The design of the Model 1878 was based on the Model 1877, which in turn was based heavily on the design of the earlier Colt Single Action Army revolver. The double action revolver is not dramatically different in design than the single action revolver. A strut is added to connect the trigger movement to the hammer. The top of the trigger slips beyond the strut so that the hammer will stay in full cock if it is pulled back manually.
The Model 1878 had a larger frame than the Model 1877, which allowed it to fire larger and more powerful cartridges, such as the .45 Colt and .44-40. The 1878 used the same barrel, ejector parts, and a very similar cylinder to the Single Action Army revolver. At one time, the factory even modified Model 1878 cylinders for use in single action revolvers in an attempt to use up spare parts.
The Model 1878 was available in .45 Colt, .32-20, .38 Colt, .38-40, .41 Colt, .44-40, .455 Webley and 476 Eley. The most popular calibers were .45 and .44-40. The barrel was available in several different lengths. Smaller barrels were more easily concealed, and were therefore preferred by both criminals and plainclothes law enforcement officials. Barrel lengths available were 3, 3-1/2, 4, 4-3/4, 5-1/2, and 7-1/2 inches. Revolvers with 4 inch and shorter barrels did not have an ejector. Standard grips were black checkered hard rubber. Many early revolvers were also produced with checkered walnut grips.
Call of JuarezEditRay McCall acquired two rusty Border Guns from a chest inside the church. The Border Gun is one of the main handguns enemies use.
- Hope rioters
- Clyde Forrestor
- The Plague members
- Apache Renegade
- Ferguson's ranchhands
- Strangely enough, Ray used two Quickshooters in Bound in Blood, but speaks of the Border Guns as the ones he used in his dark days. A possible "canon" explanation is that Ray meant it had been many years since he'd handled the guns, perhaps acquiring them from shady sources, as he spoke of them as 'being used for good now' after taking them out of the chest. Ray may also meant that he hadn't handled a firearm in years.
- The Border Gun also appears on the pistol ammunition box.