Time is money, and nobody knows that better than Colt Manufacturing. Over the years we saw the snake guns quietly dropped from the catalog. Pythons, Cobras, and Anacondas all required a healthy degree of hand-fitting. This pushed the cost up to the point that the pistols were no longer viable. At the end of the day, diminished profits forced Colt to discontinue these desirable revolvers. However, Colt has been bringing back many of the models, including the 4.25-inch Anaconda .44 magnum.

The 4.25-Inch Colt Anaconda .44 Magnum

In 2017, Colt reintroduced the Cobra, followed by the Python in 2020 and the Anaconda in 2021. They were completely re-engineered and built with technology that didn’t exist in the early 2000s. As a result, these new guns didn’t require the same time to assemble and fit as their predecessors.

Colt engineers designed the new guns to be stronger and able to withstand a steady diet of full-power loads. Hindsight is always 20/20, and Colt’s executives studied criticisms of the older revolvers.

Particular attention was given to making the trigger action smoother with less stacking and a leaf spring mainspring. Accuracy was also given a priority. For this reason, the shooting community is embracing the new snake guns. So, I took a deeper look at the Anaconda .44 mag.

First Shots

My first opportunity to fire the new Anaconda, chambered for .44 Magnum, was at the 2023 Athlon Outdoors Rendezvous. I found the behemoth revolver comfortable to shoot and fired several cylinders at a 50-yard steel target.

I was nailing it with boring regularity. So, I switched from firing it in single-action mode and tried to maintain my sight picture while pressing the trigger through its long double-action pull.

I wish I could report that my hit percentage was just as high firing double-action, but that would be an exaggeration. I was intrigued, though. Enough to order a test and evaluation sample.

First Impressions

A couple of months later, I received a sample of the 4.25-inch Anaconda, chambered for .44 Magnum. It’s a beautiful stainless-steel beast of a gun weighing in at exactly 3 pounds. Colt outfits the gun with a set of Hogue® over-molded rubber grips with finger grooves.

My sample has been expertly polished and is completely devoid of tool marks. On the left side of the frame, where the sideplate is located, there is a barely discernible line between the plate and frame. Likewise, the yoke meets the frame with such precision that the gap between them is a hair’s width.

The one-piece barrel with full-length underlug and vent rib is rifled with a 1:20-inch LH twist with six grooves and a recessed target crown.

Pulling back on the thumb latch allows the cylinder to rotate open to the left. The chambers are not recessed but are chamfered for quicker reloads. For comfort, Colt uses an enlarged ejector rod head. Even the hotter loads I used were easily expended with light thumb pressure.

The Anaconda’s cylinder rotates clockwise, and its front edge is given a chamfer to help it ease into a holster.

A Bigger and Stronger Anaconda

According to a Colt press release, the Anaconda’s lockwork is basically enlarged Python parts. Built for strength and hard use, the robust parts also do not require the delicate hand-fitting of their predecessors. Its hammer has a fat and serrated spur that can easily be thumbed back for single-action use.

The Anaconda’s trigger is wide and polished, with rounded sides, yet it has three vertical grooves on its trigger face. I’d prefer a thinner trigger without serrations for double-action work. But it doesn’t bother me enough to do anything about it.

I used a Lyman Electronic Trigger Pull Gauge to measure my Anaconda’s pull weight. Based on ten different pulls, my double-action trigger averaged 6 Pounds 10 ounces. Similarly, its single-action pull averaged 4 pounds 13 ounces.

To achieve this buttery smooth double-action pull, Colt utilizes a linear leaf spring instead of a coil mainspring. Despite the cylinder’s mass, the gun can be dry-fired very quickly without disturbing the sights.

I couldn’t wait to put some live rounds through the gun.

A Little Pistol Support

Just prior to receiving the Colt Anaconda, I had an event up at Gunsite, just outside of Prescott, Arizona. While there, I had a fortuitous introduction to Michael Canfield, the CEO and COO of Ransom Rest (RansomRest.com).

Most folks are familiar with the original ransom rest. It is actually a fixture that a handgun is locked into to measure the gun’s mechanical accuracy. Different guns require different inserts for the fixture, and the rest needs to be mounted on a heavy, immovable bench.

Those two issues made it impractical for my testing needs, but Canfield had something brand new to show me. Called the Multi Cal Steady Rest, it fits my needs perfectly. Basically, it provides support for whatever handgun I am testing. Likewise, it allows me to get a perfect sight picture while adding the necessary pressure to the trigger to break the shot.

Machined from 6061 billet aluminum, it is light enough to be portable yet heavy enough to provide a stable platform. It features a machined V block for the gun’s frame or dust cover—or, in the case of the Anaconda, its underlug—and is adjustable for height.

