Gun Specifics:

  • Range of serial numbers: 1 – 6,496
  • Date of manufacture: 1887 to 1894
  • Total production: 6,496 rifles, short rifles and carbines.
  • Length of barrel: Rifles 28 inches. Carbines 22 inch. Other barrel lengths available on special order.
  • Caliber: .38-56-255, 40-60-260, 45-60-300, 45-85-285 and 50-95-300 Express
  • Address: ‘COLT’S PT. F.A. MFG CO. HARTFORD. CONN. USA’ plus Patent dates.

Colt Lightning Magazine Small Frame Rifle

Large Frame

The large frame Colt Lightning Magazine Rifles and Carbines were basically the same as the medium and small frame but with some internal differences to accept the larger cartridges. Both rifle and carbine were chambered for 38-56-255, 40-60-260, 45-60-300, 45-85-285, and 50-95-300 Express Caliber. The last numbers are the bullet weight specified by Colt. Standard barrel length is twenty eight inches in either round or octagon. Carbines and baby carbines have a twenty-two inch round barrel. Reference books state that there were 6,496 large frames produced and numbered in a separate serial number range between 1887 and 1894 but there is substantial evidence that approximately 2000 numbers are missing near the middle of the production. References: The Book of Colt Firearms by R. L. Wilson and The Colt Rifle 1884-1902 By Ted Tivey

Description by Wilmer E. Kellogg of Hays, Kansas.

More Colt Lightning Magazine Small Frame Rifle

The re-classified Colt Pocket Model 1865 of Navy Caliber percussion revolver or Pocket Navy was previously known to collectors as the "Model of 1853" or the "Model 1862 Pocket Navy". It is now more correctly termed as the heading or as the "Pocket Model of Navy Caliber" or merely "Pocket Navy."

The small frame Colt Lightning Magazine Rifles were produced from 1887 to 1904. They were chambered for 22 Caliber and accepted long, short, or a combination of long and short cartridges. The small frame had basically the same slide action as the medium frame but with internal differences in construction and loading.

The first model of the Colt Lightning Magazine Rifles and Carbines with a slide action was a medium frame and was produced in 1883. This model is easy to identify, as it has no dust cover and is fitted with a safety bolt locking device that is operated with a lever in a slot in the forward part of the trigger guard.