Colt + Ruger = Cougar

I did not know that the Cougar Magnum is a real type of gun

However, what a lot of people don’t realize is that the Cougar Magnum was in fact a real gun. During the halcyon revolver days of the late 70s and early 80s before the wondernine revolution, there was a popular cottage industry that mated Colt Python barrels to Ruger Security Six revolvers or Smith & Wesson frames, with the resulting creations being referred to as “Cougar” or “Smolt” revolvers.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • For what its worth, the conversion’s name was simply Cougar. I believe someone else referred to their conversion as a Rattler. Regarding the Smolt conversions, at least one outfit even rebarreled N-frame S&W and bored out the Python barrel to match.

    The revolver in the game appears to be a Ruger Super Blackhawk. The game designers changed all of the weapon names to avoid trademark issues.

  • Mayagrafix

    What is the purpose? looks? or is the Colt barrel considered superior to Rugger and SW builds?

    Thanks for a great blog!

  • Nanban Jim

    Born in the late 70s, early 80s? Still got 10 years before they’re Cougars. 😉

  • awesome… I want a Cougar. (Couger?)

  • El Duderino

    “Are you a woman with a much younger boyfriend? Then the Cougar Magnum is the self-defense handgun for you!”

  • Lance

    Huh and I thought a Cougar magnum was just a video game gun.

  • Andy

    The “Smolt” was a Python barrel mated to a S&W revolver.

    I new of them but never heard of the Ruger/Python hybrid.

    Learn somethin’ new every day. 🙂

  • Andy

    Ha, I guess I should learn to read. Skimmed way to fast and missed that in my first post.

  • Emperor Fabulous

    They had Colt Pythons just laying around, ready to be parted out for their barrels?

  • This post makes me nostalgic for the old Colt Pythons. I do wish someone would bring back the design – they were beautiful guns!

    • Mehul, I agree. Such nice looking guns. I am sure Colt will bring them back eventually – at a very high price.

  • Bill Lester

    I never heard of a “Smolt,” but “Smython” conversions were fairly popular among PPC shooters back in the Dark Ages of the late 1970’s-early 1980’s when I first became interested in guns.

  • Rob

    Python barrels were easy to come by and competitors liked the weight forward provided by the full underlug barrel, and a Smith (or Ruger) plus Python barrel was a lot cheaper then a Python. I was and am a Python shooter and still have a number of spare barrels in reserve.

  • Kyle

    You can still get the barrels without too much difficulty via several suppliers.

    Another interesting hybrid is the S&W – Dan Wesson, i.e. modifying a S&W frame by removing the barrel and fitting the Dan Wesson barrel type to allow for the user to swap out the heavier barrels and use different lengths. A pretty cool conversion.

  • Mayagrafix: The tighter bore and 1-14″ twist of the Python barrel was considered superior for stabilizing the .38 Special 148gr Mid-Range wadcutter loads used by PPC shooters. If I remember correctly, the S&W and Ruger barrels had rifling twists over 1-18″.

  • Keith Applegate

    These conversions were quite common in the late ’70s and early ’80s.
    As I recall the dealer cost for a factory fresh 6″ Python barrel was $55.00.
    They were installed on the S&W Model 19 or the Ruger Security-Six. I had a local gunsmith that would recut the frame threads for $20.00. So the entire conversion was $100 (Hey I had to make a profit too). That was cheaper than a Davis PPC conversion.

    The Colt had a .355″ bore and was much more accurate than the S&W and Ruger barrels of the time. But the real attraction was the extra weight towards the muzzle.
    This attraction diminished when S&W released the 586. Here we had a Python sized revolver with an underlugged barrel at a better price than the conversion.

    Personally I always preferred a standard Python. The action was usually better right out of the box and the factory wood stocks fit me perfectly. But folks like to tinker with their guns and the S&W action is simpler and more user friendly than the Colt action.

  • Seriously Mike

    Heh, the Japanese make an airsoft gun called the “Smython” – I guess that’s another name for this thing. They even replicate both S&W markings on the frame and Python marking on the barrel.

  • Tom Martin

    I have a 4″ Davis Cougar in Stainless. It’s really a nice gun. I once had a Davis Smolt as well, a 3″ built on a S&W Mod. 13. Not as nice as the Cougar.

  • MJM

    Very interesting post, Steve,
    What I find most interesting about this is that–despite the semi-auto–practical interest in the revolver remains high. Mike