By Lars Dalseide | July 8 2013 15:18

Aluminum frame provides lighter weight, greater recoil for Colt Detective Special

Aluminum based Colt Cobra Revolver from the NRA Museum

Fairfax, Virginia - You can't always tell the difference between guns by looking. Sure, there are different screws on the frame, checkering on the stock, sight height, etc... But sometimes you need more than a look.

Sometimes you need to pick it up.

And when you pick up a Colt Cobra Revolver, you can really tell the difference. Why? Because the frame is made from aluminum.

"The aluminum was somewhat of a new deal for gun makers, just like polymer of today and the injection molding for stocks and magazines," said NRA National Firearms Museum Senior Curator Philip Schreier. "The technology has been around for awhile, it just took a little time to catch on in the firearms industry."

The other side of a Colt Cobra revolver at the NRA Museum Manufactured between the 1950s and the 1980s, the Colt Cobra came in a variety of calibers ... .22, .32 and .38. There was also a variety of checkering, grips, butt stocks and other aspects of the gun.

But the question that keeps popping up is why the aluminum? And, come to think of it, why did they stop using it?

"The aluminum frame lightens it up," said Schreier. "And who doesn't like a lighter gun? The problem was with the finish and the recoil."

With a barrel made of steel and a frame made of aluminum, constant holster use developed a different wear pattern on the different metals. While it's easy to understand why anyone would like a lighter gun, not many people like a multi-worn looking gun. If nothing else, it makes it look like you were using replacement parts instead of sporting the original piece. Then came the recoil.

"A heavier gun is a more solid gun that absorbed more of the recoil. So these guns really let you know there was a .38 in there when you pulled that trigger."

Makes sense. That's why we go to Phil.

We also go to Phil for the stories. So if you'd like to get that full story from the man himself, then tune in to NRANews on Sportsman Channel this afternoon around 5:40pm eastern. See the gun, the man and the setting inside the National Firearms Museum.

Filming a Colt Cobra revolver at the NRA Museum for Sportsman Channel

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