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So I picked up a new Colt Cobra yesterday from a LGS. The price was $630 before tax, which wasn't fantastic but is pretty good at this point in time. I suspect that the prices will start to come down as the pipeline gets more filled with stock, but I didn't feel like waiting any longer. As I mentioned in another thread, the first gun they brought out from the back has some cosmetic damage done to the top of the barrel shroud so I rejected it and asked if they could get me another from the back. After looking over the second one, I was satisfied. I did later notice another cosmetic flaw once I got it home. It seems like the tap that they used to cut the barrel threads into the frame made contact with the underside of the top strap so there are some marks just above the forcing cone. A little annoying based on the principle of the thing, but generally not a big deal to me since you can't see it when the cylinder is closed and it didn't affect the function of the revolver.

I've never owned / shot another Colt wheelgun, but I'm definitely not new to revolvers... having owned quite a number of S&Ws and Rugers (and even a Taurus or two, though I don't like to admit to it). Here is my honest opinion about the new Cobras. The fit is pretty good. The finish is a clean bead blast, that seems to not be to a lot of people's liking. Personally, I don't mind it. It doesn't look any worse to me than the brushed stainless of S&W or Ruger... in fact, I kind of prefer it. The gun is covered in sharp edges, though. Basically everything that wasn't cast / MIM with a bevel was just machined to sharp edges and corners and left that way. This might be an issue with "Mexican carry", but a holster would cover it all up. None of the sharp edges seemed to bother me while putting rounds down range this afternoon.

I fired about 200 rounds of various +P ammo through the gun. This isn't usually fun in a small revolver so it did get kind of tiring after a bit. The biggest issue that I ran into is the same thing that I see with rubber grips on all revolvers... the tackiness rips a small section of skin off the inside of my strong-side thumb near the knuckle. I don't know if it's just the way my hand is shaped, but this happens all the time. It happens a lot faster with magnum guns, but it still happens with a good quantity of +P. As far as the recoil is concerned otherwise, it's not bad for a gun of this size... better than the Airweight J-frames I'm used to.

The sights are a mixed bag for me. I like the FO front sight, and it's reasonably easy to pick up quickly. That being said, it's short and kind of wide... combined with the narrow and shallow rear trench sight, I found that accuracy isn't really precise unless you slow way down. There isn't much daylight at all between the front post and the rear notch. Sights tend to fall into one of two camps... either they are fast or they are accurate. Beyond about 7 yards, I found the sights on the Cobra to be neither super fast nor particular accurate. However, considering the role that a 2" small framed .38special snub usually fills, I think it works well enough for rapid, medium / short range sight acquisition.

The trigger is another paradox for me. The double action pull is smooth and way lighter than the ridiculous 15# DA pulls coming out of the S&W factory these days. The single action is short and crisp and very much like a good S&W SA trigger pull. I know people claim that there is no stacking, but this trigger definitely stacks a little toward the end of the pull. Having detail-stripped the pistol, I think it has more to do with the geometry of the parts rather than the bent leaf mainspring. Regardless, the DA pull is one of the best factory revolver pulls out there, IMO... easily as good as a Kimber K6s or Ruger LCR. Now for the downside... the physical trigger itself leaves a little something to be desired. While I appreciate the lack of serrations, the trigger face is extremely narrow. Furthermore, the edges are very squared off (not sharp, though). After pulling the double action trigger on this gun a couple hundred times, I can tell you that it start to make my trigger finger very sore. I wish the trigger face was wider or there was more of a gradual curve to the sides or both.

Accuracy was respectable, but some loads seem to print a little high for me. It just might be that I need to spend some more time practicing with this trigger. Oddly enough, I was getting better accuracy with DA than I was with SA. I'm not sure if that was me or the gun, but I have to guess the former. The cylinder release latch did have some sharper corners compared to Colts I've handled from decades ago. I guess that machining "progress" for you. Empties dropped freely most of the time until the gun started getting dirty... and even then, they didn't stick too badly. I do wish the ejector rod was longer since it's too short to clear the cases from the cylinder. Actually, I wouldn't mind this same gun with a 3" barrel and higher profile adjustable sights, but then it would be something completely different.

The inside of the gun is filled with MIM parts. If that bothers you, I suggest that you pick another gun (or at least leave the side plate on). Most of the parts all have date codes stamped into their MIM molds, which is interesting. My 40-something year old eyes would need a magnifying glass to read them, but considering the gun is brand new, I suspect the parts were made fairly recently. Speaking of the side plate... the two screws holding it on were frighteningly loose... they weren't tightened down at all... I would be concerned that they would have started to walk after another trip or two to the range. The screw holding in the crane, however, was tight as was the one holding the Hogue grip in place. If they start backing out, I might try a tiny dab of blue threadlocker; but I didn't use any this time around. After detail stripping and cleaning / inspecting the gun, it basically looks as good (or better) than it did when I first brought it home, even after a couple of hundred rounds. The trigger might have smoothed out a little bit more, and I used dedicated gun grease on the internals so they are smooth.

Anyone who is complaining that "they don't make them like they used to"... I agree with you. However, how they "used to make them" wasn't always as rosy as people remember. I've had my fair share of S&W wheelguns from back in the day when hand-fitting was the process... and the reality is that all that hand-fitting made it impossible to just swap parts. For example, I replaced the 7-shot cylinder on a 686+ with a 6-shot one so I could use the gun for IDPA as well as ICORE... it was a relatively easy process with just some minor fitting to a new hand in order to get the timing right. Trying that on an older revolver and good luck... try to take a close up look at the extractor stars on a wheel gun from the '60s or '70s and see what they look like -- kind of chopped up. So yeah, I do long for the days of beautifully hand polished and blued revolvers. However, to claim that today's guns are "junk" by comparison is just flat out wrong. They aren't "worse" per se... they are just different. The things that were great about the old ones are not so great on the new ones, and vice versa. Either way, it's hard to deny that guns have gotten more reliable over the past 2 or 3 decades, as well.

