The New Colt Anaconda
.44 Magnum

Bigger And Brawnier!
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The New Anaconda (top) is a larger version of the New Python.

The New Anaconda (top) compared to the 1990s version. Note the brawnier cylinder of the New Anaconda.

Although all the Colt “Snakes” were gone by 2006 it seems they were simply in a long hibernation. In 2017 the original Colt Serpent, the Cobra, was resurrected and then followed by the King Cobra. Both were not copies of the originals but new designs. Last year the New Python slithered out of the den and although it looks much like the original it has a completely new, and what I would call improved action. All three of these Snakes are available in stainless steel only.

As of March 22 of 2021 we have the arrival of the fourth Colt Snake, the Anaconda. It also is not a copy of the original but more like a larger New Python. When I tested the original Anaconda .44 Magnum I said this about it: “The Anaconda looks like the healthy offspring of the marriage between a stainless Python and a King Cobra with the barrel being pure Python, albeit larger in diameter, and the rest of the gun definitely descended from the King Cobra. Except for the King Cobra-shaped trigger guard, it is a strikingly handsome sixgun, even better looking than either of its parents.” So far all New Anacondas are stainless steel and I don’t expect this to change. Two barrel lengths are offered, 6″ and 8″ and the first ones out are 6″ versions. I don’t know if they will offer the 4″, but I certainly hope so.

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The New Anaconda comes in a sturdy lockable plastic carrying case. Wouldn’t it
have been great fun if they’d packaged it in a classic looking cardboard box!

The cylinder of the New Anaconda is long enough to easily accept
Keith bullets as well as 310- and 325-grain heavy bullets.

Bigger Is Better

Checking the New Anaconda against the original I found the current version is larger in almost every way. The cylinder length is now 1.909″ as compared to the 1990s version at 1.749″. With this length cylinder the New Anaconda not only easily accepts .44 Magnum loads with the original Keith bullet, but also those with 310- and 325-grain weights with plenty of room to spare. Cylinder diameter is larger slightly at 1.757″ compared to 1.749″. Notice the original was basically the same length as the diameter. The diameter of the frame in front of the cylinder has been increased from 0.894″ to 0.903″ while the diameter of the barrel is up from 0.808″ to 0.825″. The width of the top strap has been increased from 0.669″ to 0.996″.

The action has a completely different feeling being the same as used in the New Python with the DA pull dramatically improved from 13.5 lbs. to 9.75 lbs. and definitely feeling much smoother. I can’t compare the single-action pull because the old one was worked on and is now 4 lbs. while the new one comes in at 6 lbs. but with a creep-free, smooth feeling. However, for my everyday use I will have the trigger pull brought down to 3 to 4 lbs. Colt is using the same main spring in the Anaconda as the Python resulting in cocking it double-action feeling very light.

There’s a polished stainless steel finish except for the top strap and top of the frame, which are a matte finish. Just as with the original Anaconda — and both the old and New Python — the barrel has a ventilated rib with three slots. Also, as on the original, the ejector rod is fully enclosed by the heavy under-lugged barrel. The rear sight is all black and fully adjustable while the front sight is a ramp-style with a red insert. The front sight is of the interchangeable system locked in place from the front with an Allen screw and other front sights are available and easily changed. With the quality and MSRP of this new snake I think it would be a good idea if Colt would include several front sights with each of these New Anacondas. The top of the frame is tapped and threaded for a scope mount.

The action features a transfer bar safety and the hammer spur is finely serrated allowing easy cocking without irritating the thumb. The trigger is wide and also serrated, again not so sharp as to irritate the trigger finger. The grips are finger groove rubber with a pebble-grained finish and turned out to be the same style as the Hogue grips I have installed on my New Python. The cylinder release, pulled backwards, operates quite smoothly and easily.

The left side of the barrel is marked in two lines with “ANACONDA” and “.44 MAGNUM” while the right side bears the inscription “COLT’S MFG. HARTFORD CT. USA”. The serial number is on the right side of the frame above the trigger and I am happy to say there are no warning labels.

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The New Anaconda with John’s favorite .44 Magnum
deer hunting load, the Black Hills 240 JHP.

The New Anaconda accepts four .44 cartridges — the .44
Russian, .44 Colt, .44 Special and .44 Magnum.

