I was visiting a local gun shop recently with my buddy Ted, and while he was looking at some guns, I happened to notice an old Colt Cobra in the case. It looked rough as a corn cob, but I couldn’t believe the price. It was tagged $200.
I couldn’t believe it and asked to see it. It was rough, but looked like it had no mechanical problems. Of course, I never buy without at least trying to bargain, so I told the fellow, “How about $190 out the door?”
After a conference with his manager, he said, “Okay, $190 OTD.”
After we left, Ted said, “When you offered less for that gun, I almost fainted. I would have choked you if you had walked off from that deal. I can’t believe you and your bargaining.”
Well, here it is.
It is rough and looks like someone carried it in a tool box or maybe under the seat of their truck.
It has some scratches on the top of the frame and the aluminum black is worn off in spots, but I can fix that.
It is marked “COBRA” on the barrel, and “.38 Special CTG” under that. The other side of the barrel reads, “”Colts’ PT, Hartford, Conn.”
I cleaned the barrel and took it to the range for a preliminary test to be sure it would shoot. It shot fine, but was shooting to the left.
I think I can fix that.
I started out by taking the grips off and was happy to see that there was no rust on the internals.
This pistol was made for being carried. It has an aluminum frame and the cylinder and barrel are steel. Unloaded, it only weighs 15 ounces.
I actually carried one of these Cobras back when I was a police officer.
This was back in the day when a Patrolman got promoted to Detective and it was said that he was now, “Plain clothes, and snub nosed.”
Mine was my off-duty piece. They were preferred over Smith and Wesson Chief’s Specials because the Chief’s Special was a five shot and the Cobra is a six shot revolver.
I then removed the screw that holds the cylinder in the frame.
It has a very small spring under the screw and a pin that fits into a groove on the cylinder base pin.
You have to be very careful not to lose these small items. It would be tough to find a replacement.
This allowed me to remove the cylinder…
And to clean it up to remove all rust and then cold blue it with some Birchwood Casey Super Blue.
I also cleaned up the short barrel and blued it too.
I then went to work to try to adjust the sights on the piece. Since the sights are “Fixed” it is not easy to make an adjustment. But since the top strap of this pistol is so beat up, I decided to fix it by widening the rear sight to the right.
I placed the pistol in my vice with some leather straps to protect the metal.
I then used a file to remove just a small amount of the right side of the rear sight.
This will make the rear sight wider, but centering the front sight in the rear sight should cause it to point slightly more to the right.
I also lowered the rear sight just slightly, as the pistol was also shooting high.
Since the frame metal is aluminum, it only took a little filing to remove what I think will be enough to help.
I then used some Birchwood Casey Aluminum Black to blacken the rear sight area and also the worn areas on the pistol frame.
It doesn’t look “as good as new,” but it sure looks “better.”
I then reassembled the pistol and gave it a thorough cleaning.
I used some Liquid Gold to clean and oil the stocks, inside and out.
I like to keep the inside of wooden stocks oiled to help prevent splitting of the wood.
Then I put it all back together. Here she is, all cleaned up.
Now to the range to see if it shoots more to point of aim.
I shot from 7 yards. Here’s the original target on the left, and today’s target on the right.
It looks like the group is moved over pretty well.
Just ignore that flier to the left. That was my fault, not the pistol’s fault.
This pistol brings back some fond memories and is a pretty good shooter. I am glad I found it.