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Discussion Starter #1
I have seen a number of Cobras on auction sites listed as "First Issue." They all have the short frame and the grips that wrap under the butt of the gun. What is the long frame Cobra called as I am looking for replacement grips and I would have thought that the long frame would be the first issue?
 

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You have hit on one of my pet peeves. Somewhere, this "issue" business got started. I think it is the Blue Book which is to blame, but I am not sure. Apparently, the "issues" are identified only by whether the ejector rod is shrouded or not, which ignores many more important variations.

In the case of the Detective Special, the first DS had a square butt. That is 1st "issue" to me. The butt changed to round butt in 1933, which is 2nd issue. After WWII, the front sight changed from round to ramped, which is 3rd issue. The butt was then shortened in 1966, which is 4th issue. The ejector rod was then shrouded in 1972, which is 5th issue. The SF-VI is probably 6th issue. The DSII is 7th issue. The Parkerized DS known as the Commando is probably another issue.

The Cobra has fewer "issues," but more than mentioned in the Blue Book. The 1950 Cobra with plastic stocks would be 1st issue. When the stocks changed to wood in the mid 1950s, some would argue that is 2nd issue. I did not attribute a separate issue to the stock material change with the DS so I will not do it with the Cobra. The short frame would be 3rd issue. The shrouded ejector rod would be 4th issue. The matte-finished version called the Agent could be said to be 5th issue.

I am looking for very early 1st issue Cobras (anybody have one to sell?), and I have to constantly weed through all the short frame Cobras erroneously called "1st issue."

In my opinion, this "issue" business is so corrupted that it is useless. We, the patrons of this forum who know better, ought to abandon the use of this messed up "issue" nomenclature. We should just describe what a particular gun is, such as "Long-frame Cobra with plastic stocks," "Short-frame unshrouded DS," or "Post-1972 DS," etc..
 

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I agree, but everyone wants to use the "Issue" designation.

An ORIGINAL Cobra, has the long frame.

As for Detective Special "issues".
If you wanted to get technical, here's how they SHOULD look:
First issue...The original 1927 square butt.

Second issue...The 1933 rounded butt.

Third issue...The early post-WWII guns with the "Coltwood" plastic grips and ramp front sight when Colt first used the "D" frame designation.

Fourth Issue...The early 1950's model with the new style cylinder retention plunger assembly, and the longer ejector rod.

Fifty Issue...The short butt version.

Sixth issue...The 1972 heavy barrel model.

The Sixth and a Half issue...The guns built in the early 1990's from left-over parts.

Seventh issue...The mid-1990's restart of production model.

And of course what do we call the model that had a roll pin holding the firing pin instead of a solid pin?

A simpler proposal: "Waa HAIL, I got me a 1957 Dick Special gat". /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the information re. issue. I guess I have an original Cobra as it has the long frame. I have been looking for a set of the orignal brown plastic stocks for it. I chipped the plastic ones near the bottom and have replaced them with some walnut ones from a DS. Due to the many styles I bought three or four sets of the wrong grips before I lucked on to these.
Two questions, anyone have a suggestion of a source for these plastic grips and would you send it back to Colt for a complete refinish?
The action locks up tight, it just has 20 years of holster wear on it.
 

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In so far as I know, the only place to find "Coltwood" plastic grips is on Ebay.

A refinish depends on whether you want to keep the gun in original condition.

Strictly as a collectible, re-bluing reduces value.
In your case, the gun is a common version, so refinishing will not really be a factor.
 

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Tracker, if your Cobra originally came with plastic stocks, what is its serial number range? Do the plastic stocks have the separate silver metal medallion or is the medallion molded into the stocks?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Serial number is LW 22XX. The grips are a solid brown plastic with the Colt medallion molded into the plastic. To tell the truth they looked a little cheap on the gun, almost like an after thought. Before I started to look for replacements I would have thought they would be rather easy to find.
I am thinking of sending it to Colt for a refinish, but since it was carried for 20 years by an uncle on the job I am hesitant to do so. I shoot it every now and again and it is still very tight.
 
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