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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Forum members,

If you don’t feel like reading this review, to summarize....ITS OKAY TO BUY THE NEW PYTHON. IT’S GREAT GUN AND THANK YOU COLT FOR FINALLY BRINGING IT BACK!!!!



2020 COLT PYTHON

First week in January of 2020 I went to gun store to buy ammo and started making conversation about the new release of the Colt Python with people at the store. The gun dealer told me his distributor promised to deliver him two 6” Pythons and if I put a $500 deposit down I’d be on wait list for the 2nd one as he already had a deposit for the first. Without hesitation I plopped my card down and made a deposit. I expected it to arrive in several months, probably by the summer. Within one week of my deposit I received a call from gun shop to come by and pickup my new Python! I was super excited even though it was not in my budget to pay it off right then. I paid MSRP and have the new 2020 Python and really happy to own it. I even bought a set of vintage Colt Python grips to complete the look and feel of the original.

I’ve now put well over 1,000 rounds through it and feel I have enough time with it to tell consumers thinking of buying it what the average joe thinks. I’m not an expert, so this report comes from a guy who just loves to shoot and own firearms. There are many on this group who I’m sure can speak in better technical terms about it...Having said that, I’ll do my best to describe my experience with a complete lack of proper terminology...so go easy on me as I try:

OVER ALL FEEL 1979 v 2020

I really love my 79’ but I’ve always babied it because I paid a lot for it and because it’s in such great shape I’d hate to scratch it. I bought my 79’ around 2012 I think (during the Walking Dead craze) so I paid a good chunk of change although not as much as what they go for now. The 20’ Python balance, weight and feel is exactly the same to my 79’, especially if you slap a set of vintage grips on them. I think, however, the 20’ may be about an ounce heavier than my 79’ but not enough to notice a difference. Because the steel is different material than my 79’ the 20’ tends to get hotter after a lot of continuous rounds. So, It can be a little annoying for what it’s worth.

TRIGGER 1979 v 2020

The only real difference is in the trigger and although it’s different it still retains the essence of the Python trigger feel...if that makes sense. In short, I think the 20’ double action pull is better than the 79’. The double action is smooth, not quite as “buttery” like the 79’, but smooth in that the pull is consistent all the way to the break whereas the double action pull on my 79’ is “buttery” but gets tighter as you continue pulling back towards the end (stacks). The single action, however, is better on my 79’... but not by a lot. I think part of the reason why I like the single action better is because the hammer is longer and has more material to grab onto with your thumb, the tread surface is better to the touch than the serrations of the 20’. The trigger return is more responsive. It bounces back quicker than the 79’ which ultimately helps in rapid fire. Overall, Although the trigger isn’t exactly like my 79’ it does seem durable and in some ways improved.

ACCURACY

I shot my 79’ next to my 20’ at paper targets to compare groups. In short, they both shoot great but I was able to achieve tighter groups with my new Python over my 79’...no BS. I’m more accurate with my 20’...don’t know why...it is what it is.

NEGATIVES

Light primer strikes

To be completely transparent, I will encounter an occasional light primer strike. I’d say it occurs one or two times out of a box of 50 rounds. So far all I’ve used 357 Fiocchi and Águila 38 special because I have a lot of it. It’s happened to both brands of ammunition so I don’t think it’s an ammo brand issue. When a light primer strike occurs I simply put the bullet aside and load it into my lever action and it fires. At home I did open the cylinder of both the 79’ and my 20’ and noticed the firing pin on my 79’ protrudes all the way out whereas my 20’ does not come all the way out. If I push the transfer bar with my finger I can get the firing pin to come out all the way. I think it has something to do with the new transfer bar system. The hammer simply does not hit the transfer bar with enough energy and it may just be the way the hammer makes contact with the transfer bar.

1979 firing pin protrudes further out


2020 firing pin does not protrude out as far


Cylinder Rotation

There’s been a lot of bashing going around on the internet about this issue, most notably Hickok45's video and Golden Web, and I can only speak to my gun. After about 200 rounds through it started to lock up and the cylinder stopped turning. I thought to myself, oh no, I got a lemon too!!!!...but after careful inspection I discovered the problem with my gun was due to a loose side plate. Basically the internals are held in by the side plate and when it rattles loose it can cause the internals to get a little wonky. It’s hard to detect because it looked like it was sitting flush but after removing my grips, I noticed the back screw underneath the grip was backed out causing the side plate to vibrate loose. The side plate probably moves while shooting the gun which affects the internals. In my case, the side plate lifted up slightly causing my cylinder latch to move forward exposing a little plastic sleeve behind it. If the latch moves out of place i believe it somehow causes the hand to become misaligned with the star on the cylinder because the hand rests directly behind the latch/side plate. I'M NOT A GUNSMITH but since I’ve torqued down both of the side plate screws (front and back) with a little blue lock tight I’m 100% certain I resolved the problem because I’ve been shooting it hard ever since, well over 1,000+ rounds now, and have not experienced cylinder rotation issues to date.

