Cimarron 1875 Outlaw (Remington 1875 Replica) .357 Mag. Revolver
By the Guns and Shooting Online Staff
The history of Cimarron Firearms Company (www.cimarron-firearms.com), located in Fredericksburg, Texas, is intertwined with that of A. Uberti S.R.L. in Italy. Cimarron founder and President Mike Harvey is a well known firearms collector who owns original samples of all the replica firearms sold by Cimarron. He worked closely with the late Aldo Uberti (founder of A. Uberti) in the 1980s, traveling to Italy many times with original frontier era guns to refine the Uberti reproductions and create the most accurate possible replica firearms available today. Aldo Uberti and Mike Harvey became good friends and Aldo famously commented that Mike Harvey was the pillar of the Uberti factory.
Today, most Cimarron guns are still made by Uberti for Cimarron and so marked. We have read that the Cimarron Ubertis are built to Cimarron specifications. Cimarron is the preferred brand of many accomplished SASS cowboy action shooters, including noted gunslinger Joey Dillon. Guns and Shooting Online has previously reviewed several Uberti rifles and revolvers (see the Product Reviews index page), but this is our first Cimarron firearm review.
One thing for sure, when we opened the cardboard Cimarron box and removed our 1875 Outlaw test gun, it was covered with oil. This is the way Uberti delivers their guns. We had to wipe it down several times and get in all the nooks and crannies to remove as much oil as possible before we could comfortably handle it. We also had to run a BoreSnake through the cylinder chambers and the barrel to remove excess oil before we could even think about shooting our new Cimarron.
Packaged with the revolver is the usual literature, a Cimarron bumper sticker, warranty and return information, registration card and a Uberti instruction manual. The latter applies primarily to Uberti Colt replica revolvers, with no special information about Remington replicas. Even the parts list and exploded diagram apply only to Colt type revolvers.
This is unfortunate, as Remington internal parts are not the same and some operational details vary between the two brands. Except for general information that applies to all single action revolvers, this instruction manual is nearly worthless to 1875 Outlaw purchasers. Cimarron needs to ditch the Uberti manual and have their own owner's manual printed for Remington pattern revolvers.
The Cimarron 1875 Outlaw reviewed here is a replica of the Remington Model 1875 Improved Army single action (SA) cartridge revolver. Cimarron does not use the word "Remington" in their nomenclature or description, but for the purposes of this review we will, as this is what the Outlaw is.
Cimarron 1875 Outlaws are available with 5-1/2 or 7-1/2 inch barrels and in calibers .357 Magnum/.38 Special, .44-40 and .45 Colt. We chose .357 Magnum and a 7-1/2 inch barrel for our test gun.
This is a six shot, traditional western style revolver with a web under the barrel that invokes the percussion 1858 Remington Army revolver. The 1858 Remington had a solid top strap and the lock-work was accessed from the bottom, by simply removing the trigger guard.
There is no doubt the Remington 1858 revolver was ahead of its time. Many shooters from the Civil War era preferred the Remington 1858 to the Colt 1860 Army revolver (they each had advantages and disadvantages) and Remington retained these features when they made the Model 1875. It was basically an updated, centerfire cartridge version of the fine Model 1858.
Here is Cimarron's brief comment about their 1875 Outlaw revolver, which was apparently named in honor of Frank James:
"Built to compete with Samuel Colt's single action, the 1875-Style revolver was every bit as reliable and accurate as the much lauded Colt. The revolver retained the webbed barrel of previous percussion designs. This distinctive design was favored by outlaw Frank James and Texas Ranger Bill McDonald. Both praised the handling of this classic revolver."
We agree with the praise for the handling of Remington pattern revolvers. As good as a Colt Single Action Army (SAA) feels, the Remington has always felt slightly better to us. The shape of the Remington grip, viewed from the bottom, is a bit shorter oval (front to back) than the Colt grip. The Remington revolver also has a more weight forward balance, probably due to its heavy ejector rod housing and steel web under the barrel.
