The Revolver Renaissance: 10 Modern Wheel Guns with Future Collectability Potential

Revolver aficionados understand that there’s an allure to these classic firearms that transcends time. While the semi-automatic might dominate today’s market, revolvers, with their storied history and unmatched reliability, continue to hold a special place in the hearts of many. Here, we spotlight ten contemporary revolvers who seem primed to become the collector’s gems of tomorrow.

Colt Python (2020 Re-release)

  • Snapshot: Reviving a legend, the modern Colt Python combines the charm of its predecessor with today’s engineering.
  • Potential Collectability: ★★★★★
  • Why: The magic of the original Python, paired with modern-day enhancements, guarantees it a spot in future collections.

The Colt Python, first introduced in 1955, is widely recognized as a quintessential American revolver, admired for its precision, smooth trigger pull, and aesthetic beauty. Designed initially as a premium-grade revolver, the Python symbolized superior craftsmanship within Colt’s lineup. It gained an iconic status among firearm enthusiasts, partly due to its frequent appearances in films and television shows, further cementing its legacy in popular culture.

Colt discontinued the Python in 2005, which led to a surge in its collectability and value in the secondary market—this period of absence heightened its allure and nostalgia among enthusiasts. Recognizing the ongoing demand, Colt re-released the Python in 2020, marrying the classic design with modern manufacturing techniques. The 2020 version retained the original’s distinctive full barrel underlug and ribbed top, along with the renowned ventilated rib, making it instantly recognizable to aficionados.

The new Python features several updates, including a stainless-steel frame, barrel, cylinder, precision adjustable sights, and a walnut grip with the iconic Colt medallion. The modern iteration improved the original’s action mechanism, enhancing the revolver’s durability and reducing the likelihood of wear over time. This blend of classic aesthetics with contemporary improvements was aimed at both long-time Python lovers and a new generation of revolver enthusiasts.

Colt’s decision to revitalize this legendary model reflects a broader trend in the firearm industry, where nostalgic value and modern technology converge. The 2020 Colt Python is not just a revolver; it represents a bridge between the rich history of American firearms and the future of gun manufacturing. Its mix of legacy, improved mechanics, and brand prestige makes it a prime candidate for future collectability, appealing to both traditional collectors and new firearm enthusiasts.

Smith & Wesson Model 686 Plus

  • Snapshot: Building on the 686’s fame, this seven-shot .357 Magnum balances capacity and power.
  • Potential Collectability: ★★★★☆
  • Why: Its expanded capacity and S&W’s long-standing reputation make it a future classic contender.

The Smith & Wesson Model 686, initially introduced in 1981, is part of the renowned L-Frame series, a response to the increasing popularity of the .357 Magnum cartridge. This series was designed to bridge the gap between the heavy N-frame and the smaller K-frame, offering a balance of size and durability suitable for the .357 Magnum. The Model 686 quickly became popular among law enforcement, competitive shooters, and firearm enthusiasts for its robust construction and reliability.

The Model 686 Plus is an evolution of the original 686. It features a seven-shot cylinder, an upgrade from the standard six rounds, providing shooters with an additional round of capacity. This enhancement particularly appeals to those who value the .357 Magnum’s power for self-defense and sport shooting. The revolver maintains the classic stainless-steel construction and is available in various barrel lengths, catering to various preferences and uses.

Smith & Wesson’s reputation for quality and durability significantly influences the 686 Plus’s potential collectability. The brand’s long-standing history, dating back to 1852, has ingrained it as a staple in American firearms culture. The 686 Plus continues this tradition, embodying the classic features of the original while adapting to modern demands.

Furthermore, the 686 Plus’s versatility in handling both .357 Magnum and .38 Special cartridges makes it a practical and desirable choice for many shooters. Its expanded capacity, combined with the renowned smooth action and reliability of Smith & Wesson revolvers, positions the 686 Plus as a future classic. Collectors and enthusiasts often seek out firearms that offer a blend of historical significance, functionality, and unique features, and the Model 686 Plus fits squarely within this criterion.

Ruger Super GP100

  • Snapshot: Designed with competition in mind, Ruger’s Super GP100 is a .357 Magnum that speaks to performance.
  • Potential Collectability: ★★★★☆
  • Why: Its competition pedigree and Ruger’s craftsmanship earmark it as a future collector’s choice.

The Ruger Super GP100, introduced in 2019, is a modern revolver that builds upon the legacy of the GP100 series, first launched in 1985. The GP100 series was initially developed as a rugged, reliable double-action revolver that could handle the decisive .357 Magnum round. It was designed with law enforcement and civilian self-defense in mind and quickly gained a reputation for its durability and ease of maintenance.