Cylinder Latch vibrates forward due to a loose side plate. Tighten your side plates, especially back screw behind the grips!!!!


Customer Service

After I initially began experiencing these issues I called Colts customer service multiple times and after two or three days I finally got through. A guy named Steven Potvin gave me an RMA label and asked me to ship it to them and TAT would take approximately 4 to 6 weeks. He doesn’t speak much to the issues but instead takes down your complaints and emails you a shipping label. After resolving my side plate issue I’ve opted to keep my gun and keep shooting it until things settle down over there because there’s no telling how long I’d be without it and the light primer strike issue is so intermittent and infrequent that I don’t have the desire to part with it for the time being. I believe Steven Potvin is the ONLY guy dealing in customer service which is disappointing for a major gun manufacturer.

OVERALL

Despite the negatives I think it’s a great gun and I have no regrets buying it. I’m enjoying it and continue to shoot it. I finally have Rick Grimes gun, It’s dirty as hell right now and can’t wait to shoot it again.







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I had my first "light strike" using the same .357 Fiocchi ammo as you. However, instead of taking the cartridge out, I re-cycled it and fired it with the Python. The round went off on the second try. I compared that round with all the other rounds I had fired and the primer strike was noticeably different. On the left is a normal strike and on the right is the light strike. I'm not sure if it came up like that because of the explosion, or if something was wrong with the primer.

20200208_162428.jpg
 

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Thanks so much for the great report. In Hickok's shoot around video last Sunday, he also pointed to the side plate issue that Colt brought up to him at SHOT. Your light primer strikes with Fiocchi ammo is a major bummer as that is my primary range ammo.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
I had my first "light strike" using the same .357 Fiocchi ammo as you. However, instead of taking the cartridge out, I re-cycled it and fired it with the Python. The round went off on the second try. I compared that round with all the other rounds I had fired and the primer strike was noticeably different. On the left is a normal strike and on the right is the light strike. I'm not sure if it came up like that because of the explosion, or if something was wrong with the primer.

View attachment 680811
It’s not an issue with the primer, my lever action knocks em out of the park on the second try...It’s my opinion the firing pin does not protrude all the way out consistently as it should. The hammer hits the transfer bar but occasionally does not produce enough force to get that pin all the way out. The transfer bar system is a new design to the Colt Python. The old design does not work this way as I compared the two. If you open your cylinder and dry fire your gun you’ll notice the pin does not protrude all the way out consistently as it should. If you push in the transfer bar with your finger I bet you can get that sucker to extend out all the way. Colt needs to examine the way the hammer hits the transfer bar. ....Layman talking here.


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I haven’t had a chance to try those brands of ammo...

I stick with what farm n fleet carries. Lol
Winchester, federal, blazer, Remington. I have had no issues with those. I have also ran 150 handloads through it, using CCI 500 & 550 primers. No issues.

Perhaps firing pin protrusion is an issue, or it could be a primer set too deep in the primer pocket as well.

Remember, a primer is set to a depth of .002”-.005” of an inch per published specs.

Can they come set deeper or set more shallow? Sure. Will some guns fire primers set out of spec? Sure, and yet others not reliably.

I would be interested to see the suspected light primer strikes have the primer depth measured. I have seen / verified primers set as far in as .010” but those were Tula brass 9mm and I can tell you I did have ignition issues with that. The round can look fine to the naked eye and be out of spec.

It wouldn’t bother me on range Ammo... but if it was an issue with the “premium” defense ammo that I verified primer depth was correct...I would send the gun into Colt.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I haven’t had a chance to try those brands of ammo...

It wouldn’t bother me on range Ammo... but if it was an issue with the “premium” defense ammo that I verified primer depth was correct...I would send the gun into Colt.
Interesting take on this issue. You obviously have more technical knowledge than I do but what I can say is that my 1979 Python never had any issues with light primer strikes for the brands I speak of and the 2020 does.



