard tell will make a Python pee down its own leg.

    • Mark Hedtke January 18, 2017, 9:57 am

      My duty revolver was a 38 smith , but my Colt Trooper 4″ 357 magnum was the best durable accurate “real gun” that I used in early 70’s in Alaska. Was CERT certified, made the mistake of selling it when relocated to Hawaii. How about making some more Troopers, was better than the Pythons as far as weight and easier handling esp with a breakfront holster!

  • Russ December 11, 2015, 12:26 pm

    I have always enjoyed shooting the Colt Python. It is just a great shooting revolver. I have never bought one because I have never won the lottery, they are pricey. About 10 years ago a friends friend was in a bind and I got what in my opinion is the next best thing for a great price. I got a Colt King Cobra. I love the gun and due to the circumstances it was affordable. I know its not a Python but it shoots great. Now there are lots of people that write the gun off as subpar and not a Python. I agree its not a python but does anyone have any specifics on why there is a belief that this gun is subpar?? Thanks.

  • Mike Cornett December 7, 2015, 5:10 pm

    Colt Python the best revolver. No. It is sexy looking and suddenly everyone wants one. So the prices are close to $2,000
    My wife wanted to buy a $200 Beanie Baby one time. She never got it. You can buy it today for $20 or so.
    I had a 357 mag Colt Python many years ago. After a year I traded it for a S & W 357 mag Combat Masterpiece.
    A much better revolver. This was in the days of Bill Jordan

  • DW December 7, 2015, 5:01 pm

    What needs to be understood here is that the Python is basically an 1870s design perfected, as are most Colts. They function by the use of internal cams and lewf springs and require considerable hand work to operate properly. S&W is a more modern design, developed initially for the M&P revolver from 1898. Although S&W exhibit considerable hand work as well, function is not nearly as dependent on it. Pythons were made as a target and competition gun and, due to the required fine tuning do not do as well in duty situations. I owned a 4″ Python purchased in the mid ’70s. I had not shot it in a few months and when took it to the range rounds would not detonate. After taking it home and disassembling it I found a tiny bit of debris on the hammer pin. This was enough to prevent the hammer from falling quickly enough to set of a primer, not a good situation for someone who’s life might depend on proper function. I currently own a Colts 357, a predecessor and equal of the Python (except for a heavy round barrel) and an assortment of Officers Model .38s. The Python’s I frame is equivalent to the S&W J frame 586 & these are comparable; an N frame model 27 or 28 is not. A 44 mag 29 is not in the same ballpark. The Colts New Service is a large frame that was discontinued after WW2 and compares to N frame S&Ws, also the Anaconda, which use investment cast parts like the King Cobra and is also not really comparable.
    In my opinion the pre-’70s Colts are about as highly developed a firearm of the old school as exists. As the highly skilled craffsmen retired, a lot of former art was lost and the company turned to cheaper solutions, eventually causing the quality to lessen until by the ’90s the writing was on the wall. I purchased an Anaconda when they first came out, thrilled that Colts was making a large frane revolver again: nice gun and shot well, but eventually the shots started stringing up and to the left. The barrel had started to unscrew, product of a left-hand twist and a right-hand thread. A smith at the dealers was able to put it right, but that gun would have never left the factory in the old days when pride of craftsmanship outweighed pushing product out the door. I’d be very careful about newer Pythons.

  • Jack December 7, 2015, 4:57 pm

    I have several Pythons. Two of them finished with the bright bluing have cylinder releases that have turned color and now have a brown tinge. I’m told it could be from improper prep at the factory. I had one re blued and it looked beautiful for a couple weeks and now has turned color again.

    Has anyone else seen this happen? Does anyone know if there is a way for correcting this problem?

  • Tunaman December 7, 2015, 12:19 pm

    I can remember when dealers in the Northeast didn’t even want a Python in their shops. They just sat and sat and sat unsold new or used. No body really wanted one. These were very pretty guns and all of them back then were hand done in the Colt custom shop. The inner workings were on the fragile side and quite often these hand fitted parts broke. This meant the Python had to be sent back to Colt as they would not release parts to gunsmiths back then for the Pythons. Jump forward a few years and now they are no longer made in the custom shop but on the Colt factory floor. The over all quality goes down and a redesign of a few internal parts make them a bit more reliable then the old ones. But pretty does not make them the best and yes I have found the S&W 686 to be more accurate then the Colt. I have over 30,000 rounds through my 686 and with the right hand load you can cover a 6 shot group at 25 yards with a quarter fired double action. I will stick with the S&W 686 thank you.

  • Uncle Dave December 7, 2015, 10:40 am

    My 8″ Python Target serves me well in Bullseye competition, shooting double action for timed and rapid fire. The heavy front end helps hold steady against the 7.5 DA trigger pull. I have a SW model 25 with a nicer trigger that I am grooming for Bullseye work. I just haven’t found an accurate enough 45 Colt (the irony!) loading for it. I’ve owned Colt snubs, as well as SW J, K, and N frames. My experience has generally been that Colt revolvers have a preferable (for me) trigger out of the box, but a worked SW trigger is a thing of beauty.

  • shrugger December 7, 2015, 10:12 am

    Without a doubt the most beautiful revolver ever devised by man. But the best? I remain…unconvinced.

  • Trainman December 7, 2015, 8:40 am

    Bought a Python (six inch Blued) back in the late 60’s when they were all the rage even back then.
    It looked wicked, shot ok, but was never my favorite.
    Then one day at the local gun shop,,,,
    “I saw the light.”
    There in the showcase was a beautiful six inch, nickel plated, S&W model 19.
    By, By, snake. Hello model 19.
    A trade that I never regretted.
    It was ten times the gun then that old Colt.
    Unfortunately, I fell on to hard times and had to sell it.
    That was the worst mistake, when it comes to guns, that I ever made.
    The big fascination with these old Colts will turn out to be a passing trend.
    And,,, those foolish enough to lay out the kind of dollars it takes to get one in todays market
    will only find themselves with a big hole in their wallet, with nothing to show for it, in the future.

  • Oliver December 7, 2015, 8:08 am

    Beautiful factory made gun, but prices are nearing the Korth stratosphere.

  • scott miller December 7, 2015, 6:34 am

    I own a python elite I bought new in 2003, it is with out a doubt the best shooting pistol I own, and I own some decent guns, (sig p220, kimber tactical ultra 2 and two 686 4″ smiths), it is smooth and has never given me any trouble or issues, I retired her and love shooting 357, so I bought a 686, its excellent too but not a python.

  • Bill A September 21, 2015, 11:12 am

    The Python (I have had two) are very pretty, but have no better triggers, sights, nor shoot any better than a pedestrian S&W K38 (Model 14).

  • Gary Stelter September 9, 2015, 1:30 am

    I hate to burst the bubble, but my first python I bought in the mid to late 70’s (at a whopping $350.00) was a piece of junk if ever there was one. Right from the factory I could not fire more 6 cylinders of .357 before the cases could not be removed (factory federal ammo) and the lead spitting was terrible. To Colt’s credit, after the gun was returned to the factory, five weeks later the gun shop called to say Colt had sent a new gun to me that I needed to refill the paperwork because the original was so bad it was not repairable. The replacement was perfect but just goes to show they aren’t flawless.

    • DW December 7, 2015, 6:24 pm

      If the gun has a lot of 38 Special through it, especially midrange wadcutters, a ring will be formed in the cylinder from erosion and will prevent the ejection of fired .357 cases. If you must shoot target ammo in any .357, only load them in magnum cases. This is why I no longer own a Python, as this was the result of using it as a target gun with these loads and the only repairs are to hone out the cylinder, which affects accuracy. or to replace it.

      • K March 24, 2017, 8:09 am

        I’ve had one since 1978. I’ve shot in excess of 20,000 rounds through it. I’ve shot all types of ammo. Reloads, FMJ, SJSP, SJHP soft cast/hard cast, heavy loads, 180gr and light ones and the list goes on. Clean your weapon and you won’t have any issues. It’s not fun but it prevents issues like the one you experienced. Notice I didn’t describe your complaint as a problem. Because it is not a problem. Just laziness. Seen it many, many times.

  • Hnry August 24, 2015, 2:32 am

    I have been fortunate enough to own a number of Pythons. I am now down to one….6″ barrel, brushed stainless, shamefully smooth and polished to glisten – wow!

    I own and love a number of other handguns. I am having an affair with my Python. We’re used to each other. It will consistently hold inside a silver dollar at 50 yards plus. (Happily, I live in the country and have large yard.)

    There are many beautifully made handguns. There is no handgun better made than the Python, or better looking and handling.

    R. Pitman

  • Glen-bob March 4, 2015, 11:41 pm

    I use to work part-time in a pawn shop and acquired a vast collection of guns. Over the years I was able to pickup 2 Pythons, an Anaconda, King Cobra, Cobra, 3 Det. Specials and a couple semi-autos. I also have a 686 and 629. Needless to say I no longer shoot the Pythons or the Anaconda. IMO they are the smoothest shooting best looking handguns ever available. I often carry one of the DS or the Cobra. I carried the 686 as a duty firearm back in the early 80’s when I worked for a local PD and loved it, not as smooth but affordable for a rookie officer. The 629 I have is the nastiest shooting firearm I own, it is a true love hate relationship. As for the big N frame S&W I have 57 in 41mag that is a pleasure to shoot. I love my Colt’s and would not hesitate to carry the 686 again if so employed.

  • bicycle boy March 3, 2015, 11:31 pm

    my 4 inch 29 s&w is the most accurate pistol I have ever shot and I’ve shot a Python. It’s about 25 years old now and no more than 200 rounds through it. Beautiful Blue and looks like it came right out of the box, Hand loaded Hornady 180gr XTP never misses and it will remove an arm or leg or lung. Also the 300gr. XTP would probably blow you in half.

  • Lynn Walker March 3, 2015, 7:17 pm

    I wouldn’t trade any one of my S&W’s for a #3 washtub full of Pythons. Best revolver ever??? Hogwash!!!!

    • David Regan March 4, 2015, 12:27 pm

      No problem, I’d happily swamp my 686 for a single Python but I loved to do it for a wash tub of Pythons. I own multiple S&
      W revolvers mostly with pinned barrels. I’m really disappointed with my 686, as a I said earlier that it will not shoot a hard cast where the Python will all day long effortlessly, Yup, I’ve been shooting pistol for over 40 years at thousands of rounds per year if that has anything to do with the matter, Still the 686 will not shoot a hard cast and the Python will.,

  • Lynn Walker March 3, 2015, 7:17 pm

    I wouldn’t trade any one of my S&W’s for a #3 washtub full of Pythons. Best revolver ever??? Hogwash!!!!

    • Thomas Scott April 10, 2017, 6:33 pm

      That might be! But a washtub full of Pythons would put alot more coins in your pocket than a tub of Smith & Wessson’s.

  • dmcneelus March 1, 2015, 8:03 pm

    I purchased a new Python 6 inch in 1967 and took it to Viet Nam. My Father sent 100 rounds of .357 per month to me. I occasionally had to beg some .38 spl in bad months. I spent two years in country and sold the Python to an incoming replacement. Should have kept it. I owed my life to that weapon. For those who say they are not reliable or do not shoot accurately I can assure you it always shot minute of Viet Cong or NVA. Damn fine fighting tool for me.

  • GLOCKNUT February 27, 2015, 11:45 am


    • Sniper2506 February 28, 2015, 8:04 am

      Older Dan Wessons were great, but , the Best revolver I ever shot was a 1960’s Colt Sauer. Super accurate, beautiful blueing,and the best double action trigger pull I’ve ever seen. Paid $112.50 as someone put it on lay away and paid down some of the asking price. The dealer was awesome!

  • Seth Poorman February 27, 2015, 4:08 am

    Im 53 and back in the late 70s early 80s I used to go to the gun shops and look at guns and every once in a while I would buy a gun , but I could never see spending the extra for a python, and when they quit making the Python I kinda kicked myself.
    After that I just watched the prices go into space and thought for sure I\’d never have one. In 2014 I got the chance to buy a nickel 8\” Python for $1200 and I jumped on it faster than a 50gr 220 swift can travel.
    Last summer I shot several boxes of 38s and 357s and I\’ll tell you that i just love that gun. Every time I pull it out of my shoulder holster it just turns heads and all the guys just look in envy. I really love the way it feels and shoots. Seth. 🙂

    • Thomas Scott April 10, 2017, 6:40 pm

      Right on! The Python is a very fine pistol.

  • Revolver Fan February 25, 2015, 11:56 pm

    Own a couple of S&W 686-3 models – 1 a 6″ barrel made in ’89, blackened over SS (limited run) and the other a 686-3 SS 4″ barrel, circa early 80’s. The 6″ is the best gun I’ve ever fired. Shoots smoothly w/ tight patterns at 7 and 15 yards. It FITS perfectly in my hand w/the square butt and Goncalo Alves grips. The Python doesn’t fit my hand as well when I picked it up. I’m going to fire one and see what happens w/patterns at the range out of curiosity. I’d go head to head w/my 686 vs a Python bring it ON. Personally, I think the Python is a nice looking revolver, but I think my late 80’s Smith looks nicer.

  • Dale February 25, 2015, 4:12 pm

    I think what this shows is that everyone’s definition of “best” is different. That makes it highly subjective. Which is “best” – Ford? Chevy? Dodge? Having grown up on a ranch in S.W. Idaho, we had all three, and they all seemed to get the job done.
    Yes, just like auto’s, you sometimes get a “lemon”, but which is REALLY best? Colt? S.&W.? Ruger? Dan Wesson? All of them have produced fine firearms over the years, and occasionally you get one that is substandard, even for the company that produced it.
    If you need a Lamborghini, then get one. Just don’t use it to haul hay with.

