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Colt Python

The finest production revolver ever made.

The Colt Python was first introduced in 1955 as Colt's top-of-the-line model. The gun pictured here was made in 1962. Pythons produced from 1955 to 1969 have no letter in the serial number and are the most desirable to collectors. The Pythons from the 1955-1963 era were all hand made and hand finished (prior to CNC machining and mass assembly line production).

Use the Colt Serial Number Database Lookup Tool.


  Colt Database Search



1962 .357 Colt Python wearing period elephant ivory grips
1962 Colt Python wearing period elephant ivory grips laying on hunting vest

Pythons have a distinct appearance. A full barrel underlug, ventilated rib and adjustable sights combine to give the gun its unique look. Originally, Colt manufactured Pythons with hollow underlugs but quickly left them solid to add stabilizing barrel weight. The Python was originally available in two finishes: Royal Blue and Bright Nickel. The Bright Nickel model was discontinued with the introduction of the more durable satin stainless and mirror-polished Ultimate Stainless models. NOTE: My nickel plated gun pictured on this page is a half century old and has been used throughout the last 50 years (not stored in a safe). How much more durable are those new finishes?

The very last guns of this model were produced only through the Custom Shop by special order and are also highly prized by the collector. I enjoy swapping out the grips on the Python from time to time. It really looks like a different gun with the walnut vs. ivory. This is one of my all-time favorite guns. The action is smoother than any revolver I've ever handled. According to Colt, it was designed to shoot 2" groups at 15 yards, and it does, even 44 years later. We recently had a visitor looking for the date of manufacture (DOM) of his Colt Python with a low serial number beginning with the KT prefix. He called Colt at 1-800-962-COLT and they informed him that the DOM was 1991. Thanks Ken, for letting us know!

1962 Colt Python wearing walnut grips
1962 Colt Python wearing walnut grips

Serial Numbers

Toward the end of 1969 the letter "E" was added as a prefix to the serial number. In 1975 the letter "E" was moved to the end of the number, becoming a suffix. In 1978 and later other letters were used.

According to the Colt Python Serial Number Table here, production of the Python peaked in 1981 (the highest production year). Colt produced more guns in that one year than the first ten years combined! However, 1978 is a "question mark" due to missing information surrounding guns with serial numbers that have the "N" Suffix. If more than 9,900 Pythons were produced with the "N" Suffix, 1978 would be the highest production year.

At any rate, the five year period from 1977 through 1981 appears to be the peak demand period (Life Cycle Peak) or "golden years" of production for the Colt Python. After 1981 production numbers fall off rapidly, culminating with the gun eventually being produced by the Colt Custom Shop to order only, up until production ceased altogether.

Some very lucky person out there owns the very last Python produced by Colt. I suspect the value of that gun to a collector would be very high. However, as long as Colt remains in business the remote possibility exists that they might produce another Python, thus de-throning the "last produced Python", a proposition that could never threaten the "first Python produced".

In the Gun Cabinet
Colt Python in gun cabinet

Hand Made vs CNC Machine Made

"You made a statement that CNC machining had an impact on the possible quality or value of guns made after 1965. I have been in the CNC machining business since its introduction to the manufacturing industry. It really did not have much of an impact until the mid to late 70’s. Most machining was done on manual machines before that. One of the main reasons was the cost of the equipment and high degree of training to program and operate older CNC machines. Also they were highly unreliable. In the beginning, one needed to know a great deal about electronics just to keep them going. By 1980 they were very reliable, easy to program and produced very high quality components, much more so than a good machinist on a manual machine. So as far as quality of the parts in a Colt revolver: the ones produced on modern CNC machines were most likely superior to the older hand made versions.

I love your web site and hope it continues to grow."  Ron

Colt Python with cylinder open

Colt Archive Letter of Authentication on my 1962 Python


Colt Archive Letter of Authentication on my 1962 Python

holstered colt python

colt python pictured in holster

Dating Your Colt Python

The first 99,999 Pythons that had no letter in the serial number.

Year      
of
DOM
Begin
Serial  
Number    
End
Serial  
Number    
Yearly
Prod.
Totals
1955 1 299 299
1956 300 1649 1,350
1957 1650 5549 3,900
1958 5550 7049 1,500
1959 7050 9099 2,050
1960 9100 13099 4,000
1961 13100 18799 5,700
1962 18800 24799 6,000
1963 24800 30799 6,000
1964 30800 41399 10,600
1965 41400 50499 9,100
1966 50500 60999 10,500
1967 61000 73799 12,800
1968 73800 89999 15,200
1969 90000 99999 10,000

These years have letters in the serial number.

Year      
of
DOM
Begin
Serial  
Number    
End
Serial  
Number    
Yearly
Prod.
Totals
1969 E1001 E6300 5,300
1970 E6301 E21200 14,900
1971 E21201 E38000 16,800
1972 E38001 E53500 15,500
1973 E53501 E61000 7,500
1974 E61001 E83700 22,700
1975 E83701 E99999 16,199
1975 01001E 15000E 14,000
1976 15001E 48300E 33,300
1977 48301E 86200E 37,900
1978 86201E 99999E 13,799
1978 01001N ? ?
1978 V01001 V36736 35,736
1979 V36737 V88373 51,636
1980 V88374 V99999 11,625
1980 AL01001 AL9999 8,999
1980 LA0101 LA9999 9,899
1980 VA1001 VA9256 8,256
1980 K01001 K16265 15,265
1981 K16266 K75747 59,481
1982 K75748 K99999 24,251
1983 T01001 T27539 26,539
1984 T27540 T34452 16,912
1985 T34453 ? ?

Two American Classics

1962 Colt Python on Harley jacket

Colt and Harley Davidson

1962 Colt Python on Harley jacket

Few Brands Achieve

1962 Colt Python on Harley jacket

Greatness Like These Two

1962 Colt Python on Harley jacket
1962 Colt Python

1962 Python Photo Gallery Link

All of my family and friends have fired this old gun. After a good cleaning I put the mother-of-pearl grips on for these photos.

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