gun4

By John Butler

Everybody has that one gun that got away. The one that you pass up at the time, thinking that you’ll get it later, and that heck, they’ve been making them forever. They’ll still be around later when you want one. Except, of course, they aren’t. For me, that gun was a six-inch barreled Colt Python .357 Magnum revolver in high polish stainless steel. I had some good reasons for not buying it . . .

I was in the US Army at the time, stationed at Ft. Carson, Colorado. The Python was at the Wal-Mart on the corner of Pike’s Peak and Academy Blvd. The year was 1989, and I was a PFC assigned to a motor transport company. Retailers like Wal-Mart, Kmart, Sears and JC Penny still carried handguns in the days before the Brady Bill.

The ticket for it was $300 and some change, before taxes. It was within my means on a private’s salary, since Uncle Sam provided my room and board, but owning a personal firearm was a regular pain in the butt for an enlisted soldier living in the barracks. Your gun had to be registered with the company and secured in the armory. It had to be checked out and turned back in like any other weapon, and personal concealed carry has been strictly forbidden on stateside military bases since the Nixon administration.

So after thinking about it, I decided against getting the gun. By the time I got into firearms in a serious way, the Python had been discontinued by Colt and prices had soared to more than $1500 for a decent example in 2006 and have only gone up since then with a near mint Python going for north of four grand as of early 2015.

The Python was created by adding a full under lug vent rib barrel and precision adjustable sights to Colt’s venerable “I” frame in 1955, the same frame used for the .38 Special Official Police and the .357 Magnum Trooper. The Python was precision made and hand fitted and was essentially a mass produced custom gun. It was intended as a precision target revolver, but law enforcement and the public at large fell in love with the Big Snake.

There were blued models, .38 Special only Target Models with eight-inch barrels, high polish nickel models and the one I lusted after, a high polish stainless steel model. Colt produced the Python as a regular production item until 2000,and as a custom shop special order item until 2003.

And there will never be another Python. Oh, if Colt’s management were to pull their collective heads out of their collective fourth points of contact and realize the the company can’t survive on dwindling military contracts and civilian sales of their existing lineup, there might be a revolver with “Python” on the barrel. But it won’t be a real Python. And here’s why.

Colt pretty much bet their existence on selling the AR platform to the military. This isn’t a new strategy for the company that Sam built. Samuel Colt would pursue government contracts above all else, even if it meant passing up more lucrative civil sales. By the time of his death at the age of 47 in 1862, Colt was in a desperate state of affairs. Sam had spent lavishly wining and dining potential military clients in the US and abroad, and had let several crucial patents expire. Colt’s Manufacturing pulled themselves out of financial difficulty by selling guns to the US government during the Civil War.

While Colt, as a company, thrived on government contracts for the better part of the following century, there were some stumbles along the way, such as when the .38 Long Colt chambered New Army was deemed insufficient against Moro Juramentados and the .45 Colt Single Action Army was pressed back into service, and  when when they lost a new service handgun contract to rival Smith and Wesson against the now famous .38 Special M&P K Frame revolver.

For the most part, though, Colt thrived. They sold the US Government John Browning’s legendary M1911 during WWI and supplemented it with the .45acp chambered 1917 New Service revolver. They Adapted the .41 Colt I frame to .38 Special and it supplemented the S&W M&P in government and military service, and when WWII came around, Colt again sold the improved M1911A1 as well as the .38 Special I frame to the military. In the 1960s, Colt got the contract to build ArmaLite’s AR-15 in its service configuration, the M-16. Colt hummed right along, and like so many other US industries, got complacent as the 1970s rolled around.

The 1980s were disastrous for Colt. First, Colt lost the contract for a new military side arm to Beretta in 1984, then in 1988, they lost the contract for the new upgraded M-16 to FN. Colt looked around and realized that its stalwarts in civil law enforcement, the 1911, the .38 Special Official Police, and .357 Magnum Trooper, were being replaced by Gaston Glock’s polymer wonder in police departments around the country. Colt realized without military contracts, it needed to recapture the civil market. They introduced the Colt 2000, a polymer framed 15 round wonder nine in 1990, which flopped, and got around to finally introducing a big frame .44 Magnum revolver, the “AA” framed Colt Anaconda, thirty five years after rival Smith and Wesson had introduced the Model 29.

Colt continued to flounder and was finally snatched up by New York financier Donald Zilkha in 1994 for the low price of 27 million dollars. Zilkha, who had never owned a gun in his life, appointed Ron Stewart as CEO. In 1998, Stewart announced that Colt was working on new “Smart Gun” technology and also opined that hand guns should have to be registered at the federal level. Sales tanked as gun owners and buyers began avoiding Colt like the plague.

