Colt 1878 Double Action Frontier centrefire revolver, cal. .476 in. Eley, rifled round barrel 139 mm (5 1/2 inch) long with right hand side rod ejector.

Made by Colt's Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Co, Hartford, Connecticut. Serial number 15630, 1885.

Shipped by Colt's to Colt's London Agency, 11 May 1885; see Colt Archive Properties authentication letter, dated 22 March 2007.

Collected in 1942 from the Morton Telegraph Relay Station, Morton River, Cape York Peninsula, Queensland, where it was reported to have been for many years.

Physical Description

Six chambered long fluted cylinder, solid steel frame with overall dark patina and light pitting, steel rounded trigger guard with light pitting, steel back strap, black two-piece finely chequered hard-rubber grips with rampant Colt logo in oval embossed on both sides, crack in left hand grip has been previously repaired, chip missing from both left hand and right hand grips, lanyard ring in butt. Bladed front sight, loading gate on right hand side. One-line Colt address stamped on barrel. British proofmarks stamped on cylinder and under barrel at cylinder end. Action is defective.


The Colt 1878 Double Action (DA) Frontier and Army models followed the first DA models, the Lightning (cal. .38in.) and Thunderer (cal. .41in.). The model was produced in a range of calibres, including .45 Colt, .44-40 W.C.F., .38-40 W.C.F., .32-20 W.C.F., in addition to three popular English sizes, .450, .455 and .476. Compared to the smaller Lightning and Thunderer, the Frontier was a substantial larger revolver. Production of the model ran from 1878 to 1905 with a total of 51,210 revolvers being made. It was in some respects the larger brother of the Single Action Army (1873), hence it sometimes being referred to as the Double Action Army, or Frontier and Army model. A variation was produced in 1902 often known as the Philippine or Alaskan model with an enlarger trigger guard to allow the use of either two fingers or one finger in a thick glove, thus the allusions to its use in Alaska.

More Information