SOLD FOR: $3000
Model: 1877 Thunderer
Serial Number: 10665
Year of Manufacture: 1878 (https://www.colt.com/serial-lookup)
Caliber: .41 Colt
Action Type: Single Action/Double Action Revolver with Side Loading Gate Cylinder
Barrel Length: 4 1/2”
Sights/Optics: The front sight is a blade fixed to the barrel. The rear sight is a “V” notch in the top strap.
Stock Configuration and Condition: The grip is one-piece checkered black hard rubber with rampant colt in oval at the top of each panel. The grips have only minor handling wear. The checkering is well defined. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grips are in Excellent condition as Antique.
Type of Finish: Nickel, Fire-Blue Trim
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is semi-bright with sharp rifling. There is some light erosion in the bore, mostly at the muzzle-end. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates 7 or 8 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.
Overall Condition: This revolver retains about 87% of its metal finish. Most of the balance is handling wear in the grip areas. There are some other spots of flaking. There is some scattered minor bubbling in the finish. Most areas of finish loss show oxidation. When we received the revolver, there was extensive dried grease. Most came off easily, but there is some remaining, including in the action. There are scattered minor nicks, scuffs and scratches. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads are sharp. The markings are clear, including the etched panel. Overall, the revolver is in Excellent condition as Antique.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The cylinder locks up with no play when the trigger is depressed. The double action trigger is fairly smooth. The single action 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: This revolver comes in a wood presentation case which is English-fit for the revolver, includes a cleaning kit an oiler, with a wood-lidded storage compartment and a 16-round cartridge block. The case has a lock, but no case is included.
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 Thunderer is from early in production, in 1878. This example has survived the years quite well, retaining the great majority of its original metal finish and strong mechanics. The revolver comes in a handsome display case and will make a great addition to a Colt or early double action cartridge revolver collection. As a .41 caliber with factory nickel finish and its high condition, it will take a prized place in even some advanced collection. Please see our photos and good luck!
Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California. -Bud