Firearms Company of Fredericksburg, Texas is one of the most
innovative firearms companies in existence………. when it
comes to nineteenth century firearms. Calling a company that
deals only in antique designs "innovative" might seem
a bit strange, but Cimarron takes a different approach to their
antique replicas than do most other purveyors of such firearms.
A couple of Cimarron’s better design ideas are the subject of
has taken the basic and time tested Colt Single Action
Army design, which is perhaps the greatest revolver ever
devised, and changed the grip frame to emulate that of the Colt
double action Thunderer. The result is a single action revolver
with the best-feeling modified "bird’s head" type of
grip available, at least to my hand.
addition to the full size Thunderer, Cimarron has a scaled down
version of the same gun which they call the Lightning. The Lightning
is roughly twenty percent smaller than the Thunderer
or any other Colt Single Action replica, and also has a very
nice feel and balance to the weapon.
received for review and testing one each of the Thunderer and Lightning
revolvers, both with the blued and case-hardened
finish. Both guns were also equipped with the one-piece
checkered walnut grips, which were perfectly fitted to their
respective grip frames. I wish that every revolver maker would
take the time to fit their grips as well as are these Cimarrons.
Overall fit and finish on these two Cimarrons were what I have
come to expect from that company…..excellent. All parts were
fitted well, and the finish was an even, deep, polished
blue-black with no flaws or tool marks, and the case colors were
two revolvers are quite similar except for size, with a few
distinct differences. The Lightning has a frame-mounted
firing pin, while the Thunderer has the traditional
hammer-mounted pin. While both sixguns have two-position
cylinder base pins, with a safety notch, the method of retaining
the base pin is different in each gun. The Lightning has the
more familiar crossbolt base pin latch, while the Thunderer has
an old style frame with a thumb screw in place of the standard
base pin screw. The Thunderer tested was chambered for the .45
Colt cartridge, and the smaller Lightning for the .38 Colt or
.38 Special cartridge. The barrel lengths on the Thunderer and Lightning
as tested were four and three-quarters inches and
three and one-half inches, respectively. Both sixguns are
also available with longer barrels. The Thunderer weighs just
over thirty-six ounces and its baby brother weighs thirty and
shooting the two revolvers, we experienced a problem with the
base pin jumping its latch in the Lightning. It would be an
easy fix with a few strokes of a file, but these guns were on
loan, so no action was taken to correct the problem. This was
the only problem encountered with either of the sixguns, and is
a minor and frequent problem with single action revolvers.
Trigger pulls were measured with a Lyman digital gauge
and measured four pounds and two ounces on the Thunderer. The
little Lightning had a wonderful trigger pull of just under two
pounds. It felt like a custom trigger right out of the box.
Firing several different types of factory ammunition resulted in
accuracy which averaged in the two and one-half to three inch
range for both guns, at a distance of twenty-five yards.
No attempt to custom tailor handloads to each gun was attempted,
as both guns did well for their intended purpose. With their
short barrels and fixed sights, either of these two guns would
be ideal for the sport of Cowboy Action Shooting, and the
Thunderer in particular would serve well as a single action
carry gun in a good holster, such as the superb
Mernickle PS6-SA concealment rig. In addition, both guns
are just plain fun to shoot!
a good, well-built, and beautifully finished single action that
is a bit different from any other, check out the Thunderer and Lightning
from Cimarron. They are good shooting and great
handling sixguns, that offer quality at a fair price. Both guns
are available with a variety of finish options and barrel
lengths, and the Thunderer is offered chambered for a few other
out these and other Cimarron products online at: www.cimarron-firearms.com.
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