Firearms

The Colt Anaconda Rides Again

CRKT XOC knife designed by Flavio Ikoma with a black revolver

Colt’s latest “snake gun” is a huge improvement on the company’s original .44 Magnum hand cannon in more ways than one. About 30 years ago, Colt rolled out a new revolver in its classic snake gun lineup. Chambered in .44 Magnum and offered in stainless steel, the Colt Anaconda was named for one of the longest, and definitely the heaviest, bodied snakes in the world.

At that time, it would have checked all the boxes for me. It was a Colt revolver, chambered in .44 Magnum, and named for a snake (I was an advanced herpetoculturist at the time and a breeder of boas, pythons, etc.). However, it was not to be for multiple reasons: initial offerings suffered from accuracy issues that were later fixed, and I already owned several solidly built, .44 Magnum revolvers.

Colt Anaconda Revolver .44 magnum left profile stainless-steel
Although they may have jumped on the .44 Magnum train a bit later than other manufacturers, Colt did it the right way when it relaunched the Anaconda in 2021.

Despite later being touted as the most accurate factory .44 Magnum revolver on the market, a variety of barrel lengths and even the introduction of a chambering in .45 Colt; the Anaconda still suffered issues. Some went so far as to claim it was because the Anaconda was not offered in a blued finish. My own opinion was that it came to market too late, and the faults with the initial offerings did not help.

Colt offered the Anaconda and a few variants through the 1990s. By 1999 it became a Colt Custom Shop only offering, and by 2003, it was no longer produced.

I was fortunate enough to snag a 6-inch barrel model.

What’s in the box?

The Colt Anaconda ships in a blue, hard plastic, Colt-branded foam-lined case. The previous version shipped in a similar case without the foam, but with contoured plastic inside. I see this as a step in the right direction, as the fitted cases became useless for storage if the gun was ever modified, such as adding a scope or reflex sight.

Included with the Anaconda was a sample pack of Lucas Oil, manual, cable lock, and a “Join the NRA” pamphlet.

That Was Then and This Is Now

Colt’s Anaconda still gets high marks in the looks department. The full-length underlug beneath the barrel, the 3-slotted ventilated rib on top of the barrel, and the final finish on the stainless steel hearken back to the original classic.

Colt Anaconda Revolver .44 magnum right profile stainless-steel
The stainless-steel Anaconda resembles a beefed-up Python with the ventilated rib atop the barrel.

The Colt Anaconda that debuted in 2021 is almost a complete redesign when compared to the original — as far as lockwork goes. This was always Colt’s greatest strength, but also one of its biggest weaknesses. Most old-time, centerfire, Colt double-action revolvers were notorious for shooting out of time. If you have ever taken off the side plate of a Police Positive, Detective Special, or Python, this was clearly evident.

Colt refined what was once an overly complicated system. The good news is the lockup is as strong — if not stronger — as the original and feels just as smooth.

The face of the trigger is grooved longitudinally. In single-action mode, the trigger broke at a crisp and easy five pounds. Double-action mode measured 11 pounds on the RCBS trigger weight scale. Lock-up was solid with the hammer either at full cock or in the lowered position.

Rather than checkering or knurling, the hammer was serrated laterally. I expected a checkered hammer, but these serrations felt just as good and maintained the bright stainless look of the revolver.

Colt Anaconda’s rear sight
The Anaconda’s rear sight has three indexing marks and a set screw to lock the sight’s blade in place. If that doesn’t do it for you, remove the two screws in the top strap and install an aftermarket scope mount.

The finish was, of course, stunning. It was more reminiscent of nickel than typical stainless steel. It was not a bright as the Ultimate Stainless finish that Colt offered 30 years ago, but it was shiny.

Sights are typical Colt adjustable types with a red insert on the front sight and a plain black rear sight. Windage on the rear sight is locked in place by an Allen screw. Adjustments were as easy as loosening the Allen screw to move the sight left or right with a standard screwdriver and then locking it down when the sight was where you needed it to be.

Shooting the Colt Anaconda

Even the worst ammo shortage since the Second World War couldn’t keep me from trying out this exquisite-looking revolver. Unfortunately, .44 Remington Magnum has never been a particularly inexpensive round to shoot. Likewise, the shorter .44 caliber cartridges such as .44 S&W Special are not that much cheaper.

I had a decent stash of DoubleTap .44 Magnum on hand, including 240-grain Hard Cast Solids that had a nice semi-wadcutter profile, 180-grain Controlled Expansion Jacketed Hollow Points (JHP), which are more like a semi-jacketed hollow point, and 200-grain Bonded JHP that are most reminiscent of the old Speer 200-grain flying ashtray bullet.

The Hard Cast solids proved to be my favorite to shoot out of the Anaconda. They left the barrel at an average of 1,400 feet per second, and my three 6-shot groups averaged at just over an inch to about 1.25 inches at 15 yards.

