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Old December 8, 2013, 07:01 AM   #1
centralmainehunters
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buying a cheap gun turns out to be exactly that

Bought a cobra .380 last year for a first/learning gun for my girlfriend to use. First box of PPU ammo went through pretty good 2 or 3 failures to eject but thought that was ok for an unworked pistol. Gave it a good cleaning and then made her do it as well to help familiarize her with the weapon, even had her watch the video from cobra while she did it. She was in love. Next box she picked up blazer ammo because it was all the local had...She attempted 12 shots before she came home in tears with an unfired round stuck in the action and struck by the firing pin. She explained to me how almost every round got stuck ejecting, and of the 11 she was able to fire 4 had to be re-struck to fire. I have worked it over to loosen the springs and smooth the action and we have used several different ammos all with mixed results. Bottom line, I cant trust the gun to function safely. Before anyone criticizes, I have already chastised her and myself (poor training and shouldn't have allowed a new shooter alone) for the handling mistakes.
Any ideas to atleast make this thing plinking worthy, I cant sell it in good conscience.
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Old December 8, 2013, 09:21 AM   #2
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by centralmainehunters
I have already chastised her and myself (poor training and shouldn't have allowed a new shooter alone) for the handling mistakes.
What handling mistakes? You didn't describe any handling mistakes in your post, you described a junk gun.

Being from Maine, you may have heard the expression "You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear." Don't waste any more time, energy or money on that thng. Buy your GF a real pistol, from a manufacturer with a decent reputation.
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Old December 8, 2013, 09:28 AM   #3
Willie Lowman
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You'll get about $50 for it at the police trade in.

Don't buy junk.
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Old December 8, 2013, 09:33 AM   #4
centralmainehunters
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handling mistakes when the round jammed in the chamber unfired after being struck by the firing pin. she tried to "fix it" as soon as it happened.
Was really hoping someone had some type of advice on how to "fix" or at least improve functionality.
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Old December 8, 2013, 10:09 AM   #5
MTT TL
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Did you send it back to the manufacturer?

Quote:
Cobra firearms come with a factory direct lifetime warranty. The warranty covers all owners of the firearm. If, at anytime you experience difficulties with your firearm you may send it to the factory for repair or service. All warranty claims should include the model, serial number and owners information in the packaging of the firearm being sent for service.
One plan would be to spend money sending it back and forth to them until it works.

However:

Quote:
Bottom line, I cant trust the gun to function safely.
You have answered your own question. Consider it a lesson learned. I'd quit while all my digits were still attached and I still had my eyesight. It can always be worse.
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Old December 8, 2013, 11:27 AM   #6
BillM
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Was that Blazer ammo the aluminum cased stuff? Some guns will
NOT digest that stuff. Grab a couple of boxes of FMJ brass case
ammo and run them through it. If it still has problems you can't
resolve, send it back to the manufacturer or save it for the next buy-back.
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Old December 8, 2013, 12:58 PM   #7
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Trade it off and get a good revolver (ruger or smith). She will be in love shooting again. Honest advice. IMHO.
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Old December 8, 2013, 03:58 PM   #8
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I hope you get it fixed so you can get something out of it at this point. At least that way you can trade it and feel ok about it. It can be a learning experience for her too, no one got hurt, could have been worse.
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Old December 8, 2013, 04:18 PM   #9
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Autos can be finicky

Try another couple of boxes of ammo from different makers. That might solve the problem, but a gun that you cannot trust to go 'boom' isn't much of a bargain or even a gun for that matter.
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Old December 8, 2013, 04:46 PM   #10
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Keep it as a momento and reminder of the mistake of buying a cheap weapon...They are great as long as you don't expect to use them. There are handguns around that are good values but something that can cause you harm isn't one. Its a mistake many have made...Its on the same level as when I see someone carrying a gun they have paid hundreds for in a cheap nylon holster and you can bet its loaded with whatever is the cheapest ball ammo they can find...There are some things where cheap is ok but its not true with firearms. I would suggested a clean, used Smith and Wesson or Ruger revolver perhaps...Good Luck with your problem.
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Old December 8, 2013, 04:59 PM   #11
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There's not much you can do. The Cobra's frames and slides are constructed of cheap zinc alloy and the more they're used the more the zinc distorts.
It'll only get worse with use.
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Old December 8, 2013, 06:56 PM   #12
lee n. field
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Quote:
Bought a cobra .380 last year for a first/learning gun for my girlfriend to use. First box of PPU ammo went through pretty good 2 or 3 failures to eject but thought that was ok for an unworked pist... She explained to me how almost every round got stuck ejecting, and of the 11 she was able to fire 4 had to be re-struck to fire.... Bottom line, I cant trust the gun to function safely. Before anyone criticizes, I have already chastised her and myself (poor training and shouldn't have allowed a new shooter alone) for the handling mistakes.
I think everyone makes that mistake at least once. In my case, a Jennings J-22 (related in some way to your Cobra). It may be best to just move on.