Now, to be fair, Colt wasn’t alone in this. Manufacturers were running scared in the wake of the Brady Bill and the 1994 assault weapons Ban. They thought that a UK style disarmament was on the horizon and, having learned nothing from the antics of Neville Chamberlain on the eve of WWII, went into full appeasement mode. There are still people who refuse to buy a Ruger because of Bill Ruger’s “No honest man needs more than ten rounds,” statement, even though Sturm, Ruger & Co. will now happily sell you an AR-15 variant with a standard capacity thirty round magazine.

Smith and Wesson caught hell from gun buyers as well when they cut a deal with the Clinton administration in 2000 that resulted in S&W being driven to bankruptcy and, ironically, being bought up by Saf-T-Hammer Corporation, which promptly began slapping the much maligned Hillary Hole on all their revolvers.

So how does this affect the storied and much-loved Python? The Big Snake remained in production through it all, and was sought after and prized. But in 1999, Zilkha had to save his failing company, so he fired Stewart and hired former general William Keys. Like a lot of the brass at the top of the US military, Keys had a decided dislike of armed civilians, and promptly announced that Colt would discontinue regular production of all but a few civilian models to concentrate on military and Law Enforcement sales. (Yes, I know law enforcement officers are civilians, but I don’t think Keys saw it that way.) The Python, Anaconda and Peacemaker were dropped as regular production items in 2000, but were offered as special order items from Colt’s Custom shop.

And in the wake of 9/11, Keys’ strategy worked. He used his contacts at the Pentagon to get Colt new service rifle contracts for the M4 carbine and after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and used them to stomp out a trend in Iraq to equip squad-designated marksmen with reconditioned M14 rifles, and instead got the Pentagon to equip the SDMs with an “accuriuzed” M-16A4. The logic being that the different report of the .308 rifle made the Squad Designated Marksman a target. Colt rode high on military contracts.

In 2003, the Python and Anaconda were retired entirely. The master craftsmen who built the Python retired, or went to work on the Single Action Army Peacemaker. The Anaconda could be resurrected. It was a modern design based on a scaled up King Cobra frame and required minimal hand fitting. With modern CNC machining, a new Anaconda could be made even less labor intensive.

The Python, on the other hand, isn’t coming back. Despite its futuristic good looks, the Python, and the other I-frame guns it was based on, were from an earlier era, when technology was relatively expensive and labor was comparatively cheap. The Python hails from a time when every part was hand fitted to the gun and was and buffed to a high finish. Those skills are lost, the machinery that made the guns was scrapped and they aren’t coming back.

Now, at the beginning of 2015, Colt is in financial straits again. The War on Terror, at least the ground phase in Iraq and Afghanistan, has wound down, and the US military no longer needs a steady supply of M4 carbines. There are tons of AR pattern rifles in the inventory now, and unless there’s some major breakthrough in firearms technology that convinces the Pentagon to drop the select fire, intermediate cartridge rifle as a main issue weapon, selling military small arms to the US government is a losing proposition. Colt’s only real path forward are robust civilian sales.

The problem is Colt’s main competitors already have a lock on the market. Worse, the four guns Colt is famous for, the AR15, The M1911, The Single Action Peacemaker and the Colt .380 Mustang, are already being made by somebody else. All of the guns but the Mustang were originally military contract guns, so while the companies that make the AR-15, 1911 and Peacemaker can’t use Colt’s trademarked name. Or in the case of the Peacemaker and the AR-15, they can’t even use the name of the gun, they can sure as hell build them.

AR-15s are built by just about every manufacturer, from the Bushmaster beaters to high-end Noveskes. The same is true of the M1911. You can buy a Rock Island Armory 1911 for under $500, or pony up the cash for a Les Baer Custom 1911. The Peacemaker is built by several Italian firms, and there are the “upgraded” Ruger single actions in the form of the Blackhawk, Single Six and Vaquero. Even the mini 1911-style .380 Colt Mustang trademark was allowed to lapse, and SIG SAUER started building a copy, the SIG 238. Sig even upped the the ante by building a 9mm version, the 938.

So Colt faces the problem that the four guns it builds are being made by other companies, sometimes cheaper, sometimes better, and sometimes both at once. Surviving on putting the rampant stallion on guns that can be had elsewhere is not a viable survival strategy. Oddly enough, Colt has defended the trademarks of their double action revolvers and licenses their use.

