Original U.S. Colt M1877 .38cal Lightning Revolver with 3 1/2" Barrel made in 1893 - Serial 89547
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 "Lightning" Double Action .38 Caliber Revolver. It is marked on the bottom of the grip, frame, and trigger guard with matching serial number 89547, indicating it was made in 1893. It also has assembly number 271 stamped on the loading gate, and is a really nice example of this type. It has a great "cowboy friendly" original 3 1/2" barrel, with no 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 version is marked on the top of the barrel with the Colt address, which is still fully clear:
COLT'S PT. F. A. MFG. Co.
HARTFORD. CT. U.S.A.
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 has a roll stamped marking on the left side of the barrel reading COLT D. A. 38, as well as a faint 38 CAL on the left side of the trigger guard, so it is definitely a "Lightning."
We purchased this revolver as a "LIGHTNING" and it is in fine working order and condition. This revolver was definitely originally fully blued and case hardened, but that finish has now worn in places, giving the revolver a lovely patina. It still bears clear patent dates on the side of the frame, as well as the round Colt "Prancing Pony" logo. The bird's head gutta-percha grips bear the correct Colt horse logo on each side. Grips show some wear and scratches, with a repaired crack on the toe of the left side.
The revolver functions correctly, with good indexing and a tight cylinder lockup. It works in both single and double action, and we did not notice any of the finicky behavior we sometimes see. The bore is mostly bright with clear lands and grooves, with some areas of light oxidation. Definitely one of the better bores we have seen!
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 .38 caliber in very nice condition and ready to display, An ANTIQUE made in 1893.
Year of Manufacture: 1893
Caliber: .38 "Long" Colt
Ammunition Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 3 1/2 inches
Overall Length: 8 1/2 inches
Action: Single/Double Action
Feed System: 6 Shot Revolver
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