Autry Museum of the American West

Model 1877 Lightning Revolver

right side

right side

1886; serial number 56595
Owner: "The Poet Scout" Captain Jack Crawford
Inscribed: Capt. Jack Crawford
Manufacturer: Colt's Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company

Unlike single-action revolvers, which require the user to manually cock the hammer before the trigger can be used to fire the weapon, a double-action revolver can be fired simply by pulling the trigger. In other words, pulling the trigger on a double-action automatically rotates the cylinder as the hammer is cocked and released. The first production-model double-action Colt was the Model 1877 Lightning Revolver. The Lightning was similar in design to the Single Action Army, with the notable aesthetic differences being the smaller frame and the so-called birdshead grip contour. This Lightning was given to Captain Jack Crawford, the "Poet Scout," by Robert Todd Lincoln, the son of President Abraham Lincoln. Crawford was the chief of scouts for the Army’s Fifth Cavalry, and he spent time as a performer in Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West show. He was also a writer known for his poetic prose.

  • left side

    left side
  • inscription on backstrap

    inscription on backstrap
  • Cabinet card of Captain Jack Crawford from 1880

    Autry National Center


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Special Thanks

Greg Martin, R. L. Wilson

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