Colt Lightning Magazine Rifle CLMR Small Frame .22 Pump Rifle, 1903 C&R

SOLD FOR: $1204

LSB#: 210904DJ19

Make: Colt

Model: Lightning Magazine Rifle, Small Frame

Serial Number: 81358

Year of Manufacture: 1903 (

Caliber: .22 Short & Long (not Long Rifle)

Action Type: Slide / Pump Action, Half Length Tube Magazine Fed Rifle

Markings: The top of the barrel is marked “COLT’S PT. F.A. MFG. CO. HARTFORD CONN. U.S.A. / PATENTED MAY 29. SEPT 18, 83 MAY 26. 85. JUNE 15. 86. FEB. 22. 1887.” in front of the rear sight. The left shoulder is marked “22 Cal.”. The left side of the receiver has a Rampant Colt logo. The bottom tang is marked “81358” and has a small “R” at the very rear.

Barrel Length: 24”, Tapered Octagonal

Sights / Optics: The front sight is a two-position flip-up sight, when flipped down it is a small white bead, when flipped up it is a globe with a small beaded post. The rear sight is a “U” notched elevator sight dovetailed to the rear of the barrel. The top tang is installed with a flip-up aperture peep sight.

Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two-piece smooth wood with a straight grip, straight comb and checkered black hard rubber Colt buttplate. The slide handle has an outline for checkering but is not checkered. The slide handle has some scattered scuffs, draglines, compressions, a couple of scratches and there are light tool marks around the mounting screws. The buttstock has some scattered scuffs, scratches, nicks, and some light scrapes. There are some compressions. The buttstock has discoloration on the wrist. The LOP measures 13 3/8″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has some wear at the heel and toe, otherwise having well-defined checkering and good detail on the rampant colt. Overall, the buttstock is in about Very Good condition.

Type of Finish: Blued

Finish Originality: Original

Bore Condition: The bore is dark with heavily worn rifling. There is erosion and pitting in the bore.

Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 75% of its metal finish. The finish is thinning at the edges. The receiver has some scattered scuffs, nicks, and scratches. There are some spots of oxidation scattered over the receiver. The tangs and trigger guard have some finish loss. The barrel has developed a patina. The barrel has scattered spots of oxidation and some scabs. There are some little nicks and scratches scattered over the barrel. The barrel has a few spots of pinprick erosion. There are areas of mottled thinning. The screw heads have tool marks with serviceable slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this rifle is in about Good-Very Good condition.

Mechanics: The action functions correctly. We have not fired this rifle. As with all previously owned firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.

Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None

Our Assessment: Around the 1880s, Colt was looking to diversify but both Remington and Winchester had the rifle market sewn up. Besides their lever-actions, there were also new slide action rifles: the user pumped a moving arm set under the barrel and around a tubular magazine, kicking out a spent round and loading a new one with every “stroke”. Colt concentrated on this design concept and in 1884 introduced a gun with a short slide action that was so slick and so fast; they dubbed it the “Lightning”. The advertising said it all: “Nothing was faster than lightning”. Dr. William H. Elliot, a dentist by trade, designed the gun. Half hobby, half side job, Elliot liked to tinker with things and over the course of his life came up with at least 130 inventions. Since he lived in Ilion, New York, he often walked down to neighboring Remington and showed them the interesting things he was working on and when Remington didn’t bite on his new rifle design, he sent a letter to Colt, who loved it. The handy rifle’s tubular magazine could hold as many as 16 rounds, depending on caliber, which made it very attractive. It came in three varieties: small, medium, and large. Each of these guns had the same set up, with a deep-blued finish, case hardened hammer, American walnut stock and fore-end, and open rear and front sights. They were light, going 6.5-pounds or so. The medium frame guns, chambered for .32-20, .38-40 and .44-40 Winchester calibers, marketed as 32, 38 and 40 CLMR (Colt Lightning Magazine Rifle), were the most popular, using some of the same cartridges as Colt’s Single Action Army and with ammunition already being produced for Winchester’s rifles. 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 example is a 1903 production small frame chambered for .22 Short and Long. It shows honest wear which could be considered light given its age of nearly 120 years and still has a lot of finish remaining. This is a nice example of the Colt Lightning that will be a great addition to your collection. Please see our pictures and good luck!

Colt Lightning Magazine Rifle CLMR Small Frame .22 Pump Rifle, 1903 C&R
Colt Lightning Magazine Rifle CLMR Small Frame .22 Pump Rifle, 1903 C&R