SOLD FOR: $1524
Model: 1878 “Frontier”
Serial Number: 38401
Year of Manufacture: 1898 (COLT Serial Number Lookup)
Caliber: .38-40 WCF
Action Type: DA/SA Double or 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 “38 W. C. F.”. The left side of the frame is marked with the rampant colt. The rear of the loading gate is marked “189”. The butt is marked with the serial on two lines “38 / 401” forward of the lanyard loop. The rear face of the cylinder is marked “401”. The left of the grip frame is marked “189” under the grip panel.
Barrel Length: 5 1/2”
Sights/Optics: The front sight is a quarter round blade fixed to the barrel. The rear sight is a “V” notch in the top strap.
Stock Configuration and Condition: The grips are two-piece checkered hard rubber with smooth borders, wedge-shaped smooth bases and rampant colt in oval at the top of each panel. The grips have some areas of slightly brown discoloration and some scattered minor nicks and scuffs. The checkering is well defined and there is good detail in the rampant colts. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grips are in Fine condition as Antique.
Type of Finish: Blued
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore has been re-lined. The bore is mostly bright with sharp rifling. There is infrequent minor erosion in the bore, mostly at the muzzle-end.
Overall Condition: This revolver retains about 35% of its metal finish. There is scattered finish remaining in protected areas with most surfaces worn to white or gone to a light patina. There are some scattered nicks, scuffs and scratches. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to disfigured usable slots. The markings are fairly clear. Overall, this revolver rates in Good condition, as Antique (see Mechanics).
Mechanics: The trigger has some hitches when pulled through a double-action pull. Occasionally, when operated in single action, if the trigger is not depressed firmly the hammer will fall to half-cock. Otherwise, the action functions correctly. The cylinder locks up with light play when the trigger is depressed. We have not fired 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 DA Frontier Revolver, Model of 1878, was made until 1905, when swing-out cylinder double-action revolvers started to push loading gate revolvers out of the market. About 51,210 of these revolvers were made, with about 41,000 produced prior to 1899. This example has some original finish and the bore has been re-lined, so it is in great condition for its age. The mechanics have a couple of hiccups, but none of us would function quite so well at 124 years of age! This revolver still has much to recommend it. This is a chance to own a firearm designed by William Mason, a man who worked for Remington, Colt, and Winchester, and whose own mechanical genius earned him 126 patents and both the ire and respect of his contemporary John Moses Browning. This Colt M1878 Frontier would make a great addition to a Colt collection. Good luck and happy bidding!