Colt Model 1878 DA Frontier Nickel .45 Double Action Revolver, 1881 Antique

SOLD FOR: $1250

LSB#: 210721TS70

Make: Colt

Model: 1878 Double Action Frontier

Serial Number: 5374

Year of Manufacture: 1881 (

Caliber: .45 Colt

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.”. The inside of the right grip panel has “WALTER / MENDONCA” hand scribed. The butt is marked “5374” in front of the lanyard loop. The rear face of the cylinder is  marked “3 7 4” and with “H” and “B” inspector’s marks. The left of the trigger guard is marked “45 CAL”.

Barrel Length: 7 1/2”

Sights / Optics: The rear sight is a “V” notch in the top strap. The front sight is a 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 a few scattered nicks and scratches. The checkering is well defined. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grips are in Fine-plus condition as Antique.

Type of Finish: Nickel

Finish Originality: Original

Bore Condition: The bore is gray with well defined rifling. There is scattered erosion and pitting in the bore.

Overall Condition: This revolver retains about 60% of its metal finish. There is finish loss at and around most edges. There is some flaking at the front and rear of the barrel. The frame shows more notable finish loss on the sides. The backstrap has some flaking with dark residue or erosion where the nickel is missing. Most areas of finish loss show light oxidation with some less frequent surface erosion. The remaining nickel shows some scattered light nicks, scratches, swirling and scuffing. There is some blue remaining on the rear of the hammer and trigger. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with strong slots. The markings are legible. Overall, this revolver is in Very Good condition as Antique.

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 example retains some of its original nickel finish, has a decent bore and strong mechanics. Chambered for the classic .45 Colt cartridge with a 7 1/2″ barrel, it would have been a formidable sidearm in 1881 when it was made. It would make a great addition to a Colt collection. Please see our photos and good luck!

Colt Model 1878 DA Frontier Nickel .45 Double Action Revolver, 1881 Antique
Colt Model 1878 DA Frontier Nickel .45 Double Action Revolver, 1881 Antique