Well known for offering quality cowboy guns and period reproductions of famous firearms, Cimarron of Fredericksburg, Texas has developed an excellent reputation in Cowboy Action Shooting.
Not long ago, Cimarron decided to offer a quality 1911 reproduction of the original 1911 made from 1911 to 1918. This handgun is well fitted and finished and as I found out—offering good performance. There are other affordable 1911 handguns similar this one, so there must be a good reason for choosing the Cimarron. The primary reason would be that the pistol isn’t a 1911A1 handgun, but a true 1911.
The Cimarron pistol features a frame without the familiar relief cut of the modern 1911A1. The trigger is the long type, and the mainspring housing is flat. The hammer, slide lock safety and slide lock are period correct, as well are the sights. The slide is marked with period style markings.
Enhanced and Modern Parts
There are differences between the early 1911 and the Cimarron not apparent at first glance. The original handguns were forged, but only spot heat-treated. The Cimarron uses a cast slide and cast frame.
The trigger action of the original pistols usually broke at six to eight pounds, but with a rapid trigger reset. The Cimarron exhibited a nice smooth trigger compression of 4.5 pounds.
Accuracy standards for the original 1911 were generous by modern standards. The standard was a five-shot 5-inch group at 25 yards. Ten inches at 50 yards was acceptable. The modern Cimarron pistol will group five rounds into three inches with quality loads, and perhaps it is a bit tighter than the original handgun.
While the 1911 as manufactured in 1911 to 1927 were great sidearms, they are presently very expensive. While it would be great sport to use an original, for most of us, the Cimarron is the best choice. It is far more available and it is more useful in terms of accuracy.
The fit of the locking lugs into the slide mortise is tight. The barrel hood is also tight. The fit of the barrel bushing to the slide does not require a bushing wrench for removal, but the fit is also tight. After field stripping the pistol, a minimum of tool marks were evident. I carefully lubricated the barrel hood, cocking block, long bearing surfaces and the barrel.
Firing the Cimarron 1911 Government Issue
It is interesting to note that ammunition has come a long way as well. A period report by Phillip K. Sharpe reported excellent accuracy results with one lot of wartime production ammo but terrible results with another. The smooth trigger compression and rapid reset of the Cimarron pistol were a great help in accuracy potential. The Cimarron shows good, tight lockup. It does not rattle when shook.
I noted that the feed ramp is well polished. There are two portions of the feed ramp, one on the frame, and one on the barrel. As long as there is a requisite 1/32-inch feed gap between the two pieces of the feed ramp, you will have good feed reliability. I loaded the Cimarron magazine and also a good supply of Chip McCormick magazines for the test. The initial loads were the Winchester M1911 230-grain FMJ. This load has given excellent results in every 1911 I have used it in with a clean powder burn and good accuracy potential.
The initial firing was done at man-sized silhouettes at 7, 10 and 15 yards. The Cimarron performed well, largely due to the 1911 attributes such as a low bore axis and hand-filling grip. The smooth trigger compression certainly helped. I had a number of willing shooters along to help. Within less than a half-hour, 100 rounds of Winchester 230-grain loads were fired. There were no failures to feed, chamber, fire or eject.
Firing at close range, including one-handed drills, the pistol gave good results. A steel-frame 1911 Government Model should be comfortable to fire. I also fired a quantity of my personal hand loads using the Oregon Trail 230-grain RNL bullet. While the Cimarron is intended primarily for recreational and competition use, it would serve as well as any other GI-type .45 1911 for personal defense.
With this in mind, I fired a modest number of personal defense loads. This included the Winchester 185-grain Silvertip, HPR Ammunition 185-grain JHP, HPR 230-grain JHP and Winchester 230-grain PDX. All fed well. The pistol is well regulated for 230-grain ammunition with the lighter loads striking low in relation to the point of aim. The pistol averaged four inches for five shots at 25 yards. At seven yards, the pistol will cut one ragged hole with any load. As an experiment, I fired a magazine full of Cor Bon’s 165-grain PowRBall—designed to feed in any handgun that will feed hardball. At a blistering 1250 fps, this is a fail-safe, feed-reliable load. No problems and while recoil was there, function remained good.
The Cimarron 1911 is a good handgun well worth its modest price.
Do you think you can handle Cimmaron’s 1911 in a Wild Bunch shoot? Share your impressions in the comment section.
Bob Campbell is a former peace officer and published author with over 40 years combined shooting and police and security experience. Bob holds a degree in Criminal Justice. Bob is the author of the books, The Handgun in Personal Defense, Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry, The 1911 Automatic Pistol, The Gun Digest Book of Personal Protection and Home Defense, The Shooters Guide to the 1911, The Hunter and the Hunted, and The Complete Illustrated Manual of Handgun Skills. His latest book is Dealing with the Great Ammo Shortage. He is also a regular contributor to Gun Tests, American Gunsmith, Small Arms Review, Gun Digest, Concealed Carry Magazine, Knife World, Women and Guns, Handloader and other publications. Bob is well-known for his firearm testing.
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