I'm not new to revolvers (I've owned an SP101, S&W 586 and 642 for several years) but just purchased a Cimarron Frontier .357 (4 3/4"). This is my first SA only revolver. I bought it off of a friend who had never fired it. What are some things unique to SA revolvers that would be useful to know before my first range trip with it? I am aware that threads involving a newly purchased firearm are useless without pics, they'll be up in the morning.
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September 25, 2012, 10:53 PM
First off, sweet buy! I so want a Cimarron wheelie.
Second, load one, skip one, and load four. Then bring the hammer to full-cock, rotating the empty chamber into position under the hammer, and then carefully lower the hammer onto the empty chamber. You should have the firing pin resting on an empty chamber. But don't dry fire like this just in case you didn't line it up right.
Third, please post a range report for those of us that don't have a Cimarron yet so we can live vicariously through you.
You'll have a lot of fun with this one. I've been shooting SAAs for over 35 years now - both Colts and Colt Clones. Biggest issue I've ever had was an occasional sear/bolt spring breaking. They are pretty much a drop in part - but could require minor fitting. If/when you do break one, replace it with a Wolff wire type instead of the flat factory spring and you pretty much have a permanent fix.
Grips can be individual to the revoler. Most makers have charts of what fits which revoler and they are your best source of info. What type of grips are you considering?
September 26, 2012, 12:52 PM
You're in for some fun shooting with it.
Just a note to add to mesinge2's post about the load 1, skip 1, load 4 deal. After you've done the load and close the gate flip the gun over and you can see the empty chamber by the lack of a rim. It SHOULD be in the spot that is ready to go under the hammer when you go to full cock from the half cock loading position.
You don't need to worry about that for now though. I imagine that your first session will be to simply load all 6 at the range and let loose. With the empty casings to play with safely at home learn the loading 5 with one empty.
One other important handling point. When you go to half cock for loading ALWAYS go from half to full and THEN lower the hammer. If you don't you'll end up with the cylinder stop bolt dragging on the outside of the cylinder and leaving a telltale "newbie ring". So always remember that once you move the hammer at all you want to finish the job at the end by going to full cock and lower the hammer from full cock.
Because of the nature of the grips on an 1873 Colt style gun they are pretty much a custom fit due to the nature of how the frames are cast and shaped. No CNC back in those old days. So by all means get some new wood for your gun. But don't be surprised if a little bit of fitting is needed to make them fit really well. You'll see what I mean when you take your gun apart at some point.
Another hint. Get a set of gunsmithing screwdriver bits and custom fit a set of the flat blade tips to fit the screws of your new gun. Cleaning the action really well requires that the gun be stripped down quite a bit to allow access for flushing out the action. The 6 small screws that secure the frame and trigger guard require a fair amount of care to remove and replace without messing them up badly. A hollow ground screwdriver bit or custom ground screwdriver that fits for width and thickness perfectly makes the job easy.
Keep the screws separate as you take them out. You may find that the screws at the front of the trigger guard and the heel of the frame are shorter than the rest.
And when you tighten them these screws only need to be pinched firmly, not torqued like they are holding your wheels on your truck. All too often from the factory stuff like this lets go with a tooth jarring SNAP. So folks assume that they need to re-tighten them that much. They simply do NOT need to be that tight. A firm pinch is just right. If you find the screws coming loose from use then you need a SLIGHTLY firmer pinch. I feel it's better to sneak up on the proper torque by having to tighten them a time or two to learn how tight they need to be rather than tighten the snot out of them and simply wear out the threading and head slots that much sooner.
Some 1873 guns have replaced the classic leaf spring on the hand with a small plunger and coil spring. If your Cimmaron is one of those then when you remove the grip frame there will be a small hole in the back of the main frame and a spring will be sticking out. It's on the back of the frame and beside the screw hole. Watch for that as the parts can come out and leap for freedom if you don't catch them in the act. If there is no small hole and spring poking out then the hand uses the classic style spring.
And one last thing for ya. When you're shooting the gun it is normal to have your pinky finger positioned under the base of the grips. For shooting in the classic one handed style it aids in getting the gun back into shooting position. If you try to slide your hand up higher so the pinky sits on the wood you will likely find, like I did, that you're holding too high and now the gun tends to shoot to the side. It does feel a little odd if you're used to a full hand support. But you'll get used to it soon enough like the rest of us have done.
Best of luck with your gun
September 26, 2012, 01:43 PM
Wow! Excellent post BCrider...
September 26, 2012, 02:04 PM
So far you have received excellent advice. I would also suggest getting in the habit of always loading five rounds with the hammer down on an empty chamber. No matter where you are or what you're doing. It's a good habit to be in.
September 26, 2012, 03:41 PM
Nice pickup Rob0321!
CraigC-- I recently purchased my first SA, stainless SBH 5.5. I'm used to DA handguns. My fat fingers don't all fit on the grip frame. Is it ok to drop my pinky below the grip frame to shoot this thing? Any suggestions would be appreciated.
September 26, 2012, 09:25 PM
Thank you all again for your advice. It will be another week before I can get to the range, but I will get pics up when I do.
September 26, 2012, 10:10 PM
Skidder, the pinky down under the butt is fine. I can't fit all mine on the frame and stocks either. Back when I "insisted" on gripping high enough that I did fit them all the gun was so badly out of position that it shot about 3 to 4 inches to the left due to side pressure. As soon as I dropped back down to where my pinky was below the butt end of the frame I was able to get nice hits with a proper and basic hold where the gun naturally lines up with my forearm.
Hey, it's easy enough to try it for yourself. Hold it up so high that you can get your pinky on the frame. You'll likely find that the web of your hand is under the spur of the hammer by that time. Shoot the gun and watch the groups appear well over to the left. Then let your hand slide down a ways to a more natural hold with your pinky below the butt end and try it again. The gun will soon tell you where it's happy by the windage of the groups.
Those ol' cow pokes either were a smaller stature than our current meat hormone fed generation or that is the way they shot back then as well.
September 26, 2012, 11:47 PM
The pinky under hold is common and after some practice, it becomes totally natural. I agree that trying to cram all three fingers on the grip only leads to problems. Shifting your grip down a little and tucking that pinky under not only offers a wee bit more control but also keeps the web of your hand out of the way of the hammer yet your thumb should still be within reach of the hammer. It also prevents the sixgun from shifting deeper into your hand during recoil.