The 1875 Outlaw is noticeably heavier than the 7-1/2 inch Colt SAA New Frontier we used for comparison and about the weight of a Ruger Super Blackhawk Hunter. We attribute this to the Outlaw's longer frame, under barrel web and the fact our Colt is a .45, so the holes in the barrel and Cylinder are bigger. An experienced handgunner will notice the difference in feel and handling.
While we are discussing handling, we should mention that the Outlaw's two-piece, smooth walnut grip panels are carefully fitted to the grip frame. The wood to metal fit is very good, much better than the great majority of handguns today. It is slightly better than our second generation Colt SAA New Frontier comparison revolver and markedly better than New Model Ruger single action revolvers. This helps the Outlaw feel good in the hand.The walnut grip panels have an attractive grain pattern with some fiddleback and are finished with an almost mahogany color stain. All of the wood pores are filled with what appears to be a gloss lacquer finish. These are exceptionally attractive wood grips for a production revolver.
The Cimarron 1875 looks like a brand new vintage revolver to the casual user. Its overall finish is exceptionally nice by modern standards, which along with the 1875 Remington's good lines make this one of the most attractive production revolvers we have seen. It is, of course, manufactured using modern metallurgy, so it should be stronger and more durable than an original Remington 1875.
The cylinder, trigger guard, trigger, barrel, barrel web and ejector housing are all highly polished and hot blued. The polish and bluing is not quite the equal of Colt Royal Blue, but it is very good. The hammer and the frame, which includes the grip frame on a Remington pattern revolver, are beautifully color case-hardened. (If you must use the butt of your revolver to nail-up wanted posters, the one-piece frame/grip construction of the Remington is the way to go!)
The color case-hardening on the Cimarron is even nicer than on our Colt SAA New Frontier. Standard grade handguns just don't get much nicer looking than this Cimarron 1875 reproduction.
We took the grips off and removed the trigger guard and it was obvious that much of the fitting had been done by hand filing, something you don't often see on modern handguns. The trigger pull is crisp and clean, measuring a perfect 2-1/2 pounds per our RCBS pull scale. We can't remember the last time an out of the box handgun came with a trigger pull this good.
The trigger itself is wide and smooth with a comfortable curve. It is probably about twice the width of a Colt SAA trigger.
The effort required to cock the hammer is about like a Colt SAA, but not quite as smooth. Like a Colt, the 1875's hammer is powered by a long flat spring inside the grip frame. This is called the mainspring (or hammer spring). There is a small hammer spring tension screw in the front of the grip frame and we backed this out to where it just touched the spring to lighten the hammer draw as much as practical.
Incidentally, the Remington 1875 action clicks softly four times as you cock the hammer slowly, like a Colt SAA, while an Old Model Ruger (three-screw) clicks five times and a New Model Ruger clicks only twice. Although they are conceptually similar actions, the Remington action is different in detail from a Colt or Ruger.
The Cimarron Outlaw has a feature the Colt SAA and three-screw Ruger lack. There is a small, automatic hammer block (hammer bar safety) in the face of the hammer that makes it safe to carry the Outlaw with all six chambers loaded and the hammer in the quarter-cock "safety" notch. This hammer bar is interposed between the hammer and the frame when the hammer is pulled back to the quarter-cock notch. Even if the safety notch is forced by a blow on the hammer strong enough to break the tip of the sear or the safety notch itself, the hammer is blocked. The firing pin cannot contact the primer of a cartridge and the gun will not fire.
This feature was designed by Uberti for their Colt and Remington pattern replica revolvers and was not present in original Remington 1875 revolvers. Still, it is a good feature, particularly when plinking with friends. Of course, it is unwise to completely trust any safety device.
Remington SA, Colt SAA, Old Model Ruger and all replica revolvers should be carried with an empty chamber under the hammer. For that matter, an empty chamber under the hammer is also a good idea for single action autoloading pistols. The Outlaw's cylinder chambers are not recessed, so the cartridge rims can be seen when looking at the gun from the side, making it easy to tell when an empty chamber is under the hammer.
The 1875 Outlaw uses a conical firing pin mounted in the hammer, like a Colt or a late model Remington, not a floating frame-mounted firing pin like a Ruger. The Outlaw firing pin is held in place by a cross pin.
