Recoil|September - October 2021
The Last Snake Gun Returns to the Lineup
Iain Harrison

In 2017, Colt returned to the revolver market, testing the waters in the snubby pool with their current iteration of the Cobra. Then came its bigger brother, followed by the gun they said would never be made again, due to the amount of hand-finishing it had required. Advances in CNC machining and manufacturing made the Python commercially viable once more — and now, back to the fold comes the biggest of the snake guns and one which was previously discontinued in 2003.

Occupying the same niche as the Smith & Wesson N frame and Ruger Redhawk, the Anaconda is a large frame, double-action/single-action, six-shot revolver, aimed squarely at those who want the power of a 44 Magnum hunting handgun. Sure, you could plink away to your heart’s content with reduced loads and 44 Specials, but the big snake really wakes up when you offer it full-house ammo. For those who want to experience the challenge of handgun hunting, withou feeling like they should’ve hired a sherpa, the Anaconda sits nicely between the Redhawk and behemoths like the S&W Model 500.

The handgun horsepower wars around the turn of the century may have given us previously unheard of power levels due to the introduction of the 480 Ruger Mag, 460 and 500 S&W mags, and the mainstreaming of the 454 Casull, but for most applications, they’re little more than ballistic dick-measuring competitions. Don’t believe us? Check the used gun case at your local dealer and see if they have a second-hand example of any revolver chambered in any of the aforementioned cartridges. We’ll bet dollars to donuts there’s a half empty box of ammo offered along with it — probably the only rounds fired through it after the previous owner decided that was enough.

Although the 44 Mag may no longer have even a sniff at the title once bestowed upon it by Lt. Callahan, the truth is that it’s good enough for just about any situation imaginable, and due to its lower cost and greater availability of ammo, makes more sense for the majority of users. The only way to gain proficiency with a revolver is to shoot it, and practice with the 44 mag becomes downright economical compared to other, bigger calibers. When it comes to downrange performance, if there’s something that can’t be killed by a 300-grain hard-cast projectile moving at 1,300 fps, then it’s time to break out a rifle.

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