Colt Lightning Magazine Rifle CLMR Medium Frame .32-20 WCF Pump Action 1901

SOLD FOR: $1462

LSB#: 220331MD002

Make: Colt

Model: Lightning Magazine Rifle, Medium Frame

Serial Number: 88062

Year of Manufacture: 1901

Caliber: .32 CLMR (.32-20 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. / PATENTED MAY 29 SEPT. 18. 83. MAY 26. 85. JUNE 15. 86. FEB. 22. 87.” in front of the rear sight, the rear is marked “32 Cal.”. The left side of the receiver has a faint Rampant Colt logo. The bottom tang is marked “88062”.

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 leaf and elevator sight dovetailed to the rear of the barrel. The top tang is drilled and tapped for a peep sight (none included).

Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are walnut with a two-piece slide handle, straight wrist, straight comb and steel crescent buttplate. A compass has been inlaid to the left of the buttstock. The stocks have scattered nicks, dings, scuffs and scratches. The forend’s finish shows some crazing. There are cracks and a few small losses at the front edges of the wrist, one thin crack at the toe, and scattered voids in the buttstock’s finish. The LOP measures 13 3/8″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has mostly worn to white with scattered surface oxidation and some light erosion. Overall, the stocks are in Good condition as refinished.

Type of Finish: Blued

Finish Originality: Original

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

Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 3% of its metal finish. Remaining finish is in protected areas such as corners and around the trigger guard. Most surfaces have worn to white or gone to a light patina. There is scattered light surface erosion. There are several scattered light nicks, dings, scuffs and scratches with tool marks at most screw heads. The action shows operational wear. The dust cover is missing from the top of the bolt assembly. The screw heads range from sharp to disfigured with useable slots. One screw is brass and is a replacement. The markings are generally clear, the rampant colt is worn and incomplete. Overall, this rifle is in about Good condition.

Mechanics: The action functions correctly, however the dust cover is missing from the top of the bolt assembly. 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 1901 production medium frame chambered for .32-20. It is an honest rifle, showing wear which could be considered light considering its age of more than 120 years. 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 1st Generation Single Action Army SAA .38-40 WCF Revolver, 1920 C&R
Colt 1st Generation Single Action Army SAA .38-40 WCF Revolver, 1920 C&R