Colt Python (2020) PYTHON-SP4WTS 357 Magnum Review

Pricey, but the new Python is a winner, even if it isn’t an exact clone of the original Python.

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GUN TESTS GRADE: A

$1300

The new 4.25-inch-barrel Python comes in a hard plastic box with a lock and a packet sample of oil. We wish it came with an optional rubber grip. Originals had a 4-inch barrel, but to accommodate Canadian regulations, Colt opted for a 4.25-inch barrel in the 2020 model. In hand, the new Python has nice balance and a good grip. We fell in love immediately with the bright stainless finish, which is brilliant and easy to clean. The top side of the barrel has a matte-stainless finish. The full-lug barrel adds weight, and that translates into less felt recoil, even with the hot magnum loads.

Action TypeRevolver
TriggerDouble action/Single action
Overall Length9.75 in.
Barrel Length4.25 in.
Sight Radius5.2 in.
Overall Height5.5 in.
Maximum Width1.4 in.
Weight Unloaded42 oz.
Weight Loaded42.9 oz.
Cylinder Gap0.004 in.
Capacity6
Frame FinishBright stainless
Barrel/Cylinder FinishBright stainless
Frame Front Strap Height2.3 in.
Frame Back Strap Height3.8 in.
GripLaminated wood, checkered
Grip Thickness (max)1.3 in.
Grip Circumference (max)5.5 in.
Front SightRed ramp, removable
Rear SightAdjustable, notch
Trigger Pull Weight (DA)9.6 lbs.
Trigger Pull Weight (SA)6.0 lbs.
Trigger Span (DA)3.3 in.
Trigger Span (SA)3.0 in.
SafetyTransfer bar
WarrantyNone written
Telephone(800) 962-2658
WebsiteColt.com
Made InUSA

The new two-piece grips are checkered laminated wood with an inset nickel Colt medallion. The grips look great, and they are thinner than the checkered walnut on the originals. Because the grips are thinner, they also transfer recoil, which is what we encountered with magnum loads. An old set of Pachmayr Presentation rubber grips fit, as do the Hogue and Pachmayr Gripper grips. We wonder if Colt will offer a more comfortable rubber grip in the future.

The curve of the trigger is different than on the ‘64, yet we still had plenty of leverage. It is also serrated. In DA, the pull measured 9 pounds, which was a pleasure. In our opinion, the trigger on the new Python is excellent and close to the original in quality. The U-shaped mainspring ensures a smooth press with no stacking. Coil-spring mainsprings produce stacking. As they compress, the coil spring increases the trigger pull weight toward the end of the stroke just before the hammer falls. This is called stacking. The elongated bolt-stop slots also ensure a smooth action because the cylinder stop does not drag against the cylinder. In SA, the trigger breaks crisp and clean with no take up and no mush. It averaged 6 pounds and was not as good as the originals, though we are nitpicking over a 2-pound difference. The hammer is finely serrated and offers good texture, but our Python-philes liked the checkered texture of the originals.

There is a transfer-bar safety system built in, which works like this: The hammer hits the transfer bar, transferring energy to the firing pin to fire the cartridge in the chamber. Without the trigger being held in the firing position, the transfer bar is not held up behind the firing pin, so the gun will not fire. The transfer-bar system is similar to what Ruger uses in its current DA/SA revolvers. The firing pin for the new Python is housed in the frame.

The ramp front sight has a red insert in it like revolvers did a few decades ago. We liked the contrast with the rear. The front sight is removed via a hex wrench and is easily replaceable. We liked this set up. The rear sight is fully adjustable for windage and elevation, though there is no indicator for left/right or up/down. To adjust windage, use a hex wrench to loosen the windage lock screw and then turn the windage screw clockwise to move point of impact left; counterclockwise to move right. After adjustment, tighten the windage lock screw with the hex wrench. To adjust elevation, screw clockwise to lower the point of impact or counterclockwise to raise. We would have liked adjustment indicators on the rear sight. Though the finish was matte, we would have also liked the rear sight face serrated to reduce glare.

The sharp edge of the underlug dragged inside the holster when reholstering, but you would not notice wear on the sharp edges because the revolver is stainless. We would not hesitate to conceal-carry the new Python, just remember to use a sturdy belt because it weighs 42.9 ounces loaded. The new Python and the Galco Phoenix holster make a nice daily rig. It’s not a fancy BBQ rig, but it is still stylish.

With magnum loads, we felt recoil with the 4.25-inch-barrel model more than with the 6-inch pistol. The rear grip has an edge, not rounded like the original grip, and that pounded the palm during recoil. With 38 Specials, it is a non-issue, but after a few full cylinders of 357 Mag ammo, you feel fatigue. This is when we swapped out the factory grip for the rubber Pachmayr grips, which increased shooting comfort. We’ve already suggested Colt create a rubber grip, and we hope they listen.

The new Python shot circles around the ’64 with a best 25-yard, five-shot group of 0.5 inches with Winchester Defend 357 Magnum loaded with 110-grain JHP bullets. Average accuracy with that ammo was 0.7 inches. Nice! All magnum ammo averaged just over 1 inch. This is a shooter for sure. With 38 Special ammo, it averaged 1.6 inches with Blazer +P ammo and 1.2 inches with Hornady Critical Defense. We also noted the new Python had more velocity than the ’64.

Our Team Said: The cost is pricey, but the new Python is a winner even if it isn’t an exact clone of the original Python. It has a smooth DA trigger that is superb and offers excellent accuracy. You may want to buy aftermarket grips depending on the size of your hand and aversion to recoil. Sights were adequate, our shooters said.

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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