September 24, 2010
The popular Single Action Model P is now available in stainless steel.
The popular Cimarron Model P is now available in a stainless steel variant.
Cimarron Firearms has long been known for importing the best-quality handguns and rifles produced by the Beretta-owned firm of Aldo Uberti. One material Uberti has always been loath to work with is stainless steel. It is much harder on the tools and creates the headache of keeping otherwise look-alike stainless and carbon-steel parts separate throughout the finishing process.
After years of gentle nudging, Mike Harvey, Cimarron's president, finally convinced Uberti to build a stainless Colt SAA. Although the Ruger Vaquero is still stronger, the Vaquero weighs 5 3/4 ounces more and balances differently than the Colt SAA and its clones. If you're happy with the original ballistics of the .45 Colt, the weight savings combined with the stainless steel makes this revolver an excellent choice for a trail gun.
This is one good-looking revolver, too. The steel is evenly and expertly polished with no ripples present. The fit of the triggerguard, backstrap and loading gate is excellent. The polish around the hammer, trigger and bolt screws is almost flawless, with the barest hint of dishing. The hammer is deeply checkered in an early style and is fitted with a small firing pin. No firing-pin bushing is present; the firing pin goes right through a hole in the frame. The cylinder is beveled the way 1st generation Colt SAAs were. The grips, which are select, are nicely figured and heavily varnished. The fit of the grips gets a B+. The only problem here was a hardly noticeable gap between frame and grip. The screws are all stainless, but the hand, bolt and springs are carbon steel.
As usual with a firearm without a transfer-bar safety, only five rounds should be loaded and the hammer rested on an empty chamber. The arm does come with a safety, though. The cylinder base-pin is longer than usual and has two notches. To use it as a safety, cock the hammer to its first notch, depress the transverse cylinder-pin catch, and push the cylinder pin in to its last notch. This effectively blocks the firing pin from striking the primer of a cartridge. When the safety is deployed, the gun still functions normally for loading and unloading. Practically speaking, the ability to carry one extra round is outweighed by the amount of time it takes to remove the safety for firing.
Accuracy was all that one could desire. Cowboy Action loads from Black Hills and Winchester delivered 25-yard groups in the 2 3/4- and three-inch range. In keeping with its added mission as a trail gun, G&A's Executive Editor Payton Miller tried Winchester 225-grain Silvertips off a rest and shot a splendid six-shot group of 2 1/2 inches with five rounds in a 1 1/4-inch cluster and three of those touching.
|Model P Stainless |
Maker: Aldo Uberti And Co.
Importer: Cimarron Arms
Action Type: Single-action revolver
Caliber: .45 Colt (tested), .357 Mag.
Barrel Length: 4 3/4, 5 1/2, 7 1/2 in.
Overall Length: 10 5/8 in.
Weight: 36 ounces
Finish: Polished stainless
Sights: Fixed; blade front, U-notch rear
Grips: Varnished walnut
The group itself was 1 3/4 inches left and 2 1/2 inches high on the bull using a six o'clock hold. The 255-grain bullets shot just over the front sight and a little left. There were no malfunctions of any kind during the 200-plus-round test. As usual, the cartridges dropped from the chambers without the use of the ejector until the chambers became fouled after a box or so of cast bullets. Then the brass needed to be touched with the rod to fall free.
The 1/16-inch-wide traditional Colt-style front sight is square and polished on the rounded contours, which throws some glare into the sight picture. That's one of the only drawbacks to nickel-plated or stainless single actions with fixed sights. Sans paint, there is no good answer to the dilemma, but it isn't too much of a detriment at close range.
Cowboy Action competitors might want to keep a small bottle of Testor's flat-back model paint along with a few cotton swabs handy to blacken the blade and rear notch. The trick also works for field shooters, but carrying the revolver in a holster for extended periods will wear the paint off the top of the sight where it's needed most anyway, so it might not really matter.
Although Cowboy Action shooters are a major audience for this revolver, it is also meant for those who wish to pack a Colt-style single action afield as an alternative to carbon-steel guns and their higher maintenance. Stainless steel will rust if it is badly neglected in a harsh climate (the stainless blend must have a good quantity of carbon steel in order to be heat-treated properly).
The fit of the loading gate, backstrap and triggerguard is superb. The metal is expertly polished and ripple-free. The cylinder is held in place by the late-style transverse pin, and the ejector rod has the smaller head of the later guns as well.
Still, it withstands harsh weather much better and longer than any traditionally finished carbon steel. It is also much easier to spiff up. A good way to touch up stainless is with a 3M Scotch-Brite pad. The pads come in a variety of grits that will deliver everything from a subdued brushed look all the way to a nickel-like high polish.
The Model P Stainless is disassembled the same as a late-model Colt. Cock the hammer to its half-cock position, open the loading gate, and ensure that the revolver is unloaded. Close the loading gate, depress the transverse pin on the front of the frame, and withdraw the cylinder pin. Open the loading gate, and remove the cylinder from the frame. Rea
ssemble in reverse order.
If one desires to pack a traditional single action afield when inclement weather might be encountered, a stainless steel revolver is the best choice. Cowboy Action shooters who desire ease of maintenance along with utility will find stainless a good option as well. If you're one who cherishes the ease of maintenance along with the lively feel of the Colt SAA, then the Cimarron stainless Model P will warrant a strong look.