Colt’s revolvers are absolutely legendary. The Colt Sing Action Army is the stereotypical cowboy gun, even if it wasn’t the most sold revolver of the era. Guns like the Python both conquer branding and the revolver market. The various Snake guns are some of Colt’s most popular revolvers. The snake family was made up of seven guns total, some rarer than others. While the snake guns are fairly famous, have you ever heard of the Colt Bear guns?
The Colt Bear Guns
I recently dived deep into the Colt Viper and the Colt Boa and learned about the rarest models of the Snake guns, which led down a rabbit hole of weird Colt revolvers. All roads lead to Rome, and when it comes to rare Colt Revolvers, all threads lead to the Colt Bear guns. The Colt bear guns are two revolvers known as the Grizzly and Kodiak.
Both guns are extremely rare, but not necessarily because they couldn’t have been successful. Colt only produced very small numbers of the Kodiak and Grizzly, and they were limited-run guns. They made 2,000 Kodiaks, and a mere five hundred Grizzly revolvers were produced. Colt produced these revolvers in the early 1990s, and they seemingly disappeared from the great gun consciousness but haunt the dreams of Colt collectors.
They are distantly related to the Colt snake guns but were different enough to warrant their bear monikers.
The Kodiak isn’t as rare as the Grizzly. To be fair, Colt really tried to pimp that Python look on revolvers. The Kodiak made a bit more sense for the Bear name. Bigger is better, and the Kodiak used the Anaconda design. In fact, it was more or less just an Anaconda with Magna-Porting. The Kodiak also featured a sleek and smooth unfluted cylinder.
The Kodiak came first and premiered in 1993. It was designed to be a special run of the Anacondas. The Kodiak featured a six-inch barrel and held six rounds. Ultimately, outside of a few features, it was a fairly standard anaconda. Even so, it’s highly desirable and very collectible.
The rare Colt Grizzly was the .357 Magnum Bear gun. The Grizzly has some Python vibes to it, but it isn’t really Python. The Grizzly utilizes a Python barrel that is mated to a Colt King Cobra frame. The Colt King Cobra did not use the famed Python leaf hammer spring and E/I frame-type mechanics. It used the coiled spring design of the Colt Trooper and the Mk. III and Mk. V series revolvers.
The Grizzly featured a six-round round unfluted cylinder. I love the look of an unfluted cylinder, and the Grizzly wears it well. The six-inch barrels were Magnaported to reduce muzzle rise, and Magna-porting was quite popular in the 1990s. The Python barrel on the Viper frame is interesting and was likely a smooth-shooting revolver with the porting.
The Grizzly is a bit like the Boa and was essentially Colt selling a cheaper revolver at higher than Python prices for the rarity. I don’t hate them for it. They understood their branding and the Python’s success.
The Roar of the Bear
Colt has been slowly bringing the Snake guns back. People seem to really like them and appreciate them. For guys like me, it’s the only chance I’ll probably have to own a Snake gun. The real question is whether Colt will bring the Bear guns back. It seems doubtful, but it would be interesting to see them make some kind of return to the world of Colt revolvers.
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