The Umarex Colt Python Part 1
A different kind of Snake Gun
By Dennis Adler
Collectors call them “snake guns,” Pythons, Diamondbacks, Cobras, Anacondas, King Cobras, etc. Colt once had an entire lineup of famous double action revolvers named after snakes, and each and every one, in its own right, has become collectible, some more than others. At the top of the order was the Colt Python. Back in the 1950s and well into the late 20th Century, revolvers were king among law enforcement sidearms, and one of the most popular was the Colt Python .357 magnum revolver.
Introduced in 1955, the .357 Magnum Colt Python was one of two significant revolvers introduced, making it a very memorable year for Colt. The other was the second generation Single Action Army. The Python was a superbly designed and handcrafted gun, harder to manufacturer because it was built to a standard that only Colt could live up to; Pythons took longer to make than any other production pistol at the time because each one was hand fitted and hand polished to perfection. And they were unmistakable for any other revolver, bold in shape with a full length bull barrel, fully shrouded ejector rod and full length stippled vent rib. The grips were big and distinctively shaped to provide a firm hold on the heavy recoiling .357 magnum, which came with a standard 6-inch barrel.
An optional 4-inch barrel (popular with law enforcement) was also offered, a short-lived 3-inch barrel (Combat Python), long 8-inch target barrel length, and the very desirable compact model with a 2-1/2 inch barrel and smaller Colt Service grips for easier concealment. Add the standard fully adjustable white-outline rear sight, a 1/8-inch front ramp with red inset, handsome Colt Royal blue finish or high polish nickel, and you had guns with instant appeal. Built like a target pistol the Pythons came with a distinctive wide spur checkered hammer and grooved, curved trigger. Overall weight for the standard 6-inch model was 44 ounces, 41 ounces with the 4-inch barrel.
Used by the California Highway Patrol, Colorado and Georgia State Police, and Florida Highway Patrol, among others, the Python’s remained popular with civilians and law enforcement alike in the decades leading up to the transition to semi-autos in the 1980s. By the 1990s high capacity semi-autos sealed the fate of the revolver as a primary sidearm for the vast majority of law enforcement agencies. By the early 21st Century the Python and all Colt revolvers, save for the Single Action Army, had all been discontinued. Colt had forsaken much of its history in order to survive. Fortunately for airgun enthusiasts that history is being rebuilt, one gun at a time.
In 2015 Umarex got together with Colt’s to build an authentic copy of the famed Single Action Army. To make this gun as authentic as possible the six-shot Peacemaker was literally a six-shooter using brass BB-loading cartridges. The concept of the BB cartridge opened the door for Umarex and Colt’s to take the cartridge-loading air pistol to the next level and reproduce the second most famous Colt wheelgun in history, the Python. This double action, single action airgun is nearly identical is size, weight and operation and loads six rounds either individually or with an included speed loader. The guns have the original “PYTHON .357” and “.357 MAGNUM CTG” markings on the left side of the barrel and the Rampant Colt on the frame just below the cylinder release.
Unlike many CO2 powered revolvers the Python does not require removing a grip panel to insert the 12 gr. cartridge; rather like semi-autos with interchangeable magazines, the base of the pistol grip has a recessed, threaded cover that unscrews allowing the CO2 to be inserted, and then with the cap replaced, it is turned tight with an enclosed hex head wrench to pierce the cartridge and ready the gun for firing. This keeps things looking and working more authentically since the grips are actually screwed to the frame and have Colt emblems. The Umarex Python is a window into Colt’s not too distant past and a look at the not too distant future of Colt branded air pistols.
In Part 2 the CO2-powered Python delivers on its promise.
A word about safety
Double Action/ Single Action airguns provide the look, feel and operation of their cartridge-firing counterparts. Most airguns, in general, look like cartrrige guns, the Colt Python more so, and it is important to remember that the vast majority of people can’t tell an airgun from a cartridge gun. Never brandish an airgun in public. Always, and I can never stress this enough, always treat an airgun as you would a cartridge gun. The same manual of operation and safety should always apply.