Two more iconic pistols on the Face Off today, the legendary Colt Python Black and the Walther PPK/s in 4.5mm BB. The original Colt Python was chambered in .357 Magnum and has been a staple of John Wayne movies for years and Chuck Norris used to carry one of these iconic pistols during many episodes of Walker Texas Ranger.
You can even buy a John Wayne patriotic .357 revolver which may be the most American thing I have ever seen. Quite a resume, I’m sure you’ll agree. On the other hand, the Walther PPK is perhaps one of the most iconic movie pistols of all time thanks to none other than James Bond. Now who would win out between Chuck and James? Not an easy question but here goes.
I Feel Lucky
Picking up both of these pistols, there is a definite difference in weight, the Colt Python weighs the best part of a kilo whilst the Walther PPK feels miniscule in comparison, weighing in at just over 500 grams. Being heavier than the PPK, you might think that I would dislike the Colt, but it all comes down to what I like to call the “do you feel lucky?” factor and the Colt has it in spades.
The Python’s weight gives is a real sense of power and you really forget that you are holding a BB gun, aiming it down the range, I got the sense that anything I shot was going to explode into a thousand tiny pieces. The black finishing on the Python is absolutely excellent and the Colt logo and .357 Magnum lettering down the barrel further enhance a sense of realism.
The PPK is extremely well made and is based around a full metal frame which, despite the lighter weight, prevents the pistol from feeling too much like a toy. The only plastic parts of the gun are the pistol grip, safety lever and outer barrel shroud which is fantastic for reliability and a real rarity for a pistol of this price. Powered by 12g CO2 capsules, the old version of the PPK featured a very obvious knob which had to be turned to screw in the CO2 but this has now been changed into a slimline screw that fits flush to the grip.
A welcome change from my point of view and one that really improves the look of this pistol. The Walther PPK is a different kind of pistol than the Python, one that might by tucked into the inside of diner jacket when playing poker with a table full of the worlds villains and holding it I never got the sense of power that I got from the .357. The advantage that the PPK has is a sense of sophistication and style that is more to my personal taste.
I’m going to give this one to Walther PPK simply because of the added sense of suave that it possess, basically James Bond got way more girls than The Man with No Name.
Winner : Walther PPK
The Walther PPK features a 15 round drop out magazine that disappointingly made of plastic and is a little fiddly to refill. I have never been much of a fan of magazines where you have to compress a spring to load BB’s as without a speed loader, the BB’s often end up all over the floor. The Colt Python is loaded with imitation shells that house the BB’s before they are pushed into the barrel and are less fiddly to refill, but only hold 6 BBs at a time.
The Colt Python only comes with 6 shells, it would have been nice to have spares included but they are easily available. Another accessory that comes in handy is a speed loader which is included with the pistol. One complaint I do have with the Python is the arm that holds the swing out cylinder is flimsy and light and although I experienced no problems when shooting the pistol myself, I wouldn’t violently swing out the cylinder with too much force in case that arm bent or snapped.
The trigger of the PPK is extremely light and responsive and, when combined with the blowback action makes the pistol great fun to shoot. I would have preferred a metal safety switch instead of the polymer one that the PPK is fitted with but it does the job. The safety on the Python has a tendency to stick in the on position, which is better than sticking in the off position, but a bit of annoyance none the less. It maybe because the gun was new and requires a bit of use to loosen up which is often the case with CO2 pistols and revolvers in particular because of the multiple moving parts.
I was actually impressed with the overall finish of both pistols and with the PPK in particular, despite its magazine, looking like a gun that cost several times the price. The Colt is let down by a few niggling features but I am being overly critical for the purposes of this review and these minor issues will not likely be of importance to the average shooter.
Winner : Draw
The Important Bit
Some people buy pistols to put them in display cabinets, but most people buy pistols to shoot things with. The proof of the pudding is in the eating as they say so I set up a range at about 6m and fired about 50 Bbs, some ProShot precision A Grade, through each. The first thing to say about the Colt Python is that its rear sights are fully adjustable and make target shooting so much easier, no such luck with PPK although the fixed pistol sights work well enough.
It is worth saying that neither of these pistols are going to win you any awards in target shooting, nor will they kill a rat, but they are great fun for hitting tin cans in the garden and make great practice pistols or props for home movies, particularly the PPK with its blowback action.
With the Colt Python, I found myself reliably hitting the centre of the target with no issue but the grouping was larger than I would have expected at this range. I think this lack of accuracy comes from the way the pellet is fired from the tip of shell instead of from a regular magazine.
The shells all have to be loaded individually and any slight difference in the way that the BBs are loaded can cause quite a large difference in accuracy, something to bear in mind. Taking aim at the target with my PPK I noticed that this pistol seemed to be shooting slightly low and right but does group surprisingly well and with a little adjustment of my aim I was reliably hitting the centre two rings of the target.
To investigate the problem with the BB’s dropping off a ran both pistols through my own personal Alpha chronograph and found the Python to running at around 2.3 ft/lbs where as the Walther was shooting at less than 1.5 ft/lbs. The reason the pellets were dropping off was because of the Walther’s lack of power. I checked to see if the gun was leaking gas or the barrel was slightly obstructed but no the gun is just a bit underpowered for my liking. Not too much of a problem and could actually be spun as a positive as less power usually means more shots. Unfortunately the Blowback action of the PPK is also powered by the CO2 making it one of the more hungry CO2 pistols I’ve fired. Disappointing.
Trying to pick a winner is a bit of a strange one, the PPK is more responsive, blowback and just more fun to shoot, but the Colt is both more powerful and more accurate. Comes down to what you are looking for I guess, fun or functional. In my opinion the Walther just edges it, yes the Colt is slightly the better shooter, and it is slight, but the purpose of these pistols is not to hit cans, it is to have fun and the PPK is undoubtedly the most fun.
Winner : Walther PPK
Both pistols are inexpensive but the fact that the Walther PPK/s comes in at under £100 makes it an absolutely essential purchase for any collector or air pistol enthusiast. The Colt is a nice revolver but there are other nice revolvers on the market, the Dan Wesson or the Peacemaker are both great choices and are available at a similar price. With the Walther it is impossible to shoot better for less.
Winner : Walther PPK