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Colt Lightning Carbine

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Title: Colt Lightning Carbine  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Colt-Burgess rifle, Cowboy action shooting, Winchester Model 1892, Colt Ace, Colt New Police Revolver
Collection: Colt Rifles, Colt's Manufacturing Company, Pump-Action Rifles, Rifles of the United States
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Colt Lightning Carbine

Colt Lightning Rifle
Type Light Rifle
Place of origin  United States
Service history
Used by San Francisco Police Department
Production history
Manufacturer Colt's Patent Firearms
Produced 1884-1904
Cartridge various; see text
Action Slide
Feed system Tube magazine
Sights Iron
Colt Lightning cal .22 Rifle
Colt-Lightning Carbine
Colt-Lightning breech open
Colt-Lightning Rifle, function

The Colt Lightning Carbine or Colt Lightning Rifle was a slide-action (pump-action) rifle manufactured by Colt from 1884 to 1904 and was originally chambered in .44-40 caliber.[1][2] Colt eventually made the Lightning Rifle in three different frame sizes, to accommodate a wide range of cartridges, from .22 Short caliber and .38-40 to .50-95 Express.[3] Its profile somewhat resembles the pump-action rimfire rifles made by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company and Remington Arms.[2] The Lightning Carbine saw use as a sporting arm in America and was adopted for use by the San Francisco Police Department, but was never as popular or as reliable as the various lever-action rifles of its day.[2]


  • Variants 1
  • Modern versions 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4


The medium-frame Lightning was manufactured between 1884 and 1904.[4] It was the first slide-action rifle offered by Colt.[4] Colt records indicate 89,777 were produced, in calibers .32-20, .38-40, and .44-40 as a companion arm to the Colt Single Action Army revolver.[4] Two versions were offered: a rifle, with a 26 in (66 cm) barrel and 10-rounds magazine, and a carbine, with a 20 in (51 cm) barrel and 8-rounds magazine.[4] The .44-40 carbine was used by the San Francisco Police Department as a longarm.[4]

The small-frame Lightning (also referred to as "Second Model Colt Lightning"[4]) was the first rimfire rifle made by Colt and was manufactured between 1887 and 1904 as a gallery gun.[4][5] Colt records indicate 89,912 were made, in .22 Short and .22 Long.[4] Barrel length was 24 in (61 cm) and the rifles had a blued finish, case-hardened hammer, and a walnut stock.[4]

The large-frame Lightning (also called the "Express Model"[4]) was manufactured between 1887 and 1894.[4] Colt records indicate 6,496 were made in big game calibers such as .38-55 Winchester and .50-95 Express.[4] Barrel length was 22 or 28 in (56 or 71 cm).[4]

Modern versions

Reproduction Lightning rifles are still manufactured today by companies such as Uberti and Pedersoli for hunting, historical reenactment, and competition purposes such as Cowboy Action Shooting in calibers such as 22LR, .38 Special/.357 Magnum, .44 Special/.44 Magnum, .44-40, and .45 Colt.[4] Of these calibers, only the .44-40 was offered in the Lightning when it was originally produced by Colt.

See also


  1. ^  
  2. ^ a b c Boorman, Dean (2004). Guns of the Old West: An Illustrated History. Lyons Press. p. 128.  
  3. ^ Wilkerson, Don (1998). Colt's Double Action Revolver, Model of 1878. Wilkerson Press Press. p. 128.  
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Sapp, Rick (2007). Standard Catalog of Colt Firearms. Gun Digest Books. p. 288.  
  5. ^ Wilson, R. L. (1985). Colt: An American Legend. New York: Abbeville Press. p. 272.  
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