SOLD FOR: $1,278
Model: 1885 Lightning Magazine Rifle Medium Frame
Serial Number: 29485
Year of Manufacture: 1888 (https://www.colt.com/serial-lookup)
Caliber: .32-20 Winchester (Also known as .38 W.C.F.)
Action Type: Pump Action with Full Length Tubular Magazine
Markings: The lower tang is marked “29485”. The top of the barrel is marked “COLT’S PT. F.A. MFG. CO. HARTFORD, CT. U.S.A. / PATENTED MAY 29.SEPT.18.83.MAY 26.85.JUNE 15.86.FEB.22.87” and at the receiver with “32 Cal”. The left receiver flat has a rampant colt logo. The bottom of the top tang is marked “29485”. The inside of the buttplate is marked “9485”. The underside of the bolt’s cover is marked “485”.
Barrel Length: The round barrel is 26” in length with a full-length magazine tube.
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a german silver blade in a slotted base dovetailed to the front of the barrel. The rear sight is a “V”-notch semi-buckhorn leaf and elevator sight dovetailed to the rear of the barrel. The top tang is drilled, tapped and filled for a tang-sight (none included).
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks consist of a two-piece checkered forend and a buttstock with a smooth, straight grip and a crescent shaped buttplate. The left forend panel has a thin crack at the rear edge toward the bottom and scattered light-moderate compressions and scratches. The right forend panel has a chip loss across the tops of the mounting screw escutcheons with the remainder having scattered light compressions and scratches. The buttstock has discoloration from age and oil around the tangs and buttplate, a small chip loss to each side of the top tang at the front, and several scattered light nicks, scuffs and scratches. The LOP measures 13 1/4″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has a thick, dark patina with scattered light wear. Overall, the stocks are in about Fair-plus condition as refinished Antique
Type of Finish: Blued
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is light gray with sharp rifling. There is very light erosion scattered through the bore.
Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 15% of its metal finish. Finish remains around the front sight, on the bottom of the barrel, the top of the magazine tube, each receiver flat and on the bottom tang forward of the trigger guard to each side of the rib which extends from the front of the trigger guard. The remainder of the metal surfaces show a mottled light-moderate patina, scattered lgiht nicks, scratches and scuffs, scattered light surface oxidation and infrequent very light surface erosion, tool marks around most screw heads, and tool marks to each side of the rear sight. The screw heads range from sharp to lightly disfigured with useable slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this rifle is in about Good condition as Antique and would rate Very Good but for the damage to the stocks.
Mechanics: The hammer has a half cock notch. The action functions correctly. The slide travels smoothly. We have not fired this gun. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None
Our Assessment: This is a Colt Lightning Medium Frame Slide Action Rifle. Colt chambered this model in the same cartridges used in its 1873 SAA revolver, but since this was a rifle, they didn’t want to use the name Winchester anywhere in the description of the rifle or its ammunition, so they came up with their own “Colt Lightning Magazine Rifle (CLMR)” ammunition. Colt made the Lightning in three frame sizes to cover everything from .22 Short to .38-40 to .50-95. The Lightning rifles saw use as a sporting arm and were also adopted for use by the San Francisco Police Department, but were never as popular or as reliable as the various lever action rifles of the day. Ultimately, the rifle was discontinued as Winchester and Colt came to the agreement that Winchester would produce rifles, Colt would produce handguns, and nobody needed to make the market competition get ugly. This Medium Frame was made in 1888 and is chambered in .32-20 WCF with a 26” round barrel and full-length magazine tube. This rifle is in about Good-plus condition with some damage to the stocks but retaining some original finish, a pretty darned good bore for a 130 year old gun, and strong mechanics. Colt Lightning rifles are very collectible, and those that haven’t been refinished that are still in working condition are very hard to find. We think the Colt collectors will be very happy to see this going up for auction. Please see our photos and good luck!