Original U.S. Colt M-1877 .41cal Thunderer 4 1/2 Inch Barrel Revolver made in 1896 - Serial 102691
Original Item: Only One Available The romance around Colt "Cowboy" Revolvers never ceases to amaze us. This is a fine example of the Model 1877 "Thunderer" Double Action .41 Caliber Revolver. This is the same model that was carried by "Billy the Kid", though it is from years after his era. It is marked on the bottom of the grip, frame, and trigger guard with serial number 102691, indicating it was made in 1896. The cylinder is matching, with shortened number 6 9 1 marked on the rear, making this a very desirable "ALL MATCHING" example, without parts swapped out. It also has assembly number 614 stamped on the loading gate, and really is in great shape.
The M1877 was offered from the factory in two basic finishes: nickel-plated or a case-hardened frame with a blue barrel and cylinder. The revolver was available in barrel lengths from 2.5" to 7.5" and was available with or without the ejector rod and housing. The shorter barreled versions without the ejector rod were marketed as "shopkeeper's specials".
This example has a nice medium length 4 1/2" barrel, and came blued and case hardened from the factory, much of which is still retained. It has an ejector rod installed, and is still clearly marked on the top of the barrel with the Colt address:
COLT'S PT. F. A. MFG. Co.
HARTFORD. CT. U.S.A.
It also still has all of the original patent markings on the left side of the frame, to the left of the stamped "Prancing Pony" logo:
PAT. SEPT 19.1871.
'' '' 5.''74.
The M1877 revolvers were marketed under different names such as "LIGHTNING" to appeal to different groups of customers. Although all were of the same basic design, they were also referred to as "THUNDERERS", "RAINMAKERS", and SHERIFF'S MODELS" as well, depending on the caliber and configuration. None of these names were Colt designations, nor used by the factory in any reference materials of the time. All of these terms were coined by Benjamin Kittredge, one of Colt's major distributors. Kittredge was responsible for the terms "Peacemaker" for the Single Action Army, "Omnipotent" for the Colt M1878 double-action (often known as the "Frontier" model), and nicknames for the various chamberings of the New Line models. This example is roll stamped COLT. D.A. 41 on the left side of the barrel, so it is definitely a "Thunderer."
We purchased this revolver as a "THUNDERER" and it is in very good working order and condition, probably the best we have seen in some time. The barrel, cylinder, trigger, trigger guard, and grip frame still have lots of the original blued finish, while the frame and hammer have a lot of the "case hardened" finish present. Its bird's head gutta-percha grips bear the Colt prancing horse logo on each side, and still most of the original checkering. In great unmessed with condition.
The revolver functions almost flawlessly in both single and double action, with very little slop in the mechanics. It indexes great, the cylinder lockup is strong, and it has a crisp dry fire. The cylinder arbor pin pulled out correctly, allowing the cylinder to be removed. We checked the bore, and it is in very good condition, showing clear lands and grooves and a mostly bright finish.
The "Lightning" was the favored personal weapon of famous Manchester (UK) Victorian detective and then head of CID, Jerome Caminada. Old West outlaw John Wesley Hardin frequently used both "Lightning" and "Thunderer" versions of the Colt 1877 revolver. Likewise the 1877 "Thunderer" in .41 caliber was the preferred weapon of Billy the Kid and was his weapon of choice when he was killed by Pat Garrett in 1881.
A fine example of an early Cartridge Colt Revolver in .41 caliber in very nice condition and ready to display, An ANTIQUE made in 1896.
Year of Manufacture: 1896
Caliber: .41 "Long" Colt
Ammunition Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 4.5 inches
Overall Length: 9.5 inches
Action: Double/Single Action
Feed System: 6 Shot Revolver
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IMA considers all of our antique guns as non-firing, inoperable and/or inert. Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 921(a)(16) defines antique firearms as all guns made prior to 1899. This law exempts antique firearms from any form of gun control or special engineering because they are not legally considered firearms. No FFL, C&R or any license is required to possess, transport, sell or trade Antique guns. All rifles and muskets sold by IMA that were manufactured prior to 1899 are considered Antiques by the US BATF (United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms). Therefore, all of IMA's Antique guns may be shipped to most US States and most U.S. territories.
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