Use the search function. "What gun for $X?" is a frequently asked question. For a long time the best answer at the low end was a ex-commie cold war era military surplus gun. A Makarov or Tokarev, a FEG PA-63 or Polish Radom, later the CZ-82 (nice!). Now, those are a little harder to find dirt cheap.

Hi-Point has a somewhat better reputation for functioning than the "Ring of Fire" guns, and a much better customer service reputation.

In revolvers, an Armscor .38, a used Charter Arms or Rossi would cover the low end pretty well.

If you have your heart set on .380, the Kel Tec P3AT or Taurus equivalent are inexpensive.

Quote:
Any ideas to at least make this thing plinking worthy, I cant sell it in good conscience.
manually cycle the slide, see if it hangs anywhere. Look for burrs. Check the extractor.
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Old December 9, 2013, 10:09 AM   #13
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Chances are, it's a crap gun, and your best bet is to just get rid of it, and buy something with some quality. In addition, it might be a better way to spend your money on training for her, than a new gun at this point. Especially if she isn't very experienced.

Quote:
she explained to me how almost every round got stuck ejecting,
Would you mind describing this a bit better? What do you mean get stuck ejecting? Was the case actually getting extracted? But then the slide caught it as it was being ejected? If that's the case, that's usually called a stovepipe malfunction and in most cases is a user induced malfunction. It's usually caused by "limp-wristing" (meaning the gun isn't being held solidly enough) and can usually be solved by changing technique.

Either way, my two recommendations are:

1) Get rid of that PoS gun and get something better...almost anything would be better (also, don't get a .380...go for a 9mm in a Glock 19 size...not necessarily a Glock 19, just something that size).
2) Get training for her.
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Old December 10, 2013, 09:41 AM   #14
biohazard313
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her technique may need to be adjusted. as mentioned above limp wristing is what made my GF's hi point 9mm jam frequently. i shoot it no problems. ofc i shoot .40 and .45 regularly so a 9mm is like a peashooter to me recoil wise. i have no issues. i was able to remedy this for my gf by getting her a wrist brace. she used it for 3-5 times at range when we went, now there are no midfeeds or jams. if that doesnt work try sending to cobra with a note explaining whats happening, also send the mag with it. they will check on that as well. if the firearm is a lemon they will replace or repair under the warranty
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Old December 10, 2013, 01:40 PM   #15
Dragline45
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Quote:
I have worked it over to loosen the springs and smooth the action
Seeing as she had 5 failure to fires from the primers not going off, it sounds to me that by messing with the springs you compromised the reliability of the firing pin having enough force to set off those primers.

Also it looks like the Cobra is a blowback. Blowback pistols are more susceptible to limp wristing, which very well could have been the cause of all the failure to ejects seeing as she is a new shooter.
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Old December 10, 2013, 02:04 PM   #16
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Very unscientifically and not counting a few Milsurp guns like the CZ-82, it seems like around $280-300 is the minimum a guy can spend and still get a decent handgun (Smith & Wesson SD9VE, Ruger P95, etc.). Any lower and you start seeing shady stuff.
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Old December 10, 2013, 02:57 PM   #17
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If you were using Blazer aluminum then that may be the problem, as stated already some guns will not run on it. I have never had any problems with the Aluminum cases but know of others who have one or more guns that don't like it. Cobra has a good warranty, if it still won't run send it back.
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Old December 10, 2013, 03:52 PM   #18
Madcap_Magician
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You bought a junk gun and got junk results, don't be hard on yourself or your girlfriend.