Cocking the 1875's hammer is like any traditional SA revolver. As it is thumbed back from its resting position against the frame, the first hammer notch is the quarter-cock "safety" position. This is a deep notch and it holds the hammer about 3/16 inch from the frame, far enough for the firing pin to be well clear of a cartridge in the chamber.
In most traditional SA revolvers this safety notch is not completely safe, as a perfect blow to the hammer hard enough to break either the tip of the sear engaging the notch or the notch itself could allow the firing pin to contact the primer of a cartridge and fire the gun. This is not likely, but it is possible. (As already mentioned, the Cimarron/Uberti has an automatic hammer bar safety, not present in original Colt and Remington revolvers, to prevent this.)
Continue to thumb the hammer back and the next notch is half-cock. The half-cock hammer position frees the bolt that locks the cylinder at the bottom and allows the cylinder to turn freely in a clockwise direction. This is the loading and unloading hammer position. The half-cock notch in the hammer is not as secure as the quarter-cock safety notch and should never be used as a safety position.
The final hammer position is full cock, with the hammer held all the way back. With the hammer fully cocked, the tip of the sear engages the full-cock notch. This is a shallow notch only as wide as the sear tip and cut at a right angle to the tip of the sear (itself an extension of the top of the trigger). The tip of the sear and the full cock hammer notch are polished to slide smoothly against each other and only a small trigger movement is required to free the hammer and fire the revolver. The result is the Outlaw's excellent trigger pull.
The Outlaw's sights consist of a rounded, tapered blade front sight soldered into a slot cut into the barrel and a small, flat bottomed notch cut into the top strap of the frame. These sights are "fine" and harder to acquire than the Patridge type sights found on almost all modern service pistols. The only adjustment possible is to carefully file down the front sight if the gun shoots low. Do not attempt to bend the front sight blade to correct for a windage error, as it will break.
Loading and unloading the 1875 Outlaw is traditional single action fare. Thumb the hammer back to the half-cock position, which allows the cylinder to rotate freely in a clockwise direction. Swing open the loading gate at the right side of the frame. To load cartridges, rotate the cylinder until a chamber is aligned with the loading port in the recoil shield and insert a cartridge. Repeat the process until the gun is loaded.
To load five cartridges so an empty chamber is under the hammer, "load one, skip one, load four more." In other words, load the first cartridge as described above, skip the next chamber, then load the next four chambers in succession. DO NOT ROTATE THE CYLINDER AGAIN. Close the loading gate and bring the hammer back to the full cock position. Then, pull the trigger and hold it back while controlling the hammer with your thumb, slowly lowering the hammer until it is resting against the frame. The empty chamber you skipped should now be under the hammer. Verify this by looking through the gap between the back of the cylinder and the frame, where the cartridge rims are visible; no rim should show in the chamber aligned with the hammer.
If you cock the hammer to fire the first round, but change your mind and don't shoot, here is how to get the empty chamber back under the hammer. Carefully lower the cocked hammer past the quarter-cock position and then bring it back to the half-cock notch. Manually rotate the cylinder four clicks (four chambers) and then bring the hammer back to the full cock notch. Carefully lower the hammer as in the paragraph above and it should be over the empty chamber. They never show this in the movies, but this is how the real frontier gunslingers did it.
To eject fired cases, thumb the hammer back to its half-cock notch to free the cylinder to rotate. Open the loading gate. Rotate the cylinder to align a case head with the loading port in the recoil shield. Slide the spring loaded ejector rod (located beneath the barrel at about the 5-o'clock position) rearward until it pushes the fired case from the cylinder. Release the ejector rod and manually rotate the cylinder to the next chamber. Repeat until all chambers are empty.
Operating a single action revolver is a simple, entirely manual process. With a little practice and experience it becomes almost automatic. A good SA shooter can fire aimed shots about as fast as a person with a DA revolver or an autoloading pistol. Reloading is slower, but can still be accomplished with dispatch once the technique is learned. Single action revolvers may be "old fashioned," but they remain serious weapons and must be treated as such. We never feel at a disadvantage when carrying a single action revolver in the field.
