Original U.S. Colt M1877 .38cal Nickel-Plated Lightning Revolver with 3 1/2" Barrel made in 1882 - Serial 34773

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 1877 "Lightning" Double Action .38 Caliber Revolver. It is marked on the bottom of the grip, frame, and trigger guard  with serial number 34773, indicating it was made in 1882. 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 partly worn away, probably from being re-plated:

[COLT'S PT. F. A. MFG. Co.]

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 marked .38CAL on 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 has its nickel-plated finish, which has now partly off the cylinder, but is still present on most of the frame, as shown. Its bird's head gutta-percha grips bear the Colt prancing horse logo on each side. Grips show some wear and scratches, but there are no cracks or chips. It looks to function correctly, but as with any revolver of this age, it can be finicky. Currently functions in double action only.

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 1882.


Year of Manufacture: 1882
Caliber: .38 "Long" Colt
Ammunition Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 3 1/2 inches

Overall Length: 8 1/2 inches
Action: Double Action Only
Feed System: 6 Shot Revolver

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