SOLD FOR: $2400
Model: 1878 Double Action Frontier, U.S. Model 1902
Serial Number: 45203
Year of Manufacture: 1900 (https://colt.com/serial-lookup)
Caliber: .45 Colt
Action Type: Single or Double Action Revolver with Side Loading Gate Cylinder
Markings: The left of the barrel is marked “45 COLT”, the top is marked “COLT’S PT. F.A. MFG. Co. HARTFORD CT. U.S.A.”, the bottom is marked “P” and “K”. The left of the frame is marked “R.A.C.” at the rear over the grip, found again on the left-front of the trigger guard and the rear face of the cylinder. The right of the frame is marked “JTT” above the grip, “1902” in front of the grip and under the cylinder with “U.S.”. The left of the frame has a rampant colt in circle. The butt is marked “45 / 203” in front of the lanyard loop. The rear face of the loading gate is marked “5203” and the rear face of the cylinder is marked “5203”. The rear face of the cylinder is also marked “P”.
Barrel Length: 6”
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. The grips have light handling wear with some scattered light nicks and scratches. The checkering and Colts are fairly well defined, there are some smoothed portions in the checkering. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grips are in about Very Good condition.
Type of Finish: Blued
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is mostly bright with sharp rifling. There is infrequent minor erosion in the bore.
Overall Condition: This revolver retains about 50% of its metal finish. The finish is thinning at all edges. There is scattered finish wear with strongest finish on the top-right and bottom of the barrel, the sides of the frame in front of the cylinder, and in protected areas such as around screws, the top of the trigger and corners. There are scattered light nicks, scuffs, scratches and minor surface oxidation. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with strong slots. The markings range from clear to worn and incomplete. Overall, this revolver is in about Very Good condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The cylinder locks up with no play when the trigger is depressed. The double action trigger is heavy, but fairly smooth. The single action is crisp. 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 is from a small subset, one of 4,600 purchased by the U.S. Ordnance Department in 1902, issued in the Philippines and Alaska, with collectors referring to them as the “Philippine” or “Alaskan” model, though the Ordnance Department called them simply Model 1902. One of the primary distinguishing features of the 1902 is its over-sized trigger guard and long trigger spur, making the revolver easier to operate with gloved hands. This example has wear consistent with a service revolver, but retains some original finish, a nice bore and strong mechanics. It would make a great addition to a Colt or U.S. small arms collection. Please see our photos and good luck!