After a depressing week of discussing grim topics of death and murder convictions, let’s talk about guns for a while.

On my desk as I write this is a book that came out six years ago, which I only got around to reading now: “Seven Serpents” by Gurney Brown, who among his many other credentials has served on the board of the Colt Collectors Association.  The seven serpents are what Colt collectors call “The Snake Guns” because of their names.  Some are sought after for their rarity, others because of how superbly they perform the jobs they were designed for. The book treats them in the order of their introduction.

The Colt Cobra, introduced in 1950, was the first lightweight aluminum-frame revolver. I often carried my dad’s in my pocket as a teenager working in the family jewelry store, when it was too hot to wear something that could hide my preferred Colt .45 auto. I lived long enough to see a lawyer claim that the defendant owning a “Cobra” was indicia of malice…sigh.

The Colt Python, introduced in 1955, was a target-grade revolver made almost as an afterthought in .357 Magnum instead of .38 Special. No one ever made a more accurate revolver. They sold for $125 when introduced; originals now sell for thousands; and Colt recently re-introduced an updated version for a more reasonable 1,500 2021 dollars.

The Diamondback in .22 Long Rifle and .38 Special came out in 1966, a little Cobra-size revolver with the deluxe treatment that distinguished the larger Python: exquisite Royal Blue finish, adjustable sights, and distinctive barrel with ventilated rib above and integral full-length barrel weight below.

1977 saw the Viper, essentially a Cobra .38 Special with four-inch barrel.  Only produced for a year, it’s a rara avis eagerly sought by Colt collectors.

The Colt Boa of 1985 was a special, non-catalogued model made exclusively for Lew Horton Distributors, a .357 Magnum on Colt’s updated Mark V action with a Python barrel. Its low production numbers make it highly collectible today.

The Boa was followed by the King Cobra of 1986. S&W’s Models 586 and 686 L-frames were essentially their copies of the Python, as to some degrees was Ruger’s GP100, so Colt returned the favor with this economy priced .41-frame .357 Mag.  A couple of years ago, Colt resurrected the King Cobra name for a .357 Mag version of their compact stainless D-frame revolver.

The seventh serpent was the Anaconda, Colt’s only .44 Magnum.  By the time it came out the market was glutted with revolvers in the Dirty Harry caliber, and it never sold well, being appreciated only after it was discontinued. Colt re-introduced it just this year, and I like the new ($1500) version better than I did the old one.

At $89.95, this is a pricy coffee table book, but as befits that genre, it is lavishly produced with so many fine photographs of superb American workmanship that it should come with a bib to catch the drool. Order from www.gundigeststore.com.  (And order quick: they have a discount going on for it as I write this!)

Having shot all of these guns and owning five of the seven, I appreciate this book. My own favorite of the seven serpents was definitely the Python, and I’m happy that the author’s follow-up book to “Seven Serpents” was “Colt’s Python.”  We’ll review that title in this space soon.

27 COMMENTS

  1. Mas – with the demand for new firearms and ammo so high right now, it is difficult to find firearms for sale at all. Even long established models that have been “on the market” for years.

    I can only imagine how difficult it is for an ordinary mortal (as a highly respected trainer and firearms author, you have an advantage) to “lay our hands” upon these new models of “Snake Guns”.

    Heck, the new Python has been (theoretically) on the market for more than a year now. Yet, you never see one for sale at any of the on-line retailers. Not even the major ones such as “Gallery of Guns”. Boy, the “Gallery” seems to be filled with only “empty seats” nowadays! 🙂

    Realistically, when do you think that these high-end snake guns, like the new python or anaconda, will move out of the “Vapor Gun” stage and actually be available for ordinary mortals to purchase? At a price near the MSRP so that one does not have to mortgage the homestead to purchase one?

  2. TN_MAN, Brownell’s shows Pythons for $1,700. Guns International lists them for $2,000. Some difference there! Awfully good handgun if you are only going to carry one firearm or sidearm in a bugout, though. Hard to beat for long-range accuracy. Hope you can find a bargain pipeline, or you hit it big in a lottery…

    • Brownell’s now shows the Python to be “Out of Stock”.

      Bud’s Gun Shop shows a 4.25″ model in stock. However, they list the price as either $2,199 (Cash Discount) or $2,264.97 (if you put it on a credit card). The credit card price is more than 50% over the MSRP. So much for “Bud’s Discount Guns”!

      Bud’s “Price Gouger” Guns is more like it! 🙁

      God only knows what they would ask for an Anaconda.