The Super GP100 takes these foundational qualities to the next level, targeting the competitive shooting market. It is a testament to Ruger’s commitment to catering to the needs of a diverse range of shooters. This revolver is chambered in .357 Magnum, a choice that aligns with the preferences of competitive shooters for its balance of power and manageability.

One of the most notable features of the Super GP100 is its half-lug, 5.5-inch barrel, and eight-round cylinder, which are designed for rapid shooting and quick reloads – critical aspects of competitive shooting. The revolver also features a triple-locking cylinder for more precise alignment and dependable operation, enhancing its performance and reliability in competitive scenarios.

The Ruger Super GP100’s design includes an adjustable rear sight and fiber optic front sight, which are ideal for fast target acquisition. Moreover, its ergonomic grip, made of textured wood and rubber, provides a secure and comfortable hold, crucial for competitive accuracy.

Ruger’s reputation for manufacturing robust and reliable firearms, along with its innovative approach to design, makes the Super GP100 a likely candidate for future collectability. The blend of Ruger’s craftsmanship, the revolver’s competition-grade features, and the legacy of the GP100 series contribute to its potential as a collector’s item. It is not just a tool for competition but a symbol of Ruger’s evolution and adaptability in the ever-changing landscape of firearms.

Kimber K6s

  • Snapshot: A modern entry in the snub-nose game, the K6s offers compact power with an elegant design.
  • Potential Collectability: ★★★☆☆
  • Why: Its blend of aesthetics and functionality in a market dominated by more prominent names might make it a collectible dark horse.

The Kimber K6s, introduced in 2016, marked Kimber’s first venture into the world of revolvers. Kimber, a company renowned for its high-quality 1911 pistols and rifles, stepped into the revolver market with a clear focus on quality and innovation. The K6s is designed as a compact yet powerful snub-nose revolver, filling a niche in the concealed carry market.

The K6s is notable for its small frame, chambered in .357 Magnum, offering considerable firepower in a compact package. This combination of power and size is particularly appealing for self-defense and concealed carry purposes. The design of the K6s includes a 2-inch barrel, a smooth stainless-steel finish, and a cylinder capacity of six rounds, making it a practical choice for personal defense.

One of the standout features of the K6s is its exceptional ergonomics and build quality. Kimber’s reputation for precision manufacturing is evident in the revolver’s construction. The K6s boasts a match-grade trigger and an internal hammer, ensuring a smooth, consistent trigger pull. This focus on quality and performance is a hallmark of Kimber’s approach to firearm design.

The aesthetics of the K6s also play a significant role in its appeal. Its sleek, modern lines and brushed stainless-steel finish give it a distinctive look that distinguishes it from other snub-nose revolvers. The attention to detail in its design, combined with its functional attributes, positions the K6s as a potential future collectible.

The K6s’s emergence in a market dominated by established names in revolver manufacturing is notable. Its blend of aesthetics, compact power, and the Kimber brand’s prestige in producing high-quality firearms might make it a dark horse in future collectible circles. Collectors and enthusiasts often value uniqueness and quality craftsmanship, and the Kimber K6s offer both and the potential for historical significance as Kimber’s first foray into revolver production.

Chiappa Rhino

  • Snapshot: Breaking the mold, the Rhino’s barrel alignment at the bottom cylinder promises reduced recoil and a unique look.
  • Potential Collectability: ★★★★★
  • Why: Its radical design departure and innovative mechanics might make it one of the most sought-after revolvers in future collections.

The Chiappa Rhino, first introduced in 2010, represents a significant departure from traditional revolver designs in aesthetics and mechanics. Chiappa Firearms, an Italian manufacturer known for its innovative approach, designed the Rhino to address common issues associated with revolver recoil and handling.

The most distinctive feature of the Rhino is its barrel alignment with the bottom chamber of the cylinder, as opposed to the traditional top chamber alignment. This design drastically reduces muzzle rise and felt recoil by aligning the barrel with the shooter’s hand, wrist, and arm. This innovative approach results in a more natural point of aim and significantly improved control, making the Rhino a unique option in the revolver market.

The Rhino’s unconventional appearance, with its flat-sided cylinder and futuristic design, further sets it apart from traditional revolvers. This striking design contributes to the firearm’s reduced profile and gives it a distinctive look that has garnered attention and acclaim.

Available in multiple barrel lengths and chambered for various cartridges, including .357 Magnum, 9mm, and .40 S&W, the Rhino is designed to appeal to a wide range of users, from self-defense to competitive shooting. Its versatility and unique design features make it a standout in the revolver category.

Its radical design and mechanical innovation bolsters the Rhino’s potential collectability. It challenges conventional revolver norms, making it a likely candidate for future collectors who value groundbreaking design and technological advancement in firearms. Its place in the history of revolver development, combined with Chiappa’s reputation for quality and innovation, positions the Rhino as a potential future classic in the world of firearm collectibles.