Cobra, Jennings, Bryco, whatever, they're all the same maker and they're largely garbage.
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Old December 10, 2013, 06:00 PM   #19
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Quote:
She attempted 12 shots before she came home in tears with an unfired round stuck in the action and struck by the firing pin.
I don't know many ranges that would allow someone to take a gun off the line with a live round in it. Did they not offer assistance, or did she not ask?

The gun is substandard at best. That's pretty well established. However, she does need some formal training based on what you've posted.
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Old December 11, 2013, 11:11 AM   #20
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There are plenty of inexpensive guns that are quite good.
Inexpensive can be very different than cheaply made.
Price alone isn't always the criteria.
For example, an older fella' comes to the local range and regularly brings his one and only revolver, from some obscure manufacturer, in .38spl.
He's not a revolver guy, but figures everyone should know how to use one.
And it works just fine and always has.
He said he paid $100 for it, over twenty years ago.
While he wouldn't carry it for his self defense gun, it serves an important purpose for a good, affordable practice gun.
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Old December 11, 2013, 01:12 PM   #21
temmi
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It sounds like it may be gun...

1: Try a different brand of ammo
If still bad
2:send back to be fixed


If not bad with new ammo
1: try differnt ammo until it fails again
Then
Send back

In the end always get good equipment...

and at least a 9mm

Snake
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Old December 12, 2013, 11:29 AM   #22
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Quote:
There are plenty of inexpensive guns that are quite good.
Inexpensive can be very different than cheaply made.
Price alone isn't always the criteria.
I agree. I researched and bought three inexpensive guns that have been reliable and accurate. I tended to ignore the gun snobs when I was researching as I did the fanatics on both sides. I am happy with my HiPoint C9, Phoenix HP-22 and Heritage Rough Rider. As to rifles, I like my 2 Marlins and one Henry.
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Old December 12, 2013, 06:13 PM   #23
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ive owned a few SNS in my time, Jennings .22lr, Raven .25acp, Davis .32acp... etc. they all worked with standard RN ammo.

I did find that I would occasionally get ejection failures with cci aluminum case ammo. I found that the spend case would split regularly and "over expand" which probably cause extraction issues.

brass cased FMJ or Rem yellow jacket and vipers in the .22lr and nary a bobble.
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Old December 12, 2013, 09:56 PM   #24
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cheap doesnt corelate to the actual cost.

Ive picked up 1400 dollar rifles at the gunstore and had those fancy smancy collapsable and adjustable stocks actually fall off, just from picking it up. Ive had one nice colt patrolman thingy that the adjustable stock BROKE when i pushed the button that lets you lengthen it. Really nice when it turns into an un registered short rifle...

more men were killed with $15 dollar rusted up percussion revolvers and mail in cartridge conversions of same then were killed with brand new 25 dollar colt saa's.
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Old December 13, 2013, 05:11 AM   #25
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I can add a couple cents. Turns out, I ran into one about a year ago. A buddy of mine who I've bought a couple of guns off of in the past had recently just got back into it and only had a Cobra FS380, but needed to dump it for cash fast. $150 didn't sound like much for a gun with two boxes of ammo, so I said, "what the heck?". Setting the looks aside, I tried not to make any assumptions until I really knew if it worked or not. Let's be honest, it looks like a toaster shaped into something resembling a gun with a paper clip extractor. I could never get over the fact that it had no slide lock. It looked cheap. It felt cheap. Well, I finally got around to shooting it...

Three rounds. That's it. I had had it. It light struck and stovepiped every time, but seemed to go into battery on a second struck cartridge. I couldn't wait to get rid of it, and finally, months later, he begged for me to sell it back to him. I'm glad he was desparate, because there was no way I would've otherwise been able to get rid of it.

If you can't seem to part with it just yet, the gun SHOULD come with a lifetime warranty and they can probably get it up and running again. That's if you really want to get into that situation. If the opportunity presents itself, I say dump the gun and run. There are plenty of excellent DA type semi auto imports around right now in the $200-$300. That's plenty cheap for a life-saver for your girlfriend, who to you should be priceless.
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