.38 cal colts lightning magazine rifle

Here is a ratty old box I picked up with 34 original rounds in it. I would be interested to know about it. Thanks.

Well I will give it my best novice answer until an expert comes along. The cartridges are what we more commonly refer to as .38 - 40 Winchester Center Fire.

The 38 C.L.M.R. does refer as the box indicates, to the .38 Colt Lightning Magazine Rifle and Carbine. It was the first center fire slide action rifle manufactured by Colt starting in 1884.

The date of the box I will let someone else estimate. I do feel however it is promotional for the late 1880’s.


No one else have opinions or estimates? By my minimal research they may date 1890-1911? I checked with cartridge sellers and found no one offering singles with this headstamp…is that a rarity that makes them desirable to collectors? If I were to sell these should I sell them off as singles or as a partial box? I am thinking keeping them intact as a partial box due to the age of the box. Lots of questions, thanks!

I researched the box style and label. I stand by my original estimation of manufacturing.

These particular .38 - 40 CLMR cartridges I would go $7 a piece on the high side personally. Weather to piece them out or sell intact? Some people like I want a full sealed box or as close to as we can get. Most well seasoned expert collectors keep just the box or label along with 1-2 original cartridges. Since it is not a sealed box, you would probably get more return by piecing the Contents out. Understand, that takes a lot longer.

Thank you Sir, that helps greatly. Regards.

U.M.C. began headstamping the “.38 Winchester”, as they called it then, with .38 C.F.W. (for the Winchester) and .38 C.L.M.R. for the Colt in February 1889.


U.M.C. began headstamping the “.38 Winchester”, as they called it then, with .38 C.F.W.
Was it really C.F.W. or did you mean W.C.F.?

U.M.C. used both W.C.F. and C.F.W., with C.F.W. being first…so yes, I meant C.F.W.


Thanks Randy, that is good to know. I had not heard that before nor have I seen one. Something to watch for! Regards.

U.M.C. used the following headstamps on the .38-40 over the years…

U.M.C. S H .38 C.F. Raised
U.M.C. S H .38 C.F. Impressed
U.M.C. .38 C.F.W.
U M C 38 WCF
U.M.C. .38-40 Originally Marlin Safety but later used on all .38-40’s
U.M.C. .38-40 H.V.
U.M.C. .38 C.L.M.R.

I believe that about covers them all, but if I have left anything out, let me know…

Also, early cartridges will be found with no headstamp and beveled head, and sometimes you find "standard’ head and rim construction that have no headstamp…


Also, U.M.C. made the .38-40, according to the records, headstamped MAGIC .38 C.F. I once owned the .44 C.F., but never have seen a .38


Thanks again for the additional information.

Randy, the cartridges headstamped “MAGIC” were made by UMC in July 1889 for F. Lassetter & Co. Limited, Sidney, Australia, which not only marketed Magic brand ammunition in .38 and .44 WCF, but also Colt Lightning rifles marked “MAGIC”.

Contemporaneously, this company also marketed “Daisy” brand ammunition in .32 and .44 WCF for their Winchester Model 1873 marked “DAISY”, and in this case the ammunition was packed in Winchester boxes with an red over-label with black print reading “THE ‘DAISY’ AMMUNITION”.

This is one of the earliest ads I have found; it was published on December 7, 1889:

one to make Randy’s day


Nice, Pete !..Don’t collect UMC anymore, except for Krags…The Magic headstamps are awfully rare…


It has been a long time, but I have a feeling in the past I found out that the Magic headstamp was used by a dealer in Australia.
Please correct me if I’m wrong.


And very sought after over here in Oz!

Fede, first I have heard of the overlabelled Daisy Ammunition. Does anybody have examples of these? More to chase in my Australia Sporting collection!!

Sorry Fede,

I should have read your ad from Lassiter before jumping in, but got too excited after seeing that great photo of the headstamp.

In my collecting days, I did have both 44.40 and 38.40 with the Magic headstamp, and I am pretty certain I had a 32.20 also. Also in my rifle collection had at least one marked Magic which led me to the research the link to Lassiter & Co.



I went looking for an auction with REM-UMC proof rounds and stumbled over this: http://www.gunauction.com/buy/12678541/collectible-ammo-for-sale/american-rifle/44-magic-colt-lightning-magazine-rifle-clmr-umc

Too much for me!

I found a MAGIC 44 C.F. casing while metal detecting in NSW Australia this week. I know this thread is old but thought the find might be of interest. It is terrible condition but that is not surprising given its age.