Taurus Judge

  • Snapshot: A versatile beast, the Judge can chamber both .45 Colt cartridges and .410 shotshells.
  • Potential Collectability: ★★★☆☆
  • Why: Its unique dual-ammunition capability could make it a talking point in collections, bolstered by tales of its practical applications.

The Taurus Judge, first introduced by the Brazilian firearms manufacturer Taurus in 2006, is a unique and versatile revolver that has captured the attention of gun enthusiasts for its novel concept. The Judge is designed to chamber both .45 Colt cartridges and .410 bore shotshells, making it a standout in terms of versatility and functionality.

This dual-caliber capability allows for various applications, from self-defense to recreational shooting. The ability to fire shotshells from a revolver was a groundbreaking innovation, providing users with a spread shot capability typically associated with shotguns but in a compact revolver form factor. This feature has made the Judge popular for close-range defense scenarios, where the spread of a shotshell can be more forgiving than a single bullet.

The Taurus Judge comes in various models featuring different barrel lengths and finishes, catering to various preferences. Its design includes a ribbed barrel and a fiber optic front sight for enhanced accuracy. The revolver’s name, “Judge,” is reportedly a nod to its popularity among judges in high-crime areas of the United States, who sought a reliable and versatile self-defense weapon.

Taurus’ reputation for producing innovative and affordable firearms significantly affects the Judge’s potential collectability. The uniqueness of its dual-ammunition capability combined with Taurus’s innovative approach to firearms design makes the Judge an intriguing choice for collectors. Firearms that offer something out of the ordinary be it in functionality or design, often hold a special place in the world of collectibles, and the Taurus Judge fits this criterion with its unique combination of features and practical applications.

Smith & Wesson TRR8

  • Snapshot: An eight-shot .357 Magnum, the TRR8 offers tactical enhancements for the modern revolver enthusiast.
  • Potential Collectability: ★★★★☆
  • Why: Balancing tactical features with S&W’s legacy, the TRR8 might emerge as a standout in future revolver collections.

The Smith & Wesson TRR8, part of the company’s Performance Center line, represents a modern take on the revolver, combining tactical elements with traditional craftsmanship. Introduced in the mid-2000s, the TRR8 responds to the growing demand for versatile, high-performance firearms that serve law enforcement and civilian markets.

Chambered in .357 Magnum, the TRR8 is built on Smith & Wesson’s N-frame, known for its durability and ability to handle heavy calibers. One of the defining features of the TRR8 is its eight-shot capacity, which is an increase over the standard six rounds found in most revolvers. This expanded capacity makes it an appealing choice for situations where additional firepower is beneficial.

The TRR8 stands out for its tactical features, including a rail system that allows for attaching accessories such as lights and sights. This adaptability makes it a versatile tool for various scenarios, from home defense to competitive shooting. The revolver also features a performance-tuned action, a precision-crowned barrel, and a lightweight scandium alloy frame, enhancing its performance and ease of use.

Smith & Wesson’s legacy as one of America’s oldest and most respected firearm manufacturers adds to the TRR8’s potential as a collectible. The company’s reputation for quality and innovation is embodied in the TRR8, making it a symbol of modern revolver technology and design.

The combination of tactical features, increased capacity, and Smith & Wesson’s storied history creates a compelling case for the TRR8 as a future collectible. Its place in the evolution of revolvers, particularly in adapting to modern requirements, positions it as a unique and desirable piece for collectors who value tradition and innovation in firearms.

Ruger Wrangler

  • Snapshot: An affordable .22 LR single-action revolver, the Wrangler is Ruger’s answer to modern cowboy action shooting.
  • Potential Collectability: ★★★☆☆
  • Why: Its approachable price point and classic single-action design could make it a popular choice for enthusiasts in the years to come.

The Ruger Wrangler, introduced in 2019, is a modern interpretation of the classic single-action revolver. It harks back to the iconic cowboy revolvers of the Old West, yet is designed with contemporary manufacturing techniques and materials to make it both affordable and reliable. The Wrangler fits into Ruger’s extensive lineup of firearms, known for their robust construction and value for money.

Chambered in .22 Long Rifle, the Ruger Wrangler is tailored for affordability and ease of use, making it an excellent choice for novice shooters, casual plinking, and small game hunting. Its design pays homage to the traditional single-action revolvers with features like a loading gate, a transfer bar mechanism for safety, and a fixed sight design reminiscent of 19th-century revolvers.

One of the key attractions of the Wrangler is its price point, which is significantly lower than many other revolvers in its class. This affordability is achieved without compromising on quality, as Ruger has utilized modern manufacturing techniques like precision CNC machining to maintain high durability and performance standards.

