“The epitome of Colt’s double-action revolver line was the Python,” NRA’s American Rifleman asserts, recycling a video from 2012. “Introduced initially as a ‘deluxe Magnum’ target revolver, the Python in .357 Mag. made its debut in 1955. Not inexpensive, it sold for $125 a half-century ago.” Discontinued in 1996, today a used Python will run you from $2k to $5k, depending. I’ve heard dozens of gun guys say Colt should make it again. So…how much would you pay for perfect modern-day rendition of this classic gun?

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181 Responses to Question of the Day: How Much Would You Pay for a New Colt Python?

  1. There are so many “ifs” here as to finish and quality.. but if it was as good as the best of the old ones, I’d drop 2k for it without crying a bit.

    • Kimber’s new revolver MSRP is $900. I don’t know how much hand-fitting work they do on them, and obviously a Python would be a bit larger and more labor intensive. So if we double that price (assuming more labor and materials) I think it would be reasonable for a 4 inch Python to start somewhere around $1.8k – $2k. Or perhaps less, given that S&W 627 Perf. Center sticker is $1289.

      • The S&W Performance Center revolvers are the benchmark. A new era Python would need to be MSRP south of $1100. If available in 8 round configuration, I think you could add two or three hundred to that figure.

    • How about the resurrected/post bankrupt Colt importing Manurhin 73 .357s from France with the prancing pony engraved on the side? All made from forged stainless parts with a bluing process (probably) illegal in the US now? €1500-1600 in 2013 would probably come out to about $1600-1800 after import. A high end revolver has a limited market – might as well outsource it.

        • One other not many people do not know about. For decades Colt has had a really neat 9mm high capacity double action pistol in their safe. They originally were going to enter it in on of the U.S. Military trials but its been so many decades I cannot remember as to whether they ever went through with it or not. It would be neat if they would market it to the public. The design was pre-plasticky and an all metal gun.

  2. It’s a sweet wheel gun. That being said, if a flood of them hit the market, then I would hope it would lower the price to 800ish? Don’t know if that’s even reasonable, but that’s what I’d be willing to spend.

  3. The Python — in fact, all Colt snake guns — were hand fitted by highly skilled workers. I’m not sure that any of those old masters are still around. But if Colt could build new Pythons equal to the quality of the old ones, $2K would be a very cheap price to pay.

    • It would be great if Freedom Arms could tool up for a double action line. This would be a great pattern for them.

    • Most of what made a Python a Python simply came down to a couple extra hours on the polishing wheel, both for the frame and barrel and for the internals. With modern manufacturing techniques hand fitting shouldn’t be all that highly skilled as most of the parts should fit just about perfectly in the first place. The biggest challenge would be a thorough inspection of every revolver by a competent gunsmith before they went out the door. A handful of defective or marred guns would ruin the Python brand.

      If they had the will and investment capital it shouldn’t cost any more for a Python than a S&W performance center revolver. $1000 – $1200 street price.

        • You are aware that the difference between a matte blued finish and a deep polished bluing is nothing more than polishing? The smoother the metal the shinier the bluing.

          And yes, in 1955 it took hours of tender loving care by a skilled gunsmith to hand fit and assemble the masterpiece known as the Python. But now with CNC machining milling out auto parts with tolerances measured in microns, I don’t see fitting as skilled a task as it used to be.

        • No, I’m a gunsmith and I had nooooo idea.

          (I’m spraining the muscles in my eye sockets, I’m rolling my eyes so damned hard)

          Good grief. You do realize the neurosurgery is just like cutting a steak on your plate, it’s just that the neurosurgeon is having to work in a sterile environment and use a smaller knife, right?


          I finish guns in my shop. Part of that is polishing. I polish shotgun or rifle barrels in a “couple of hours.” That’s JUST the barrels, which are mostly featureless surfaces. The actions, trigger guards, bottom metal/magazines, etc? Oh, that’s where the time is. Lots of it. If I were hand-polishing a S&W or Ruger (or similar) revolver to a 600 to 800 level of finish? I’d estimate that I’d have at least between 10 to 16 hours into it before I’m done – if I got the metal and it weren’t too rough as a starting point. That’s a common revolver, without the full length rib and underlug of the Python, which will complicate the polishing considerably.

          I have talked to metal polishers from H&H in London, and they put a finish similar to the Python’s on their blued shotguns. For their polishers, who do nothing but polishing their entire time at H&H (ie, these guys are experts, and they have their tooling that has been doing this for decades), they spend about two hours on their barrels, achieving a nicer finish than I do on American shotgun barrels. Again, that two hours is just the barrels.

        • So you missed the modest exaggeration when I used the word ‘couple’? So polish-wise you’re saying that the difference between the finish of a Python and Smith or Ruger is about a dozen hours on the polishing wheel? That should translate into an extra $400 or so. And that’s assuming that in a massed production facility they couldn’t figure out a way to mechanize the bulk of the process.

        • Actually, Dyspeptic, Colt is offering the “Royal Blue” finish again.

          They drop it in an oscillating drum for a few hours.
          Most people on the internet seem to be of the mind that’s one of the few things this current iteration of Colt has managed to do right.
          As a matter of fact, the royal blue now with oscillated polishing is a better more consistent royal blue than say 10 or 15 years ago.

      • Gov. Le Petomane, when I asked the polishers (and that’s all they do) at Cabbot how many guns they could polish in a day, the answer I got back was, in a long day, maybe 1. And they are starting with nice smooth steel to begin with.

        • Yes, as I noted above the term ‘couple’ was a small understatement. Still a day on the polishing wheel isn’t, or shouldn’t warrant a $600 revolver selling for $2000 or more.

        • At some point it becomes obvious that someone has no understanding of what they are talking about. Save your pearls gentleman.

      • Hours? According to Al De John, an assembler produced three Pythons per hour vs four of the others.

        Wow, the mythology just keeps growing.

    • A lot of parts could be made on modern CNC equipment now. Similar to how Dan Wesson reintroduced their revolvers and how Smith kept up by converting a lot of parts to CNC machined.

      • And on a S&W revolver, that will work. S&W’s have a bit of slop in them on the lockup, and their finish, while good in the old days, hasn’t been that great since the 90’s (mostly bead-blasted or moderately polished). The Python’s level of lockup exceeds any S&W made, ever, and the finish on the Royal Blue exceeds any S&W made, ever.

        The Python is in a whole different level of completion than S&W, Ruger, Wesson or Freedom Arms. I’m NOT saying that those revolvers are poor products – they’re not.

        The Python was simply a level above and beyond any of them. People really need to hold a Python in their hands and compare them, side by side, to the others. Once you do, you will see (actually feel) what I’m talking about.

    • I had a Python in the ’70s as a kid, and later a King Cobra I bought new in the mid ’80s ($375 if memory serves) Apparently I should have held on to both, because for some reason people will spend insanely stupid money on a gun with only 6 shots.

      I like them both, but they just weren’t guns you could use for much. Traded the Cobra for an Eagle in .357 – quite a coup back then.

      • Yeah I had a King Cobra That I had polished Out to Chrome The stainless steel look absolutely amazing and it was a to And a half or two and three quarter inch barrel which was very rare. And I had a anaconda 4 inch barrel 45 Long Colt which was pretty rare as well And I had a six inch Python All really good guns I wish I would have kept them.

        • Mine were both 6″. Didn’t seem to me to be any point to a shorter barrel (not that they’re wrong just no point to me).

  4. New production? Meaning if they were actually manufacturing them again to the same standard they did before (no shortcuts or “cost-saving changes” ) and I’m not buying an original collectible?
    Between $800 to $1000.

  5. Well, the $5k+ NIB old guns are priced that way because of increasing rarity and demand. I can’t see paying those prices for a new gun, since resuming production will partially alleviate the rarity issue. However, I seriously doubt Colt has or can get the skilled craftsmen to truly recreate an original quality version of the Python. So I think the rarity demand for the old guns with keep increasing as a collector item, though some people will choose to buy a new one to actually shoot or use. So I see the market being willing to bear for a New Python somewhere between the price of a used beat up Python ($2k-ish) and below the price of a NIB old one.

    Short version, I wouldn’t buy a new one because I doubt the company’s ability. But, the market would likely bear somewhere in the $2500-4000 range for new, original quality Pythons. But this is irrelevant because Colt can’t or won’t do that. If they simply made a “Python” model with modern production and materials, same as a new, no-lock 686…around a grand.

  6. Well, $125 back then was worth about what $1k is now, so about $1k, which is what I would expect of a high quality 357.

      • I feel you guys are a little on the low side. The reason why I say this is You can buy a Performance Center Smith and Wesson 357 Magnum and it will run you anywhere from 12 to 14 hundred bucks depending on options. So if you can get already a revolver 412 de 1400 That is nowhere near as smooth as a python if they do it the way they used to do it that is. I would easily pay $1,500 for this gun if not a little more all the way up to 2000. No that’s just my opinion on things But I feel that it’s correct because of the workmanship as far as the hand fitting and polishing And the absolutely gorgeous royal blue glowing. I have talked to Colt many a times and had pythons reblued and they have a guy that’s been doing it for over 25 years and that’s all he does is finishes with Pythons And repairs pythons. Absolutely gorgeous bluing job and that is a dying art with all these new ceramic finishes and duracoat cerakote and all this kind of stuff. There is a real need For the Python to come back as well as the Anaconda line and the king cobra line as well.

