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New Colt King Cobra Target .22LR Revolver Review

Aptly nicknamed the “Baby Snake,” Colt's King Cobra in .22LR is a 10-shot beauty that will inevitably become one of the most collectible revolvers made today.

New Colt King Cobra Target .22LR Revolver Review

The Colt King Cobra Target .22LR revolver isn't just a lot of fun. It's accurate, functionals, looks amazing and has a lot of collector potential. 

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“Vanity, thy name is Colt’s Baby Snake.” I don’t use the famously misquoted line from Hamlet disparagingly. The latest model of Colt’s snake gun line appeals to one’s vanity in the best way possible. Picking up the new Colt King Cobra Target .22LR revolver immediately gives one a sense of quality and an assurance that you’re holding something good in your hands, especially in the age of polymer. My first experience with Colt’s “Baby Snake” was at the OSG round table event for 2023, and it was undoubtedly a highlight for most attendees. With a bunch of CCI .22LR ammo, we ran plate racks and steel targets to 50 yards, and as my accuracy testing would later confirm, it well lives up to its Target name.

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Out of the box, the Colt King Cobra .22LR has a mirror-level brushed finish. It's easy to get it back to looking this good when cleaning after a day at the range, too.

Colt King Cobra .22LR Breakdown

Jumping right in, you can’t start a breakdown of the Baby Snake without first acknowledging the incredible aesthetics of this revolver. The brushed stainless steel construction gives it a high-polished look that makes it almost look like chrome. Only the topstrap and top of the barrel have a matte finish to reduce glare when aiming. It’s not just about looks, though, as the polished finish makes it easy to clean, too.

The Colt King Cobra .22LR touts a 4.25-inch underlugged barrel with a vented rib. Like the rest of the new Snake Guns, the barrel features a recessed crown to protect the rifling. On the left side of the barrel, you’ll see King Cobra engraved with a cobra snake design separating the words and 22 LR beneath. On the right, you find Colt’s MFG Hartford CT USA. The only other writing is on the frame underneath the wheel, where you’ll find the serial number and a QR code. The QR code is my one gripe with the aesthetics of the Baby Snake. I get that they’re easier to use for inventory control, but it’s a bit too modern for my taste on a gun like this. All-in-all, it’s a gripe I can live with, though.

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This sights can be swapped for aftermarket options, but the red fiber optic front sight is easy to pick up, and the adjustable rear works just fine.

Back to the barrel, it features a red fiber-optic front sight on top, which is easily visible during the day. Another nice touch is that the front sight can be swapped with aftermarket sights made for the Cobra and King Cobra in .38 Special/.357 Magnum. Looking down the front, you’ll find the sight screw access, which appears to be a small Allen key. I found the front sight to be more than adequate for accuracy, so I recommend leaving it unless one has a significant preference for something else.

Frame and Cylinder

The .22LR model shares the standard profile of the King Cobra, but you obviously get a lot more room for the .22LR cartridge. The wheel fits a whopping ten rounds, but they still go quick at the range. The cylinder rotates clockwise in standard Colt fashion, and the cylinder release pulls backward to unlock, also in standard Colt fashion. An interesting check for quality I’ve been taught to look for in revolvers is to hold the cylinder in place with one hand while slowly earing the hammer back. You don’t need to hold it too hard, but the cylinder should move properly into place despite the resistance of your hand. With a lesser revolver, you’ll feel the cylinder “break,” and you’ll have to rotate it into place yourself. The King Cobra .22LR is clearly well-made to tight tolerances. The cylinder moved as it should when earing the hammer back, and there are no noticeable drag marks on the wheel, even after a couple hundred rounds through the revolver.

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The Hogue grips fill the hand perfectly. I'm probably going to look for some aftermarket wooden grips to give it warmer aesthitic.

While I don’t have a feeler gauge to measure exact barrel-to-cylinder gap, it’s definitely tight, another indicator of high-quality production and tolerances. Like the other new Snake Guns, the ejector rod is knurled and housed inside the underlug. I do recommend adding the tiniest touch of oil or lubricant to the ejector rod for smooth function. Mine had just a bit of resistance, but that went away with a touch of lubricant. Finally, on top of the frame you find the adjustable rear notch sight, which is adjustable for both windage and elevation. Of course, no Colt revolver is ever complete without the iconic rampant Colt logo, and you’ll find that beneath the cylinder release. The grips are Hogue, and they fill the hand nicely, providing a solid, secure hold when shooting, not that there is much recoil to account for.

