SOLD FOR: $1678
Model: 1878 Double Action Frontier
Serial Number: 19505
Year of Manufacture: 1887 (https://colt.com/serial-lookup)
Caliber: .44-40 WCF (Winchester Center Fire)
Action Type: Single or Double Action Revolver with Side Loading Gate Cylinder
Markings: The top of the barrel is marked “COLT’S PT. F.A. MFG. Co. HARTFORD CT. U.S.A.”, this marking is worn and incomplete. The bottom is marked “44”. The butt is marked “19 / 505” in front of the lanyard loop. The rear face of the cylinder is marked “S” and “05”. The left of the trigger guard is marked “44 CAL”. The left of the frame, under the grip, is marked with assembly number “459”.
Barrel Length: 7 1/2”
Sights / Optics: The rear sight is a “V” notch in the top strap. The front sight is a tapered blade fixed to the barrel.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are checkered hard rubber with smooth borders, wedge-shaped smooth base and rampant colt in oval at the top of each panel. Originally black, the grips have gone to a brown color. The left panel has a chip-loss at the bottom-rear. There are some scattered light nicks and scratches. Apart from the chip loss on the left panel, the checkering is generally well defined, the rampant colts still show fairly good detail. Overall, the grips are in about Good condition as Antique.
Type of Finish: Blued
Finish Originality: Refinished
Bore Condition: The bore is gray with well defined rifling. There is light erosion and some minor pitting scattered through the bore.
Overall Condition: This revolver retains about 90% of its current metal finish. The new finish is generally strong throughout. The balance is mostly in scattered light nicks, scuffs, scratches and some light oxidation. There is some finish wear at the muzzle on each side .There is scattered light erosion, nicks and scratches under the finish. Remaining markings range from clear to worn and incomplete, some markings have been removed entirely. The screw heads are tool marked with strong slots. Overall, this revolver is in about Fair-plus condition as Antique (see Mechanics).
Mechanics: The action does not function correctly. When operated both single and double action, the hammer does not engage with the sear. The mainspring appears to be missing or broken. The hand does not reliably advance the cylinder. We have not fired this revolver. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None.
Our Assessment: The Colt DA Frontier Revolver, Model of 1878 was made until 1905, when swing-out cylinder double-action revolvers started to push loading gate revolvers out of the market. About 51,210 of these revolvers were made, with about 41,000 produced prior to 1899. This model had the same sharp knuckle at the top of the backstrap used on the Model 1877 “Lightning” but has a flat loading gate instead of the SAA style rounded loading gate. Otherwise, it still loosely resembled the SAA revolver with a side loading gate cylinder, and remained in production after the Model 1889 was produced with its swing-out cylinder. This example was made in 1887 and chambered for the .44-40 cartridge, which would have made it a good companion for a Winchester rifle chambered for the same round. It will need some work before it will function properly, but would make a nice restoration project or source of parts for another 1878 Double Action Frontier. Please see our photos and good luck!