  7. For all the people clamoring for a Python, there probably aren’t more than a small percentage who would actually purchase one. In this day and age, a high-end wheelgun is necessarily going to be a low-volume affair, so I doubt that Colt would ever sell enough to put them in line with mass-production revolvers.

    That said, current S&W Performance Center .357s have MSRPs ranging from $1,100 on up to $1,700 or so. That’s probably a similarly-sized market to what Colt could expect for a revived Python, so I’ll go ahead and say that $1,250-$1,500 is the range where I’d think about it.

    • I went for a 10-year period where I bought every Python I found, and ended up with 3 new and 1 used. The most I paid was $160. There is still one in the family (I gave it to my son) after 1 stolen, 1 sold because I didn’t like 6″ bbl, and one shot from brand new to just about falling apart, then sold for $600. If the same guns were available at $2000, I would buy 3 to start. But I don’t think it can happen, at any price. Those craftsmen are gone, and were for a while before the Python was discontinued. A stainless Python? Really?

    • Got a Miculek 986 (owned and unused for 750) a few week ago. The $1100 MSRP is ridic.

      If NeoPythons MSRP’d at 2k, I’d be monitoring armslist/gunbroker on an hourly basis for a used one. You’re right.

  8. The problem with the Python being produced today Is Colt is now using gun text instead of Gunsmith to assemble the assembly line production. This gun the Python was made by Gunsmith, this made sure that they were perfect from head to toe. Colt made a comment not too long ago that they could not afford to manufacture the Python because of these reasons. I do not want a mass assembly line Python! I want Unoriginal royal blue six inch 357 Magnum Python from Colt made by Gunsmith not gun text not an assembly line like they do Japanese cars. If they do this I will definitely pay $1,500 to $2,000 for a pistol right now Call Colt for me fellas!And just think they could probably dig themselves out of their bankruptcy if they brought back the Python the Anaconda And the king cobra line of revolvers that sold so well for so many years for them! Just a heads up for you boys at Colt come on now let’s get with the program damn it!

    • Trust me, Jim, the 6″ sucks, the balance is wrong. For a S&W combat magnum, the correct length is the near-6″ bbl, for the Python it’s 4″. And from a rest I could hit a soda can 2 times out of 3 at 100 yards, what is 6″ or 8″ (which did not exist when I bought mine) gonna do for me?

  9. I can’t imagine a hand fitted revolver like an original Python being sold for anything less than $2,500 or so. The labor costs for such skilled workers would drive the price. Python fans / collectors would probably snap them up but when people complain about $700 and up new S&W revolvers I don’t think they would be huge sellers.

    • You are right but they don’t do it that way anymore. They invest in equipment not craftsman. Want a high end polished finish like a Maybach or Mac Pro? Program robotic buffers. Today’s craftsmen are programmers.

  10. I would drop $1.2k no problem if they were the same but I would probably get an old one just because I would be skeptical.

  11. If Chiappa can get 6″ Rhinos out the door for under $800, then colt should be able to get pythons out the door for less than $1000. Hell, for $2000, I can have a custom revolver EDMed for me.

    • It might be EDM’ed, but you’re going to see a surface finish that looks like it was EDM’ed, not a Royal Blue level of polish.

      • A good EDM produces an almost mirror finish. Polishing from there might add a hundred bucks to the cost. $2000 is a ridiculous price for any revolver given the simplicity of the part geometries.

        • You’re going to have to polish every internal part to that same level of perfection in order to match the action, also. If you think it can be done for $800, get to it, and sell the first few thousand for $2000 each, your fortune has been made! You’re welcome!

        • So the Chiappa Rhino is not a polished revolver then? There are perfectly serviceable revolvers out there that would compete with the Pythons for well under $1000. You’re paying all that extra money for the prancing pony roll mark. It’s the same reason why Colt ARs get laughed at in the civilian market. Extra money, no extra value. For the same price, I can get a top-shelf custom AR from any of a dozen manufacturers. (Or roll my own.)

        • Seriously? You’re talking about actual finish not the quality of the workmanship? You don’t think something can be polished to a high gloss finish with the right coatings and machines in a few minutes?

          I’m not sure if you’re aware of how industrial finishing processes work. Hand polishing is obsolete and has been for decades. Paying an extra $1000 for a finish is pants on head retarded.

        • I would disagree with you on two counts. First of all it would not cost another thousand. I have polished metal and when you get an experienced worker with the right equipment it does not take as long as one might think.

          Second it is not foolish to pay extra for a high gloss blue finish. The resale down the road of such a gun is many times higher than todays butt ugly “in the unfinished rough” condition of todays modern ilk which although functional make the “old timers” who appreciate quality hand crafted weapons puke when they see todays modern made trash.

          In other words the extra money spent is the difference between forgetting that you even bought the “latest and greatest black plasticky wonder turd” and the life long satisfaction of owning a hand crafted weapon which when shown to your colleagues will never cease to make them swoon and faint dead away, so keep the smelling salts handy to wake them up with a big smile from ear to ear on their face because for just a moment they experienced what it is like to peek into Nirvana if only just for a moment in time. That is the affect of having “the Python experience” or like like experience with many of the “nostalgic hand crafted works of art” from the long dead hand of the past, gone forever and never to return.

          Men down through History have always taken great pride in their weapons such as having them engraved and inlayed with precious metals which goes back well over 5,000 years of history. Maybe today we have ceased to breed “real men” anymore.

        • I know how industrial finishing works.

          I know it also looks like an industrial finish when you’re done.

          You thought that a Chiappa Rhino is polished. I looked again at the pictures (to refresh my memory) and no, it isn’t polished. It’s never seen even a buffing wheel, never mind a hand polishing job. Even a desultory application of 180 grit paper would improve the finish on a Rhino.

          You can call it retarded all you want. But there is a price premium in the gun market for highly finished guns, and there isn’t a price premium for industrial finishes on guns. I know plenty of well-heeled gun buyers who pay up $10K and up for hand-polished, slow rust blued shotgun or rifle. I also know that none of these buyers are going to spend anything north of $1K for a gun encrusted with Cerakote (or similar) finishes.

          There’s no point in trying to explain the cachet of a Lamborghini to someone who wants to try to pick up women in a Trabant.

  12. Yeah I’d buy a new one. It ‘s somewhere down around 10th on my want list. In the meantime I’ll probably settle for a used Taurus. Who knows…my limit would be in the low thousand range.

  13. I paid $400 for my .38 Diamondback in 1982 and it was worth every penny. I agree that should equal quality snake guns hit the market anew that the inflated prices we see now would drop significantly. I’m already willing to put $2,000 on a 98%+ (with original box) used 6″ blued Python but haven’t found one at that price yet. So I guess I would be willing to pay that much for a brand new one. However, if I were Colt, I wouldn’t make them myself. I would find a small company to make them for me under license and simply take profit from those sales. I think that reintroduction of the snake line would be profitable for a smaller outfit producing limited quantities, at least in the beginning.

  14. Honestly, I think Colt would be stupid to even attempt it and I think that it isn’t even on the list of priorities. They’re trying to re-position themselves in the industry right now. We all know what Colt did wrong. They stopped caring about their civilian market, they relied to heavily on contracts and their guns cost the consumer anywhere from 20% to 50% more than comparable products from other companies. Is a Colt 1911 better than a comparable Springfield 1911 with the same features? It might be, but it isn’t 2, 3 or $400 better, especially when most of the accuracy comes from the shooter. Yeah, they started making affordable AR’s for sale at WalMart before they filed for bankruptcy, but it was too little, too late. Apparently, they’re taking a different approach. Any day now the Colt Competition 1911 will hit the shelves and it will be priced to compete with the Springfield RO 1911 and I think we can expect more of that direction.

    Wheelguns are a different story. While most guns have risen in price at the retail level of the last decade, revolvers have skyrocketed. 10 years ago, the ruger gp100 cost about $500. Price one now. The same goes to Smith. Could Colt do a Python? It would be awesome, I’ll admit. I gush every time I see one and I kick myself for not picking up one at 1K when I had the opportunity. But, at a time when they are trying to reach more American consumers, making a production weapon with all of the attributes of a custom piece doesn’t make sense because it probably would cost close to or around 2K. It would have to if they did it right. If they did it wrong and sold for closer to 1K they’d get laughed at even if it turned out to be as good or better than a Smith or Ruger. Colt needs to continue in their current direction. It’s the way that they can reclaim their former glory and not be the disappointing bastard child of the firearms industry. They won’t get there by trying to make and sell revolvers that cost more than a mortgage payment.

    • As to priorities, consider this: Colt has moved almost all of its 1911 production to CNC machining, the result of which is that all 1911s except for the 4″ commander can no longer be sold in California. The California roster lists exactly two Colts, the Commander and…the Python. (Actually, we can buy 1873s also, as they are Roster exempt.)

      This fact suggests that the Python is indeed coming, but that it will be produced primarily through CNC manufactured parts. As to finishing, well, just look at their catalog at their 1873s–gorgeous Royal Blue, not available elsewhere, is still produced by their custom shop.