    • Thomas Scott April 10, 2017, 6:50 pm

      Nice post. I love them all!

  • David Soderberg February 24, 2015, 9:38 pm

    I’ll take my 1914 .45LC triple lock. It’s a far better balanced gun. But the snake’s full lug and massive grip do make it a very effective club.

  • John Boutwell February 24, 2015, 8:20 pm

    I have owned several Pythons going back to the 1970’s, They are still my favorite handgun in looks and the feel of the action.

  • Dan February 24, 2015, 7:04 pm

    Am I the only one that noticed the safety factor of a live body walking behind the range while shooting?

  • Dan February 24, 2015, 5:21 pm

    Bought a 6″ nickel Python in 1972. I have never purchased a factory boxed pistol so smooth, easy to shoot and accurate. Once upon a time, I could drive nails with this pistol at 25 yards. Fantastic weapon.

  • DANNY M February 24, 2015, 1:59 pm

    I own a Colt Python that has fired less than 50 rounds and is a beautiful handgun. In fact I own 20 handguns and this is the nicest and best finished of all. The problem is that I have found Colt Handguns to need adjustment from time to time. When you talk about the best handgun the S&W Model 10 can’t be beat. I carried the S&W Model 10 on duty in the NYCPD for 25 years in the 1970’s and 80’s, and have been shooting handguns for over 40 years. The gun was out of the holster more that it was in. I was involved in numerous gun fights and never had any problem with the reliability of the gum. Not the best looking handgun, fixed sights, OK finish, but completely reliable. The gun aside from cleaning has thousand of rounds fired and never has been serviced. Every year I qualify under HR218 with the S&W model 10 and different auto’s. I own a Sig 228, Colt 1911, Browning HP 9mm, Walther PPK.380 and other auto’s. The instructors are amazed that I shoot more accurately with the Model 10, and can reload with speed loaders almost as fast as the automatics. There is nothing to go wrong on the gun, and having fixed sights there point of aim is always on. The gun was cheap when new and a real bargain. I did carry a 1990’s .38 Colt Detective special for a year, but every time I qualified at the police range the armor would have to adjust the gun because the pins in the side plate would come loos and have to be reseated. the gun was very nice looking and had a superior finish to the S&W, but I decided to sell it because of the reliability problem. I decided to purchase S&W Model 10, 2 inch ,which was excellent and was my carry gun as a Detective. In my experience S&W revolvers is a far more superior and reliable handgun for defensive purposes than any Colt revolver, excluding the Colt 1911’s which is just a workhorse. It is unfortunate that I can’t say that about the new S&W revolvers. A friend purchased a new S&W revolver, the .38 Bodyguard model and was having trouble with the accuracy. Over the phone I walked him through the lessons in handgun shooting, but he still had trouble with his group and hitting the target in the black at 15 yards. I felt he was jerking the trigger and decided to try the gun. When I first looked at the gun my initial impression was that it was cheaply made, and much different that the S&W standard. After shooting the gun the grouping was good, but I was to the left of the black. When I aimed to the right the grouping was all in the black. When I examined the pistol I noticed the fixed front site was not centered on the barrel and was crooked. After going online and reading blogs we noticed that a very large number of owners were having the same problem. The blogs said that after sending the gun back to S&W it was returned in the same condition. No matter what the price of the gun this is totally unacceptable. He decided to sell the Bodyguard and purchased a S&W Wyatt Deep Cover special which is fine tuned by the S&W gun shop. The gun is much better, but it still does not have the feel of the older revolvers. My opinion in regards to the best revolver for defensive protection you have to find any older S&W revolver in good shape. Don”t eliminate the S&W .38 Model 10. No matter what the experts say many people have been stopped by a Model 10 with plus P ammo.

  • What I know February 24, 2015, 1:48 pm

    Dan Wesson. 357 mag revolvers, is a better gun by far!

    Dan Wesson Revolvers, are better than any other made.

    Thank You.

  • charlie February 24, 2015, 12:49 pm

    I have a number of Smith-Wesson high dollar handguns. I also have a Colt Python. I would not trade the Python for three of the Smith-Wessons. they just do not measure up to the Python on any given day.

  • petru sova February 24, 2015, 11:29 am

    I remember when they cost only $260 and I bought two of them a 4 inch and a 6 inch but sadly I had to sell them during tough economic times. I recently decided to buy another as my time grows short in this world and I paid $1800 for one which I considered a good deal as it had been fired very little.

    Now lets look at reality. The Python was perhaps the most accurate .357 ever made. The bore was actually a “Squeeze” bore that got smaller toward the muzzle. The timing was dead on due to the double hand feature which by the way was also found on earlier Colt revolvers in .38 special. But that was its downfall as well as if you got one of these guns with the hand fitted on the short side the gun very soon went out of time and I have seen plenty of Pythons with bad timing. The other problem was that the gun contrary to popular belief was not really robust enough to take the pounding of too many full power loads. Just as the Smith Model 19 was a catastrophic failure so was the Python but not nearly as bad as it does last longer than the delicate Model 19.

    So the question is “will they ever make it again?” No way. Today the greed of the gun industry knows no bounds. That is why they would rather make junk cheap plasticky handguns that they can make thousands of a per cent of profit on. It they made a quality gun the profit margin would not satisfy the blind greed of the stock holders. Even Ruger who still makes the cast iron GP revolver has trashed it by putting junk MIM cast parts in it that are well know for short service life. At least the original cast iron Ruger GP and the Smith “N” frame .357’s had long service life. Although the “early and original” Ruger GP was never known for accuracy because of poor sub-contracted barrels it was a modular designed weapon that was easier to repair and clean and was reliable for the most part. The Smith “N” frame was more accurate but a bigger heavier gun and much more expensive.

    The “Old Guard” at Colt are now long “dead and gone” and with them went the tremendous hand skills they possessed. Even if Colt attempted to bring back the Python it would not have the same level of workmanship and accuracy and it would be built of junk cast parts as well to boost profits and even with all of that the price would still be way above the average working mans pocket book.

    Yes, those halcyon days are long gone forever and I was lucky enough to have been born early enough to just catch the last days of affordable high quality firearms before the firearms industry started making nothing but modern made plasticky, stamped sheet metal and cast iron modern made junk. The corner local hardware store that also sold firearms and knew you by your first name and actually had people working there that knew their trade has long passed into oblivion. In those wonderful days you could by a Ruger .22 pistol or the space age looking Whitney Wolverine for around $35.00. Military surplus arms in like new condition could be bought for as little as $15.00 which meant everyone no matter what their income could usually afford to buy some kind of firearm to hunt with or enjoy tin can plinking which could often be done just down the road in some vacant field. There were few no hunting signs either and the first day of hunting season there were virtually no boys in school because you could get a pass to skip school. Some guys got their passes who did not even hunt just to get out of a day of school. Today if you asked for a pass in school to go hunting they would lock you up for being a potential terrorist complete with a helicopter landing in your Dads front yard and men storming your house dressed in black with automatic weapons which were outlawed for sale to the American people by President Regan a Republican president.

    If you are lucky enough to own a Python with its mirror blue finish, fantastic single action trigger pull and super accuracy use your head and fire low powered .38 specials out of it as parts for these guns are almost non-existent, especially hands. Relegate the gun to “safe queen status” as they have become to valuable to shoot anymore. If you like to hunt or blast away buy a modern “cast iron” or plasticky revolver as the firearms companies vomit them out every day and they are guaranteed to last through a box and a half of full power loads before their plasticky frames crack behind the trigger guard or their MIM cast internal parts go snap, crackle and pop while the firearms industry laughs all the way to the bank.

    • Bruce January 31, 2016, 3:19 am

      The first thing that I ever bought of any value in 1972 was a new 6″ nickel plated Python $225.00 I still own it. My only regret is that I never bought a .22 Diamondback to go with it. I have over the years acquired many handguns including Colts but the Python is an old friend that I could never willingly part with.

  • Mike K February 24, 2015, 8:10 am

    No denying, the Python is gorgeous. It is an elegant design and no doubt beautiful to the gun aficionado. It does have issues though and, as stated previously, is prone to go out of timing. There are plenty of extremely reliable (and much cheaper) revolvers out there and this is a tool. It is not designed as a piece of art so, to call it the finest revolver ever made is preposterous. Kate Upton is a beautiful young lady and undoubtedly delightful to use. Is she therefor the finest young lady to ever grace our planet?

    • conroypaw June 28, 2016, 7:32 pm

      No, but you wouldn’t kick Kate Upton out of bed for snoring either. That doesn’t make her any less of a super model. Likewise, the Python is definitely one of the finest firearm, despite it’s shortcomings.

  • Original Magnum February 24, 2015, 5:58 am

    I have an original “Magnum” aka a S&W Pre-Model 27 which I dated by serial number to 1956, in almost pristine condition that I bought at a pawn shop in Virginia ten years ago for $350 (all numbers matched, even the grip.)
    I would challenge anyone on this thread to hold one of these magnificent revolvers and tell me it is not the most beautiful example of revolver production in this country.
    Pinned, recessed, case hardened target trigger and hammer, checkered top strap, and the most beautiful deep blue finish ever applied at a factory – and rumored to have been designed by ‘ole J. Edgar himself to launch a round with enough power to penetrate the up-armored vehicles used by the likes of John Dillinger and Al Capone back in the 1930s.
    That pistol, and my father’s Model 29 service revolver made circa 1979, have the sweetest double action trigger pull I have ever been lucky to shoot.
    If Colt was able to ever approach this kind of qualitative production, then I do salute them (as a neophyte to Colts I am not really qualified to make that comparison) but the drop-off in quality across the range of their production towards the end of the 20th Century really diminishes the brand in my less-then-worthy opinion.

    • buffalochip February 24, 2015, 4:25 pm

      I own both — A 5-screw Pre-27 with a 5″ barrel from the 1950s, and a Python with a 6″ barrel from the 60s. They’re both special, and both are examples of the best each company had to offer during that era. I’ll still take the Smith as the better, more durable, and less problematic of the two designs, with its smoother, less “stagy” double action trigger pull, and slightly nicer finish, with the machined topstrap checkering and superb polish and rust bluing. The Colt, on the other hand, has a glass smooth single action cocking stroke, superb single action trigger pull, and fine bluing as well, although the polish, with its rounded edges, is inferior to the almost-perfectly defined edge polishing of the Smith. They’re close, but the 5-screw M27 wins the contest, in my opinion. But neither will ever be sold, and my son will happily inherit both when I move along to the Big Shootin’ Range in the sky. 🙂

  • bagman45 February 24, 2015, 5:03 am

    Hello all! Great article and comments. I don’t usually chime in on reviews, but feel the need to throw my oar in the water on this one. In my long life experience the “best” of anything is ALWAYS up for debate. I’ll submit that it never, really exists…. It depends on WHEN you are evaluating. It depends on WHAT you want to use it for. It depends on WHO is making the assessment. Particularly with firearms. While a TV can elicit feelings of pride and “love”, I’ll submit that guns strike a much deeper and more complex chord and bond than ANY other consumer purchase.

    I’ll cut to the summary now; I LOVE my Pythons!! I grew up in “the woods”, hunting, fishing, shooting – first BB gun at 5, first .22 at 8yrs old. I grew up with guns, and spent some time in the business as an FFL, so have been through LOTS of guns; good, and bad…. The Python may not be the “toughest” wheel gun, or even the most accurate, but it’s STILL the most smooth, sexy, slinky, flat out gorgeous example of American gun manufacturing ever IMHO!!! You, and your views may certainly vary 😉

    My first handgun was a Smith 4″ model 28 Highway Patrolman (think N frame model 29, only in .357) that I bought, believe it or not, at a garage sale about the time I was headed off to college. Great deal, great gun, but a bit rough. REALLY heavy trigger pull, but low recoil with full-house loads. Pretty darn accurate, and you could easily beat someone to death with it if you couldn’t hit them with the 6 rounds ;). Toted that gun around for quite a while. It was THE classic Smith wheelgun look, and, as always, went BANG when the trigger was pulled. BUT…

    I was ALWAYS in love with the 1911. From reading war stories and Gun Digest as a kid, to handling them in a gun shop, I HAD to have one. SO, I bought a Colt Combat Commander in Electroless Nickle and sold the Model 28 to a buddy. Never really missed that gun. Probably should have used the money from that one to buy a Model 29, but didn’t really get why ANYONE outside of a hunter would want a .44…..Ah, the mistakes of youth…..

    At any rate, as much as I loved the 1911, I was shooting a lot and REALLY missed the versatility (and low reloading cost) of a .38/.357 revolver, and bought an early 4″ Smith 686. Shot the crap out of that gun! Hot factory or handloads – no problem. Decent trigger – tack driving accuracy if I did my part. Everything I could ask for in a revolver. Until I ran across a 4″ Python at a gun show. Love, yes LOVE at first touch. Traded the Smith and a relatively little bit of cash.

