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Old 06-09-2018, 08:05 PM
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Default Colt Derringer .41RF advice needed

I know you gents and ladies will help guide me with wise council. I am not familiar with older firearms like this, but a local shop has a Colt side break single shot .41 rim fire in. Clean and looks like it is functional enough to shoot. I did not grab a serial number. It comes with one round. I am looking at it as a collection piece. Please let me know your thoughts.




Also, shop got in a Colt Thunderer in .41.





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Last edited by revho; 06-09-2018 at 08:06 PM.
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Old 06-09-2018, 09:27 PM
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There's a fair amount of nickel left on the 3rd model Thuer frame, so I'd fork out $350 for it (assuming the other side is as good).

If the Thunderer is mechanically sound, I'd pay up to $500 for it.

Keep in mind, I'm cheap and not hunting old Colt's.
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Old 06-10-2018, 08:37 AM
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I think the Thunder'r has had it's bbl cut back along with the ejector & ejec tube.

The front end of the eject tube usually sit's over a bushing that is staked into the bbl,,then the attachment screw for the tube threads into that bushing, not directly into the thin bbl wall.
Same set up as the Colt SAA.

This one is missing any bushing and the screw is threaded into the bbl directly.
The eject tube can be cut back from the back end to fit into the frame and thus keep the front with it's captured closed end and canted slot.
The process if done on a lathe set up can be hard to tell from factory other than fresh machine cuts. Done by hand with files is easier to spot generally of course.

Check the bbl muzzle & front sight for signs of a cut & sight reset.
Also if the bbl address on top is cut thru/shortened because of a bbl surgery.

The right grip looks like it was repaired a long time ago.

Not necessarily reasons to reject the piece if you really like it for what it is and the price is right,,just be aware of things that may not be original and not pay original condition prices.
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Old 06-10-2018, 12:13 PM
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Default 41 colt

The 3rd model Colt is in fair condition.The finish looks kind of rough.
The thunderer if original would be very rare.
I think it has been altered. It is also rough.
Buy 'em if you like 'em but don't pay a lot.
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Old 06-10-2018, 02:32 PM
Ivan the Butcher Ivan the Butcher is offline
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I believe the Colt revolver is call a "Thunder", a Thunderer is an Italian SAA copy (I have one in 45 Colt!).
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Old 06-10-2018, 03:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivan the Butcher View Post
I believe the Colt revolver is call a "Thunder", a Thunderer is an Italian SAA copy (I have one in 45 Colt!).
I think you are mistaken. Thunderer is also the correct Colt designation.
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Old 06-10-2018, 11:56 PM
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I don't think either of the terms were official Colt designations,,were they?
Something I thought the catalog marketers or distributers made up (?).
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Old 06-11-2018, 03:54 PM
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I saw a Colt Thunderer in a pawn shop today.>41 caliber. It had been blue, but is mostly a smooth brown color. Should I go back to look more closely? I had not heard of a .41 caliber except a .41 mag. Tell me about it.
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Old 06-11-2018, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Frogwalking View Post
I saw a Colt Thunderer in a pawn shop today.>41 caliber. It had been blue, but is mostly a smooth brown color. Should I go back to look more closely? I had not heard of a .41 caliber except a .41 mag. Tell me about it.
Not an expert, but there is the .41 rimfire, the caliber of the OP's Colt Derringer. The Thunderer was chambered in .41 Long Colt, as were other Colt revolvers. Google .41 Long Colt and get more information than you want to know.
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Old 06-11-2018, 09:23 PM
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Surely, you've seen the Remington double derringer in Western movies? It was in .41 RF.

I think Paladin had one of these Colt .41's behind his belt buckle on, "Have Gun, Will Travel". Had the Remington too, maybe, on occasion.

Williamson and other derringers were also in that caliber, I think.

Both the Thunderer and later Colt DA revolvers took the .41 Long Colt centerfire ctg. Some were also made for .38 Long Colt, the round that failed so miserably in the Philippines battles against Moro and other dissident tribesmen.

The basic Colt DA was made in .38 as the Lightning, in .41 as the Thunderer. I have no idea who applied those names, but the terms go back a LONG way.

Billy the Kid supposedly favored a .41 Colt Thunderer. He was said to like it because he had small hands and that gun fit him better than the larger SAA. Sheriff Pat Garrett killed him with a .44-40 Frontier SAA. The gun was retained in Garrett's family, and I think they still have it. It was shown in the El Paso Saddlery holster catalog some years back. It's the basic thing,with blue finish, smooth walnut grips and 7.5 inch barrel.

A .41 attributed to Billy is nickel, with the name Billy carved in one ivory stock panel.
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Old 06-12-2018, 09:31 AM
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"...The basic Colt DA was made in .38 as the Lightning, in .41 as the Thunderer. I have no idea who applied those names, but the terms go back a LONG way..."

Questioning it myself who really slapped those names onto the 1877 Models by caliber,,I looked through some of my old Colt references and books.

They seem to agree that the Colt distributors marketed the 1877 with those Lightning and Thunderer names and that they were not Factory designations.

The factory official designation originally was 'New Double Action Self-Cocking Central Fire Six Shot Revolver'.
I can see why Model 1877 became popular in use.

B. Kittredge &Co of Cinn, Oh. is the one most often given the credit for coming up with the caliber specific Names applied and used them in their catalogs and marketing.

I know the 1877 was made in very few numbers in .32Colt caliber.
I never thought these had a catchy name attached to them like the 38 & 41.
But the All-Knowing InterNet Tome of Knowledge says 'Rainmaker' was assigned to the .32cal version. I have never heard that before, but then again I can't hear very well anyway.

Kittredge is also given the credit for nicknaming the similar & larger Model 1878 DA in 45Colt caliber the 'Omnipotent'.
Kittredge seems to have been such a great disributor/customer of Colts that at Kittredge's request (I assume),,Colt produced the revolver w/an acid etched panel on the left side of the bbl w/ 'Omnipotent'.
About 150 of these were made just for Kittredge & Co for their general sale in the '78 to early 1880 time period.
Omnipotent is still a loosely used collectors term that describes a Model 1878 in 45Colt cal.
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Old 06-12-2018, 10:07 AM
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Back in the 1970's a friend had a 2 bbl Colt derringer in .41 RF. He finally got ammo and at 20 feet, squarely hit a phone pole with one...it bounced back and hit him in the chest. 2nd shot sunk itself maybe 1/4" into the pole. NOT much poop to them I guess.
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Old 06-12-2018, 03:15 PM
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The Colt derringer is pretty easy to check out and pay accordingly
the Thunderer is a different animal. Very often they have problems other than finish. In that shape one that has been cut
down would be a gamble. I would be hesitant to buy it.

The 41rf ammo is hard to come by although I think Navy Arms
had Fiocci make a run of it in the 80s. A few months ago I bought
a 41rf revolver off forum member and attempted to shot original
copper cased cartridge. I failed to fire, so the few rounds I have
are probably duds also.

The 41 Colt can be had from specialty ammo outfits or made from 401 Herters Power Mag brass.
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Old 06-12-2018, 04:01 PM
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Why is the price blacked out?
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Old 06-12-2018, 04:33 PM
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The 1877 in 32 was called the "Rainmaker".

The 41 is still loaded today and brass and dies are available. The cartridge uses a "heeled" bullet (like a 22 rimfire). I have had good luck using hollow-based soft lead bullets from GAD. Western Bullet also makes them. Elmer Keith liked the 41 because he said it "hit harder" than a 38 spl. I've had a half a dozen and still have at least 2: an Army Special and a Colt Bisley. I like the caliber.
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