February 15, 2022
I have a Colt-Burgess lever-action rifle that I think was manufactured in 1885. It is in .44- 40 with a 25½- inch octagon nickel-silver barrel with full-length magazine. It has a “Rocky Mountain” front single blade and sporting-style buckhorn rear sight. The receiver has the distinctive sliding loading gate and oval ejection port. The crescent buttplate has a sliding brass trap. The stock and forearm are oil-finished walnut. The top of the barrel is roll-stamped with the two-line address and patent dates: “COLT’SPT.F.A.MFG.CO.HARTFORD.CT.U.S.A./+PAT.JAN.7.73.OCT.19.75.APR.1.79.DEC.7.80.DEC.13.81.JAN.3.82+”. The Rampant Colt trademark is roll-stamped on the left side of the receiver. The serial number 43XX is stamped on the lower tang behind the trigger. I have heard about a similar gun with serial no. 44XX. What is the connection between this gun (44XX) and my gun (43XX)? Included are pictures of mine. Can you estimate the value of this gun?
-R.W.M. of Appomattox, Virginia
The Colt-Burgess lever-action rifle was manufactured from 1883 to 1885, a production life of about 21 months. It was an attempt by Colt to take advantage of the lever-action rifle market then dominated by Winchester. The gun’s unofficial name comes from its inventor, Andrew Burgess. The Burgess was offered in carbine and rifle versions, the former with round barrels and the latter with round, octagon or half- octagon barrels. It was only chambered in .44- 40 caliber. Some 6,403 (2,593 carbines plus 3,810 rifles) were manufactured. You have a standard octagon barrel rifle, the most common. From what I can make out from the supplied photos, condition seems to be OK, but not great; I’d say in about 20 to 30 percent shape. Assuming the rifle works, and the bore is in reasonable shape, according to the Forty-First Edition Blue Book of Gun Values, it’s worth between $2,950 and $3,450. As far as serial number 43XX versus 44XX is concerned, other than the fact one was made before the other, I don’t have immediate access to the Colt records so I’m unable to help you out there. If you wish to investigate this further you can contact Colt’s Archive Services at 860-554-8088, or coltarchives.com. For a fee, they may be able to supply you with letters containing more information on those rifles.
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