Meet the Colt Anaconda: “My anaconda don’t want none unless ya got buns, hon.” Haha, sorry dear readers, I couldn’t resist quoting that line Sir Mix-a-Lot’s double-platinum 1992 rap song in an article about a gun with the name “Anaconda.” (Coincidentally, Yours Truly won 3rd Prize for performing that song at karaoke contests on two separate occasions at the infamous FLETC G-Bar, but that’s a story for a different time and place.).
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In the world of Mother Nature, the anaconda, more specifically the green anaconda (scientific name Eunectes murinus) is the largest snake in the world, with a length of up to 30 feet (9 meters) and a weight up to 550 pounds (227 kilograms). It’s part of the constrictor family of snakes, which kill their prey by literally squeezing the life out of them. Those prey animals include caimans, tapirs, peccaries, and small deer.
In the world of firearms, the Colt Anaconda is a .44 Magnum revolver that can be used for hunting all of the above named prey animals. It is part of Colt’s so-called “Snake Gun” series of double-action revolvers, along with the Colt Diamondback .38 Special, King Cobra .357 Magnum, and most famously, the legendary Python .357 Magnum. Let’s take a closer look at the Anaconda.
Colt Anaconda History & Specifications
The Colt Anaconda made its debut in 1990, thus enabling Colt’s Manufacturing Company to finally enter into the large-bore Magnum handgun market alongside Sturm, Ruger & Co. and Smith & Wesson. Like the Python, the Anaconda featured a full barrel-length underlug for housing the ejector rod. Unlike the Python, the newer and bigger “Snake Gun” was only offered in stainless steel finish, with no carbon steel blue finish. The gun came in barrel lengths of 4, 6, and 8 inches, overall lengths of 9.375, 11.375, and 13.375 inches respectively, and empty weights of 47, 53, and 59 ounces respectively. Like any other .44 Magnum revolver, the Anaconda could also safely chamber and fire the kinder gentler .44 Special and .44 Russian cartridges. A .45 Long Colt chambering was also offered.
Evidently, early production models of this revolver were plagued with poor accuracy, but Colt quickly remedied the situation with changes to the barrel, and before long the manufacturer was billing it as among the most accurate .44 Magnum wheelguns in production. The gun was discontinued in 2003 but brought out of hibernation (if you will) in 2021.
Alas, just my luck that none of the shooting ranges I’ve been to throughout the nation in my 33 years as a shooting hobbyist have even bothered to make an Anaconda available for rental, nor do I recall ever even seeing one for sale from any gun stores I’ve been to. Therefore, I’ll have to resort to secondhand range reports to give our dear readers an idea of just how well this behemoth of a Snake Gun actually performs.
For that purpose, I’ll turn to one of the most respected gun writers in the business, Mr. John Taffin. John is a well-known big-bore handgun aficionado whose articles I’ve been reading since 1990; he’s a no-B.S. kind of guy who calls it like he sees it in his gun reviews. Here’s what John has to say about the reborn Anaconda:
“The action has a completely different feeling being the same as used in the New Python with the DA pull dramatically improved from 13.5 lbs. to 9.75 lbs. and definitely feeling much smoother. I can’t compare the single-action pull because the old one was worked on and is now 4 lbs. while the new one comes in at 6 lbs. but with a creep-free, smooth feeling.”
How about accuracy, Mr. Taffin?
“Both the factory loaded Buffalo Bore 255 Keith and the SIG SAUER 240 V-Crown JHP .44 Magnum loads group right at 1″ for five shots at 25 yards, with muzzle velocities of 1,438 fps and 1.317 fps respectively. Switching to handloads using Hornady JHP bullets also gave excellent results, with the 200 JHP over 20.0 grains of #4227 coming in at 1,052 fps; 240-grain XTP over the same charge resulted in 1,053 fps while this same bullet over 18.5 grains of #2400 clocked out at a respectable 1,276 fps. All three loads grouped five shots right at 1″ at a distance of 25 yards…This New Anaconda performs exceptionally well with .44 Special loads. Their 180 JHP clocked at 1,202 fps with a 1-3/8″ group and the 255 Hard Cast Keith Gas Check Outdoorsman was at 1,058 fps and a 1″ group. The most accurate load of all I tried — grouping five shots into 7/8″ at 25 yards — was the 190-grain Soft Cast HP at 1,219 fps. All of these loads should do quite well for hunting deer-sized critters.”
In short, pretty goshdarn accurate; I’ll take John’s word for it.
Anaconda Uncoiled Again; Want Your Own?
The newer Anaconda only comes in the 6- and 8-inch barrel lengths, i.e. Colt is not current offering the 4-incher for whatever reason. According to the manufacturer’s official info page:
“Experience the Linear Leaf Spring Action for a non-stacking, smooth-as-glass trigger pull. With recoil-absorbing Hogue grips and adjustable, interchangeable sights, this .44 Magnum is cool and comfortable from the range to the woods…A recessed target crown offers protection and the frame is drilled and tapped for optics mounts, making the Anaconda an unstoppable huntsman’s sidearm.”
MSRP is listed as $1,499.00 USD.
Christian D. Orr has 33 years of shooting experience, starting at the tender age of 14. His marksmanship accomplishments include: the Air Force Small Arms Ribbon w/one device (for M16A2 rifle and M9 pistol); Pistol Expert Ratings from U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) Criminal Investigator Training Program (CITP); multiple medals and trophies via the Glock Sport Shooting Foundation (GSSF) and the Nevada Police & Fires Games (NPAF). Chris has been an NRA Certified Basic Pistol Instructor since 2011.