While the barrier to entry is certainly high, enterprising companies still get into the revolver business from time to time. Last year it was Kimber with their impressive K6s. This year it’s a more familiar one-time wheelgun maker.

The rampant pony rides again, now stamped to the frame of the resurrected Colt Cobra snubby. This pre-SHOT ad is from Gun World magazine and touts the .38’s trigger and “revised grip structure.” While many said it would never happen, who isn’t glad to see Colt back in the revolver business? And with this, you have to think that a new generation Python can’t be far behind.

[h/t Logan Metesh]

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96 Responses to New From Colt: Cobra .38 Revolver

  1. I like it. Colt still has ways to go to undue the damage they inflicted on themselves but you gotta start somewhere.

      • Saw and handled it at The Great Outdoor Show, this week in Harrisburg PA
        Colt rep said it will be out in March and are already back ordered 16,000
        units. MSRP is $699

        • No it’s frame size is closer to a S&W K-frame. Also it’s a 6 shot .38 like a K-frame. So as far as NIB revolvers go I’d say it’s closer to competing with a new S&W model 64 or 67. I’d guess it’ll cost anywhere from 600 to 750.

        • I wish. Kimber k6 was 899 msrp and have you seen what people are selling them for. Shows the absolute greed of some people IMHO. Our gun store was only able to get two Kimbers. I wonder how long it’s gonna take to get the Colt shipped to the stores.

    • Just take a look at what they want for their SAAs, a gun they’ve produced for 143 years and revise your estimate upwards. Try multiplying by three. I’d certainly love to have a Colt SAA in my cabinet, but I’ve settled for the far less expensive clones.

      • If they price it that way, they might as well not even tool up. Very few are gonna pay 1911 money for a snubbie, especially when 642s can be had for less than half that.

      • On the price question, they haven’t said where the gun will be made, i.e. in what labor market. My guess would be somewhere out of the US, contracted to someone already making revolvers for other brands.

    • Fat chance, $900-$1000 suggested retail if your lucky, there’s no way Colt could build and a premium US made revolver at a cost lower than their least expensive 1911. If Colt had any plan for producing a revolver priced less than $450, the name “Cobra” definitely won’t be on the gun.

    • The reason for the steel frame is the +P rating.

      When you don’t have a steel frame, you have more possibility of the frame stretching with high pressure rounds. Once the frame (esp. the top strap) has stretched, there’s nothing you can do about it.

      • The illogic of marketing people is inscrutable to engineers, and at times seems even moreso to gunsmiths. Don’t ask me to explain this

        If I were naming it, and I were being told to re-use a previous Colt name, I would have called it the “New Detective Special.”

  2. Good to see something that’s not another plastic striker fired 9. Also good to see maybe colt finally learned their lesson about abandoning the customers who made their name in the first place.

    • I can’ t resist:
      Let none of us ever forget – the Colt All American 2000.
      Personally, I will never let Colt live that one down.

      • Yeah, I bought one of the All Americans. The trigger reminded me of those ‘Star Trek’ toy guns that shot little plastic disks. I was truly disappointed. BUT, if these have a decent trigger I may just have to try one.

      • You do have to admit it takes an extraordinary company to screw up a Stoner designed pistol in addition to screwing up a CZ-75 based design. Though it’s nice to see it only took them a decade to clue into the explosion in CCW permits across the country.

      • Bought one, regretted it and send it in for the recall service. Held onto it for 15 years and sold it for twice what I paid for it. Told the guy about the trigger pull, reset and other issues, but he just had to have a Colt!

  3. I like the idea of this. Hope the reality holds up under scrutiny. And I agree, a new Python would be the knees of the bees, as the cool kids say.

  4. Well as long as Colt doesn’t put some silly lock-hole in the side of the frame they may get some of the money I’ve been withholding from S&W while hoping they’d delete their ILS eyesore.

    Good on Colt for finally being more responsive to the American consumer rather than remaining primarily dependent on government contracts. They’ll stand a lot better chance of digging out of their hole in the private sector since profits from civilian gun sales far exceed any government contract.

  5. A: Python is coming.
    B: It will have sub-par workmanship and likely reliability issues in order to get it to a price point as many Walking Dead fans as possible can afford before that fad completely fizzles out.

    • We don’t know that yet.

      There have been advances in manufacturing technology, like the way Ruger much improved the Mini-14 without making its price obscene…

      • Well, do you believe they are going to make old Python quality guns for the $4K – $6K likely required or a new S&W quality weapon with a few hundred dollar premium added for the Colt and Python names? Maybe somebody like Dyspeptic could chime in about the about the likely price of a new ‘real’ Python in case my guess is off. CNC machines alone don’t seem to be producing fine guns yet.

        • In stainless? I don’t see why not. Most of the work was in the finish anyway. Doesn’t answer the question as to why anyone would ever desire a non Royal Blue Python though.

        • “Well, do you believe they are going to make old Python quality guns…”

          Defiantly not in terms of finish quality. That takes serious human hours.

          On the internals, advances like EDM being applied to trigger sears can absolutely improve the ‘feel’ of the trigger. Or Colt may elect to use the roller-cam mech in the Ruger LCR, for example.

