Colt Python reliability??


September 4, 2005, 04:00 PM
Have an opportunity to get a colt Python in .357 with 4" barrell. trigger is really smooth and blued finish is outstanding.

How is the Python in terms of reliability? As a good outdoor adventure gun? Accuracy? Ruggendness?

Thanks for the opinions.

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September 4, 2005, 04:12 PM
The Colt Python is more for collectors and target shooters. They are accurate, I don't think they're very rugged. If you are looking for a adventure revolver then I point you to the Ruger GP-100.

Pistol Toter
September 4, 2005, 04:59 PM
Yeah, agree, SS with 4" adjustable sights to enable you to compensate of ammo changes. Built like an army tank and accurate enough to do anything you want. With a few hundred rounds the trigger will smooth out. I've never owned a Colt, never been able to afford one.

September 4, 2005, 05:23 PM
If you can afford the tab, there probably are few better 357 revolvers for general shooting... typically outstanding accuracy. I just wouldn't expect to drive over it with my car and expect nothing bad to happen to it.

Ruger Redhawk
September 4, 2005, 06:19 PM
The Python's are a nice revolver no doubt.I personally wouldn't pay what they are asking from them today.Back in the 70's I worked part time at a gun shop which was a Colt Distributor.It didn't happen often. I have seen brand spanking Python's come in out of time.They are nice but I think they are over rated.I had my share of Colt's,I'm down to a couple of them now.Some I sold I wish I would have kept.Like a 4" Blued Diamondback 38spl and it's little brother a 4" Blued 22LR.I never saw it but was told Colt let a 6"Python out with the barrel never rifled.Colt was desprate to get that one back.Can't imagine why LOL.

Ruger Redhawk

September 4, 2005, 07:12 PM
seen the same thing- box-new pythons from that period that failed to carry up. The action is one that requires occasional attention from a gunsmith. A trinadad trained smith told me that they are plenty strong but -regardless of loads used, they have to be re-timed about every 7500 rounds- more frequently than that is the usual experience. The smith can sometimes re-set the carry up by peening the soft hand to stretch it. This is said to work one time and then he has to install a new hand and go through the whole action to put things in sinc.

They are very accurate. One I checked out shot up to my expectations from a 6" revolver off-hand.

Standing Wolf
September 4, 2005, 10:32 PM
They're terrible guns. They fall apart in no time. They're not the least bit accurate. The bluing flakes off. The triggers sometimes fall out. The front sights usually need to be filed down almost flat. A lot of them left the factory with rusty hammers. They often just plain don't work at all. They cause cancer, heart failure, spinal dislocations, deafness, and birth defects. In fact, the big hurricane may have been caused by Pythons.

You definitely want to leave that one for someone who appreciates Pythons.

September 4, 2005, 11:44 PM

September 5, 2005, 12:47 AM
Pythons are the only revolver that doesn't need a trigger job out of the factory. Not worth the money though. The only reason they're a grand or so, new, is because of the factory trigger work. A trigger job costs less than $100 or you can easily do it yourself. A $700ish price difference between any other .357 for a name and a decent trigger? No way.
A buddy of mine has a 6" Pthyon, but uses a 6" Smith for weekly target shooting.
"...a good outdoor adventure gun?..." A what? I'm guessing a bush carry gun? The GP-100 is a very strong and accurate revolver, but it's heavy to lug around. It's a dandy target revolver though. I've had a 4" GP since they first came to Canada and wouldn't think of using anything else for target shooting. A 4" S&W Model 19with a trigger job and grips that work for you would be better. Don't shoot a lot of hot .357 mag ammo out of one though. .38 Special +P's will do nicely.
"...failed to carry up..." To what?

September 5, 2005, 09:44 AM
I'm sure glad no one bothered to tell me what junk guns Pythons were before I fired umpteen thousand full loads through mine.

I've known a lot of Python owners and shooters.
Out of over 50 that I've come into personal contact with in my life I never saw one out of time or worn out mechanically.

I think they're a lot sturdier than most people will admit.
Of course most opinions you read come from people with only anecdotal experience.

Standing Wolf
September 5, 2005, 10:03 PM
Pythons are the only revolver that doesn't need a trigger job out of the factory.

Once upon a time, yes, but that hasn't been true for at least two decades now.

September 6, 2005, 04:30 AM
Bought my Python new in 62. Also bought a BHP and a Randall #14 knife. Knife cost more than either gun. Still got em all. Python was reblued at the factory in 74 (did not get on well in the jungle), but outside of one firing pin replacement (after aboout 15K rounds), has run like a swiss watch all that time. Put lots of heavy loads through it, lugged it all over, and it has been abused (not intentionally). Still shoots as well as day one. I guess it is true, they don't make em like they used to.

September 6, 2005, 09:19 AM
People who say Pythons are prone to mechanical problems are right.

People who say their Pythons have never had a problem are right, too.

Why? Over the years, Colt factory QC has been sort of like a sine curve - if you get a Python made at an "up" swing, you'll be OK. On the other hand, if you get one made during one of Colt's frequent "down" swings, you're in for a lot of grief . . . especially since Colt's is NOT known for having good factory service. (BTW, a couple of decades ago, much was made of the Python still traditionally being "hand fitted." Well, they HAD to be hand fitted, since Colt's machinery was worn out and at the time interchangeable parts were a fiction of the past!)

