USFA Lightning Rifle--the most mysterious rifle on the internet
Along with the recent demise of USFA has been its website which used to be a valuable source of information (magazine articles, published reviews, etc.). I'm having a whale of a time getting any useful information on the internet about their Lightning Rifles beyond a very few anecdotal comments from a very few owners on some forums I visit. Mike Beliveau seems to be the only person who's made a Youtube video about them, and although I can find a few references to some magazine articles, very few are viewable online.
I can find nothing definitive about production figures. One guy says that USFA told him that they sold 400 of them commercially. Turnbull says 900. Someone else says 300-400. I tend to believe the lower figures, because there is such a dearth of information about them.
I seem to recall reading something years ago in one of USFA's catalongs about a budget version of the USFA Lightning that was in the works at the time--sort of a "rodeo" version of their Lightning, aimed towards the CAS crowd. And that is what mine appears to be. It is chambered in .45 Colt and has a matte receiver with a 26" round barrel. All parts other than the receiver are polished, but they appear to be a lower level of polish than that used on any other USFA Lightning I've seen. The hammer is blued and white-sided instead of color casehardened, and the handguard has a simple lined border instead of checkering.
Other than that one catalog reference I saw back then (and it mentioned only carbine versions instead of the rifle version I have), I can find nothing else about these utilitarian finished versions on the internet, and very little about the finer versions (I think most owners thought them too pretty to shoot).
Anyone have any first-hand knowledge and experience they'd like to share?