Original U.S. Colt M1878 Double Action Revolver in .38WCF with 7 1/2" Barrel and Period Holster - Serial 36199

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. The romance around Colt "Cowboy" Revolvers never ceases to amaze us. This is a nice example of the Model 1878  Double Action Revolver in .38-40 WCF, complete with a very attractive tooled leather period open-top holster. The revolver also features a rare long 7 1/2 inch barrel, which is the longest barrel that Colt made for the M1878. 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, with traces of the original bluing and case hardening visible in places, with the rest fading to a plum patina. 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 36199, indicating it was made in 1896. The back of the cylinder is marked 199, indicating that it is the original cylinder for this revolver.

This example has a 7 1/2 inch barrel, which is marked on the side with 38 W.C.F., indicating chambering for .38-40 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 top with:


A fine example of an early design Colt Cartridge Revolver in .38-40 caliber with a very long 7 1/2 inch barrel. In very nice condition and ready to display, an ANTIQUE made in 1896. Functions well in single and double action, though as with any revolver of this age, it can be finicky. The barrel shows clear rifling, with some oxidation.

The included holster is a standard "cowboy style" open-top type, made from a single piece of leather. It is quite nicely tooled with designs around the edge of the holster, and on the cross straps. It fits the gun very well, and is exactly the type of holster one would expect to find this type of revolver in.

A nice used example of a Colt double action revolver, with loads of patina and a great original holster! Ready to display!

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: 1896
Caliber: .38-40 Winchester
Ammunition Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 7 1/2 inches

Overall Length: 12 1/2 inches
Action: Double/Single Action
Feed System: 6 Shot Revolver

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