    Didn’t matter that it didn’t do anything different than the 686, it was LOVE every time I shot, or touched, or looked at it….OK, this is getting a bit deep. At any rate, my dad loved it as much as I did, so I gave it to him for his 70th birthday, along with a batch of my “special recipe” hot .357 loads. I replaced it with a 4″ Colt Anaconda; nice gun, but not as solid as the 686, or as smooth/beautiful as the Python. Still have it, but it’s not one of my faves – stirs more emotions than a Glock, but thinking of looking up another 686…

    That said, dad and I enjoyed great times shooting those guns. Eventually, I was lucky enough to come across a minty-y 6″ Python that is almost too pretty to use – almost 😉 I was unfortunate enough to get the 4″ Python back when he passed a couple of years back – would rather have him than the gun…

    While there is no ONE best firearm, each holds a special emotional place with its owner(s), so there is no answer to which one is the “best”. That said, in MY world, the Python is the absolute epitome of the best ever “mass produced” American revolver. Handle one, and you will feel the heart and soul of American craftsmanship, and, dare I say, the spirit of the 2nd Amendment. I’ve owned and shot plenty of polymer pistols, but they just don’t stir me the same way that the “old school” steel weapons do, but once again, your mileage may vary….

    While the dollar value of these amazing weapons has appreciated beyond imagination, mine will be passed along to my boys. It’s just THAT good. To me, and them.

    • flintman5 February 25, 2015, 7:57 pm

      Spot on,,,,Mom, apple pie, 57 chevy and Colt Python and maybe Mt Rushmore…

      • Thomas Scott April 10, 2017, 8:20 pm

        Let’s seed!

        Mom, apple pie, 57 ford and a Colt Python and maybe Mt. Rushmore. You got it almost right! Lol.

  • Jason February 24, 2015, 1:29 am

    I own both the Colt Python, as well as several Smith & Wesson 686s (Dash 1 thru 4). I can honestly say that both are nice revolvers, but if I had to decide which one to keep, it would be a 686. The Python is pretty, its fit, finish, & function are nice, however, I think the Colt’s tend to get a bit over rated.

    A similar argument that often comes up often on the forums are the folks who collect WWII era 1911A1s. I love the uneducated collectors who come on the groups, spouting off on how Colt’s are so much better than other WWII era 1911A1s, and demand a premium….Oh Please! You ask them what’s the difference between a Colt and a Remington Rand, and they typically spout off with “well…it’s a Colt”.

    • Mike L February 24, 2015, 8:43 am

      AMEN, brother!!!

  • Larry February 24, 2015, 12:48 am

    I have to admit, the Colt Python is the cream of the revolver crop, if you are a collector. For an everyday carry/shooter revolver I prefer a S&W model 19 or 66. I’ve never owned a Colt Python but I have owned a Colt Trooper Mk III. I traded my cousin a new S&W model 19 for it. That was absolutely the worst handgun I have ever owned. It would shoot around a corner. You couldn’t hit twice in the same place no matter what. I got so disgusted with it I traded it for a new Dan Wesson with a 6″ barrel. Now I’m getting to my point about the carry/shooter revolver. The instructions that came with the Dan Wesson stated that it was not machined to extremely tight tolerances as a Colt Python is. Reason being, If you dropped the Dan Wesson in a mudhole and caked it up you could pick it up and still shoot it. Not so with the Colt Python. It is machined so tight the mud would cause it to jam and render it a rock. Made sense to me.

  • A. J. M. February 24, 2015, 12:20 am

    I have a Colt Python that has a notation on the box saying (limited run) and I’m not sure what its value is. It is bright a stainless frame with a 6″ barrel. It is factory ported and has high gloss Badger grips. I have fired the gun one time and its been in the box ever since. It is in mint condition and about a year ago I was showing it at my local range and some guy came up and offered me $4,000.00 for it. I told him no because I thought he was just pulling my leg or something. So, even after all that, I have no desire to sell it. I plan on leaving my entire gun collection to my oldest daughter, who likes to shoot my everyday guns with my granddaughter. But, the snake sure looks nice coming out of the box once in a while.

  • duh February 23, 2015, 11:55 pm

    How the Hell can you moron readers be comparing a Freedom Arms single action lone ranger blaster that was never mass produced, to a double action major factory production Colt Python????? Everybody just has to come up with stupid contrary choices probably for the most part, because they don’t own a Python today.

    Come on – the Python is an incredible gun and the prices on the market are for a reason. You can bitch about it but its like a vintage Ferrari – it’s not IF your Ford Taurus will get you there any less of a way, it’s the fact that would you want to drive a Ford Taurus or a Ferrari???? The original hallmark of the Python was extreme attention to detail of fit and action as well as a finish no other PRODUCTION firearm had. The phenomenal Colt Royal Blue finish came as a kind of accident. It was a result of the initial guns all intending to be plated with nickel and such, required extremely fine polishing prior to the plating. Someone thought “Hey, what if we don’t plate some of these and blue them?”. The rest is history. The polish that was put on blued guns was to a degree that no other MAJOR MANUFACTURER (read NOT Freedom Arms) was doing to their production guns. Colt Pythons have been given by presidents and royalty to other presidents and royalty LONG before the market took off. That damn gun is a true legend. If you want a legend, you pay the price. It doesn’t matter that you can beat your wife better with a Smith and Wesson and it holds up better. The context of the article defined its build to the legend and legacy it leaves behind.

    A final word about Smiths. I own a first year model Colt Python. My father owns a 1956 Smith and Wesson .357 magnum. The Smith is beautifully made but when you put the two side by side, it’s like comparing a metal folding chair to a Corbusier. The Smith is and always was a UTLITARIAN gun. Compare that to Colt’s advertisement for the first Pythons that read, “A Finer Gun Than You Actually Need”. Think about what that means….

  • mikec February 23, 2015, 9:25 pm

    I have a lovely Python. I’d love to know more about it, is there a way to track it by S/N and leanr about its production and such?
    With all of my smiths, there are various advantages to buying them as no dash or dash 1,2,3,4, etc.
    Is this also true for the Pythons?? mike

  • Dave Walker February 23, 2015, 8:58 pm

    Had a new Python Hunter briefly in 1985. Let it go shortly thereafter and never looked back. Sort of like the consecutive pair of 6″ nickle Diamondbacks I should have kept. Still prefer my 5″ Mod. 27. Shot 250 rounds out of 250 in the scoring rings in the man silhouette, strong hand-weak hand, 7-25 yards, D.A., day/night, in a police pistol instructor’s course with the Smith. Really can’t complain.

  • Steven Parker February 23, 2015, 8:53 pm

    I have A S&W Model 27 with 8 3/8″ barrel and I think that it has the smoothest action that I have ever shot.I have shot the Colt Python and it is the best looking but not as smooth.

  • David Regan February 23, 2015, 8:16 pm

    Smith & Wesson 686 against a Python, don’t was your time. I own both and the 686 will not shoot a hard cast. I just doesn’t and it’s terrible as I have thousands of loaded hard cast. The Python will shot them all day long and give tight groups. I get coffee cup size group at 30 yards with hard cast and the Python without much effort. The 686 will be on paper somewhere at the same distance. The bullets seem to have a mind of their own. The reason is the Python barrel is choked to 0.355 diameter and just squeezes a hard cast that much better. I can get good results from both guns shooting soft cast lead at 38 Special velocities so that’s what I shoot in the 686. The metal work in the 686 is inferior to the polished internals of the Python. The Smith barrels can be over tightened at the factory. The barrel thread on the 686 travels is in the same direction as the barrel twist. The barrel thread on a Python is opposite it barrel twist. A Python will shoot its barrel tighter. I’ve seen the Smith barrel simply unthread itself and free turn off of the frame while being shot. (God, I miss Smith’s pin barrels). Smith tightens their barrels to a higher torque so that the will stay on the gun. That’s the rub as Smith barrels will distort right where meet the frame such that you can see a wrinkle in the twist of the barrel at that point. This a tight spot the tends to lessen the diameter the bullet as it passes and makes it oh that much looser as it travels the bore. Great, the 686 will not shoot a hard cast any better than a Brown Bess musket. So where is the comparison. There is none, the 686 plays in the minors and it is not and never will be in the same ball park of Python. Go away with any idiotic comparison. I’d slap a Python barrel on my 686 any day of the week and be happy. As it stand I have $800 worth of junk in the 686 that will not shoot hard cast. I sent it back to the factory and Smith tightened the cylinder’s tolerances but still it will not shoot a hard cast. Junk, just junk. Yeah, I’m seriously pissed about it. Rant over……….

    • Dave Walker February 23, 2015, 9:05 pm

      It’s not that the Smith barrels are “tighter” per se, it’s that the threads on the barrel and frame are ever-so-slightly mismatched and the barrels are tightened to the point that the threads are jammed in what’s referred to as a “crush fit.”

    • flintman5 February 25, 2015, 8:01 pm

      Spot on,,,,Mom, apple pie, 57 chevy and Colt Python and maybe Mt Rushmore…

  • WBR February 23, 2015, 8:10 pm

    I’ve owned several colts including a 4″ Python and a short barreled Diamondback. The Diamondback, an Agent and a Detective special are all awaiting internal parts. These Colts are do not like double action shooting which is why I only shoot my Python in single action. I have two 686s (6″, 4″ plus) that have many thousands of rounds through them without a single glitch. The 6″ is 30 yrs old and was my 3rd firearm. My new favorite is a PC 627, but I have ALOT of Smiths and have never had any issue with them. The Python is very pretty, but like my mother-in-laws’s Cadillac, expensive to fix and prone to breakage. Not the best gun by a long shot.

  • Vette guy February 23, 2015, 7:13 pm

    I’ve had 686’s for almost 30 years, have a snub nose Model 19-3 that looks like it should be in a display case and shoots smooth as silk. I also own .44 and .357 Dan Wesson’s and 3 Pythons. One of the Pythons is unturned and going to stay that way. They’re all great shooters. BUT the 6 inch Python .357 is the smoothest and most accurate of them all. Made in the 1970’s and came with a ported barrel. I don’t know if it is a factory job or after-market but the gun is so smooth , fast and accurate it beats every other handgun I own.

  • Richard R February 23, 2015, 7:03 pm








  • Wheel Gun 56 February 23, 2015, 6:35 pm

    The Python is beautiful, no question about it and some are very accurate if you only shoot them occasionally. We used to shoot PPC competition, starting back in 1979. At that time, in the “distinguished match”, we shot either a Python or a Smolt (S&W mod 10 with a Python barrel). The Python was very accurate, but as someone already pointed out, if you shot them a good bit, the hand would get shorter with the result that the shooter next to you would end up with lead slivers in their hands, arms and face! This would make you very unpopular with your competitors not to say what happened to the target at 50 yards, it was ugly to say the least. In any case, in 1980, Smith & Wesson brought out the 6″ 586 with a high patridge front sight. I bought one of these in 1980 and still shoot it today. Not only did the timing issues I had with the Python go away, but my average scores went up from a 575 to a 585. Now I realize that part of that score increase was due to the sights allowing me to hold on a smaller aiming point (the “neck on a B27 rather than centerhold”) but still, the gun had to hold up it’s end of the accuracy bargain and it did. I shot that gun for quite a few years in competition and in fact, got my “distinguished badge” with it and it still shoots as good today as it did then. I don’t shoot as well, but it does! I’m sorry, but as much as I like Pythons, and I do like them, they simply are not as reliable as the “L” frame or “N” frame Smith & Wesson. Even the “K” frame Smith’s hold up well with less than magnum loads. I have a Mod 13 with a 6 inch Douglas heavy barrel that probably has more than 200,000 rounds through it (38 Spl wadcutters) and it still shoots into 2.5 inches at 50 yards. The Dan Wesson has a loyal following and for a good reason. The barrel lock up system they use is superior, accuracy wise, to any other, and long range shooters prefer them. I just never liked the double action pull on their guns. Single action is fine, but nothing is quite as smooth as a good “K” frame that has been worked over by someone that knows what they are doing. The mod 13 I mentioned above has a double action pull of 6 pounds that is consistent from front to back. The main issue I had with the Python double action was the way it “stacks” as it comes to the rear. Pythons were really well made, like a Swiss watch, but, like a watch, they just could not tolerate a steady pounding of 20,000 PSI every time the hammer fell. The design has the hand pushing against the ratchet as the cylinder bolt stops the cylinder rotation, theoretically, capturing the cylinder in perfect alignment with the bore of the barrel. This system works well except after 1 to 2 thousand rounds fired (think explosions or hammer blows) the delicate balance is gone, the hand is too short and now does not push the cylinder into time. Smith’s system is superior because the cylinder rotates into time and the cylinder bolt stops the cylinder with the hand not touching the ratchet. The bolt does allow a few thousandths of play from one side to the other, but this small amount of misalignment is easily fixed by the tapered forcing cone.
    Just my 2 cents.

  • Justician February 23, 2015, 6:20 pm

    I carried a Colt Python with 4 ” barrel and used a Python with 6″ barrel in PPC shooting. Best double actions of any revolver I have ever fired out of the box. I also carried S&W Model 10s, 66s, and 28s. I did not like the Smith double actions out of the box but we had a local gunsmith who could slick them up great. Rugers at that time (1970s) were butt ugly, so I did not buy one even but I had friends who loved them.
    Now I carry semi-autos. My wife still loves the Colt Diamondback that I bought her back then.
    Buy what you like and practice with it. Then it will be the best gun for you.

  • Pro2Aguy February 23, 2015, 5:33 pm

    Like anything appreciative in life, it’s all “relative…” I was reading where a gunshop in Montana just sold off a pair of sequential NIB stainless Colt Pythons (6″) for $12.5K. Now, would I pay that if money were not a huge concern, heck yeah! Conversely, “semi” guys that are into tacticool would laugh at such “insanity.”

