SOLD FOR: $1100
Model: Lightning Magazine Rifle, Small Frame
Serial Number: 6341
Year of Manufacture: 1888 (https://www.colt.com/serial-lookup)
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 CT. U.S.A. / PATENTED MAY 29. SEPT 18, 83 MAY 26. 85. JUNE 15. 86. FEB. 22. 87.” in front of the rear sight. The left side is marked “22 Cal.”. The left side of the receiver has a Rampant Colt logo. The bottom tang is marked “6341”.
Barrel Length: 24”, Tapered Round
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a blade dovetailed into the barrel. The rear sight is a small “U” notch dovetailed into the barrel.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two-piece wood with a checkered forend, straight grip, straight comb and checkered black hard rubber Colt buttplate. The set appears refinished. There are some scattered light compressions and scuffs. There are a few little dings but they are under the finish. There are some scattered light handling marks. The checkering is strong. The LOP measures 13 3/8″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. There is a small loss on the right edge of the plate. The plate has some scattered marks and light wear but the checkering and rampant colt are well defined. Overall, the stocks are in about Fine condition as Antique.
Type of Finish: Blued
Finish Originality: Refinished
Bore Condition: The bore is dark with heavily worn rifling. There is erosion and pitting in the bore.
Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 50% of its metal finish. The finish has taken on a mottled discoloration and has mottled thinning. There are scattered patches of finish loss, most noticeable on the barrel. There are some scattered little nicks and dings under the finish, some of the most noticeable are on the barrel towards the rear. There are some areas of erosion under the finish, the most noticeable are on the sides of the receiver. There are some scratches under the finish, most noticeable on the sides of the receiver. There are some areas of discoloration from previous oxidation. The screw heads have tool marks with serviceable slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this rifle is in about Fair-Good condition.
Mechanics: The action does not function correctly, the lifter does not come up all the way preventing the action from closing. 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 an 1888 production small frame chambered for .22 Short and Long. This early example would be a nice addition to a growing antique collection. Please see our pictures and good luck!