Colt Lightning Magazine Rifle Medium Frame 44-40 CLMR WCF Pump 1888 Antique

SOLD FOR: $2527

LSB#: 210925MZ49

Make: Colt

Model: Lightning Magazine Rifle, Medium Frame

Serial Number: 27396

Year of Manufacture: 1888 (

Caliber: .44 CLMR (.44-40 Winchester)

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

Markings: The top of the barrel is marked “COLT’S PT. F.A. MFG. CO. HARTFORD CT. U.S.A. / + ELLIOT’S PATENTS MAY 29. 1883. SEPT 18. 1883. +” in front of the rear sight, “44 Cal.” behind. The left side of the receiver has a very faint, incomplete Rampant Colt logo. The bottom tang is marked “27396”.

Barrel Length: 26”, Tapered Octagonal

Sights / Optics: The front sight is a german silver blade in a slotted base dovetailed to the front of the barrel. The rear sight is a “V”-notch elevator sight dovetailed to the rear of the barrel. The top tang is drilled, tapped and filled for a peep sight (none included).

Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are walnut with a two-piece checkered slide handle, straight grip, straight comb and steel crescent buttplate. The stocks have scattered light nicks, dings, scuffs and scratches. There is a more notable ding on the right-rear of the buttstock just in front of two short cracks at the rear edge. There is a chip-loss in the left of the wrist at the top-front corner. The checkering on the slide handle shows wear, but is generally well defined. The LOP measures 13 3/8″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has gone to a moderate-dark patina with scattered erosion in the face. Overall, the stocks are in Good-Very Good condition as antique.

Type of Finish: Blued

Finish Originality: Original

Bore Condition: The bore is gray. The rifling is worn, but visible. There is scattered light erosion and minor pitting in the bore.

Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 0% of its metal finish. The surfaces have a mottled appearance with some areas nearly worn white, and others ranging from a light patina to a thick, dark patina with solid erosion. Most edges are worn to white. There are some scattered nicks, scuffs and scratches. The action shows operational wear. There are tool marks at some screw heads. The screw heads range from sharp to disfigured with serviceable slots. The markings are generally worn, but legible. The rampant colt marking is very faint and incomplete, as is common on these rifles. Overall, this rifle is in Good-plus condition as Antique.

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 44 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 an 1888 vintage Medium frame chambered for .44-40. The rifle shows wear consistent with its age of more than 130 years. It retains a fair bore, mostly intact markings and strong mechanics. This will make for a nice example of the Colt Lightning and would be an excellent addition to any safe in America. Please see our pictures and good luck!

Colt Lightning Magazine Rifle Medium Frame 44-40 CLMR WCF Pump 1888 Antique
Colt Lightning Magazine Rifle Medium Frame 44-40 CLMR WCF Pump 1888 Antique