    But I love firearms much as the NRA Museum Experts love them in that they truly reflect this Great Nation’s History/Culture like no other tangible asset including gold, currency, oil etc. as they, while critically important, are reliant on “the way of the gun” for the environment in which they exists…

  • Jerry February 23, 2015, 5:19 pm

    When I was first hired by the FHP (1982), I received a Colt Trooper II, a good gun to shoot, but not to look at. My next issue weapon was the SW Mod. 27 with a 5″ barrel (a boat anchor, but unbelievably accurate)…awesome handgun. It would shoot the nads off a gnat at 25 yards. I was sad to give it up when the patrol went with the Colt Python, 4″ barrel. I had 3 different Pythons, 2 nickel plated, and 1 statinless…couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with any of them. We had no choice as to which weapon we wanted as the patrol issued the guns we were to use on duty. I was glad when we finally went to a semi-automatic, unfortunately it was a Beretta 9mm (a .45 would have been much better), followed by a Beretta .40 cal. I still have the .40 cal, even though I’m retired. No fond memories of the Pythons.

  • dewman February 23, 2015, 5:19 pm

    Question about the gun Rick carries on the Walking Dead. Everyone says it’s a Python, but he makes a reference to having a .44 Magnum in a bag he buried in the woods. Wouldn’t that be an Anaconda instead?

    • Dale February 25, 2015, 3:51 pm

      In that particular episode, they buried the bag of guns to keep them safe from another group. In that cache of guns there were other revolvers, and one was a .44 mag., but this was not the gun that Rick carries, which is of course his python.

  • Carl Lange February 23, 2015, 4:47 pm

    I have a 1990’s (single pin front sight) 6″ SS Python. I have already told my shooting friends that they will have to wait till I am dead to get my Python, Browning 1885 (45-70) or Winchester 52B. My other guns are negotiable. I had an 8″ Python, but since my 6″ Python had similiar accuracy, it got sold during a moment of purging insanity. I think the 4″ and 6″ Pythons have the best visual proportions.
    I know that responding to something posted by a hater/troll/ignoramus may lead to more rants, but here goes.
    Resorting to hyperbole sways few and leads to dismissal of possibly valid points.
    The Python cylinder rotates clockwise (when viewed from the back). This is not “wrong”. In fact, out of my many revolvers (not all Colts), only my S&W 617 rotates counter-clockwise. That does not make my 617 a piece of garbage. Canon lenses focus opposite of Nikon lenses. So what. If you feel that counter-clockwise rotation is better in a double action revolver, at least state a somewhat logical reason, such as, it spreads out some of the mechanisms to the right-hand side of the gun.
    I continue to see people talk about leaving an empty chamber in a revolver. If you memorize something with no understanding, it can get flipped to the opposite state (e.g. jump starting a car). Unless you are talking about old single action revolvers or other guns with insufficient safety mechanisms, the only reason I would leave an empty chamber is for some competition that requires it. I have even seen journalists write that I should leave an empty chamber in a modern SA Ruger with a transfer bar safety. Why? Is it for people that do not want to take the time to understand the gun they are shooting?
    One post suggested that the Python couldn’t be considered as the “Best Revolver” because it wasn’t chambered in 454 Casull. Really? Why not 460 S&W or 500 S&W? Is my Anaconda or a S&W 29/629 unworthy because they are “only” chambered in 44 Magnum?
    Thank you for your indulgence. I think I feel better.

  • RICHARD February 23, 2015, 3:27 pm

    the Python a good weapon to be sure, but too finicky to dirt or dust. The s/w mod. 27 is more superior in ruggedness and will outlast the Python”

  • D Femiak February 23, 2015, 3:14 pm

    Smith Model 27 6″ blued (new, mid 80’s vintage). Drives tacks. Nuff said.

  • Coltlover February 23, 2015, 2:40 pm

    I have Smith’s and I have Colts. I love the Colt’s more esp. the Python and Diamondback. I have a Mark V and a Mark III
    as well and they all have that special feel esp. with single action.. when that hammer is pulled back and you feel the sear lock in
    its like music. DA is good as well. Colt did have a period when they were less than perfect but it wasn’t for long. You might see it on those guns that are nickel plated. They hide the sins and the nickel was cheap. Some turn yellow now but the steel is still great. Cant say enough about the Colts. Sad to see they are gone. Hope they make more. I saw on sell last year (engraved) for
    believe it or not 10K.

  • Ron Jackson February 23, 2015, 2:40 pm

    Can’t believe that anyone who actually ever owned a Python would think ANY other revolver is as good or better than the Python. Craftsmanship, accuracy, trigger pull, especially double action trigger pull, are all outstanding. And anyone comparing Freedom Arms to the Python, well that’s like comparing apples to oranges. So far as I know FA doesn’t make a double action revolver; do they? Yes, they are a bit heavy, probably not meant to be carried so much, but at a shooting range they are very hard to beat. Just loved the one I owned. Gave it to my son when I was told that I wouldn’t live long. THEN they came out with a miracle drug that has kept me alive nine years past when I should have died. NOW I’m looking for a replacement Python.

  • Grand Paw ,Adrian Thorne February 23, 2015, 2:10 pm

    I have never owned a python but my 4” Diamond Back would out shoot my 6″ smith model 38, single action any day of the week, and had a real smooth double action . So I sold the smith,got a DanWesson model 12,and It will out shoot, single or double action either colt or smith.For CCW ,I carry a smith model 37- 3”If I had to wear suspenders I would carry a hi cap.9mm like Beretta 92 a cz75 or Hi power, MY own self experience says If you carry Any side arm in the field get and wear a flap holster.

  • W.P. Zeller February 23, 2015, 2:08 pm

    There are some thoughts above I’d disagree with based on extensive experience with Pythons and their same-platform brothers.
    I owned two 4″ Pythons, both ex-police guns. I apologize but can’t recall the departments involved.
    I also looked through numerous other ex-police Pythons and an acquaintance of mine in southwest Michigan carried one earlier in his career.
    My primary interest in shooting is action pistol such as USPSA and IDPA. USPSA is increasingly revolver-hostile and I abandoned that discipline with the sixgun years ago- after making “B” class with my moonclip-fed Enfield Webley Mk VI.
    I went through guns in the past, sold and tried another. The second Python was pretty bad to look at but proved to be an exceptional shooter. I later traded it away in the naive expectation of being able to come across another when the urge struck (and never happened). I was wrong to do that.
    Of all of my memories of Python shooting, none will pass the day I was in a good-sized IDPA match shooting the Python with the SSR division-standard at the time, +P .38s and Comp II speedloaders. In my squad was my friend and Master Kimber shooter Otis Lawrence. We were neck-and-neck through the match- I was keeping up to Otis with my six-shooter against his semi-wadcutter-throwing eight-shooter- until the next to last stage.
    A flake of 231 got caught under the extractor star and I couldn’t close the cylinder on a reload.
    Otis beat me by three seconds. A crushing defeat. I have never loaded a single charge of 231 ever since.
    Another time Otis, another Master named Doug, and I were squadded together at another match and were given a Bill Drill stage: six rounds out of the holster to a silhouette at (in this case) four yards.
    Otis shot a 2.78, clean. Doug shot a 2.78, clean. I shot a 2.78, clean with my Python.
    Then some jerk came along and did a 2.63, clean. Ruined the whole day!
    I made a mechanical decision to go to the 586 (blue steel 686) the next year because the Comp III speedloaders are so superior to the IIs for competition, or so I thought.
    My scores and placings dropped immediately and I never really did recover. Meanwhile, the Python was traded off for some thing or another.
    So to the points: the Colt cylinder latch direction is no impediment. My reload times were and are almost identical.
    The cylinder rotation of the Colt is a complete non-issue. For practice, training, and testing, it’s actually helpful.
    The double-action stacking of the Colt is not often a problem in Pythons in my experience. Proper technique is proper technique. My actual hits on target at the modest distances of IDPA shooting were still better with the Python over the 586.
    The balance of the Python is not a negative, not for actually shooting the gun. Nose-heaviness is a large mechanical advantage in fast shooting. It’s exactly why Smith copied the Python front-end design in the 586. You can shoot it much faster balanced that way.
    I can’t speak to the single-action trigger. I never fired a Python in single-action. Don’t see a need, and thumbcocking habits will get you killed in a gunfight. Don’t do it.
    My Pythons were both mid-70’s. Both were well made. I also have other E/I frames that I’ve shot a lot. I mean, tens of thousands of rounds through a ’55 Official Police that was already beaten from being a Chicago Police Dept. gun. None ever went out of time enough to make any functional difference, and I was shooting them as fast as I could. So I don’t know much about the legends of loss of timing first hand.
    In terms of build quality, none of my L Smiths came anywhere near the Pythons, Troopers, or OPs. The 6″ 686 I used for ICORE appeared to have been filled with floor sweepings when it came out of the box. Same for a couple other Smiths I bought new. I don’t even shoot a new Smith revo without taking it apart to get the swarf out.
    There’s no chance of Colt making Pythons again. They can hardly even tie their shoes anymore much less make new guns.
    If they did, I’d estimate a new Python would cost about $2500. A lot, but no more than Wilsons and Baers, and they sell what they make.
    But the startup cost and risk would be prohibitive.
    Pythons are just fine with me and I’m just waiting til the next one finds me.

  • Fred Bruhn February 23, 2015, 1:23 pm

    No Bitching here! Thanks for review, whether you like the gun or not, it’s a piece of handgun history. My preference-I have one and it’s a nice piece, but compared to Colt’s Officer’s Model (King Conversion), the Python is a somewhat lesser gun in mechanics, and nicer in aesthetics. Thanks for taking the time to cover these old guns and I’m looking forward to your next review.

  • Fred Bruhn February 23, 2015, 1:21 pm

    No Bitching here! Thanks for review, whether you like the gun or not, it’s a piece of handgun history. My preference-I have one and it’s a nice piece, but compared to Colt’s Officer’s Model (King Conversion), the Python is a somewhat lesser gun in mechanics, and nicer in aesthetics. Thanks for taking the time to cover these old guns and I’m looking forward to your next review.

  • Mike February 23, 2015, 12:55 pm

    I too like revolvers. My favorite is S&W 8 3/8 460 xvr
    3 calibers 45 long colt, 454 and 460

  • Arthur P. Mauk February 23, 2015, 12:35 pm

    I own a poor man’s Python: Colt Peacekeeper 357 magnum 6″ mat blue finish. Shoots great even after 20 years and over 1,000+ rounds! WISH I COULD ADD A PHOTO.

  • Nero Martin February 23, 2015, 12:31 pm

    Pythons might be nice; however the “Best revolver ever made” would be a Freedom Arms model 83.

  • Mike Grover February 23, 2015, 12:23 pm

    In the 1970’s the Snake was the ultimate NRA police combat handgun! It could be tuned to perfection by Reeves Junkind Texas DPS or Fred Sadowski from Colorado. Bill Davis of the CHP combined S&W frames with Python barrels to produce Smythons. The Python has the very same action as the old style Trooper, in fact many folks would put a Python barrel on a Trooper and the wire weld the Trooper frame to make it look like an original Python. The first python that I owned I paid $125 new in the box you could find used snakes for $50 to $75 . We wonder why cops went away from the revolver but the answer is reloading . The standard is 2 extra mags which could be as much as 40 rds. vs.12 in speed loaders. Spray and pray the new motto.

    • Python owner February 23, 2015, 3:37 pm

      The police moved away from six guns when they were being outgunned by bad guys using high high capacity semi-autos.
      Reloading a revolver, even with a speed loader took more time than dropping a magazine from a semi-automatic. Cops were being advanced upon during shoot outs while reloading and found shot or dead. .357s had more penetration, were also harder to control and stay on target than the 9mms LEOs eventually switched too. The heavier revolvers and larger grips were also difficult for smaller woman to use who were increasingly joining police departments at the time.

  • Larry February 23, 2015, 12:14 pm

    When I was a lowly Army Special Forces Staff Sergeant, stationed as a Military Advisor in Venezuela (1967-1970), the embassy Marine guards had the [then] new Colt Python with its 4 5/8″ barrel. I wanted one so badly but they cost $850, which was a stiff amount of money for a Staff Sergeant back then. Fast forward to the mid 1980s. A friend of mine, in California, needed some assistance with some recruiting. While I asked nothing in return, he traveled to New Mexico brining me a new Colt Python with 6″ barrel for having helped him. I really didn’t like the 6″ barrel so I traded it for a new one with the 4 5/8″ barrel. I still have it and love to fire it! I’ve had some S&W revolvers, both in .38 and .357, but prefer the Colt product. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to buy a Colt Cobra, with its 2 1/2″ barrel in the .357 magnum. While I have massive martial arts hands, the Cobra felt really too big to handle in my hands! Now that I can’t find one for less than aroung $2,000, I regret not having bought it when I had the chance!

  • pete February 23, 2015, 11:58 am

    I have one that I bought back in the early 80s. Paid 400 for it. Its only had about 500 rounds through it. Looks brand new. never been in a holster. Its a flawless weapon. Love it.

