Double Action Revolver
Although self-cocking revolvers had been in use for many years prior to 1877, it was not until that year that such an arm was offered by Colt's Patent Fire Arms Mfg. Co., of Hartford, Conn. Designed in 1876 by Colt employee William Mason, the Double Action or DA model was initially introduced in cal. .38 only. Subsequently it was offered in cal. .41, with a small quantity also made in cal. .32. Distinctive features of the DA model are the double hand, birdshead grip, and the absence of the customary bolt locking. notches on outer surface of the cylinder.
Collectors commonly refer to this model as the 'Lightning' although this was not a factory appellation, having been apparently coined by B. Kittridge & Co., of Cincinnati. Ohio, who used it in their arms catalogs to identify the original cal. .38 model. The name Thunderer', applied to the later cal. .41 version, also stemmed from this firm and was likewise not an official Colt name.
The DA model was offered both with and without rod ejector and in various barrel lengths from 2" up to 1Vi'\ with the 7" and IVi" barrel lengths available on special order only. Manufacture of this model ceased in-4910.
Due to the intricacy of the lock mechanism of the Lightning' Colt, special care should be taken in disassembling to note the exact relative positions of all parts to facilitate correct reassembly.
To remove cylinder (8), open loading gate (13) and press in cylinder pin lock screw (10). Draw cylinder pin (7) forward as far as it will go. Cylinder may be pushed out of main frame (9) after pulling hammer (29) back slightly. This is sufficient disassembly for normal cleaning purposes.
To disassemble lock mechanism, proceed as follows:
a) Remove grip screw (52) and grips (49). Remove backstrap screws (42) and butt screw (43) and drop backstrap (41) off main frame (9).
b) Loosen mainspring tension screw (47) and remove mainspring screw (40). Disengage top of mainspring (39) from stirrup (33) and remove.
c) Remove rear and front trigger guard screws (45 & 46), pull trigger (18) back slightly, and remove trigger guard (44) from main frame, exposing inside lock mechanism.
d) Remove sear screw (28) and drop out sear (27) and hand and cylinder stop tension spring (35).
e) Remove hammer screw (32) and drop hammer (29) down out of main frame. Disengage trigger strut (25) from its seat in hammer and remove hammer f) Loosen trigger spring screw (37) and remove trigger screw (19). Draw trigger (18) out of main frame with hand (17) intact. Cylinder stop (38) may be dropped out of its hole in left side of main frame. Trigger strut spring (22) and hand spring
(23) may be removed from trigger (18) by unscrewing hand and strut spring screw
(24). Trigger strut (25) and trigger roller (20) may be removed from trigger by drifting out their respective retaining pins (26 & 21).
g) Ejector assembly (2,3,4,5,6) may be removed by unscrewing ejector housing scrcw (3) and drawing ejector housing (2) forward out of its seat in main frame. Loading gate (13) may be removed by unscrewing loading gate catch screw (16) from underside of main frame. Drop out loading gate catch and spring (14 & 15). Swing loading gate down and pull forward out of main frame.
Reassembly procedure follows the reverse order of the steps outlined above.
IThis perspective view shows lock mechanism with all parts in proper position as they are when assembled inside the main frame. For greater clarity of detail, hammer screw (32), trigger screw (19), and sear screw (28) are not shown but their respective center-lines are indicated at "A", "B", and "C". Also omitted for clarity is hand and cylinder stop tension spring (35) which is inserted into bottom of frame so its wider, flat arm presses against rear of hand cut in frame and its 2 forward, curving arms press against rear edges of hand and cylinder stop respectively. Trigger spring (36) is also omitted to avoid confusion. "D" indicates the pin of the hand against which hand spring (23) bears
2 This drawing shows entire revolver in longitudinal section and demonstrates proper relationship of all interior parts. Note that hand and cylinder stop tension spring (35) is shown here with its long arm behind hammer for clarity only. In assembling the lock mechanism in this position, this spring is on the left side of hammer
2. Ejector housing
3. Ejector housing screw
4. Ejector rod
5. Ejector rod head
6. Ejector spring
7. Cylinder pin
9. Main frame
10. Cylinder pin lock screw
11. Cylinder pin lock screw spring
12. Cylinder pin lock nut
13. Loading gate
14. Loading gate catch
15. Loading gate catch spring
16. Loading gate catch screw
20. Trigger roller
21. Trigger roller pin
22. Trigger strut spring
23. Hand spring
24. Hand and strut spring screw
25. Trigger strut
26. Trigger strut pin
28. Sear screw
30. Firing pin
31. Firing pin rivet
32. Hammer screw
34. Stirrup pin
35. Hand and cylinder stop tension spring
36. Trigger spring
37. Trigger spring screw
38. Cylinder stop
40. Mainspring screw
42. Backstrap screws (2)
43. Butt screw
44. Trigger guard
45. Rear trigger guard screws (2)
46. Front trigger guard screw
47. Mainspring tension screw
49. Grips, hard rubber (left hand only shown)
51. Escutcheon nut*
52. Grip screw*
53. Recoil plate
* Grip pin, grip screw, and escutcheons were not supplied on 'Lightning' revolvers with one-piece hardwood grips.
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