      • Perhaps someone can give me more info on this statement but I have been told that very small parts as those found internally in revolvers do not lend themselves very easily to the CNC machining process and even if possible it would be way cheaper to use junk MIM cast parts which I think would be the case in a Python recreation if indeed there ever is one. Once this blunder was made no one would even want a new Python even if they were reasonably priced. And I am absolutely certain of this and I think the new run would be short lived indeed.

      • If you believe the flawed Californian list would cause Colt to lose some sleep and offer another Python, your dreaming. Wake up, until that list is abolished in 5 years the only new handguns you will be getting is the 1 or 2 still on the roster, or whatever you can beg a cop to sell to you for triple MSRP!

        • I think DA revolvers are exempt from the microstamping requirement, so theorectically we could see new models there.

        • One of the leads on Kimber’s side for the K6s program did say that they are going to try and jump through the hoops to get the K6s on the roster. Makes me think because of the mechanical differences in case ejection, DA revolvers are exempt from that infernal microstamping requirement.

    • You did neglect to mention the bloated salaries of the corrupt management that were pocketing all the profit and not reinvesting it in new products or variation of existing products. Colt even quit advertising in the gun rags for ages and then one wonders why they went into financial difficulty.

  15. First, Colt would have to convince me that the Python is a better revolver than a GP100. Otherwise nothing.

  16. Python is a pretty and that is all, what happens if something breaks….. having shot both I can say Smith’s were better guns anyways. There is a big difference between a collectors pieces and a something that functions flawlessly. Hell Smith and Wesson performance center are hand fitted and tuned and they survive. Colt would just screw this up like they have everything else. Let the collectors have their shinies.

  17. At my current financial situation? Not near what they’d bring on the open market.

    That said I’d consider a “reasonable” price for a gun of that quality to be ~1-1.5k. Which even if I were better off, I still wouldn’t buy one because damn that’s a lot of money. I’ll stick with a GP100 for 1/2 the cost.

  18. Frankly, I’d be embarrassed to buy any new Colt product given that the money I pay would be going, at least in part, to a low-life grave-dancing financial hustler.

  19. Revolvers? Nobody uses those! The masses want poly/striker fired guns with 30 round mags and forward assists!!! oh and two rails 🙂

    Problem is now days there are many quality revolvers. I think this is just “branding” sure they would sell and prob for alot 1K but is the quality/accuracy vs $$$ there?? We live in a very “branded” world where the “name” on something is more important than the use or quality of the item.(think I’m joking, try getting your wife to switch dishwasher soap/tabs)
    Also nostalgia plays a role in the branding. Ask yourself this question and see -If you had a choice for a free revolver in good condition sight unseen would you pick a Colt Peacemaker or a Ubreti Cattleman?

    • I have one Uberti (an 1862 Navy) that has always been a problem, and three Piettas (1861, and 2 1873s). The Piettas have better case hardening than the Ubertis–but neither compares to the finish on a Colt. And I had to polish the internals of all of them. I have never shot a Colt, and do not know about their reliability, so it hard to comment on anything other than price. I paid under $400 for my 1873s, while the Colts start at 1200+, and the really nice ones are over $1400. Which is why I don’t own one.

  20. If you think a new python from COLT, the company that goes bankrupt for fun, would be put out for a penny less than $2k, you’re insane. Probably more.

    • I have to agree. The absolute least they would MSRP these for will be $1600 for a blued finish, around $2000+ for chrome or Royal Blue.

  21. I’m happy that I was able to pick up a beauty of a 6″ a few months back for $1,200.
    I’d do it again.
    Hand fitting and timing the parts takes time. I do something similar each day. Heck, for one part on my bench, I’ve got a choice of 9 different pin sizes to set the timing right.

    Colt getting the polishing right then that royal blue? That finish you can reach into…
    I’m guessing MSRP would be 2.5-3K.

  22. Man, that’s hard to say. I’d have to weigh in the current market with the rugged rugers and excellent smiths.

    I’m sure if you did it right they’d command a fair price, though.

  23. Damn reviving this thread is older than the .300 blackout vs 7.62×39. Two things to this. 1) The tooling is long gone. 2) Those skilled workers are long gone. If you want a python use Gun Broker and prepare that Visa for a blow torch. Do I want a high quality double action revolver, yep. Would I pay over $2k for one, no. That’s why I went to theRuger Super Red hawk.

  24. IF (and that’s a big, big IF) it were made to the level of attention to detail, quality of fit and finish that Pythons used to display, I would pay what I think the gun would be worth – $2500 or so. But that number is entirely conditional upon getting a Python that looks as good as those from the 60’s, and locks up the way Colt Pythons did.

    What most people don’t know or appreciate about Colt Pythons is how tight they were as a wheel gun. Examples:

    – Typical S&W cylinder-to-breech gap is 0.003 to 0.005″. Pythons were held to 0.002″.
    – Grab a S&W revolver (and a Ruger, for that matter). Grab a Python, or any “snake” revolver. Have all of them in NIB condition. Keep them unloaded. Put each one into full lockup – now grab the cylinder and wiggle it for endshake and rotational lockup.

    The S&W and Ruger will wiggle a very small bit. The Colt(s) will not wiggle at all. Colt’s lockup was tight. The Colt revolver design rotated the cylinder into the frame, which allowed them to use the action’s natural motion to force the gun into a tight lockup, wherewas S&W rotated out of the frame, and has to lock up on the bolt and ejector pin alone.

    Colt used to brag on their “bank vault lockup.” That’s the requirement for a competent ‘smith working on a Colt revolver to this day. If you return a Colt revolver to a customer who knows revolvers, and it has the play of a S&W, you’ve just screwed your reputation into the ground. Gunsmiths that work on Colts gain a following for getting their customers’ guns to feel like Colts did when they were NIB.

    Since so many people here have obviously never handled a Python, let me put in terms of cars:

    S&W, Ruger, et al make good, solid revolvers. Let’s call them the Fords and Chevies of revolvers. Pythons were the Cadillacs, the other snake revolvers were the Oldsmobile marque of GM.

    • I agree. I think you helped change my mind on this a while ago. The Colt snakes are and will always be out of my price range.

    • I have no doubt that Pythons had tighter lock ups than Smith or Ruger, but it was my understanding, and correct me if I’m wrong, that a certain degree of play was necessary for reliability. And I’ve heard that Pythons weren’t necessarily the most reliable revolvers. I took both my GP100s out and did your wiggle test, which I knew both had some play, and I found that my 6″ is quite a bit tighter than my 3″ Wiley Clapp. In fact there’s no front to back play at all on the 6″. It also is the one that locked up on me a couple times when it was new. Of course the Python was intended to be a range gun and reliability wasn’t necessarily the top priority, but if it were significantly more accurate than a GP100 it must have been boring to shoot at 100 yards. So is that tight of a cylinder gap and lockup even really beneficial?

      • Yes you are right. The Python often went out of time very, very quickly ,especially if the fitting of the hand was on the short side as it often too many times was. Like a lot of medium frame revolvers it could develop cylinder shake (end play) as well and often sooner than later.

        I think everyone is aware that of what a failure such revolvers like the Smith Model 19 was even with the extra heat treatment Smith gave them. Even their solution to this with the advent of the Smith “L” frame did not make for a superior revolver compared to the .357 “N” frame either. But few people liked the extra weight and bulk of the “N” frame .357 either i.e. Model 28 and Model 27 revolvers.

        Ruger revolvers were originally built tough and reliable but extremely crude. (I cannot say that about the reliability of todays junk MIM Cast Rugers) so if reliability ,not quality, snob appeal or even the extra pride of ownership people got with past made Smiths & Colts is not your concern than the older Rugers made sense as they cost less and held up longer than Colt Pythons or Smith M19’s or Smith “L” frames did.

        No weapon ever made was not without its faults in either design, workmanship, human engineering or reliability. It all depends what you wanted out of one. But the old adage if you pay less don’t expect just a little less, expect a lot less.

      • That’s the point of the Colt design, which is simple, elegant, and incredibly fiddly.

        The Colt design does have a little bit of slop – until it reaches full lockup, which is when you see that the Colt design pushes all the slop to one side and you feel no slop.

        This is where I or some other gunsmith familiar with revolvers needs to sit people down and have a class on revolvers. Too many people today haven’t seen guns that were made “BCW” – Before Cheez-Whiz. Revolvers used to be commonplace, and the knowledge of their finer points used to be widely known. Now they’re somewhat esoteric, and the men with the knowledge are rapidly disappearing like the Druids of old.

        The S&W revolvers revolve “the wrong way” – ie, out of the window. The Colt revolver design revolves into the window. This allows Colt to use the rise of the hand on the pawl on the back of the cylinder to push the cylinder up against the cylinder stop, against the side of the lock pin, the front of the cylinder into the frame, etc. When the Colt’s hammer is almost all the way back, the natural motion of the Colt’s design is pushing all the slop out, and the Colt locks up tight.

        The S&W, by comparison, is pushing the cylinder out of the window, and now the odds are simply stacked against you from the get-go. You can’t make a S&W as tight as a Colt, because the cylinder is being pushed out of the window, and you need to have some allowances in the various parts that keep the cylinder in the window in order to allow you to swing the cylinder out of the window when you want to reload. This is why the S&W designs went from an unsupported ejector rod to a supported ejector rod with a ball detent locking the front of the ejector rod. On a Colt, the crane & ejector will be pushed up against the frame. No need for a spring loaded detent. On the S&W, well, you need that detent to allow the ejector rod to come out of firing position to reload the cylinder – which limits how much you can capture the ejector rod.