There’s also a leather pad to rest the gun’s butt and protect the shooter’s hand. The Multi Cal Steady Rest is designed to allow the shooter to grip the gun in an uncompromised two-handed hold.

If you’re an inveterate handgunner determined to find the accuracy potential of pistols and ammunition, the Ransom Rest Multi Cal Steady Rest should be part of your shooting kit.

Shooting the Revolver

To test the Anaconda for accuracy, I brought five different loads with projectile weights ranging from 200 to 300 grains. With my targets set out at 25 yards, I fired three 5-shot groups in single-action, with each ammunition. The very best group is listed in the accuracy chart (below).

Hornady’s new Handgun Hunter 200-grain MonoFlex® rounds produced a tight 1.23-inch group. These rounds were pleasantly light to shoot and provided an unexpected level of accuracy. Hornady’s Custom 300-grain XTP rounds also produced a very respectable group measuring 1.39 inches.

Adding to the Anaconda’s versatility is its ability to fire .44 SP loads. While most would choose this revolver as a hunting gun or backup gun in bear country, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be used for self-defense. The 4.25-inch barrel gives the gun a great balance and points naturally.

Black Hills’ 125-grain Honey Badger rounds generated the most energy with 488-foot pounds of energy. That is a substantial amount of energy for a self-defense load. But the recoil was very light due to the projectile’s light weight. It’s a load that I carry frequently in my 20-ounce Charter Arms Bulldog Pug, and it’s even pleasant to shoot in that lightweight revolver.

Hornady’s Critical Defense 165-grain FTX load put five rounds into a tight 25-yard group that measured an inch and a quarter. It, too, had very light recoil. Obviously, the Anaconda’s 48 ounces helped absorb some of that recoil energy. Likewise, the Hogue over-molded grips helped make the hotter loads more tolerable.

Size Matters

When I chronographed the 4.25-inch Anaconda, I brought along a 6-inch version of the same gun. I wanted to know how important those extra two inches of barrel would be with the .44 magnum loads.

What I found was that, on average, the longer barrel accounted for about 4% more velocity. This translates into about 6% more energy, measured in foot-pounds of energy. I would have guessed the results would be more dramatic. But I’m glad I had the opportunity to test the guns side by side.

I fired my groups in the early morning, facing westward. In that light, the front sight’s orange insert stood out well, and I was able to achieve near-perfect sight alignment. But sometimes light can hit the insert in such a way that there is nothing but glare from the sight.

Fortunately, the user can easily replace the Anaconda’s front sight. Lately, the sight that works best for my eyes is a Patridge style with a brass or gold bead, and I’ll probably end up replacing the issue sight. Its rear sight is adjustable for both windage and elevation.

Love Struck with the Anaconda

Anyone who writes about guns for a living will tell you that you can’t fall in love with them all. Over the years, there have been a handful that I truly regretted returning to the factory. I’m not about to let that happen with the Anaconda—Colt’s going to have to invoice me for this gun.

Mechanically, the gun is built like a tank, and it possesses a tremendous amount of inherent accuracy. It’s big, powerful, and handsome…and it’s mine! Priced at $1499, the Colt Anaconda is an affordable extravagance.

For more information, please visit Colt.com.

4.25-inch Colt Anaconda .44 Magnum

Caliber/Capacity .44 Magnum/.44 SPL, 6-Rounds
Overall Length 10”
Height 6.25”
Weight 48 Ounces Unloaded, 52.4 Ounces Loaded
Barrel 4.25”, Stainless Steel, 1:20”LH, 6-Groove, Recessed Target Crown
Frame Polished Stainless Steel, Top Strap Drilled and Tapped for Optics Mount
Sights User Replaceable Orange Ramp Front Sight, Adjustable Rear Sight
Grips Hogue® Over-Molded Rubber Grips, Textured with Finger Grooves
Accessories Hard Case and Cable Lock
Suggested Retail $1499

Performance

.44 Magnum Ammo Velocity Energy Group
Black Hills 240-grain JHP 1301 902 1.60”
Doubletap 225-grain Barnes XPB 1387 961 1.92”
Hornady Handgun Hunter 200-grain Monoflex® 1343 801 1.23”
Hornady Custom 300-grain XTP 1136 859 1.39”
Magtech 240-grain SJSP-Flat 1309 913 1.92”
Average     1.61”
.44 SPL Ammo Velocity Energy Group
Black Hills 125-grain Honey Badger 1327 488 1.57”
Doubletap 240-grain SWC Hardcast Solid™ 944 475 1.71”
Hornady Critical Defense 165-grain FTX 970 344 1.25”
Average     1.51”

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