"Mike M" wrote in message
These posts had a plus for me I went looking at some rifles that were
my grandfathers. I've never done anything with them just kept them
stored in the house. Turns out one of them is a Colt Lightening made
in 1888. Seems to be in good working order and has some value. Guess
I'll have it looked at by an expert and decide what to do with it.
Even have ammunition for it assuming properly stored ammunition is
usable after 30-40 years. Not being a gun expert I'll be consulting
I've got a Colt 'Thunderer,' the .41 caliber version and the same model
Billy the Kid was alleged by some to have carried. Mine has NEVER worked
and the internals have for years been corroded to the point of being frozen.
The exterior plating was well-worn even then. My father's father gave it to
me in September, 1968 so I could take it to gunsmithing school at Trinidad
State Junior College. Granddaddy had been a special agent for the Southern
Pacific railroad in Navasota, Texas when he bought it off a college student
in 1915 returning home for Christmas break and who did not want his folks to
know he had it. I remember the purchase price being $1.50 including a very
small paper bag of cartridges. I still have the cartridges; they didn't
work in 1968 much like the pistol.
Back then I could manipulate the hammer into the cocked position and,
while holding it with my thumb, manipulate the trigger until I felt the sear
disengage. At that point I could release the hammer with my thumb which
would fall with sufficient force to dent the cartridge primer. Alas, no
ignition with Granddaddy's ammo - probably just as well. I've never seen
another revolver with cylinder walls as thin as this Colt's and would
certainly never have considered smokeless power even in reduced loads.
Granddaddy recounted that he had only fired it once himself, at a 'polecat'
which I took to mean a skunk. He didn't say whether it was of the
two-legged or four-legged variety.
At Trinidad I couldn't wait to try to restore it and was elated when I
found that one of my instructors, a Mr. Praeter (sp?) was an encyclopedia in
all things Colt. He wouldn't touch it, wouldn't even look at it advising me
to trash it. "Worst POS to ever come out of Colt," or words to that effect.
I wonder to this day why Billy the Kid would have carried one. Perhaps it
contributed to his untimely death? Nah . . . .
This is a short, concise history of the gun:
Dave in Houston