The path forward seems clear. Bring back the Anaconda, and since it can take the pressures, chamber it in a modern big bore magnum cartridge, like .475 Linebaugh or .454 Casull in addition to the traditional .45 Colt and .44 Magnum. Or maybe .500 JRH, to cut into the back end of the S&W 500 by offering another .50 caliber revolver cartridge for regular production. The point of this would be to use a revived big bore Anaconda as a “halo” gun to bring the shooting public back to Colt double action revolvers, the way Chevrolet uses the Corvette to lure people in to buy minivans. And yes, bring back the Python.

I know what I said. That there will never be another Python. At least not like the Snake that was made up to 2003. But the engineers could build something that looked like a Python and was almost as good. They could make it at a price that’s competitive with Ruger and Smith & Wesson’s double action revolvers, and then bring out an entire line of Snake-themed guns.

Everybody and their brother makes a five-shot snubbie. Build one and call it the “Ball Python” or something. Then sit down and design a good poly framed pistol and put the snake name on that, too. It’s a strategy that worked for Magnum Research with the Desert Eagle. Just about everything MRI makes has the “Desert Eagle” or “Eagle” name on it. And they sell a lot of “Desert Eagles” that aren’t four and a half pound gas-operated hand cannons. That strategy could work for Colt, too. After all, at this point, what do they have to lose?

 

88 Responses to Why Colt Will Never Build Another Python

  1. In a world of plastic striker fired pistols a revolver will not save Colt as a mass market gunmaker. To survive in their present from they need mass market products like an M&P line. Short of that they will either die or becocme a specialty house.

  2. It is a sad shame what happened at Colt. The rampant Horse statue that used to grace the top of Colt’s building got sold off some time ago. My missed opportunity was getting a Colt Woodsman .22LR National Match pistol when they were available. Like you, I thought oh, I can get that later with no problems. And then they were gone. Once they were gone, I went and got my S&W model 41 target pistol before somebody could decide to discontinue them as well. I hope they can survive because of the history of the brand and how it intertwines with the history of the United States. But there have been lots of illustrious brands that have died over the years due to really bad management, like Studebaker, High Standard, Packard, Iver Johnson, Indian motorcycles, and many more.

    • This is exactly why I went and picked up a new series 70 government model about a month ago. I just “wanted to own a colt” as much as the dealer at the counter tried to sway me to something more tacticool. I have modern 1911s with all of their updated features too. I knew I wanted a series 70 eventually, but I was worried they wouldn’t be around long enough for me to eventually get around to it.

    • its really sad that dealers talk about the colt python not coming back so they can charge higher prices for the ones that are out their i did here that they are thinking very hard to bring them back so watch people they are around the corner i would love to see the dishonest dealers fall flat on their faces

  3. … “But the engineers could build something that looked like a Python and was almost as good.” …

    Even if it were every bit as good, snobby, snooty, harrumpfing purists and current Python owners (who paid >$2000) would insist they’re not the same and not as good. That’s just the way people are.

    • So.. why would you care what they think?

      They could bring back the Python, Anaconda, Diamondback, Viper… And find new sales with new shooters, new collectors. The new guns wouldn’t affect the market value of the old guns, because they are new and different.

      As for the insane prices of the current Pythons out there…. I blame that limp-wristing asshole, Rick Grimes.

      • I am so glad to hear that I am not the only one who hates how that actor holds that revolver ! Every time I see that I want to take it away from him.

      • As the proud owner of a 1976 Nickel-plated Python in excellent condition, I can say that I would absolutely LOVE it if they made a new Python, even if it wasn’t quite as good as the originals. Because the damn things are so expensive, I always feel iffy about shooting it; I haven’t taken the thing out of it’s case in months and haven’t shot it in almost a year. I know it’s a tough gun, but I still don’t want to put too much wear on it. A newer, cheaper, nearly-identical one that I could go shooting with regularly with no qualms would be a welcome addition.

        • This is exactly what I keep saying about the S & W New Classics. Are they as good as the earlier guns? No. Are they still a pretty damn nice revolver? Absolutely. And here in Ca.,where nice older Smiths command a premium, they are even priced competitively.

        • I bought a colt python in 1966 or ealier…as a present for my husband who was a policeman. I still have the Colt and fire it at the range every few months. My question is how much is this one worth. It is a 6″ barrel, colt 357 magnum python revolver, in good condition, it evidently was manufactured in Hartford, Conn. in the 60’s. I would like to sell it and have become highly aware of what its worth while looking on line. Is there a buyer out there, I cannot send a photo, I’m don’t have the right software to do all this technology. Thank you for any suggestions

    • Seems to be a trend in everything sold these days. Every product from every manufacturer looks the same, has a ton of plastic in it, and doesn’t have the elegant style that it used to. It’s like the higher ups say “Make it look like a (insert brand here) and market the crap out of it. Bribe the media if you have to. It’ll sell like hotcakes.”. My mom still has her old Kirby vacuum cleaner. It’s a nearly 40 year old, all metal beast that still runs like a top. You could probably suck up a live grenade with it and just empty the shrapnel out of the bag after it explodes. Meanwhile, I’ve bought 6 all-plastic vacuums of various brands in the last 10 years.

