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Col Del Rio

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The Colt Lightning rifle has a small but devoted fanbase.   Now, I grew up loving Winchesters.  A few years ago though, when there was a lot of talk about the Lighting, I grew curious and decided that I wanted to have one, just to have one.  Long story short, the Lightning is now my favorite SASS type rifle, my go to gun when I want to do my best, and has supplanted my love for lever guns.  Never thought that would happen, but I did.

My favorite Lightning is an AWA in .45 Colt, and to this day is the only gun I have shot a clean match with.  This is the gun that infected me with "The Lightning Bug" and let me say that once it gets you, it really holds on to you.

I liked the .45 so much that I decided that if I ever found an AWA in .44-40 that I would buy it.  I found it, and I did.  In the spirit of honesty, the chamber was a bit tight, but after I had it polished, it works just fine.   Since then, I have acquired a real Colt in .32-20, a Costa Rican army surplus Colt in .44-40 that I really need to find a bayonet for, a small frame Colt in .22 Long, and an AWA "Lightning Bolt" in .45 Colt.  That's a Mare's Leg type pistol built on the Lightning instead of the Winchester 92.  Very fun to shoot.  In fact, first time I used it at a match, I shot clean.  

And, I have finally purchased a Large Frame Colt in .45-85.  Basically an "express" version of the .45-70.   It should arrive soon.

So now the question is, which Lighting do you want?

The general consensus here is that the Pedersoli is excellent, the Taurus is junk, and the Uberti made one is hit or miss.

People will disagree with me, but my own experience with the AWA is that they are excellent.  So are real Colts.

You do need to keep them clean, especially if you are shooting .45 Colt with lotsa blowback.

A fellow named Lassiter is the go to guy to work on them, should yours need any work.  And he shoots 'em really well.

When all is said and done, if you've got one that works, I think they are an excellent gun for SASS use.   That is a minority opinion, but those who hold to it, love the things.

I recommend that you give it a try, but be warned, you might like it, and then you are lost to it for the rest of your "career."

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Del Rio: Had an original Colt in .44-40 but was too slow and didn't always  eject. Only used it once. Tried the Taurus but it sucked.  Now  I use the Pedersoli  in .45 Colt.. Works good. Only problem I had a couple of years ago was the magazine plug keeper - in a dovetail under the barrel that holds the magazine, ripped out of the dovetail on the 9th round!.  Got it fixed and hasn't popped out again.  Had to stake it in place.  


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I have had a USFA .44-40 for many years and used it with my USFA 7 1/2" .44-40 pistols.  Still use it with my 1851 Colt 2nd Gen pistols.  The Lighting has a learning curve, mine will slam fire so you can go as fast as you can as long as you hit the steel.  My speed is 2 sundials used as timers.  You have to work the pump as hard as you can.

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Wife and I shoot original Colt Lightning rifles. Had them set up for CAS years ago and my wife has about 6 years of trouble free shooting and I didn't shoot mine as much or every match. That means no jams, double feeds, none stuck on carrier and won't chamber or any other failure associated with lots of other non Colt originals. We have three and all are set up for CAS and all are 32-20 caliber.

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