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Will Colt fix a 1972 Cobra? I can use all the help I can get

1802 Views 17 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  JudgeColt
I've just acquired a lemon of a Cobra. Locking latch is weak, threads for the crane bolt are are iffy, and the cylinder star and arm aren't allowing rotation. Other than that the thing is in pretty decent shape. Would Colt fix something like this? Or is this Cobra past its shelf life? Like the revolver. Would like it better if it worked.
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the only way to know for sure is to call them, tell them what you have and explain the problems.
then you'll know if they can or will try to fix it. :cool:
I have been trying to figure out just what is wrong with your Cobra, but cannot understand the parts you mention.

I assume "locking latch" is the cylinder latch, but how is it "weak?" Do you mean the spring that returns the latch to the closed position does not have enough strength to force the latch into the closed position? If so, it may just be "gummy," or the spring is kinked, both easy fixes.

What is the "crane bolt?" Do you mean the screw in the frame on the right side of the frame that has the spring-loaded button in it that retains the shaft of the crane? What do you mean by "weak" threads? Are the threads stripped? Cross-threaded? Gummy?

What is the "cylinder star?" Do you mean the ratchet/ejector at the back of the cylinder?

What is the "arm?" Do you mean the hand that engages the ratchet at the back of the cylinder to rotate the cylinder?

If I have correctly guessed the parts involved, I would just about guess the problem is a very gummy cylinder center axle, and/or a broken or misplaced hand spring. I have no idea about the "iffy" threads on the "crane bolt."

Before sending the gun to Colt, you should better-describe the parts involved and let us try to diagnose it for you. I will almost bet it is an easy fix.

(Apologies to anyone offended by my "delivery.")​
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Thanks Judge for the lesson. Yes, the "locking latch" is the cylinder latch. And yes it was gummed up, and now is working freely.

The "crane bolt" is the screw on the right side of the frame. It will not thread down all the way to let the spring loaded button lock down the shaft of the crane. Can this be fixed with a longer/stronger spring?

And as far as the "star" and "arm" are concerned, you have called that right.

The problem is the gun locks up. The cylinder will not rotate by hammer or trigger pull. Don't know the correct term. Just know it does not work.

Thanks for the help so far. I know way more now then when I started.
I'm no expert, but it seems to me that the cylinder not turning and the crane locking screw not going all the way in are related issues. Are you sure the crane rod is seated far enough in the frame for the crane locking screw to seat in the cutout of the rod?

Just a guess!
Here is a diagram. Are all three pieces there? Crane locking screw, spring, and detent?


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I can't speak for Colt, but a couple of years ago I was foolish enough to take one of my Cobras apart. After all, I had been taking down and reassembling automatics for many years. Big mistake. Even with the Kornhausen manual, it was like trying to put a Swiss watch back together, at least for me. Brought it to Hartford and they took it, reassembled it, timed and cleaned it in about two weeks. Cost about $70.00 I think. Give them a call.
I suspect the crane retention screw assembly is assembled incorrectly, preventing the crane from going far enough into the frame, thus causing the lockup problems mentioned. It is also possible that the screw has been cross-threaded, and will no longer screw in far enough to properly secure the crane axle. Try removing the inner parts and try screwing in the shell screw to see if it will go all of the way in when the other parts are not present. Be sure to start it straight, and add some lubricant to the threads.

I do not share the opinion of ope135 that a Colt revolver is complex and difficult to assemble. Especially with the Kuhnhausen manual. However, lets first be sure the crane retention screw is properly assembled and installed before we determine whether something else is at fault.
As long as you are not sending for a refinish ,and if there is no excess wear on the frame ,Colt will probably service it. Give them a call
Okay, I may finally have found the problem with this Cobra. Thanks to all for the help so far. I've straightened out the shell screw, cut a longer spring and fit the detent to the crane axle. Somebody had been in there before me, and messed it up. That's all fixed, and its rock solid.