Note that the OVERWHELMING MAJORITY of revolver competitors use tuned S&W revolvers. These are people who will spend the $$ to buy whatever works best for them, and they choose S&W's. Colt revolvers have a DA trigger pull that "stacks" which most people find distracting.

Standing Wolf
September 6, 2005, 06:23 PM
Colt revolvers have a DA trigger pull that "stacks" which most people find distracting.

True. The stacking can be significantly reduced by excellent gunsmithing; even then, however, it's still there, and takes some getting used to.

September 6, 2005, 07:01 PM
Colt revolvers have a DA trigger pull that "stacks" which most people find distracting. The same way that some Weenies who were raised on automatic transmission automobiles sometimes find manual shift vehicles "distracting" also.

September 6, 2005, 08:49 PM
While I think that they are gorgeous, I've never enjoyed shooting a python due to the action. I prefer a Smith 686. I will say that the python frame is very strong and the lockwork will also do fine as long as you don't do fast shooting with them. It's not the heavy loads that are the problem, it is pulling the trigger as fast as you can. That's why competition shooters use Smiths.

September 7, 2005, 02:31 AM
How many people actually compete with revolvers any more?

Back when almost all competition was done with revolvers Colt ruled.
Yes the same V-spring action that powers the Python was favored by a wide margin over the S&W. Even the supposidly smoother S&W pre-war long action.

It wasn't until Colt switched over to the MkIII action that S&W passed them by.

September 7, 2005, 09:06 AM
Colt Pythons are dangerous to the public and do not hold up well.
They actually are ugly and the triggers are bad. If you have seen any of these contact me and I'll be happy to trade a like condition 686 or 586 Smith & Wesson for them just to get these aweful guns off the street.
If the Python is NEW in box, I'll send you a relacement of a NEW in box 686.
I'm setting this help line up, just to rid the streets of these bad products as I'm concerned that someone may get hurt.

Please feel free to contact me at

If you've seen these, please let me know right away.
Thanks for your help in this serious matter.


September 7, 2005, 09:39 AM
I think they're a lot sturdier than most people will admit.
Of course most opinions you read come from people with only anecdotal experience.


As time winds on, I've noticed people tend to speak less from experience and more from "I [read,heard] that x is the case." Further, it stops being "I read..." or "I heard..." and starts being "I know for a fact..."

Interesting. Maybe it's always been that way.

A thought to ponder: Know thy weapon. What if something periodically needs attention? We're not talking about the weapon disassembling itself in the middle of a jungle firefight. All weapons eventually need preventative maintenance, and Colt revolvers don't need as much as you might think. Much work on most modern designs can be done by someone with a little training and a few simple tools. When Colt revolvers were the standard in police sidearms, department armorers weren't dragged kicking and screaming out of four-year Mechanical Engineering programs; though you may be inclined to think so by the rumor mill. They were selected the same way Glock armorers are selected now. Some operations on Colt revolvers required a visit to the factory, true, but the same holds true for any maker.

SamlautRanger: If you're willing to commit to the platform, I say go for it. Personally, I prefer being able to do my own (at least rudimentary) maintenance so I stick to a few basic designs that I'm comfortable with. YMMV.

September 7, 2005, 11:57 AM
As with any higher end product whether it's a gun, watch, automobile or whatever either you "get" what they are about or you don't. Yes, there are revolvers that are more rugged than a Python and better suited for going to the hard places but you don't take a Ferrari off-roading either.

Pythons are wonderfully fitted, very accurate and have beautiful triggers. That is what you are paying for. If that's what you want then they are worth the price. If it isn't buy something else and be happy that you made the right choice for you.

And yes, I own a Python. I love it.

Jim K
September 7, 2005, 02:00 PM
The Python uses the old Colt system and yes, they are prone to timing problems, although the effect of those problems is vastly overrated.

Due to the design, few Colt revolvers will lock up if cocked slowly, and some "experts" say they must do so. In fact, they will lock up when the trigger is pulled and primer strikes will be centered, the only thing that really counts.

But with the Python, Colt took extra care. Final fitting was assigned to old timers who knew how to make that antique lockwork dance a jig. The result was as good as you can get with the design.

Strength is more than adequate for the cartridge. Sometimes people who are used to cast Ruger frames think neither S&W nor Colt frames are strong enough. Not true; Ruger has to make their frames thick to compensate for the inherent weakness of cast steel; forged frames can be much slimmer.

Is the Python rugged enough for hard use? Sure. Colts with the same action were the police standard for decades; carried in every climate and every kind of weather, they never failed. (Whether one wants to carry a potential collectors item in the wilderness is another question.)

BTW, Blues Bear, Colt did themselves in long before the change to the Mk III action. When they got into the military rifle game, and got government contracts, they totally lost interest in both civilian and police business. Their customer service went down the tubes, police armorer training on revolvers took a back seat to pushing the AR-15, and they generally didn't give a d*** about anything but big government contracts. I won't get into M16 failures, the AA2000 fiasco, and other disastrous and costly business decisions, not to mention musical chairs ownership and management.


September 7, 2005, 02:09 PM
I recently acquired my first Python. It makes me just as happy staring into the blue as it does looking over the sights on the firing line. I believe it's the most beautiful DA revolver money can buy. I would never take it camping or hunting, not that it wouldn't be suitable for the task, but why risk scratching it or even worse, losing it.
I have a 686 for trips into the wild.

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