Originally manufactured by Colt, this ultra-fast pump is known for its speed and compact size.
By David R. Chicoine
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Colt firearms originally manufactured the Lightning slide-action/pump-action rifle from 1884 until 1904. The original Lightning was known for it’s ultra fast, short-stroke slide action and compact size and was quite a remarkable gun for its day. Roughly 180,000 Lightning magazine rifles were manufactured in all and were offered in three different sizes including a small-frame chambered for .22 rimfire, a medium-frame for pistol sized rounds like the 44-40, and the large or express-frame size to handle the large, high powered, rimmed rifle cartridges of the late 1800’s. Those Colt pump-guns were high quality products and were very different from the Winchester pump rifles many of us are so familiar with, but they were made with the kind of great craftsmanship the world had come to expect from the old Colt factory. As those of us who work on the original Lightnings know too well, they like to be operated “vigorously.” If you balk or try to operate the action slowly you may encounter problems, especially in the cartridge feeding area.