          We’ll have to wait and see how it turns out, but yes, they can get most of the way there with modern practices…

        • I don’t know how much extra it would cost but for a top notch gun at least the fire control components could all be done on an edm wire machine. That is how timney and many others make their triggers and the finish is so fine and tolerances so tight no final polishing is needed. It is also a slower process though which will add cost but I don’t know how much.

        • For me the fit and finish of a gun like a Python is as important as the trigger. Most people, on gun blogs anyway, seem to think it is stupid to spend more than a little bit more than the price of a just utilitarian gun to get a nice fit and finish. The 1911 market seems to be the exception. I am astonished to the see the multitude of $3k+ guns out there and how many sell. My local store has sold scores of Wilsons and Nighthawks. As far as I can tell, they have only sold one Nighthawk Korth revolver though. Even the the store co-owner who wears a Wilson looked at me like I was quite radical for ordering that revolver.

        • I’ve said before here at TTAG that I reckon that a new production Python in Royal Blue can’t be done for less than $2500 and be profitable.

          NB, when I say a “Royal Blue” finish, I mean the real deal. I mean that the gun was hand-polished on leather-faced polishing wheels by skilled hands. I mean the Royal Blue finish that causes awe and admiration among those of us who know what it means to polish and finish a piece of steel. I mean the Royal Blue finish from well before the strike years at Colt, when things started going downhill at a 45 degree angle with rocket assist from the UAW.

        • I thought I might be guessing high, and probably did so partly for dramatic effect, but Dyspeptic’s estimate of $2,500 really surprises me. I was guessing based on what the nicest finished 1911s go for. I suppose a revolver requires less labor than those then. I was also assuming that Colt wouldn’t have any skilled smiths anymore and would have to pay lavishly to train them.

    • I agree that the Python is coming–but it must have teething problems. It is one of only two Colts on the California Roster, and has been there for almost a year. Yet I haven’t heard a whisper about it.

    • I’ve shot a couple of pythons in my short time on this earth, and the revolvers are…..okay (I know, blasphemy). You can get a solid work horse revolver in for about $700, like the Ruger GP100 and S&W 686. Seems to me that the only thing really keeping the Python gun-boner stiff is nostalgia.

      • The lock-up on a Python is better than the Ruger/S&W revolvers, and the finish on the Royal Blue Pythons was the pinnacle of the American gun industry – including the highly finished Winchesters of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

        That said, if you’re seeking a revolver to launch bullets in a safe & workmanlike manner, a S&W or Ruger will work just fine. The Python’s rep before goofball TV shows making it a household word was very already quite high, but the demand for Pythons in the used market tended to keep the price under $2K.

        The TV show exposure just got a whole lot of people interested in a gun they’d likely never heard of in the day and age of injection-molded burnt cheez-whiz, and as a result, the price for a used, merely good condition Python is over $2500 in many cases. NIB Pythons of NOS, late 70’s/early 80’s vintage (when the finish started to decline) are over $3500, sometimes as high as $4K.

  6. Had to check the calendar and make sure I hadn’t somehow missed January, February and March. Good news, but personally I’ll wait for a .357.

  7. Whoa there, hold up, just wait one second.

    Is Colt finally listening to the market???

    Did they just come out with something (kinda, sorta) new???

    I haven’t been able to say this in some time, but as of this moment, I am flabbergasted.

  8. This will all depend on how they are built and the price point. Hopefully QC is at the TOP of their list because they might not get a second chance. If they butcher the Python name they may never be forgiven.

    • That’s my first question. This gun appears to rotate into the window, so there’s a chance it might. My next question is “does it have the original Cobra lockwork?”

      ie, does it have the classic Colt single-spring + rebound lever action in there? That’s where the money and time come into adjusting a Colt for bank-vault lockup. It’s also where the problems start if someone screws around with it, or mistreats it.

      I’ll NB that they’ve taken the least offensive way out of actually finishing the gun: a bead-blasted finish on stainless steel, much like the Kimber K6.

      • So DP, how good a polish do you think could be achieved mechanically? Something like a multi axis CNC machine or water jet, but for polishing.

        • If we’re talking of just the large, open surfaces of metal, you can achieve whatever you want. You could give the steel a mirror-like finish with automated methods.

          But that’s not the trick in polishing on firearms

          No, the trick in polishing on firearms is to achieve a high level of polish on one surface, and then on a mating surface, and not scrub out the boundary line.

          Let’s just take the cylinder of a revolver. You want the outside diameter profile of the cylinder polished to a very high level, and you want the cylinder flutes polished likewise.

          You want that scalloped cut edge between these two profiles to remain crisp, and not washed out from polishing.

          Now you probably need to get into some custom rubber-bonded abrasive tools to get the results you want. You’ll be needing to create special fixtures and jigs so you can hold the workpiece in such a way that you can cover as much of the surfaces as possible with one setup, so you get as few transitional marks as possible.

          Let’s say you have all the tooling and fixturing ready to go for a revolver. The polishing, even on a CNC machine, probably takes longer than it took to machine it to final dimension with cutting tools.

