Today on Wheelgun Wednesday, you’ll be getting TFB’s impressions of the new, re-introduced Colt Anaconda from not one but two of our writers. Read on, and you’ll see what Rusty S. and Adam S. have to say about the new .44 Magnum main squeeze from Colt.
Colt Revolvers @ TFB:
- Wheelgun Wednesday: Colt King Cobra Target .357 Magnum Review
- Theodore Roosevelt’s Colt Single Action Army Sold at Rock Island Auction
- Wheelgun Wednesday: Cautionary Tale of a Collectible Colt DA 38
- [SHOT 2020] The Colt Python RETURNS! Old vs. New Python
- Wheelgun Wednesday: Book Review – “Revolver: Sam Colt And The Six Shooter That Changed America”
Colt Anaconda 2021 Review: Solid Snake or Repro Fake?
As a continuation of the revitalization of Colt’s snake gun line, the new Anaconda shares the scalable, redesigned action of the other new snake guns, namely the U-shaped Colt Linear Leaf Spring action. Unlike the new Python, so far the Anaconda does not seem to have any teething issues. Ironic, given that when the original Anaconda came out in 1990, accuracy issues were somewhat of a bugbear. Like the Python, Anacondas have not been produced since 2006, so it’s good to see them back on the scene.
Colt was generous enough to send us some 6″ barreled examples of the new Anaconda. Right out of the box, I could see fit and finish were excellent. The action was smooth where it needed to be, and crisp and precise where it needed to be as well. Initially, the cylinder release fit was so tight that it took some extra effort, but after a few range sessions this changed into a perfectly precise fit. Most of the revolver is a medium polished stainless, with the sights a matte black with front orange insert, and the top of the receiver and barrel is a matte stainless.
The Frame is also drilled and tapped for a scope base, something not seen on many examples of the 90’s Anaconda with the exception of the Anaconda Hunter and Camo. The gun also comes wearing some Hogue rubber grips with finger grooves. While they do not encompass the rear strap of the frame, they are an improvement over the hard rubber grips that shipped with the old Anacondas.
The sights are excellent. The rear sight is adjustable for windage and elevation, with an Allen set screw to keep it in place against related .44 Magnum recoil. The front sight is a black ramp with orange insert. The front sights are easily removed via an Allen screw as well. The matte treatment of the sights and top strap ensure no undue glare, even in the glare of the rising or setting sun. The sight picture has just the right amount of daylight between the rear notch and front sight as well.
The cylinder features the distinctive long timing notches that Colt double actions are known for. Cylinder lockup on full rearward trigger position is very tight, almost on par with a Manhurin MR73, and a bit better than my S&W 29 series revolvers. The hand and cylinder release on the Anaconda are a bit more exposed and there’s more opportunity for debris ingress into the Anaconda’s internals than those of a Ruger Redhawk or S&W Model 29, however. Overall, I was very impressed with the Anaconda right out of the box.
Here’s what TFB’s Adam S. had to say about the new Colt Anaconda:
The men and women currently working at Colt to produce wheelguns are a refreshing throwback to how revolvers used to be produced because there is a marked improvement in quality, fit, finish, and timing compared to other models out in the market.
The revolver is decently balanced in the 6” configuration Colt kindly sent to us to test, but while firing there is a moderate amount of recoil – you know you are shooting a 44 Magnum. The 8” offering with its additional 2” of barrel and slight increase in weight I would only imagine is that much more enjoyable to shoot. For those thinking of carrying this revolver as a primary hunting firearm or a backup sidearm, I would opt for the 8” version for the marginally mitigated recoil even with the additional burden of more weight to pack while hunting.
The rubber grip is not the most eye-catching feature on this revolver, but it is easily the most practical. It helps tame the recoil to ensure you stay on target to the best of your abilities. The purist in me would like to see an offering with a nice checkered wood grip, but that is something that should be easily obtained through aftermarket sources in time. Also – while we are making demands of Colt – a deep, illustrious blued version would be phenomenal as well.
The sights on this revolver are true-to-form for an Anaconda of old by being adjustable, but the crowning modern touch is that this newer model is drilled and tapped for a mount from the factory. With the renaissance and current love affair with red dots in the gun industry, it is easier than ever to saddle one up to this wheelgun.