    • I wish they could make the Python like they used to, but hand polishing & hand fitting are prohibitively expensive, labor-intensive propositions. I can only how my uncle leaves me his more than 30-year-old, beautiful as ever, shoots like a dream Colt, though he’ll surely give it to one of my cousins first. Let’s face it–they deserve it & it should stay in the family. It’s a damn share the way American manufacturer has gone. I know it’s a polymer gun like everything else in many ways, but I’m partial to the Springfield xd(m) line at present. They’re affordable, come with all kinds of goodies, & are just damn nice to shoot with their match-grade barrels. Even their compact 3.8″ bbl is accurate (in the right hands) out past 100ft with very controllable recoil. Springfield also makes 1911s with a ton of goodies in the $500 range. The fit & finish is right on their guns, too, making them quite reliable & hella durable. They’ll take a beating, let you throw thousands of rounds down range, & still keep ticking. Right now, they’re about the best bang for the buck (cheaper than a comparable S&W & just as good if not better, imho). Still, if I could go back in time & lay my hands on a Python, I’d do it in a heartbeat. There’s just something about that gorgeous DA revolver that makes me drool like a toddler at his mother’s breast!

      • I’ve worked on many Pythons in the past. They are not that tough to fit. Use CNC and get it close enough, then a quick file stroke if needed.

  4. Good ideas but companies are run either by beancounters, investors, or elitist martinets who think the country is an army camp writ-large and the people (and employees) are raw recruits who need a good dose of discipline.

    In short these factors will prevent Colt from making an effective recovery.

  5. I really hope someone has put Python blueprints online. Making one yourself with CNC machines would be difficult, but it could be done. And it might even be just as good.

      • Yup. I can spend hours on different buffing wheels using different compounds to get one piece right where I work.

        • You’re so right, & frankly I’d rather own & shoot one that you’ve spent hours working than something milled by computer. Even if you kept it to stainless models, you’d need to take a CNC made piece in to a custom shop for polishing & fitting to get it “right.” I’m glad there are still craftsmen who can & will still do the work. Don’t get me wrong–some of the machine-made items out there are still fun to shoot, built well, & hold up under punishment. They’re just not the kind of revolvers they made back in the day. It’s dad the way Colt has been done by the idiots who bet long-term on a short-term solution. Regardless of what happens with public opinion, the 2nd Amendment will still stand. Even more to the point, if lawmakers do limit capacity revolvers would make a lot of peyote happy if they could just make them properly. I mean, I’m a pretty liberal progressive person, but so was Teddy Roosevelt & the man believed in the American firearm & responsible conservation, which includes hunting! I don’t understand so many of my contemporary, like-minded brethren who absolutely miss the mark when it comes to responsible gun ownership. Both my grandparents were WWII vets, & both bought me guns & taught me to use & keep them responsibly! Why isn’t that a thing anymore? I’m supposed to be a villain if I believe in Civil Rights & the 2nd Amendment! WTF?

      • Mmm CNC bluing and polishing, instead of a ball end mill, ball buffers, optical scan to a mirror finish, same scan on blue dip?

  6. Back in 1979 when I was laid off from GM — one of the auto workers everyone heard so much about at the time — I sold my collection of revolvers. Among them was my blue steel S&W model 29 and my similarly blued Colt Python in .357. While the model 29 was sold like crazy after Clint Eastwood made it famous and S&W even brought it back in a new form, making them easy to get and still reasonably priced, I was stunned to see a clone of my Python at a gun show recently with a price tag of $2,700.00 on it. (AND it was supposed to be a “gun show special”!!!) Of all my revolvers, that’s the one I miss the most. At those prices, I’ll never replace it.

  7. As much as I hate to say it, Colt simply fell behind. They thought that they could do no wrong even if they weren’t staying competitive.

    I seriously doubt that bringing back the Python and the Anaconda, even with their original hand finished and fitted state, would do any good. They would be prohibitively expensive for what is still a 6-shot revolver.

    From my point of view, most shooters are looking for a good value and the next Glock 17 (figuratively speaking) and not at old school technology. What could a Python do better than it’s competitors that are half it’s price? Also, I can already see the droves of “It’s not a REAL Python, it’s a half-assed remake of a Python!”

