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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, wondered if someone with knowledge of the colt revolvers could help me. I am looking to get a colt 357 in the future, I realize it will be used. I currently have a colt Anaconda w/6", had it for over 10yrs, my 357 is a smith 686 in 4". I think colt makes the best revolver hands down (even though I own several S&W's). Anyhow, I have shot a python and loved it, never fired a king cobra, going to get a 6" 357, just not sure which model. Could some one explain the difference's please? TIA

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The Python and King Cobra are two totally different designs, having in common only the fact that they were both made by Colt.

The Python is the culmination of 100 years of Colt's perfecting of the old Colt revolver action first developed in the 1890's.

The King Cobra was the end result of a design dating to the 1969 Colt Trooper Mark III.

The Python was intended to be the finest quality, most accurate revolver ever made.
The fit, finish and accuracy of the Python is deservedly famous, and as intended, it was the finest production revolver ever made.

The Python uses an action that is complicated, and requires extensive fitting just to work.
The Python received a much higher level of hand fitting than the ordinary Colt revolvers, being essentially a custom made revolver.

The Python received the best finish of any revolver ever built.
Only Colt's best polishers were allowed to work on the Python, and the blue or stainless polishing is the best possible.

The Colt is world famous for it's accuracy.
This is due to Colt's high quality barrels, in which the Python barrel has a tapered bore and a faster rifling.
This bore grips the bullet better and stabilizes it better, producing accuracy that's legendary.

Second, the old Colt action has the famous Colt "bank vault" lock up, in which the cylinder is tightly locked, and perfectly aligned with the barrel when it fires.

The Python's only down side is a reputation of it's smaller, more complicated action parts developing timing problems.
To be fair, this is largely a problem on guns that have been abused by slamming the cylinder open and shut, and firing the gun as fast and as hard as the trigger can be yanked.

The Python is expensive, but you're getting virtually a custom, hand built revolver for the money.

The King Cobra is the last in a line of revolvers developed to replace the older Colt revolvers with the Python-style action.

Since these older guns required extensive hand fitting just to work, they had priced themselves out of the market by the late 60's.

In 1969 Colt introduced the Colt Trooper Mark III revolver, with a totally new action based on a "J" frame.

This new gun was designed to eliminate most of the hand fitting and allow parts to be "machine fitted".

In the older Colt's parts were hand fitted to the gun, and if the parts wore, many could be re-fitted to correct the fit.

In the new Mark III design, parts were selected from a bin until a fit was achieved.
These parts were made from "sintered" (molded) steel, which were given a case hardened coating.

These new parts can not be refitted, since any alteration breaks through the hard coating, ruining the part.
If the gun needs repairs, new parts are simply installed.

This new action was also much stronger and simpler than the old style action, with larger, sturdier parts.

Master gunsmith Jerry Kuhnhausen believed these new model Colt's were the strongest mid-frame revolvers ever built.

The Mark III design was modified in the early 1980's to correct customer complaints about the trigger action.

This improved gun was the Trooper Mark V. This was a slightly modified gun with Colt's first "short action", in which the hammer stroke was shortened to a shorter arc.

In the mid-1980's the Mark V was fitted with a new, lugged and ribbed barrel, and re-named the Colt King Cobra.

The Trooper Mark III/V/King Cobra is a totally different gun than the Python, and no parts will interchange.

These guns have an action in which, like all modern revolvers, the cylinder is not tightly locked when it fires.

In this action the cylinder is allowed to align itself when the gun fires.
This action produces less potential accuracy than the Python, but due to Colt's quality and barrel rifling, usually is more accurate than most other brands.

The Mark III/V/KC gun's only "weakness" is a potential problem with the firing pin.
SOME, (not many, but some) firing pins MAY be too hard, and MAY break if the revolver is dry fired extensively.

If a pin does break, the revolver MUST be sent to the factory for replacement, since this requires special support jigs, and tooling to replace it without damaging the frame.

The preventative is, to simply use snap caps if you want to dry fire one of these guns.

One big difference between the Python and King Cobra is, the Python will be limited as to who can do repairs if needed.
This is due to the complicated action and the lack of qualified pistolsmiths.

The KC is easier to repair, requiring only that new parts be dropped in with a minimum of fitting.
Still, you're better off sending the KC to qualified Colt repairmen.

Bottom line:
If you want a Rolls-Royce/Rolex hand gun with superb accuracy, and are willing NOT to abuse the gun, buy a Python.
You'll be getting the lengendary, finest production double action revolver ever made.

If you want a top quality "tank" handgun to use under rough conditions, but still want something a step above other revolvers, buy the King Cobra.

With reasonable care either will last a life-time, and will fire MANY thousands of rounds with no trouble.

2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wow, thanks so much for the informative response! That answered all my questions reference the difference's. Great info! I will be keeping my eye out for a SS or Nickle finish 6" python.
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