      See this link to the Bud’s Python. How long before it sells even at this exorbitant price?

      https://www.budsgunshop.com/product_info.php/products_id/119657/colt+python+357+mag+6+round+425+stainless+steel+

      • The Python from Bud’s will sell, to an idiot who has more dollars than cents(sense). Maybe Crooked Joe Biden or his bag man Hunter, who will of course lie on the 4473 form to buy it.

      • @ Tom606 – According to an online currency converter, the credit card price of the Bud’s Python ($2,264.97) works out to be 14,660 Chinese Yuen.

        Oh Yeah, either Joe or Hunter could afford that out of one pocket! 🙂

      • @Tom606 – “The Python from Bud’s will sell, to an idiot who has more dollars than cents(sense).”

        Too true! I see from the link to the Bud’s Python that it is now “Out of Stock”. Which means that your words have proved true. The Bud’s Python is already “Gone with the Wind”! 🙂

  3. I was fortunate to have owned a Colt Viper, Diamondback with 6″ barrel in .22 LR, two blued Pythons, and 1970’s Detective Special and Cobra, all purchased new and two used blued Troopers (I frames) in .38 Special and .357 Magnum. Unfortunately, none of these are in my possession now. I passed up a chance to buy a brand new Anaconda with 6″ barrel for $350 from Jumbo sports when the local store closed down over two decades ago. I tuned the actions of both Pythons and the Troopers, which are the same, and they were much more difficult and time consuming to work on than any Smith & Wesson revolver. I shot my 6″ Python the most and had to replace the hand twice. I’ll take a S&W 586 over a Colt Python anytime. I have yet to see the current Python so cannot comment on it except to say I’ll never buy one at it’s current price of over $1500.

  4. The Manurhin 73 might be more accurate than the Python. It probably has a better trigger and is definitely more durable. Just googling, you can buy used ones for not much over three thousand dollars.

    • The French really liked .357 revolvers, but their Manurhins are just plain ugly and expensive too at $3K for a used one. I had read the snail munchers also bought a number of Ruger Security-Six and Speed-Six revolvers back in the 1970’s and 1980’s to supplement their supply of wheelguns. The Germans have one upped their European neighbor to the southwest with their even more expensive Korth revolvers.

      • TN_MAN:

        “Sell the farm”?

        You must mean your huge southern plantation where your racist ancestors physically abused thousands of poor slaves while they were picking cotton to make them rich. You should do the right thing and sell your plantation immediately and give the cash proceeds to BLM, not the Bureau of Land Management, or the Rainbow Coalition as partial reparations for all the vile deeds your ancestors did to savagely oppress and torture the brutally abducted sons and daughters of Mother Africa. 🙂

      • @ Tom606 – “You should do the right thing and sell your plantation immediately and give the cash proceeds to BLM….”

        It is far too late for that! The family plantation was broken up and the property (and the slaves) distributed in accordance with the terms of a Will dated March 31, 1845.

        So, your idea is 176 years too late.

        BLM will have to be disappointed with me since slavery is long since dead and gone in my family as it is in America. This is despite the efforts of a group of power-hungry psychopaths to foster a pseudo-reality upon the American People so as to keep racism alive and divisive.

      • TN_MAN:

        It’s never too late to cough up some money and free stuff to redeem yourself. Slavery may be over in America, but since white people created that institution and owned billions of kidnapped Africans and forced them to pick cotton and other crops, any descendants of Caucasian heritage will forever be guilty of oppressing ebony folks and have to pay for their heinous crimes for the rest of eternity. From Here to Eternity?

      • Tom606:

        The late Rush Limbaugh (may God rest his soul) used to say that he was “The Mayor of Realville”. Thereby designating that he existed in the “Real World” rather than in the fantasy, utopian, pseudo-reality created by the American Left and fostered upon America by means of their indoctrination and propaganda machine.

        While I claim no official title in “Realville”, I am certainly a resident of that fair City. I have no more use for the Left’s pseudo-reality than did Rush Limbaugh.

        So, again, BLM (and the rest of the Left’s brain-washing machine) will continue to be disappointed in me. I am neither an indoctrinated “True Believer” not one of their weak-minded “Useful Idiots”.

        It is impossible to overestimate how little regard that I have for the Left’s lies and propaganda. On a scale of 1 to 10 (where 1 represents total believe in the Left’s fantasy world and 10 represents total disbelief in it, I would score somewhere close to infinity! 🙂

  5. “And to you, Miss O’Shaughnessy, adieu. I leave you the rara avis on the table as a little memento….”