    • I totally agree! I said above that Springfield puts out a nice gun with a great feature set, including capacity, durability, & eligibility for a good price in today’s market. However, I do have to say that the allure of a Python is worth the headache of carrying quick-loaders if it looks & functions like the gun they used to make. There’s just something about it. I think people get a little lazy when it comes to shooting. My uncle is old-school, shoots in single-action competition & wins most he enters. He retired from the police force almost more years ago than I’ve been alive, & his service weapons were always DA revolvers. He doesn’t need to empty a 15-rd mag to take someone down. He’s faster & more accurate with a single shot than most with a full Glock. Of course, I’m not him, but if I had his skills I could see the allure of going old-school. For most people, though, people like me who feel more comfortable with those extra rounds, using a revolver in a real situation isn’t really feasible. I’ve become to used to the weight & feel of high-capacity, polymer-bodied handguns that allow me to put rounds down range & quickly reload when I’m low. I’ve spent too much range time shooting that way to change now, going on 47-years-old. That’s my bad, though. My uncle would gladly let me use anything he’s got when on the range, so it’s only my own fault that I don’t have the skills to do what he does. That old SON is a regular Doc Holiday. It’s seriously impressive watching him work!

  8. Never owned, or even shot a Python, so I can’t really comment one way or another on the gun itself. It is unfortunate, though, that it’s not gonna come back. More guns from more companies makes me a happy camper.

    One little complaint about the article before I go: don’t EVER use the phrase ‘…slapping the much maligned Hillary Hole…’ again. I was eating at the time and the images in my head made me gag. Thanks a lot.

  9. “There are still people who refuse to buy a Ruger because of Bill Ruger’s “No honest man needs more than ten rounds,” statement, even though Sturm, Ruger & Co. will now happily sell you an AR-15 variant with a standard capacity thirty round magazine.”

    Count me as one of those. People on the other side of the spectrum who love anything Ruger puts out are just as bad. I will explain below.

    They only jumped on the AR bandwagon after the market was already saturated with it so they could not ignore its popularity. Not only that their AR’s are still proprietary in general but hey, they get a pass at that because it is Ruger. If it was any other company they would be shunned and booed as being greedy but because it is “Ruger” it is a-okay!!! The hypocrisy is astounding.

    And yes I have handled and used their guns. All got a resounding “meh” from me.

    • Sure bill ruger was a jerk when it came to some of his politics, but he’s dead and the company has moved on. It sounds like you’re just holding a grudge for no good reason at this point. The company had the Mini 14 before the AR which essentially does the same thing, but in order to compete effectively with a market that typically wanted AR15s they needed to make one too. They are far from the only company to do this. It’s proprietary, but how many complete piston AR15s aren’t? They were also probably going for a slightly higher end market than the standard AR. I wouldn’t call any of this greedy. All companies have to turn a profit and not listening to the market is exactly what colt has done. Look where that has left them

      I wouldn’t say there is anything special about ruger firearms, but they are well made and they work while being affordable. If they don’t work ruger makes it right.

      Aside from maybe glock pistols I think they make some of the most utilitarian firearms out there. They perform a job. Nothing more, nothing less. A lot of people want that in a gun.

      Admittedly I own several rugers, but I also own several glocks and a few other brands.

    • I bought a Ruger SS GP100 .357 a few weeks ago. I wasn’t tickled when I got it, especially with the trigger but after a simple smoothing of the action, it is now as sweet as any revolver I’ve shot.
      I decided to sand and buff the gun to a mirror shine. Now it is my favorite gun to admire.
      I looked at a Colt in the 80s as well. I still don’t why I didn’t buy one. They are just so timeless.

    • The reason a Ruger AR is a wise choice is that it comes with Ruger’s service (and at no extra cost). I had an issue with a Mini-14 and I can attest that you won’t find better service with any other firearms manufacturer.

  10. Just like the 1911 didn’t come back. We got a lot of pistols with “1911” stamped on them, but a true 1911 they are not.

    By the way, how are your proposed obscure very large caliber revolvers with their minuscule market share going to save Colt and not as is more likely drive them into bankruptcy?

    Just let Colt die. They had a good run but clearly aren’t cut out to compete in the 21st century.

    • As Halo guns, following the Magnum Research model. You build something big and flashy that works well and captures the public’s imagination. You know you’re not going to sell a lot of them, but that’s okay. You sell a ton of smaller, less expensive guns that ride the coat tails of your Halo piece.

      A better example might be Smith and Wesson. For every Model 500 they make and sell, they probably make and sell a dozen M&P pistols and .38 Special Airweight J Frames. The .500 isn’t there to sustain the company. It’s there for bragging rights.

