The Colt Anaconda. Colt's Biggest Snake!
Built by Colt Mfg. from 1991 to 1999, the Colt Anaconda has earned a reputation as one of the most accurate .44 Magnum handguns on the market. Although the recoil can be startling to some shooters, the special grip design and heavy barrel and frame weight make it one of the most comfortable .44 Magnums to shoot. Big-bore shooters have come to expect the top performance and durability of this powerhouse. But, the light, smooth trigger pull of the Anaconda still takes them by surprise. The free-floating ejector rod and full length housing enhance balance and portability. Shooters like the wide spurred, deep grooved hammer. Offset bolt notches and clockwise cylinder turn add strength and durability, while the integral ventilated barrel rib dissipates heat for clear sighting and allows easy scope mounting. The Anaconda was produced in 4 barrel lengths: 4", 6", 8" and the hard to find 5". All models were made of stainless steel and came with a brushed finish although some First Edition and several custom order Anaconda's were produced with an ultra bright finish. The ultra bright guns also had a polished trigger and hammer.
.44 Magnum or .45 Long Colt
Serrated target trigger
Single / Double action
Rubber combat type grips
Red ramp front sight
White outline adjustable rear sight
Drilled and tapped for scope mount (after 1998)
Available Models: (as of 1998)
(D = Drilled, T = Taped, P = Ported)
Technical Specifications as tested:
Frame material: Stainless steel
Frame finish: Brushed stainless steel
Barrel length: 8" non-ported
Overall length: 13-5/8"
Caliber .44 Magnum
Capacity: 6 Rounds
Hammer: Target style with wide serrations
Trigger: Serrated target
Action: Double / Single
Front sight: Red ramp
Rear sight: White outline adjustable
Grips: Rubber combat style with medallion
Weight: 59 oz.
Colt terminated production in 1999 but continued to offer special Anaconda's from the Colt Custom Shop for a short time thereafter (up to approx. 2003). These guns were basically the same as the production guns except that some had round ported barrels and a polished and tuned trigger system. Slotted Magna-Porting was available from the factory prior to 1998. I actually owned a Custom Shop Anaconda several years ago. I bought it brand new and had it about 2 years until the roof started coming off of my house and I was forced to sell it for emergency cash. It was a sad day for me, only slightly over shadowed by the fact that I sold it back to the gun shop where I bought it for twice the amount I paid just 2 years previous! That should have been another flag for me not to let this gun go! I vowed to own one again as soon as possible! Fast forward to Christmas, 2007...My parents, knowing how much I valued that Anaconda, surprised me with an ultra bright stainless steel 8" Anaconda that Christmas morning! My Dad, sick with the flu, stayed out of bed just long enough to see the joy on my face as I opened the heavy package! As my hand found the familiar rubber grips and lifted the big gun from the box...I couldn't help but feel complete again! This gun feels as good in the hand as it looks! The frame of the Anaconda is actually a super sized version of the V-frame Trooper MK V with a King Cobra style action. The larger size of the firearm still fits my mitts rather comfortably thanks to the rubber combat style grips complete with nickel finished Colt Medallions.
Upon checking out the new revolver, the crisp action sent a chill up my spine as I pulled the hammer back. I found that the gun could make Fort Knox blush with envy as I lowered the hammer while depressing the trigger. The lock up was tight and felt like a 30 ton blast door! The fit and finish is just amazing. All the lines line up and everything appeals to the eye. It is hard to describe the feeling of holding a high quality big bore revolver, but until you hold one...you will never know why people that own them tend to rave about them so much! The Anaconda is a true piece of American engineering and it is a shame that Colt has stopped making them. The photos in this review can not even come close to the true beauty of this revolver!
OK, so it looks and feels great, but how does it shoot? Let's just say, it isn't commonly known as one of the most accurate big bore revolvers for nothing! This gun could make a first time shooter look as good as a pro! My first Anaconda was fitted with a 2x30 pistol scope and I could easily knock down iron pigs standing, off hand at 100 yards...every shot! I haven't added a scope to this snake yet, but I have found the open sights just as equally impressive with no adjustments, so far. Recoil is definitely pronounced but very manageable. I feel very little difference between my old ported barrel vs. my current non-ported version. Weighing in at a stout 59 ounces, this pistol absorbs most of the recoil and provides the shooter with nothing more than an assertive muzzle rise. I also discovered a highly polished bore that will eat just about any kind of ammo and helps to limit the amount of leading that can occur from certain types of ammo. The Anaconda still might not be for the weak at heart, but it's easily an all day shooter for the avid enthusiast. Lower cost per round and manageable still make the .44 Magnum platform more suited for the average big bore shooter over the .454 Casull and .500 S&W.
In conclusion, I like the way this pistol looks and feels in my hand and it shoots like a dream. The aggressive styling of the sloped vent rib and full lug barrel would have made Dirty Harry look much more cooler than with that Model 29...too bad Colt hadn't made it 20 years sooner! If you haven't had an opportunity to shoot or even examine an Anaconda yet, you owe it to yourself to make arrangements to do so! Just be warned, Colt's Big Snake series is highly addictive and somewhat expensive to own!
Review & Photography by: RocketFoot
Thanks for looking and happy shooting!
Sources: Colt Mfg., ColtForum.com