Colt Python (1980) 357 Magnum Review

Although the used 1980 Python has an aftermarket grip and is not totally original, it is a great representation of 1980’s Pythons. The trigger is superb and the royal blue finish is brilliant. The aftermarket Hogue grip helps reduce felt recoil.




This original Python was manufactured in 1980, and the blue finish was in 85% condition. It did have aftermarket Hogue grips, which reduces the collector value, but increases shooter comfort. Regardless, the blue finish was beautifully executed. We liked having the chance to examine another original Python two decades newer than ’64 Python.

Action TypeRevolver
TriggerDouble action/Single action
Overall Length11.5 in.
Barrel Length6.0 in.
Sight Radius7.1 in.
Overall Height5.25 in.
Maximum Width1.4 in.
Weight Unloaded46.5 oz.
Weight Loaded 47.4 oz.
Cylinder Gap0.006 in.
Frame FinishRoyal blue
Barrel/Cylinder FinishRoyal blue
Frame Front Strap Height 2.3 in.
Frame Back Strap Height 4.0 in.
GripHogue, pebble texture rubber with finger grooves
Grip Thickness (max)1.2 in.
Grip Circumference (max)5.5 in.
Front SightRed ramp, removable
Rear SightAdjustable, notch
Trigger Pull Weight (DA)10.0 lbs.
Trigger Pull Weight (SA)4.0 lbs.
Trigger Span (DA)3.4 in.
Trigger Span (SA)3.0 in.
SafetyHammer block
WarrantyNone written
Telephone (800) 962-2658
Made In USA

The rear sight was adjustable for windage and elevation with indicator arrows to show up/down and left/right. The notch had a white outline, which we liked since it contrasted with the plain black front sight. The front sight was serrated to reduce glare. We liked these sights, but we have become accustomed to modern guns with more contrasting front and rear sights. The front sight post is pinned in place.

The DA trigger had no stacking effect and was very smooth and consistent. Pull weight was an honest 10 pounds. The trigger was serrated, and we liked the curve of the trigger, which provided a nice feel and leverage. The hammer spur was wide and checkered. The hammer was easy to cock, with no slippage. The firing pin is captive in the frame. The internal safety is a hammer stop system, so the trigger needs to be fully rearward to allow the hammer to hit the firing pin.

The barrel and underlug is one piece machined from the steel with the barrel portion protruding at the muzzle. The full lug that adds weight helps with recoil. The front of the barrel and lug are sharp and dragged when reholstering.

The Colt’s cylinder locked only in the rear when cocked for SA. This gun was tight. We did note the cylinder gap was 0.006 inch — the most of the guns tested — but we did not experience any splash. We did note the recoil plate on all the Pythons allowed the user to see if a chamber was loaded or had an empty case. We like this feature, especially when you want to align a certain chamber with the bore.

The aftermarket Hogue grip was a one-piece OverMolded model with finger grooves, a pebbled texture, palm swell, and a flat butt. This grip offered good grip adhesion and helped with 357 Magnum recoil. In our opinion, the Hogue grip and 4-pound SA trigger allowed us to shoot the ’80 accurately. Our best five-shot group measured 0.51 inches with Blazer 38 Special +P ammo topped with a 125-grain JHP. In 357 Magnum, the Armscor gave us a best five-shot group that measured 0.60 inches. The grip dispersed recoil into the palm of the hand. This was a fun revolver to shoot. Our average groups measured 1.0 to 1.4 inches, which is respectable accuracy. The Hornady Critical Defense 38 Special skewed the average since it blew out to 2.1 inches, though still accurate enough, in our opinion. Looking at the data, we noticed the ’80 had less velocity than the 2020 Python. In DA mode, we found the revolver was easy to control, even with a bit of flip and recoil with magnum loads. We had no issues ejecting empty brass. There is a cut out in the Hogue grip that allows use of speed loaders. We had no issue with any of the speedloaders.

The 6-inch ’80 took more effort to carry, though the Galco and Uncle Mike’s shoulder holster were comfortable.

Our Team Said: The ’80 Python lived up to its reputation. We liked the trigger and the aftermarket grip, which helped us shoot the Python well. The cost of this revolver ranges from $2200 to $2800, and that is steep. Again, if you have to have an original, this is a good model to have, even if you only shoot it on high holy days and it is a safe queen the rest of the year. 

Range Data

To collect accuracy data, we fired five-shot groups from a bench using a rest. Distance: 25 yards with open sights. We recorded velocities using a ProChrono digital chronograph set 10 feet from the muzzle.
Armscor 357 Magnum 158-grain FMJColt Python (2020) 4.25-in. BarrelColt Python (1964) 4.0-in. BarrelColt Python (2020) 6.0-in. BarrelColt Python (1980) 6.0-in. Barrel
Average Velocity1042 fps1035 fps1151 fps1038 fps
Muzzle Energy381 ft.-lbs.376 ft.-lbs.465 ft.-lbs.378 ft.-lbs.
Smallest Group1.12 in.1.55 in.1.21 in.0.60 in.
Average Group1.36 in.1.78 in.1.36 in.1.07 in.
Hornady Critical Defense 357 Mag. 125-grain FTXColt Python (2020) 4.25-in. BarrelColt Python (1964) 4.0-in. BarrelColt Python (2020) 6.0-in. BarrelColt Python (1980) 6.0-in. Barrel
Average Velocity1367 fps1351 fps1459 fps1378 fps
Muzzle Energy519 ft.-lbs.507 ft.-lbs.591 ft.-lbs.527 ft.-lbs.
Smallest Group1.00 in.1.31 in.1.92 in.1.33 in.
Average Group1.03 in.1.77 in.2.02 in.1.42 in.
Winchester Defend 357 Magnum 110-grain JHPColt Python (2020) 4.25-in. BarrelColt Python (1964) 4.0-in. BarrelColt Python (2020) 6.0-in. BarrelColt Python (1980) 6.0-in. Barrel
Average Velocity1270 fps1266 fps1270 fps1258 fps
Muzzle Energy394 ft.-lbs.392 ft.-lbs.394 ft.-lbs.387 ft.-lbs.
Smallest Group0.50 in.2.19 in.1.32 in.1.02 in.
Average Group0.76 in.2.23 in.1.52 in.1.41 in.
Blazer 38 Special +P 125-grain JHPColt Python (2020) 4.25-in. BarrelColt Python (1964) 4.0-in. BarrelColt Python (2020) 6.0-in. BarrelColt Python (1980) 6.0-in. Barrel
Average Velocity1010 fps1000 fps1103 fps994 fps
Muzzle Energy284 ft.-lbs.278 ft.-lbs.338 ft.-lbs.274 ft.-lbs.
Smallest Group1.56 in.1.15 in.0.64 in.0.51 in.
Average Group1.69 in.1.27 in.0.97 in.1.06 in.
Hornady Critical Defense 38 Sp. 110-grain FTXColt Python (2020) 4.25-in. BarrelColt Python (1964) 4.0-in. BarrelColt Python (2020) 6.0-in. BarrelColt Python (1980) 6.0-in. Barrel
Average Velocity1000 fps990 fps1011 fps992 fps
Muzzle Energy244 ft.-lbs.239 ft.-lbs.250 ft.-lbs.199 ft.-lbs.
Smallest Group1.08 in.1.07 in.1.82 in.1.78 in.
Average Group1.24 in.1.26 in.2.08 in.2.15 in.


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