      “Look at us. We have the most powerful handgun on the planet. What’s that? You can’t afford and have no use for a full power rifle masquerading as a revolver? Step over here and take a look at these smaller, less expensive and more practical guns. I’m sure we have something you’d like.”

      Whether Colt has the capitol or the business acumen to try it is anybody’d guess.

  11. I’m firmly onboard with this idea. Snake-themed revolvers, with triggers that don’t need an immediate trip to the gunsmith, would be an excellent product line. I just paid $1.5k for a little Dan Wesson 1911, I’d pay more for a new 4″ Colt .454 with a nice trigger. Call it the Sidewinder.

  12. They are going to have a long, slow, painful death. Like any huge corp. they have thier strategy and wont change for anything. I mean how can you let those patents expire. Im no attorney maybe they couldnt do anything about it, but that doesnt seem likely. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. I hate to see them go down like this but it’s too late they are so far behind everyone else who is serious about producing new and innovative firearms. Best scenario in my opinion, will be someone waits till they are in bankruptcy and buys them out….keep the horse alive at least.

  13. Good article, although I suspected that Colt upper management pissed away the company, I was unaware of the above and beyond board room stupidity that squandered a once great American gun maker.

  14. One reason not already mentioned is the American consumer are the cheapest most parsimonious plicks in the word. The want first class products and service but will only pay steerage prices. Quality cost money folks. Get over your cheap penny pinching ignorance.

  15. There are also many other problems those of us who have worked in the firearms industry at the executive and mid-level management are starting to see get worse. I started in the industry 32 years ago and have worked for some of the largest companies. Starting about 10 years ago (although as Mr. Zimmerman points out, it did happen now and then earlier), I began noticing that gun companies were hiring people who were not even gun owners for key positions. Here are some examples; 1) a Vice-President of Military & LE Sales for one of the largest companies in the world that was never in the military or in LE and never owned a gun (having only fired a shotgun once when he was a boy), 2) a Director of Human Resources that was for gun bans (her husband was too and he was in the USAF reserve and hated gun qualification) and she worked at one of the largest gun accessory companies, 3) A Director of LE sales who is a foreigner and is anti-civilian gun ownership, 4) multiple marketing directors and marketing managers who never fired a gun in their life, 5) CEO who thinks that handguns are the same as power tools as far as marketing/sales because that was the industry he was in 6) the former Colt CEO (I forgot his name but he is on YouTube) that when was first handed a pistol during an company event, was visibly shaking because of his fear of guns, 7) firearm engineers that are not allowed to own guns because their wife would not allow it, and the list can go on and on. Many of the problems stem from foreign ownership who do not understand the U.S. market and they have final say in the hiring. For example, in Europe when there is a gun ban proposal, everyone stops buying guns. In the USA when there is a gun ban proposal, we buy as many as we can – many Europeans cannot wrap their head around this and this is just one example of why they cannot effectively run an American gun company – and I won’t even get into their poor advertising concepts. But, it is not just foreign companies, look at the consolidation of many gun companies under one umbrella only to have the “bean counters” lay off all of the marketing managers and product managers so there is only one marketing manager (or director) handling ALL of the companies even though each company makes different products from one another for different segments of the industry – this has ruined the brand identity of companies that are over 100 years old. Real gun guys in the top management are becoming rare at many of the large companies BUT there are a lot of “posers” pretending to be gun guys.

  16. As a younger firearms enthusiast, I’ve only gotten the chance to shoot my uncles Python. As for many of us to get a python is out of the question due to market prices. Luckily for me I wasnt totally out of luck. For those of you that can find it, orginal colt trooper (notice I say orginal not the mk iii or iv) is very close to the Python. Many call it the poor mans Python due to the same action and hand fitting. If you find one at a good price give it a try before they’re taken too.

  17. Concealed carry is the next big era. For years I carried a nickel colt detective.Like an idiot I traded it for a mini glock 9.After discovering that plastic pistols were not all that amazing I went back to a small revolver again,a smith 642.I own a couple colt 1911s,my last being a commander and I love Colts quality.I would gladly pay double what I paid for this smith 642 for a new colt detective.Many other people I talk to would also.

  18. My dad has a Colt Python he wants to sell – he bought it from a cop over 40 years ago, but he’s getting on in age and wants to sell. I saw what Dan Zimmerman said in this blog (great blog, by the way Dan) and I think our local gun shop owner is – well – not being good to him. He only offers between 500 and 800 ‘depending on detractors’ and the custom grips are a detractor as far as he’s concerned. But it’s the only gun shop in our town and I don’t know how to help get a bit more for dad. Any tips from you guys on where/how to sell such a gun? Thanks.

