Colt Model 1877 Lightning 3.5″ Barrel “Sheriff’s Model” .38 LC DA Revolver

SOLD FOR: $855

WOA#: WY240309GC007

Make: Colt

Model: 1877 Lightning

Serial Number: 161164

Year of Manufacture: 1906 (

Caliber: .38 Long Colt

Action Type: Single Action/Double Action Revolver with Side Loading Gate Cylinder

Markings: The left side of the barrel is marked “COLT. D. A. 38”. The top of the barrel is marked “COLT’S PT. F. A. MFG. Co. / HARTFORD. CT. U.S.A.”. The left side of the frame is marked “PAT. SEPT. 19, 1871 / “   “  15, “ 74. / “ JAN. 19, “ 75.” and with a circled Rampant Colt logo. The underside of the frame at the grip frame, the front of the trigger guard just behind it, and the front underside edge of the backstrap are marked “161164”.

Barrel Length: 3 1/2”

Sights / Optics: The front sight is a blade fixed to the barrel. The rear sight is a “V” groove in the top strap.

Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are checkered hard rubber on a bird’s head grip frame, with a Rampant Colt in an oval at the top of each panel. The grips have a few nicks and scratches. The checkering has smoothed slightly on the edges where they taper to a point at the bottom and there are two patches of wear on the left panel behind the grip screw. Otherwise, the checkering is well defined. There is good detail in the Rampant Colts. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grips are in Very Good condition.

Type of Finish: Blue & Case Color Hardening

Finish Originality: Original

Bore Condition: The bore is mostly bright and the rifling is sharp. There is infrequent minor erosion in the bore, mostly at the muzzle-end. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates 8/10.

Overall Condition: This revolver retains about 75% of its metal finish. The finish is thinning at all edges. There is some minor surface oxidation and spots where previous oxidation was scrubbed out. There are some light nicks and scratches. The frame’s case color hardening is strong in some areas, some areas are muted but retain figuring. There is good fire-blue on the hammer and trigger. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with strong slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this revolver is in Very Good condition.

Mechanics: The action functions correctly. We did not fire this revolver. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.

Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None.

Our Assessment: The Colt M1877 double action revolver was manufactured from 1877 to 1909 for a total of 166,849 revolvers. The M1877 was offered in three calibers, which lent them three unofficial names: the “Lightning”, the “Thunderer”, and the “Rainmaker”. The principal difference between the models was the chambering: the “Lightning” in .38 LC, the “Thunderer” in .41 LC, and the “Rainmaker” in .32 LC. The M1877 was designed by one of the inventors of the M1873 Single Action Army “Peacemaker”, William Mason, as Colt’s first attempt at manufacturing a double action revolver, and it was also the first successful US-made double action cartridge revolver. None of those nicknames were official Colt designations, nor used by the factory in any reference materials. All of those terms were coined by Benjamin Kittredge, one of Colt’s major distributors. Old West outlaw John Wesley Hardin frequently used both “Lightning” and “Thunderer” versions of the Colt M1877 revolver. This scarce Lightning is one of the shorter barreled, ejectorless guns known as the “Sheriff’s” or “Storekeeper’s” model. With its 3 1/2″ barrel and lack of an ejector mechanism, it was easier to carry concealed or in a discrete manner compared to the longer barrel versions. The pistol also features the short cylinder arbor pin often found on later Sheriff’s models. This Lightning is from quite late in production and is in outstanding condition for a nearly 120 year old gun. It retains about 75% of its factory blue and case color finish and a strong bore. Even better, unlike many examples of this model, the mechanics are still spot-on. This would be a great addition to a Colt collection, especially with all of the strong case color and fire blue remaining on this revolver. Please see our photos and good luck!

Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California. -Bud

Colt Model 1877 Lightning 3.5" Barrel "Sheriff's Model" .38 LC DA Revolver
Colt Model 1877 Lightning 3.5″ Barrel “Sheriff’s Model” .38 LC DA Revolver