The Colt Python : Cadillac of .357 Magnum Revolvers


The Colt Python was perhaps a high-water mark of sorts when it came to 20th Century combat wheelguns and is wildly popular with collectors today.

First introduced in 1955– and to this day one of the few hand-fitted modern revolvers to be factory produced for the commercial market– the beefy .357 Magnum-caliber six-shooter was described by Colt as, “A finer gun than you actually need,” and its list of standard features set it apart from many of its pencil-barrel contemporaries.

Featuring a full underlug with a shrouded ejector rod, ventilated rib barrel, and adjustable sights, Pythons are distinctive and quickly identified at even a quick glance. The first catalog price on the revolver was $125 — about three weeks pay at a time when the price of a gallon of gasoline was 23 cents. However, if you picked up one back then at that price, it was money well spent!

The Colt Python Aristocrat of .357 Magnum Revolvers

You can’t mistake a Python for anything else. (Photos: Richard Taylor/

Over its 50-year run, the “I-frame” Python saw several variants with 2.5-, 3-, 4-, 6- and 8-inch barrel lengths, a few caliber experiments, and some specialty guns. The revolvers were produced in a range of finishes including an electroless nickel– referred to as “ColtGuard” by the company– stainless, polished nickel, Royal ColtGuard, an “Ultimate Bright” stainless, blued, and Colt Royal Blue, among others.

Take a look at some of these varieties that we currently have on-hand in the warehouse to drink in the cornucopia of old Colts:

Engraved 1978 Python (2)

This exquisite .357 Magnum Colt Python in about unfired condition has a serial number, 01406N, that dates it to 1978, inside the golden age of “Snake Gun” production at Hartford. Equipped with smooth walnut finger groove grips, this Python includes a factory fitted wooden case.

Engraved 1978 Python (1)

With a 6-inch full-lug barrel and bright polished nickel finish, this “I” frame Python has extensive engraving and scrollwork and was produced near the end of Colt’s transition to stainless steel guns from nickel finishes.

Engraved Colt Python

One of the few hand-fitted modern revolvers to be factory produced for the commercial market, this example is the cream of the crop for Python collectors.

This next amazing Colt wheel gun is a rare snake in the company’s Python line.

Colt ENick 1981 Python

While Colt produced the vaunted “I” frame premium revolver in a special grade of blued and nickel finishes before offering stainless models in the mid-1980s, this .357 Magnum is a hard-to-find and very desirable factory satin nickel, referred to as “Royal Coltguard” or “E-Nick” by the company, and is so marked on its original paper box, which is included.

Colt Python Satin Nickel 22537 (2)

The serial number (K56372) points at 1981 production and this revolver, with factory Colt Pachymar Gripper medallion combat grips, is in excellent condition.

Colt Python E Nick

No abuse here…

Colt Python Target 38

This Colt Python Target model includes an 8-inch barrel and RH thumb rest wooden grips. These .38-Special-marked guns are among the rarest of Pythons, with just 3,489 blued models produced.

Sadly, Colt began trimming back on making the big Python in 1996, switching from standard production of the classic model to the more limited Ultimate Python and Python Elite models. These late models soldiered on for another decade in declining numbers until the vaunted snake gun fell from the company’s catalog altogether after 2006.

However, although the line has been shut down nearly 15 years, still has you covered when it comes to these quintessential revolvers, so be sure to check back from time to time and see what we have on hand. Also, if you have one for sale, we can handle that, too.


The post The Colt Python : Cadillac of .357 Magnum Revolvers appeared first on