$700 MSRP is kind of steep. However, it's not *that* out of line, IMO. It's less MSRP than a K-frame or L-frame -- and S&W's quality control has been spiraling the toilet for the past few years to the point where I won't even buy another one. These guns are definitely less roughly finished than Ruger wheelguns. Plus there isn't a stupid lawyer lock or a bunch of "don't shoot yourself" disclaimers engraved all over the gun either.

Overall, I'm happy with the purchase. I'm also anxious to see where Colt goes from here. Hopefully they don't just make a whole lot of different variations of the D-frame... I want to see legit examples of other new wheelguns from them. If they DO decide to release a Python, though... I fully expect the haters to come out in full force. However, most of those same people who will talk smack about a new Python almost certainly never owned, shot, or even handled one of the older ones. They were no doubt great guns. However, they have a holy grail mythos that has developed around them that would likely be impossible to match in reality unless Colt hires some extremely talented gunsmiths and then the guns would cost about what the original Pythons are currently selling for on gunbroker anyway.

I hope this posts helps anyone who is on the fence about buying a new Cobra.
 

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Tacticalreload,

That was a great review! I decided months ago to get one and still waiting for them to get to my LGS.

One thing everyone talks about are MIM parts. I like forged and machined steel, but today, MIM parts are a lot more common than most folks know. If parts are designed correctly, they are fine! Matter of fact, they save money and still will last. All steel is melted and extruded to make rods, sheets, tubing, etc. MIM parts are just cast rather than heavily machined. The tolerances can be held be held very close. If you don't like MIM parts, don't buy the new Colt Revolver!

In addition, you may want to consider getting rid of your Ruger rifles and handguns......a LOT of MIM parts there. The Recievers of most bolt action Rugers are a MIM part. Also, if you own a BMW, you might want to consider getting another auto as they are full of MIM parts and just plain sand cast parts that are machined.
 

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Great review and thanks. Also, welcome. I've still waiting. My local shooting range has one for rent and I am going to go in and try it one day soon. Thanks.
 

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Good review - thanks. I agree with you about the trigger. It needs to be wider, or have a different curve to it, more like the original D-frame guns. I was tired of mine after about 50 rounds. Then again, used for its intended purpose, it won't be a problem.
 

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Wecome to the forum. I also liked your review of the new Cobra.

The only thing I would add is that $630.00 retail is about as good a price as you're going to find for this gun, new. I don't think it's a matter of low supply.
 

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A nice, hands on review. As apposed to the preponderance of online reviews based on pictures.

I'm still planning on getting one, or may wait a while and see if they offer a longer barrel version, or a polished version. Colt would be VERY smart to do both, and double or triple their sales.
 

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Great review and it was the major influence in me getting one from Santa Claus. I paid $650.00 form the Local PX. Any word where I can run down after-market front sights?

Than.
 

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Nice review... and I concur with what you said. I handled a new cobra last summer,,, and thought about buying it... but the last thing I need is another 38. I called Colt and requested they make a 4" , (bring back the Viper name), in 9mm and 327FM. I was told they were looking into other colors and calibers. The MIM is not the same as the older parts... but ok. You can hear the difference. Actually Colt was the first to do a version of MIM in the 70's with the Lawman series. Sintered metal that was case hardened. You couldn't "polish" the parts or you would get into the softer metal and the parts would wear prematurely. Didn't matter because those parts were pretty smooth from the start. Also, IIRC,,, Colt was the first to use the transfer bar safety found on so many revolvers,,, and some lever rifles... today.The new Cobra seems to be a good gun. I just hope Colt didn't enter the market too late,,, and that they aren't expecting the brand name to do the selling for them. Colt made alot of marketing mistakes over the last 100+ years. Being the owner of a Diamondback, Python, and Anaconda... I don't know if I could handle a "new" version of those with MIM parts,,, and doubt you cold get the same smoothness. Then again,,, it might jack the prices of the old guns even more. I remember 10-15 years ago at gun shows... you could pick up "minty" Det Spec's and Cobras for $250-$350. Those days are gone. :(
 
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Speaking of front sight, mine fell off!
This goes back to initial review that the screws are/can be loose.
Recommend any current owners check the set screw on the sight.
 

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Use Locktite Blue on the set screw threads and you should have no problems.
 

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Very nice review. I have personally, after much soul searching, come to terms with the MIM parts issue. I have several S&Ws with MIM parts, and have shot them extensively, and have come to accept them. What I will never come to accept is the S&W "Internal Lock". At least that is one thing that the new "Cobra" doesn't have. My main beef with the "Cobra" is that it is really a "Detective Special". Now if they make a lightweight alloy framed version, that would be a "Cobra".

Just my two cents worth. Guess I'm old and cranky.
 

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No matter the name, it has a good solid feel in the hand. I like mine a lot. I was never a fan of fiber optic sights but these do light up.

E92BBE75-43BC-41EB-918A-F865AF043958.jpeg
 

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Have read numerous reviews, some good, some bad, I appreciate yours. I personally will continue to collect the older Colt wheel guns and leave this new Cobra alone.
 
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