SOLD FOR: $2875
LSB#: 230406TV002, 230406TV003
230406TV002- Lightning “Sheriff’s Model”
Year of Manufacture: 1887, 1889
230406TV003- .41 Colt
230406TV002- .38 Long Colt
Action Type: Single Action/Double Action Revolvers with Side Loading Gate Cylinders
230406TV002- 3 1/2″
Sights/Optics: The front sights are blades fixed to the barrels. The rear sights are “V” notches in the top straps.
Stock Configuration and Condition:
230406TV003- The birdshead grips are two-piece checkered hard rubber with rampant colts in ovals at their tops. The grips have light handling wear, more notable on the right panel where there is some smoothing toward the bottom. There are a few light nicks and scratches. The checkering is generally well defined except for the smooth area in the right panel. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grips are in Very Good-plus condition as Antique.
230406TV002- The birdshead grips are Ajax two-piece smooth faux-ivory panels. The grips have a few scattered minor marks, but no notable damage. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grips are in Fine-Excellent condition as not original to the gun.
Also included is a set of checkered hard rubber panels with rampant colts in oval at their tops. The extra grips have light handling wear with a few light marks and some scattered residue in the checkering. There is some smoothing in the raised ridge formed at the “beak” of the birdshead, but the checkering is otherwise well defined. Overall, the additional grips are in Very Good-plus condition.
Type of Finish: Nickel
Finish Originality: Original
230406TV003- The bore is light gray with sharp rifling. There is scattered light erosion in the bore and some spots of pitting. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates 6 out of 10.
230406TV002- The bore is light gray with sharp rifling. There is scattered light erosion and spots of pitting in the bore. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates about 6 out of 10.
Most antique firearms have bores that will show erosion. This is not only due to age but to the use of black powder. When fired, black powder reacts corrosively. NRA Antique Firearm Conditions Standards are quite lenient for bores. In some cases the NRA standards disregarded the bore’s condition for collectors firearms.
230406TV003- This revolver retains about 50% of its metal finish. There is finish loss in the handling areas, along the left of the barrel, around the cylinder and at most edges. The worn areas show some discoloration from oxidation and infrequent minor erosion. There are some light nicks and scratches, most notable on the bottom of the barrel between the ejector tab and cylinder pin head. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with strong slots. The markings are generally clear, the etched panel on the left of the barrel is shallow, as is common for the etched panels. Overall, this revolver is in Very Good-plus condition as Antique.
230406TV002- This revolver retains about 65% of its metal finish. Most of the balance is finish loss in the trigger guard/frontstrap and around the outside of the cylinder. There is finish loss or flaking at most edges. Most worn areas show discoloration from oxidation and there are scattered small spots of oxidation through the finish, more notable on the topstrap. There are infrequent spots of erosion. There are some light nicks and scratches, most notable on the bottom of the barrel in front of the cylinder pin. The screw heads range from sharp to lightly tool marked with strong slots. The markings are generally clear, the etched panel is a little shallow, but better defined than the Thunderer’s. Overall, this revolver is in about Fine condition as Antique.
230406TV003- The action functions correctly. The cylinder locks up with minor play on each chamber with the trigger depressed. The double action trigger is fairly smooth. The single action has just a little bit of creep. We have not fired this revolver. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
230406TV002- The action functions correctly. The cylinder locks up with no play on each chamber with the trigger depressed. The double action trigger is fairly smooth. The single action is crisp. We have not fired this revolver. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork, and Accessories: These revolvers come in a display case which is custom fit for the two revolvers with a copy of an article from “The American Rifleman” about Colt’s first double-action revolvers by E. Dixon Larson, and a Colt Archives letter for each of the revolvers. The Thunderer shipped in its current configuration to E.E. Menges & Company in Kansas City, MO on April 16, 1887 as one of two revolvers of the same type in the shipment. The Lightning shipped in its current configuration, with the exception of the grips, to Hibbard, Spencer, Bartlett & Co. in Chicago, IL on November 18, 1889 as one of fifteen revolvers 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 is an interesting pairing of one Thunderer and one Lightning which come in a nicely fitted display case. Each has factory nickel finish as well as the desirable etched-panel caliber markings on their barrels. Each also includes a Colt Archives letter detailing when and where they originally shipped. The Thunderer went to the E.E. Menges & Co. sporting goods store in Kansas City, MO. The Lightning revolver originally shipped to Chicago, Illinois, specifically to Hibbard, Spencer, Bartlett & Co. While this may not be familiar to everyone, it was a very large hardware wholesaler and the company would go on to become True Value, which is fairly well known today. The revolvers each retain strong mechanics and will display well in the provided case. Please see our photos and good luck!
Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California. -Bud