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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone,

Newb here. My father gave me a revolver about 5 years ago as my first home defense weapon once I moved out. I didn't really use it much, it just sat in the dresser. I was in the market for an upgraded gun so I figured I'd see what the revolver was worth. I didn't think it was really worth anything. I did some research (Google) and found what looked like the exact same gun on Gunbroker for 800+ dollars so i wanted to confirm what exactly my dad gave me.

The gun from my research appears to be a Colt Cobra .38 Special. It was purchased by my Uncle in 1957. The original receipt and all the original packaging was also in, what looks to be, the original box as well. The receipt clearly says Colt Cobra and links the gun registration number with that purchase. From what my father told me this was the gun he received while in the USMC. He bought it for $74.36. It also says something about his USMC account on the receipt, pretty cool it survived.

Anyways, if anyone could help me understand the History behind this weapon, that would be awesome. My father has also told me that he has another one that looks just like this one but I haven't seen it yet. If I'm leaving anything out you need please let me know.

Thanks for your help!
 

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Yes it is worth decent money. I can't tell if it has holster wear or if it's the light shining off the edges. That will make a difference in value. The box and paperwork add value.

To each their own, but if you sell this for an "upgraded" pistol I'm afraid you will regret it some day. You would be trading a classic gun no longer being made with family provenance for something which probably doesn't have any of those attributes. The cobra is a viable weapon if you are wanting a self defense gun. If you want something different, I'd keep the Cobra, and buy something in addition to it. You can buy used Glocks for under $400.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks kdave21 for your response. I believe that is a bit of holster wear around the edges. I also don't plan on selling it, there's way too much family history behind the gun/guns he has. I was just more curious about the weapon. I'm glad I know what i know now so that I can take the appropriate steps and preserve the weapon. I'll be upgrading anyways and will retire this revolver. Thanks again!
 

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As above, the Colt Fever web site has a section I wrote on the Cobra:

ColtFever

As a short history, Colt introduced the Cobra and a similar aluminum framed gun known as the Agent in the early 1950's.
These were the worlds first aluminum framed revolvers, made of an aluminum alloy Colt called "Coltalloy".
This began the era of companies building guns with the new "space age" alloys.

These were essentially light weight versions of the famed Colt Detective Special, made for people wanting a lighter revolver to carry.
The early models like yours were not built for use with +P ammunition, which didn't exist at the time.
Still, in later years some people practiced with standard .38 Special ammo, then loaded with +P ammo for actual carry.
The gun will not "KA-BOOM" but the higher pressure +P will increase wear on the frame.

You can find the year your Cobra was made by checking the data base here:

Serial Number Data

The Colt "D" frame models like the Detective Special, Cobra, and Agent were famed for their superior quality of fit and finish, and were known for having the best accuracy of any small revolver.
In that day the small Colt's were widely considered to be the Cadillacs of the small revolvers.
 

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I look at your question this way: any american made item pre 1970 is worth something. We no longer make quality blenders, tools, guns, or half what we did in the 1950s. So if it's something that can still be used, it's probably worth more than the comparable item made in China today, that will last about 1.4 years. I commonly "upgrade" my modern crap for antiques.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks again everyone for responding. Based on the serial number search it puts the gun being made in 1956-1957, which makes sense since the receipt shows it was bought in November of 1957. This will be a great add to my new collection that I wish to start. Now i just need to buy something fun and strong to store it. :)
 

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Use it with low pressure loads, but use it. I love Cobras. The family history with yours make it a special gun. No reason to think it needs "restored". Some wax is all you need. Carry it once in a while, legally of course, and enjoy it. Welcome aboard. You'll find lots of great info on Cobras and Detective Specials here.
 
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