Colt had a new revolver at NRAAM last weekend. A “King Cobra” Target model that looks and feels a lot like a .38/.357 but is actually a 10-shot 22LR.
The King Cobra Target 22 LR is crafted from forged stainless steel construction with a one-piece barrel topped with an adjustable target rear sight and fiber optic front sight. It comes standard with Hogue overmolded rubber grips and is available with 4-inch and 6-inch barrel lengths, both featuring a 1:16RH twist.
Of course, it could have just been called the Diamondback.
While the current King Cobra series, reincarnated in 2019, hit the market as a 6-Shot .357 Magnum big brother of the new line of Cobra wheel guns, the new King Cobra Target .22LR is a return to the company offering double-action rimfire revolvers. Not the first rimfire “snake” gun– Colt marketed the original circa 1950s first issue Cobra in .22LR and made a .22LR Diamondback into the early 1990s– the new Baby Snake fills a hole the company had in its catalog, and by extension is a first for CZ as well.
This 1985-production Diamondback is a 6-inch .22LR model. Surely, it would have been easier and better for Colt to reboot this name than to call the new model a King Cobra of all things…
MSRP on the new King Cobra Target .22LR models is $999. When compared to other DA/SA rimfire revolvers, this is on par with the S&W 63 and 617.
When Ruger introduced the GP100 in 1986, they emphasized the tough new double-action revolver’s modern design with a full-frame and thick top strap, attributes it still has today.
“Strength and design separate an ordinary .357 from the Ruger GP100,” the company said of their newest DA wheelgun installment, a revolver intended to replace the company’s popular Six series guns (Security Six, Speed Six, Service Six) which had been around since the 1970s.
And some people just like ’em thick, as the line is still going strong nearly 35 years later.
More in my column at Guns.com.
While you may know of today’s standard U.S. Army infantry rifles, and those of the 20th Century, how about those present at Lexington and Concord or the line of Springfield muskets from 1795 through 1865? What came after?
For all this and more, check out the easy 2,000-word primer I did for this last weekend at Guns.com.
I’ve always been a fan of the Fitz Special concept, although not a practicing fan. More of an idle curiosity you could say, as I personally think they are unsafe.
Around 1926, retired NYPD cop John Henry Fitzgerald began customizing both full-sized Colt New Service, Police Positive, and Police Positive Special models to make them small concealed handguns, much like Colt’s then-new Detective Special. This modification included shortening the barrel to two inches or less, fitting a new front sight, removing the hammer spur and carefully checkering the top of the now-bobbed hammer, shortening the grip, and—unique to this type—cutting away the front 1/3 of the trigger guard and rounding off the now open edges.
A previously auctioned Fitz Colt
This trigger guard surgery left the bulk of the hammer exposed while carefully shrouding the very bottom and back of it to avoid snagging in the pocket. The open trigger guard allowed faster firing, accommodated large or gloved fingers, and according to some accounts made the weapon easier to fire through a pocket (if needed). While these modifications were done to large frame revolvers, they were performed mainly to the smaller Colt Detectives.
Although Fitz only converted less than 200 Colts, (some say as few as 20), the concept lived on and you see many other guns converted to the same degree.
Like this M1917 .45ACP moon gun:
That’s guaranteed to set the target on fire at close range…
My friend Ian over at Forgotten Weapons got a chance to check out a Colt Fitz at RIAC last week:
Garage gunsmith Royal Nonesuch revisited a tiny revolver project of his and, with simple hand tools, produced a triggerless two-shot handgun in .22WMR.
The gun isn’t made for long range precision work, and it can best be described as a two-shot single action pepper box sans trigger, but the aesthetic of the brass grip kind of sets off the neat little (legal) zip gun.
But don’t expect any accuracy on a gun with no sights and a thimble-length barrel.
I have a Ruger New Army and an old Colt SAA ’73 and love to fire them- but I have to admit they are a tremendous pain to load those old cap and ball guns.
Terril James Herbert, one of my fellow writers over at Guns.com (who has a YouTube channel– Mark3SMLE), has a great primer on how to fix that by using a new take on the old paper cartridges used back in the 19th Century with these cap guns.
(Photo: National Firearms Museum)
These two rare birds are a set of Griswold and Gunnison (top) and Spiller & Burr revolvers made in the Confederacy during the Civil War– both more or less poor brass framed copies of New England patented guns.
About 3,700 Griswold and Gunnison revolvers were manufactured in Georgia by Samuel Griswold, a transplanted Yankee from Connecticut. This .36 caliber sixgun was a copy of the Colt Model 1851 revolver. The bottom revolver is also a Confederate .36 caliber that was made by Spiller & Burr, initially in Richmond, Virginia and later in Georgia. It was also a copy of a Northern design, following the Whitney revolver. The latter firm had made between 1,200 and 1,500 revolvers total.
Going price on these guns typically top five figures.
With these guns being so rare, they are also faked alot– as Phil Schreier breaks down on the very poor S&B copy below. (Which, if you think about it, is a bad copy of a bad copy).
Ian over at Forgotten Weapons takes a look at an odd European revolver that just screams steampunk.
“With no markings or provenance at all, the origins of this revolver are a mystery. Its features all point to the 1880s or 1890s, and someone clearly spent a lot of time working on it – but we don’t know who. What makes it interesting is the very unusual operating mechanism. It is similar to a ‘zig-zag’ system like the 1878 Mauser or Webley-Fosbery, but with angled splines on the cylinder instead of grooves.”