          If gun makers could outfit a CNC machine with all of this stuff and achieve a good finish without having to use skilled hands with specialized equipment, they would have done so, or at least tried. They tried in long guns – they used automatic barrel spinners and polishing paper on belts to polish rifle and shotgun barrels. Every time I chuck up a recent rifle barrel in my lathe, center it on the bore and then drop an indicator onto the outside, I’m gob-smacked at how out-of-round the barrels are on the outside; Savages are better than most at 0.004″ out-of-round. A recent Rem700 (in satin stainless steel) was 0.018″ out of concentric with the bore.

        • One other point of interest:

          Look at the Kimber K6. It has a nice polishing job on a stainless gun. It isn’t one of those “satin” finish duck-n-run sort of jobs. It is polished.

          How did they get the price down under $1K with polishing? Look at the exterior profiles of the K6: slab side, slab side, slab, slab, slab. Lots and lots of flat surfaces – which makes it much easier to polish with a machine.

  9. Happy days are here again. A new Ruger .44 special and a new .357 8 shot Redhawk. That fancy new Kimber .357. An L frame Smith in .44 magnum and .357. And now a new Colt. Things aren’t so bad in revolver land. And, of course, we’ll all b@#ch that it costs more than a Glock.

    • If it doesn’t cost more than a injection-molded hunk of burnt Cheez-whiz, I’m going to be asking “Why?” with a highly skeptical attitude.

    • Wait a minute…..the ad says “steel” frame.

      It should be availabel as a 357, then.

      Colt stumbling out of the gate.

      So sad….

      • If you’re seeking to make a lighter weight CCW piece, going from the pressures of a .38 Special, even in +P, to a .357 Magnum, will require the addition of significant amounts of steel to the cylinder walls, the barrel and the topstrap of the frame.

        In a CCW piece with a 2″ barrel, you’re not going to pick up that much velocity by going to a .357. To gain the real advantage of the .357, you need room to allow all that powder to burn, and 2″ ain’t much room. I reckon that you really don’t see the advantage of a .357 over a .38 +P until you’re using at least a 3 to 4″ barrel, esp. the latter. By the time you’re up to a 4″ barrel, now you finally see the .357 pull away from the .38 +P and there’s no way the .38 will ever catch up with only +P levels of loading.

  10. Well, it looks like I probably won’t make it through 2017 without buying a new gun after all. I thought the idea of Colt resurrecting the Detective Special was a pipe dream. Now they have gone and done it. They can call it whatever name they want, but it’s a DS in my book.

    Just take my money.

    • Prediction time: it’s going to come out at $200 more than any gun in its category (“but it says Colt!”), get recalled several times, colt will apologize, and people will still rave about it because it has a horse stamped on the frame.

  11. Soon the old vs. new debates will heat up. Intergenerational warfare is coming! Blood in the streets! /;-D

    I personally would not have named it after an existing old and discontinued model, especially an aluminum-framed one (since this new one is steel)… but WTH, they’ll probably make a ton of money off of them.

  12. I just hope Colt rounds off all the sharp edges! The DSII had so many sharp edges and particularly the trigger that firing it usually resulted in a bloody trigger finger.

  13. I’m sure it will be at least on par with similar offering from S&W, price wise. Perhaps even more as they do seem to have a *Colt following*.

  14. Everybody has the list of guns they regret letting get away. At the top of my list was my dick special. When the iron curtain was still up I got a Tokarev as a back up piece for my issue m16. It was a bitch to get ammo for and I traded it for a nib colt dicks special.

    I still regret letting that Colt go. I’ll with hold judgement on this new offer til I have a chance to handle one.

  15. My guess is that this will be a resurrected SF-VI or DS-II action. Those guns were engineered to be cheaper and easier to make than a classic D frame.

    • You may be right. All the old D frame pictures I can find show the screw above the trigger further back on the frame. The position of the screw on this new Cobra looks about the same as the DS-II. Note the different barrel profile though. The barrel is thicker right in front of the frame and then slims out, which is more like the early Detective Specials and Cobras than the DS-II. It may be a hybrid of features from different generations.

  16. I can’t believe that Colt is calling their new all steel revolver a Cobra. I hope that the cylinder still turns clockwise.

  17. Colt abandoned it’s people base in favor of the Gov big bucks, now because of it’s low quality control and shabby output for the Gov it lost contracts! now it wants to get into our pockets to bail themselves out! With their lack of respect fore people customers and with third world manufacturing, politely GFYS !

  18. If they manage to keep the price reasonable $400-$600 range they might have something special (no-pun intended). besides that, no one is interested in paying $800-$1K for a 38 revolver. To many other great options out there in the market, like ,my 642.

  19. This is definitely Colts last shot at it one more mess up and their done. I never see colt at the range anymore and because of their arrogance they got beat at their own game (1911’s).

  20. I’m on board.

    Give it a 3″ or 4″ barrel, and I’m REALLY on board.

    Bring back the Police Positive and the Official Police!

  21. It will have to be pretty nice to be better than the Kimber….which is doubtful in light of Colt’s recent performance, but I’m sure people (myself included) will buy one anyway. Which is what they’re banking on.

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