Colt Forum banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
991 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Haven't done a lot of posting on this forum yet. But it seems pretty informative, if less populated, which is actually sort of pleasant.

My question is about the existance of a .41 Magnum Pyhon. I was told that Pythons were produced in .41 magnum very early in production and that they are extremely rare and command a very high price. After that, I read somewhere on the internet that the Python was originally designed based on an existing Colt .41 magnum caliber, which model I am not exactly certain. I got to thinking, maybe these .41 magnum Pythons a few of people have told me about could have been just prototypes.

Can anyone straighten me out on this?

I don't have a good Colt book yet, but I plan to buy one of the R.L. Wilson books soon.

Thanks in advance for any response.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,064 Posts
The Python is built on the old .41 frame, but the cartridge wasn't the .41mag. The old .41 Long Colt provide the frame size. The Python was introduced in 1955 and the .41mag was developed in 1964.
There have been stories of the Python being built in calibers other than .357mag or .38sp, but I have of yet seen definative proof of them. They have been converted though and it's said some were really professionally done.
I'm quite sure the resident experts will be along with the real truth for us.



[This message has been edited by Majic (edited 03-24-2004).]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
95 Posts
The story I heard was that there was a gunsmith, in Texas I think, who rebuilt quite a few Pythons into 41 Magnums. He was successful and his work was excellet. All went well until one of the 41 owners had to send his back to Colt for some work. Well, Colt contacted the gunsmith and that was the end of the 41 Magnum Python. At least that is the story I heard.
 

·
*** ColtForum MVP ***
Joined
·
14,889 Posts
The Python was built in a few other calibers, but ONLY as factory experiments.
None of these were ever sold, and as far as is known, the experimentals are still in Colt's vaults.

The original frame in the Python size was an old 1900's design chambered in an odd .41 caliber round.
Up until the WWII era, that frame size used in guns like the Official Police and Officer's Models were known inside the Colt factory as the "41 frame".
Later, it was known as the "E" frame, and from the 1950's to today, as the "I" frame.

The .41 Magnum Pythons, (they do exist), were built by a custom gunsmith in Florida.
Since the "I" frame Python was never intended to withstand the .41 Magnum cartridge, problems soon appeared.

When his custom .41 Magnum Pythons started coming apart, often catastrophically (along with a few of the owners) he shut down and seems to have disappeared, hotly pursued by lawsuits.

This made problems for Colt, since people saw the conversions, and heard the stories about Colt's experiments with other calibers.

A number of people, found the conversions at gun shows, or other sources, and bought the things believing they were factory original Pythons.
Colt soon had screaming letters from outraged owners demanding their money back or threatening lawsuits when the guns failed.

Colt had quite a time convincing these people that the .41 Magnum Python by Colt.....wasn't.

As far as is known, Colt made up experimental Pythons in .40 caliber, 22 Long Rifle, and one in a hot .256. The .256 version fired one shot, and locked up so tight, that after it was forced open, it was tossed into the vault where it still is.

As far as is known, the only factory production Python's were in .357 Magnum, and a short run of 38 Special 8" barreled target models.

Colt did go so far as to put a .22 LR Python on the front cover of a mid-80's factory catalog, but the decision was made to not produce it.

So, if you come across a Python in any caliber other than .357 or .38, it isn't a factory gun.
If it's a .41 Magnum, for God's sake, DON'T shoot the thing.

[This message has been edited by dfariswheel (edited 03-24-2004).]
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,467 Posts
The Blue Book mentions Python chamberings other than .38/.357, which helps fuel these stories. Like dfw, I do not believe them.

I have an article somewhere on the "Buba" .41 Magnum Pythons. Nothing was said about them coming apart, which does seem unlikely since the .41 pressures are no higher than a .357, and the cylinder walls when opened up to hold the .41 are still thicker than many lightweight .357 revolvers. Maybe if OP cylinders were used, some could fail, but heat-treated Python/"357" cylinders probably would not unless grossly overloaded.

I cannot imagine a .256 round so hot it would lock up the revolver, especially since the equally hot .22 Jet did not, unless cartridge setback occurred from oily chambers. (Both the .22 Remington Magnum "Jet" and the .256 Winchester Magnum are based on the .357 Magnum case necked down to .222" and .256" respectfully.) With the straight walls of the .256 Winchester, setback should not have occurred anymore than with any other straight-wall cartridge. (The .256 case looks like a rifle case, what with its straight case walls and rifle-style neck in smaller diameter. The .22 Jet looks like a wedge!) Perhaps it was an overload.

I have an undated, uncoded Colt brochure ("Colt's New .256 Magnum Guns") introducing the Python, SAA and "256" (obviously intended to be a variation of the "357"), all chambered for the .256 Winchester Magnum cartridge. Too bad it did not happen!
 

·
*** ColtForum MVP ***
Joined
·
14,889 Posts
CORRECTION:
Sorry, I mis-read the info I have on the Python's history.

At least one experimental Python was made up in .256 but never produced.

The round that locked an experimental Python up was a wild-cat round based on the 38/45.
According to the info, "Exactly one test round was fired. The hot cartridge's bottlenecked casing flowed the primer back and locked the gun up solid. When it was finally unstuck, it was unceremoniously tossed into the fabled vault in the Colt Engineering Room".

As for the .41 Magnum Python: "Samples in .41 Magnum were made up for a distributor in the mid-60's shortly after Remington and S&W introduced the caliber. Alas the cylinder was not of sufficiant diameter to sustain the much more intense pressures, and Colt's engineers aborted the concept".
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,467 Posts
dfw, who wrote your Python article/history? I have found many errors in such histories over the years. Such histories are often done by a writer for a magazine article assignment and the writer just repeats what someone else wrote years before, which can perpetuate errors.

Bill A, maybe you saw for sale the only .256 Python there is. Robert Q. Sutherland had the one in his private collection and it is pictured on Page 402 of The Book of Colt Firearms, so that gun is in private hands. How it got out of the factory is unknown to me, but RQS had it when his collection was featured in The Book of Colt Firearms in 1970. The story is that when he divorced, his collection was sold, so that could be the gun you saw advertised.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top