  19. Tom – I’d be very interested in making your dad a fair offer for the Python. My father-in-law carried a Python as a county sheriff and I’d like to find one to replace it.

  20. There is a Colt Python 357 Magnum Revolver coming up for auction Sunday, July 19, 2015. Here is the website for the auction company. http://wwwTheCompleteAuctionService.com it is for George Foster auction. He has several guns and rifles listed but the Colt Python I thought was of interest.

  21. In 1995 I bought a used (made in 1981) Colt Python 357 Magnum, blue steel with a 6″ barrel on principle, Giuliani was mayor of NY city, and it seemed he was going to stamp all over our civil liberties. I went twice to a shooting range in the Park Ave Armory, which then got closed down because of poor ventilation. Although I don’t know much about guns, I know this pistol is in great condition because my friend who is a gun collector saw it and could not believe it had ever been fired. He was laughing at me when I told him I didn’t know how much was the right amount to clean it, so I just kept cleaning with a soft cloth until it seemed perfect.

    In the end, NY city won taking away my ability to own a gun by making the license $350, which is too expensive for me as I am an artist and jewelry designer, and business is not good now.

    It has the original box and pamphlets. I just found this article because I was posting it for sale

    http://www.gunsamerica.com/Classifieds/View/_916194462.aspx or you can contact me with an offer Jane@JaneGordon.com (am I allowed to post this?)

  22. July 16th., 1964, I brought a new nickel plated six inch Python from Casanova’s Guns in Milwaukee, WI. for $125.00, on the way home from work, with my first paycheck after collage.
    I sill have it and use it (the gun, not the paycheck). It shots like new, some very mild ware.
    June 1965, I brought a S&W model 41, from Casanova’s. Still have and use it. Both guns are great.
    I shot them every few weeks, our daughters been began shooting them it at age six and ten, they have shot them with me in the last two weeks.
    I’ve no idea what they are worth, I’ll never sell them.

  23. If anyone is interested in purchasing a Colt Python, I have one for sale on GunsAmerica. The license fees here in NY city are way too high for me to keep this anymore. $350 to renew each time. A financial gun control around the 2nd amendment.

    http://www.gunsamerica.com/916194462/Colt-Python-357-Magnum-6-Blue-Steel-Pristine-condition.htm

    You can also contact me directly. The pistol is in the hands of a gun dealer here in NY city.
    Jane@JaneGordon.com.

  24. Glad I have all the SNAKES. This shows you when a lib gets in control. A President ,A Mayor or A CEO. they run everything in to the ground. Then blame someone else or sell it off.

    • Although I own a 4″ bbl, blued Python, I certainly am keeping my fingers crossed that Colt resurrects the Python line. No doubt I would be one of the many waiting in line at my favorite gun shop to buy one or more!

      • I started tuning my own Pythons when a factory-tuned one came into the shop with a horrible action. The store owner asked me to open it up to see if it could be fixed. That was in 1980 when Tedford was there. It isn’t that hard to do it right.

      • Q: What do the old Trooper, “357”, OMM, Official Police, and a few other “E” & “I” frames have in common?

        They all use the same lockworks. Thus, all Colt’s bluster about how difficult Pythons are to fit centers on a few minutes more with a file and polishing tool. Never had a bad Officers Model Match, and few owners complain about them today.

  25. I have also always regretted that I didn’t acquire a python before the prices climbed into the stratosphere. My other “gun that got away” was the Dan Wesson .357 revolver. In the early 1980’s, there was one for sale at the Gibson’s department store next door to the office where I worked. It came with 3 interchangeable barrels, 2″, 4″ and 6″, if I remember correctly. It was a pretty gun, and reasonable price. But I listened to the clerk at the gun counter, who spoke authoritatively as a “gun expert” that Dan Wessons were “pieces of junk.” Later, too late, I came to realize that this guy was an idiot, and an asshole, who likely just wanted to sell me a more expensive gun.

  26. Just got off the phone with Colt today Sept.12 2016 . I returned my Python for repair and refinish in October 2015. Called several times for status and they kept telling me they had not gotten to it yet. Customer service informed me today, they would be returning my gun unrepaired and unrefinished. No longer working on any double action Python revolvers. No parts. They suggested I call Turnbull, which I did. They do not repair or restore any Pythons at this time. Can’t get parts and cannot duplcate Colt finish. Call back in about nine months. Called Cylinder and Slide in Nebraska. Same story.
    Thanks Colt. Another case of a piss poor management decision.

    • Well, I DO have parts, but I’m not a licensed gunsmith. Don’t know what you need but any parts for a Colt E-I frame Should work, except the hammer. What do you need?

