Original U.S. Colt M-1878 Frontier Six Shooter Nickel-Plated .44-40 Revolver made in 1897 - Serial 36511

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. The romance around Colt "Cowboy" Revolvers never ceases to amaze us. This is a fine example of the Model 1878 "Frontier Six Shooter" Double Action Revolver, in the popular .44-40 Winchester chambering. This model was manufactured by Colt's Manufacturing Company from 1878 to 1907, and is often referred to as the "Frontier" or the "Double Action Army" revolver. A total of 51,210 Model 1878 revolvers were manufactured from 1878 to 1907, including 4,600 for the US Ordnance Department. These are known as the "Philippine" or "Alaskan" models.

This revolver is quite smart looking, probably made with a Nickel finish and most possibly re-done in its working life. In good working condition, this is still an old lady and be treated as such. The original Factory installed black hard rubber colt grips showing the Colt leaping Stallion logo appear to be in great condition but show smoothness though handling wear. It is marked on the bottom of the grip with serial number 36511, indicating it was made in 1897. The back of the cylinder is marked 511, indicating that it is the original cylinder for this revolver.

This example has a 4 3/4 inch barrel, which is marked on the bottom with 44, indicating chambering for .44-40 Winchester Center Fire cartridges. This was a very popular cartridge for revolvers and rifles of the time, and this way the owner would only need bring one type of ammunition. The barrel is also marked on the left side (partly worn away) with:


and on the top with:


A fine example of an early design Colt Cartridge Revolver in .44-40 caliber. In very nice condition and ready to display, an ANTIQUE made in 1897.

Samuel Colt experimented with double-action revolver systems, but he considered them to be unreliable. After Colt's patent expired in 1857, other manufacturers began producing double-action revolvers, but Colt's Manufacturing did not manufacture its own double-action revolver until 1877, twenty years after the patent had expired.

The M1878 was designed by William Mason, Colt's factory manager and Charles Brinckerhoff Richards, Superintendent of Engineering. It was similar in design to the Colt Model 1877. The Model 1878 had a larger frame, and is therefore sometimes referred to as the "large frame" double-action revolver, while the Model 1877 is likewise referred to as the "small frame" double-action revolver. The Model 1878 was considered a more robust and reliable design than the Model 1877.

The design of the Model 1878 was based on the Model 1877, which in turn was based heavily on the design of the earlier Colt Single Action Army revolver. The double-action revolver is not dramatically different in design than the single-action revolver. A strut is added to connect the trigger movement to the hammer. The top of the trigger slips beyond the strut so that the hammer will stay in full cock if it is pulled back manually.

The Model 1878 had a larger frame than the Model 1877, which allowed it to fire larger and more powerful cartridges, such as the .45 Colt and .44-40 and used the same barrel, ejector parts, and a very similar cylinder to the Single Action Army revolver. At one time, the factory modified Model 1878 cylinders for use in single-action revolvers in an attempt to use up spare parts.


Year of Manufacture: 1897
Caliber: .44-40 Winchester
Ammunition Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 4 3/4 inches

Overall Length: 9 3/4 inches
Action: Double/Single Action
Feed System: 6 Shot Revolver

  • This product is not available for shipping in US state(s): New Jersey

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