  • Joe February 23, 2015, 11:40 am

    My pre-lock S&W 629 eats pythons and anacondas for lunch.
    It pings the iron pig at eighty meters with open sights.
    Good luck with that snake…

  • jock February 23, 2015, 11:32 am

    i spent 2 years in vietnam in army and when i left the army in january of 72 i bought my first pistol which is a 6 inch python and i still have this python with ill die with it i love the feel and control of the gun and it looks so beautiful i still enjoy looking at it every time i open the safe i have a smith 29 8 3/8 barrel which has a beautiful blueing on it too. both shoot unreal i would give anything for colt to start making more wheel guns but thats not gonna happen what a real bummer. i have anaconda which i truly love also and a cobra 357 i really love also. but i would really love a colt diamondback i sure which i would of bought the diamond back and about 100 more pythons then they only coast 189.95 dollars back in 72 should of bought 100 of them. nothing like a colt or a good old smith. jock

  • Trip 3 February 23, 2015, 11:25 am

    I bought a 6″ blue Python in the early 70’s; smoothest shooting pistol I’ve ever owned. Also, the most beautiful. I also have an Anaconda in stainless with a 6″ barrel. Not as smooth, but very accurate. I owned a model 27 S&W .357 also. Solid as a rock, but the action was no where near as smooth as the Python. I guess I can understand why all these guys are hating on Pythons; they either never owned one, got a bad one from the end of the run, or let one get away from them. But a Taurus Gaucho!? Really?

  • Bob Haskins February 23, 2015, 11:18 am

    I wouldn’t trade my Python for any other gun even the Taurus. I bet if we could vote for the best revolver, the Colt Python would win easily.

  • Dave February 23, 2015, 11:02 am

    A 686 is a fine revolver but as said not the revolver the competed with the python. The model would be the S&W model 27.I seen references to the model 58 S&W which was a fixed sight calibre 41 magnum and a plain fixed sight version of the model 57 both chambered in 41 magnum and not relavant to comparison to a python but the model 57 having a fit and finish more compareable to the python if a comparison was made, The model 28 was also mentioned and is a no frills working version of a model 27 lacking the high polish finish and checkered back strap and barrel.
    I also seen reference to comparing a python to a smith and Wesson registered magnum which was never mass produced and could only be custom ordered.They were made from 1935 to 1939.Only around 10,000 were made because they could not be pumped out like pythons were many years later being as they required many man hours of hand work never put into a python or later smith and wessons either. They were exspensive when they were made in 1935 when S&W made them as custom order guns introducing the 357 magnum to the world.Even in 1935 there was no way they could produce them profitably unless sold as a very exspensive custom ordered gun. No two are exactly alike grips that were hand fitted the grip fames must be fitted to interchange and to order one you had to specify barrel lengths sight types. The demand was so high for them suprising S&W during the depression era that they decided to mass produce them. In order to do this they had to move to less hand work and were then called simply 357 magnums. Collectors today call the production models pre 27. In 1957 S&W assighned model numbers to all there revolvers and they became the model 27.In 1955 the model m&p later called the model 10 was modern heat treated and rechambered for 357 magnum and a ribbed barrel added and called the combat magnum two years later called the model 19 and a later stainless version called a model 66.
    These guns were targeted for and adapted to police work being a smaller lighter K frame and the model 28 hiway patrol that was after 1957 the model 28 were carried by a lot of law enforcement.These guns never had the checkered back straps and high polish finishes of the model 27 using a colt trooper would be colts version of these guns.Only the model 27 was the pythons competitor.The model 29 that introduced 44 magnum in 1955 and called the 44 magnum for two years before being called the model 29 are also called pre models by collectors as in pre 29. These are larger barrelled and cylinder N frame versions of the model 27 as well as the model 57 chambered in 41 magnum. Colt only made one model to compare to these guns and it is not the python as pythons were never chambered in 41 and 44 magnum. The python was built on a smaller frame than the n frame model 27 that was its only competitor from smith and Wesson. The model 19 K frame was a smaller frame than the python. The 586 is a L frame that best matches the frame size of the python.So the 686 which is the stainless version of the 586 that also has the full underlug like the python looks most like a python and is size wise close. But the L frame was never made to compete with a python as the model 27 was. The 586 was originaly desighned to replace the model 19. The model 19 under extreme use like police departments could afford the ammo to do it would eventualy shoot loose over time. The L frame is a beefier more durable model but never had the fit and finish of the model 27 that S&W offered in the model 27 that went head to head with the python. Again the trooper fits that role.In smith and Wesson model desighnations the number 6 refers to stainless version.A 686 cannot match the fit and finish of a python but a 586 can come close although the blueing is a deep black and not the more actual blue color of a python. I think the trigger pull on the 686 would need slicked up to match the pull of the python as well.Accuracy on a 686 will be determined by how well you can shoot with good ammo. A good analgy here would be to compare a ford and chevy with a Lincoln and Cadillac. Take a crown vic which a 686 would be and compare it to a Cadillac. the unfare comparison is obvious.The Lincoln is the car to use for comparison here.Go the other way and compare a colt trooper which is colts closest version of a 686 and compare it to a Lincoln. The python was colts top of the finest offering as smith and wessons model 27 also.

  • Russ February 23, 2015, 10:53 am

    Of course the Colt Python is beautiful and well built, and who wouldn’t want one.
    The best ever?
    For all practicality, I like Rugers.
    Redhawks and this one are what I would call the best ever;

  • G.R.White February 23, 2015, 10:53 am

    Had four Pythons (all 6″) one was great, the other three not so great.

  • Wayne February 23, 2015, 10:53 am

    not a comment but a question. I have a 4 inch Python that one on the water in Hurricane Katrina. I have an operation but I need to have it refinished in the oil blue and timed. Since the Japanese have purchasedColt,my understanding. .where might you suggested I send this pistol off to be worked on?

  • Pistol Pete February 23, 2015, 10:48 am

    Ok, I didn’t read all the comments, but most of them. I will agree that the blue Python is the best looking double action revolver of all time. The most accurate? No. I don’t think so. The best built? No Again. Ive owned a few Pythons in 4, 6 ans 8″. (unfortunately I sold them all) Im an older fella and used to be able to buy a nice used shooter for $400 – 500. I loved every one I had. But, (and please read on before you judge me) The most accurate revolver I ever had was a Dan Wesson Model 15-2 H/B 6″ Blue revolver. When I was 19 years old I bought one brand new. This gun and I could hit beer bottles at 80 yards one handed consistently. When it came to being well built, well the Dan eventually wore out and I have seen many have problems. However, I have won revolver matches with a 4″ Smith Model 10 h/b with its regular sights. Smith’s ARE accurate. Also, Ruger builds the toughest revolvers in my opinion, but the do lack somewhat in accuracy. I love all of em!!

    • bill kuhlmann February 23, 2015, 4:53 pm

      I have to agree with the DanWesson 357 2v. bought 1 used at Ontario Ca gun show a long time ago. had 4 barrels 2,4,6 and 8 inch. the 4 and 6 inch were HB the others regular. it was very accurate and enjoyed shooting it. I also found I was better in double action than single action. also have a gp 100 and a 686 which I sold .. my shooting bud has a python 6″ he bought in early 90s and it shots minute of barn. but it sure is beautiful!!!

  • D Klaw February 23, 2015, 10:34 am

    Gunsmith bud of mine said “Shoot the Python a lot and the design flaw of locking the cylinder with the actuating pall will have you sending the revolver back to Colt at least once a year”!
    My 5 screw 29 has been flawless since 1957 and you will not find a better trigger. “In the day”, (before the 79 year old shakes got me) I hit a target 3 out of 4 shots, one hand, off hand at 195 yards.
    Biggest problen with the heavy iron is carry, you need a shoulder rig to get close to confortable.

  • Harold Mendelson February 23, 2015, 10:08 am

    The Colt Python is to the modern handgun world as the Colt single action army was in the late 19th century. It has raised the bar for all other handgun makers. The rest of the world has watched the Python and started making wheel guns that as the author wrote “almost” as good. I recently purchased a Ruger Match Competition. It shoots like a dream. I have one with adjustable sights and it gets the job done. With Colt on the verge of bankruptcy, and the AR15 market flooded with more copy cats, maybe it’s time to bring the Python back.

  • LoneWolfArcher February 23, 2015, 9:59 am

    Colt snake revolvers. Gotta love em. I have a stainless .357 King Cobra 6″ I bought back in 1998. Same type of craftsmanship as mentioned here. Probably have all of 500 rounds through it (mostly .357 but some plinking with .38 special).

    Couldn’t believe the prices I’ve seen these going for considering what I paid nearly 16 years ago.

    Anyone bashing these guns are being brand loyal to something else. Probably a good bit of that causing so much love for them as well. But these revolvers are as good as any, and other brands are on par with these!

  • Bruce A Gardner February 23, 2015, 9:57 am

    The TAURUS GAUCHO is by far a better revolver, and affordable, too.

    • Art February 23, 2015, 5:04 pm


  • Tom Lathan February 23, 2015, 9:53 am

    I purchased a 6″ nickel plated Colt Python in 1975. I paid $278.00 for it. I have never shot it, but I take it out of the safe ever so often just to look at it. I will never sell it as I plan to pass it on to my son.

    • John September 5, 2017, 9:15 am

      My pistols are for shooting, not looking at.

  • jim February 23, 2015, 9:53 am

    The Python was good it was never in the league with the S&W New Century Triple lock revolvers

  • jim February 23, 2015, 9:46 am

    where is the anaconda love? the same sweet trigger- solid feel. and bigger holes 🙂
    I took my first deer with my anaconda- and many more after that. I love love love my snake wheel gun.

    • Cannie February 23, 2015, 10:06 am

      Jim, you’re right! They’ve gushed on and on about the Python. Wish I had bought one years ago. However, me amy Anaconda get along just fine. It too has been known to stop many whitetails in their tracks. BTW, the Anaconda market is as strong as ever too. They are fetching a premium.

  • Boone February 23, 2015, 9:43 am

    Thanks for another great article! I purchased a 6″ Python in 1980-81 in Electrolysis Nickel. Looked like stainless, before they started making stainless guns. I had a S&W Mod 19 4″ I traded to get it. I loved the look of the Python, and the double action was superior to the Smith. But the Smith had a better single action pull. End of the day, I shot the Smith far more accurately than the Colt. Aaaand I traded it in years later for a Colt Combat Elite when I started shooting IPSC. Hindsight being 20/20, I sure wish I’d hung on the Python. It would be worth a mint today, as I have never seen another Electrolysis Nickel version for sale or mentioned anywhere. It was a factory finish, as it was so labeled on the factory box. Beautiful firearms, will have another when I can accumulate the scratch to pay the astronomical prices their fetching today.

    • Python owner February 23, 2015, 3:23 pm

      I also have an Electrolysis Nickel Python 6″ I purchased in 1983. It came from the Colt Custom Shop and had Elliason sights and a Hogue grip. Walked into a gun shop and the guy says I got a close out on 4″ and 6″ Pythons from the Colt custom shop for $429.00. New Pythons were about $750 then so this was a great deal. I bought one on impulse and the guy next to me bought a 6″ model too. The action is buttery smooth and it is a joy to shoot even magnums from. I don’t know what all the bashing is about these guns. Someone must like them as I can’t believe the pricing on these guns. Nobody talks about what these guns were famous for and that was the laser sighted barrels. Pythons were carried by LEO’s and the folks that insist they were not are like the rest of the uninformed and misinformed nonsense you encounter with Internet keyboard experts.
      I worked with a guy who was California Highway Patrol and he carried one.

  • Terry February 23, 2015, 9:43 am

    I own two matching 6 inch Pythons. Absolutely love them. I felt quite safe carring one in Law Enforcement for some years. I would like to suggest folks looking at a real ‘sleeper’ single action revolver way under-valued presently. The Interarms Virginian Dragoon. This is perhaps among the finest single action revolvers built during its time ( 1974-1985). The tollerences are unmatchable, the stainless version is invincible and the blusing during some years of production nearly matches the Python royal blue. There are other features that also make it stand out above other contemporaries of its time period.
    I predict that in the not too distant future when the market swings back to large bore revolvers over small pink handled conceal carry choices that we will see a renewed appreciation for this revolver and quantom leap in its market value.

  • Ron Matthews February 23, 2015, 9:41 am

    Without a doubt the most gorgeous gun EVER made. When I was a LEO I chose a Smith & Wesson over the SNAKE and have been sorry ever since.

  • chuck February 23, 2015, 9:23 am

    before s and w caved into the govt. and almost went bankrupt about 20 years ago…..did you ever ask yourself why s and w get so many huge contracts for govt work??? well, before that event, we, as a nation had a real solidarity about the second amendment. now, there are cracks beginning to appear in our solidarity. well, i will never buy anything that is offered by smith and wesson or their affiliates. i hope they go bank rupt!!! but they wont, their future is assured no matter what happens to all those japanese companies that have bought up the makers names like browning and winchester etc. . well, i have had a few colts…i never had a good one!! must have been just bad luck. so, i dont own one anymore. well, i am selling all my guns except one cheap piece of crap gun like an old taurus 38 special that wont even shoot +p ammo. that way, when the govt takes all of my arms, they will only get me to the tune of about 200 bucks!! and i will have house protection until that day or the day i pass onto another plaie///////1111 dont be buyin…when you should be sellin

    • Leonard February 25, 2015, 1:18 am

      S&W has been under new–AMERICAN–ownership for about 15 years now. The S&W owners you’re thinking of were a British concern that lost so much money due to their sweetheart deal with the Clinton Administration that they dumped the company. DO support S&W again, so we can keep it All American.

  • Robert Ross February 23, 2015, 9:18 am

    I absolutely love my 60’s era Model 27 with a 4 in barrel. Carried it for many years as a duty weapon. Was it heavy, yep, but you could shoot any full house .357 round without suffering any recoil trauma. Be honest, who thinks shooting a 2 1/2″ Model 19 with .357 rounds would be considered fun?

