By: Marc Kelley
Syndicated by: Montana News
As many of you already know about me, I love the classic firearms of the days gone by. They have a much different look than firearms which are produced today, mainly as a result of the blueing process used on vintage firearms. In addition to a different look, vintage firearms have a different feel. This attribute, is largely the result of differing grades of steel, utilized to produce the firearms of days gone by.
Moreover, the designs popular forty, fifty or even one hundred years ago, have changed significantly, replaced by new, updated and some say, more ergonomically designed firearms. With all this being said, if you ever get the chance to shoot a vintage Colt or Smith and Wesson revolver, you will experience these differences first hand. And for some of you…the lucky few, you too, may come to understand, why these pistols are so sought after by collectors and serious shooters alike.
My first chance to lay my hands on a vintage firearms came in the late 1970's. During a trip to the local Coast to Coast Hardware store, I wandered over to the gun department. Today, firearms are rarely found outside of the businesses which specifically deal in their sales; however, if you lived in Montana in the 70's, it was a fairly common practice.
As a young man at this time, I had certainly developed a love for firearms; however, like many young people, I had not yet developed a discriminating taste for vintage weapons…I just wanted to shoot them. As I was talking to the counterman and looking at his selection of handguns, he said to me, "I have a real piece of history here, if your interested in a snub nose, 38 revolver". He unlocked the glass display case and as he handed me the deep blued, steel pistol, said to me "this is the gun that killed Lee Harvey Oswald". Now, before I get a hundred emails, telling me there is no way I have the actual revolver used by Jack Ruby to kill Oswald, I want to make it clear, the revolver he handed to me, was the same make and model used by Ruby when he shot Oswald…A snub nose, Colt Cobra, chambered for the 38 Special cartridge.
Colt firearms have long history of use by Law Enforcement. Beginning with designs like the Colt Police Positive and Detective Special, both chambered in 38 Special. The Colt snub nose .38, has long been favored for its ability to be carried and concealed. Additionally, the Colt has a 6 round capacity, as opposed to the Smith and Wesson, J frames, which were produced with 5 round cylinders. The Colt Cobra was produced from 1950 until 1978 and was re-introduced to the market in 2017.
Unfortunately the Colt Cobras' greatest claim to fame came on November 24, 1963, in Dallas, Texas. Within forty-five minutes of JFK being shot, a young malcontent named Lee Harvey Oswald, was arrested in Dallas, for suspicion of murdering Dallas Police Officer, J.D. Tippet. Oswald was subsequently charged with the assignation of JFK, based on evidence recovered from the Texas School Book Depository, where he was employed. From the very beginning, Oswald claimed he never killed anyone and he was being set up as a "patsy". Oswald's story never changed, before he and Jack Ruby crossed paths.
As Oswald was being transported by Law Enforcement Officers from The Dallas City Jail to the more secure Dallas County Jail, Jack Ruby stepped from the crowd, brandishing his Colt Cobra and fired point blank, into Oswald's abdomen. The single gunshot would prove fatal and set in motion the basis for many of the conspiracy theories, which to this day, revolve around the assassination of one of our countries, most beloved political leaders. Jack Ruby was immediately detained by the Dallas Police and his Colt Cobra recovered, leaving no doubt, Jack Ruby had indeed carried out this shooting. However, separating fact from fiction and reality from conspiracy theory from this point forward, has proven to be very difficult at best and would cast serious doubts, concerning the honesty of our Government, for decades to come.
On the surface, Jack Ruby was little more than a small time criminal, involved in narcotics, prostitution and gambling, which he ran out of his Dallas nightclub. However, there is evidence to support the argument, Rudy did have some ties to organized crime; and as such, was utilized as a hit-man to kill Oswald. During his run for the Presidency, JFK purportedly did take campaign contributions from organized crime syndicates and this money undoubtedly, helped to get him elected. In what was seen by organized crime as a slap in the face, one of JFK's first actions as President, was to appoint his brother Robert, US Attorney General. The younger Kennedy promptly began a war on organized crime, utilizing the full weight of the US Government, against what he personally believed, was the greatest threat facing the nation. These are the actions that help to fuel the conspiracy theory, Lee Harvey Oswald, was indeed a "patsy" as he claimed, and it was in fact, the Mafia who killed President Kennedy on that November day in 1963.
Understanding the history surrounding the Colt Cobra, has made this revolver very sought after by collectors and history buffs alike. This point is further bolstered by Colt's re-introduction of the revolver, in 2017. Adding to the mystique of the firearm which Jack Ruby purchased at a local Dallas gun shop for $ 62.50; is the fact, the pistol was sold at auction December 26, 1991 for the sum of $ 220,000.00. Today, the infamous revolver remains in the private collection of Anthony V. Pugliese of Delray Beach, Florida and only now, have rumors begun to circulate, the Jack Ruby Colt, will once again be offered for sale.