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Colt’s First Double Actions: The 1877 Lightning & Thunderer

Cool Forgotten Weapons merch!

Samuel Colt disliked the idea of a double action revolver, considering the idea to be wasteful of ammunition and likely to be fragile. However, he passed away in 1862, and by 1873 double action Webley (and other British make) pocket revolvers were starting to become popular in the United States. In order to compete with them, the Colt company decided to introduce its own first double action model. Designed by talented Colt engineer William Mason, the Model 1877 was released in three calibers, .32 (the Rainmaker), .38 (the Lightning), and .41 (the Thunderer). Only a few hundred of the .32 models were made, but the Lightning and Thunderer were quite successful, with 166,849 made between 1877 and 1909. Both calibers were offered as 6-shot guns on identical frames. Barrels could be had form 1.5 inches up to 10 inches, with or without ejectors, and with a variety of finish levels including a few very fancy engraved examples like the one we have here today.

Forgotten Weapons
6281 N. Oracle #36270
Tucson, AZ 85740

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