Gun Review: Colt King Cobra Target .22 LR

If you look at the selection of .22 LR double action revolvers, you’ll see that we’ve gone from a few available – the Smith & Wesson M617 and 317/63 models and a few Rugers (LCR, SP101 and, until recently, the GP100-22). But more makers have been stepping forward and Colt has returned to the game in a big way.

A friend who knows a thing or two about wheel guns found the new King Cobra Target reminiscent of the .22 Colt Diamondback. He’s not far off. Smaller than the M617 and GP100 guns, it’s larger than the J-frame .22s from S&W and the Ruger LCR. It fits (a bit loosely) in a Galco belt holster and the Simply Rugged Sourdough made for my GP100.

Like the Colt Diamondback, the King Cobra Target has a vent rib over the barrel, adjustable sights, and is finely finished. Unlike the older gun, the KCT has a 10-round cylinder. Being a Colt, the cylinder locks up at the rear and turns clockwise. The case heads aren’t recessed as they are on the Ruger and S&W offerings.

According to my scale, the gun weighs 30.4 ounces empty. It’s a hefty gun. While the barrel has the Diamondback-esque full-length underlug, the gun doesn’t feel particularly front-heavy. The single action trigger press is light and crisp. The double action pull is appropriately long – it doesn’t take much ‘throw’ for a 10-shot cylinder – but is a bit stagey, at least so far.

The King Cobra Target is supplied in a nice Colt blue plastic box/carry case with the manual, lock and a rubbery “wafer” that fits over the extractor star and covers the chambers. Looking from the side, you can see the red wafer, a safety feature, I suppose.

The revolver has a 4¼” barrel. I’ve seen specs for a six-inch version on the internet, but don’t know if they’re in production yet.

The front sight is a red fiber optic, the rear is adjustable for windage and elevation. There’s the Colt windage locking screw on the left top side of the sight blade slide. The windage screw and elevation screws are slotted for a flat headed screwdriver – of different sizes.


The stocks are rubber, have the Colt emblem and the Hogue “pebble” texture. In William Bell’s report, he mentioned trying D-frame stocks on his sample; it worked.

I had to wait longer than I wanted to get to the range. The gun – unmeasured but handled – felt slimmer than the other 22 DA revolvers pictured but, even with the barrel underlug, balanced well. The test isn’t how it “feels,” but how it fits. That’s when shooting comes in handy.

Above, the S&W M617 is at the top, the Davidson’s Ruger GP100-22-4, the bottom, bracketing the new Colt King Cobra Target (center). Sizes are similar, but each has a different feel and fit.
Below, cylinder detail of the three (left to right, Ruger, Colt, S&W)

Short of time at the range and more interested in how the gun handled a variety of available ammo, I shot the Colt from the bench first to check zero. I used a Birchwood Casey EZ Scorer BC IPSC Practice Target 12” x 18.”

With a six o’clock hold on the head box of the target, from a Caldwell Pistolero Handgun Rest, I started with CCI Standard Velocity 40 gr. ammo. The first five shots produced a 4” group with the best three in 2 ½”, just right of the headbox.

I marked the holes and went back to adjust the sights. Using the small Allen wrench, I loosened the windage lock screw before turning the windage screw to the left. After tightening, I shot a second group. This one put five rounds into 3 3/8” with the best three of the five in 1 3/8”. The group had moved to the center and hit just under the sights.

A faster load would be lower still. I used the center of the silhouette for an aiming point and fired a five-shot group of CCI MiniMag 40 grain solids. The five shots clustered into 1 ¼” with three going into 7/8” – and they were low. Knowing I should quit after a group like that, I dutifully marked the holes then went back and adjusted the sights. The next attempt was a respectable 2 7/8” effort, with the best three going into 1 3/8”.


The Aguila .22 Super Extra HP 38 grain load put five holes into 2½” with three inside 1 ¼”. The group was centered.

I fired standing pairs double action from the same distance with Blazer 38 grain LRN bulk ammo. All of the hits were in the A- and C-zones of the reduced size silhouette. Four hits were in the C-zone left and 6 were in the center and left A-zone.

That’s not at all bad shooting. And that answers how the King Cobra Target fits me.

The Colt King Cobra 22 Target (center) is smaller than the S&W 617 K-frame (top) and the Ruger GP100-22 (Davidson’s exclusive.)

My friend believes the Colt King Cobra Target is reminiscent of the .22 Colt Diamondback. It’s smaller than the M617 and GP100 guns. It’s larger than the J-frame .22s from S&W and the Ruger LCR.

As the range table was set fifteen yards from the target line, I set up there. I rested my hands on a range bag and was seated for the accuracy and velocity checks. Groups were 10 rounds, not five.

Aside from the high flier (shooter-induced), the Aguila ammo provided a decent group. Below, the Winchester Wildcat ammo was likewise quite accurate with one low round provided by the shooter.


I also got 10-round velocity data, likely a better sample to check consistency. As far as the revolver goes, I found the single-action trigger, while breaking clean, requires a deliberate press. It’s not light. The sights are easy for this old-timer. Even while it was overcast, the front fiber optic sight was bright.

Before heading to the range, I got the .050” wrench and gave the tiny locking screw on the rear sight a bit of a twist. Not surprisingly it was a little loose, likely from the shooting I’d done with the reasonably heavy .22 revolver before this trip.

My range notes appear below:

Ammo brand/type Ave. velocity Accuracy, notes

Aguila 38gr 1096 5 1/4″ group with flyer. The main cluster of the 10-shot group was 3″, with the best six rounds into 1″

Winchester Wildcat 1128 10-shot group measured three inches with a flyer. The best eight out of ten clustered into 2 1/4″

CCI MiniMag 40gr 1037 2 7/8″ 10-shot group. The best seven of ten went into 1.5″

CCI Std Vel 40 gr 928 10-shot group was 3 3/8″ with the best six going into 1 1/4″

The best 10-shot group was fired with CCI MiniMag, though it wasn’t by much. The 10-shot group was only 1/8” smaller than the three-inch 10-shot group produced with Winchester Wildcat.

Before someone points out the largest 10-shot group – Aguila 38 grain – note that the best six-of-ten rounds clustered into an inch. Without a mechanical fixture, the smaller number is the more likely indicator of what the gun would do with that ammo at that distance from, say, a Ransom Rest.

The “best six” measurement of the slower CCI Standard Velocity load very nearly matched it. So it’s a wash. Pick your poison – or whatever you can find during the next ‘ammo shortage.’

Specifications: Colt Kind Cobra Target Revolver

Caliber: .22 LR
Capacity: 10 rounds
Barrel: 4.25 inches
Overall Length: 9.5 inches
Weight: 2 lbs., 1 oz.
Sights: Red fiber optic (front), adjustable notch (rear)
Grip: Hogue
Trigger: 4 lbs., 3 oz. (SA), 8 lbs., 12 oz. (DA)
MSRP: $999

The Colt Kind Cobra Target is an absolute sweetheart .22 revolver. While it’s not the only one out there – you might find a copy of the S&W M617 or a used Ruger GP100 22 — it’s the only Colt DA .22 currently available. Get one while you can.




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