This is a pretty sharp example of Colt's first large frame Double Action Revolver, the Model 1878. It's in caliber 44-40 which Colt called the "Frontier Six Shooter" as it was chambered in the same caliber as the famous Winchester Model 1873 (and later the Model 1892) rifle. Standard 4-3/4" barrel is marked "COLT FRONTIER SIX SHOOTER". Standard blued finish with checkered hard rubber grips. Rampant Colt logo is found on the lower left side of the frame and on both grip panels. Antique pre-1898 serial number is in the 34,000 range making it one of the 1,600 Model 1878's produced in the year 1894.
As one of the first commercially available reloadable cartridges, the .44 Winchester Center Fire Cartridge (later dubbed "44-40") was quite popular on the American frontier as the empty cases could be reused several times with the aid of simple handheld reloading tools. Colt saw the wisdom in Winchester's market and was quick to adapt several of its revolvers including the Single Action and Model 1878 to their calibers. The result was a "win-win" combination as consumers possessing both a Winchester and a Colt revolver only needed to purchase one type of ammunition and more importantly, could reload them out in the middle of the frontier with a single set of Winchester reloading tools. The fact that Colt used the .44 Winchester caliber to advance its sales in the American West and elsewhere is quite evident as the left side of the barrel is prominently marked "COLT FRONTIER SIX SHOOTER".
Condition: NRA Antique Fine. Frame, barrel, and ejector housing have 65% original blue mixing with smooth brown patina. Cylinder 35% original thinning blue across much of the cylinder with a bit more patina throughout. Gripstraps retain 45% original blue. Several of the screws exhibit original fire blue as do the trigger and rear face of the hammer. Side of hammer have 50% of their original bright polish with the balance hazing over to a soft gray patina. Checkered hard rubber grips are original to the gun in Fine+ condition with sharp checkering...no chips or cracks...and perfect fit to the frame and grips straps. 100% original throughout with no replaced parts right down to the brass alloy spring arround the ejector rod, the rotating lanyard ring at the base of the handle, and the front sight which has never been trimmed down or modified. Bore is generally "Good" overall; rifling is all there but does have some moderate-sized scattered pits...indicative of most black powder era guns. No rings or bulges. The action cycles perfectly in both single and double action modes. All in all, this is an attractive large-framed Colt with a lot going for it but without the huge price tag. It's still wearing much of its original finish, it's in a great caliber with the popular short 4-3/4" barrel length, and most importantly, a desirable antique pre-1898 serial number.