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Old 07-02-2018, 11:35 PM
chuck303 chuck303 is offline
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Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ?? Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ?? Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ?? Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ?? Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ??  
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Default Reloading the 1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ??

I have been reading about loading for the 38 long colt. I have a 1877 lightning manufactured in 1904,. Would i be safe using a smokeless powder like trailboss ?
I figure a very very light load would be good for plinking.

From my understanding colt switched barrel diameters to a .357 diameter bore after 1900 on the lightning model, would i be ok using a hollow base wadcutter of .357 diameter ?
Of course i will slug the bore just to get a proper measurement of bore diameter.

I am fairly confident of reloading,, but want to make sure a 38spcl case can be utilized without any issues. ' i did slide in a 38spcl round with a 148grn wadcutter in the cylinder of the 1877 lightning. The overall length seems ok as the round isnt protruding out of the cylinder. 'I would never fire a 38spcl round out of the 1877 but all my 38 loads are flea farts loaded with trailboss. I figure i may be able to use 38lc load data on a 38 spcl casing.

I would just rather use my 38spcl brass rather than buying 38lc brass. Also is there any good online shops that may sell the proper projectiles? Should i stick with a 148grn projectiles? Also wondering if the 38spcl dies work out ok

Any tips tricks or hints will be greatly appreciated.
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Last edited by chuck303; 07-08-2018 at 01:40 AM.
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  #2  
Old 07-04-2018, 07:35 PM
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Nevada Ed Nevada Ed is offline
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Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ?? Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ?? Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ?? Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ?? Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ??  
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I would think that Trail Boss would be one of the safest smokeless powders
to use with that weapon with lead bullets.

Someone with that style weapon will hopefully chime in with details
on loading for it.
Good luck.
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Old 07-04-2018, 08:13 PM
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Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ?? Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ?? Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ?? Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ?? Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ??  
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The Colt Lightning revolvers are notoriously weak and have parts subject to breakage that simply cannot be replaced. I would be very reluctant to shoot the 1877 revolver at all.

That said, your revolver's chambers accept the .38 Special case which indicates that the chambers are bored straight through (although originally chambered for the shorter .38 Colt cartridge, which was the basis for the .38 Special case). If you are dead set on shooting the old Colt you seem to have a grip on the safest approach to doing so.

Personally, my only Colt Lightning revolver (acquired from the estate of a long-time Colt employee) lives in my safe deposit box along with its factory letter and documents from the family upon sale. I won't risk it at the range, no matter how great the temptation might get to be.

YMMV.
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Old 07-04-2018, 09:02 PM
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Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ?? Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ?? Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ?? Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ?? Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ??  
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I have a set of reloading dies marked ".38 S&W/.38 Colt". Interestingly the sizing die is marked ".380 Auto".

They are slightly larger in dimensions that the .38 Special dies. When the primer pin broke in an old die I used a .38 Special die to deprive/resize a few cases and there was a lot of resistance.

Expect your cases to blow out to fit the revolvers chambers. Also expect he chamber pressure to be a bit higher due tot eh smaller internal case capacity. And I would consider shortening 100 or so cases so they were the right length instead of using them overlength because "they fit".

As for the 148 gn HBWC, I use these in my .38 S&W Victory revolver to fill the rifling of the .361 barrel. They should work fine in the .38 Colt chamber too.
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Old 07-04-2018, 09:46 PM
mi2600 mi2600 is offline
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Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ?? Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ?? Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ?? Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ?? Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ??  
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The original .38 Colt had an exterior lubed heeled bullet, and the brass was shorter version of the .38 Spl. I believe Colt changed the bullet to internal lubed bullet (.357) in about 1901. The chambers in the "new" version will have a "step" in the chamber.
When I reload for my Colt New Army, I just shorten a .38 Spl case to the shorter .38 Colt length and load them with 148 gr HBWCs as noted.
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Old 07-05-2018, 12:57 AM
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Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ?? Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ?? Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ?? Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ?? Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ??  
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The Hodgdon site has load data for the 38 Long Colt and the bullet used is a .358" LRN.

