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Now the unbelievable has happened. We never thought we would ever see a double-action sixgun from Colt again, and now we not only have a double action, we have a resurrected Snake. The Colt Cobra is back! Perhaps resurrected is the wrong word as the stainless steel Cobra of 2017 bears only superficial resemblance to my 50-year-old nickel-plated original, alloy-framed Cobra.

Instead of just copying the 1950's-era Cobra, Colt began anew, designing a revolver that could be easily assembled instead of taking hours for costly hand fitting. It was this hand fitting that caused the demise of the Colt double action revolver, as they had gotten to the point where it was costing them more to build the gun than they could sell it for. Except for truly custom guns, for the most part all double action revolvers today, no matter the manufacturer, are simply "assembled." CNC machinery is so refined now, labor intensive hand fitting is essentially no longer required.

These double-action revolvers may not come from the factory as smooth as the old classics from the 1950's, however they do work well, and also seem to be getting better all the time. The New Cobra is quite attractive in a 21stcentury way and every bit as eye appealing as its ancestors. The Cobra is now all stainless steel construction, has an enclosed ejector rod, a larger trigger guard allowing easier use wearing gloves, and actually feels smoother and has a much better overall feeling than the Classic Colts.

It has a 4'4-pound SA trigger pull and the smoothness of the double action is attributed by Colt to what they call the Linear Leaf Mainspring. It works, as not only is the single-action pull excellent, the double-action pull is also quite smooth at around eight pounds. To illustrate there really is nothing new under the sun this same basic mainspring is described and pictured by Elmer Keith in his 1955 book, Sixguns.

Shoots 'Easy'

Normally, I don't find 2" .38 Specials very comfortable to shoot in long strings, however I was surprised at how comfortable shooting the Cobra now is. After spending a couple of 3-hour sessions with the Cobra I pronounce it very easy shooting. Two major factors are the 25-ounce weight and especially the new grips. There was a time when all sixguns came fitted with wood grips. Instead of the standard small checkered original grips, we now have very comfortable finger groove rubber Hogue Overmolded stocks that really do a good job reducing felt recoil, without being overly bulky. The sights are also a large improvement, as the square notch rear sight matches up with a red fiber-optic front sight giving a very easy-to-acquire sight picture. The 2" snub guns from the middle of the 20,h century were not rated for +P loads--this new Cobra is.

With its pocket pistol size and short barrel, the Cobra is basically designed for self-defense. With this in mind my test loads were fired at seven yards. Two loads from Black Hills performed exceptionally well. Those being their 100-gr. Honey Badger at 1,060 fps and my favorite .38 Special for several decades now, the Black Hills 125-gr. JHP +P at 870 fps. Its 5/8" 5-shot group proved to be the most accurate load. Buffalo Bore has a very serious looking load which uses a 158-gr. soft-cast, hollowpoint, semi-wadcutter clocking out just under 900 fps and grouping into 1 3/8". It should make for an excellent self-defense load.

Then we have the CCI/Speer 125-gr. Gold Dot JHP, another .38 Special with an excellent reputation for self-defense use. This load clocks out at over 900 fps, with a 1 1/8" group. Hornady's XTP-JHP's also perform well with the 125-gr. load at 735 fps, grouping into 1 1/8". Their 140-gr. bullets and loads at a lucky 111 fps delivered tight 1" groups. Two other excellent shooting 125-gr. JHP loads are the SIG SAUER +P V-Crown at 880 fps with a 1" group and the Winchester Silver-Tip with a velocity of 850 fps and the same accuracy.

For those who prefer 110-gr. JHP's Remington's loads shoots into 1 1/8" at 885 fps, while the Winchester Silver-Tip at the same speed produces a 1" group. I also like to include full wadcutters for use in pocket pistols. Buffalo Bore's 150-gr. WC is an 890 fps load with 1%" accuracy. Hornady's 148-gr. WC does 710 fps and 1 1/4"; while Winchester's 148-gr. WC is about 30 fps slower than the Hornady at 1 1/8" for five shots at 7 yards.

It's easy to see no matter what your preferences for .38 Special self-defense loads might be, the Colt Cobra can handle it. We can only hope the Cobra will be so successful it will lead to other Snakes being resurrected --especially the Python and Anaconda.

For more info: www.americanhandgunner. com/index

Caption: Black Hills 100-gr. Honey Badgers clocked out at over 1,050 fps in the Cobra and shot well. The Cobra seemed to digest everything

Caption: Pictured is Colt's Linear Leaf Mainspring, greatly improving double-action and single-action trigger pulls.
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Title Annotation:THE SIXGUNNER
Author:Taffin, John
Publication:American Handgunner
Date:Nov 26, 2017

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