View Full Version : lightnings?

September 9, 1999, 12:21 PM
Say..... with all the interest in cowboy shooting HOW COME NO ONE HAS MADE A LIGHTNING REPLICA???? Double action 45 LC or 44 special.. hell even in 38 special it would be cool.. say in nickel with ivorex grips?

A matched pair of shoulder rigged 3 inch thunderers would make for a SWEET gambler rig, and hey didn't Billy the Kid favor a cross draw lightning??

Someone tell the folks at Colt to tool up a double action frame, or sell the patents to the italians!


Bill Mitchell
September 9, 1999, 07:46 PM
Howdy Doc,

Well,since the main governing body of Cowboy Shooting is the Single Action Shooting Society,there's not much incentive for gun manufacturers to replicate DA revolvers. However,Cimmaron Firearms is coming out with a single action revolver that is nearly identical to the Lightning in frame size and shape of the grip. And it will be available with nickle plated finish,and,after much debate,has been approved for use in SASS matches. It should prove very popular with the many ladies in our sport.

Bellicose Bill

September 10, 1999, 11:31 AM
yes i realize the SASS is a the big Hombre of Cowboy Action Shooting... but double actions were common in the pre 1899 era. (they also frown on black powder though John Wesly Hardin and the James Boys Shot cap and Ball revolvers, but there is now a "primitive" category for cap and ball and muzzleloaders)

I just wonder why some intrepid italian hasn't produced an elegant bird's head gripped 5 inch Thunderer in 45LC. The single actions just aren't the same.

Correct me if I'm wrong... After a certain time any US martial pistol's patent becomes public domain , hence zillions of foriegn copies of 1911's and colt saa's.. but wasn't Colt's "New Frontier Six Shooter" of 1878 a COLT LIGHTNING? (thats only 5 years after the SAA... pretty darn period piece I'd say) As I recall new frontier six shooters with "alaskan" trigger guards were sold to the US army and some later production guns found thier way to the phillipines along with SAA's in the hopes to up-gun US troops armed with 38 colt army/navy double action revolvers.

Am I wrong on this? Anyone? Anyone?

And besides... even if it wasn't legal for competition.. wouldn't it be nice to have one? A new shiny Lightning in 45 lc (since 41 isn't made anymore) (sigh)

are you listening Uberti?
Are you listening Pedersoli?
Are you listening Colt?

I Hope so,


Bill Mitchell
September 10, 1999, 02:38 PM
Howdy Doc,

I wouldn't say that SASS frowns on black powder. They have a Frontier Duelist class for cap& ball shooters,and Frontier Cartridge class for those shooting black powder-loaded
cartridges. Not many folks shoot black powder because of the amount of clean-up involved.

The 1878 Frontier differs from the Lightning in a few ways. The loading gate is thin and flat,not rounded. The spur at the top back of the grip extends a little more to the rear,and the hammer is not quite as upright. The 1902 model of this pistol does indeed have the larger "Alaska" triggerguard and some were sent to the Phillipines.

Getting gun manufacturers to reproduce these old guns is an uphill battle. If produced by the original manufacturers,they usually become "Custom Shop" items with four figure prices that put them out of reach of a lot of folks,such as the Colt SAAs and the Remington Rolling Blocks currently offered by those two companies. The Italians have to see that there will be a market for any reproduction firearm they produce,and at this point,the only viable market they see for repro pistols and rifles are CAS shooters,the majority of which are members of SASS. We are fortunate to have affordable copies of the Colts,Remingtons,and Schofields,as well as a bunch of old rifles. Like you,I would like to see copies of some these old double actions. In fact,someone is making a repro of the Starr double action. But,they hedged their bets a bit by offering a single action model of the same pistol.

Bellicose Bill

Kent White
September 11, 1999, 08:20 PM
The reason for no maker bothering to make one of the old Colt DA revolvers, such as the '78 Alaskan or the Lightning/Thunderer, might be because these were two of the worst designed revolvers ever made by Colt. The Lightning/Thunderer has its bolt stop notches at the rear of the cylinder, and was very sensitive to any dirt/fouling getting into them. The Alaskan was infamous for having a better trigger in DA mode than in SA...when it worked.

James K
September 12, 1999, 04:13 PM
If they ever make a replica of the Lightning or the Thunderer, I hope they make them better than the originals. Those d--n things left a trail of broken springs all across the country. And if, as it is said, Billy the Kid used one, it only proves he was a darn fool.