This exceptional Colt Large Frame "Express Model" Lightning slide action rifle is an early production, three digit serial numbered example as manufactured in the first year of production (1887) and is chambered for the highly sought after powerful .50-95 Express cartridge. The Colt Lightning rifles were Colt's most successful attempt to compete with Winchester, Remington, Marlin, and others in the lucrative repeating rifle market but were still sold in relatively small numbers despite being very fast actions and reliable. These "Express Model" rifles were the rarest of the series, and only 6,496 were manufactured in 1887-1894 compared to nearly 90,000 each of the Small and Medium frame versions. The rifle is fitted with a German silver blade front sight and an elevation adjustable buckhorn rear sight. The barrel is stamped with the two-line Hartford address/patent dates legend ahead of the rear sight on the top flat and "50-95-Ex" in script on the upper left flat at the breech. The standard Rampant Colt is stamped on the left side of the frame. The three digit serial number is correctly found on the lower tang. The forearm is checkered walnut. The plain straight grip stock is nicely figured walnut and fitted with a crescent buttplate.
Excellent, retaining 95% bright original high polish blue finish with a few spots of brown patina showing on the lower receiver tang and buttplate, otherwise minor handling marks. Nearly all original case colors remain on the hammer. 95% plus original nitre blue remains on the loading gate. The wood is also excellent with a slight absent sliver on the forearm, some minor handling marks and overall crisp checkering. Mechanically excellent. An outstanding example of a very early production Colt Large Frame "Express Model" Lightning rifle in highly desirable .50-95 Express that will be virtually impossible, to improve upon.
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