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It just totally depends on the engineering of the firearm and how much “slop” the engineers designed into the gun I guess.

Think of it this way (another analogy so hopefully the admins allow it)

You can run a Honda Civic all day long on 85octane... but put that in a high performance Porsche 911 Turbo and the engine may knock. It wasn’t designed to run on low octane fuel. Nothing is wrong with the car, it just wasn’t designed for it.

So did the Python engineers design the gun to only fire primers set at say .001”-.006”? Which is beyond the published spec of a rimmed cartridge to allow for some manufacturing error or do they expect a perfect cartridge every time?

We can only guess. I would hope so, but some engineers have a hard time wrapping their head around the fact poor manufacturing exists in every industry and they believe in building to specs. I have experienced this countless times in my career in engineering.
 

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Thanks for the report. It more or less mirrors my experience with mine, except that you've fired yours quite a bit more than I have. I'm at 350 or so rounds, but over 1000 dry fire cycles. I haven't had any of the cylinder rotation problems, but I did find the screw under the grip you mentioned to be loose (it was on my new Cobra also). I tightened them up, but haven't put any Loctite or anything on them yet. I'll see if they work loose again.

I've had a couple of light primer strikes, but I believe them to all be ammo related. The first one, the very first round I dropped the hammer on went CLICK. You an imagine how my heart dropped. It did the same thing through two more tries to get it to fire, both in D/A and S/A. When it still didn't fire, I abandoned that one to the "dud can" and fired off the rest of the box (Fiocchi also) with no incidents.

The other two came out of some of my reloads that I had. I have had misfires with ammo out of that batch of primers (CCI) before, using various Smith and Wesson revolvers so I wasn't shocked. Those primers were purchased during the great Obama ammo shortage, so that may have something to do with it, or I may not have seated them deeply enough. They all fired on the second hit. The only factory round to misfire was that first one.

I'm quite satisfied with the gun, and am worrying the staff at my LGS to death to get a 4.2" one.
 

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I haven't had any malfunctions of any kind with my new Python...mechanically or ammunition related. I think mine was built towards the end of the first run of 6" barreled Pythons before they started running 4.25" models. Maybe that was after some of the problems arose and corrections had been instituted...maybe I'm just fortunate or maybe it simply hasn't happened yet. Only time and shooting it more will tell.

While there's no way of telling since I doubt if anyone keeps records of when their ammunition was made...there was a drop in quality control during the Great Ammunition Shortage several years ago. Ammunition makers were trying to get product out of the door as fast as possible...hiring new workers...expanding capacity...and there were cases of quality lapses in the rush. It doesn't matter the cause...the result was poor quality occasionally. It's certainly within the realm of possibility that some poor quality ammunition from any maker was used in testing the new Pythons. I think many, if not most, shooters try to use up their oldest ammunition first.

There's a huge variety of explanations for why some new Pythons have malfunctioned...poor inspections and quality control at Colt...ammunition problems...operator error...and more if one wants to get into the minutiae of potential issues. That issues have occurred is beyond argument. How widespread the problems are is open to argument...all new Pythons are defective if you believe what you read on the internet and see on YouTube...proportionality is lost.

I think Colt will make good on the problems as they're discovered...they have too much on the line not to. There's a few thousand Pythons that might be affected...not a huge number if put in perspective but too many if yours is one of them. Those revolvers being returned must be affecting production of new guns for the time being so I think it will take some time before full production is achieved.
 

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I think i will get one now to see how its like, Thanks for the review.
I wouldn’t shy away from one. I know I am rather strong in my belief the issue isn’t with the gun.

Why? Because intermittent issues with mechanical systems are VERY rare. Mainly because the dimensions of the parts do not change (maybe a bit with extreme temp changes)

To have in intermittent cylinder rotation means the contact between the hand and cylinder spur changes randomly. Obviously the dimensions of these parts do not change. There is Spring pressure that holds the hand in the forward position. Insufficient spring pressure? Maybe, but the metallurgy would be to blame there. That is certainly in the realm of possibility but I would think it would be more repeatable. If the issue was isolated to one spur on the cylinder the issue would be 1/6 of the trigger pulls. Also, note how the issue goes away when the ammo was removed from the gun? There is a clue there... also I can MAKE the gun act this way 100% of the time if I want. So because I can repeat this condition on demand I consider that another clue.

