This is the best example of a Colt Lightning Revolver we've ever offered and one of the best antique Lightnings I've seen in several years. Don't get me wrong, there are some very nice examples of Lightnings that are late production made in the early 20th century but you almost never find ones like this in Pre-1898 antique serial ranges. But of those, what you rarely find are the ones with the early etched panels. This one is in the 59,000 serial range and was made in the year 1887 in caliber .38 Colt with 4 1/2" barrel and ejector. Overall, its in NRA Antique Excellent Plus Condition and looks almost Minty. It has only been fired a few times as both the chambers and the bore still retain most of their original blue finish. It looks like it stayed in somebody's desk drawer for almost its entire life.
In terms of wear, there is a little aging to the finish but mostly it just has some small dings and scratches from probably bumping and sliding around in that drawer along. It takes almost an ideal set of conditions for a gun to survive in this shape...for example: low humidity, no fingerprints, darkness to keep the case colors from fading, and almost no usage. Very seldom do enough of these factors occur to keep an old gun in such nice condition. The frame has 95% bright VIVID case colors with the balance slightly faded. Hammer has most of its bright polish on the sides with a little freckling from age while the back has 97% original Colt fire blue. Trigger has 95% fire blue....this is a very fragile finish and it shows hardly any wear at all on the front where its would be squeezed from firing. Even the screws show nearly all of their original fire blue. All the screws remain unturned and are perfect!!!!! This gun has never even been taken apart! The knurling on the cylinder pin is even perfect....seems like every one I've ever found has wrench or plier marks on this part...Not this one! The barrel retains 90-95% bright mirror blue with the balance turning to patina. It has a great etched panel that reads "COLT D.A. 38" with the marking retaining almost all the blue. Ejector housing has 70% blue overall with the outer part worn grey...this is the only part that really shows loss of finish. Cylinder has 95% bright blue. The triggerguard has about 85% blue with some flaking while the backstrap has 97% blue. The grips are perfect and still in their original medium to dark brown color with perfect checkering and the Colt rampant horse. Nice mechanics that still work in both single and double action mode. Excellent bore is bright with very sharp rifling and just a couple of pits. Just a great example of a 19th century antique Colt revolver.