        With the Python, Colt wasn’t pushing an “OK” design. They were capitalizing on their one inherent advantage – rotation into the window – and using experienced gunsmiths’ labor to lay down the ultimate standard in revolvers: A revolver that has no slop in the cylinder when the hammer is falling forward. It is locked up tightly as can be achieved on a revolver.

        • No argument from me on the shortcomings of the Smith design, but if we’re considering a NEW Colt Python, how does the Colt design stack up against newer designs like Ruger’s? I realize that the GP100 is more utilitarian than art (although IMHO it’s still prettier than the Smiths), but it has a reputation for never needing anything but ammo and an occasional drop or two of oil. And accuracy doesn’t seem to be a problem either. Aside form ‘tight but fiddly’ lockup, how would a new Python compare if Ruger set up a custom shop and started selling $2000 GP100s? This is my issue with the Python. As a rare and discontinued piece of art it’s quite nice and probably worth $2000-3000. But if you’re seriously talking about bringing back the Python as a production firearm, you’re going to need a lot of spit and polish to make up for having to send the revolver back to Colt after six months to be re-timed.

        • Ruger could make highly finished guns and gain a following. There’s more than enough smiths out there doing custom work on Rugers to prove the market. Some of the Ruger single action revolvers are hell for strong, and are used for the basis of holy-crap-big loads for handgun hunting. The Ruger No. 1 action is a fine falling block action that can be tarted up for no small extent.

          The GP100 is a clever design that could be made better. It is a triple-locking revolver, which is good if a revolver rotates the wrong way, which the GP100’s (and S&W’s) do. Where Ruger really went after cost reduction was the elimination of any flat or v-spring in the gun whatsoever. It is all coil springs – which can break over the long term more frequently than a leaf or v-spring, but you could buy a spare coil spring set for what it would cost you to have a flat or v-spring replaced on a gun today.

          I’ve got nothing against the GP100, other than it isn’t available firing the cartridges I’d prefer and the overall appearance of the GP100 is very “blocky.”

        • I have a question for you. Over the years which type of springs get weaker sooner (not break) v springs, leaf springs or coil springs?

        • Yes, Wilson Combat spring kits sell for less than $10. I installed 10# hammer springs and 8# trigger return springs on both my GPs and highly recommend the upgrade. Takes probably a pound off both DA and SA pulls. In some ways the GP is pretty in the same way Glocks are pretty. But they don’t have that unsightly Hillary hole and I kind of like the angled profile of the back over the unbroken curve of the Smith and the thicker recoil shield. Ruger’s also making some slightly upgraded models like the Match Champion and Wiley Clapp, where the sharp edges are angled or rounded and the cylinder is radiused.

          I was sticking with the GP because we’re talking about the Python, but in reality Colt has two options if they want to get back into the DA revolver business. They can go all in, not just bringing back the Python but the Trooper, the Anaconda, Cobra etc and hope to sell 30,000 of them a year, or they can set up their custom shop to crank out 50 Pythons a year and sell them for $4000 a piece. I doubt the $200,000/year would be worth their bother other than to elevate the company’s reputation, so all in makes more sense. That’s where not only modernizing the production line but the design would be necessary.

        • In general, coil springs.

          Leaf or V springs have more metal to them, and properly constructed, they distribute the force they’re applying over a larger area of the metal. Look carefully at the leaf springs inside a S&W or Colt (or double gun). You’ll see that the leaf is tapered in two dimensions, and this is done to get the force to distribute over the entire length of the leaf.

          Coil springs have very little steel in them by comparison to leaf or v-springs, and they can be (and are) sometimes over-compressed or left compressed long enough that the metal starts to fatigue. Look at the main leaf spring in a S&W K,L, or N revolver and how much metal is there vs. the coil spring in a J-frame.

          That said, there are some new alloys being used in coil springs that are quite impressive, so don’t take this as a rule against which to judge all coil springs. I’m talking my book here – I’m talking about the coil springs I meet in guns.

          My general rule inside guns on coil springs is this: When the spring I take out of a gun is 10% (or more) shorter than a brand new spring made for that application, then I replace it.

        • Not to sound disrespectful or be facetious but I have a German Luger made in 1917 that has the original coil spring still in it. I have owned this gun since 1973 and fired 5,000 rounds through the barrel which is the second barrel that was put on it before I acquired it. Who knows how many thousands of rounds the original barrel had through it. I would say that is very long service life for any main spring. I also in 55 years of shooting automatic pistols have never had a coil main spring break. Get weak, well yes to a small degree but the guns kept right on functioning. I have had Colt Python and Colt Diamond Back springs get weak and cause misfires in the double action mode but they did not break. Now that I have said this I am crossing my fingers and hoping I do not have a spring Armageddon, maybe its long overdue, knock on wood and touch on word.

        • jlp – no disrespect taken.

          What you have to understand is that, in 1917, the German ordnance factories were still turning out absolute top-shelf quality in their arms. I was referring to the post-WWII American coil springs, which are where most people (and I) will run into coil springs. Lugers were a whole ‘nother level of quality. The machining on Lugers is exquisite, and some are highly finished from that era.

          Most modern coil springs are laid low by being left in the cocked (or compressed) position. Any spring can be over-extended into being softened over the years, but modern (post-WWII) coil springs are more susceptible to this than the flat/leaf/v-springs are.

          A coil spring that breaks is an extreme form of spring failure, and when a coil spring breaks, it has a better failure mode than a leaf/v-spring that breaks. Most coil springs that break will still function in a half-assed manner. A leaf/v-spring that breaks is broken – and you know it, right quick.

          From my perspective, it doesn’t matter as much because I can buy bulk coil spring stock from Brownells and other sources. Find a bulk spring stock piece that has the same gauge of wire, same pitch (when relaxed) and then just cut to length and polish off the ends. Done deal.

          Flat/leaf/v-springs – I have to buy the raw spring steel from Brownells, form it, anneal it, then file/polish up a piece of metal and go through the heat treatment process. I can do most flat or V-springs in 30 to 60 minutes of work at the bench.

          If you change out parts on that Luger, keep the old parts.

    • DG, you describe it better than I can, but my first had a timing problem, I guess, one cylinder, if you were really careful cocking it, the cylinder did not rotate quite far enough to lock. When the trigger was pulled, it locked tight, no play at all. So, it worked fine, right? Nah, not hardly, I had dreamed of owning one since the late 50s, this was late 60s, it had to be right. When I wrote to the custom gun shop, I was told to send it right in. When it came back the problem was gone, and it appeared they had REpolished the gun, darker and shinier, absolutely perfect. So the bride says, anyhow, I was at AF OTS in San Antonio, and when she came to pick me up the gun was stolen from the car outside the Alamo, so I never saw it again. BTW, guys, that was US mail, both directions.

      • I have seen that problem on some Colts that were used for target shooting a lot, and as a consequence their owners might have repeatedly fired the same one or two chambers over and over.

        As a result, the latch pin wears an elliptical pattern in the counterbore of the ratchet.

        Please see the following:


        See part #21 and #22. #22 is likely a limited availability part, and is the part that is worn unevenly.

        There are two possible repairs:

        1. Get a new ratchet and latch pin, fit them up. Then you need to carefully stone-to-fit every pawl on the ratchet to get every cylinder in time. This would be the ne plus ultra repair.

        2. On one customer’s gun (which wasn’t a Python, but most Colt DA revolvers have similar actions/parts), what I found I could do was make a new latch pin (I used some stressproof steel, it’s not a high-requirement part, so pick any free machining steel), and you make a latch pin that’s oh-so-slightly larger just in the 0.050″ at the front end that protrudes into the ratchet, which allows the revolver to come back into time on all chambers of the cylinder. The latch pin needs to be 0.250″ or so, hand-fit, where it goes into the frame. But the very end of it needs to be large enough to fit into the ratchet with no slop – in this particular customer’s case, it was 0.2515″ in diameter, which brought it back into time on all chambers. I just hand-filed the radius on the back of the pin, and drilled/reamed a hole for a piece of drill rod to form the pin that the latch (15) rides on top of.

        This was an inexpensive repair by comparison, and I returned the original latch pin to the customer in the event he wanted to sell the piece. When I was done, it locked up very nicely again.

    • “Pythons were the Cadillacs…”

      I sure hope you weren’t referring to Cadillac build quality in the 60’s. Ugh.

      How about Pythons being built like a Benz? 🙂

        • Lamborghini Lamborghini?
          Chrysler Lamborghini?
          Mycom/Vpower Lamborghini?

          or the current

          Audi Lamborghini?

          Because the Audi Lambos are probably what you’re looking for as a reference. Between early emissions controls, safety regs, and not quite so many customers with that kind of money back in the day, the earlier ones were horridly unreliable post, I dunno, the Miura. There’s 250K mile 1967 400GT 2=2 out there, but even he’s rebuilt the engine and trans about 5 times along the way. You couldn’t pay me to drive an 80s US-spec Countach – 6 Webers DCOEs, utter nightmare, not to mention all the vacuum nonsense patched in to just barely make it all work.

