Colt Model 1877 Lightning .38 LC D.A. Double Action Revolver, 1881 Antique

SOLD FOR: $1270

LSB#: 220316CA357

Make: Colt

Model: 1877 “Lightning”

Serial Number: 28738

Year of Manufacture: 1881 (

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. M??? / HARTFORD. CT. U.??”. The left side of the frame under the cylinder is marked with three-lines of patent dates. The butt, trigger guard strap, and the bottom of the grip frame are all marked with the serial number, “28738”. The left trigger guard flat is marked “38 CAL” at the rear. The rear of the loading gate is marked with assembly number “635”. The hammer slot is marked “H”.

Barrel Length: 2 1/2”

Sights/Optics: The front sight is blade fixed to the barrel. The rear sight is a “V”-notch integral to the topstrap.

Stock Configuration and Condition: The grips are two-piece checkered hard rubber on a bird’s head grip frame, with a Rampant Colt in an oval at the top of each panel. Originally black, the grips have gone to a brown color on the exposed portion. The grips have some scattered light nicks, scuffs and scratches. The checkering is generally well defined, the ridges toward the bottom which lead to the point of the grips have worn smooth and the right panel’s checkering shows a little more wear than the left. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grips rate in Very Good-plus condition as Antique.

Type of Finish: Nickel

Finish Originality: Refinished

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

Overall Condition: This revolver retains about 85% of its current metal finish. There is flaking at some edges, most notable at the muzzle, in the loading slot, the front of the cylinder and the edges of the trigger guard. There is some scattered oxidation, primarily in the cylinder flutes. There are some light nicks, scuffs and scratches. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with strong slots. The markings range from clear to worn and incomplete. Overall, this revolver is in Very Good-Fine condition as refinished Antique.

Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The cylinder locks up with no play 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 from fairly early in production, 1881 and has been given a new nickel finish. The gun is in great mechanical shape, especially being more than 140 years old. This would be a neat addition to a Colt revolver collection missing the “Lightning”. Good luck and happy bidding!

Colt Model 1877 Lightning .38 LC D.A. Double Action Revolver, 1881 Antique
Colt Model 1877 Lightning .38 LC D.A. Double Action Revolver, 1881 Antique