Cimarron’s New “Plinkerton” .22 Rimfire Single Action Revolver


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn

December 8th, 2008




It has been a few months now since I first heard that Cimarron Firearms of Fredericksburg, Texas was going to be selling an entry level .22 rimfire revolver that was a close copy, at least in style, of the Colt Single Action Army, and that it was to sell at a very low price. Cimarron is well-known in the Cowboy Action Shooting world as an importer of some very good replica lever action and single shot rifles, as well as a wide variety of replica old west revolvers. Cimarron’s guns are well finished, and a cut above many of the replica firearms on the market today. Their 1892 Winchester replica that I reviewed on Gunblast almost two years ago was the slickest-working ‘92 Winchester, of any brand, that I have ever held in my hands. I have also reviewed many of their revolvers, and found them all to be quality weapons with a lot of historical old west feel to them.

Back in September of this year while visiting my friend “The Swede” in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, I got to play with a Cimarron Plinkerton a bit, and have finally received one here in Tennessee for a full evaluation. When I first held that Plinkerton in Michigan, I didn’t think too highly of it. None of us did. We were shooting custom Rugers built by John and Dustin Linebaugh, Freedom Arms revolvers, and Colt Single Actions that day, and the Plinkerton just did not fit in. It wore a matte black finish on the metal, which appeared to be some sort of non-ferrous alloy, and had black plastic grips attached to the grip frame with a Phillips-head screw. The thing that really put us off was the key-operated hammer block safety on the upper left side of the frame, opposite the loading gate. It just did not look right to us. However, the gun was there, it felt pretty good in the hand, and we decided to give it a try. Much to our surprise and delight, the sixgun shot pretty well! It balances in the hand much like a Colt Single Action Army, and operates much the same, loading and unloading from a half-cock hammer position, and was pretty fun to shoot plinking at rocks and such on a hillside across Swede’s pond.

The Plinkerton which arrived here a few days ago is just like the one I played with in Michigan. Looking closer at this test gun, the fit of the parts is pretty well executed, and the trigger pull feels pretty good, measuring just under two and one-half pounds, but having a travel of about three-sixteenths of an inch before the sear releases to drop the hammer. The hammer is of the traditional single action shape, and is easy to operate. The firing pin is a large rectangular part set vertically in the frame, and is held in place with a cross-pin. As noted above, there is a key-operated hammer block safety on the side of the frame, and rotating the key about ninety degrees blocks the hammer from contacting the firing pin. While on this subject, the Plinkerton should not be dry-fired without a snap-cap or empty cartridge case in place, as the firing pin can contact the rear of the cylinder. My sample gun had been obviously dry-fired before I received it, but it functioned just fine anyway. The barrel length on the Plinkerton measures four and five-eighths inches, and consists of a steel liner inside the outer tube, just like the steel chamber inserts in the cylinder. The hard plastic grips are fully checkered, and fit the grip frame well. The shape and size feels just like a genuine Colt SAA grip, and a pair of Colt grips fit the Plinkerton well, but the grip locater pin is in a different location than on the Colt. The front sight is of the traditional Colt profile, and the rear notch is wide, deep, and easy to use. The sights were pretty well regulated for my style and hold on the sixgun, and after loading and firing about three shots, I was on target at twenty-five yards, plinking offhand at a small steel swinging target. For accuracy testing, I locked the Plinkerton in my Ransom Rest, using the Colt Single Action Army grip insert. Accuracy and velocity testing was done on an overcast day, with an air temperature of thirty-nine degrees Fahrenheit, a light wind, and an elevation of about 550 feet above sea level. The chronograph’s electronic eyes were set at twelve feet from the muzzle, and velocities in the chart below are listed in feet-per-second (fps). HP is hollowpoint ammo. Bullet weights are listed in grains. Group sizes are for five-shot groups fired at a distance of twenty-five yards, and group sizes are listed in inches, center-to center for the widest spaced shots in the group.

Winchester Xpert HP 36 955.1 4.125
Winchester Dynapoint 40 914.5 3.75
Federal Bulk HP 36 1010 4.00
CCI Mini Mag Solid 40 982.1 3.625
Federal Spitfire HP 34 1054 4.25
Federal Hi Power Solid 40 1008 2.825
PMC Match Solid 40 853.3 3.50
Winchester Wildcat Solid 40 915.6 4.375
PMC Zapper HP 36 1025 2.06
Remington Cyclone HP 36 976.7 3.25

Accuracy was pretty good with a couple of loads, and satisfactory for plinking with most others. All groups were pretty tight horizontally, but were dispersed vertically. Those types of patterns on the target are usually indicative of velocity variations, and the chronograph readings showed this to be the case. The barrel/cylinder gap varied from a nice, tight two one-thousandths (.002) of an inch to six one-thousandths (.006), depending upon which chamber was measured. None of these measurements was excessively large for a gun of this type, but the variation did cause the vertical group dispersion, hurting the overall accuracy performance of the sixgun. However, as the name implies, this gun is built to be an inexpensive plinker, and it performs in that role very well. The Plinkerton feels and handles pretty much like a Colt SAA or replica thereof, fires inexpensive .22 Long Rifle ammunition, and functioned one hundred percent reliably throughout my tests. I experienced no misfires, and every empty case ejected positively. Loading and unloading was easy, and the chambers line up perfectly with the ejector rod at each “click”. The Plinkerton weighs 39.6 ounces empty, and balances well for quick handling.

The Plinkerton is not a highly polished and richly finished revolver, nor was it intended to be. You will likely never see one fully hand engraved and wearing carved ivory grips. However, the Plinkerton fills a role that needs filling, as a very affordable to purchase and affordable to shoot rimfire plinker. Hopefully, the authorities of the Cowboy Action Shooting games will start to allow .22 rimfire guns for competition. Most CAS competitors shoot powder puff loads anyway, and allowing these Plinkerton revolvers to compete would get an entry level shooter in who might not otherwise be able to afford to do so. As of this writing in December of 2008, the suggested retail price of the Plinkerton is only $189 US as reviewed here, and only twenty dollars more with the extra .22 Magnum cylinder. As my cousin Debbie would say. “Now that’s a deal!”

Check out the extensive line of Cimarron firearms and accessories online at

Jeff Quinn





Cardboard box has an Old-West look.



Accuracy testing was done is a Ransom Master Series Machine Rest.








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Click pictures for a larger version.


Cimarron's "Plinkerton" .22 sixgun.



Checkered hard plastic grips.



Key-operated hammer-block safety.



Cylinder is lined with steel chamber inserts.



Front of cylinder sports a removable bushing.



Cylinder bolt.



Large rectangular firing pin.



Sights are fixed, in the familiar Old-West style.



Large, easy to use ejector rod head.



Large rectangular firing pin.



Hammer is placed on half-cock to load.



Hammer spring is of the traditional leaf style.