          OTOH, there’s more than a few current models running around with 100K+ on their current Audi-for-all-intents-and-purposes drivelines.

          My choice would be an old 70s era 600 Mercedes. Primitive by modern standards, but drilled-down to a fare-the-well.

        • “OK, let’s cut to the chase, then.

          They’re built like a Lambo.”

          16V covered the Lambo (lack of) reliability much better than I could. 🙂

          That costly Cabot 1911 reviewed here a few months ago aptly matches the Lambo reliability analogy.

          I mentioned Benz since they have (or had) a reputation of solidly-built long-running cars. My folks had a Caddy in the 80’s, believe me, there’s nothing special about ’em except the price. (Eh, I’ll give Caddy credit on that Northstar V8 it had, a very nice engine it was, for a domestic) They replaced it with a Toyota that was far better-built than that GM pile of vomit.

          It has over 200,000 miles on it and still runs great.

          I’ll shut up now, and genuine thanks to your gunsmith perspective on matters…

        • Geoff PR, I’m here to help as I can…

          Cadillac hadn’t made anything Standard of the World since maybe 1965ish. After that they made junk with an exclusive price tag and sold it to stupid Americans. The rest were better informed. The Germans kicked their ass like finding a narc at a biker rally. Caddy has yet to recover, though I do like the current CTS coupe. Once they’re cheap in a few years, I’ll buy one and put a real engine in it.

          FWIW, The Northstar is great on paper, and wasn’t bad until the warranty ran out. Shortly thereafter, the owners learned that that turd leaked like the Exxon Valdez, eventually requiring a $3K+ fix. And then the owners went foreign….

        • BTW- “Stupid” is shorthand for people who had to buy American as a job requirement or for optics, people who never actually tried anything better, or those who like a battered spouse, believed Cadillac every time they fired up the marketing cannons and announced “they’ve changed”. There were reasons…

  25. I’d prefer a new design without MIM parts, internal locks, etc. Oh, and something easier to work on than a traditional double action Colt. Maybe a redesigned Trooper?

    • Have you held the two in your hands and felt the action? I was 14 the first time I worked the action of a Python, have never forgotten it. Pretty sure I have handled a Trooper, but have mostly forgotten it. Equating the two, or a Diamondback for that matter, just sounds like you have not handled a Python.

      • Actually, I have experience with both the Python and Trooper (Mk.3 in my case). They’re certainly radically different firearms. My Python wasn’t divine and didn’t come in a sacred ark. It was a beautiful revolver but the trigger left something to be desired. My Detective Special (from the same era) had a smoother & lighter trigger. As for the Trooper? It’s a workhorse, albeit a prettier one than Smith or Ruger can make.

        I believe something a little more mass produced like the Trooper would sell better if Colt made them in quantity. Use forging instead of that sintering process for the internals (like the Mk.3, Anaconda, King Cobra, etc), ditch the locks, and presto.

        • I am wondering if you were complaining about the double action trigger pull. Certainly you could not have meant the single action pull as there was none finer. The double action pull stacked at the end but I personally preferred that to the Smith revolvers that stacked at the beginning of the pull but that is just my preference I am sure Smith fans will howl from the roof tops on that statement,

  26. Many have already stated craftsmanship is not an issue since current technology allows much more precise machining than any human hand and eye could accomplish. That being said 800 – 1000 max. Most guns are overpriced these days anyways and we the consumer base are allowing it to happen.

    • “current technology allows much more precise machining than any human hand and eye could accomplish.”
      Yes, but the companies that use this level or precision generally charge more, not less, than guns that require hand fitting after CNC machining.

    • There’s this mythology in the gun world that modern machines can accomplish these ultra-tight levels of precision soooo easily and cheaply.

      The truth is that, yes, modern machines can achieve micron-levels of control of size. Makino is making a new machining center that hold sub-micron repeatable positioning. And that sounds very damn impressive… on paper.

      Now lemme fill you in on what it could take to actually make that machine perform.

      First, the machines that will hold better than 0.0002″ (which most CNC machines will hold) require that their guts are temperature controlled. Not just the spindles, but the ways, ballscrews, servos, etc. All have to be held at a constant temperature. This means that there are heaters on the machine 24×7, burning up power even when the machine is off. Your shop needs to have the heat held to within a close range as well, because the heaters in the machine can only overcome so much outside fluctuation.

      Then you need tooling that is developed to allow the machine to hold those tolerances, because it means nothing if your tooling is wearing so fast that you’re having to program tool compensation in the middle of a cut. That’s going to be a bunch of money – because it isn’t common. Tooling for machines that hold 0.0002″ is what is common. You’re going to need to be able to measure your tooling before you put it into the machine – most tooling is held to about 0.0002″ or 0.00005″ of a nominal size. But if you’re cutting down to micron tolerances, then when you change tools, you need to know to better than a micron what the diameter of your cutting tool is, so you can program the size of the tool into the CNC machine’s tool library. It will do you no good to spec a size down to a micron and then have more than double that in tool diameters from tool to tool change.

      Alternatively, you could get a very high end tool & cutter grinder and resharpen all your tools going into your tool library to a known size, measured to less than a micron.

      Then you’re going to need workholding that will be rigid enough to get you the finish you’re expecting out of such a machine. In the gun market, most of that will mean custom-made workholding, some of it made out of carbide to achieve the stiffness you need. Thought the tooling was expensive? Heh. Now you’re going to start bleeding money out of every orifice you currently have.

      But wait! There’s more! You need to start bleeding money out of orifices you didn’t know you were going to have!

      In order to achieve these tolerances and finishes, you need to decouple these ultra-high-spec machines from any ground-transmitted vibrations – either from the rest of your shop, or outside your shop. There’s one large machine shop here in Wyoming that has a very high-end CNC machine, and they had to:

      1. Cut through their 1′ thick concrete/rebar floor.
      2. Dig down 8′ + down,
      3. Pour an isolated concrete/rebar pediment in the middle of this hole in their floor,
      4. put in vibration isolation material all around the pediment
      5. Mount their machine to the top of said pediment.

      Oh, and they cut through a water main under their shop that no one knew was there when they did this. 8′ down from your pad level is further than many service locates will be able to sense…

      This cost them a pretty penny – even before they moved in the DMG mill that now sits on that pediment. Then you need to condition your 3-phase power to feed the machine. A sub-micron machining center is going to need all of that, and more.

      But wait, there’s even more!

      If you’re writing spec’s down to less than 50 millionths of an inch (1 micron is 39 millionths of an inch), then you need a way to verify that you’ve actually hit your sizes. This is where most people have absolutely no clue what they’re talking about, mostly because of the innumeracy and math phobias among the general population. In order to measure, with accuracy, down to 1 micron or less, you’ll need

      – a temperature controlled lab
      – with restricted access (because measurement at this level takes real skill and training, and the instruments are highly sensitive and delicate, and you need to eliminate contamination)
      – with regular calibration procedures (which means that you’ll be calling in outside consultants on a regular basis, or you’ll have to maintain your own calibration standards, which is a whole ‘nuther level of expense)
      – and you’ll need people who are trained to run the inspection lab to these levels, which will probably mean someone with a MS+ MechE degree and a background in process control and QA
      – and you’ll need a CMM machine something like these:


      Before you’ve produced your first part, you’re into this little project for millions of dollars in machines and tooling, temperature control, physical infrastructure, etc, etc, etc.

      All of that before we’ve produced our first part that’s machined down to these exquisite tolerances oh-so-much-more-cheaply than paying experienced gunsmiths to do it by hand.

      This is sorta like the BS detector that experienced machinists and gunsmiths have about braggarts who claim “they can hit a size to the tenths all day long.” When someone asks me “what tolerances can you hold in your shop?” I tell them “plus or minus a thousandth.”

      The poseurs laugh and dismiss me as an amateur. Real machinists and gunsmiths who know better say “OK, he’s someone who knows the actual limitations, and tells the truth.” For the poseurs who claim “ability to hit tenths all day long,” I ask them only one question: “How much space are you devoting to your temperature-controlled inspection lab?” and when I want to be cruel, I embarrass them with a second point “How often do you send in your standards to be calibrated, and by whom?”

      Seems that not a one of these poseurs have an inspection lab, never mind one that is temperature controlled. And they don’t know how to have their standards calibrated or verified.

      In light of that capital expense I outlined above, hand-fitting looks like it makes economic sense by comparison, doesn’t it? You could hire three experienced gunsmiths for, oh, $180K/year (all-in, health care, salaries, overhead, etc) and be cranking out revolvers in a couple of months. Or you could back up a Brinks truck of money and start bleeding profusely for upwards of a year to get your shop set up, and then hope you’re going to sell enough of the products (Pythons) to cover the capital expenses.

      Oh, and I didn’t add in the expenses for the CAD/CAM software to drive the above machine(s). Figure $6K+ for a base copy of Solidworks, $16K for a GibbsCAM seat (or another $6K for CAMWorks plug-in for Solidworks), a few K for the computer/printers/etc for running the s/w.

      • Please don’t ever stop commenting on this site. Every one of your lessons is an absolute gold mine of information and before today I knew jack shit about machine shops. One minor point about the software, though. Couldn’t people just pirate it like anything else on the internet? I understand that doing so with almost any program essentially locks you out of auto-updating and other stuff, but the speed at which things are uploaded to the web seems to balance that out. Or would the machines have to be calibrated after every reinstall? Or would they just plain not work because you’re using illegitimately obtained software?

