Colt Lightning small frame
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Thread: Colt Lightning small frame

  1. #1
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    Default Colt Lightning small frame

    Hi all, I have been offered the above rifle. Problem is, it seems they were produced in .22 short and long. The barrel is stamped .22 Cal. So does it cycle and fire both short and long or is it one or the other? How can I find out what calibre this rifle is. I live in the UK and .22 long is nowhere. I have a Winchester 1890 and that chambers .22 short only. The Lightning is a lovely historic rifle that I would love to own, so any help will be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Ancient Gaseous Emanation Popeye's Avatar
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    If its .22 S the Colt will only chamber .22 Shorts.
    If its .22 L the Colt will chamber both .22 Long and .22 Short rounds but may exhibit feeding problems with Shorts.

    If its an original Colt rifle check the muzzle end of the barrel for undue wear. Many small frame Lightnings were used as Gallery guns and tricks were played to ensure inaccuracy.
    The difference between a Socialist and a Communist is that the Socialist doesn't have all the guns yet.

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    Thanks Popeye, for the info and the heads up on the muzzle. Regards.

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    Couldnt resist the call of the Colt. It wasnt until I got the Lightning home that I realised that its the deluxe version (I know, I know) with the pistol grip and foregrip in mahogany. She has a rear Colt peep sight and (what I think is called) a beach foresight, the normal rear sight is missing. By the look of it, it has been in someones attic for the last one hundred years. Most of the bluing is still there, but there is some pitting on the barrel and the right side of the frame. The blue has gone from around the trigger guard and there is a crack in the forgrip. Opened her up and her gubbins (technical terms eh) were caked in gunge. That cleaned off easily, with patience. Putting her back together was a real learning curve. A good wood glue has mended the foregrip. I don't think she has had much use as the checkering on the stock and foregrip are pristine, so is
    the bore
    . The down side is that someone has messed about with her and screw cut the barrel for a silencer and fitted a telescopic scope. The upside is that the scope is a period Winchester scope with 2 3/4 X stamped into it, so are the mounts. The furniture has polished up beautifully and she looks terrific, with a real crisp action. I still don't know the calibre yet, but certainly LR wont go in there cant get my hands on any .22 long. So down the range soon to see if she actually shoots. This is England so no backyard plinking unless you fancy 20 years inside at her majesties pleasure. Hang onto your rights over there guys and girls, they can be taken away. so what do you think, good purchase or not?
    Popeye likes this.

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    Having no idea what you gave for it, I can only say that it sounds like you at enjoying it...must be worth it! Please update it after you get it to the range.
    Knowing when and how...

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    Well, back from the range with a big smile. The Lightning functioned fabulously. I think that its a .22 long version, as I could see the shorts slide backwards and forwards in the carrier. But she fed the shorts flawlessly, not one jam or fail to eject in one hundred rounds fired. Used both the Winchester scope and the Colt peep sight, but difficult to see the scopes cross hairs as they are so fine and my eyes are so old. The peep sight put holes in the red after a little adjustment. Fellow shooters laid on some compliments about the mahogany furniture looking so good and were fascinated by the rifle itself. A Colt rifle is a rare item in this neck of the woods, especially the deluxe version. So all in all it was a very satisfying trigger time. I think I will take AgedWarrior's advice and continue enjoying a lovely piece of history. Oh, by the way I paid $195 for the rifle and scope. I'm happy with that.
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    Sounds like you had a great time! Congratulations! It is hard to beat a .22 for just simple enjoyment, I think I enjoy shooting rimfire more now than any thing else. Sounds like you did good on the Colt.

    BTW, a Colt Lightning is pretty rare here too.
    Knowing when and how...

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    Just as a side note. I took along my 1890 Winchester pump action in .22 short, just in case the Colt malfunctioned. The Winchester is also a deluxe version with the pistol grip and in full nickel. Having both of these rifles on the table, side by side and knowing the history between Colt and Winchester brought about some interesting comments from the guys at the range. We went all the way back to Flobert and Smith and Wesson at one point. The rifles also looked great together. If anyone is interested I post an image. Thanks for the information and support.

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    Yes, please do post a pic! Love to see em!
    Knowing when and how...

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    The .22 long uses the same case as .22 long rifle but with the same 29 grain bullet as the .22 short.
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