Colt’s “snake guns” have long held a special place in the American revolver market. In a 50-year stretch starting in the 1950s, Colt rolled out various snake-themed revolvers such as the Cobra, Python, Diamondback, Viper, BOA, King Cobra, and Anaconda. Despite varying degrees of market success, they all offered revolver lovers the finery of high levels of American craftsmanship. They’ve also become highly sought-after collectibles.

This family of revolves has even earned its share of red-carpet time. Appearing in everything from “Starsky & Hutch” and “Canadian Bacon” to “Mad Max: Fury Road,” snake guns have the looks and power to hold a scene on the big screen. But these guns are more than just action-flick eye candy. Colt’s family of fine, hand-fitted heirloom revolvers are at once collectible and highly functional.

We pulled three near-pristine examples from the Vault to take a closer look. Here they are.

Colt Anaconda

Originally manufactured from 1990 to 2003 with chamberings in .44 Magnum and .45 Colt, the Anaconda was offered in 4-, 6-, and 8-inch barrels. The Anaconda never gained the popularity of the Colt Python, but that had nothing really to do with the quality of the gun. The Anaconda was also competing with .44-magnum revolvers from Ruger and Smith & Wesson that dated back to the 1950s. 

The younger Anaconda had a harder time breaking into the market against “Dirty Harry” classics like the S&W Model 29 or the popular Ruger Blackhawk, but that’s not to say the Anaconda wasn’t an incredibly great shooter and finely made revolver. Today, they sell for a premium, and Colt even restarted the Anaconda line in 2021.

Colt Diamondback

In 1966, Colt launched the Diamondback line and produced the guns until 1988. It was offered in barrel lengths ranging from 2.5, 4, and 6 inches. Diamondbacks could be had in two calibers, .22 LR and .38 Special, with adjustable sights. These revolvers were incredibly smooth shooters.

The handgun was actually patterned off the Colt Python, and it was offered to law enforcement agencies that had not adopted the .357 Magnum cartridge. As a still relatively common police round, the .38 special Diamondback was a high-quality upgrade for any department that wanted to maintain that caliber. 

Colt Python Stalker

The Colt Python Stalker is one of those rare finds that occasionally works its way into the Vault. These revolvers were only manufactured in 1988, and only 200 of the guns came off Colt’s assembly line. While most of the other snake guns can still be found with a little bit of digging, the Stalker is a chance encounter few snake-series collectors can even hope to have in their personal collections.

Originally geared toward handgun hunters, this Stalker includes a Leupold 2x scope, 8-inch ventilated-rib barrel, and non-fluted cylinder. The gun is exceptionally smooth. Being the rare breed that it is now, it’s fair to say this Stalker is more of a collector’s piece than a field-hunting companion. Though this .357 Magnum would still be up to the job, it has since entered the realm of a rare high-ticket collectible.

revolver barrel loading graphic