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Colt Lightning Deluxe Rifle

This is a special order small frame Deluxe Colt Lightning Rifle in .22 caliber with 24" octagon barrel. The serial number is in the 2,2XX range which dates its manufacture to 1888...2nd year production for the small frame Colt Lightning. Its primary feature is a special order Fancy stock made of English Walnut showing nice grain with tiger stripes. It also has another desirable feature which is the pistol grip option. According to a copy of the Colt 1888 catalog, these two features would have added $10.00 to the original $20.50 price tag for a standard .22 Lightning rifle with octagon barrel. But it doesn't quite end there yet. To make things a bit more interesting, it also has a rare Lyman No. 15 Wind Gauge Tang Sight which has been on this gun since it was brand new...possibly factory ordered this way. The Nunber 15 was Lyman's first windage adjustable tang sight, patented on August 23, 1887 and only made in very limited numbers. This tang sight would have just come onto the commercial market about the same time as .22 cal Colt Lightning was introduced. Whoever ordered this rifle was probably an accomplished shooter who was doing his/her best to keep in step with the times by ordering the very latest in gun and sight designs. These No. 15 sights were rare back in the 19th century and today they are quite valuable. The front sight is also marked Lyman with a brass bead. Rear sight is the Colt fixed style which came standard on the .22 Lightning. Colt barrel address has the standard 1883, 1885, and 1887 patent dates.

Condition is NRA Antique Excellent with 90% original blue remaining on the frame with some minor abrasions to the finish from normal handling wear. Barrel has 95% blue while the magazine tube is toning to a plum patina with 65% original blue remaining. Hammer retains 85% soft original case colors. Screws and trigger retain significant portions of their original fire blued finish overall. The wood is in NRA Antique Fine+ condition with 80% of the original deluxe grade varnish intact, with most of the wear confined to the wrist and forearm where the gun was carried and handled during its period of use. The tiger striping and extra varnish finish give the wood depth. The only blemish I can find on this rifle is a chip to the bottom toe of the buttplate comprising the lower 1" of the plate. Fortunately, someone cared for this rifle and took the time to glue the piece back in place. It's a simple repair but the important thing to stress here is that everything is there with nothing missing. If desired, since it's made of hard rubber, the chip could be professionally re-mended back to the plate where it would become invisible. The action works nicely. Bolt still locks in place when the action is cocked. Bore conditions on .22 rifles from the 19th century are often nothing short of abysmal...which is one of the reasons we tend to avoid .22's from this era. Unfortunately, with black powder cartridges, corrosive priming, and such a small bore size...it took very little corrosion to permanently damage a .22 caliber rifle. In other words, a few pits in the bore of a .44 caliber Model 1873 Winchester may not be a big deal...but those same pits in tiny .22" bore are usually enough to obliterate sections of rifling and/or leave craters in the grooves. That said, this gun was owned by someone who took good care of their rifle and cleaned the bore after shooting it. The bore is in Excellent condition...still shiny with deep lands and grooves with no pitting. Even though the rifle is Excellent on the outside, we were a little surprised to find it had such a well-preserved bore. A fantastic little .22 Deluxe Grade rifle.

Item# 2247




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