The Wrangler’s frame is made from aluminum alloy, offering a lightweight yet sturdy build. It’s available in multiple cerakote finishes, such as black, silver, and burnt bronze, providing a contemporary touch to its classic design. The revolver’s grip is designed to be comfortable and accessible for various hand sizes, making it a versatile choice for various shooters.

The Ruger Wrangler’s blend of historical design, modern manufacturing, and affordability positions it as a potential future collectible. Its appeal lies in its accessibility to a broad audience, nostalgic value, and Ruger’s reputation for quality. For collectors and enthusiasts, the Wrangler offers a slice of the cowboy era with the benefits of modern technology, making it a unique and potentially desirable piece in future firearm collections.

Dan Wesson 715

  • Snapshot: Known for its interchangeable barrels and stellar accuracy, the 715 is a modern revolver with a nod to versatility.
  • Potential Collectability: ★★★★☆
  • Why: Its modular design and Dan Wesson’s niche following might position it as a cherished piece in revolver-centric collections.

The Dan Wesson 715, reintroduced in 2014, is a revolver that carries a legacy of innovation and precision. The original Dan Wesson 715, first introduced in the 1970s, was renowned for its unique feature of interchangeable barrels, allowing shooters to customize the length of the barrel according to their needs. This versatility set the 715 apart in the revolver market and established Dan Wesson as synonymous with innovation and quality.

The modern 715 continues this tradition, maintaining the classic design while incorporating contemporary improvements. It is a heavy-duty revolver, built to handle the powerful .357 Magnum cartridge, and is appreciated for its accuracy and solid construction. The revolver’s design allows for a relatively simple process of changing barrels and shrouds, making it a versatile tool for different shooting disciplines, from hunting to target shooting.

One of the hallmarks of the Dan Wesson 715 is its superior accuracy, attributed to the tensioned barrel system. This system ensures a tight lockup and consistent alignment, contributing to the revolver’s exceptional accuracy. Additionally, the 715 features a robust stainless steel construction, a full-size grip, and adjustable sights, further enhancing its appeal to precision shooters.

Dan Wesson’s commitment to quality and innovation, as evidenced in the 715, contributes to its potential collectability. While perhaps less mainstream than some other famous firearm manufacturers, the brand has cultivated a dedicated following among enthusiasts who value its unique approach to revolver design.

The 715’s modular design, precision, and the niche following of Dan Wesson among revolver enthusiasts position it as a potential collectible item. Collectors often seek firearms that offer something unique, either in historical significance, mechanical innovation, or brand story, and the Dan Wesson 715 checks these boxes with its innovative features and storied past.

Uberti 1873 Cattleman

  • Snapshot: A replica of the Colt 1873, this piece is a tribute to the guns that won the West.
  • Potential Collectability: ★★★☆☆
  • Why: Its historical significance and Uberti’s craftsmanship might make it a favorite for those yearning for a touch of the Old West.

The Uberti 1873 Cattleman is a faithful reproduction of the legendary Colt 1873 Single Action Army (SAA), a revolver that played a pivotal role in the history of the American West. Uberti, an Italian company renowned for its historical replicas, introduced the 1873 Cattleman to cater to enthusiasts and collectors who appreciate the classic design and function of the original Colt SAA, which was famously known as “The Peacemaker.”

The Colt 1873 SAA was initially designed for the U.S. government service revolver trials and quickly became a favorite among cowboys, lawmen, and outlaws in the American Frontier due to its reliability and balanced design. Its adoption by notable historical figures added to its legend and popularity. The Uberti 1873 Cattleman captures the essence of this iconic revolver, replicating its appearance, feel, and function.

Uberti’s attention to detail in the production of the 1873 Cattleman is evident in its accurate aesthetics, from the color case-hardened frame to the blued barrel and cylinder. The revolver is available in several barrel lengths and calibers, including the traditional .45 Colt, allowing shooters to experience a piece of history with modern manufacturing standards.

The historical significance of the Colt 1873 SAA, combined with Uberti’s reputation for high-quality replicas, contributes to the 1873 Cattleman’s potential collectability. For collectors and historical firearms enthusiasts, owning a Uberti 1873 Cattleman is akin to possessing a piece of the Old West but with the reliability and safety of a modern firearm.

Uberti’s commitment to historical accuracy and the enduring appeal of the “Wild West” era positions the 1873 Cattleman as desirable for collectors. Its appeal lies in its functionality as a firearm and its role as a tangible connection to a significant period in American history, making it a potential favorite among those yearning for a touch of the Old West in their collections.

Final Thoughts

In an age dominated by semi-automatics, revolvers represent a blend of history, engineering, and pure shooting pleasure. Predicting which of these wheel guns will become the most coveted collectibles is a mix of art and science as we consider brand legacy, design innovation, and market impact. Potential collectors should adhere to local regulations and handle firearms with utmost care and responsibility.

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