Range Time

The new Colt King Cobra Target .22LR can only be described as an absolute pleasure to shoot. Also like the other Snake Guns, the King Cobra .22LR uses Colt’s leaf-spring trigger, and I found it to be smooth and crisp in both single-action and double-action. With my Wheeler digital trigger gauge, I measured a four-pound, three-ounce pull in single action, and I measured an eight-pound, 12-ounce pull in double action.

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Here is the 10-shot cylinder in all its glory. Don't forget to add just a touch of lubricant to the ejector.

The fantastic trigger along with the relatively long sight radius greatly contributes to the accuracy of the gun. At 20 yards, the front sight covers most of the aiming point on a paper target, yet I was still able to shoot several sub-two-inch groups from a bag rest. With a .22LR revolver, the type of ammunition used isn’t a factor when it comes to function, unlike a semi-auto rimfire pistol. I had mostly rifle .22LR ammo on hand, but it all shot well on paper. The Colt like the CCI Quiet-22 45 grain loads best, boasting a 1.5-inch average from three five-shot groups. That ammo also had the best extreme spread and standard deviation, according to my LabRadar. With that being said, every load I tested grouped well, but none of them measured more than 1,000 feet per second in average velocity. As you’d expect, there is virtually no recoil when shooting.

Final Thoughts

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The Colt King Cobra alongside a new model Colt Python 6-inch barrel.

I’ve been a fan of the Colt Snake Guns for as long as I can remember. I already own a new-model Python with a 6-inch barrel, and the Anaconda was next on my list to owning one of each Snake Gun, that is until this King Cobra .22LR showed up. For me, purchasing the King Cobra .22LR is all about the cool factor. However, this revolver absolutely has real-world practical applications. Don’t be surprised if you start to see more of them at rimfire competitions. It’s certainly accurate enough, especially for a competition shooter that can outshoot me every day of the week. It’s also the perfect gun to introduce a new shooter to firearms. With virtually no recoil and a moderate report, it’s perfect to learn the fundamentals of accuracy and shooting.

Recommended


If you really wanted, you have an awesome squirrel-hunter in this revolver. While I’d want the Anaconda if I was in bear country, the King Cobra .22LR is just fun to carry in the woods on a casual walk where I reside in the Midwest. I think most people will be like me, though. It’s just a cool gun to own, and it has a lot of potential as a collectible. Case-in-point, I’ve already seen online retailers charging a premium for the Colt King Cobra .22LR. The MSRP may be $999, but online it’s going for well over $1,100 in many cases. However you might feel about that, the market ultimately sets the demand for a product, and the MSRP is just that – the suggested price.

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At the range, the Colt King Cobra .22LR turned a lot of heads. Several shooters asked to shoot, and I was happy to oblige. You could see the gears turning as soon as they were done shooting on how to get one.

The Colt Snake Guns have been desirable to collectors for some time, and an original Python in good condition often goes for between $6K and $10K. While the new models are nowhere near those prices, and it’s unlikely they ever will be any time soon, I still think all of the new Snake Guns have great potential for collectible value, but the Colt King Cobra Target .22LR arguably has the most. All-in-all it is truly a high-quality, well-made revolver, and few guns are as fun to shoot as one like this.

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Accuracy results are the averages of three, five-shot groups from a bag rest at 20 yards. Velocity is derived from a string of 10 shots measured with a LabRadar chronograph adjacent to the barrel.

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The CCI Quiet-22 turned in the tightest groups, and it had a noticebly quiter report, as you'd expect.

Colt King Cobra .22LR Specs

  • Type: Double-Action/Single-Action Revolver
  • Cartridge: .22LR
  • Capacity: 10 rds.
  • Barrel: 4.25 in., vented rib
  • Overall Length: 9.5 in.
  • Weight: 2 lbs., 1.7 oz.
  • Construction: Brushed Stainless Steel
  • Sights: Red fiber optic (front), adjustable notch (rear)
  • Grip: Hogue
  • Trigger: 4 lbs., 3 oz. (SA), 8 lbs., 12.4 oz. (DA) Tested
  • MSRP: $999
  • Manufacturer: Colt

About the Author

Jack Oller is a U.S. Army veteran, having served in the Military Police with one deployment to the Camp VI Detention Facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He has extensive firearms training from military and civilian schools and is a passionate shotgun shooter and hunter. Jack has an English degree from Illinois State University, and he started his career in the outdoor industry as Associate Editor for Guns & Ammo magazine. After Gun & Ammo, he worked as Brand Manager for Crimson Trace and now is the Digital Editor for Firearms News.


If you have any thoughts or comments on this article, we’d love to hear them. Email us at FirearmsNews@Outdoorsg.com.




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