Revolver coverage continues from the “Chopper #75” piece in yesterday’s Tactical Wire.
Earlier in the year, Colt announced the production of the 2020 Python 357 Magnum with a three-inch barrel. As they already had the revolver in a 4.2” and 6” format, why the shorter gun?
Because so many revolver aficionados are fond of snub revolvers and they bring some advantages to the table. To read our coverage of this fine wheelgun, check out the original story and the follow-up.
Thereafter, I found that gun crafter John Harrison was making replacement sights for the new revolvers – and they could use them. While I could see the red ramp front sight, it’s short, as is the rear sight window. Others complained that the rear sight didn’t hold zero – something I hadn’t run across, but I don’t doubt my sources. The improved sights (a new rear sight slide and a new front sight) are available on John’s website, Harrison Design & Consulting, LLC. The new rear sight blade has rounded corners to prevent snagging fabric or cutting skin. The set screw is the more commonly used 1/16” hex key and it has been moved to the center of the blade. It’s quite thick front-to-back, implying some durability. The front sight is higher than the original and wide enough to feature ‘color contrasting’ features like gold beads, fiber optic rods or tritium. Easily changed, I placed the Harrison front sight with gold bead myself.
The rear sight slide needs fitting; John explains how on his website. As you don’t want me cutting on precision parts, I’d asked Mike Rafferty to help out. The photos show him laboriously fitting it using a fine emery paper with frequent stops to test fit. He did a first-rate job.
In the previous image, you saw the fine emery paper Rafferty used to slim the new sight slide. In the image above, he test fits the slide to the sight body. Below, the sights are installed - as is the new Hogue cocobolo Monogrip.
While I was at it, I sought a better solution for a stock for the Python. The SILE version of the Herrett’s stock was good, but it didn’t belong to me. I checked in with Patrick Hogue at Hogue Products. He recommended an Exotic Hardwood revolver stock, the one-piece Monogrip – for the Colt Python. It was made from Cocobolo.
I got a message from him -- “Would you like for me to pull a nice wood example and round off the butt a little for a better complement to a 3” ‘snake’?” I quickly agreed. The new stock – yes, the packaging refers to the Hogue Monogrip (a trademark) as the “Exotic Hardwood Revolver Stock” – was a great example of the breed.
The wood is from Central America, a type often used for fine furniture, cabinetry, musical instruments, custom pool cues. It has a very smooth finish.
It’s great to work with professionals. Pat is the revolver enthusiast in the Hogue operation and he was willing to help the cause of the snubbed reptile.
Here’s more information about Hogue products from our service –
“It was in 1968 that Hogue got its start. Guy Hogue, who was with the LAPD at the time, began making custom grips for revolvers. They quickly became popular with his colleagues in the department and soon he had a local Los Angeles firearms dealer selling them as well. By 1970, when Guy retired from the LAPD, his grip business had taken off. He moved to Cambria, California, built a workshop and published his first brochure, further fueling demand for his custom wood grips. The mail-order business immediately exploded and Guy Hogue quickly reached full capacity.” (Paul Erhardt)
In the email conversation, Pat drew my attention to the fact that the current production Colt Anaconda has the same grip frame dimensions as the current-issue Python. He wrote, “Something to note: The new Anaconda is made with a Python grip tang and actually is shipped with the Hogue 46000 grip as OE (original equipment).”
And that’s as good a choice as there is – for a wide range of human hand-sizes. There are a few people like Bill Jordan who can palm a VW Beetle the way others can a basketball, but that’s not the majority.
The Monogrip fills the space behind the trigger guard and isn’t widely flared at the base like ‘classic’ target stocks were. It also broadens the space at the height of the tang, where a recoil hump would be on the S&W product. That spreads the impact of recoil across more area, lessening the effect of the blow.
Now with improved sights and a stock that better fits me, it was time to shoot the new Colt again.
Arranging leather was also simple, as Galco has added the 3” Python to their holster fits – I selected their Summer Comfort IWB holster. The Galco holster is tightly and properly fitted to the 3-inch snub and carries the gun close.
I took the assembled gear to the range to zero the gun to its new sights. I shot it with Cor-Bon 147 grain FMJ Match ammo from 20 yards, shot from a seated rest over the Caldwell Pistolero Handgun Rest. The first rounds fired went 4 ¼” low; a quick adjustment and we were zeroed.
I confirmed the zero with a short-range assessment on an IALEFI-Q target. The distances are listed, as is the procedure and my “points down.”
10 ft – pair (down one), followed by a pair strong hand only, and a pair fired weak hand only (6 rounds)
20 ft – Failure drill x 2 (down two) (6 rounds)
30 ft – pair (2 rounds)
60 ft – pair x2 (4 rounds)
I used Federal American Eagle 158gr RNL ammo for the course of 18 rounds. The slightly modified Hogue Monogrips stock was quite comfortable and fit me quite well. Between the gun, the new sights and the stock, I have no room to complain.
Besides, the gun just looks good. The front sight – with the gold bead – stands out, the rear sight slide is nicely rendered, gives an excellent sight picture. These sights are a great addition for the new Python line.
If you like revolvers, this is a great way to go. If you don’t, you don’t know what you’re missing.
-- Rich Grassi