        • Most of the modern high-end CAD/CAM s/w references a license check on the s/w publisher’s server. ie, you need your CAD/CAM machine connected to the ‘net, and your license will be checked.

          Solidworks just started a new process which will make their s/w cost even more – if you don’t have a maintenance contract (which is something like $1600/year), you’ll not be allowed to upgrade if you’re more than one version away from the current version. It used to be that people bought a SW license, worked for, oh, five years without the maint contract, then bought maint contract and upgraded. Nope, not any more. Better fork over the maint contract price every year if you want to keep on the upgrade path.

          The cost of CAD/CAM s/w is becoming a barrier to entry for small shops.

        • Ethics aside, compared to the rest of the costs, the SolidWorks price is a rounding error.

          But I agree with DG – SolidWorks is getting more expensive for small shops. And not just in price. As it adds features for large organization support, it gets harder and harder to manage the installation for one or a few users. This is the same sad path Pro/E went down.

        • There is a very real possibility of SolidWorks pricing itself to death. There’s already a host of open source CAD/CAM out there, and it gets better every day. The challenge for s/w is to continue to innovate, justifying the price point. I know most companies will at this time, still throw their hands in the air and pay the ransom, it’s an accepted platform and one that many are familiar with. But there’s a tipping point out there somewhere, the capabilities of open source platforms v, the pricing of s/w.

        • Considering that these companies are beginning to change their license agreements and service agreements to be very expensive to reup if you skip renewal at any point, they will price themselves out of only some shops. Many will not touch open source for a variety of reasons, some good and some bad.

          I also would not want to get caught producing something commercially with a pirated version of software or a student/education version. You gonna pay for that.

          DG, Don’t forget the machinist to run that expensive equipment. You need a dedicated, skilled, and smart machinist. Joe Blow that cranks out X number of widgets a day to hit his quota isn’t necessarily qualified.

          Fun fact too, the human eye and hand is responsible for calibrating many gauges and surface plates used in a shop. At the end of the day the human hand and eye is always involved, and when a person is skilled/trained, the hand and eye are capable of a level of precision difficult to easily replicate with machines.

      • I think it comes down to whether you’re cranking out 2000 firearms per year or 200,000. Much like it costs an enormous amount to set up an injection molding machine for plastic stocks but once set up you crank them out for pennies.

  27. Based on what I’ve seen and handled over five years, I’m pretty pessimistic when it comes to new guns. I own ones hastily produced in times of war that have cleaner machining marks than those I handled that were NIB last year.

    This is due to the laziness of 21st century America. Manufacturers know people aren’t hunting, shooting, or going outside as often anymore. They figure the average gun owner will put X rounds through their product in a given time period, and build their guns to last slightly less than that, hoping you’ll go out and buy a new one when it breaks, just like kitchen appliances today.

    Even if a new, hand-fitted Python only cost $1,000, people wouldn’t buy it because they think they can get the same from a $500 Ruger. And I’m not knocking Ruger, their guns are built like tanks, but I am proving a point. The 21st century American wants a product that works, (not always but often enough when it counts) but is still cheap enough to replace entirely when a single part breaks. Nobody wants to take their widget to the repairman and be without it for a few days. The desire for instant gratification and separation anxiety from certain widgets (cell phones and the internet come to mind) have turned into psychological disorders

    • Indeed, the idea that a portable computer with telecommunications capability should be replaced whenever the mood strikes is utterly ridiculous. Or really anything expensive and oft used. But the manufacturers know most don’t care to fix it and can skimp on the processes that would make things better. Why refine when we can just replace? Buy the better stuff, fix it when it breaks, you’ll be better served than trying to bloody replace it. And, more of your dollars will be yours, not some finance company’s.

  28. FACT: There is up to a year or more wait on custom built high quality .22 rim fire American made match rifles. Example: Turbo, M2500, or Hall manufactured rifle actions and rifles. This is going on right now as we speak and the guns cost by the time you put a stock on them without the extra cost of hand bedding right around $2,200 to $2500 and then you have to put a very expensive target scope on the that will range anywhere from $450 to $2,200 dollars so many people who want the best pay $5,000 for their match target rifle with scope.

    Now the point is that there are small American companies selling guns that cost the consumer $5,000 with the scope and there is a year wait to get them. Now try and tell me that Colt could not sell Pythons even if they were charging $5,000 for them. They could but they will not because the greed monger stock holders want obscene profits on each item sold and this cannot be done as compared to making modern cheap ass junk made of plasticky parts, MIM junk powder metal parts or stamped sheet metal that again has such a high profit level. Why make quality and sell less at a lower profit when you can make modern made garbage, make a higher profit per item and sell them as fast as you can turn them out.

    Try buying some of the high end Plasticky pistols that now cost the consumer as much as $1,100 dollars and they are unavailable in a lot of popular models. Now if todays Consumer will spend $1,100 on a junk plasticky pistol he would pay easily double that on a higher quality gun and they are doing it as we speak. Take a look at what custom built 1911 guns are brining or even what the production line high end 1911 guns. They pay $2,000 and up every day for them without blinking an eye and when they want one they are often told, sorry they are out of stock.

    • Those are inexpensive custom guns. Your point is very valid, however.

      Some of the gunsmiths from whom I’ve taken courses have backlogs of five+ years, and the starting price for their rifles is about $8K. And people who want quality pay up for their work.

      The wait for a custom barrel from John Krieger is anywhere from 4 to 6 months, and this is an improvement over the last few years, when getting a new barrel blank for a bolt gun in an unusual diameter/twist (meaning that they had to set up the machine differently from the common barrels) was taking 9 months.

      For people who don’t know that this level of quality exists: noodle around in the American Custom Gunmakers Guild site:


    • jlp, your point is absolute fact, and a sad one. Not that craftsmanship takes time, but that people don’t appreciate it and will pay so much for garbage. The bar has been dramatically lowered.
      What is also sad is that, for the vast majority of people, quality really isn’t a selling point. I cant tell you how many investments I’ve passed up on because when I ask what the differentiating factor is in their product over the leading product, all they can say is “quality”. And I pass, because quality doesn’t sell anymore.

      • Fifty or a hundred years ago technology was expensive and labor was cheap. Now labor is expensive and technology is cheap. It didn’t used to be that expensive to devote the extra labor, but now it’s so cheap to make a mediocre but perfectly functional product and so expensive to make a really high quality product. This applies to just about any manufactured good. At some point if you want something 10% better you’re going to have to pony up twice the money. The good news is the our mediocre products are now both cheaper and more durable than the anything 50 years ago.

        • I agree with everything you said except the durability part. Today’s made guns are often a real joke in the reliability department. Junk MIM cast parts fail with monotones regularity. Junk plasticky sights snap off or wear down to a nub with a tight fighting holster. Plasticky frames on auto guns often crack right behind the trigger guard especially in the heavier recoiling pistol calibers. Cast frames go snap, crackly and pop if you drop them on cement. Shallow grove modern junk rifling burns out faster in the throat area on high power rifles as compared to the old fashioned deep groove single cut rifling. Many modern designed triggers are unreliable under freezing or dusty conditions in high power bolt action hunting rifles. Cast op-rods on guns like the M1 carbine go snap, crackle and pop as opposed to the original 1940’s high quality military op-rods. Plasticky feed lips on some high power rifles wear out more quickly than the older magazines that had steel feed lips. Plasticky buffers in pistols and semi-auto rifles often disintegrate and need replaced due to plastic being affected by cleaning solvents, oils, heat, dirt and the pounding they take during action cycling.

        • “The good news is the our mediocre products are now both cheaper and more durable than the anything 50 years ago.”

          Every been in a machine shop with older American machine tools side-by-side with modern ChiCom or Taiwanese machine tools?

          It ain’t even a close race. At the local community college, I’m fixing the four new Taiwanese lathes damn near every week. The old LeBlonde Regal? Can’t remember the last time I had to touch it. And LeBlonde wasn’t even a top of the line machine – like an American Pacesetter or Monarch.

        • You’re probably right when it comes to the lower end of the firearms market, although adjusted for inflation they’re more affordable than ever. I was thinking along the lines of cars that used to get 100,000 miles at the most but now go 2 or 300,000. I seem to remember a person who called himself a ‘TV repairman’ that had to put a new tube in your TV every couple of years. I’ve got 11 years out of my TV and it’s running fine.

          Some products like power tools that used to be exclusively for professionals have gotten so cheap that the weekend do it your selfer can afford them, have sacrificed durability, but they are also far handier than the old last forever tools my dad had. So it’s probably more of a mixed bag. But still, if you want any really high quality product it’s going to take labor and it’s going to cost you.

  29. Here in Clarksville, TN the local gun store had one in Sunday. It was 4 inches and unfired and they wanted $3200 for it.

    • Demand is high and supply is low, hence the high price. If that was a current production gun you could easily shave $1k off of that. Probably more.

    • What finish? That’s not too far to drive. Stainless or nickel bore me, though. OOoops. Can’t buy a pistol there, tho. Never mind.

