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Cobra derringers (almost afraid to ask)

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Guvnor, Dec 3, 2012.

  1. Guvnor

    Guvnor Member

    Feb 7, 2009
    I hope i don't get flamed into oblivion for asking this, lol. Does anyone have any first hand experience with the Cobra (formally Davis) derringers? Not expecting an heirloom piece of course , but would they be suitable as a tackle box gun, or snake gun, etc.? Something stashed away and kept at the ready but but rarely fired.

    Are they total crap or can they fill this niche reliably? The price is right and apparently a lifetime warranty. But don't want to take the plunge without some feedback first.
  2. 40 rod

    40 rod New Member

    Aug 14, 2012
    Don't sound like a good idea to me . Even if its not a POS small guns like that are best carried on person or under lock. The best snake medicine is any green stick that is handy, longer than the snake of course. IIRC the cobra is a .45/410 even with the .410 Id prefer the stick for snakes.
  3. KenW.

    KenW. Participating Member

    Nov 30, 2003
    Out West
    I had one in .38 Special. I didn't go out and intentionally purchase it; it was thrown in to sweeten a trade. I eventually traded it for a Davis derringer in .22 mag that suited me better.

    It fired alright, accurrate to minute-of-gambler across a card table.

    The .38 won't accept the CCI snakeshot loads. That's why I went and bought a Bond Derringer in .410/.45 Colt a short while later.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2012
  4. gp911

    gp911 Participating Member

    Oct 30, 2005
    My brother has one in .22wmr that he likes and finds to be accurate. I've read that firing pins can go south after a couple thousand rounds, and given the size and lousy trigger pull I'd lean toward a .38spl snub myself.
  5. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Senior Elder

    Nov 25, 2006
    Northeast PA, USA
    I have one in .38 Special and except for the very heavy trigger it's not all that bad. If you try hard it is accurate and loaded with snakeshot it would be a fairly good emergency snake gun if that's what you like.

  6. gazpacho

    gazpacho Participating Member

    May 28, 2004
    The thing about this style of derringer is that the trigger isn't actually that heavy. You just need to pull down on the trigger instead if back. This may sound silly, but if you ever get your hands on one, hold the the gun in your strong (dominant) hand with your finger off of the trigger. With your weak hand, support your grip in a teacup and saucer position, with your weak hand index finger over the trigger, from the bottom up. Your strong hand trigger finger just needs to be out of the way of danger, as it is your weak hand index finger that will fire the gun by pulling down on the trigger.

    This seems all wrong, but it actually works well, because the pin that the trigger pivots upon is behind the trigger, not above it, where it is on normal guns.

    I have a bond derringer ranger.

    For a kit gun, you are far better off with a 38 snubby.
  7. JERRY

    JERRY Senior Member

    Jun 5, 2003
    i had a chromed one in .32acp was an o.k. gun for $65.00.
  8. wideym

    wideym Active Member

    May 30, 2007
    Of the 5 Cobra derringers the shop I work at has sold (since I started working there), three have had to be sent back to the factory for repair, mainly the trigger not working. One of the returned ones has broken once again and all seem to have broken within 20 rounds.

    They sell well enough due to the price and the lifetime warrenty, but I wouldn't trust it.
  9. Kiln

    Kiln Senior Member

    Mar 3, 2011
    They got pretty positive reviews in a gun magazine not long ago as an affordable pocket gun. The rimfire versions run below $150 here.
  10. pockets

    pockets Participating Member

    Apr 27, 2010
    in my own little world
    I own the original Davis versions in .32acp (D-32) and .22LR (D-22). Both are fun to shoot, fire reliably, and have held up without issue. And the Davis design (cloned by Cobra) has a solid hammer-blocking safety. The .32acp D-32 is cool because it is made on the .22 frame, so it's fairly compact.
  11. MrDig

    MrDig Participating Member

    Nov 1, 2005
    Where all the women are strong, the men are good l
    ]I have one in 9 mm to go in my pocket as a last case BUG. Trigger is a little heavy for my taste and it is a bearcat for recoil but hey it's a last resort gun anyway right?
  12. WardenWolf

    WardenWolf member

    Nov 11, 2008
    Northern Virginia
    The sad truth is that you'd be better off using .45 pistol shotshells than a .410 out of that short a barrel. Shotguns operate at much lower pressures than pistols or rifles, so a pistol shotshell is actually capable of a lot more power out of a short barrel. The whole concept of the Judge or "Snake slayer" pistol with a .410 shell is a gimmick. "Look at me, I'm firing a big bad shotgun shell out of a pistol." No, if you want that, you should just buy a cheap revolver in the caliber you want and just switch to shotshells for snakes.

