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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello this is my first post I have 6 colt hand guns and my question is on a colt cobra. It has a serial number of 209xx. LWIt appears to have the correct plastic grips with the colt medallions. The backstrap is finished rough is this normal on these alloy frames?Not sure how to download pics
 

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That is what I figured it is in very good shape except the back strap just do not know why or how it happened. The rough pattern goes from grip panel to grip panel. Probably kills the value of the old 4" cobra.What did they use to put the black on the alloy frames. Paint or?
 

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From the serial number, your Cobra should date to 1953. From 1947-54 or so, Colt used what was called the "dual-tone" finish. The dual-tone finish featured polished sides with the top, bottom, cylinder flutes and backstrap done in a matte finish. I don't know if this is what you mean by the "rough" finish on the backstrap. If it is, then your gun is correct.

Also during this same time period Colt used plastic grips which were referred to as Coltwood. The grips you describe would also be correct for that time period.

Posting some pictures will certainly help you get more info. Here is a link to a photo thread on Cobras where you can find guns of similar vintage for comparison:

http://www.coltforum.com/forums/photos-area/36832-colt-cobra-photo-thread.html
 

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A five numeral/digit serial number beginning with 20,200 plus the LW suffix is from 1953. The Cobra serial number range for 1953 was from 20200 LW - 26149 LW.

I don't know if I'd describe the finish on the grip backstrap as rough but it is quite textured and contrasts against standard bluing. It was advertised as making the guns more glare proof but it was primarily done as a labor and cost saving measure. It would only have to have been done along the top of the barrel, front sight, and rear sight plane on top of the frame if it had been done to reduce sighting glare. Areas that were left matte were the frame top strap, front grip strap, back grip strap, front of the frame under the barrel, the outside of the trigger guard and the cylinder flutes. These areas weren't polished as highly as the rest of the revolver's finish. This gave those rougher polished surfaces a matte contrast to the standard more highly polished frame and barrel surfaces. Colt called this treatment Dual Tone. All Colt revolvers from 1947-1954 had this treatment. This includes guns that were blue and nickel, all steel, or with aluminum frames. They all came with plastic grips Colt called Coltwood.

Starting in 1955, Colt reverted back to walnut checkered stocks with silver colored Colt medallions (excepting the gold medalliions of the newly introduced Python model) and all guns starting in 1955 had a uniform blue or nickel finish with no matte areas.

Just so you know, Dfariswheel is a founding member and a well respected Colt Forum member. He's one of the gents that taught me. I think he misread the serial number you provided. He has forgotten more about Colts than I will ever know.
If I misread it, I apologize.

Welcome to the Colt Forum :cool:
 

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Mike, I know what you mean, I'm being "attacked" by a Doberman puppy as I type this.

DDave, here is a picture I dug up of one of my guns from the same time frame, also a 4 inch Cobra. It shows what we mean by the "matte" finish:

 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Wish I knew how to put a picture up but mine is rougher than that. I really appreciate all your responses I just have to figure out what to do with this gun. I bought it to collect but don't think there will be any value to a gun like this. The gun is perfect except for the back strap.
 

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Mike, I know what you mean, I'm being "attacked" by a Doberman puppy as I type this.

DDave, here is a picture I dug up of one of my guns from the same time frame, also a 4 inch Cobra. It shows what we mean by the "matte" finish:

Great news about the Dobermann puppy!

Nothing in the world as great as a puppy or dog.
 

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That backstrap hasn't been fooled with. It's anodized aluminum finish is worn. It appears a bit rougher than most, however all gun surfaces were hand prepped at that time and you can see variations between different polishers working on the factory floor.
Before the introduction of the D frame snubby heavy barrel, shrouded ejector rod, and low ramp front sight in 1972, you can find variations in angles of the semi ramped front sight. The heights and widths of the sight should be consistant, though.
 

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Sorry mis-eyed the serial number.
As the guys above said, the finish back then was the Colt Duo-Tone.
The back strap would have an almost parkerized looking matte black finish, with the sides of the frame bright polished.

The finish used on aluminum guns was anodizing, a method of giving bare aluminum a hard, colored coating. This is not a painted type finish.
 
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