      • Wow, I felt bad when 3 years ago I dumped $1700 on one Python and a couple of days later $1800 on another one. I guess if I wanted to I could turn a nice quick profit if I wanted to, which I do not. I used to pay $260 apiece on this guns years ago and should never have sold any of them but who could have predicted that in just a few short years only junk would be the only thing being made today. I recently read that Beretta 92’s now come with plasticky safeties, triggers, op rods and junk MIM cast locking blocks. I thought I was wasting money last summer when I picked up a nice Italian made 92 having already had an American made early model 92, boy I am glad I bought the second one after I found out this week about how junky they are making them today. What a rip off.

  30. I’ve got so many nice S&W and Ruger revolvers already. I know how to work on them and customize them, and there are lots of performance parts and accessories available. The Colt, not much interest. Besides, the cylinder release is backwards.


  31. No more than 1/3 the price of a Korth. Snake guns are very nice too shoot, but even the snake guns are not in the same league as Korth.

    If I’m plunking down thousands for a revolver, rather save a little more and get the true Rolls Royce of revolvers.

  32. Honestly, I’d rather see a great repro of the Webley Mk. VI, perhaps in .357 Magnum or .45 Colt (as they were once released in, I think).

    Not that a Python isn’t nice and all.

  33. Certainly no more than a Smith 686 or comparable, which is overpriced to begin with. Let’s just say in the $700-800 range. Remember, we’re talking about new production. If I want to spend big bucks, I’ll just pick up a 90% + original Python at the gun show for around $2,500, which I think is crazy.

    • Python’s ALWAYs went for more than mainline smith and wesson guns. Troopers were more comparable but still a premium over them. No reason to expect otherwise. People being cheap is the reason why bean counters think that abortive things like the R51 are a good idea.

      • You have a point there. So let’s say $800-900 for a 4″ blued Python. I’ve seen new 4″ blued Ruger GP 100s going for $500-550 retail a few places. Would a modern reproduction Python be worth more than twice a comparable GP100? Put another way, would it take about $500 worth of additional parts and “refining” to bring the GP100 up to the Colt’s level?

      • To my knowledge, when I bought my #3 Python in 1970, at $160, it was the most expensive production handgun in the world. If not, I could not find any more expensive. My raving had one of my buds beat me there and buy one, I bought the only other, and another bud showed up shortly thereafter, and, disappointed, had to settle for a S&W 4″ .41 mag, a really beautiful gun which he still shoots on a regular basis, cost him $135.

  34. I’ve never understood how Colt could remain bankrupt if all its old guns are popular classics.
    Start making what people want at a quality level they’d be willing to pay for…

    • You would need to understand the personalities and malfeasance that took over Colt’s senior management starting around 1968, when Colt decided that they were going to get fat on US DOD contracts for the M-16 and follow-on projects.

  35. One more point for those of you thinking about spending the big bucks for a used Python. Parts are very scarce to non-existent for them as well. Even the original grips can go for $250 dollars or even more and forget trying to get another hand unless it is a custom made one and then will it be of the same quality as the original?

    • Well…. yes, some of the parts are now as scarce as true Unicorn Ivory.

      There are some parts in the Python that are in common with other Colt revolvers.

    • Yes, you would. My roomie at a training school told me I had to get one after I raved about my Pythons, took me to the shop and sure enough I discovered my wife needed one to replace her .25 Beretta. 1972, and the Detective Special was around $115 as I recall. Son has that one, too. He may have my number, he’s just talked me into a Mossy tactical pump, going to shoot some skeet Friday, with an 18″ bbl? Ought to be interesting.

  36. $900-2000. Convert a lot of the parts to be CNC’d and reduce the need for hand fitting the parts and you’d get a lot of cost savings over those quotes of “if we made it today like back then it would be $4k!”. Same as smith did, but without the MIM parts that bump their guns down to $500-600. Offer it in varying finishes/quality. A base stainless steel model in matte for a $1000~ MSRP or black DLC model and then a premier grade gun for $2k that’s high polished stainless or a glossy black DLC or glossy blued finished (DLC would be better IMO, it’s a much more durable finish). Another thing is how they’re shooting themselves in the foot by not bringing back the Detective Special/Cobra. That’s the reason why the new Kimber revolver is even in the marketplace because of the lack of a small six shot snubnose. Ultimately I think the development that’s needed to convert the design to be cost effectively machined and put together is beyond the effort Colt is willing to put forward. Again a small company like Dan Wesson could do it with an old long discontinued and high quality gun, but Colt doesn’t seem to be willing to put in the hard work and investment needed for it.

  37. I wouldn’t pay it, but for a really quality gun they could sell them around the $3k mark, and they would sell. This wouldn’t be a mass-produced thing, but a quality hand-polished gun. Figure that about $1000 of the price would be the polishing labor $85hour x 12.

  38. Nah, wouldn’t buy a new or used python. Only Colt products I miss are the Woodsman, the dick special and the 1903/08 semi.

    • Colt actually is producing a remake of the 1903, 32acp (cheapened of course) but not by much as they are using bar stock not forgings. And Colt is not really making them either as the stock holders would not stand for that rather the work was farmed out to another company so in my opinion its really not a real Colt at all but an ersatz gun.

      Still having said all that its refreshing an old design by John Browning is once again being made and bar stock and all its light years better than a junk plasticky pistol and its not much more expensive than some rip off high end plasticky pistols either and unlike junk plasticky pistols this new Colt look alike will definitely go up in value the day you buy it. Sadly like most reproductions they never become standard stock items but are only made in a limited run and this is no exception. Winchester in the past has made some very darn good reproductions too like the old M52 sporter which often sold for fantastic prices and I dare say the repro Japanese guns were every bit as nice if not better but still sell for way less on the used market.

      Supposedly Colt will be making a .380 also and it will come in some varieties such as high polish blue. How many pistols today come in high polished blue and are not made of castings? I eagerly await this one even though I have an original I always wanted to own a brand new one.

      • I’m not concerned for the investment value of a gun. If Colt farms out the 1903/08 and they’re decent quality I’d like one of each.

        I can’t speak for their quality, maybe our Canadian brothers can, but Norinco makes a woodsman clone that we can’t get here because of politics.

  39. I’ve never shot an original python or even a S&W performance revolver but I was impressed by the fit and finish of my new 686+ even if it has the lock and MIM parts so I can appreciate that quality has its price. I paid about $700 for my 4” 686+ so if Colt could make a revolver without the MIM parts, goofy lock thing, and had a reasonably improved feel I’d say $900-1200 would be about my limit. I’d want a stainless one though, blued looks impressive but its just not my thing.

    • To me, the only reason for stainless is so that you can abuse it and ignore it without damage. The only reason to spend the bucks for a Python is because you just flat love it, would never let any harm befall it, put it away wet, leave a fingerprint anywhere on it, and even when you put it to bed, it’s wrapped in a cloth so that as soon as you pick it up again you can be polishing it. Stainless Pythons are silly, unless they are half the price of Royal blue.

    • Not a machinist, but isn’t forged better than cast? Is there some other method? You sound like that’s a bad thing, why?

      • I do not pretend to be an expert on this but here is some info on Forgings, Bar stock and junk castings.

        Forgings are pounded between two dies and remove more impurities that can lead to structural failures under extreme use. Forgings can also be made through heat treating very hard on the outside and much softer on the inside which enables them to take tremendous shock and impact without cracking or shattering as is always the case in a junk casting. The makers of swords 5,000 years ago were well aware of both of these methods of manufacture and recently a sword was uncovered in England (and other places in Europe) that had 3 heat treatments. It was left soft in the core to take up shock. It was heat treated and forged to make the outside very hard and the very cutting edge of the sword was made even harder yet to hold an edge. Weapons of that era were never made of junk castings unless it was for something not to be used as a weapon but more of a decoration as in jewelry.

        Bar stock is formed by rolling the steel bar between two rollers that only remove impurities from one direction and can leave more impurities in the steel that can lead to failure.

        Castings are poured steel into a mold and they are hard all the way through. The have many air holes called porosity that microscopically make them look like a sponge. They do not give under shock and impact but rather when they reach their limit they crack or shatter and far sooner than a forged heat treated or bar stock part. Castings rust very quickly if not stainless. A forging can be made thinner and lighter and still be as strong or stronger than a casting. When using the same heat treatment and thickness there is not a casting made that equals a good forging. Castings save machine time and wear and tear on machinery because less machining has to be made to finish the part thereby making the cost of making a part much cheaper but never better compared to a forging.

        The newer MIM cast parts are powdered metal mixed with plastic formed under pressure. When the plastic is removed it makes the part far more brittle than even brittle traditional castings are. The advantage of MIM is that often it can be taken right out of the mold and thrown right into the gun without any machining at all because it was cast to such small tolerances. Of course parts must be polished to achieve low friction and to make more money most MIM is not polished or machined and you get a gritty rotten trigger pull with them not to mention a part that is not as durable.

        I have had so many cast parts fail on machinery and guns I have lost count. I have seen them rust while I was standing there looking at them on humid days after their protective coatings were removed such as oil or cosmoline. Traditional castings can work if over-engineered as Ruger used to do when they used traditional castings, and while they looked hideous and cheap they kept the price down but now Ruger like a lot of other companies is using MIM cast as well.

      • The “forged vs. cast” debate is an old one, and “which is better” depends on the alloy, application complexity, quality of the foundries and attention to detail in the processes themselves.

