Colt-Burgess New Magazine Sporting .44-40 WCF Lever Rifle 1883-1884 Antique

Sold for $5359.76

Make: Colt

Model: Colt-Burgess, Model 1883, New Magazine Rifle

Serial Number: 3098

Year of Manufacture: 1883-1884

Caliber: .44-40 WCF

Action Type: Lever 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. / +PAT JAN. 7. 73 OCT. 19. 75. APR. 1. 79. DEC. 7. 80. DEC. 13. 81. JAN. 3. 82.+”. The left side of the receiver has the Rampant Colt logo, the lower tang is marked with the serial number.

Barrel Length: 25 1/2”, Octagonal

Sights / Optics: The front sight is a Sheard Marble brass beaded blade dovetailed to the barrel. The rear sight is a semi-buckhorn U-notch sight with an elevator piece that is dovetailed to the barrel. The sights are not original to the rifle. The top tang is drilled, tapped and filled for a tang sight (none present).

Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two-piece smooth walnut with capped forend, straight grip, straight comb and steel crescent buttplate with sliding door over a storage compartment. The stocks have some scattered nicks, dings, scuffs and scratches, most notable in the sides of the buttstock. The wood-to-metal fit is quite good with the exceptions of the toe where the wood is just a touch shy of the plate. The grain lines have become quite pronounced with age but there are no chips or cracks. The LOP measures 12 7/8” from the front of the trigger to the back of the butt plate. The plate has gone to a light mottled patina with some scattered wear and infrequent surface erosion. The stocks rate in about Fine overall condition as Antique.

Type of Finish: Originally blued, no finish remains.

Finish Originality: We see no evidence of refinishing.

Bore Condition: The bore is mostly dim with strong rifling. There is scattered light erosion and some pitting in the bore.

Overall Condition: This rifle retains only traces of its metal finish; all of which has turned dark patina. The surfaces of the rifle are generally gray from cleaning an old and dark patina. There is scattered erosion and scratching, with some nicks and edge wear, etc. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads are tool marked with serviceable slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this rifle rates in about Very Good condition as Antique.

Mechanics: The action functions correctly. 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: Although Colt predominately was a manufacturer of popular revolvers, such as the Colt Single Action Army, the company began in the 1880s to seek to compete against Winchester in the rifle market. In 1882, Colt contacted Andrew Burgess to design a lever-action rifle and by July 1883, production of the new rifle had begun. The Colt-Burgess was produced for sixteen months thereafter, with a total of 6,403 guns manufactured. Approximately 60% of these were of the rifle variation. When compared to production figures of Winchester’s 1873 rifle, the Colt-Burgess failed as a serious competitor to Winchester. From 1873 to 1919, Winchester manufactured 720,610 Model 1873 rifles, or an average of over 15,000 per year.

The short production history of the Colt-Burgess has led to much speculation as to the reason of its demise. According to legend, upon hearing of Colt’s entrance into the lever-action rifle market, Winchester began to develop a prototype revolver to compete with Colt’s market. A “gentleman’s agreement” then followed between Colt and Winchester, with Colt agreeing to drop production of the Burgess and Winchester abandoning its plans to develop a revolver. The truth of this story has never been fully verified, and as such, the reason for the Burgess rifle’s short production history is unknown.

Whether you collect Colts or Winchesters, you need a Burgess in your collection. They are quite rare and when we do see them, they are usually pretty thrashed. This gun shows its age, but still has strong mechanics and a reasonable bore for a 130 year old gun which would have seen exclusive use with black powder. Please see our photos and good luck!