    • buffalochip February 23, 2015, 3:58 pm

      I thought 2 1/2″ K-Frames were bad with .357 ammo until I bought a scandium J-Frame and ran 35 rounds of full-house .357 ammo through it … the most miserable, severe kicking little SOB I’ve ever fired — hands down, including my 4″ M29 with any .44 Magnum load I ever dreamed up on the loading bench, and I had some heavy hand loads for that M29. But your point is well taken. (And I use .38 +P in the Scandium Nightmare nowadays as well.)

      Your 60s era M27 w/4″ barrel is a classic gun, and will run with any .357, Python included — a great gun all the way around.

  • Bob Clerke February 23, 2015, 9:17 am

    Though I’m not a hater of Colt revolvers I do scratch my head about this article.
    Police Departments that issued Pythons? Name one please.
    And if you want to go with the double paths of accuracy, the weight of the trigger pull in both the single and double action and high cost you need to check out a Korth revolver.
    I’m not even certain is these German make things of beauty are still being made but I do know that they have single and double trigger pulls that make a Python’s tuned trigger seem like an RG full of sand.

    • Dr. English February 23, 2015, 11:10 am

      I agree. Please name an SO or PD that issued Pythons. Having worked in LE for quite a number of years I find it hard to believe Colt would have been able to compete from a pricing standpoint with Smith on their wide variety of duty capable revolvers. The Python is a nice gun, well built and a testimony to how quality revolver production. I’ve heard (never verified, though) that the number of gunsmiths capable of servicing the Python is shrinking due to the move towards semi-autos. That’s a shame but as I’ve been told that’s the price of “progress”.

      • buffalochip February 23, 2015, 3:47 pm

        The number of good revolversmiths in general is decreasing, but the number of guys who are really good with “old style” Colt lockwork (and that includes the Python) has really diminished, since Colt hasn’t been making these on any kind of a regular basis for decades. And while they’re a joy to shoot when they’re running correctly, they’re HARD to work on, labor intensive, and prone to failure — especially compared to the basic Smith & Wesson lockwork. I’m not saying that Smith & Wesson is necessarily better — it depends on what you’re looking for in your gun, as the two have varied strengths and weaknesses — but the basic truth is that Colts tend to go out of time more quickly, and are more expensive and harder to work on. Having said that, I own a Python and like it just as much as the next guy — but I take it out for a Sunday stroll now and again, instead of beating it to death with a bunch of heavy loads. For that, I have a S&W M686.

        I’ve never heard of a PD that issued Pythons either, although I have heard that “back in the day”, many allowed individual officers to carry their own brand of revolver in preference to a department’s standard issue — and thus a number of them allowed the Python under that limited circumstance, with the officer providing the weapon himself. But I cannot imagine any PD paying for the issuance of Pythons — they were always pricey relative to the competition. If any readers out there can document an exception, please let us know …

  • Richard W Thompson February 23, 2015, 9:08 am

    I’m one of those guys who just never bought a Colt Python, but I wish I had done so just to own it. Today, in the day of modern Pistol designs, from the “old” but updated M1911 to the H&K .45 ACP’s or FNX-45, I’d be buying it to mostly sit in a box or display case…and it is too expensive, in mint or near mint condition, for me to just do it for that reason. Way back when (I was a competitive shooter), the S & W K-38 revolver series were my favorites for their single action trigger pulls. The Colt Python was the only out of the box revolver that “fit” my hand and that I thought came close to those K-38’s, albeit I didn’t try them on Double Action. Down the road I changed to S&W Model 41’s for .22 caliber and the M1911′ of various levels of customization, for center fire and .45 ACP classes, both wad-cutter and hardball. Today’s very well made .45 ACP’s make most custom work unnecessary…my custom shop all steel Kimber is my favorite today. All this said, pistols & revolvers are like women, most are lovely, but only one or two “fit” what you want in a companion….make that only one for today, the same one I’ve been with for 33+ years now. My Model 1911’s are like that if a comparison were to be made. I look for less customization today, as at age 72 my hand/hands is/are not as steady as it/they used to be 🙂 I’d still buy a Colt Python 6 inch barrel model if I find a really good one for less the price on my first born child’s head. What the heck, I also have a war used Spencer repeating carbine (from my great father’s cavalry days) and I don’t even try to shoot that item.

  • Bob Lawman February 23, 2015, 8:48 am

    Dave. I am glad you finally got what I was trying so hard to impress upon you about the double action finesse. Sure you can fire single action but double action, if mastered correctly, in a lot of competent revolver shooters opinion is more accurate. Thanks for not totally negating my techniques. Great article by the way…..

  • ANGELO GUARINO February 23, 2015, 8:42 am


  • JoeH February 23, 2015, 8:39 am

    Not best ever but prettiest…yes. Not as durable as Smith of old. Accurate, yes competed many years with Smith Mod 28 against Pythons… it was back and forth on match wins… Pythons are generally delicate but darn pretty and have a cult type and collector following which drives market price. Just my $.02

  • George Williams February 23, 2015, 8:32 am

    I lived & “shot through” the era of the Python…..beginning to end.
    What a beautiful, smoooooth gun…from cocking to shooting, it was “liquid glass”.
    Articles starting appearing about the time the Colt Trooper came out, bad mouthing the degree of complexity/dependability of the Python vs. the Trooper….similar to AK47 lovers, compared to almost every other military full or semi auto rifle in the world.
    Nonsense….anyone who drops a Python in dirt or sand DESERVES to have bad things happen to them…it is not a military handgun.
    I really love my Browning .40…..but the Python is pure sex-in-a-pistol….Broadrick Crawford (Tales of the Highway Patrol)
    would have loved it.
    Really entertaining writing style Dave!

  • ScranunSlim February 23, 2015, 8:22 am

    I’ll stick with my 2″ Colt Diamondback or my 3″ S&W Model 13

  • Mike February 23, 2015, 8:17 am

    I’ve owned my Colt Python 4″ royal blue with stock handles and in great condition since the mid 70’s. It is the premier revolver for accurate shooting, feel, smoothest action, looks, etc. I used to shoot iron metal pigs at 100 yds. and it was capable of knocking them over sometimes with ‘hot’ loads and a heavy grain bullet. I would never give up or sell my Python. It will be passed down to my grandson.

  • flintman50 February 23, 2015, 7:37 am

    Before every Python went out of Colt’s door, it hit a gunsmith’s bench for final hand finish, fit, tuning,etc, Those ole boys are either retired or dead and US gun co’s just turn out more and more MIM stuff. Not saying its good or bad, just the way it is. The only other in the world that rivals a python for beauty and quality is a Korth made in Germany. And that will run you about 6K… a Python at 3k is still a bargain. Simply stated – Colt would have charge between 4-5k to reproduce Python of old Theres nothing wrong with old Smiths, Rugers are great….but they aint Pythons. Please send me all your unwanted Pythons for under 1K – no questions asked

  • WD Phillips February 23, 2015, 7:31 am

    Great article Dave. I enjoyed your candor and enthusiasm for a firearm you truely like. Since the mid 80’s I have always wanted a
    Colt Python. You have rekindled that desire. Thanks.

    Are you any relation to the Dave Higginbotham of Texas Rolling Block fame?

  • 45caljack February 23, 2015, 7:28 am

    Holding a Python in your hand is all it takes to understand why it has become such an iconic possession, reminiscent of the SAA. Weight, balance and smoothness of operation are unequaled in a production handgun. That said, my 586, circa 1987, is a near distant “also ran”, and I look forward to your forthcoming comments on the 686/586.

  • MagnumOpUS February 23, 2015, 7:27 am

    I’ve been blessed to have owned some Colt single and double actions, but never a Python. No one has bluing better than Royal Blue, however; a more fair comparison to the Python should be made with S&W’s pre/Model 27.

  • Tom L. February 23, 2015, 6:57 am

    I have my fathers 4 inch duty Python, he carried in the 70’s on Highway Patrol. I call it the Rolls Royce of all my toys. It is truly asuperior weapon!

  • John McPherson February 23, 2015, 6:54 am

    Any S&W of that period. That simple, Any.

  • Ken February 23, 2015, 6:44 am

    I have shot many Pythons but never owned one. They are outstanding. To say anything else would be dismissive. The comparison of the Python with the 686 is unfair because they were never competitors. A better comparison would be with a Smith model 58, one with a pinned barrel which was built on the large N frame. I have a small hand so I prefer the smaller K frame model 19 with the pinned barrel. Like the Python, the pinned barrel Smiths were hand fitted and smooth beyond belief. Also extremely accurate. About the time that Colt was wrestling with costs so was Smith and Smith dropped the hand fitting, the recessed chambers and the pinned barrel. The 686, which is an L frame, is larger than the Model 19 and handles continous full power load better. It was designed to have much less work to produce.

    None of this takes away from the Python only that to decide “the best revolver ever” you have to compare apples to apples. The 686 or any new Smith was never in the Python league.

    Try a pinned barrel model 19.

    • James Slick February 23, 2015, 7:27 am

      100 percent agree on the S&W Model 19. These are underrated in the collector’s world (good as that means prices are not insane!) I think that Smith K frames in general are the “1911”s of revolvers!

      • James February 23, 2015, 9:51 am

        Model 19 is a top notch handgun. Accurate, balanced and not too heavy. It’s the only “pretty” gun I own. Yes, not designed for anything other than 158 gr loads but that load is just fine with me.

  • Brandon February 23, 2015, 6:40 am

    I was lucky enough to find a police officer who was selling his former duty python for 750$ back in 2010, it had some finish wear from being in a holster for years but was otherwise perfect. Even the spots of worn finish failed to decrease the beauty of this gun. You can lose yourself staring into that blue finish. I had a colt king cobra also up until I sold it to a friend last year and the difference between them was day and night.
    My python is the single most prized possession I have. The only things I love more than it are my wife and two children. Id love to own a 6″ python, preferably nickel but until the popularity of the walking dead wanes and the prices come back down to earth, or hell freezes over and colt starts making them again, that won’t happen.

  • RetNavet February 23, 2015, 6:39 am

    single best???….S&W Model Model 629 Stealth Hunter…IMHO

  • Greg February 23, 2015, 6:30 am

    i am into guns in a tiny way. I know very little in fact about guns except this my guns the mini revolver 22magnum from NAA, Ruger SP101 38/357, Tarus Judge 44/410. anyways; you get the idea, ReVoLvErS !!! What i do know is there is no way i want to walk around anywhere carryin 3 pounds on my belt as a regular event !!!
    So why post anything here ? i know a lot about COLLECTIBLES. in fact when i put my collectibles on the internet with hours to days i get contacts from around the world. Recently i had a man fly into Florida meet me, drop well over 9k into my bank account and leave with three pokemon cards, what has that to do with guns? not much but collectibles? a lot. Everyone loves OLD engineering like steam trains, it is a visual reminder of another time and the care and dedication craftsmen/ craftswomen put into their work. people pay insane money for rare and beautiful things, but they must be in top condition. i would pay thousands for this colt but it has to be in mint condition. My cards, gold coins, silver coins fetch world record prices simply because they are so rare and scarce. If you own this gun and are firing it, then continue to enjoy it; if you buy it as an investment then never fire it and lock it in your safe deposit box. Not sure ? about investing in collectibles? send me an email and i will send you a copy of the US$ 9,ooo receipt i was paid for a pack of playing cards !!! 😉 thanks for listening…

    • Alain Ménard November 20, 2015, 7:33 pm

      Hey Greg!How about a 30-06 Springfield rifle made in 1906 at Springfield Armory in Dec 1906?All original and 95%+.Any idea what it’s worth?

  • Greg February 23, 2015, 6:29 am

    i am into guns in a tiny way. I know very little in fact about guns except this my guns the mini revolver 22magnum from NAA, Ruger SP101 38/357, Tarus Judge 44/410. anyways; you get the idea, ReVoLvErS !!! What i do know is there is no way i want to walk around anywhere carryin 3 pounds on my belt as a regular event !!!
    So why post anything here ? i know a lot about COLLECTIBLES. in fact when i put my collectibles on the internet with hours to days i get contacts from around the world. Recently i had a man fly into Florida meet me, drop well over 9k into my bank account and leave with three pokemon cards, what has that to do with guns? not much but collectibles? a lot. Everyone loves OLD engineering like steam trains, it is a visual reminder of another time and the care and dedication craftsmen/ craftswomen put into their work. people pay insane money for rare and beautiful things, but they must be in top condition. i would pay thousands for this colt but it has to be in mint condition. My cards, gold coins, silver coins fetch world record prices simply because they are so rare and scarce. If you own this gun and are firing it, then continue to enjoy it; if you buy it as an investment then never fire it and lock it in your safe deposit box. Not sure ? about investing in collectibles? send me an email and i will send you a copy of the US$ 9,ooo receipt i was paid for a pack of playing cards !!! 😉 thanks for listening…

    • Happy Joe February 23, 2015, 12:42 pm

      Well your rolling in money, a real high roller, you can afford to buy a python and use it. Best buy you will ever make! Its a purchase a “dollar and cents man” will only appreciate when his life is on the line and he knows this gun will not let him down in any way.

  • Bill thomas February 23, 2015, 6:25 am

    Oh where to begin ??? I did buy a python and tried to love this gun very badly but I just can’t stand that blasted design of a revolver. Here are my issues. Número uno. I hate the trigger pull in DA, it creeps to a degree of a binding type of feel. The more you pull the more it tightens. I never got past that trigger. Número dos. The thing feels like an anchor. Up close hand to hand, a guy could just cave the skull of zombie attack and save the ammo. Seriously though it is not balanced and a real tank. Número tre. The cylinder spins counter clockwise. I never got used to that. For guys who carry with an empty chamber, this is a deal killer or at the very least a design flaw. The only tight groupings I ever got were from the 6 inch Python. The short barrels never did group tight. So for me personally I would have melted all pythons to make new barrels for Gaston Glock and just cut my losses Colt. But now that’s me.