Moving on to the 200-grain Bonded JHP, the groups opened to 1.75 inches at the same distance. These were cruising closer to 1,100 feet per second.

Firing the 180-grain Controlled Expansion hollow points averaged 1.5 inches and were screaming at 1,600 feet per second.

The 53-ounce weight of the Anaconda, coupled with the underlugged barrel and the ventilated rib, kept the sights on target. The rise caused by recoil was minimal, and the revolver returned to position, every time, consistently.

Colt Anaconda Revolver .44 magnum left profile stainless-steel with a rock background
Like its namesake, the Anaconda exudes a sense of strength and power.

Without a doubt, the factory Hogue grips played a part in this as well, not to mention 30+ years of firing big-bore magnum revolvers. The metal backstrap of the revolver did not cause any issues. Aside from a few custom revolvers in this caliber equipped with scopes or porting, this was one of the more accurate and pleasant .44 Magnum revolvers I had fired in quite a while.

I experimented with a box of PMC 200-grain .44 Special Jacketed Hollow Points. While recoil was milder and follow-up shots faster, the groups opened to nearly 2 inches. Although disappointed, there are several factors that could have caused this, including range fatigue, cylinder jump, shooting too fast because the recoil was non-existent, etc.

Overall, I was very impressed with the accuracy and think a better shot than myself with tailored handloads could perform much better.

Upgrades and Accessories

If a revolver has one trait above all else, it is the inherent simplicity of design. For the most part, the only upgrade that was needed may have been improved sights, springs during an action job, or an upgrade to the grips.

The Anaconda, to its credit, is raring to go out of the box. The top strap is drilled and tapped for the addition of a scope mount should the shooter want to add one to aid in hunting or longer-range shooting.

Galco DAO brown leather holster with the Anaconda revolver
Galco’s DAO holster allows the Anaconda to be worn strong side or cross draw.

I usually cannot stand rubber grips on a revolver. My preference tends to be hardwood, ivory, stag, or mother-of-pearl when it comes to wheel guns. Yet, I must admit that the Hogue grips look and feel amazing on the Anaconda.

Some shooters may bemoan the lack of rubber on the rear of the grip. However, when you are dealing with a revolver featuring a grip frame of this size, there is little that can be done without making a usable grip excessively large. I will definitely be looking for quality hardwood grips down the line, but have no problem with the factory grips — for now.

As far as accessories go, the Anaconda uses the same 6-shot speed loader as the S&W Model 29/629. With regard to holsters, there are a few options that will work. I had a Galco leather DAO on hand. This holster is one of my favorites of its type and allows you to carry strong side or cross draw. My DAO was for my various S&W N-Frames and Ruger Redhawks, but was intended for a 4-inch revolver. It worked well, but the barrel protruded a few inches from the bottom. A call to Galco for a semi-custom 6-inch version resulted in a perfect fit.

CRKT XOC knife designed by Flavio Ikoma with a black revolver
A beast of a revolver deserves a beast of a knife like the CRKT XOC designed by Flavio Ikoma.

Final Thoughts

The Colt Anaconda is an absolutely beautiful revolver. It is very accurate and pleasant to shoot. This is a no-brainer for Colt Collectors to pick up, particularly if they are into the snake line or double-action revolvers.

As a .44 Magnum revolver, it stands on its own. The trigger and action are superb for a factory gun and the construction and materials suggest it could handle a steady diet of stout loads over its lifetime.

Specifications

Make: Colt
Model: Anaconda
Type: Double-action revolver
Caliber: 44 Remington Magnum
Barrel length: 6 inches
Overall length: 13 inches
Weight: 53 ounces (unloaded)
Capacity: 6 rounds
Hammer style: Exposed, serrated
Grips: Hogue, rubber
Sights: Red ramp front, adjustable rear
Finish: Stainless steel
MSRP: $1,499

Colt has a great new model on its hands with the Anaconda. A version in .45 Colt seems to be a no-brainer, given the potential of the heavy loads in .45 Colt that are rated for Thompson Center or Ruger Blackhawk models. Of course, I would love to see the Anaconda chambered in .41 Magnum. Hopefully, if this one proves successful, we might see barrel length options other than the current 6 and 8-inch offerings and perhaps a Magna Ported version.

With CZ-USA as the new owner of Colt, anything is possible. Who knows, maybe a stainless Colt Diamondback is in the works?

The author says, “The Colt Anaconda Rides Again!” Are you a bigger fan of the new Colt over the original? Share your answer in the comment section.