As far as the transfer bar being the root cause of light primer strikes... maybe. But again, that would mean that the transfer bar alone was intermittently changing how it was interacting with the rest of the gun. So a metallic part with set dimensions was intermittently having issues with a specific brand of budget ammo? I would love to see the engineering report that states that and the manager that accepts it. A spring I could buy into. But again people that have this issue should try other brands to see if the issue is still present.

All I am saying is I wouldn’t condemn a $1,500 gun because I choose to purchase the cheapest ammo available and then act surprised because I have unreliable ignition. It’s cheap range Ammo we shoot for fun and if you really start to take a closer look at it you can spot all kinds of issues with inconsistent bullet seating depth, crimping, and poor quality of case rims. Typically a gun digests this with no issues but not always.

Real troubleshooting looks at all the variables involved. And if the problem can’t be duplicated then it’s not untypical to replace the components of the suspect system and hope for the best.

All that being said, i encourage anyone that is tightening the side plate up to 1st remove it and take a few pics and post them. It would be interesting to see the difference in parts as the 2020Py evolves. We have already seen the DA spur change in just the 1st 2,000 units.
 

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I think the new Pythons are beauties and hope Colt resolves any issues. Reference suspicions of out of spec or somehow defective ammo, in owning I don't know how many S&Ws since the '60s, Rugers SA and DA, old style Trooper and 3 5 7 models, MK III Trooper,etc., I can't recall any light primer strike issues with factory .38 or .357 ammo, or my own reloads. With factory mainsprings, primer seating,etc. has not been an issue with any of the revolvers I mentioned. Dare I say it, that the light primer strikes might actually be an issue with the revolver?
 

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You executed a really nice review of your new Python! I will say mine has operated flawlessly BUT this sideplate issue being brought up. Interesting. Any double action revolver I purchase with a sideplate (which is all of them because I only buy Colt's and Smiths) gets "The Treatment". I remove the sideplate screws, degrease the holes and apply BLUE Loctite. This prevents the screws from working loose (which can happen with any of them) AND it seals the threads so they can't corrode over time making them impossible to remove should the need arise. I did that first-thing with my new Python. I don't give a damn if it is stainless. I have seen lubricants harden in small threads and it's been damn near impossible to remove the screw.

Regardless however, my Python worked great. A buddy of mine bought a new Python and he had some issues. Light strikes, cylinder wouldn't rotate from time to time. He asked me to look at it before he sent it in. Everything looked fine. The sideplate screws were tight when I removed them! The only thing I could question was mainspring tension. The mainspring provides trigger tension by pressing against the rebound lever and hammer tension by hooking to the hammer link. I thought it may be a little lax. This is the legitimate way to adjust a V mainspring: Bend whatever side needing the tension outward in a curved manner. I followed through on the hammer side and the rebound lever side. I did not bend outward a lot, just enough to be noticeable. When I replaced the sideplate I used BLUE Loctite in the threads. He has not had a single malfunction since. Not one. Based on his revolver's function and measurements the mainspring was not adjusted with enough tension.
 

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This is a great review! also the posters are helpful....I will be buying a 4.25" later this year....wanting to let the dust settle a bit,and waiting for some shooting weather! looks like Colt is trying to get them right in all respects...Only question is,,,, is there a difference in the dimensions of the old classis grips and the new ones? seems to me like a set from OLLE would fix that!:)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
This is a great review! also the posters are helpful....I will be buying a 4.25" later this year....wanting to let the dust settle a bit,and waiting for some shooting weather! looks like Colt is trying to get them right in all respects...Only question is,,,, is there a difference in the dimensions of the old classis grips and the new ones? seems to me like a set from OLLE would fix that!:)
Thank you! The 2020 grips are different, much thinner. Some people like the new grips others prefer the old and some prefer neither. The good news is the dimensions of the 2020 Python are the same to the classic Python so all Python factory grips and aftermarket are interchangeable which is a huge plus.


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Great review. For what it's worth and just anecdotal, I had a couple light primer strikes with Fiocchi ammo with my 1917 .45. I don't recall that with other ammo. This gun had some action work making it smoother than my Python so maybe it's because of that. I just happened to have a picture of it after shooting it with the Fiocchi ammo.

 

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I think it's pretty well known that making the classic Colt V-spring lighter in pull can easily result in lack of reliable primer ignition. The method to modifying the V-spring to less pull weight is easy but also has resulted in broken mainsprings and much too light pull weight. Modifying the Colt V-spring is paradise for Bubba "gunsmiths" out there. Even the best gunsmiths have to be very careful.
 
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