      • Not sure what parts it may need but the problem is that the cylinder release is not as smooth as I think it should be Feels like it is hanging up a little when sliding. My Python is an earlier model in the cardboard wood grain box but with a lime green label designating Custom Shop work.
        BTW, called Colt again to set up a date for return shipping. A more informative customer service employee said that the problem mostly is not the parts availability since most internals can be made by a competent and or qualified Colt gunsmith. However, in 2015, two of three double action gunsmiths retired and really slowed things down. Then the last gunsmith they had retired in 2016 due to health problems which left them with nobody and in the situation they have now , which is nobody to work on them and they can’t find qualified smith’s to relocate to Connecticut . Hence,a decision was made to return all of the Pythons that were not started which he said were several hundred.

        • Ok, behind the cylinder release is a small coil spring over a pin-like guide. The spring may have gotten distorted, or the ratchet could even be binding from working loose. More likely, some debris got under it. A quick fix if you can get the sideplate off without buggering the finish. Check Bob’s Gun Parts on the web. He may have what you need. I would have to make a spring from stock.
          Keep me informed: I might be able to send you a part.

        • Thanks Tommygun.
          I’ve dealt with Bobs before and had no problems.He must have a ton of old and new parts. I won’t get the gun back for another couple weeks due to vacation but I will do some research and decide which is the best way to go.
          Thanks again for the heads up.

  27. Finally had gotten my Python back from Colt, unrepaired and unrefinished. They held my check, which was $505 paid in advance, for another three weeks. I shipped the gun out to Glenn Custom. He had it maybe two weeks before returning it repaired. The cylinder latch pin was the problem. The small protrusion on the side, which is pressed in, came out. He had another, no problem. He checked out the entire gun and lubricated it.
    Thanks to Glenn Custom, I ‘m again a Happy Python owner.

  28. I have a comment for LibTards who are anti liberty and anti 2nd Amendment …. Ya fwuggin’ fwucks.

    Your communist and cultural Marxist mindset is not wanted in the USA. Go to N. Korea or China.

  29. You know they are working on a Python right now. Kind of embarrassing when you say never and write such a long article with your opinions to find out a year later they are making it again.

    If this comment doesn’t get approve I’ll just go on Twitter but then everyone will see it.

      • There needs to be no proof. It is happening. DId you not see them shake off the dust of the cobra. the python, the most coveted of the snake guns is going to follow…

        • Yes I heard it is confirmed by Colt themselves that the Cobra is back now. The reason for my doubt is I kept reading from numerous forums and places saying that the Python machinery is scrapped and long gone and the smiths that assembled them are not around anymore that they are discontinued for good, not just from this site. Are they just false rumors?

  30. I had a brick and mortar gun shop from 1980 until 1991 when I sold the business. During that time I sold several S&W’s , Colts and Rugers- almost 95% revolvers. When I got pistols from suppliers I had to buy their junk to get the good stuff. For instance if I wanted a 29 I had to purchase 10-15 S&W shotguns or rifles or sometimes air rifles from the supplier. I would sell all the junk for my cost so I could make 20% on the 29. A lot of work for little in return. When I see what some FFL’s are getting for firearms today is close to retail so they are making 25-45% depending on fall dating terms and with what Obama did he made dealers rich folks.
    Even in those days you had to purchase a lot from Colt suppliers and that meant whatever junk they were peddling. When I look at what I sold Pythons, Troopers, Diamondbacks, and Agents for I just cringe. Three years ago I was at a small gun shop in Franklin Pa and there was a used Anaconda for $800.00. I never said anything to the guy but I thought he was nuts . Little did I know at the time the way snake gun prices had sky rocketed. I wish now I would have purchased it but I also thought back to selling Pythons for around $275-$300 and others for much less. Colts could not take the beating that N frame S&W’s could and any reputable non bias gunsmith will tell you the same. Firing hot loads would “loosen” up the python while a 27 would shrug off like water off nylon. But there was some kind of magic they possessed and have followers all over the world. Smith “kind of” made L frames that resembled the Python but not the “it quality” of the Pythons and Diamondbacks. I hope they bring them back so all guys over %0 can buy one.

  31. Colt will never build the python because all the equipment that produced them has been sold removed and the pistol smiths have all retired so if you see one and you like it buy it don’t let it get away

  32. The problem at Colt is the lack of a progressive management. You never stop inventing,improving and expanding the line, by selectively dropping the loosers.

    Colt Python, Anaconda,Cobra and Diamondback, all serving a specific, already segmented marketplace.

    Look at Bill Ruger’s legacy, practically all of his wonderful,indestructible “little tanks,” are offered up to a public that craves and appreciates Made in America!

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