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Old April 5, 2013, 09:30 PM   #1
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Antique Colt .22 Single Shot

I inherited this and was hoping someone might be able to tell me where I could find more information about it. On the barrel is printed:

Colts PTFA MFG Co Hartford Conn USA
Patent May 29 Sep 18,83 May 26.85 June 15 86 Feb 22 1887

(the comma and period are suspect from age/wear)

According from my grandfather, his female cousin shot against Annie Oakley when she was doing her touring. The cousin didn't beat her, but I was told came pretty close An interesting story, and who knows how accurate it is, however I'd still like to know more about the rifle. My parents received a certificate from Colt about it, however it's been lost.

Serial number is 79489


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Old April 5, 2013, 10:45 PM   #2
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I do believe that is the Lightning model which is not a single shot. Very nice item to inherit. Does it function? They were manufactured in a number of calibers including 22. Shoot only standard velocity ammunition in that rifle.

Serial number shows it made in 1903.

Last edited by 22-rimfire; April 5, 2013 at 10:55 PM.
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Old April 6, 2013, 11:10 AM   #3
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That is a somewhat rare, and today valuable, .22cal Colt Lightning pump/slide action rifle.

Write Colt for a dupe certificate - it'll increase the value a LOT.

Please - DO NOT CLEAN OR otherwise TOUCH that gem with ANYTHING other than a soft oily cloth, or you could well turn a rifle worth anywhere from $2K-$4K (depending upon the Colt letter) into a $900 shooter.

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Old April 6, 2013, 06:25 PM   #4
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Colt may re-issue you a copy of the Archive letter.
They call this a "retype" service and costs $35.00. They issue you a new letter in your name.
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Old April 6, 2013, 08:17 PM   #5
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The date on the rifle puts in toward the end of Annie Oakley's career. What you said is entirely possible.

If the gun can be lettered to your grandfather's cousin, that will definitely increase the value somewhat. These rifles are hard to find intact... you find many with cracked stocks and missing parts.
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Old April 6, 2013, 08:46 PM   #6
James K
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The fore end is either a replacement or has been worked on; it is not original.

The rifle is a pump action repeater, not a single shot, though the repeating mechanism might be out of order (many are - the action is fragile). The picture of the right side shows the way the rifle is loaded. Cartridges are put into the loading block one at a time, then the block is moved back to the left and the rifle is ready to pump and fire.

Edited to clarify: To load, a cartridge is pushed into the loading block until its rim snaps under the spring seen in the picture. Then the next cartridge is loaded the same way, pushing the previous one forward into the tubular magazine. When the magazine tube is full, the loading block is pushed to the left and the pump action worked to chamber the first round. There is no way to load the magazine from the front as is common in most tubular magazine .22 rifles today.

Jim K

Last edited by James K; April 7, 2013 at 08:47 PM.
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Old April 6, 2013, 10:09 PM   #7
4V50 Gary
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If Grandfather is still alive, have him write that story down and name the cousin. Sign & notarize it. Try to find a picture of her and keep that with the gun. History makes the gun more valuable.
Vigilantibus et non dormientibus jura subveniunt. Molon Labe!
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Old April 7, 2013, 03:58 PM   #8
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But, unfortunately, even with a picture of the cousin holding a Colt .22 Lighting, unless there is something to pin that rifle to the pictured rifle , you are back to square one with just a story. Sorry about that. Nice for family history, but that's about all.
Ron James
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Old April 13, 2013, 11:15 AM   #9
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I believe my parents went this route with Colt and due to a loss of records they couldn't provide an Archive Letter as they didn't have records anymore from that time period. Or I may not have heard that correctly. 20 years ago it didn't mean as much. Funny as we get older we recognize intrinsic value more. Both my grandfather and his cousin have long since passed away, so now it's a family item (and will stay that way). No intention of firing it, but I did clean up the WWII T99 Arisaka and fire it. That was fun

Thanks to all, and especially for the link to Colt. I'm still going to try it.
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