The year 2023 marks the 150th anniversary of the Colt Single Action Army, and not only is this an iconic design that’s still made by Colt, it’s also been replicated by a number of Italian companies. One of the best reproductions of the original Colt design comes from Cimarron Firearms, and that’s the Model P, which is the version we have on the range today. Cimarron offers dozens of variations on the SAA theme, but if you’re looking for the no-frills Colt as it was first seen in the 1870s, the Model P is what you want. Watch the video above to see it in use on the NRA Tech Range.
The classic format of the Single Action Army is a six-shot revolver chambered in .45 Colt with a 7.5” barrel. That’s exactly what we have here, and true to form, it has a large, fixed-blade front sight along with a groove in the topstrap that serves as the rear sight once the hammer is cocked. The receiver and loading gate are case-hardened, and all the other parts features a deep blued finish. On the right side of the barrel, you’ll find the ejector-rod housing, and the ejector rod itself has the classic circular leg that allows shooters to poke cases out, one at a time.
In keeping with the classic design of the Single Action Army, Cimarron preserved the fixed firing pin on its Model P, which means that loading and shooting this reproduction is done the same way as the originals. Load five rounds and rest the hammer on an empty chamber. Cocking the hammer provides that audible signature of a proper Colt reproduction. Four clicks, spelling out C-O-L-T.
A nod to durability that Cimarron has changed in these guns is the addition of what the company calls its Cowboy Comp action job. In original Colts, a flat spring is used to provide tension on the cylinder hand, and it’s long been known that this is a weak point in the SAA design. Cimarron replaces that flat spring with a coil spring that won’t fatigue and can be fine-tuned during the company’s action job. When the guns come from Italy, their internal surfaces are deburred, a US-made mainspring and trigger-bolt spring are installed, and the guns are tuned and checked for trigger pull, headspace, cylinder gap, timing and function.
This particular Model P is Cimarron’s limited-edition Henry Nettleton model, which features accurate stamps and markings from U.S. Ordnance sub-inspector Henry Nettleton, who inspected many of the earliest Colt Single Action Armys issued during the Indian Wars of the 1870s.
There’s nothing quite like shooting a classically styled Single Action Army. The crisp trigger and the clean sweep of the checkered hammer spur brings shooters back in time. The plow-handle wood grip allows the gun to roll in the hand during recoil, which softens some of the blow from the .45 Colt cartridge. Loading and ejecting cartridges in this Cimarron Model P is easy, and it’s a sweet shooter that makes for a fun range day.
Cimarron Model P Specifications
Importer: Cimarron Firearms
Action Type: single-action centerfire revolver
Chambering: .45 Colt
Frame: casehardened steel
Sights: fixed; square-notch rear, blade front
Capacity: six-round cylinder
Stocks: one-piece walnut
MSRP: $660.11 (base)