AMF: King Cobra

by Bob Johnson 0

48 Hook 14 Length 14.5 Breakpoint Shape

Manufacturer’s Intent: “There’s a new Cobra in town, boasting a lower RG and nearly twice the differential of its predecessor,” says Paul Figliomeni. “The King Cobra features the traditional light-bulb core, matched with our F55 coverstock, to provide a smooth, continuous motion on medium lane conditions.”

Core Design: The venerable light bulb-shaped core is one of the more simplistic yet effective symmetrical cores ever produced. Its shape contributes to more release forgiveness, while its low RG of 2.46 and .030 differential offer plenty of control downlane.

Coverstock: The F-55 solid reactive coverstock formula is average in overall strength. This ball is colored in red and black swirl. The factory grit is advertised at 4000, although we measured the effective surface grit to be 3800. The Ra is 8. Oil traction is above average, while the response time off friction is moderate to slightly slow.

Test Results: The first Cobra reactive, the Cobra SE (August 2012), incorporated a strong cover formula (F-74) and a high RG core (2.57), with a low flaring differential (.017). The King Cobra features a less aggressive cover formula, a faster revving core and more differential for added flare. The result is easier length with a more predictable end game on many lane conditions. We felt the King Cobra handled oil carrydown quite a bit better than the SE version. The King Cobra is far more versatile and will appeal to a much more diverse audience of players. It can be a benchmark type of ball because of the predictability and control it offers.

When to Use: The King Cobra will shine on light-medium to medium oil volumes when pattern length is not too long. We had excellent looks and great pin carry on our 37-, 39- and 42-ft. house and Sport shots, but horrible looks on our heavier volume and 44-ft.-long oil patterns. Since AMF and others offer better choices for these types of patterns, we’ll simply use the King Cobra when not facing the heavy stuff. We felt the pin above and pin below the fingers rolled very similarly, with the 4.5-inch pin distances at the 4000-grit box finish. When polished, the ball provided much more of a skid/flip breakpoint shape as a result of the F-55 cover and low-flaring core.

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson has received more national writing awards than any other bowling writer — close to 70 over the course of his 40-year career. He began at age 16 as a staff writer and then assistant editor for the weekly Pacific Bowler newspaper in his native California, and within three years was writing feature stories for Bowlers Journal. He has written for the magazine ever since, except for a five-year span when he was hired as the founding editor of another magazine. He moved to Chicago in 2000 and spent 13 years in the Windy City, including five as Bowlers Journal’s Editor. In 1975, Johnson received the Robert E. Kennedy Award as California’s top undergraduate high school journalist. Five years earlier, on the lanes, he had shared the Bantam Division Doubles championship in the Orange County Junior Bowling Association Championships. Today, he continues to work full-time for Bowlers Journal as its Senior Editor, to write his popular “Strikes Me” column, and to edit Luby Publishing Inc.’s weekly business-to-business Cyber Report.