  • Galco DAO brown leather holster with the Anaconda revolver
  • Colt Anaconda Revolver .44 magnum right profile stainless-steel with a rock as a background
  • Colt Anaconda’s rear sight
  • Colt Anaconda Revolver .44 magnum left profile stainless-steel
  • Colt Anaconda Revolver .44 magnum right profile stainless-steel
  • Colt Anaconda Revolver .44 magnum left profile stainless-steel with a rock background
  • CRKT XOC knife designed by Flavio Ikoma with a black revolver
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (15)

  1. In 1996 while in the Military and getting stationed in the Alaska Interior, it only took me 1 Summer to realize that I needed a Dependable, accurate and consistent firearm that had the big bore caliber to keep me and the family from being a “Pre-Hibernation” meal for the Big Bears in the area. The 6″ barrel, Colt Anaconda .44 Mag met all those requirements. I compared it to Ruger and felt the Anaconda’s recoil was more manageable in a high threat situation and allowed me to get the sites on target way faster that the Ruger did with “throwing the barrel so far up on re-coil” that time on target was twice as fast. The Anaconda’s re-coil was straight back into my hand and forearm allowing me to rapid fire without having to re-acquire the target. I placed the safety and lives of my family and myself in the more than capable hands of Colt Firearms. The Eagle River solid titanium blunt nosed bear loads were a must.

  2. In 1993 I purchased a 6” Anaconda while stationed in Hawaii (USMC). Couldn’t believe the accuracy of my new revolver right out of the box. While shooting it for the first time and in the black at 25 yards, somewhere around my seventh reload the pistol grips striped from the screw and nut. I attempted to tighten the grip with a screwdriver while at the range, no luck. Replaced the grip weeks later. No regrets, by far the best wheel gun I have ever owned

  3. Hopefully, the trigger bite (an nasty dog-ear in the mid-point of the second joint of the index finger) that my 1990 Anaconda (with the ten port- 8″ barrel), does not happen with this re-design. I read Elmer Kieth complain of this problem with the model, but he attributed it to an excessive force in recoil. I have looked for a pinch-point on mine, but have not found the clearance issue.

  4. Earlier generation Colt revolvers had the finest single actions paired with the worst double actions ever. Double actions stacked to such a degree, I have seen even experienced shooters shift their grip to get enough strength to complete the firing cycle.
    The new, redesigned Colt revolver actions are fabulous. The single action is as crisp as ever, and the double actions are light and stack free. Colt, you did a brilliant job. Now produce all the high-quality units you can. We will buy them.

  5. Just received my 8 inch Anaconda. Have not shot yet due to lack of 44 mag inventory in any local stores. Reloading is difficult, again due to lack of ANY components available. Thank you for the holster idea and the grip change idea. $1800 on GunBroker plus tax and shipping. You will wait a very long time if looking for MSRP. It use to be any pistol sold some what under MSRP at retail but not the highly sought after.

  6. I own 2 anacondas .44 and .45lc both bought in feb 94 . I wouldnt trade either for 1/2 a dozen of these machine made ones. Mine have the sweetest trigger pull you could ever imagine and as to accuracy, cant ask for better.

  7. Got my Anaconda back in 1999. Came with a clean 5lb. single-action trigger {which I’ve never gotten down to a more preferred 3lb. level}, but with Hornady 300gr. reloads, from a solid benchrest, will shoot 4″ to5″ groups at 100 yards. That load chronographs at 1,100 f.p.s., a great wild pig load.
    Not sure what seemed to be problems in those original Anacondas, but mine, and my friend’s Anaconda in .45 L.C., are very accurate, and reliable hunting revolvers we both still use regularly.
    Honestly, if Colt’s had brought these out in the early 60’s Dirty Harry could have had the most beautiful revolver as well the, “Most Powerful,” as he said.

  8. Mike, the new Anaconda uses the same grip frame as the new Python. I ordered a set of Altamont’s Python oversized fingergroove checkered grips with the silver Colt medallions in super walnut which they customized for me to delete the scroll marks. The result is a grip with the shape of the Anaconda’s factory Hogue grips but the style of the Python’s factory walnut grips (actually made by Altamont for Colt), and I’m very happy with them. Feel free to shoot me an email if you’d like to see pics of the grips on the revolver.

  9. I have an Original .44 Colt Anaconda, I love it. Happy to see New Anaconda on the market, I may have to have one of them too.

  10. I’d be more than happy to pay the list price if one could be found. I’ve been waiting for months. You can find a few new Anacondas for sale but at much more than list price. A salesman said they may become more available now the sale to CZ is final but I’m still waiting.

  11. Thank you for the review, and especially for including the specifications and the price, which never seems to be done on CTD reviews. I’m looking at a classic 6” M29 to go with an older 1st Gen Redhawk, so am comparing that Smith to this latest .44 from Colt.

  12. Nice revolver but but $1499 YIPES.Will it handle 320gr cast slugs like the Redhawk or SuperRedhawk? I figure one pays an extra 30% for anything named Colt.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit exceeded. Please click the reload button and complete the captcha once again.

Your discussions, feedback and comments are welcome here as long as they are relevant and insightful. Please be respectful of others. We reserve the right to edit as appropriate, delete profane, harassing, abusive and spam comments or posts, and block repeat offenders. All comments are held for moderation and will appear after approval.