    • Bob February 23, 2015, 2:19 pm

      Bill- Your #1 complaint seems to be about a particular specimen’s trigger. As such it is hardly an indictment of the Python design.
      Your #2 complaint about the weight tells me you’ve never carried any revolver or pistol on anything like a regular basis. The gunwriters can claim any gun is “easy to carry” but the reality is carrying any full size revolver or pistol whether in a belt holster or shoulder holster is at least somewhat uncomfortable. Anyone claiming otherwise has never carried a gun for 8 to 12 hours every day.
      Your #3 complaint is just plain silly for two reasons. First, whether the cylinder spins clockwise or counterclockwise has zero effect on how accurate or reliable a particular revolver is. That you “never got used to” the cylinder rotation isn’t a flaw in the revolver’s design but really just a failure on your part. Millions of drivers all over the world are used to right hand drive cars. Does that make all left hand drive cars flawed designs? Second, there is absolutely no need or advantage to carrying any modern DA revolver with an empty chamber and even if there were, what possible difference would clockwise versus counterclockwise cylinder rotation make when the revolver is a swing out cylinder design? Either way wouldn’t you close it on an empty chamber with live rounds chambered on either side?

      • Art February 23, 2015, 2:58 pm

        Bob, I concur with your observation. You couldn’t have said it better.

  • Bill thomas February 23, 2015, 6:24 am

    Oh where to begin ??? I did buy a python and tried to love this gun very badly but I just can’t stand that blasted design of a revolver. Here are my issues. Número uno. I hate the trigger pull in DA, it creeps to a degree of a binding type of feel. The more you pull the more it tightens. I never got past that trigger. Número dos. The thing feels like an anchor. Up close hand to hand, a guy could just cave the skull of zombie attack and save the ammo. Seriously though it is not balanced and a real tank. Número tre. The cylinder spins counter clockwise. I never got used to that. For guys who carry with an empty chamber, this is a deal killer or at the very least a design flaw. The only tight groupings I ever got were from the 6 inch Python. The short barrels never did group tight. So for me personally I would have melted all pythons to make new barrels for Gaston Glock and just cut my losses Colt. But now that’s me.

  • Doug W February 23, 2015, 6:23 am

    I’d rather have a sister in a whore house than a brother with a Colt DA revolver.

    • Dale February 23, 2015, 8:08 am

      How is your sister doing and which house does she work at?

      • Art February 23, 2015, 2:55 pm

        Dale, I like your reply. You were right on.

    • Steve February 23, 2015, 8:16 am

      ……….those colts turn the wrong way too!

    • WinchesterMan February 23, 2015, 9:23 am

      Your sister will probably make you more money, long term, than a Colt Python, as long as her forcing cone is tight and doesn’t leak gas!

      • Alain Ménard November 20, 2015, 7:14 pm

        I’ve read your reply 12 minutes ago and still laughing!!!!One of the top 3 best reply I’ve read in all those years….and I’m 61!

    • WinchesterMan February 23, 2015, 9:48 am

      I know your sister, I’d rather have a Python!

      • Happy Joe February 23, 2015, 12:32 pm

        Excellent observation. I agree, you can have his sister give me a Python everytime. I love my Python as much as I love my Glock 34 both are reliable, accurate , fun to shoot and each is excellent in their own way. I am proud to own both. If you want the best you buy the best. What’s your life worth? So pay the price.

    • Dr. English February 23, 2015, 10:58 am

      This fellow lacks many things but objectivity is probably at the top of the list. He’s engaging the tired, old, “Chevy vs. Ford” comparison with a TOTAL lack of objectivity. I’d like him to post his reasons why he hates Colt revolvers.

  • Joe February 23, 2015, 5:33 am

    I can’t believe all this Python Hype that collectors heap on this gun just because it’s no longer in production.
    I purchased a stainless .357 model in the early nineties for around five hundred bucks new in the box with a six inch barrel. It was adequate but the groups weren’t as tight at twenty five yards as I desired with my average abilities.
    I traded it in on a new in the box stainless S&W 686 which suited me better.
    Too bad I failed to for see all the turkeys these days looking for a “I have one” talking point with money to burn…

  • jack Lafever February 23, 2015, 4:53 am

    I own a royal blue python I bought around 1980 .I say I have shot ten times and cleaned real good and put it in a safe,yes you can say that’s crazy to own a pistol an never shoot it but when I shot it i knew that I had something special now look what I got for 500 bucks .come to think about it I wasn’t crazy .LOVE MY PYTHON!!!!!

  • jack Lafever February 23, 2015, 4:50 am

    I own a royal blue python I bought around 1980 .I say I have shot ten times and cleaned real good and put it in a safe,yes you can say that’s crazy to own a pistol an never shoot it but when I shot it i knew that I had something special now look what I got 500 bucks in.come to think about it I wasn’t crazy .LOVE MY PYTHON!!!!!

  • C.Welch February 23, 2015, 4:46 am

    When I saw this article the very fisrt thing that came to mind was “Hey, what about the 686?”
    I was pleased to get to the end and find the teaser and an looking forward to seeing the upcoming comparison. Bought my stainless steel 6″ 686 thirty four years ago and it looks and fires as good today as the day I picked it up. Will never part with it.

  • Leonard February 23, 2015, 3:01 am

    You guys need to get out more. The most perfectly built revolver that REALLY CAN knock down a moose is Freedom Arms’ Model 83 in .454 Casull. Anything less is just “pretty”…

    • miljimbob February 23, 2015, 8:34 am

      I agree on the FA .454 (maybe because that is what I own and use) but the Pythons are nice and possibly a close 2nd. Also, maybe the original S&W Registered Magnum. Come to think of it, they are all pretty damn fine weapons, showing old time workmanship and pride of the craftsman who built them.

  • Sam Simpson February 23, 2015, 2:54 am

    Bought one in the mid 70’s, never liked it, felt and sounded like a pea thrasher when shooting, thought it was going to come apart. Sold it and bought a S&W Md. 29, Loved it.

  • Doug February 22, 2015, 1:15 pm

    Still shooting my 1972 4″ Python I carried as a duty weapon until the switch to semi-autos. Untold thousands of rounds through it and still churning even after a steady diet of hot .357 known to eat a 686. It has gone through a few transitions. Worn bluing replaced with Armaloy hard chrome twice and maybe again. Trigger work was done by the most noted Colt Python expert on the East Coast, at the time recognized for his skill. Magnaport laser cut vents. Elliason sights (Which were the rage at the time).
    The barrel was replaced after a squib ringed the barrel, with a new match grade barrel at the Colt factory custom shop. That necessitated a complete overhaul, new Armaloy and Magnaport. Several sets of custom grips. Used to shoot quarters off the target carrier at 25yds and 4″ groups all day long at 50yds (and still does).
    Would I ever part with it? Never in a million years and already claimed as a family heirloom by son who vows never to let it go.

    • Wayne February 23, 2015, 5:21 am

      Hi Doug,
      Do you have Photos?

    • patrick February 23, 2015, 9:53 am

      I agree 100%. My father in law, before we lost him, made me promise to have it restored to its original bluesteel and it would be mine. I’ve shot it only once while he was alive, but I can attest to it accuracy and its beast mode as a revolver. I love Colts, the action has never let me down, smooth and clean!

      It will be my son’s, when my time comes and passed down from there, god willing.

      • Dr. English February 23, 2015, 10:54 am

        Great post but I think you meant “God” not “god”. Thanks!

  • Mark N. February 21, 2015, 2:29 am

    There’s a Jerry Miculek vid floating around somewhere where he compares this to the 686 and to another revolver I can’t recall at the moment. He didn’t pick the snake as his favorite, or as the best/strongest built. Just sayin’.
    From what I’ve read, the Pythons were largely hand built and fitted, and there is no way that Colt could continue to build them at a competitive price and still make a buck, to say nothing of the lack of the highly skilled craftsmen needed to do the work.

    • Rod February 23, 2015, 7:07 am

      As much as I like Jerry Miculek (I even compete with a 625 JM), don’t forget who he works for. I can’t imagine him picking any Colt over a Smith given who butters his bread.

  • James February 20, 2015, 2:31 pm

    The Python, Detective Special (with shrouded ejector rod) and Diamondback were, in my opinion, the best-looking double action revolvers ever made.

    • shrugger February 23, 2015, 8:05 am

      Agreed. The best looking revolver ever! But far from the ‘Best’ revolver ever.

      • Gem Gram February 23, 2015, 9:21 am

        The python clearly was the best looking revolver I ever owned. But the best? I do not think so. The most accurate and best revolver I ever owned was a nickel plated S&W 29. Clearly the most accurate pistol I ever owned. A friend once fired a shot and bounced it off a pillar an cut a1/4 inch cable holding up a light fixture 25 yards away at an in door range. When I commented, “Great shooting, but why did you shoot at that?” He said it was an accidental discharge and NO one could shoot a pistol like that. I disagreed and told him my pistol that he was shooting was perfectly capable of that. He challenged me to prove it so I took the revolver and shot the other wire off. Which resulted in having to leave the range of course, but still a story my son loves to tell about how my friends jaw almost hit the floor. A silly thing to do on my part but but I could not stand my friend insulting the finest revolver ever built. The Python was a beautiful, fine weapon but make no mistake the BEST one I ever owned and shot was that wonderful Smith 29.

        • Fred Trascher Jr. February 23, 2015, 10:16 am

          I bought a brushed Stainless Python in the early 1990’s. The first time I took it to the gun range I had to adjust the rear sight all the way to the right just to hit paper at 25 feet. After that experience, I took the gun to a Master Gunsmith who immediately told me that the barrel was bent. What a dissapointment! I received a refund although Colt offered to replace the gun. From what I heard about Colt hiring nomads to work in their factory, I felt that “Colt quality” was no longer. So I used the refund money to buy a S&M Stainless 686 at a lesser cost. I took that pistol to the gun range and the first shot hit slightly below and to the right of the bull but “clipped” it. All first six shots were within 1 1/2″ of one another. Not bad for “right out the box” with no sight adjustment. I still have the 686. No doubt the Python is a good looking pistol and is a collector’s item. I would seek out one made in the 1970’s but later models are qustenionable. I am not the only former Python buyer that received a “bad” pistol towards the end of Colt’s run on this model.

          • Thomas Joseph February 23, 2015, 10:41 am

            I have never shot the Colt, but I do have an S&W 686P, and I would be VERY hard pressed to believe that the Colt is in the range of 5 times more valuable. Based on the quality of the 686, I would keep the cash any day.

          • Ron R Glaeseman February 23, 2015, 11:45 am

            I agree with you 100%. I’ve never owned a Python but I do own a second generation Det Special which I purchased new in the 90’s. A compete POS out of the box. After sending it back to Colt once to have the barrel aligned, and then to Cylinder and Slide for $400 worth of work to make it function properly (the pistol itself cost somewhere around $300), it works great. But I would never again own a Colt revolver. The product they put on the shelves when the company was going through re-organization ruined their reputation for me. I do own the 686 and agree with your opinion.

          • Buffalochip February 23, 2015, 3:15 pm

            @Ron Glaeseman

            Ron, I can’t respond directly to your post, as we are nested too deeply as it is, so I’ll “respond” to Fred’s note and hope you see the post.

            If you bought your Detective Special new in the 90s, it’s more than likely a 4th Series DS and not a true 2nd Series DS revolver — and thus had the new (and cheapened) Colt lockwork, cast parts, and array of problems you describe. If you want a “real” Detective Special, you need a true 1st Series (pre war) or 2nd Series gun (post war up to 1972). Pre War guns are out of sight cost wise, and are propositions for collectors only, but nice 2nd Series guns can still be found, at “semi-reasonable” prices. Your best clue — look for unshrouded extractors, as shrouded barrels began with the 3rd Series. (The 3rd Series began the cheapening process — a much better gun, however, than the junky 4th Series you owned.) If you can find a nice 2nd Series gun, buy it — the internal lockwork is the same as the Police Positive Special of the same era, and is essentially a scaled down version of the mechanism that went into the Colt .357 Magnum and Python of the 1950s and 1960s. A great small-frame 6-shooter Colt that packs almost as small as a 5-shot J-Frame Smith & Wesson — and a classic gun. Get one if you can find a nice one, while they are still affordable — and sell your 4th Series gun to do it, if you need to. They are the same gun in name only.

          • Buffalochip February 23, 2015, 3:20 pm

            @Ron Glaeseman

            Ron, I can’t respond directly to your post, as we are nested too deeply as it is, so I’ll “respond” to Fred’s note and hope you see the post.

