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Old 11-14-2015, 02:23 PM   #1
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Struck by lightning!

I really shouldn't attend gun shows. I have no excuse, and I should know better; the only saving grace was this one cost me only about half as much as the last one.

I found and bought an interesting revolver -- a Colt Lightning in .38 Colt.
This is an intyeresting historical gun as it was Colt's first model that was double action. It looks like the old SAA with the side mounted spring loaded ejector rod, the loading gate that flips down on the right side of the recoil shield, but with a bird's head grip .... and what I think are gutta percha grips. They're brown but appear black under most artificial light.
This gun is a smaller framed gun than most SAA-type Colts I've seen. Mechanically it functions well. According to the previous owner it was made in 1901, and has been re-blued. Under bright sunlight one can see some tiny stains in corners that might have been rust but this effect is no apparent under lower light and the bluing generally looks OK. A few corners show minor wear.
The left grip has been broken and repaired and while this is somewhat visible it isn't really that bad.
The one thing about this gun that surprises me (up to now I've only seen photos) is that this is a smaller gun than the Peacemaker.....I am wondering if this model (the Lightening) was made in different sizes in accord to the caliber for which it was chambered.
As I said it is chambered in .38 Colt. I have a box or two of this round in blackpowder that I use for a Colt Richards-Mason Conversion (Uberti) I bought a few years back.
The barrel of my Lightning seems very good but has some dust and dirt in it, looks like from storage. I'll give it a good cleaning and then I'm anxious to fire off some rounds on this nice 114 year old revolver.

And, um, the gunshow is also open tomorrow (Sunday) ...no...no, can't go back, NOT so soon.
But if you live in Decatur Alabama environs ... tomorrow. Morgan Fairgrounds Decatur, your last chance....
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Old 11-14-2015, 05:08 PM   #2
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That sounds like a really nice score, how about some pics.
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Old 11-14-2015, 07:29 PM   #3
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The Lighting's big brother was the Thunder and it was a .41 caliber. While rather easy to break, they were both liked by lawmen and outlaws alike.
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Old 11-15-2015, 08:10 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bearcat6 View Post
That sounds like a really nice score, how about some pics.
OK.....my digital camera's battery went belly-up so here's one taken with my Samsung tablet's built-in camera .... hope this works ....I ain't no computer/tablet whiz .....
Attached Images
File Type: jpg AAColtLightning.2.jpg (19.2 KB, 10 views)
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Old 11-15-2015, 08:19 AM   #5
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To give an idea of the size, the gun's barrel measures 4" and the over all length of the revolver is a tiny bit under 9". So it isn't by any means a very large revolver.

I recall that these revolver's actions were considered delicate, atleast in comparison to the Peacemaker. On another forum I recall a thread in which another Lightning owner did a series of pictures of the various components of the Lightning. The guts are a bit complex in comparison to more modern DA revolvers.

However, as I said, the specimen I bought seems in good shape all around. Hopefully, it stays that way.

Last edited by TommyGunn; 11-15-2015 at 08:22 AM.
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Old 11-15-2015, 09:21 AM   #6
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If I'm not mistaken this size Colt's was often referred to as the "Sheriff's" or "Storekeeper's" model. The name seems to have been applied to both single actions and double actions.

Nice find, BTW.
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Old 11-15-2015, 09:47 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TommyGunn View Post
But if you live in Decatur Alabama environs ... tomorrow. Morgan Fairgrounds Decatur, your last chance....
I knew about the gun show, but passed, Tommy. I spent my gun allowance for the year about a month and a half ago on a Colt 6920 with some trimmings. (sigh...)

But that is a GREAT find! The photo seems to indicate that the gun looks exceptional, and I for one am not adverse to refinishing if it's a gun I want to shoot! I'll let the hard nosed collectors pay the premium prices and use the gun for the purpose it was designed. Please let us know how it does.

I did get to scratch a little gun itch, buying my oldest grandson his Christmas present...a Ruger Charger Takedown with black polymer stock. Comes in a Ruger marked case with a cheap little bipod and a 15 round magazine...real Secret Agent/James Bond kinda. Has a real picatinny rail, so I picked up Bushnell red dot for it too.

Mike, The Sheriff's or Storekeepers models are 4" or 3" bbl, although there are some shorter but I am not sure if they are Factory. They are distinguished by NOT having the full length ejector rod and housing. Instead, you are expected to use the cylinder pin, if necessary, to punch out empties. Even slower to reload than a regular SAA!
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Old 11-15-2015, 02:51 PM   #8
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Here's one version of the Sheriff's model.


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Old 11-15-2015, 03:00 PM   #9
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That's a sweet 1873, Sar Major. They did make the Lightning and Thunderers in the Sheriff's models too. Found some on an auction site, looks like they are asking a couple of grand. Don't know what they are getting. I'll see if I can snatch some pics link to them.
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Old 11-15-2015, 03:15 PM   #10
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Yes they did. There was another Colt revolver that always reminded me of the Lightening; the Colt Alaskan. Like the Lightening/Thunder, it was a double action revolver resembling the SAA and in .45 Colt.
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Old 11-15-2015, 03:34 PM   #11
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csmkersh,

Of all possible places there the Colt's Alaskan Model was often used by the USA was in the Philippines, due to a shortage of .45 caliber handguns.
The Philippine Scouts for just one unit.
Also at least one of the WWII guerrillas was seen (after Liberation in Manila) carrying an Alaskan in a homebrew shoulder holster.

yours, sw
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