SOLD FOR: $2400
Model: Lightning 1877
Serial Number: 88707
Year of Manufacture: 1892 (https://www.colt.com/serial-lookup)
Caliber: .38 Colt
Action Type: Double and Single Action Side Gate Loaded Revolver
Markings: The top of the barrel is marked “COLT’S PT. F. A. MFG. Co. / HARTFORD. CT. U.S.A.”. The left side of the barrel is marked “COLT. D.A. 38”. The left side of the frame under the cylinder is marked with three-lines of patent dates and a rampant colt in a circle. The butt, trigger guard strap, and the bottom of the grip frame are all marked with the serial number, “88707”. The frame above the firing pin hole is marked “0″. The inside of the loading gate is marked with assembly number “333”.
Barrel Length: 4 1/2”
Sights/Optics: The front sight is blade fixed to the barrel. The rear sight is a v-notch integral to the topstrap which features a groove for glare reduction.
Stock Configuration and Condition: The grips are checkered black hard rubber on a bird’s head grip frame, with a Rampant Colt in an oval at the top of each panel. The right panel has gone to a slight brown color. The grips have light handling wear with just a couple of spots worn smooth and a few scattered light nicks and scratches. The checkering is generally well defined. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grips rate in Fine condition, as Antique.
Type of Finish: Blue & Case Color
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is semi-bright with sharp rifling. There is some scattered light erosion in the bore and a couple of spots of light pitting.
Overall Condition: This revolver retains about 65% of its metal finish. The finish is thinning at all edges. The barrel has generally strong finish with a spot of wear on the left at the muzzle and scattered nicks and scratches, most notable on the bottom. The ejector rod housing has scraping along the edges of the ejector slot and similar nicks and scratches to the barrel. The frame has strong case color in some areas with other areas muted. The cylinder has scattered wear around the outside with strong finish in the flutes. The grip frame has handling wear. There are scattered nicks, scuffs, scratches and minor surface oxidation. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to lightly tool marked with strong slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this revolver is in Fine condition as Antique.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The cylinder locks up tightly when the trigger is depressed. The double action trigger is smooth. The single action trigger is crisp. We did not fire this revolver. As with all used firearms, thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork, and 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 Short 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. Billy the Kid was known to carry the “Lightning” model on offer here. This example is in quite nice condition for a 130 year old gun. It retains the majority of its factory finish with some honest wear. The bore is in good shape and the mechanics are still strong. We don’t see too many 1877s in this high condition, and it will make a great addition to a Colt collection. Good luck and happy bidding!