            If you bought your Detective Special new in the 90s, it’s more than likely a 4th Series DS and not a true 2nd Series DS revolver — and thus had the new (and cheapened) Colt lockwork, cast parts, and array of problems you describe. If you want a “real” Detective Special, you need a true 1st Series (pre war) or 2nd Series gun (post war up to 1972). Pre War guns are out of sight cost wise, and are propositions for collectors only, but nice 2nd Series guns can still be found, at “semi-reasonable” prices. Your best clue — look for unshrouded extractors, as shrouded barrels began with the 3rd Series. (The 3rd Series began the cheapening process — a much better gun, however, than the junky 4th Series you owned.) If you can find a nice 2nd Series gun, buy it — the internal lockwork is the same as the Police Positive Special of the same era, and is essentially a scaled down version of the mechanism that went into the Colt .357 Magnum and Python of the 1950s and 1960s. A great small-frame 6-shooter Colt that packs almost as small as a 5-shot J-Frame Smith & Wesson — and a classic gun. Get one if you can find a nice one, while they are still affordable — and sell your 4th Series gun to do it, if you need to. They are the same gun in name only, as Colt was producing junk by the 1990s.

          • Donald Conner February 24, 2015, 10:07 pm

            I’ve had 2 Python’s and 2 Gold Cups. the first Python I bought in 73 in Manhattan, Kansas. The shop owner/gunsmith remarked that “They don’t make them like they used to.” O.K. He pointed out little things. particularly tool marks, saying “They’d never have let this out the door 10 years ago.” To my eye it was a miniscule thing, but the old codger did have a point. The 2nd one I got in Des Moines, Iowa in 86, when Colt was hyping the “laser” accurizing, whatever that was. I noticed more unfinished (comparatively speaking) areas, especially in the cylinder frame, and around the forcing cone. I must say this perturbed me, but they were all the same. My best guess is you’d have to go to about 9165 to get what the Python was supposed be–a top of the line hyper accurate beautifully finished gun. Thing is, with the CAD/CAM machinery that exists to day. Colt could make a blued barn burner for retail at $1,000, but I am not holding my breath.

        • Lee Cromwell February 23, 2015, 1:55 pm

          I have to disagree, I think the Dan Wesson. 357 is the best most accurate revolver ever made.

          • John Lucien February 25, 2015, 11:39 am

            I have to agree and disagree with you. DW are VERY Accurate if you can get them to work! They are hands down some of the best revolvers to shoot, but if they need a repair (and the do often) – you will pull yourself into a pretzel to figure out what the issues is. That being said – Every Colt I have owned needed repair at one time or another too! Per-lock Smiths and older Ruger’s have been the most reliable in my experience and as far as accuracy goes, they are right up there.

        • jmg169 February 23, 2015, 2:33 pm

          I like the Python’s smaller cousin, the Diamondback. All the beautiful aesthetics without the bulk. I still prefer my S&W Model 19 for the smoothness of the action on a 38/357 revolver, however. As for the S&W competitor, the L-Frame, I’m a huge fan of the 586 (blued version).

      • toniw47 May 10, 2015, 2:57 am


    • Mark Tercsak February 23, 2015, 10:02 am

      My father was a Gold Badge Detective and was a supervisor of the various criminal investigation sections of the City of Pittsburgh from the mid 1960’s till his retirement in 1985. Was in Homicide total of ten years and ran Burglary Squad for the last eleven years he was on the job. The Detective Special and the Python are two different revolvers, The Detective Special was all Steel, Iam probably wrong but it started production sometime in the 1930’s and I believe it was based on the Colt Police Positive and over the years was improved upon, either in the Late 1940’s or early 1950’s cops complained like they always do about weight, so Colt introduced one of the first light weights the Colt Cobra, the barrel and cylinder and hammer and trigger are steel, the frame is aluminum , Dad carried one of these for years, sometimes he switched off went to the Browning Hi-Power, even carried a Walther PPK when he worked undercover jobs, but always went back to the cobra, until he saw the 38 Special duty loads they would carry fail, than he pretty muched switched to the Hi-Power, until about 1980 When The Pittsburgh Police Department issued to its supervisors new Smith&Wesson model 686 revolvers in 357 Magnium now Dad carried 38 + P Loads, he was very impressed with the S&W 686 it was of coarse stainless it sported a four inch barrel, He said it was the best revolver he had ever shot and trust me Dad shot a lot of different revolvers in his time, he was said when he had to turn it back in on retirement.

      • Tom McGill February 23, 2015, 11:30 am

        Hey Mark, is your dad still around? I would bet are dads know each other, my dad worked for one of the boroughs of Pittsburgh in the same era. My dad was forced into retirement due to an injury in 1981 two years befor mandatory retirement. Ask him if he can remember a Tom McGill, a lieutenant from Avolon.

    • steve February 23, 2015, 10:33 am

      #1 DAN WESSON there is s reason why D W’s are the all time #1 in long range silhouette competition big bore DA revolver
      ( the old hand made ones from Monson MA that is ) .

      Due to the revolutionary muzzle locking ring – nut on the awesome array of different length options for interchangeable barrels, and the totally different much more beefy cylinder locking mechanism , not to mention the factory custom porting and factory custom caliber 445 Super Magnum they are so dam ‘tunable’ to one load make them so dam accurate and reliable , the triggers are so good they never need a trigger job

      Please hold Your opinion about the vintage Dan Wesson’s until You actually shoot a big well taken care of Dan Wesson, then tell me how 2nd rate they are lol and we can agree to disagree .

      I had a nice Python and a Dirty Harry 29, and a 686 and a GP100 and they are all very nice DA’s , in fact the stock nothing fancy Ruger GP was the only one that was as accurate as my beautiful big D W…..cheers

      • Gordon February 23, 2015, 1:03 pm

        I have to agree on the Dan Wesson. I have owned 3 Pythons, several S&Ws, Rugers, Taurus’s, etc. I currently own a stainless Dan Wesson made in the 80’s that will shoot 1/2″ 5 chamber groups with it favorite handload at 25 yards. It has 1 chamber that consistently throws a shot and opens the group up to 1 1/2′ – 2′ every time. I never could get a python to shoot that tight and I tried many combinations of loads, also all the pythons I owned were made in the 60’s and early 70’s they were beautiful looking guns but not “The Best Ever Made” I have a 4′ royal blue that I kept in my collection because it is just to nice looking to let go of, It also has not been shot in over 25 years. Bottom line when I grab a revolver to take to the woods it is the Dan Wesson….

    • Russ February 23, 2015, 10:46 am

      There is no question it is a fine piece of work. It is accurate. But is it “the” best? I don’t know. Personally, if someone handed me a S&W K-38 (M-14) I would run with it. And I never did like the Python’s rear pull cylinder latch. Had to be a booger to reload in a hurry. Anyway, that’s my opinion, and I’m sticking to it. 😉

    • p4454b February 23, 2015, 11:18 am

      NO way should a COLT revolver be the best. They are good but not the best. For a semi auto handgun, the COLT 1911 is hard to beat but Revolver, NO WAY> Dick Casuul and his Freedom Arms line of Revolvers are the ROLLS ROYCE’S of wheel guns. There are none finer, none handsomer, and none as versatile as a Freedom arms Model 83.

    • Jerry February 23, 2015, 12:44 pm

      I bought a Python from a former pilot who carried it in Viet Nam. I paid $150 for it in 1965. I was sick when someone broke into my apartment and stole it. It’s the finest handgun I have ever owned, including the Colt Gold Cup I had in around the same era. Just handling it was pure pleasure, and shooting it was even better.
      I want another, but it seems every time I go looking, the price of them increases by a few hundred dollars.
      Once I bought a 12 ga. American Gun Co. exposed hammer steel double barrel shotgun from the original owner for $12.00 (what he paid when he bought it new). Maybe someone like that still has his Python and is waiting for me to find him.

    • Jeff Delana February 23, 2015, 12:53 pm

      Jeff ,I owned a royal blue 4 in python shot mostly 357 out of it had it for 20 years also bought a colt 6 in had it sent to colt custom gun shop had a trigger job done on it and had a nitrex finish the gun had such a light trigger I cnat tell yu how many times ive had gun smiths and others tell me it would misfire double action I had it for 15 years passed it to my son never had a single fail both was extreamly accurate.

    • Art February 23, 2015, 2:52 pm

      I have to agree with the writer. I have a Colt Python, Anaconda and S&W Mod 29. The Colts have never been a problem and I love shooting them. The S&W would not hit the target when I bought it. It is one that came in the wood box. I sent it back to S&W to find what the problem was with it and when it was returned they told me that they sent it out with the wrong rear site. I rarely shot it because it just does not have the same feel and quality of the Colts. I can hit the bullseye more consistently with the Colt. Reading this article I think maybe I had better put the Colt away and wear out the S&W. I also have a S&W Mod 19 so I am not against the S&W.

    • Bill February 23, 2015, 6:43 pm

      In mid 80s bought from Bill Davis with trigger job by Leonard Tirritelli (I think). 4 lb trigger for about 3 years until the Police Revolver Championships when it failed at weighin. Colt armorer was there & fixed it but I couldn’t shoot it until the match. Did get a Distinguished leg however. Got points there, Detroit, Philadelphia & Los Angeles. Got Police Revolver Distinguished Badge #323 IN 1985. Stopped shooting PPC in 1990 but am startING to shoot slowfire bullseye now and added a ACE shoe. Still a tack driver with probably the best trigger both DA & SA of all my handguns I have ever had (MANY) (except perhaps for my SW Model 52). I won a new one at a PPC match in late 80s but it was a POS – horrible action & trigger, worksmanship was terrible. No trouble selling it. Will never sell my first one although the current prices may change my mind when I can no longer shoot.

    • Gordon Smith February 23, 2015, 11:47 pm

      Dirty Harry ad Rick (Walking Dead) sure chose the right weapon to depend on. I have never owned a Python (have shot one , though). I did own a King Cobra for about five years and sold it. (What disappointment I feel for do that). I really liked the Cobra. The one thing (among may) things I really liked was the fact you could load one round close the flip open door and pull the trigger. Try that with another pistol and all you get is a “click” With a Colt King Cobra you get a round off. I miss not having one of the finest made weapons from a great company.

    • Sparkchaser February 24, 2015, 12:51 am

      I love my Smith & Wessons but my Python is my pride and joy. I love all revolvers and one thing that makes them special is that almost all Smiths and Colt revolvers are instant heirlooms to be cherished for many lifetimes and generations. Try that with a striker fire !!!!
      Grant Simms,
      Shawnee Ok

    • David February 24, 2015, 2:10 am

      I was in the field, as well as a classroom instructor and rangemaster. My problem with Colt revolvers is that you have to pull back on the cylinder release, which is not a natural movement in high-stress situations and even causes an imbalance in holding the weapon. My first revolver (Air Force Security Police) was a Smith and Wesson Model 15 Combat Masterpiece. For my money, this was the ultimate evolution of the .38 police revolver. It was a nail-driving gun. We used to put little heart stickers (“I Donated Blood” from the bloodmobiles), and had bets going for who would get the most heart shots at 25 yards. I had a Colt Detective Special briefly as a plainclothes reserve deputy constable, but again, the cylinder release always threw me off. I also used the Model 15 for Police Pistol Combat competition and took home my fair share of trophies and medals, even when competing against people with thousand-dollar Colt Gold Cups (thousand dollars in 1997 money). In fact, I preferred when my competition had autos, as no ACP pistol is as stable of a platform as a revolver with a pinned-in barrel.

      My first civilian service revolver was the 4-inch Ruger Security Six. Very accurate, but not as much as the Model 15. Strangely, the Ruger required pushing the cylinder release inward, but it was easier than a Colt. Very accurate when firing the 125-grain Remington .357 jacketed hollow points (and the muzzle flash after dark was exciting!). My gripe with the Ruger was that the trigger pull on a new weapon is rough and requires a lot of work with a good, teflon-based oil before it smooths out.

      I briefly carried a Smith and Wesson Model 686 and found this to be the ultimate police revolver overall. Again, 4-inch barrel. For a wheel gun, it would be my preferred weapon in a firefight.

      Now, for cold-weather concealed carry and open carry on the ranch, my favorite is the Ruger P-90 in .45 ACP. It and the Smith and Wesson 645 can chamber snake shot rounds without jamming. Your standard 1911 will not chamber anything but ball ammo, unless some work has been done to it. Such is not the case with these two autos.

      All said, and in the context of the best police revolver, the Colts don’t even make the top 5, and probably not even the top 10. My money is always on the Smith and Wesson 686 and 15 for accuracy. With some work, however, I’d gladly carry a Ruger Security Six again, as it is the easiest to break down, clean, and put together again, and it’s the most rugged, heartiest pistol I’ve ever carried on the streets. The ONLY good thing I can say about the Colt police revolvers is that they come out of the box with the sweetest trigger pull (and I’m talking double-action; only a fool would try to cock a double-action revolver in a firefight). I will even carry a modern-day Taurus revolver before I’ll carry a Colt.

      In closing, I’ll just say that I love certain Colts: The AR-15 (SP-1 version); the Dragoon and 1851 Navy (for shooting in that period of competition- I do mean COLT, not the foreign-made reproductions); and the 1873 “Peacemaker”. After that, the only way I’ll pick one up in a firefight is if it’s the only loaded weapon available, aside from some Saturday night special.

    • Sean February 28, 2015, 8:02 pm

      Of course they are going to pick one of the most expensive, highly sought after, hard as hell to find revolver….good job!!…Now how about doing a poll that test guns the other 75% of us have a snowballs chance in hell owning.

    • Gordon Smith December 7, 2015, 2:30 pm

      Guy I am definitely wit you. Only difference is I “use to be” a King Cobra fan and owner. I had one and put Pacmire grips on it. Caliber was also .357. It was so enjoyable to have and shoot this amazing pistol. Mine was blued with a California Highway Patrol holster. About a year after I had to sell it and have regretted that from the moment it was no longer mine. Thanks again for a great write-up. P.S. I still have a preban Colt AR15 and a Colt M-4.

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