Educational Zone #88 – The Colt Python .357 Magnum Revolver

The Colt Python .357 Magnum was introduced by Colt in the mid 1950s.

It was a “Premium” revolver, and started out as a target revolver.

It became the ultimate in police handguns later in its life and I had the privilege of carrying one as a police officer in the early 1970s.

The model I carried was a 6 inch nickeled revolver, but I sold it, much to my regret.

But I have since replaced it with a blued 6 inch model.

It is a fine pistol.

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The Python has a very distinctive barrel, with a ventilated rib on the top and a heavy full-length lug under the barrel.

It has a beautiful rich bluing that looks a foot deep.

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Just a note for those that may not know…

A Colt cylinder rotates clockwise (from the shooters perspective) and the rifling rotates counter-clockwise.

On a Smith, the cylinder rotates counter-clockwise, and the rifling rotates clockwise.

No good reason, just the way it is.

On a Colt Python, when you pull the trigger, the cylinder locks up steady as a rock, with no “play” in it at all.

A Smith does not lock up like that.

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The purpose of a vent rib on a shotgun is to allow the heat from a lot of shooting to dissipate without causing heat waves from interfering with the sights.

But on a revolver, they are just cosmetic.

But… they look “cool”.

The under lug adds weight to the front of the pistol and helps with steadying it while target shooting.

It gives it a very sturdy feel.

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Some people do not like the Python’s grips, as they get larger at the bottom and do not fit everyone’s hands well. 

But I have grown to love them and find they fit my hands just great.

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The Python is chambered for the .357 Magnum round and makes a good hunting or self defense weapon in that caliber.

But there are persistent rumors that shooting a lot of heavy .357 Magnum rounds through one will “loosen” it up and require re-tuning of the action.

Therefore, I shoot mostly .38 Special target loads through it and save the hot stuff for social purposes.

One thing for sure, with 148 grain full wadcutters, the Python is one of the most accurate revolvers ever made. It really shines as a target revolver.

Today, my buddy Ted and I took it to the range and shot it.

Here’s Ted shooting some wadcutters through it.

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And here’s the target where he and I shot about 30 rounds through it.

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After getting loosened up a little…

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I shot 12 rounds through this target.

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Here’s a closer look.

That’s what this pistol can do, if you do your part.

It shoots like a laser.

If you miss the bull, you have done something wrong, as the pistol doesn’t miss.

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The front of the barrel has a distinctive look, and has a nice, easy to acquire front sight.

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The rear sight is fully adjustable and is excellent. 

It has a target hammer, for single action shooting, if desired.

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Loaded with .357 Magnum cartridges, it looks like a hand full of death.

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Colt no longer manufactures the Python, but they can still be found on the used market. 

But, they command high prices.

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If you ever have the opportunity to shoot one, you will know why.

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Conclusion:
They are the top of the line, and a joy to shoot.