        First, forging is somewhat limited in what it can do. With forging, you’re moving the metal into your final configuration in a plastic, but solid, state. You can make it “go around corners” only with substantial force, and for only a moderate distance. You can’t forge in hollows and voids into the final object.

        With casting, the metal is liquid and poured into a form. It can not only go around a corner, it can go around two or three corners – something which is very difficult to accomplish with a forging, unless you’re intending to machine out the voids you want after the forging is done. eg, take a forged AR-15 lower – they don’t forge the trigger group cuts into the object, they just forge a solid block of 7075 aluminum.

        Forgings will tend to have better surface finish, with fewer pits that might need to be welded up. Castings will tend to be lighter.

        The argument for which is stronger is a much more complicated one than most non-engineers appreciate. Forgings will tend to have yield strength superior to castings in the direction of the longitudinal movement in the forging process. But in the transverse or sectional aspects of the forging vs. the casting – well, the conclusions are mixed.

        Forging needs dies and punches to work, whereas castings need forms. The dies & punches for forging can be quite costly to make, whereas the investment in forms for casting is much less than the cost of dies/punches, never mind the forging press required. There’s a reason why Ruger does so much investment casting in their guns – it is cheaper. Forgings generally require more secondary operations to finish up details that could not be created during the forging process. Details are often much easier to add to a casting than a forging.

        Generally speaking, the overhead costs for forging are higher, and it takes more units produced to amortize your costs over the product.

        • Also, the strength properties of the casting can be changed by method of manufacture – pressure, low pressure, hot chamber, cold chamber, squeeze, vacuum, centrifugal, semi-centrifugal…

        • What you mention is quite true but you failed to mention why industrialists have experimented with so many different methods in regards to the manufacture of castings. Its because they were forever trying to improve them so that they could to the job as good as forgings which I might add they never achieved without over engineering which has its own set of problems. Again when given the same heat treatment and metal thinness by comparing apples to apples castings are vastly inferior to forgings. The only thing superior is the fact that they are cheaper to make while giving the consumer seldom a big break on the price he should be getting. The price continues to climb and the profits do to. Its only the consumer that gets screwed. What the consumer does not realize is that if their were no castings the price would be higher but not as high as one would be led to believe as to keep the price reasonable the profit margin would be lower for companies. The result would be that C.E.O.’s. might make a few million less in blind greed profits and the consumer would at least be getting a quality product.

        • Typical jlp. you have no point to make, yet you keep talking…

          No one, myself included, ever stated that castings were equivalent to forgings. I’ve stated that they have a variety of strength profiles, which was, as usual, absent from your post. I stated such in my post.

          Look kid, I appreciate your enthusiasm, but your factual knowledge is just this side of functionally retarded, as are your debate skills. Quit embarrassing yourself and your parents.

        • I know its embarrassing for you when you pretend to be an expert on everything and then when you get a response post that shows how much you don’t know it shakes you up.

          Anyone could post about various casting techniques and that was of little use to the original questions in regards to comparing the two which I did you did not. You proved you know little or nothing about them as you failed to critique the two methods. In a way I fell sorry for you I don’t have to embarrass you, you do it for me.

  40. Slightly OT, maybe the moderators will want to spin off a new thread…

    What about resurrecting any of the non leaf-spring guns? The Trooper and Lawman in Mk.III or V guise? Dick special? Other than the prancing pony, could they be value-added and competitive vs. Smiths and Rugers?

  41. One other comment I would like to make is that as the years wore on the workmanship grew less and less on the Python. I already mentioned the problem of too many Pythons that had hands fitted on the short side but the cylinder latch really went to hell as well. It got so bad that many Python guns made you pull back the latch when closing the cylinder so the cylinder would not crash into the latch and not close. If properly fitted you were supposed to be able to close the cylinder without touching the latch as the cylinder would push the latch back fully when going into the frame and the latch would then move and lock the cylinder closed without you touching it. Double action pulls also deteriorated as time went on but strangely I handled none that did not have outstanding single action pulls even the later models.

    One thing that was not mentioned was that the bore of the Python was actually a squeeze bore that got smaller towards the muzzle. Supposedly this contributed to more outstanding accuracy but whether it actually did or not I cannot say as I have fired plenty of Smith Revolvers that had great accuracy as well but the accuracy of the Python was always very consistent from gun to gun and definitely not so much with Smiths, sometimes you got a good one and sometimes you did not.

  42. I owned 2 Colt Pythons a couple of years apart in the mid eighties. One was a gorgeous royal blue 4″ barrel model I picked up at a pawn shop for about $350, I think. I had it for a few months and foolishly traded it off for ..something I don’t even remember, I think it was a Detonics Pocket 9, a compact 9mm that went full auto on me and actually took out a light in the range. It was a blow back little recoiling beast that quickly went back to the LGS from whence it came. A few moths later, I bought another Python. This one was a little rougher around the edges. A few dings in the standard black type bluing, Hogue grips, a little holster wear. It had been shot a fair amount, and was a little out of time, so it spit a little lead. My gunsmith said that was very common for Colts, as they were not as robust as Smiths or Rugers. It was somewhat of a disappointment and even though it cost me about $250, I quickly traded it off as a down payment on a Browning BDA (Sig 220 .45). Cue the foot kicking my ass.
    Oh Yeah. I’d pay $1000-$1200 for one now. NOT 2-3k. They are not that good. Kind of like the 68 Olds 442 I had. It was a lot faster in my memories than it ever was in reality. Most new cars would beat the pants off it in a race and get 25 mpg. Same with these. They are beautiful, but I’d like to see them in a modernized version.

  43. I think most folks here have an unrealistic expectation about what a new production Python would be. If the essence of a Python is hand fitting and deep polished royal blue finish, dream on (or think Ed Brown/Wilson Combat 1911 prices).

    No, in reality if Colt wants to start making Pythons today, they’re going to be “modern” Pythons. Look at Smith & Wesson revolvers, and all the things that are gone from the old days- pinned barrels, recessed cylinders, etc. Today Smith revolvers have internal locks, sleeved barrels. Lots of changes that drive purists crazy, but they’re still Smith revolvers. Colt would need to figure out how to make a 2016 Python. They could sell a whole bunch of them.

    • Selling a lot of them?. I hate to admit it but you are right because most people today would not know a quality gun if it walked up and shot them in the foot.

      Not too long ago I attempted on another forum to explain just what you stated in regards to the changes in modern Smith & Wesson hand guns. I was accused of being a Smith hater just for telling them of the production “cheap ass changes”. Most of the people were unaware that these changes had ever taken place. Considering the low level of education of the average consumer these days in relation to the products he buys its no wonder the factories can make any piece of junk and still sell it.

      Would I buy one? No. I would not even pick one up and touch it because if I owned one it would only cause me grief every time I picked it up to look at it or use it.

  44. Why would anyone pay anything for a chunk of shit produced by a bunch of lazy liberals who would rather you not have a gun?

  45. Why is it that people who cringe at the thought of a $2000 wheel gun will gladly shell out $3000, $4000, $5000 and up for a 1911 from Wilson or others? Or $2000+ for an AR-10 pattern rifle, before scope, widgets and all that fun stuff. Fitment is fitment, you pay more and a well made DA wheel gun is more difficult to sort out than a 1911.

    The two revolvers I have I lucked out on in both cases when it came to price. The first is a decent S&W 627 Pro series. Shoots well, no complaints on the basic function and operation. But it’s the detail work where I get irritated. The barrel crown looks terrible. Not at all what I would expect from a mid-level, non-Performance Center gun. Little bit of play in the lockup of the cylinder crane. The other was a damned fine example of a 657 no-dash 6″ I found after trolling one of the many drool-trader sites. Almost 30 years old, little metal migration on the ratchet, but definitely not shot much. Barrel crown not near as fancy at the initial glance, but damned clean for what it is. Any play in the crane is probably my imagination. DA and SA pulls are something that have to be experienced. There’s a series of rumors that a few no-dash 657’s came out through the PC without papers, I believe it.

    Anyway, nostalgia time done, for something that requires precise hand fitment like a New Python would, I would pay no less than $2500. I’d expect a lot for that amount, but if I had the money, I’d pay it. A 627 PC is a step up from the 627 Pro I have. MSRP difference is about $300, street, I’m seeing around $200, but even then $1200 is as low as I’ve seen for the PC. Finish on them is decent, but not presentation grade by any means. Same goes for the wood stocks.

    And thanks to DG for all that info.

  46. A Python made to previous standards would probably have to run in the $4,000 dollar range I believe that is the starting price for a Korth revolver which has similar hand fittings and tolerances. Sadly the market would probably bare this because it’s a “colt” and they cost an arm and a leg. I think if they were going to bring back a revolver the Anaconda makes more sense. More recent design with less hand fitting. From there it could be scaled down to a reintroduced Python using modern production. These sadly would probably sit in the $2000 range since a colt must be better right?

  47. For all of the haters, be luckily enough to shoot one and you’ll understand the hype. Heck after shooting my uncles I looked long and hard for an original trooper dubbed the poor mans Python.

  48. I’d have Gary Reeder build me a Redhawk or a GP100 with a vented rib barrel and have a better gun for less money. And a High quality custom, no less!! Maybe even have him engrave a nekid lady on it, too!!

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