SOLD FOR: $2,555
Model: 1885 Lightning Magazine Rifle Medium Frame – Cut-Down to Pistol Length
Serial Number: 14597
Year of Manufacture: 1886
Caliber: .38-40 Winchester (Also known as .38 W.C.F.)
Action Type: Pump Action with Full Length Tubular Magazine
Markings: The lower tang is marked “14597”. The top of the barrel is marked “COLT’S PT. F.A. MFG. CO. HARTFORD, CT. U.S.A. / +ELLIOT’S PATENTS MAY 29. 1883. SEPT. 18. 1883.+”. The top of the barrel and the left side at the receiver are marked “W. D. CROCKER”. Watson D. Crocker was the President of the Crocker Chair Company in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, born in 1841 and fought in the Civil War, attaining the rank of Captain. The left side of the receiver is marked with a Rampant Colt logo.
Barrel Length: The octagon barrel is 13 5/16” in length with a full-length magazine tube.
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a German silver blade held in a slotted base which is dovetailed into the top of the barrel. The rear sight is a deep “V” notched elevator sight that is dovetailed into the barrel.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks consist of a two-piece forend and a pistol grip.The tangs have been bent into the shape of a full pistol grip, and a one-piece grip of smooth walnut is attached. The grip extends past the end of the upper tang, which is now the backstrap, about 2”. The grip fits the new grip frame well, and has a brass grip screw escutcheon on each side. There are two holes drilled into the bottom of the grip. The grip shows oil staining, remnants of a lacquered finish and several light handling marks and small dings. The forend consists of two hour-glass shaped pieces of walnut screwed to the octagon section of the slide that slides over the magazine tube. The forend pieces are dark with oil staining and show several dings, with a small crack at the right rear edge. The stocks rates in about Very Good condition.
Type of Finish: We think this “pistol” was originally blued. There is no finish remaining on the barrel and receiver. The magazine tube is nickel plated brass.
Finish Originality: The finish on the barrel and receiver is original. We don’t think the magazine tube or its finish is original to the gun.
Bore Condition: The bore is gray and the rifling shows moderate wear. There are spots of moderate erosion from the muzzle back a few inches.
Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 0% of its current metal finish. The magazine tube shows thinning, with an orange tint from the brass under the finish, with spots of surface loss showing dark tarnished metal. The barrel and receiver show finish loss with dark spots of surface frosting scattered over their surfaces. There are light handling marks scattered over the surfaces with several small dings in the barrel and receiver. There are a few scratches in the sides of the receiver and tool marks around two of the screw heads. The lower tang screw and two of the receiver screws are disfigured. The markings are clear except for the logo on the receiver and the serial number, which are both thin from wear. Overall, this pistol rates in about Good condition.
Mechanics: The hammer has a half cock notch. The action functions correctly, except that the slide does not lock when closed. We have not fired this gun. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: The forend has a wooden plug held with a set screw.
Our Assessment: This is a Colt Lightning Medium Frame Slide Action Carbine cut-down to pistol length. Colt chambered this model in the same cartridges used in its 1873 SAA revolver, but since this was a rifle, they didn’t want to use the name Winchester anywhere in the description of the rifle or its ammunition, so they came up with their own “Colt Lightning Magazine Rifle (CLMR)” ammunition. Colt made the Lightning in three frame sizes to cover everything from .22 Short to .38-40 to .50-95. The Lightning rifles saw use as a sporting arm and were also adopted for use by the San Francisco Police Department, but were never as popular or as reliable as the various lever action rifles of the day. This gun was made in 1886, only the third year of manufacture, and chambered in .38-40 WCF. The octagon barrel was cut to 13 5/16”, and the upper tangs were bent, and a one-piece oversized pistol grip attached. This gun is marked with the name “W. D. Crocker”, and the only person of this name we could find was the President of the Crocker Chair Company in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Watson D. Crocker was born in 1841 and fought in the Civil War, attaining the rank of Captain. Perhaps he used this a personal sidearm when traveling to and from his company? This pump-action “pistol” is in about Good condition. The action works correctly, but the slide doesn’t lock-up when closed. Colt Lightning rifles are very collectible, and we wouldn’t think this one would be any different, but it has been heavily modified, and anything is possible.