Now the problem is that the locking lug on the right lower part of the frame will not disengage once it reaches it's full lock up. I can start the cylinder just past the last lock-up, and the trigger and hammer will rotate the cylinder to the next chamber and the lug will drop back into the frame. Once the trigger is pulled and the lug goes into full lock, that's all there is. Now what's the next fix?
I wonder how the shell screw got crushed? No matter, now that you have straightened it, the plunger can go up inside the shell screw as it is supposed to do. So the gun did not need to go back to Colt to fix that problem.

Again, I do not understand the remaining issue. I assume the "locking lug" is the bolt (which is what drops into the notches on the outside of the cylinder to lock it in place), but I do not understand what it does that is not right. Is the problem that the bolt will not withdraw from the cylinder notch when the gun is fired double-action, so as to lock up the cylinder? Does the bolt withdraw to allow the cylinder to rotate when the hammer is cocked "single action?" Does the trigger return when the trigger is released? How do you "start the cylinder just past the last lock-up?" What does that mean?
The bolt will not withdraw from the notch when fired double-action.

Does the bolt withdraw to allow the cylinder to rotate when the hammer is cocked "single action"?.... No

Does the trigger return when the trigger is released? Yes

Starting the cylinder just past the last lockup? I pop the cylinder out, slide it back in so the bolt is on the meaty part of the cylinder heading for the next notch.
My mom's Commando Special had that problem back in the early '90s. I forget what had to be repaired/replaced to fix it.
With that additional information, it sounds like the bolt actuator may be damaged or broken, or the rebound lever may be damaged or broken. Either problem will prevent the bolt from withdrawing from the cylinder notch, thus locking the cylinder. That can be determined by removing the side plate and looking.

Remove the side plate by removing the screws and strike the bare butt (!) sharply with a hammer handle or the like until the side plate vibrates off. The all-important cam on the rebound lever is on the other side from the visible side so it may not be possible to see if the cam is broken without removing the rebound lever. You do that by removing the main spring (compress the "V" at the wide end enough to lift the main spring out), then shove out the pin at the bottom of the rebound lever, which will free it up. That will also allow a clear view of the bottom end of the bolt actuator.

Let us know what you find.

(Apologies to anyone offended by my "delivery.")
My video on disassembling a Detective Special should help you get it torn apart.

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Call ColtNormally, they will fix any Colt DA revolver as long as it does not have an alloy frameI asked them to refinish a 1981 Colt Agent 38spl with alloy frame and they refused...problem is they won't disassemble the barrel from an alloy frame as it is prone to breaking upon removalThey should fix your CobraBe prepared to wait a while though!
Thanks for the help everyone.

And a special thanks to JudgeColt. Not only did you provide an education in the proper terms, you took the time to explain the cause and the possible fixes. I've had a few of these Colt revolvers apart in the past so I wasn't a complete stranger to disassembly. However, what I did find under that side plate really threw me. Somebody had been in there before me, and decided that wheel bearing grease was the way to solve the problem. Since that didn't work, they just buttoned it all back up and sold it through an auction site, to let the next person deal with it. After locating my tweezers, I set about cleaning and re-lubing. I get it all back together, and it still doesn't work. But everything is now nice and free, so I dig out the magnifying glass. I take a real close look at the locking bolt and spot a slight edge on the outside of the bolt. I grab a file and very very carefully break the edge. A quick wipe and lube and I lock the bolt into the cylinder, pull back on the hammer, and eureka, the cylinder starts rotating. It performs this function six times, then operates correctly in DA also. Locks up like a bank vault, and primer hits are dead nuts center.

So, now I have a Cobra that not only operates correctly, but I also know every piece of it by sight, if not by it's given name.

Colt repair center? "We don't need no stinkin' repair center"
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Call ColtNormally, they will fix any Colt DA revolver as long as it does not have an alloy frame
If Colt will not fix an Agent because it has an alloy frame, then, since a Cobra also has an alloy frame, why would Colt fix a Cobra? (I think sixgunshorty35717 is confusing refinishing with repairing. Colt will not refinish an alloy frame revolver, but I believe it will repair one.)

Our goal here is to fix this Cobra WITHOUT sending it back to Colt. I am sure we can do it. Once Jaymo gets the side plate off, we can proceed with diagnosis.

(Apologies to anyone offended by my "delivery.")
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