Colt 1877 Lightning Etched Panel .38 LC D.A. Revolver & Letter 1888 Antique

SOLD FOR: $1212.12

LSB#: 220503LB005

Make: Colt

Model: 1877 Lightning

Serial Number: 65860

Year of Manufacture: 1888 (

Caliber: .38 Long Colt

Action Type: Single Action/Double Action Revolver with Side Loading Gate Cylinder

Markings: The left side of the barrel has a faint “COLT D.A. 38” etched panel. The top of the barrel is marked “COLT’S PT. F. A. MFG. Co. / HARTFORD. CT. U.S.A.”, the bottom is marked “38” under the cylinder pin head. The left side of the frame is marked “PAT. SEPT. 19, 1871. / “   “  15, “ 74. / “ JAN. 19, “ 75.”. The underside of the frame at the grip frame, the front of the trigger guard just behind it and the front underside edge of the backstrap are marked “65860”. The rear face of the cylinder is marked “8 6 0”. The rear face of the frame under the hammer is marked “3” and “K”. The rear of the loading gate has assembly number “667”.

Barrel Length: 4 1/2”

Sights / Optics: The front sight is blade fixed to the barrel. The rear sight is a “V” groove in the top strap.

Stock Configuration & Condition: The birdshead grips are two-piece checkered black hard rubber with rampant colts in ovals at their tops. The grips have scattered patches where the checkering has worn smooth with other areas of well defined checkering. There are scattered minor nicks, scuffs and scratches. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grips are in Very Good condition as Antique.

Type of Finish: Blue, Case Color & Chrome Plated Cylinder

Finish Originality: The cylinder has been refinished. Other finish appears Original.

Bore Condition: The bore is gray. The rifling is sharp where not interrupted by erosion. There is some scattered light erosion and pitting in the bore.

Overall Condition: This revolver retains about 30% of its metal finish. Most of the finish is in the cylinder’s new chrome plate. The cylinder has some scuffing and cloudiness with scattered minor erosion under the chrome. The frame has some case color visible on the interior but the exposed surfaces have mostly muted or gone to a light patina. There is some scattered blue finish, mostly in protected areas with most exposed surfaces gone to a light patina. There is a little scattered minor surface erosion and some light nicks, scuffs and scratches. The screw heads are generally sharp, some are lightly tool marked with strong slots. The mainspring strain-screw is missing from the frontstrap. The markings range from clear to worn and incomplete, most notable is the etched panel which is only visible on close inspection with proper lighting. Overall, this revolver is in Very Good condition as partially refinished Antique.

Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The mainspring strain screw is missing from the frontstrap. The cylinder locks up with no play when the trigger is depressed. The double action trigger is smooth, if a little heavy. The single action trigger is crisp. We did not fire this revolver. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.

Box, Paperwork & Accessories: This revolver comes with a Colt Archive letter which indicates that this revolver shipped June 28, 1888 to W.R. Burkhard of St. Paul, Minnesota as one of three guns of the same type in the shipment.

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 Long 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. Old West Outlaw John Wesley Hardin frequently used both “Lightning” and “Thunderer” versions of the Colt 1877 revolver.

This Lightning is from 1888, when the barrels were marked with etched panels and the frames were not yet marked with the rampant colt logo. This example is in great mechanical condition and while its cylinder has been chrome plated, the other remaining finish is original. This would be a great addition to a Colt collection, especially coming with a Colt letter. The letter shows that this revolver originally shipped to W.R. Burkhard, a gunmaker and seller who operated out of St. Paul, Minnesota in the mid-late 19th century. Please see our photos and good luck!

Colt 1877 Lightning Etched Panel .38 LC D.A. Revolver & Letter 1888 Antique
Colt 1877 Lightning Etched Panel .38 LC D.A. Revolver & Letter 1888 Antique