Model: 1877 Lightning
Serial Number: 77897
Year of Manufacture: 1890
Caliber: .38 Long Colt (While .38 Special cartridge may chamber in this revolver, they should not be used because of the higher pressures created.)
Action Type: Single Action/Double Action Revolver with Side Loading Gate Cylinder
Markings: The left side of the barrel is marked “COLT. D. A. 38”. The top of the barrel is marked “COLT’S PT. F. A. MFG. CO. / HARTFORD. CT. U.S.A.”. The left side of the frame is marked “PAT. SEPT. 19, 1871 / “ “15, “ 74. / “ JAN. 19, “ 75.”. The underside of the frame at the grip frame, the front of the trigger guard just behind it and the bottom front of the backstrap are marked “77897”. The rear face of the cylinder is marked “897” and the rear underside of the barrel is marked “38”. The inside rear face of the loading gate is marked with the assembly number “55” and the left rear of the trigger guard is marked “G”. The rear face of the frame under the hammer is marked “40”. The inside of the left grip panel is also marked “897”.
Barrel Length: 3 1/2”
Sights / Optics: The front sight is tall thin rounded blade fixed to the barrel. The rear sight is a “V” groove in the top strap.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are checkered black hard rubber on a birds head grip frame, with a Rampant Colt in an oval at the top of grips. The left grip shows light wear in its checkering, which is worn smooth along its outside edge. The right grip checkering shows moderate wear, with the bottom portion of the grip worn smooth. There are a few very light marks in the smooth borders of the grips. The grips are in about Fine condition.
Type of Finish: The barrel, cylinder and grip frame are blued. The top and rear surfaces of the hammer and the entire trigger have a fire blue finish. The frame is case colored.
Finish Originality: The finish is original.
Bore Condition: The bore is gray, with sharp rifling. There are several spots of light erosion scattered throughout the bore, mostly in the grooves.
Overall Condition: This revolver retains about 77% of its metal finish. There is finish loss from holster wear at the of the barrel and there is finish loss on the circumference of the cylinder, which is also developing a plum colored patina. There are tiny spots of solid erosion scattered over the left sides of the barrel and frame, with larger spots in the flutes of the cylinder and light erosion on its circumference. There is thinning on the left side of the barrel, and on the front strap and backstrap. There are a few light scratches in the underside of the barrel and a few light handling marks scattered over the surface, with light wear on the front and rear edges of the cylinder. The cylinder pin knurling shows light, even wear and the hammer knurling shows moderate wear. The screw heads are sharp, except for the grip screw which is distressed. The markings are clear except for those on the lower front edge of the backstrap, which are thin from wear. Overall, this revolver rates in about Fine condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The cylinder lockup is SOLID on all six chambers and the single action trigger is crisp. The cylinder has a ¼ cock safety position which keeps the firing pin off the primers, as well has a half-cock safety position that alloys the cylinder to be turned. We did not fire this revolver. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None
Our Assessment: From Wikipedia: “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 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.”. The M1877 revolvers were made with and without ejector rods, and the short-barreled versions, such as this one, were marketed as “Shopkeeper’s Specials”. This revolver is in Fine condition with about 77% of its original finish remaining. The bore is gray with sharp rifling and the cylinder lockup is solid on all six chambers. This is a fantastic find for collectors of Colt revolvers: we see these come through our shop fairly often, but this is the nicest one we have seen in a long time. Please see our pictures and good luck in your bidding.
CA Legal or CA Private Party Transferable: This Antique revolver CAN be transferred as a dealer sale in California and CAN be sold as a Private Party Transfer (PPT) at our Simi Valley shop. All cartridge firing handguns (even C&R’s and antiques) sold to a California resident must be DROS’d. This does not apply to out of state residents.