This is a strong early example of the Colt Model 1877 Lightning Revolver in caliber .38 Colt with the desirable
2-1/2" short barrel commonly dubbed the "Sheriff's Model". Serial number is in the 21,000 range which dates it to the year 1880. The left side of the barrel features a perfect etched panel that clearly reads "COLT D.A. 38" inside its oval border. Standard nickel finish with fire blued appointments and checkered hard rubber grips. The 1877 was the first Colt Model offered with the double action feature which made the weapon self-cocking. With this advantage over single action weapons, it became popular with outlaws...Billy the Kid carried one...as well as law enforcement agencies. Over the years we've seen 1877 Lightning Revolvers with markings from the Atlanta Police to the Federal District of Mexico. The extra short 2.5" barrel (4.5" was standard) made this revolver an ideal weapon for under cover work.
Overall condition grades to NRA Antique Fine with 85% original nickel plating with the balance flaked or worn to a smooth brown patina that is confined mainly to the backstrap and cylinder. The profiles of the hammer have turned a soft brown patina with some of its factory bright polish in the protected areas down in the recoil shield. The rear face of the hammer still retains 75% of its original fire blue. The screws are in very good condition overall with fire blue present on the ones in less open areas. Checkered hard rubber grips are in Fine condition with strong checkering, nice rampant Colt motifs, and no damage or repairs. Best of all, the action is still in good working order in BOTH single and double action modes. Good bore. A nice example of an antique pre-1898 Colt Lightning with a low serial number and scarce short barrel length.