Rock Island Auction Company
Back to Catalog
Auction Date: December 8, 2013

Lot 1166: Colt - Lightning-Rifle

Full Screen
Extremely Rare Deluxe Presentation Factory Engraved and Inscribed Colt Lightning Slide Action Rifle with Factory Letter
Estimated Price: $40,000 - $60,000
Item Views 137 Bid Activity Average
Serial #Colt - Lightning-Rifle ManufacturerColt ModelLightning-Rifle
TypeRifle Gauge44-40 Catalog Page78
Barrel26 Inch Octagon FinishBlue Grip
Stockwalnut checkered ClassCurio & Relic Long Gun RatingSee Condition
DescriptionColt Lightning Magazine Slide Action Rifle with factory letter manufactured in 1901. The rifle is accompanied by a Colt factory letter that describes it as: ".44 CLMR" with 26-inch octagon barrel, blue finish, "Fancy wood stock, checkered pistol grip and name plate" and factory engraving. The letter describes the engraving as $5.00 worth of engraving and the inscription "Awarded for the highest individual score at annual Rifle Match State Range 1901". The letter further states that the rifle was shipped to Lt. Colonel W. F. Richardson on August 6, 1901 and notes that LTC Richardson was Division Quartermaster of the Pennsylvania National Guard. A notarized letter with the rifle states that it was awarded to Sergeant William S. Dunham of the Pennsylvania National Guard and remained in the possession of the Dunham family until 2013. The rifle has a blue finish on the barrel, magazine and receiver. The hammer and crescent buttplate are color casehardened. The special order pistol grip stock is fancy grain walnut with a piano finish and fine checkered panels. The checkering includes the bottom of the pistol grip. An oval German Silver escutcheon plate is inlaid on the underside of the stock. The barrel has a nickel-silver, "Rocky Mountain" front sight and sporting style rear sight. The right side and top of the receiver, dust cover, trigger guard, bottom of the slide bar and heel of the buttplate are engraved with Germanic scrollwork on a punch-dot background. The left side of the receiver is engraved with the Rampant Colt trademark surrounded by an ribbon inscribed " AWARDED FOR HIGHEST INDIVIDUAL SCORE AT ANNUAL RIFLE MATCH N.G.P. STATE RANGE 1901". The trademark and inscription are surrounded by the same Germanic scrollwork and punch-dots as the remainder of the receiver. The serial number on the lower tang is enclosed in a hand-engraved banner. The engraving was probably executed by Cuno A. Helfricht or his shop. The top of the barrel is roll-engraved with the two-line Hartford legend and 1883-1897 patent dates ahead of the rear sight. "44 Cal." is roll-stamped in bold letters on the top of the barrel between the rear sight and the receiver. The serial number "85738" is stamped on the lower tang. In "THE BOOK OF COLT FIREARMS" author R.L. Wilson states that fewer than 40 Colt Lighting rifles were factory engraved and only about 20 of these rifles were inscribed or monogrammed. Wilson further states that: "Engraved specimens are extreme rarities".

ConditionFine. The rifle is all original and shows moderate handling and storage wear. The barrel and magazine retain at least 85% of the original blue finish. The finish on the barrel and magazine is dull and there are some scattered spots of shallow pitting on the top and left side of the barrel. The barrel legend and caliber markings are crisp. The blue finish on the receiver, dust cover, trigger guard and tang has faded to a silver-blue patina with stronger finish in protected areas. The factory engraving and inscription are sharp. There is scattered pitting along the upper one-third of the left side of the receiver and a small part of the inscription is obscured by the pitting. The buttplate has a silver-gray patina with moderate pitting on the bottom. The stock and forend are in very good condition. Most of the high polish piano finish is present of the stock and the checkering on the sides and bottom of the pistol grip is sharp. The sides of the stock have a number of minor handling and storage marks. The forearm shows more handling and finish wear then the stock but remains in very good overall condition. The action is tight and functions very well. This is a very good example of an extremely rare, deluxe, presentation, factory engraved and inscribed, medium frame, Lightning Magazine rifle with impeccable documentation.
Click here to see keyboard shortcuts.
F Enters/exits full screen view for items
Esc Exits full screen view for items
Moves to previous lot, or moves to previous image if full screen view is enabled
Moves to next lot, or moves to next image if full screen view is enabled
Fully zooms the image when full screen view is enabled
Fits the entire image to the screen when full screen view is enabled


Buyer’s Premium: 17.5%

Cash Payment Discount: 2.5%

Participation Requirements: Valid Credit Card required for bidding approval. You will have the option to pay with these payment options: Visa, MasterCard, Discover, Check, Money Order, Wire Transfer, and Cash.

Sales Tax: It varies each auction typically around 94% of auction items are not subject to sales tax. Read more here on sales tax.

We will contact you after the auction to arrange payment and shipping.


Premiere Auction Terms

Terms and conditions regarding Premiere Auctions. Revised : 08/29/2014


SHIPPING CHARGES. All shipping charges must be paid by the successful bidder prior to delivery of the firearm. If Rock Island Auction (RIAC) is asked to ship the purchased lots, there will be a separate charge for such shipping. Shipping charges will be based upon what it costs RIAC to ship the purchased lots to the purchaser. All items must have shipping insurance; this insurance is mandatory. RIAC will not charge any labor charges for shipping. RIAC is not liable for any acts of omissions in packaging or shipping. Purchased lots handled by outside carriers or packers, including those RIAC may have recommended, may carry their own insurance and any claims for losses or damages should be addressed directly to the outside carriers or packers. RIAC will arrange for packing and shipping at RIAC’s earliest possible convenience. RIAC will attempt to ship as soon as possible; however, due to RIAC’s high volume of absentee bids, shipping can take up to two weeks after full payment is received. In the case of crating or any exceptional packaging, the purchaser will be charged RIAC’s cost from outside agents. Purchaser pays shipping, packing materials, and insurance charges. The shipping of any purchased items outside of the United States is hereby classified as “foreign export”. All foreign export is the sole responsibility of the purchaser.