Original U.S. Colt M-1877 .41cal Thunderer 6 Inch Barrel Revolver made in 1884 - Serial 48374
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 a few years after his era. It is marked on the bottom of the grip, frame, and trigger guard with serial number 48374, indicating it was made in 1884. It also has assembly number 252 stamped on the loading gate, and is a nice example of this type. It has a long 6 inch barrel, complete with a spent cartridge ejector rod.
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 6 inch barrel, which is marked on the top with:
COLT'S PT. F. A. MFG. Co.
HARTFORD. CT. U.S.A.
There is no caliber marking on the left side of the barrel, as these earlier production examples had it etched on, and not stamped, so the years of cleaning have removed it. It does however still have the correct 41 CAL marking on the left side of the trigger guard by the rear screw.
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.
We purchased this revolver as a "THUNDERER" and it is in good working order and condition. This revolver still has small traces of the original blued finish, however most of it has now turned to a grey patina. The left side of the frame still has the original Colt patent dates listed. Its bird's head gutta-percha grips bear the Colt prancing horse logo on each side, and still have a good deal of the original checkering. The right grip does have more wear though, and is also missing a substantial chunk on the bottom. In very nice unmessed with condition.
The revolver functions correctly, though the action is worn and definitely has some slop in the mechanics. The cylinder lockup is a bit weak, and the indexing is slightly off. It works in both single and double action, and as with any revolver of this age and amount of use, it can be finicky. The bore shows clear lands and grooves, and a partly bright finish with areas of oxidation and fouling.
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 1884.
Year of Manufacture: 1884
Caliber: .41 "Long" Colt
Ammunition Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 6 inches
Overall Length: 11 inches
Action: Double/Single Action
Feed System: 6 Shot Revolver
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