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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Help Cobra & DS's Red front sight insert and Zebra grips ShotgunNews John Jovino Co

I am trying to get authentication on who made these modifications to Cobras and Detective Specials. I have a Cobra made in 1975 with a red front sight insert and zebra grips. My Colt letter does not indicate any Colt modification and shows this as one of 100 pistols sent to The John Jovino Co in NY in 1975. Researching has lots of information in the forum and on line but little in the way of actual finalization if that is possible. I have seen memory responses that this was a Colt run of pistols, a Colt Custom Shop modification and a modification revolver sold by others, (J&G sales of Montana). I have seen notes that these modified revolvers were offered in the Shot Gun News in the mid 70's. However nothing I have seen has any kind of real authentication, ie: copy of an ad, Colt Letter, etc.I know that there are a number of both Cobras and DS with these modifications. I have not heard anyone say they have a Colt Lettered one, so if you have one, authenticate please. John Jovino was a custom gunsmith in the 1970's and known for modifying revolvers Colts, S&W's and others. I know the History of the John Jovino Co and know that is a dead end for any information, understandable because of FFL changes and that NYC is a "special place"Does anyone have a old Shotgun News from 1975-1976 or ?? with an ad from anyone for Colt Cobras or Detective Specials with a red insert in the front ramp sight, zebra grips. Anyone with a Colt Custom Shop pricer or work order/receipt showing these modifications. Anyone with a Colt Letter showing these modifications. Hopefully enough information will lead to a good understanding of who made these revolvers. Thanks in Advance
 

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I can't specifically tell you who did it, but I can tell that I have one of the Det Specials and the box is marked with a sticker "red ramp front". I did not get it lettered since I have the original box and I don't think it was a custom shop gun. I would guess it was a smaller run of guns made for a few distributors or dealers.
 

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This was brought up numerous times and quite recently. The guns were not Custom Shop guns, but were made specially for certain distributors. One of the distributors mentioned was Cherry's. I think there was a couple more.

Considering your gun letters to Jovino, I would assume they were on of those places who got a shipment of them.

I think they are nice guns. The Zebra grips are neat, and so is the red ramp. Something a little different.

One of the recent threads about this does give a catalog or magazine picture of them for sale. I can't find it now, so maybe I was mistaken. If it did exist, I am sure somebody else will repost it.
 
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Discussion Starter #5
Thats the issue. my picture shows my gun, the Colt Letter I received has no mention of a red ramp sight or grips, just shipping to Jovino as part of a large shipment. So did Jovino (gunsmiths) make the modifications, or did Colt and the letter I have is incorrect?. Did Colt offer the gun with mods and did other gunsmiths do them also?
 

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Cherry's had those made up 'by' Colt.

For some unknown reason, they languished on their shelves a long time before anyone bought them all - they ran full-page ads in the 'Shotgun News' on them and even lowered the price, too.
 

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Thats the issue. my picture shows my gun, the Colt Letter I received has no mention of a red ramp sight or grips, just shipping to Jovino as part of a large shipment. So did Jovino (gunsmiths) make the modifications, or did Colt and the letter I have is incorrect?. Did Colt offer the gun with mods and did other gunsmiths do them also?
Just because the letter doesn't specifically state it has a red ramp front sight doesn't mean its incorrect.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Cherry's had those made up 'by' Colt.

For some unknown reason, they languished on their shelves a long time before anyone bought them all - they ran full-page ads in the 'Shotgun News' on them and even lowered the price, too.
Does anyone have a copy of the ad? or an old Shotgun News. Please post. I asked Cherry's and Kevin Cherry says he does not remember buying or selling DT's and Cobras with these modifications. He indicated he has been involved in his business full time since 1972. I know my own memory from the 1970's has a lot of holes so without an old ad there is still some mystery about these guns.
 