John’s Inner Voices …

The Anaconda is an all stainless steel sixgun and falls into the category of heavy guns especially in these times when so much emphasis is put on easy carrying lightweight sixguns and semi-autos. It tips the scale at just a few ounces under 3-1/2 lbs., which may not make it the easiest to pack all day but it certainly aids in shooting, especially in these days when moderation reigns. You see, my inner voice often reminds me in direct chats about the need for me to “Be more moderate in your shooting” — thanks to a lifetime of big bores, heavy loads and the wear and tear they’ve done to my frame!

When I tested the original Anaconda I used 14 factory loads and 18 handloads, with the majority being what we would call Heavy Loads. Many of those were assembled with 295- to 330-grain bullets. Obeying the Moderation Commandment testing the New Anaconda I went with three factory .44 Magnum loads and 17 handloads from mild to Heavy .44 Special level loads. I also tried some very pleasant everyday .44 Special loads consisting of 12 factory loads involving some serious outdoor loads and eight handloads. In addition to .44 Magnum and .44 Special cartridges, the Anaconda will also accept .44 Russian and .44 Colt loads making for some very enjoyable easy shooting.

Test-firing of the New Anaconda took place in March when spring had not yet sprung, so the conditions were not the best. To remove as much human error as possible I used a Leupold 4X LER scope mounted on a Colt-supplied base. This weight added to the 53-oz. weight of the New Python itself resulting in my hands and wrists issuing no complaints at all.

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Targets shot at 25 yards using factory Buffalo Bore Heavy .44 Special loads.

Targets shot at 25 yards with .44 Magnum handloads assembled with
Hornady bullets and #2400 and #4227 powders.

John’s .44 Magnum handloads assembled with #2400 and
#4227 performed well in the New Anaconda.

Shooting

Both the factory loaded Buffalo Bore 255 Keith and the SIG SAUER 240 V-Crown JHP .44 Magnum loads group right at 1″ for five shots at 25 yards, with muzzle velocities of 1,438 fps and 1.317 fps respectively. Switching to handloads using Hornady JHP bullets also gave excellent results, with the 200 JHP over 20.0 grains of #4227 coming in at 1,052 fps; 240-grain XTP over the same charge resulted in 1,053 fps while this same bullet over 18.5 grains of #2400 clocked out at a respectable 1,276 fps. All three loads grouped five shots right at 1″ at a distance of 25 yards.

I got a very pleasant surprise when I switched to Buffalo Bore Heavy .44 Special loads. Some .44 Magnum sixguns will shoot the shorter .44 Special loads well while others give mediocre performance. This New Anaconda performs exceptionally well with .44 Special loads. Their 180 JHP clocked at 1,202 fps with a 1-3/8″ group and the 255 Hard Cast Keith Gas Check Outdoorsman was at 1,058 fps and a 1″ group. The most accurate load of all I tried — grouping five shots into 7/8″ at 25 yards — was the 190-grain Soft Cast HP at 1,219 fps. All of these loads should do quite well for hunting deer-sized critters.

For those interested in heavy-bulleted loads for the Anaconda, 21.5 grains of WW296 or H110 with the 295-grain GC Keith-style bullet clocks out right at 1,300 fps, while the Speer 300-grain JSP over the same charge is right at 1,200 fps. The RCBS #44-300 over this same charge is an excellent-shooting load clocking out right at 1,335 fps. The Ray Thompson designed .44 Lyman #431244GC bullet, which is a 255-grain SWC Gas Check, is an excellent shooting bullet when loaded over 25.0 grains of WW296/H110 for just under 1,400 fps or 22.0 grains of #2400, clocking out right at 1,475 fps. I’ve been using these loads for the past 30 years in my original Anaconda, although definitely in moderation these days, and they are certainly capable of handling anything in the lower 48.

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The New Anaconda is pre-drilled for scope mounts and has an interchangeable
front sight insert.

Like other Colt revolvers, the cylinder release is pulled to
the rear. Note the high quality adjustable sights.

The Future?

Will we see any more snakes from Colt? I don’t see any point in resurrecting either the Boa or Viper which were only produced for one year and most of us have never ever seen one. Colt has been sold to CZ whose main focus is on semi-automatic pistols so we’ll keep our fingers crossed. However I hope they not only continue with these four snakes but also resurrect what is one of the handiest Trail Guns ever produced, the Diamondback. It’s somewhat of a miniaturized Python built on the original Cobra/Detective Special-sized frame. Whether in .38 Special, .22 Long Rifle, or even .22 Magnum it’s easy to pack all day and made for those situations in which we do not need anything more powerful. Sometimes progress really is on our side. Not very often though — but occasionally — and resurrecting the Diamondback would be a very positive step in the right direction.

Are you listening CZ?

MSRP: $1,499

Colt.com

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