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Tinpan McGurk

American Western Arms Lightening Rifle

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Any of you pards had any experience good or bad with one of these.. There is one for sale here at a local gun shop and I think they may be willing to negotiate on the price since they have had it for a while. I have seen some comments that the pump actions seem to have feeding and perhaps quality issues?? This one is in .45 Colt and looks to be in good condition. Never had or tried one so would be interested in hearing from other pards that have.

 

Thanks,

 

Tinpan McGurk #82892

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The ones worked on by Jack Rabbit Bob run very well. Bob was a TN cowboy shooter who figured out how to make these rifles run and got hired by the company. Bob is no longer with us.

 

Maybe the gun shop will let A-Zoom snap caps through the gun to see if it functions well. .45 Colt Lightnings can have powder blow-back issues.

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Some worked. Some did not. The early ones were marked "AWA International" and had functioning problems. The later ones were marked "AWA USA." Some of those ran fairlly well. There are no spare parts. I always tell people if you are going to shoot a Lightning it is going to become your second hobby. What's funny about Lightnings is they might cycle dummy rounds all day but as soon as you go to the range for some live fire they start to have problems. If you aren't a decent gun mechanic you might want to pass as sending them out to get worked on can be expensive and there are only one or two people that really know how to tune them.

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Overall, the Lightning Rifle ran pretty well with Bottle Necked cartridges but Straight walled pistol cartridges were an issue. Many companies tried and failed to make a clone that worked. The problems were worse on the .45 because of the weight of the bullet.

 

Colt only made them for a few years before they stopped.

 

Happy Trails at the Smith Shop in Warwick RI has some parts for the USFA version. but after that you need an excellent mechanic who can fabricate parts.

 

Years back I really wanted a Lightning Rifle but after my research, I decided against.

 

Hope that helps,

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I own two .44-40 Lightnings from Pedersoli. They both run well, but, as Larsen said, they are an "acquired taste". One of them is a Lassiter slam fire conversion (I wish I could run it like he does). Luckily, my local cowboy gunsmith is competent with them and, fortunately, I have not had to have him work on one of them yet.

 

I don't use either of them as a main match gun. After 14 years of running tuned lever guns, I just can't shoot them nearly as fast. They are more to play with.

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Thanks Pards,

 

Sounds like its not worth messing with it.

 

Tinpan McGurk

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I have one in 44-40. I mostly use it for WB. Fun rifle to shoot, and I've had zero feeding issues.

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I have an AWA Lightning in .45 Colt. It is out of the box unmodified. I used it at End of the Trail in 2016 and shot a clean match with it.

 

When I was in the market for a Lightning I was able to compare 3 of them at the gun shop. The Taurus felt like pulling two pieces of sandpaper against each other. The Berretta felt very clunky. The AWA felt tight and smooth. I bought the AWA and have never regretted it. To my surprise, it has become my favorite SASS rifle. I'd say go for it.

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Pass it by !

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Larson, there are parts for the lightning rifles. Eldon Penner sells them and as of my last conversation he is still making parts. I know for a fact that in addition to original Lighting rifles he makes parts for the AWA as I have purchased some from him. Before he retired from gunsmith work, and went into parts only, he was an excellent, and probably the best Lightning gunsmith in the business.

So if anyone needs parts, contact him. You can find his alais here in the web site, it is El Rod.

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Larson, there are parts for the lightning rifles. Eldon Penner sells them and as of my last conversation he is still making parts. I know for a fact that in addition to original Lighting rifles he makes parts for the AWA as I have purchased some from him. Before he retired from gunsmith work, and went into parts only, he was an excellent, and probably the best Lightning gunsmith in the business.

So if anyone needs parts, contact him. You can find his alais here in the web site, it is El Rod.

I haven't seen him for several years. The last time I talked to him he refused to just sell parts. Running "El Rod" here yields no results. Googling Eldon Penner does not show a website or address. So, for all practical purposes the parts are basically non-existent. If you have contact infomation it would be useful to print it.

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Eldon Penner

phone 775-783-8387

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I have an AWA Lightening. My rifle apparently has an issue with the timer. It shoots just fine off the clock. I run it fast, I mean real fast.

The Buzzer goes off and it gets all kinda crazy.

 

Yes the 45 Colt version has blow back issues.

Edited by Marshal TKD, Sass # 36984L

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I have an AWA Lightening. My rifle apparently has an issue with the timer. It shoots just fine off the clock. I run it fast, I mean real fast.

The Buzzer goes off and it gets all kinda crazy.

Put some weight back on it. It will then turn into a real "LIGHTNING"! Lightening must mean it's missing a part or two! :ph34r:

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I found an email address for Eldon Penner, I don't know if it's current but here it is: HEPENNER@AOL.COM

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If I could afford it I would pick it up just to add it to the collection, but I wouldn't depend on it as a main match gun. Maybe run it once in a while for fun.

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I have spent 2 1/2 winter days perfecting a Taurus Thunderbolt, and have finally solved the issue to bring perfection operation, but how do I solve mechanical operation inconsistency by the pilot?

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RUN LIGHT LIGHTNING!!! THEY ARE, AT BEST, JUNK!!! HAD THREE OF THEM, GAVE TWO AWAY AND PARTED THE OTHER OUT. GLAD TO BE RID OF THEM. THERE WAS A REASON COLT QUIT MAKING THEM.

AL

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