One of the most notable features or aspects of the new Colt Anaconda is its trigger. Colt touts it as their Linear Leaf Spring Action, but to put it in simple terms, it is a buttery smooth pull in single-action or double-action. In fact, it is most impressive while firing it in double-action. When comparing to any other revolver on the market that is not considered “Custom Shop” or comes from a hand-fit, boutique manufacturer the new model Colt Anaconda stands alone at the top.
Specs, Per Colt:
Caliber: 44 Mag
Barrel Length: 6″
Hammer Style: Exposed
Grips: Black Hogue Rubber
Sights: Red Ramp Front, Adjustable Rear
Frame Description: Semi-Bright Stainless Steel Cylinder Finish: Semi-Bright Stainless Steel Barrel Finish: Semi-Bright Stainless Steel
My first range trip with the Colt Anaconda was a direct comparison test with the S&W Model 29, a .44 Magnum platform I have thousands of rounds of experience with. The Anaconda’s smooth and consistent trigger outshined the Model 29 in double action. The Anaconda’s double-action trigger measured out at 9lb, 14oz, while the Model 29 was 11lb, 13oz. The Anaconda’s double-action pull can be described as smooth and consistent, with just a touch of stacking before the break, only noticeable if you are pressing the trigger back very slowly. For me, it’s more difficult to “stage” the Anaconda’s trigger in double action, but it’s much smoother than the Model 29 when used in rapid fire.
In single-action mode, Colt’s hammer is far smoother and easier to cock, but it has a heavier single-action trigger pull than the Model 29, 5lbs vs 3lbs. Overall, I was very pleased with how smooth and consistent the Colt linear leaf spring action was. The trigger face is subtly serrated, which aids in trigger feel in icy conditions or when one’s hands are sweaty.
Shooting 50 rounds of both .44 Special and Magnum out of each revolver, I noticed that the Colt was easier to keep on target in rapid-fire double-action cylinder dumps. This was especially noticeable when I was trying to hit a paper plate at 15 yards with all 6 rounds as fast as I could. (Charging moose/grizzly drill).
I did notice when switching to magnum loads that one’s bare hand can feel the exposed frame of the Anaconda quite a bit. Colt (or any aftermarket grip maker) would do well to manufacture a grip for the new Anaconda that fully encompasses the back of the frame. The Anaconda ejected spent cases with aplomb, even when very hot. The Colt takes the edge over the S&W in this respect.
Snake in the Brass
Further on in my review, I managed to put another 300 rounds through the Anaconda, from such manufacturers as Underwood, Buffalo Bore, Blazer, American Eagle, and Hornady. The Anaconda fired and ejected them all without issue. I did not have one single malfunction or hiccup with this revolver in 400 rounds fired. I did find that the 1 in 20 twist barrel showed a preference for heavier 300gr loads, namely Hornady’s excellent 300gr XTP. This makes sense, as modern .44 Magnum handguns typically use the faster twist rate to properly stabilize heavier bullets.
The best 6 shot group I managed at 25 yards from a braced, standing position was 2.2″ with Hornady’s 300gr XTP load, followed closely by the 160gr Underwood/Lehigh Extreme Hunter. The only load that was unacceptable in the accuracy department was the 200gr Blazer .44 Special. The Anaconda’s sights were easy to adjust, and the reference dots on top of the rear sight aided me when adjusting for windage.
For longer range shots, I could easily and repeatedly hit a vital zone at 50 yards with the iron sights, but 100 yards was a far more difficult endeavor with the Anaconda.
Overall Anaconda Impressions
The 2021 Colt Anaconda is a great new contender in the .44 Magnum handgun/revolver market. Objectively, it was reasonably accurate, reliable, and has a high level of fit and finish. Subjectively, I found it to be one of the better balanced 6″ .44 Magnum revolvers, and that the linear leaf spring action aids greatly in rapid DA revolver fire. If you’re shopping around for a .44 Magnum revolver, be sure to consider the Anaconda. In my estimation, it’s one of the best non-custom .44 Magnums on the market today.
- Excellent DA trigger
- Very good fit and finish
- Easily adjustable and replaceable sights
- Only stainless option currently available as of the writing of this article (though I don’t want the return of the Realtree Camo)
- DA trigger is not easy to “stage”
- SA trigger a bit heavier than it used to be
- Grips don’t encompass rear strap
Thanks to Colt and CZ Group for the opportunity! For more information, please visit Colt’s Manufacturing
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