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Colt Python: Back in Blue



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In 2020, Colt released their second generation of the famed Python revolver in stainless steel. They could be had in 3-inch, 4-inch, and 6-inch barrel lengths. The biggest complaint was that they were not available in the original royal blue finish that shined like it was black chrome.

If that was the reason that gave you pause about owning one, then fret no more. Colt has heard you and is now releasing the classic Python in Royal Blue with 4.25-inch and 6-inch barrel lengths. As a long-time Colt Collector and chronicler, Colt asked if I wanted a sample to test in advance of the official release on January 24, 2024 at the annual Shooting Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show held in Las Vegas, NV and I answered with a resounding “Yes, please!”.

A classic blue Python was my carry gun for over 20 years. Even though I owned and carried many other handguns over the years, that Python was my first revolver, and always went on range trips in the shooting bag. 

It was stolen back in 2009. The poor old girl showed signs of timing issues with a loss in accuracy. It was boxed up and ready to visit a gunsmith who specialized in Colts. Unfortunately, it was left in the jeep overnight and must have proved too tempting for a thief to resist.

A replacement of the out-of-production Python was priced well out of reach, and there was no sense in replacing it with a “shooter-grade revolver” that had no personal history, etc.

Available with 4.25-inch and 6-inch barrels for now and wearing checkered walnut grips inset with gold medallions courtesy of Altamont, the Colt Python boasts a reputation as the premiere revolver chambered in 357 Magnum and 38 Special. It boasts legitimate upgrades such as a micro-adjustable rear sight and polished and fitted hammer and trigger. It locks up like a bank vault door and sports the telltale ventilated rib atop the barrel. All combined makes for a revolver that is simply beautiful to behold.

It is not a mere clone. Colt took this one seriously and fixed many of the issues surrounding the Python. The engineers went back to the drawing board for a series of years to simplify and reduce the number of parts in the lock work as well as beefing up the steel in the revolver, boasting 30% more metal under the rear sight. We saw this on the stainless guns, and it holds true on the blued versions, too.

The barrel sports a target crown, and both the barrel and frame are forged from carbon steel. The entire revolver is polished before bluing and looks as close to the original as can be. A number of people claimed that the formula to produce that finish was allegedly lost forever. The 4.25-inch barrel has three slots in the ventilated rib, perhaps the hallmark of the Colt Python. Fit and finish is as close to perfection as you could want. Although my old one from the 1980s wore Pachmayr grips; the walnut checkered grips from Altamont feel superb. 

With an extremely smooth trigger that breaks at 6 pounds in double-action mode and 3 pounds in single-action, this revolver was built to be a tack driver. An orange insert embedded in the front sight makes it easy to pick up for an excellent sight picture.

SPECS

  • Make: Colt
  • Model: Python
  • Type: Double Action Revolver
  • Caliber: 357 Magnum/38 Special
  • Finish: Royal Blue
  • Stock: Altamont Wood Grips
  • Barrel Length: 4.25″
  • Overall Length: 9.75″
  • Capacity: 6
  • Weight: 42 oz.
  • MSRP: $1499
  • URL: https://www.colt.com/series/PYTHON_SERIES

RANGE TIME

The Colt Python was tested at the local shooting spot with 2 steel targets and a paper one hanging at 25 yards (75 feet) in about a foot of snow. The weather was not going to prevent testing this one out. 

Using a variety of 38s and 357s such as personally hand-loaded 148-grain lead HBWC (Hollow Based Wad Cutters), Federal 125 grain JHP, and miscellaneous 38 +P Federal HydraShok and UMC 158 Grain semi Wadcutters. 

The HBWCs are a mild target load that is a baseline for any 38s or 357s that are tested for accuracy. The bullet travels at or slightly above 700 fps and the reward is a perfect crisp and round bullet hole in the target. The group was slightly over an inch with an occasional flyer due to the wind-inducing shake at times.

After a steady session of lead 38s, the revolver’s bore was cleaned with Wolf Gun Oil and a Dewey one-piece cleaning rod and subsequently loaded with Federal 125gr JHP in 357 Magnum. The reason for cleaning in the field is that several hundred rounds of lead bullets can cause you issues if you switch over to jacketed ammunition.

The jacketed bullets of the 357 Magnum loads leave the bore at twice the speed of the 38s at over 1,400 fps. While it was not unpleasant at all, you quickly know that you are not shooting a mild 38. The average group opened to just under 2-inches. The +P 38’s cut the difference between the two extremes and yielded a group consistent with the 357 Magnums.

No failures at all were experienced with this revolver at all. It ran trouble-free for 550 rounds in single-action and double-action; whether slow-fire or in rapid fire.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Colt Python is not for everybody, even if some authorities consider it the Rolls Royce of revolvers. They are still on the higher end regarding pricing and this new one may be hard to come by for suggested retail until the demand slows down, but the hunt is surely worth it.

Examination of the new Royal Blue Python gives a lot of confidence in shooting a steady diet of 357 Magnum rounds through it as opposed to the older version because Colt has made significant improvements regarding lock work, metal, and assembly.  The biggest downside is that ammunition can be hard to find or simply downright expensive. This is a handgun that should get you into reloading if you’re not doing so already.

There is a decent aftermarket of accessories. Holsters are made by Simply Rugged, Galco, DeSantis, and others. Speed loaders, speed strips and replacement grips are available as well.

In the future, there may be other barrel lengths such as the 3-inch that has been seen in the stainless series and hopefully, an 8-inch with a scope mount to replicate the old Python Hunter of days gone by. 

If there is a drawback to the current model it is that it lacks a ready-made solution for mounting a red dot.

Whether you want one for personal defense, a hunting sidearm, or simply to enhance your collection, the classic Python is back in blue.

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