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Rasselin welcome to the Forum. We are glad to have you. Enjoy your new revolver and shoot it as often as you can.
Here is a Cobra from 1970 with the shorter grip frame.

Agent from 1961
Bought both of these in Ohio at the Ohio Gun Collector Show
 

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Discussion Starter #22
"Issue" alarm! "Issue" alarm! A newby (welcome to the Forum Rasselin!) has been misled into the "issue" issue, and some of you, who should know better, have helped Rasselin along too. I shall post the standard "issue extinguisher" response used when an issue alarm goes off to try to save another soul from being an issue for misuse of terms. Take notes this time class!

The Cobra has a much shorter history than the Detective Special because it did not exist until Post-War. The Cobra was first cataloged in the September 1950 catalog as an alloy-frame version of the Post-War Detective Special, already in its Third Generation by that time. (The “Lightweight Detective Special,” an alloy-frame Detective Special, and a favorite of the Great Pumpkin [irrelevant information Rasselin - sorry], was the VERY brief predecessor of the Cobra.) These early Cobras had the “Dual Tone” finish and plastic stocks. I would call these guns "First Generation." The plastic stocks were changed to wood in the mid-1950s, and the “Dual Tone” finish was dropped. I do not consider the stock material or finish change as another generation, but some might. In 1966, the butt frame was shortened, which is Second Generation. In 1973, a year after the Detective Special got the shrouded ejector rod, the shrouded barrel was introduced on the Cobra, which I count as Third Generation. The Cobra last appeared in a Colt catalog in 1978, and was absent from the 1979 catalog. (I am ignoring the bastardization of the Cobra name caused by the steel-frame "new" Cobra.)

Because there was mention in passing of the Agent, I will close class with a brief mention of the Agent's history.
The Agent has an even shorter history than the Cobra. The Agent first appeared in the June 1955 catalog in blue only with wood stocks. “Dual Tone” and plastic stocks were gone by the time the Agent was introduced. The Agent is basically a Cobra with a very short butt. In 1966, the butt frame was shortened even more, along with all other D-frame Colts, and the stocks only were extended to restore the apparent butt length to that of the original full-frame Agent. In 1973, one year after the Detective Special got the shrouded ejector rod, the Agent also got the shrouded ejector rod. The blue Agent last appeared in a Colt catalog in 1978, and was absent from the 1979 catalog.

In 1983, Colt introduced a "discount" version of the Cobra with matte finish (the price list identifies the finish as “Park.”) called the Agent. I do not consider it an extension of the original compact Agent because it had the full-length butt frame created by using Cobra/Detective Special regular length stocks overlapping the abbreviated butt frame. This version of the Agent last appeared in a Colt catalog in 1986, and was absent from the 1987 catalog.

Class dismissed, but be ready for a pop quiz soon.
Wow. That was incredibly helpful. It is great to read an authoritative view. I've read articles that called my cobra a first issue cobra. So... I'll go back to square one. I have a second generation colt cobra.

That being said, why is it that when I do a look up in the Colt Database it shows as a 1969 Cobra Agent? I am assuming, based on your commentary, that the shortened butt stock is shared between the cobra and agent in 1966, but then why wouldn't there be a distinctive name on the barrel, either Agent or Cobra? It sounds as if Colt was having an identity crisis between the cobra and the agent.

Thanks again.
 

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Discussion Starter #23
Rasselin welcome to the Forum. We are glad to have you. Enjoy your new revolver and shoot it as often as you can.
Here is a Cobra from 1970 with the shorter grip frame.

Agent from 1961
Bought both of these in Ohio at the Ohio Gun Collector Show
Thank you. Those are beauties. I really like the ivory grips. I may go that way and add a Tyler T Grip. It's too bad the shroud is not an easy add-on accessory. Looks like there needs to be a screw inserted into the frame.
 

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Rasselin, welcome to Coltforum, and congratulations on your acquisition of a really nice Colt Cobra!

"Unfired" is a much overused, and abused term as applied to handguns. I think it is a serious overstatement, as applied to your handgun.

Check out the checkering on the stocks of your revolver, and compare that to the checkering on mentallapse's wooden stocks shown in post no. 21. The checkering on your stocks is no longer sharp, proving that the revolver has been handled a LOT. I think the not-so-sharp points on the stocks proves that the gun has been fired plenty. I cannot tell in the photo, but I bet that if you examine the ejector rod under a magnifying glass, you will see lots of minute wear consistent with pushing the ejector rod many times, ejecting spent cartridge cases from the fine revolver.
 

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That being said, why is it that when I do a look up in the Colt Database it shows as a 1969 Cobra Agent? I am assuming, based on your commentary, that the shortened butt stock is shared between the cobra and agent in 1966, but then why wouldn't there be a distinctive name on the barrel, either Agent or Cobra? It sounds as if Colt was having an identity crisis between the cobra and the agent.
The Colt serial number lookup is intended to offer an approximate year of manufacture only. The Agent and Cobra are numbered in the same serial number block. Therefore, when you search your serial number, the system is not exact enough to "know" whether your gun is an Agent or a Cobra, so it just brings up "Cobra Agent." It just "knows" that serial number probably was made in 1969. (One would think the system could say "Agent or Cobra," but perhaps that is impossible, or too much trouble.)

You are correct that ALL D-frame Colts (Detective Special, Cobra, Agent, Police Positive Special, Commando Special, Viper, Diamondback, etc.) share the abbreviated butt frame from 1966 on. There should be a "distinctive name" name on the barrel of each individual revolver, unless the name has been removed during refinishing, etc..
 

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Discussion Starter #26
The Colt serial number lookup is intended to offer an approximate year of manufacture only. The Agent and Cobra are numbered in the same serial number block. Therefore, when you search your serial number, the system is not exact enough to "know" whether your gun is an Agent or a Cobra, so it just brings up "Cobra Agent." It just "knows" that serial number probably was made in 1969. (One would think the system could say "Agent or Cobra," but perhaps that is impossible, or too much trouble.)

You are correct that ALL D-frame Colts (Detective Special, Cobra, Agent, Police Positive Special, Commando Special, Viper, Diamondback, etc.) share the abbreviated butt frame from 1966 on. There should be a "distinctive name" name on the barrel of each individual revolver, unless the name has been removed during refinishing, etc..
Thanks. That makes complete sense. The database is set up with a certain range of values and responds accordingly. Thank you!
 

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An upside down shoulder holster and a black turtle neck sweater and you are all set. Beautiful, classic, revolver. Shoot it and enjoy it. I have been told to feed a cobra a very restricted diet of +p ( not much to be gained there anyway) and it will last forever.
 
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