SOLD FOR: $1540
Model: 1877 Lightning
Serial Number: 125252
Year of Manufacture: 1901 (https://colt.com/serial-lookup)
Caliber: .38 Long Colt
Action Type: Single Action/Double Action Revolver with Side Loading Gate Cylinder
Markings: The left side of the barrel is marked “COLT. D. A. 38”. The top of the barrel is marked “COLT’S PT. F. A. MFG. Co. / HARTFORD. CT. U.S.A.”. The bottom of the barrel is marked “38” above the cylinder pin head. The left side of the frame is marked “PAT. SEPT. 19, 1871 / “ “ 15, “ 74. / “ JAN. 19, “ 75.” and with a circled rampant colt logo. The underside of the frame at the grip frame, the front of the trigger guard just behind it and the front underside edge of the backstrap are marked “125252”. The rear face of the cylinder is marked “252”. The rear of the loading gate has assembly number “40”.
Barrel Length: 4 1/2”
Sights / Optics: The front sight is blade fixed to the barrel. The rear sight is a “V” groove in the top strap.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are checkered hard rubber on a bird’s head grip frame, with a Rampant Colt in an oval at the top of each panel. The grips have a few nicks and scratches, most notable under the rampant colt on the left panel. The checkering has smoothed slightly on the edges where they taper to a point at the bottom. Otherwise, the checkering is well defined. There is good detail in the rampant colts. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grips are in about Very Good-Fine condition.
Type of Finish: Blue & Case Color
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is bright and the rifling is sharp. There is no erosion in the bore.
Overall Condition: This revolver retains about 90% of its metal finish. The finish is thinning at most edges. The most notable finish loss is handling wear in the grip areas. There is a little wear at the left-front of the barrel and the front of the ejector housing. The cylinder has some minor wear around each flute. There is some scattered minor surface oxidation, most notable on the left of the frame behind the cylinder. There are scattered minor scuffs and scratches. The screws, trigger and hammer retain strong fire blue. The frame’s case color is generally strong with good figuring. The screw heads are sharp. The markings are clear. Overall, this revolver appears in Fine condition but rates about Good-Very Good due to its Mechanics.
Mechanics: The timing is a little off, sometimes allowing the cylinder to over-rotate. Otherwise, the action functions correctly. The double action trigger is fairly smooth, a little heavy. The single action trigger is crisp, but also a little heavy. We did not fire 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 M1877 was a double action revolver manufactured by Colt’s Patent Fire Arms from January 1877 to 1909 for a total of 166,849 revolvers. The Model 1877 was offered in three calibers, which lent them three unofficial names: the “Lightning”, the “Thunderer”, and the “Rainmaker”. The principal difference between the models was the cartridge in which they were chambered: the “Lightning” being chambered in .38 Long Colt; the “Thunderer” in .41 Long Colt. An earlier model in .32 Colt known as the “Rainmaker” was offered in 1877. The M1877 was designed by one of the inventors of the M1873 Colt Single Action Army, William Mason, as Colt’s first attempt at manufacturing a double-action revolver and was also the first successful US-made double-action cartridge revolver. Neither “Lightning” nor “Thunderer” were Colt designations, nor used by the factory in any reference materials. Both terms were coined by Benjamin Kittredge, one of Colt’s major distributors, who was also responsible for the term “Peacemaker” for the Single Action Army. Old West Outlaw John Wesley Hardin frequently used both “Lightning” and “Thunderer” versions of the Colt 1877 revolver. This Lightning is in outstanding condition for a 120 year old gun. It retains about 90% of its factory blue and case color finish and a great bore with only a slight timing issue preventing it from rating in Fine condition. This would be a great addition to a Colt collection, especially with all of the strong case color and fire blue remaining on this revolver. Please see our photos and good luck!