All About Guns

Wheelgun Wednesday: Blast From The Past – The Colt King Cobra

The Colt snake guns have been one of the most desirable and sought after revolver series in recent memory. There were a number of variations from the basic Cobra revolvers to the massive Colt Anacondas. My personal Colt revolver is a Colt King Cobra. My grandfather was obsessed with big bore handguns and enjoyed using them for hunting and just recreational shooting. I’m extremely thankful I had the opportunity to go out with my grandparents and shoot revolvers with them before they passed away. My grandfather had a number of different Colts including the King Cobra, two Pythons and an Anaconda along with a few other large caliber handguns. Unfortunately, my grandfather passed away in 2009 from brain cancer, but in his will, he left me his King Cobra along with the factory box and owners manual.

King Cobra Values in The Last Decade

Back in 2009 when I acquired the handgun, King Cobra values were fairly cheap compared to the Python at the time. The King Cobra was the less desirable of the snake collection but in the last few years, prices have begun to rise steeply. I used to love shooting the King Cobra at the range just appreciating how well the revolver was built. Since prices have risen so much now, I often leave the King Cobra in the safe. I often feel guilty and don’t fire it much anymore. Instead, I take it out of the safe and appreciate it from a collector’s point of view along with my sentimental value.

The King Cobra’s Feeling

One of the greatest things about the King Cobra and other snake guns from Colt is the amount of presence the handgun has. Whether you’re shooting at the range or just looking at it, the King Cobra is refined and sexy while being a great shooting handgun. Samuel L Jackson carried one in the Long Kiss Goodnight when he said the classic line “This ain’t no ham on rye pal.” As a teenager, I thought there was a very cool vibe from Samuel L Jackson in that movie and I remember him threatening people with a sleek revolver. Fast forward fifteen years and now I’m the proud owner of the very same revolver. Now honestly, I’m a huge fan of the Smith & Wesson 686 revolver, but to me, the old versions of the King Cobra have a more refined feel to them.

Out of all the handguns I own and shoot regularly, I still think the King Cobra has the smoothest DA/SA trigger of any gun in my collection. Modern guns are typically designed for quick controlled shooting. Usually, the new stuff is aimed at being able to shoot in competitions or training courses. The gun community has shifted from going out to shoot for the fun of it to shooting for a purpose. Whether it’s training or competition, younger shooters often don’t go out just for the sake of shooting recreationally. I have fallen into this trap and try to structure out all my range trips instead of going out to just enjoy shooting for fun.

Range Time

The King Cobra feels like a pristine Cadillac from the 1950s. You can drive it as fast as possible, but it’s so much more enjoyable if you just slow down and enjoy the ride. The King Cobra also is an experience to shoot compared to most handguns I own. You can really slow down and just enjoy the experience of pulling the hammer back into single action. Everything feels more mechanical on the King Cobra and feeling the recoil coming back into your hand is incredibly satisfying. Recoil on the King Cobra is little to none when shooting regular powered .38 Special rounds through it.

When moving up to .357 Magnum rounds, the gun is incredibly easy to control. I’m always surprised how pleasure to shoot the King Cobra is without giving your hand a beating. The party piece of the King Cobra is how accurate the gun is with a 6-inch barrel. Typically at 25 yards, you can get an inch group fairly regularly with good ammo. The gun is a joy to shoot and is a completely different experience from the polymer wonders in today’s market.

Overall Thoughts

At the end of the day, the old snake guns will always have a special place in my heart. Growing up shooting the different variants are some of my fondest memories. I feel extremely lucky to inherit such a great revolver from my grandfather. I’m even more grateful to be able to have the memories of shooting together. I don’t shoot the King Cobra much anymore because of its elevated price. In reality, that doesn’t stop me from using it occasionally. The King Cobra is one of those guns that’s a special moment to shoot. It’s a gun that brings back what matters most when recreational shooting which is the joy of shooting.

It’s a gun that puts a smile on my face and brings me back to a simpler time in life. When I went to the range not to train or help other people but just shoot for fun. If you haven’t shot an older style snake gun, I would encourage you to do so. They are fantastic examples of what a high-quality revolver would be. If you guys own any snake guns I’d love to hear what you think of them in the comments below. If you have questions feel free to contact me on my Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there!


I’m an avid shooter and love educating whether it’s at my job or in the shooting community. I’m an average joe that really loves talking with other people about firearms and other passions.
I’m active on Instagram on @fridgeoperator.

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