    That's what I told my father's friend. He owns property out beyond city limits where it's legal to shoot, and he's worried about snakes. He was wanting a Judge. I told him to just buy a Ruger Blackhawk and load shotshells. I'm not sure what he wound up getting, but he did take my advice and just get shotshells for a normal pistol.
  13. mr.trooper

    mr.trooper Participating Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Had one in 32acp. It was reliable, and funtioned as advertised ... but it was still a prety poor gun.

    Horrendously heavy triger. Vestigial sights. A 1.5 finger grip. Extreemly shallow rifling... all conspired to make it impossible to hit a soda can past 7 yards, no matter how careful your aim.

    For $100 i will look for a hi-point.
  14. rodinal220

    rodinal220 Participating Member

    Jul 9, 2005
    I have an earlier Davis D-22 in .22rf that I have owed for 25+years.Fun lil gun,not 100% reliable.I paid like 40 bucks for it used,I wouldn't pay a lot for one.
    I have a Cobra in .38spl for CAS side matches that I run BP loads thru it.It is fun,so far 100%,and I paid 60 bucks for it used.Wouldn't pay the Cimmeron price or anything close for it,it a 50-75 dollar gun in my eyes.

    They are fun,but I would not bet my life on one and don't pay too much.
  15. MCgunner

    MCgunner Senior Elder

    Dec 3, 2005
    The end of the road between Sodom and Gomorrah Tex
    My buddy was into 'em for a while. He's so cheap, he makes me look like a gun snob. :D I was never impressed with the Davis, always had loose "lock up" for one. I saw a Cobra double .45 Colt/.410 at a gun show that tempted me, but just for the novelty. I'd have no real use for such a thing.
  16. Don357

    Don357 Active Member

    May 30, 2007
    Semmes Alabama
    I had one in .38spl, and for what it was, I loved it. It had a really hard trigger, and if you put the safety on, it took an act of the "Incredible Hulk" to take it off. But, that being said, it never misfired and I actually learned how to shoot it with reasonable accuracy. I could easily hit a pie pan 10 out of 10 times at 10 yds. Used it as a trade-in to get the wife a P-11 Kel-Tec.
  17. otasan56

    otasan56 Member

    Oct 20, 2011
    Hartford, VT
    Derringers are VERY special, limited purpose handguns. The only one I would get would be the .45 Colt model.
  18. EBK

    EBK Member

    Sep 14, 2012
    Do yourself a favor and pass. Not sure about all of them but the one I had was terrible. Shot 6-12 inches low at 5 yards and the trigger was about 40 pound pull.

    Gave it to an ex and never missed it.
  19. SwampWolf

    SwampWolf Senior Member

    Sep 18, 2005
    North Central Ohio
    I agree with this after having tried the pull on my brother's Cobra. But he claims that the pull has been significantly improved after much dry-firing.
  20. Snowdog

    Snowdog Senior Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Hendersonville, WNC
    I bought a Davis Industries D32 MAG (.32 H&R magnum) back in the mid 90's and immediately the PTFE finish began to bubble and flake off. The ball detent to the safe push button fell out while firing. I removed the safety and removed the rest of the black finish and continued playing with it.

    I would not recommend it for anything other than play; a defensive piece it is not, imo.

    I will say this for it, it has not ever failed to fire. Accuracy is a joke, but it is reliable. I also have a P380 manufactured by Davis that while absolutely atrocious in terms of accuracy due to stripped rifling allowing keyholing, it too is reliable. I don't recall it ever malfunctioning either, but I've only fired it a couple hundred times.

    I'll admit to want a Phoenix Arms HP22 to plink around with, but I would not recommend these types of pistols to anyone I don't dislike. Especially considering that a used or surplus handgun can be had for about the same price.

    By the way, if you're just wanting a tackle box pistol to use with ratshot, I think you'll be better served with an inexpensive revolver such as the Armscor M206 as you'll have the advantage of DA fire and 4 additional rounds to work with. My M200 currently serves a similar role. It's nothing to look at, but it's reliable and reasonably accurate. I think they still sell for in the ballpark of $160 new and much less used.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2012

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