Think of it as the Lamborghini of revolvers. The Colt Python in .357 Magnum, with its sleek lines, incredible finish, superb accuracy and flawless trigger pull, has been repeatedly described as the finest production revolver ever made. So, why did the Python vanish?

Post-World War II, Colt knew they had to rehabilitate the revolver line. They discontinued the New Service in 1944 and had already rolled out a dedicated .357 on a .41 caliber frame. But, they were missing the sexiness of the Smith & Wessons.

The Python’s introduction in 1955 signaled that Colt, once again, wanted the top slot. Based on the .357 platform, with the amazing royal blue finish, the distinctive ventilated barrel rib, and full-length underlug below the barrel, made the Python stand out in a crowd. How accurate were Pythons? Master competitor, Massad Ayoob, in his Greatest Handguns of the World book, said that Pythons, like this one, which is serial number 2, could deliver sub two-inch groups at 50 yards from a Ransom Rest… if the ammunition was up for the job.

The most famous Python collector was, undoubtedly, Elvis Presley. But, the revolver’s greatest hit was in the Dirty Harry movie, Magnum Force where actor, David Soul, used his Python to defeat Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry, and his mighty Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum in a police competition, to which Eastwood replied, “A man’s got to know his limitations.”

So, what happened to the Python? History happened. The shooting public was following the police, and changing from revolvers to semi-autos. The newer, more popular shooting sports catered almost exclusively to semis. The sales slumped, and the expensive-to-produce Python came to the end of its line in October 1999.

Although rumors of the Python’s return have swirled around Colt for years, executives for the company flatly dismissed the idea. It would simply cost too much to bring back the Great Revolver.

 

 

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