    Mas, are you saying these Colts are, uh….the stuff that dreams are made of?

    • I love “The Maltese Falcon”. A real movie that was made during the “Golden Age” of Hollywood. Now all we get from Hollywood is perversion, explosions and left-wing propaganda.

      Certainly, a new python or anaconda is a “rara avis” with respect to getting your hands on one. To purchase one at a reasonable price is, indeed, “the stuff that dreams are made of”.

      • TN_MAN:

        Since you appear to be a fan of classic old movies with references to The Maltese Falcon and GWTW, you may be interested in a 1982 movie titled Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid starring Steve Martin. This comedy was filmed in black and white, and using movie magic, especially very skillful editing inserted Martin into a variety of 1930’s and 1940’s mystery flicks, creating an entirely new movie. Martin plays a private detective of the era such as Sam Spade, Phillip Marlowe, or Mike Hammer and the then gorgeous Rachel Ward was the damsel in distress client. Miss Ward was also in the excellent 1981 movie Sharky’s Machine starring Burt Reynolds playing a hard boiled Atlanta cop. Speaking of Colt handguns, in the beginning of the movie Burt’s character carried a blued 4″ Colt Diamondback in a small duffel bag and later pulled out a blued 6″ Colt Python concealed in his boot to put down a bad guy wielding a long barreled S&W revolver. Now, that’s a real man!

        If you haven’t watched Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, check it out. It’s a hilarious movie. Try it, you’ll like it.

  6. Colt has surely made some nice revolvers over the years and I have had a few come and go down the road. Never liked the grip frames and the actions as much as Smith & Wesson’s. But…maybe a late model Detectives Special is just what I need…

  7. Absolutely beautiful firearms. Works of art. I wanted a Diamondback in .22. Somehow or another I ended up with an H&R 949 Forty Niner as my .22 revolver. Yup. The Honda Civic will get you where you need to go, and it is dependable, but….. My inner child is still whining.

    • @ Dave – I managed to purchase a S&W Model 18 off of a gun auction site recently. This is a blued .22 revolver built on the K-Frame. It is not a Colt Diamondback but, nevertheless, it is still a very, very nice .22 revolver. It was practically “New in the Box” having (according to the seller) only a box or two of .22 ammo put through it before I bought it.

      I am sure that I paid more than a used H&R 949 would have cost me. However, I am also sure that I paid much, much less than a nice, used Colt Diamondback would have cost! I felt it was a reasonable “trade-off”.

      It has a 4 inch long barrel and a cylinder gap that measures, according to my Gage, at 0.003 inches. Not bad for a factory S&W.

      • Congrats! Great gun, too. Unfortunately, my inner child is a spoiled brat. Lack of parental discipline, I suppose. I am sure he would like a classic S&W; but, alas, I am sure when he sees or reads about the-Colt-that-by-birthright-should-be-his he’ll just have another fit, and I’ll have to drag him away.

      • @ Dave – If you want to feed your “inner child”, then this link provides the chance:

        https://www.gunsinternational.com/guns-for-sale-online/revolvers/colt-revolvers-diamondback/colt-diamondback-22lr.cfm?gun_id=101637128

        For a mere $2450 plus shipping and transfer fee, you can make your inner child happy.

        While this Diamondback is a beautiful revolver, it is “too rich for my blood”! The asking price is about 4 times what I paid for my S&W Model 18. So, being somewhat “tight fisted”, I will stick with my nice S&W. Frankly, I do not feel too “deprived”! 🙂

      • Don’t feel bad, bro…if I didn’t already have mine from back in the day when they sold for reasonable prices, I wouldn’t have one today.

        Good thing to keep in mind, though, when people wonder whether fine guns are worthwhile investments…

    • I once had a Colt blued Diamondback with 6″ barrel purchased new in the 1980’s for around $300. It was so nice I never fired it and sold it a few years later, still unfired with box and papers for $350. A few years ago, I got a S&W K-22 via Gun Broker in like new condition with box and papers for $700 and liked it much more than the Diamondback and have put around 1000 rounds through it so far. My older pre-lock, pre-MIM K-22 is extremely accurate with most .22LR ammo. It’s definitely a keeper with it’s nicely figured Kim Ahrends wood stocks.

  8. Hey Honey, remember that trip we’ve been talking about? I have an idea. You will like it even better than jewelry. And my idea is beautiful, just like you my sweet…It’s at that point I will unbox that beautiful Colt and suggest we head to the range .

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