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Andy:

I have a 1977 blued Detective Special with red ramp sight that also lettered to the Jovino gun shop in NYC. My letter does not list the red ramp sight. In my Seven Serpants Books there is a similar generation Cobra pictured in the book with the red ramp sight. The box with sticker indicating red ramp is also pictured in the book. I too have been wondering if Colt did the red ramp on my gun. I can't seem to find out
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Here is what I have so far. There are a number of DS's and Cobra's from the mid 70's with modifications of red sight inserts and Zebra wood grips, so someone made the modifications to a number of guns. There were replys that these were done by Colt (special run) for distributors, but the one mentioned most Cherry's is questioned as I have an email from Kevin Cherry that says he has no memory of these modified guns being bought or sold by Cherry's and he has been full time since 1972. If someone can come up with a Shotgun News ad that shows these guns from Cherry's I could go back to Cherry's to see if that jogs another story. Red Inserts in the sights were not offered by Colt, until the early 80's at least in print and that was through the Custom Shop not production in the early 80's. I spoke to the Colt Historian who said Zebra wood grips were never offered by Colt on production guns and if a gun had a red front sight insert, it would have been noted on the "work order" and "shipping record" then noted on a Letter. I sent her pictures and am waiting to see if she has anything else to offer. According to her, my gun SN M83794 (1975) left the factory as a normal Cobra and part of 100 guns shipped to Jovino's. Jovino's then had full gunsmith services and modified guns, cut down barrels, sights, machine shop work. Jovino's has no one at the store that goes back to the 70's and is of little help. Perhaps someone knows someone at Jovino's who goes back to the mid 70's that can add history. The two box's I have seen with stickers indicating 'Red Sight" are very similar but who applied the sticker? Colt or ??. As both of our guns left the factory (Lettered) without noted red sights and in light of the Colt Historian comments. My thought is the Jovino's bought regular production guns from Colt, modified them and then sold them themselves and perhaps to other distributor as they were a gunsmith/distributor back then and "2 step distribution" was far more prevalent. They would have applied the additional stickers to the box to identify the contents along with their own inventory numbers?????? The guns and box's I have seen so far are from the mid 70's M prefixed. So unless I get more real information (Colt Letter, print ad, info from Colt), based on the Colt Historian's comments (so far) and Keven Cherry's and the guns I have seen. My opinion based on what I have been told, These were not Colt production guns, they were modified after they left the factory probably by the same ship (Jovino's?) as at least two guns have lettered back to them. Some will say anything was possible at Colt but everything so far leads to the one conclusion. They are still real nice guns and production why whomever was limited. Andy
 

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This is all very interesting. I actually reached out to Jovino's about 2 years ago on this very subject. Unfortunately they were no help in fact they were a little rude. Asian guy on the phone told me he is tired of people calling there about old Colts. He claimed that they had no records because the ownership of the shop had changed hands....after that conversation I never pursued it. I became interested in it again when I received my Seven Serpents Book and found pictures of a Colt Cobra with the the red ramp sight along with pics of the box indicating the red ramp. It would be nice to find out the real deal on this.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Just wondering because all the guns I have seen with this modification were M suffix and prefix. 1975-77. Yours also? you said your gun was shipped to Jovino, mine was part of 100 guns shipped to them December 8, 1975. Yours??
 

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Just wondering because all the guns I have seen with this modification were M suffix and prefix. 1975-77. Yours also? you said your gun was shipped to Jovino, mine was part of 100 guns shipped to them December 8, 1975. Yours??
Andy:

Sorry I have not checked the forum for a few days...just reading your latest post ...when I get home from work I will check my serial number on my DS
 

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Andy :

According to my archive letter my DS along with 38 others shipped to John Jovino Company on January 26, 1977. The serial number on my DS ends in a letter "M'. I'm of the opinion that these guns were being kept in stock to most likely be sold to members of the NYPD.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks, another similar example of probably who and when these guns were made. 75-77, shipped to Jovino's, modifications probably made by them, stocked with Jovino's applied label/tags showing their stock number and modification. Your right, Jovino's was a major supplier to the NYPD. Full gunsmith services, and I could see why there was need for a red sight insert on the Colt's. I know how difficult the sight picture is lining up a black ramp, with a black front blade on a black bullseye. No one has yet offered a lettered Colt "red sight" or a copy of the 76-77 Shotgun News. Andy
 

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Jovino, did and may still offer gunsmith services...I recently saw a Smith & Wesson 686 snub that had been modified by the Jovino gunshop being sold on GB. According to the seller the Jovino gun shop had done a special run of these with the blessing of S&W.
 
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