Colt King Cobra

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Jan 16, 2009
Never been much of a revolver guy so please indulge my ignorance. But lately have gotten the itch for a 357 mag, been looking at S&W, Taurus, and Ruger. So far the Ruger GP100 has impressed me the most. Any thoughts on this choice?

Second, was in a local shop today and found a Colt King Cobra(think was 4" barrel) in stainless for 700.00. I know of the legend of the Colt Pythons but have no knowledge of the King Cobras. Any advice would be very much appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
The King Cobra has been said by a famous gunsmith to be the strongest mid framed .357 made. They have forged frames unlike some other makers cast...I have more than one King Cobra. They are bullet proof and very accurate. One of my shooters has had tens of thousands of rounds put thru it and is still as tight as when I bought it over 20 years ago. For the hardest of the hard shooting, I'd rather have a KC over a Python. While there is nothing wrong with the Ruger, I wouldn't trade my well used KC for two brand new GP's.

$700 is a fair price if the gun is in top condition. I am assuming it is the more common matte finish at that price. If it is factory polished, it is a steal at $700.

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Had the 6" in stainless (not bright SS). Full power 357 loads felt like 38's. It was built like a bar of solid steel. Could have cracked a skull with the barrel alone.
Very robust modern revolver with lockwork unlike that in Colt's prior to 1970. Similar to Colt MKIII Trooper but updated a little with faster lockwork than MKIII.
The S&W L-Frame 686 was Smith's one-up marketing answer to Colt's Python in terms of then popular heavy under-lug styling for duty .357s.

Smith's product was accurate, tough, stainless, and cost a hell of a lot less than the Python. Smith intended it to dominate the police revolver market.

The King Cobra was Colt's reply to the 686. A heavy barreled/under-lugged duty revolver that was also stainless, also accurate, looked good, and was designed to compete at the 686 price-point.

(I'm speaking of the stainless models, but both firms also offered blue & nickel variants)

The King Cobra is massively over-built and probably as strong as any Smith N-Frame.

During the early 90's, many of them languished in gun shop cases for ridiculously low prices (~$400 or less) as new service revolvers were passed up by buyers looking for the latest hi-capacity Beretta, SIG, HK, or Glock.

They are fantastic revolvers. $700 for a 4" King Cobra is a decent price for a great sixgun.

Nothing wrong with the GP100, but given a choice...I'd take the King Cobra any day of the week. I already own a 686 and I'd choose that over the Ruger as well. Not badmouthing the's also a great revolver. The Taurus line...meh. I own a CH85 (great little snub), but none of their .357s are even in the same league as the Colt, Smith, or Ruger offerings.

As always, at the end of the day, whichever model fits your hand the best (or makes your heart flutter) will be the one you should buy.
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I have both the GP100 & King Cobra in 6" and couldnt imagine ever getting rid of either. Both are accurate, over built solid shooters that handle the .357 very easily. In my opinion, you cant go wrong with either.
The S&W L-Frame 686 was Smith's one-up marketing answer to Colt's Python in terms of then popular heavy under-lug styling for duty .357s.

the 27 and the Python were competitors.

They were the flagships

the 686 was the "workingman's" gun like the Trooper was for Colt.
Yeah, yeah...I know the flagships (and own both). I was purely referring to styling.

The 686 wasn't designed to compete with the Python; it was designed to attract folks that liked the Python silhouette but didn't have the wallet for it.

Folks at that time clamored for heavier "Python-looking" barrels; Smith obliged with their L-Frames. PPC was also the rage back then. Heavy barrels were "in".

Smith designed a superlative line of weapons (686/586 & 681/581) and offered a stylistic cue reminiscent of the competition's sexiest design.

Just like Nissan and Audi did when they ripped-off the body shape of the Porsche 911.
I own two, one 4", and one 6". Both are outstanding revolvers. Dead nuts accurate, and a pleasure to shoot. They really match up well to the S&W L frames.
I picked up my 4" KC during the height of the "wondernine" craze. The shop I bought it from had a 686, a Security Six, and the King Cobra - all priced under $300, all in like new condition. Any one of them would have done the job, but the Colt felt best in my hand, so it got the nod.

IMO, the King Cobra is every bit as good as the 686, Security Six, and GP100. I have spent time shooting all of them, and they are all quality revolvers that are usually quite accurate and reliable.

The King Cobra is one of my "never sell" guns. :)
Nickel?...Not the KC or 686.

True. I mis-typed what I meant to say. I should have said " or nickel..."

I was thinking of the entire line of each company's mid-frame .357s (blue KC, nickel or blued 586/581).
Guillermo: u r a blessed man

The 27 is, with the exception of weight, the finest .357 (or at least top 3) ever made for the American market.

Pythons are a particular joy

Couldn't agree more (on all three counts).

Everyone should own a 27. I'm still looking for a 3.5 inch. I've wanted one of those ever since I saw Lee Marvin wielding one in the 1964 crime drama The Killers.

I think Smith nailed a unique styling profile with the 3.5" 27 and the 2.5" 19/66 models.

They get my vote for best looking revolvers ever made (over even the Python).
Guess I'm lucky to cover all the bases....Colt Trooper III bought in 1980' King Cobra from the Kitzigen Rod & Gun, and a 686 from a friend in Hohenfels....they all keep my 629 and the wifey's Ladysmith comfy!
Gotta love the Rod & Guns!

I had a friend who worked at the Stuttgart R&G Club try to sell me a 4" King Cobra. Suggested it to me for months and every time I walked into the shop. They apparently couldn't give that gun away. Like an idiot, I passed on the offer and spent my coin on other weapons.

A few years later, I found King Cobra prices had shot through the roof. :mad:
Thank you to all that replied. I went ahead and got the Colt. It doesn't have the original box but did come with the original owners manual, original Colt grips with Houge grips installed. Out the door for 690.00, may have been on the upper end price wise, but I think their prices will continue to climb. Either way I bought it to shoot, not collect. Everything is real tight, no cylinder play. Cylinder gap measures between .002 and .0025. Picked it up today at 9:30 and had it to the range by 11:00. Put a box of .38 special and a box of 357 thru it and I can see why no one wants to part with one once they have it. Well guess I have another caliber to load for, off to Midway, lol.
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My first ever gun was a Colt King Cobra 4" when I turned 21. That was more than 20 years ago, today. Paid $300 OTD including original box, a hard case and a box of Hydrashok ammo. Back then the Ruger P85 and the Beretta 92 and Glocks were the guns people wanted. Revolvers were not 'cool'. It's the gun I will never sell.
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