If I were you I would take the advice above and not shoot that gun. Do you realize how much that gun is worth especially in the condition it seems to be in in the picture you provided?

Good luck if you do decide to shoot that piece of history. I would buy a replica and shoot that instead lol.
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Last edited by ArchAngelCD; 07-05-2018 at 01:01 AM.
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Old 07-08-2018, 01:34 AM
chuck303 chuck303 is offline
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Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ?? Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ?? Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ?? Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ?? Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ??  
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Guys thank you for the reply. I had read here on the forum that 38spcl brass would be ok to use. So im kind of 50/50 on that....maybe someone will chime in on that. Anyhow i do believe it is still quite serviceable with a very light load, but now hearing it may be somewhat valuable i may reconsider plinking it once every few years.

Would anyone be able to give a ballpark value on it? It does have wear to the high points of the barrel and cylinder as well as backstrap or handle. Bore is mint and the screws are not chewed up so it looks like it hasnt been tampered with. Metal is smooth as silk and still shows some case color finish on frame. This old piece has such a tight lockup its almost unbelievable, i would appreciate if someone could help me get a value on er ?
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Old 07-08-2018, 01:39 AM
chuck303 chuck303 is offline
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Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ?? Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ?? Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ?? Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ?? Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ??  
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Default Colt lightning value

Heres some more pictures. Im looking for a ballpark value. Not looking to sell but id like to know what its value is generally
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Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ??-20180702_152514-jpg   Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ??-20180702_083036-jpg   Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ??-20180702_152751-jpg   Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ??-image000000_4-jpg  
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Old 07-08-2018, 09:50 AM
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Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ?? Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ?? Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ?? Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ?? Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ??  
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What I can see in the photos is a revolver in very good (antique) condition. Establishing a market value will require some research, finding out what is currently offered and what has sold over the past year or two. The first step I would recommend is to call Colt (see the website, look for the Colt Historian) and get a factory letter on the old Colt. This will establish when the revolver was shipped and to whom (individual, dealer, police department, etc). For about $150 (major credit cards accepted) Colt will expedite the research, give you a preliminary report on the phone, and have the letter in your hands within a few weeks.

When the gun was made, when it was shipped, where it was shipped, and to whom it was shipped can have a significant influence on desirability and value to collectors. The Colt Historian letter will also identify the original condition when the gun left the factory (caliber, finish, barrel length, stocks, etc), which will also have an effect on value (all original condition is worth more than any gun having been altered or modified). Suggest that you request the Historian address the letter "To Whom It May Concern" rather than issuing it in your name, which will appeal to subsequent collectors in future years.

While that process is going on you can check the on-line auction sites (GunBroker.com and others) as well as major dealers and auction houses, using a simple Google search function such as "Colt Lightning for sale" and "Colt Lightning auction" (you'll get lots of hits, including sales of Colt Lightning rifles and others, so you'll have to wade through some details).

Authenticity and condition will be the key factors in value. You will need to compare each comparable piece carefully to assess how yours stacks up in comparison.

Depending on a lot of variables, I would expect that your Colt will be within a range of value between $2,000 and $5,000 (even that might be low in the event that the Colt Historian letter identifies an original owner with particular historical interest). Getting top value will depend on how you market the gun, what venues you choose to place it in front of as many knowledgeable collectors as possible.
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Old 07-08-2018, 10:30 AM
reddog81 reddog81 is offline
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Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ?? Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ?? Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ?? Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ?? Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ??  
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I'm not terribly familiar with the pricing on that model but a quick online search and review of asking prices would seem to suggest that it's easily worth $1,500 to $2,000. More pictures and better pictures would be needed to get an accurate estimate. Most guns are in worse condition and some have asking prices in the $3,000 to $4,000 range depending on the specifics of the gun.
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Old 07-08-2018, 10:35 AM
chuck303 chuck303 is offline
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Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ?? Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ?? Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ?? Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ?? Reloading the  1877 lightning with 38spcl brass ??  
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Ok point taken about getting the colt lettered. I suppose it couldn't hurt. Getting things verified by colt sounds like the way to go. Il have to poke around the web and see what they are selling for or have sold for on gb.
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