To remove the cylinder for cleaning, first make sure all the chambers are empty. Thumb the hammer back to the half-cock position and open the loading gate. Hold the pistol in your hands with the right side down. Depress the spring-loaded cylinder base pin screw (in the frame in front of the cylinder) and pull the cylinder pin toward the muzzle until it completely clears the cylinder. The cylinder will them simply fall out of the frame into your hand.
Replacing the cylinder: The usual advice is to do the steps above in reverse order. However, unlike a Colt or Ruger SA revolver, at least in our experience, when a Remington revolver is at half-cock the hand (the part that rotates the cylinder) does not fully retract into its slot in the recoil shield. At least this is the case with modern Cimarron/Uberti replicas. This makes it very difficult to get the cylinder correctly aligned with the cylinder pin.
Here is how to reinstall the cylinder. With the cylinder out of the frame, bring the hammer back to the full cock position. This raises the hand and the bolt. (The bolt locks the cylinder in place). Note the operation of these parts. Lower the hammer to the frame. Now, holding the revolver in your left hand, thumb the hammer slowly back with your left thumb until the bolt is retracted and the hand is as far into the frame as it goes. Hold the hammer in this intermediate position, between quarter-cock and half-cock, and with your right hand drop the cylinder into the frame; jiggle it a bit as necessary to slide the cylinder pin through the cylinder until it locks into place. Bring the hammer back to the full-cock notch and then lower it, close the loading gate and you are finished.
Most SA revolvers will loosen their screws when they are dry fired or fired a lot. Make it a point to check that all screws are tight when you get your new gun and after use. Pay particular attention to the screw at the front of the ejector housing that holds the housing in place and the two screws in the left side of the frame. You can use Loctite to keep the ejector housing screw in place. Use a gunsmith screwdriver that properly fits these screws and be careful to avoid damaging the highly polished screw heads, a sure sign of incompetent maintenance.
The Model 1875 Remington No. 3 "Improved Army or Frontier Revolver" was produced from 1875-1888, with somewhere around 30,000 probably made. (The exact production number is unknown.) These original revolvers were supplied with fluted cylinders and most came with smooth, two-piece walnut grips, although checkered grips, ivory grips and pearl grips were available. There was a lanyard ring attached to the bottom of the grip frame. Most had 7-1/2 inch round barrels, while a very few late production guns were supplied with 5-3/4 inch barrels. Calibers were .44 Remington, .44-40 and .45 Colt.
Early examples had rectangular firing pins integral with the hammer. After about serial number 12,000, replaceable cone shaped firing pins were pinned into the hammer. The shape of the front sight changed from a post to a blade as the guns evolved.
Frames were blued or nickel plated and the hammer and loading gate were case-hardened. Remington Model 1875 revolvers were never manufactured with color case-hardened frames.
Our Cimarron test gun lacks the lanyard ring and the frame is color case-hardened, which is not period correct. However, we are shooters, not collectors, and we are not dogmatic about such details. The color case-hardened frame on our 1875 Outlaw is extremely attractive. We think it looks nicer than a blued frame. Interestingly, a Uberti 1875 replica in Rocky's possession that was made about 1980 has the lanyard ring, although the frame is also case-hardened.
The 1875 Outlaw will fit in most holsters intended for SA revolvers with the same length barrel, including the Colt SAA and clones, 1858 Remington percussion revolver, Ruger Single Six or Single Seven, Ruger Vaquero, etc. A quick look in our holster drawer found three matches, including Uncle Mike's Sidekick Size 9 and KNJ nylon belt holsters and an Oklahoma Leather full flap calvary holster originally purchased for an 1858 Remington replica. The latter is our favorite carrying option.
The Cimarron 1875 Outlaw is a beautiful revolver and it is modestly priced for what you get. The finish is excellent and the trigger pull of our sample is superb. Cartridges fire 100% of the time, as they should, when the trigger is pulled. The automatic hammer bar safety works as advertised.
The most important remaining question is how it shoots. To answer that will require a bench rest session at the shooting range by the Guns and Shooting Online staff. Check the companion article on the Member Side Product Reviews page, which will include a full range report and shooter comments.
Copyright 2016 by chuckhawks.com. All rights reserved.